Walker Sands has officially joined the maker movement!
Carvey is a tabletop 3D carving machine from Inventables that uses subtractive manufacturing to carve designs out of various materials such as wood, plastic and even metal. Inventables also offers a free, easy-to-use design software called Easel that allows makers to create a design from scratch, import existing designs or choose from Inventables’ library of projects.
In just three easy steps – create your design, choose a material and click “carve” – Carvey can “bring out the maker in all of us”. And it has!
This summer, Walker Sands’ Inventables Account Executive, Payal Shukla, has been busy teaching eager Walker Sands employees how to design and 3D carve using Carvey. These tutorials exemplify Walker Sands’ values of learn, support, do – especially when it comes to client work.
(Payal gives the staff an introduction about Inventables, Carvey and the maker movement before starting the tutorial.)
See how our team is joining the Nation of Makers, and learn how easy it is for you to become a maker, too!
TGIF! Check out this week’s top tech stories before heading out for the weekend.
PayPal and Visa kiss and make up, form strategic partnership – Venture Beat
PayPal has announced its strategic partnership with Visa. Visa cards will be presented on the PayPal platform as a clear and equal payment option during enrollment and payments. The goal of the partnership was to make the credit card payment option more smooth and safe for users – while not requiring bank information to be shared. Consumers will also be able to withdraw and move money instantly from PayPal or Venmo accounts to their bank account via Visa Direct. This will be significantly faster, safer and more convenient than before.
Elon Musk reveals Tesla’s master plan – TechCrunch
Elon Musk is planning on steering Tesla towards fully autonomous driving, cargo transport, car sharing and carrying out a fully solar power ecosystem. And when he says autonomous driving, he really means it. Musk is pushing for more than just autopilot – but completely autonomous cars. Musk is saying that a total of 6 billion miles of test-driving will be needed for these autonomous cars, with fleet learning already happening at 3 million miles per day. In addition to creating small and midsize cars, Musk plans to put greater emphasis on larger, heavy duty trucks and busses for high density populations. His first master plan seemed prophetic – adding clout to part two!
In an effort to get more student prime accounts, Amazon has partnered with Wells Fargo – negotiating a half-percentage drop in student loan interest rates for student prime members. Amazon has agreed that it will not work with other student lenders to offer similar deals – but Wells Fargo is free to offer similar incentives to Amazon competitors. Wells Fargo recorded $12.2 billion in student loans outstanding in 2015 – and is the the third largest bank in the world by total assets. A student loan borrower who would normally qualify for 3.3 percent interest rate would now get a 2.8 percent rate by having a Amazon student prime account
Another week means another team spotlight, and this week I got to sit down with none other than Andrew Cross. As Vice President and Partner at Walker Sands, Andrew leads our FinTech, electronics and startup practice areas.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and when did you start working at Walker Sands?
Andrew: I am from Central Illinois originally, and I grew up in a small town outside Bloomington-Normal. I graduated from Illinois State University in three years with a B.A. in public relations. Directly following college, I was a freelance writer before joining Walker Sands as a media relations specialist in January of 2011.
2. What is your current role at Walker Sands?
Andrew: As vice president of public relations, I manage several practice areas including enterprise software, professional services, electronics, financial technology, and start-ups. My daily activities include a lot of sales and new business development so any given week I am in a handful of introductory meetings really trying to network within Chicago as much as possible. I still spend a lot of my time doing client work as well especially the larger more complicated accounts using Walker Sands for both PR and digital services.
3. How has Walker Sands changed since you first started at the company?
Andrew: The increasing number of clients using WS for more than one service is the most noticeable change and one that makes our company more valuable.
Additionally, when I started at Walker Sands we had already specialized in B2B technology but practice areas were not carved out. These emerged organically based on success with clients. Even with all of these changes, I still feel like the culture has remained the same as has the amount of opportunity and responsibility that employees have at every level of the company. I remember feeling like that my first year at WS so it is nice to see that is still the case.
4. What is your favorite part about working at Walker Sands?
Andrew: Everything is always fresh and challenging! To me, career satisfaction comes from being able to constantly feel like I am learning and I have gotten the opportunity to work with so many different businesses really learning from my clients as well as my team.
5. What sets Walker Sands apart?
Andrew: The first is our focus on B2B technology. Companies can either specialize in what they do or who they do it for, and we specialize in who we do it for which has allowed us to be very successful. The second is our mentality – we are driven by business results for our clients, not just day-to-day placements. We form partner relationships with every business we work with which is a somewhat unique approach.
Summer is flying by and it’s hard to believe that our second group of interns has already completed half of their internship! Just like our first group, these five ladies are learning the ropes when it comes to B2B PR. Check out their thoughts below.
They may call this an internship, but make no mistake it feels much more like an entry level job. From day one, Walker Sands threw us into the daily routine of our account teams and gave us similar responsibilities to that of a media relations specialist. While each day is different and exciting, typical job assignments include writing press releases, creating media list and sending out original pitches, which in turn helps me create personal relationships with journalists at multiple publications. Walker Sands is what good public relations is all about. Also, working at a place with an awesome social culture doesn’t hurt either. Landing this internship was just the start of what has become a rewarding summer. Landing media placements was when the real fun began. I can’t wait to see what exciting opportunities present themselves throughout the rest of my internship!
Throughout my last year in college, my journalism professors constantly stressed the idea that working in PR was “going over to the dark side.” Students choosing that path kept their post-grad career plans to themselves. At that point, I was ready to jump ships. When thinking back on my first couple of weeks here, two ideas clearly stand out. The first being–PR shouldn’t be labeled as cloudy or mischievous! Indeed, journalism and PR do have their distinct attributes; yet, both value the written word. After observing and writing pieces of my own to send to either reporters or clients, it’s clear Walker Sands works extremely hard to implement high standards and produce honest content. It was refreshing to see how each team works together like a well oiled machine, always taking into consideration each other’s ideas and suggestions. Second, Walker Sands is brag worthy in more ways than one. From the beginning, I knew WS had a great reputation. Now I know why. Each employee brings a different set of skills to the table, making the pack that much stronger. I really appreciate that I get to learn from such a well-rounded, intelligent group. Excited for the second half!
I have always been a big proponent of the it’s not what you do but who you work for adage. Cheesy, yes, but past experiences have taught me to value a positive working environment.
With no background in technology, my placement on the Enterprise Software and Professional Services (ESPS) team was intimidating at first. Fast forward six weeks and I am writing articles about software I never knew existed. The steep learning curve challenged me to play catch up, a task made immensely easier with the help of my team. I consider myself lucky to be enjoying both what I am doing and who I am working with this summer at Walker Sands. And the view from the 39th floor doesn’t hurt either!
I love scavenger hunts. I love organizing them, I love participating in them and what I love most of all is when a bunch of Walker Sands employees get together and enjoy one.
Scavenger hunts are great for many reasons. They’re a fun way to inspire a little competitive spirit. They shake up the office and help employees get to know team members they might not work with on a daily basis. And they introduce people to the hidden side of Chicago, a city that is certainly worth exploring.
This year’s company scavenger hunt took our teams to places like Fulton Market, the Loop, the beach, Lincoln Park and more! The day ended at our downtown office, where teams enjoyed a hotdog truck and refreshments while I tallied the scores. Team Nope came away with the win, but I’d say everyone was a winner because they all got to participate in a scavenger hunt. Did I mention I really love scavenger hunts?
Here are a few of our favorite challenges from the event:
Build a sandcastle at the beach