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Energizer Makes Connections
That Keep Going

Merle Pierce has a great job. He enjoys his work and the people he works with. His company is an industry leader. And as one of several employees who recruit for Energizer, he has the fun of traveling to college campuses like the University of Nebraska.

“I meet people from all areas of the university, from faculty to career services personnel,” he says. “It’s great to meet and talk to students in this kind of setting rather than across an interview table — which certainly can be anxiety-producing.”

He also rememebers what it was like to be a student looking for work. Pierce graduated in the early 1970s from Northwest Missouri State University in business management and industrial technology. The job market was tight for new graduates. “I feel fortunate to have hooked up with this company,” he says. He is now Manager of Industrial Engineering at Energizer’s manufacturing facility in Maryville, MO.

“I found a career and I found a home, and I’ve been very happy.”

According to their Web site, Energizer has 10,480 employees worldwide and 22 manufacturing facilities in 15 countries. Annual sales of Eveready and Energizer batteries and other products exceed $1.9 billion. The company holds more than 800 U.S. patents and 540 foreign patents. It’s a track record that makes Pierce especially proud.

“This is a very competitive industry. We do a great job and have a lot to offer,” he says. “And our products add value to life. Our batteries power smoke detectors, cell phones and flashlights — all of which are used during times of need.”

Pierce has been recruiting at NU for more than 10 years. He gets help from Rob Green, ChemE ’94, a quality engineering manager for Energizer in Vermont. Green is one of 11 NU engineering graduates hired by the company since 1994.

“We’ve had great success with University of Nebraska graduates,” Pierce says. “They have very good engineering skills.”

Once or twice a year, Pierce comes to UNL to visit with students — industrial, chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering graduates — about career opportunities. He talks about the potential for long-term career growth with the company. He mentions Energizer’s management and technical career tracks. He’s enthusiastic about the training they offer in areas such as meeting skills, problem-solving and decision-making, project management and skills for engagement — how to communicate on a personal level.

Energizer’s involvement with the college isn’t limited to recruiting trips. The company sponsored the IIE student trip to a conference in Iowa this spring. They helped with E-Week and Discover Engineering programs at the college. The company provides two scholarships through the Society of Women Engineers. They also participated in a Students of Color reception last year.

“We’re very committed to diversity,” Pierce says. “We think it’s an advantage from a business standpoint to have a diverse workforce.”

Pierce tells students that work experience is important when it’s time to look for a job. “Take the time to get one or two co-ops or internships,” he advises, “even if it extends your time at the university.” He says students should get involved in campus activities and show teamwork and leadership.

“Have fun with your college career,” he says. “We want our employees to lead a balanced life.” It’s clear he’s still having fun after all these years.

— Deb Derrick

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