28 Apr - Company Updates // By Tory Fedder

From Intern to All-Star: Nico Finelli’s Productive Edge Journey

Internships are a valuable opportunity to experience your selected field of study and gain the skills needed to succeed in it. Productive Edge’s Internship Program is designed to foster learning and growth for its participants. Students are given the opportunity to engage with clients directly while working on a special project within our different teams. The interns are tasked with using various technologies (Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, etc.) to create a solution capable of impacting a particular industry. Each year, Productive Edge accepts interns to join the company. In 2019, Nico Finelli was a part of the program, and upon graduation from the University of Michigan, Nico accepted a full-time position with Productive Edge as a Solutions Consultant.

“After learning about Productive Edge from my college’s Winter Career Fair, I knew I had found a team I wanted to work with,” Nico said. “I Spoke with Evan Roth who explained what PE’s program consisted of. I was intrigued by the opportunity to live in Chicago, but what interested me most was the opportunity to work with such cutting edge technologies during an internship.”

Nico, who studied Data Science with a focus on Machine Learning and AI in college, was in the process of deciding the trajectory of his career. He knew what he wanted from an internship and hoped to turn that into a launching pad. Nico was searching for a place where he would learn how to interact in a business environment. Beyond his technical knowledge, he wanted to learn professional skills and communications at a company that was big enough to take on the most complex challenges while still committed to being agile.

“Productive Edge is a growing name. I told people at my school where I was interning and they recognized PE’s ability to create digital transformation opportunities,” Nico added. “Productive Edge maintains a small shop feeling while being able to compete with the big boys. It was exactly what I wanted.”

Upon starting as an intern, Nico could see that Productive Edge’s Internship Program was geared toward building and empowering the future generation through hands-on learning with fellow interns, PE employees, and clients. Unlike other programs, this wasn’t one where busy work was unloaded on the interns. Rather they were tasked with creating an actual solution to bring to market, while also gaining the skills necessary to succeed as a professional and excel at client relations.

“I quickly realized that the Internship Program was created to prepare us to interact in a business environment, which was awesome,” quipped Nico. “It taught me professional skills and communications that go beyond the classroom to understand the entire development lifecycle. Being given a project to work on from inception to completion allowed me to focus on the individual pieces of the puzzle on a larger scale. It was fascinating and empowering to understand the ultimate goal of the project and the company.”

As an intern, Nico worked on adding a Bluetooth module to Raspberry Pi and the Microsoft HoloLens to create a remote assistance app that can be used by manufacturers to receive predictive analytics in order to better maintain their products. He learned a lot of new skills, including Bluetooth protocol and Augmented and Virtual Reality, while reinforcing his existing skillset in Machine Learning. It was a unique opportunity to learn development skills that went beyond his current toolset and classroom experiences to prepare him for his next step…a career.

“When I was offered the job, I didn’t hesitate in taking it. During my internship, I was exposed to many facets of the company. I got to know everyone really well. And not only the people I was working with directly, but the executive staff as well. Productive Edge has a rich and engaging company culture,” he stated. “Currently, I’m working on software engineering with Machine Learning. I get to be a jack of all trades while also taking on some business analyst responsibilities.”

But transitioning from a student to an intern to a full-time employee does come with some challenges. So, in order to ensure his transition was as smooth as possible, Nico enrolled in Productive Edge’s Mentorship Program. Paired with Tim Arnold, Nico was able to gain valuable insight while working to establish professional goals. It is an opportunity to gain a seasoned perspective on work/life balance from somebody outside of Nico’s direct team.

“With my mentor Tim, I really get a good sense of where I want to go with my career and what I want to accomplish,” Nico continued. “Not only does Tim provide me with quality advice, but he helps me understand the larger sense of the company while building a path toward my own future.”

Summer of 2019 interns: Nico Finelli (fourth – left to right)
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When asked where he sees himself down the road, Nico replied that he is very passionate about technology and the scope of work that Productive Edge does. It is important for Nico to continue to learn and grow by engaging with new technologies, functions, and industries as much as possible. His ultimate goal is to take the fundamentals of what he has discovered and will experience to help him grow into a well-rounded business professional. Nico wants to grow his career into being a product owner or manager before eventually branching off and following in his father’s footsteps to start his own business.

For more information about Productive Edge and the Internship Program, please visit www.productiveedge.com/about.

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From Intern to All-Star: Nico Finelli’s Productive Edge Journey