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Our New Intern is a BIG MF Deal

116 & West

116 & West is excited to introduce our newest intern, Senior Master Sergeant of the United States Air Force, Melvin Fouke II! For those of you with limited military knowledge, that title—Senior Master Sergeant—means Melvin is a pretty big MF-ing deal, which tracks considering his initials.

So how did Melvin and the Westie team cross paths, you ask?

I get my fair share of strange phone calls at the front desk. I hear from barely-understandable telemarketers (not talking about language barriers here); people trying to put in to-go orders, (Chef Ed, hope you’re ready for that); and my all-time favorite: A clearly intoxicated man asking to speak with “corporate” because he had just been fired for being drunk at work and didn’t think it was fair. (Due to the amount of slurring, I think it probably was fair.)

One particularly interesting call I answered happened a few months ago. It was made by a well-spoken, polite man calling to see if he could intern for us, for free.* Who wants to work for free? Trying-to-work-for-free-guy must have sensed my skepticism through the phone. He quickly explained he is in the Air Force and they have an exciting new program for Airmen who are nearing separation.

Air Force Internship Program

The program is designed to expose Airmen to a trade or profession in the hopes they gain marketable job skills and ultimately, post-military employment.  While in the program, Airmen can participate in internships, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training depending on the type of work they want to get into once they leave the military. As they’re working off-base, the military pays their normal salary. So, Airmen gain helpful skills at no cost to the business.

The decision to bring Melvin on as an intern was an easy one. Many of us have military ties, specifically with the Air Force. All we could see were positives: A professional, smart, experienced intern that, again, we don’t have to pay? Dope. We’re in.

Because this was such a no-brainer for us, I was really surprised when Melvin asked me what made us hire him. He explained to me most businesses he called didn’t even give him a chance to explain his situation. Which, like, rude! These Airmen made a choice to serve our country. The least we can do is provide them with an opportunity to learn about the trade they’d like to enter once their military career is over. (Not to get all morally superior over here.)

The program is called the Air Force Career Skills Program and you can learn more about it here. If you have the opportunity to help servicemen, it’s the right thing to do. (Oops, got morally superior on you again!)

If you and your business are lucky enough, maybe you’ll score an intern as cool as Melvin. While he’s with us, we’re going to do our best to expose him to as much #agencylife as we can. For now, he’s primarily helping us with research while we figure out his niche in advertising. So far he’s been very proactive in staying busy, and I’d wager the accounts team is extremely grateful for all the help he’s given them—I know I am.

Some quick, cool facts about Melvin:

  1. His wife was picking out his tie/shirt combo for only a week before he was like, “Screw that. These agency people dress like slobs. I can choose my own shirt and tie.”
  2. He cooks us lunch sometimes!
  3. He always addresses Carolyn as “ma’am” and it makes me giggle every time:

(For the record, we remedied his key fob situation.)

If you have the ability, we encourage you to please contact your local base’s education office to see if you can help an Airman gain the necessary skill set required for their lives after military service. If you’re in the Boise area, you can find that contact information here.

*In an effort to reduce any riots, please allow me to clarify: While 116 & West does not have to pay Melvin for the work he is doing for us, he is receiving his regular, Air Force salary. Technically, the DoD is fronting the bill. Uncle Sam FTW.

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