Accounting students learn about quality control at internship

                 Jeff Kocjancic and Zach Ensell, both accounting majors, spent their summer learning about unique manufacturing processes at Allegheny Bradford Corp. in Lewis Run.

                The two student interns served in the company's quality department, where they collected data, audited processes, and participated on root cause investigation teams. 

                ABC and its sister companies, Topline Process Equipment Co. and Allegheny Surface Technology, are one of the 10 largest employers in McKean County. ABC makes custom-order stainless steel heat exchangers, vessels and filter housings, and process skids - primarily used in the pharmaceutical and food industries, where quality and reliability are paramount concerns.

                ABC's reputation for reliable high quality is integral to its sales. Beth Adams, corporate quality manager, looks for interns whose schoolwork depends on a high degree of accuracy and precision.  The accounting students tend to be very detail orientated and are highly successful in this type of position.

                This ABC internship was the first time either student had any exposure to business management. 

                Kocjancic is a senior from Kane, while Ensell is a junior from Olean, N.Y.

                In addition to working in maintenance and other odd jobs, Kocjancic spent several summers as a machine operator at the Keystone Powdered Metal plant in St. Marys.

                “This is my first office job,” he said. “It was interesting to be on the quality side versus on the (manufacturing) floor. The guys on the floor have been great to me.”

                Kocjancic has been working on a specific process improvement project.  He has been collecting process variable information from the employees and comparing this information to various outputs.  He provides this information for analysis purposes.

                For his last week, Kocjancic will work with the sales team at Topline, entering data. “It's been nice to work with multiple departments and get a sense of how everything works together,” he said.

                Kocjancic was a paid intern through a Pennsylvania Workforce Solutions grant, which allows manufacturers to offer paid internships to college students who are Pennsylvania residents to introduce them to manufacturing in the state. The program encourages students to live and work in Pennsylvania after graduating by introducing them to job opportunities while they are still in college.

                Ensell has been working as a paid intern at the plant since March and hopes to continue into the fall semester.

                “This has given me the skills I needed,” Ensell said. “Hearing that it was paid was really a blessing. I didn't have to work two jobs in the summer, and I was even able to take the week off during spring semester finals.”

                Ensell's regular work at the internship has been entering test results into the company's database, as well as scanning, editing and distributing material test reports for incoming materials. He also takes the non-conformance reports and organizes them into a spreadsheet for the company's monthly audit, assisting the quality manager in determining what kind of training might be needed.

                “It's been an eye-opening experience in how manufacturing works,” he said.

                Ensell has had his own project as well, working with the welding crew to time its processes and help find where inefficiencies may exist.

                Previous quality control interns from Pitt-Bradford have gone on to full-time jobs at ABC, including Destiny Fitton, a 2019 accounting and business management graduate who is now an accounting assistant.