Students run painting company
Aggie responds to flyer, becomes business manager
By Alexandria Randolph
Freshman Seth Dingas, an agricultural leadership and development major, has been given a unique opportunity — the chance to be the manager of a $22,000 business.
"I basically signed one of those flyers that they pass out in class, the ones that say, ‘Are you interested in an internship?' and they contacted me," Dingas said.
He manages the College Station branch of College Works Painting
, a company that paints people's homes and is run by student interns. He enjoys the internship because it gives him real-life, hands-on experience.
"The grand opening was after spring break. Since then I've made revenue of over $22,000," he said.
The business is growing quickly, and Dingas said he's looking to expand his payroll with more marketers and painters.
Jacob Dees, a sophomore general studies major and a friend of Dingas, is the head of his marketing department for College Works Painting.
"Working with him is great," Dees said. "I work my own time, and I can work it into my own schedule. I had watched him go through the whole interview process, and when he told me he got it, he came to me and said, ‘I could hire you as the head of my marketing team,'" Dees said.
For Dees, Dingas is right for the job of manager.
"He's not really lax to where you could slack off and he'd be OK with it. He's constantly telling me, ‘We need to get out there.' He's continually driving me, but not wearing me down," Dees said.
The interview process, which began in the fall of 2010, consisted of six interviews and several applications. Out of approximately 1,000 candidates from A&M, he and 30 to 40 others were chosen.
Dingas' company, College Works Painting, is one of many branches throughout the U.S., all owned by college students. Dingas said the program has been going on for 20 years and is the largest internship program in the nation.
"The premise is to develop business and communication skills and to build skills for the business world and the real world," Dingas said.
Nathan Moore, a senior industrial distribution major and district manager of the College Works Painting branches, said the idea of the program is not to build the painting business, but to build individual students.
"I teach students the basics of entrepreneurialism and the skills to start a business," Moore said. "We focus more on developing people than the actual painting business."
Moore said it takes a very specific type of individual to be a match for the program.
"I'm not looking for any type of major or year like other [internships]. It's my job to hire students … to provide them with the skills they will need to start businesses in the real world. We look for someone with the drive to succeed and control where they go in life. There are two types of people — someone who is happy working for someone else, and someone who has the entrepreneurial spirit … to forge their own path and be creative. The sky's the limit."
For Moore, Dingas was a fit, and for Dingas there is no fear of the opportunity to run his own business.
"It's been challenging, but a challenge I boldly accept," Dingas said. "You learn so much in such a short amount of time."
Moore said he also started in the program as a freshman, and it helped him learn time management. During his freshman year, Moore managed College Works Painting, took 20 class hours, participated in the A&M archery and quidditch teams, and also had a second part-time job.
"I want to teach people that no matter what you do, you can be successful with the hours you have," Moore said.
Moore said he helps Dingas manage his activities just as his district manager had helped him.
He said, "I ask [Dingas] every day, ‘How are you doing with classes, with projects, with church?' I'm developing people, not just running a painting business."