MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – On Thursday afternoon, March 28, a number of Penn State Harrisburg men's basketball players and coaches took advantage of an opportunity to visit to the corporate headquarters of The Hershey Company, with the outing's highlight coming in the form of a meet and greet with Kevin Walling; the Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer of the company.
The group consisting of head coach Don Friday, assistant coach Jeff Frank, senior Gbolahan Alliyu, sophomore Brandon Coleman, and freshmen Donyae Baylor-Carroll, Dylan Daniels, Pedro Rodriguez and Zegary Scott III were hosted in one of the company's corporate board rooms for a discussion with Walling that included stories from his rise through the world of business and advice for the players regarding their careers following graduation.
"Our location in the mid-state allows us to be close to many successful organizations," said Friday about the unique experience. "The Hershey Company is a global leader when it comes to quality products, profitability and social responsibility. We are always searching for ways to help our young men improve their opportunities for success upon graduation.
"With the help of Senior Director of Financial Planning and Analysis Tim Matas, we arranged for our team's exclusive meeting with Kevin Walling," he continued. "His insight and advice to our players was tremendous. Our players were afforded the opportunity to interact and discuss ways to improve their career paths. We are very grateful to the staff at The Hershey Company for investing in the futures of our players."
The meeting proved especially valuable for those players in the group interested in business ventures, many of whom plan on pursuing a similar career path as Walling following their respective graduations.
"Today's meeting with Kevin Walling was a pleasurable and highly informative experience," said Alliyu; an information technology systems major set to graduate later this year. "The highlight of the day was hearing Mr. Walling give us concentrated approaches as how to reach the top of the corporate world."
Alliyu recently wrapped up his senior season on the hardwood and Walling's advice should come in handy as his graduation rapidly approaches. But younger players like Coleman, a sophomore finance major, also benefitted from the experience.
"It was a great experience meeting and speaking with Kevin Walling," he said about the meeting. "We enjoyed being able to gain valuable information about the business world from one of the most successful people at the Sweetest Place on Earth."
The trip was also a homecoming of sorts for a pair of Lions, as freshmen Rodriguez and Baylor-Carroll returned to the town where they spent their high school careers earning Mid-Penn All-Star recognition and making deep runs in the PIAA State Championship Tournament as teammates at The Milton Hershey School.
"As a graduate of The Milton Hershey School, the trip meant more to me than just a conversation on how to improve my career path," said Rodriguez; a communications major. "I enjoy talking and learning about the people behind the scenes who help support the mission of The Milton Hershey School. MHS and The Hershey Company have changed and influenced my life as it moves forward. This experience proved to be very informative and inspiring."
For more information about The Hershey Company, visit www.thehersheycompany.com.