How far will a company travel to recruit University of Wisconsin-Stout students? If you’re a high-tech firm from San Francisco looking for information technology graduates and interns, the answer would be 1,650 miles.
Three representatives from Cisco Meraki, including a UW-Stout graduate, attended the recent Spring Career Conference on campus. It’s the third time in the past year Meraki has visited the university’s career conferences.
Meraki designs and sells products for cloud-managed enterprise networking systems. It was founded in 2006 by three graduates from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and acquired in 2012 by Cisco.
Brittany Miller, a technology recruiter, said Meraki has about 900 employees but is growing rapidly. That’s why she and network support engineers, Phil Dayboch and 2015 alumnus Jake Phillippi, were on campus, hosting a booth at the career fair and interviewing students for full-time positions and internships.
By the end of the conference, they already had hired one student for a full-time job and one intern, with more possibilities.
Miller praised UW-Stout for having one of the few four-year programs of its kind in the U.S.
Along with interviewing computer networking and information technologymajors, the Meraki recruiters interviewed students — about 20 in all — who are majoring in computer engineering and in information and communication technologies.
The recruiters were on a trip that included visits to career fairs at Purdue University, DePaul University and the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology.
Meraki flies all of its potential new employees to San Francisco for an in-person interview. The main office is downtown on the Mission Bay waterfront, a short walk from AT&T baseball stadium, home of the San Francisco Giants.
“We want to see candidates in person. We’re a very culture-oriented company,” Dayboch said.
Meraki offers employees generous benefits, including free breakfast and lunch daily, performance bonuses, ample vacation time and a dog-friendly work environment. Interns receive free housing.
Meraki also has offices in London and in Sydney, Australia.
Along with Phillippi, Meraki previously hired 2014 UW-Stout graduate Tyler Jensen.
“It’s a fantastic work environment,” said Phillippi, who grew up in Marshfield. “Everyone is super open and friendly. We’re professional when we work, but we like to have our fun too.”
Phillippi said that the fundamentals of network engineering he learned at UW-Stout “are what I experience on a day-to-day basis” at Meraki while the biggest challenge he has faced is learning a new network interface system.
As a network support engineer, Phillippi works closely with Meraki customers and company production engineers. Company cloud-managed products include wireless LAN, switches, security appliances and mobile device management.
Nearly 400 companies from around the U.S. recruited UW-Stout students at the Spring Career Conference, which was sponsored by the university’s Career Services.
Top: Jake Phillippi, second from left, a 2015 UW-Stout graduate, helps Cisco Meraki recruit UW-Stout students at the Spring Career Conference. Phillippi, along with recruiters Brittany Miller, center, and Phil Dayboch, right, work at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.
Bottom: Alumnus Jake Phillippi wears a UW-Stout button on his company T-shirt.