Hal Larson, vice president and risk manager of Muscatine Foods, is a founding member of the Industry Mentors program, which is cosponsored by the Vaughan Institute, the Greater Quad Cities Risk and Insurance Management Society, and the Tippie College's student organization Gamma Iota Sigma.
"I am pleased to be a part of such a large collaborative effort that is making the students stronger and helping them move forward in the profession," he says. Hal feels that everyone plays a role in education and in making students stronger applicants and potential employees, which is why he mentors several students each year.A Personal Interest
This year, Hal is mentoring Jon Raftis and TJ Anderson. Both Jon and TJ participate in the national RIMS mentoring program, which Hal also helped create. Hal is their mentor for the national RIMS program as well. In addition, Jon and TJ have a mentor through Leadership Iowa University, a program of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation, Leadership Iowa and Business Horizons.
The mentoring programs are very different, according to Jon. "Hal takes a personal interest, not just a professional interest," he says. "He has been providing learning opportunities that we can't find in the classroom or through our internships."Unique Learning Experiences
Hal invited Jon and TJ to observe a four-hour insurance review session with one of his carriers. Jon commented that he "had never been presented in one setting with more relevant information." TJ is looking forward to the second part of this learning experience—sitting in on the renewal meeting.
Thanks to Hal, the students are better prepared to interview for jobs after graduation in May. "Hal critiqued our resumes, discussed the job market with us and helped us prepare for interviews. He also arranged a mock interview for us with Muscatine Food's human resources department," says TJ. Hal states, "Our people were very impressed with both students."
The three have been on a tour of the Muscatine plant to view firsthand the risks on the floor of a manufacturing operation. And to get a better understanding of their classroom experiences, the students arranged for Hal to attend a session of the Corporate and Financial Risk Management course. During the class, a team of students presented a risk management plan for a company. This provided Hal with the information he needed to discuss presentation skills with Jon and T.J . Later, Hal helped Jon by critiquing a presentation Jon had prepared for the Vaughan Institute's Advisory Board.
Jon adds, "Hal has been super involved and spending a lot of time with us. He is very organized and the amount of time we spend with him has sharpened our interpersonal skills."
It isn't all work, however. Recently the three attended a UI wrestling meet, and Jon and TJ are looking forward to helping Hal understand modern technology like blogging, Facebook, and LinkedIn.