Katie Hogue – Ace Hardware Corporate Communications
No, I do not work at the Ace store by your house, or try to sell customers hardware. When I tell people I intern at Ace Hardware, they almost always ask which store I work in. While that is what typically comes to mind when you think of someone working at Ace Hardware, my job is actually quite different.
I am working this summer as a corporate communications intern for Ace hardware. I work in their corporate headquarters within the communications department. While I’m not on the front lines selling hardware to the public, I do work on selling company initiatives to the individual stores.
Ace Hardware is a co-op, and that means that the stores are individually owned and can basically do whatever they want. If Ace hardware wants all their stores to sell a certain brand of paint, or carry LED bulbs, the stores can say “no thanks” if they don’t feel like it. Part of my job is to communicate with the stores and create materials to try to convince them to adopt these changes, so that Ace can have a cohesive brand, and customers can know what to expect when they walk into an Ace store.
One of my big projects is to create a weekly social media article about a new brand of paint we would like the stores to carry. I try to show the retailers how many people are talking about this brand on social media, and all of the cool things consumers are using the paint for.
Other projects that I work on include producing a weekly video series, writing articles for the company intranet called ACENET, designing the layout and content for new webpages, and helping plan for the upcoming semi-annual retailer convention in August.
While I really enjoy my daily work, the internship program at Ace provides several opportunities for the interns to participate in other activities throughout the summer. We have multiple field trips which include visiting a mock store, touring a warehouse, volunteering for the charity Feed My Starving Children, and having a night out bowling.
In addition to these events, at the end of the internship program I will be presenting my capstone project to Ace’s officers and directors. All of the interns were divided into small groups and given a real problem within Ace to solve at the beginning of the program. The past few weeks my capstone team of five has been working to come up with a comprehensive solution to the problem and a plan of attack. I am very nervous to be present to the executives within Ace, but excited to complete the challenge.
I absolutely love the work I’m doing this summer and feel like I am developing a valuable skill set. I’ll be very sad to leave at the end of the summer, but ready to go back to school and apply all that I have learned. For now, I’m just trying to soak up as much information as possible, and get involved with as many projects as I can.
Katie Hogue is now a junior at Indiana University, majoring in Journalism and specializing in Public Relations. She is also getting a concentration in marketing. She currently serves as a Director of Communications within PRSSA and last year was one of the Directors of Programming.