March 28, 2017

York recently launched a new program, Barriers to Entry (B2E), which is designed to help individuals re-enter the workforce by providing them training in project management and other skills. We are very excited and proud to introduce you to one of our first participants, Doug Ellefson, to learn more about his journey with the B2E program.

What were you doing before B2E?

Prior to B2E, I was designing and manufacturing lawn and garden products overseas, mainly in China. I was involved with designing and creating a product prototype and following that product all the way down the line from manufacturing and shipping to the final presentation and delivery to the end user. It was exciting for a long time and I really enjoyed it. But, as the world has changed and most businesses along with it, the fun began to fade. I found myself searching for something different, something challenging and new. That’s when I came across York’s B2E program.

What about the B2E program made you interested in applying?

For me, it was the message that I heard as it seemed to very much strike a chord with me. I found myself listening to one of Silvia’s television interviews, shaking my head in agreement and saying to myself out loud, “Hey, that sounds just like me!” I put some thought into it and convinced myself that I should apply. It sounded like a great new adventure – exactly what I was looking for. I did a bit of preliminary research on York and I could find nothing but great things people were saying. York seemed to be real deal. It’s true, they are great!

What have you been doing in your role at the client?

Since I was placed in my position, I have been working side by side with a very experienced PM, managing a multi-year project. I could not have asked for a more talented,  intelligent person to work with. To say the project I am working on is huge would be the understatement of the year! We use project management software we were exposed to in the B2E program which I have found very helpful. A few of my activities include leading daily meetings, tracking progress with Microsoft Project, and creating PowerPoint decks for presentations to our project sponsors and steering committee. Every day I learn something new, and often get an opportunity to apply that knowledge the very next day.

How, if at all, has your previous experience helped you in this role?

Fortunately for me, my last 20 years of work was essentially project management. I quite simply was just going about it in a different manner, and used different terms for the work I was doing. Being able to focus on specifics while keeping an understanding of the big picture has been a real asset for me. Plus, I believe having experience managing anything from beginning to end will serve anyone well in a project management role. The methods used today to manage many types of projects, both old and new, are effective and provide us with tools to be successful. It’s kind of like learning a new language, not the entire language, but enough to help you be comfortable in a conversation.

What impact has B2E had on your life?

B2E came into my life at just the right time. Without sounding too cheesy, it honestly feels to me like it was just meant to be. Each day of work is exciting and challenging and frightening all at the same time! I really feel like the IT project management world is a fantastic place to be. I am very grateful to Silvia Hinton and everyone at York Solutions for this program and the opportunity it has afforded me.

What do you envision for your professional future/career path?

I think I’m gonna need shades! For those of us in this great new world of IT, we are very fortunate to be here in Minnesota where we have so many huge companies, and all these companies have one thing in common. They all need help managing information to ultimately find ways to run smoother and more effectively, and that’s where we come in. I see myself staying at my current position for a couple of years, if not longer. If that’s not how things shake out, I am certain I can find a position with any number of other companies doing something very similar. I could not be more optimistic. Viva Minnesota!! 

Learn more about our B2E program here!

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Posted By: Jaclyn Roman

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