As a UW-Eau Claire junior looking for an internship, Gary Butcher II was thrilled when he connected with the DHL Supply Chain company during the university’s Career Conference.
The internship was exactly what Butcher was looking for and the company was a great fit for the operations/supply chain management major. He was crushed when after three interviews the logistics company didn’t select him for the position.
“It was hard, but also a good reminder that sometimes you need to take a step back and realize that life isn’t a cakewalk; not everything will go right,” says Butcher, who will graduate in December. “I decided to keep my head high, seek additional resources and stay focused on my goals.”
This fall, Butcher was again at UW-Eau Claire’s Career Conference, this time looking for his first full-time job.
“When I came across DHL at the Career Conference, I was hesitant,” Butcher says. “They didn’t pick me the first time so I was not sure I should even talk with them because they’d already turned me down.”
After weighing the pros and cons, Butcher decided to try again, so he reached out to the company. He again landed a series of interviews, and this time he was offered the full-time job he wanted.
In January 2019 he will begin his career as an operations/supply chain manager at DHL in the company’s Chippewa Falls location.
“I’m glad I didn’t let one rejection keep me down,” Butcher says of deciding to approach DHL a second time. “It’s a little surreal that they turned me down for the internship, but hired me for this position. I’m so happy because it’s a great job, and I know I can grow in my career with this company. Being persistent paid off.”
A native of the Chicago area, Butcher also is happy to launch his career in the Chippewa Valley, an area he says is big enough to be interesting but small enough to be affordable for a new college graduate.
“It’s a great place for me to start my adult life, especially financially,” Butcher says. “It’s easy to lose yourself in a big city and harder to be financially secure in a big city when you’re starting out. I want to grow in my job, in my financial literacy and in my adulthood, and this is a great place to do those things.”
Butcher transferred to UW-Eau Claire 2 1/2 years ago after deciding he was better suited for a career in business than in engineering.
UW-Eau Claire’s strong business programs and many outside-the-classroom opportunities appealed to him, Butcher says, noting that he also was happy to continue his college football career as a Blugold.
As he nears graduation, Butcher is confident he made the right decision.
“I needed to be here,” Butcher says of UW-Eau Claire. “The classes taught me what I need to know to be successful in real life, and I love so many of my professors. The business professors are a dedicated and passionate group. Their support has been overwhelming.”
Butcher also found opportunities outside the classroom to develop important skills, especially his communication and leadership skills.
“I grew up in a house where my dad said to jump, and I asked how high,” Butcher says. “I had a follower mentality. If someone told me what to do, I’d do it. At UW-Eau Claire, I learned how to be a leader.”
Soon after arriving on campus, Butcher was surprised to find himself the president of the Black Student Alliance organization. While nervous, he was determined to do his best for the members, he says.
“The BSA presidency was really my first out-of-the-box kind of experience,” says Butcher, noting that the organization grew from 20 members to nearly 50 while he was president. “The leadership role really shaped me. I improved my public speaking skills, learned how to lead groups and how to be part of a team that gets stuff done. It put me way outside my comfort zone, but the things I learned are what helped me get my job with DHL.”
Butcher also is an active member of the Student Senate and the Black Male Empowerment group.
“I’ve had to branch out and do things I didn’t think I could do,” Butcher says of being involved in the student groups. “It’s taught me patience, compassion, perseverance and dedication. I’ve learned to be good to myself and to others.
“I’ve learned to communicate with people in different ways, and to look for ways to bridge gaps."
Being part of these organizations also created opportunities for him to make positive change on campus, especially on issues relating to equity, diversity and inclusivity, Butcher says.
“I took to heart the chances I’ve had to do all I could for people of color,” Butcher says. “While a lot of work still needs to be done, our voices are being heard.”
For example, after BSA members expressed a need for a space of their own, the university created the Black Cultural Center, a new meeting place for black student organizations and an informal gathering space for students of color.
“I hope the space will help people of color feel as if they belong on campus,” Butcher says.
While he’s looking forward to launching his professional career in western Wisconsin, Butcher says his time as a Blugold also has piqued his interest in learning more about other parts of the world.
He traveled to Europe last summer with the BME group, his first trip outside the U.S., which he describes as an eye-opening experience.
Next, he says, he would like to go to China to gain yet another perspective.
“I want to put myself in many different situations,” Butcher says. “I want to learn about other people, cultures and perspectives.”
Photo caption: Gary Butcher II is looking forward to launching his career in the Chippewa Valley after he graduates this month.