It’s no secret that the bike industry lacks diversity. One way QBP combatted this homogeneity in 2016-17 is with its Women’s* Internship Program. QBP hired a number of college students to participate in its 10-week summer internship program. Interns get the chance to fully immerse themselves in the bike and outdoor industry through attacking a variety of ambitious projects related to their future career field ranging from designing handlebars to organizing dealer events.
QBP HR manager and intern coordinator Amber Maier explains, “On the QBP side of things, our long-term goals are to improve gender diversity within the outdoor industry, create a more diverse candidate pool for future jobs, and to increase business profitability. In the short term, bringing in new faces means new ideas and extra energy.”
Brand product manager Laura Haraldson elaborates, “The internship program gives QBP employees the opportunity to get experience as a supervisor. The fact that it introduces more women to the industry and allows employees to build management skills is really cool.”
More important than what QBP gets out of the interns is what the interns get out of us. QBP employees strive to create a valuable, career-building experience. During their summer at QBP, each intern works on real-world projects, has opportunities to expand their social and professional networks, and gets to experience what working in the outdoor industry is like.
For example, in 2017, the videography intern directed, shot, and edited an on-boarding video for new hires—a project that was sorely needed, but had been sitting on the backburner for some time. The legal intern worked on a trademark project that involved researching the status of QBP’s trademarks, and recommending which ones should be retained or let go. The engineering and design interns worked on projects ranging from researching cargo bikes for Surly to completing the first ever official benchmark project for the engineering program.
“What QBP is doing is kind of a double-whammy because they’re taking jobs that are generally more male-dominated like videography or engineering and then bringing women in to fill these roles within the bike industry, which is also male-dominated. I think that’s super cool.” – Sophie Arp, 2017 videography intern
But, it isn’t all work and no play here! Outside of the 9-to-5 grind, interns join QBP employees in their whole-hearted pursuit of a healthy work-life balance. From bike commutes, to weekend birthday parties, to overnight bikepacking trips (which recently involved nearly catching a fish in a baseball cap), there’s no shortage of fun.
“I’ve made some good friends among the other interns and my team. They’re valuable relationships from a social, ‘let’s go on a mountain bike ride,’ context as well as a professional context,” says Izzy Kimpegal-Anliker, 2017 product management intern.
There’s plenty more to talk about when it comes to the internship program, but we’ll let the interns speak for themselves…
“As an engineering student, this internship has allowed me to do a lot of hands on stuff. I’ve spent time designing parts and components just like how an actual engineer at QBP would. You don’t find that very often at internships at other companies.” – Melissa Rose, 2017 design engineer intern
“What’s been great about this internship is that it’s very autonomous. From day one they gave me a lot of responsibility to decide which direction I wanted my project to go. Since this is how it works in the real world, getting experience with that kind of responsibility and acquiring those time management skills was really valuable.” – Lydia Swedberg, 2017 industrial designer intern
“This internship has made a career in the bike industry seem a lot more possible. It’s also opened up my eyes to the variety of jobs that exist within the industry.” – Izzy Kimpegal-Anliker, 2017 product management intern
“Most jobs have offices, and I noticed immediately that there are no offices at QBP. That portrays a message that everyone is available and the culture is very open. I sat right next to Steve Flagg so that was a really humbling experience as an intern. At a lot of companies, you’re not even on the same floor as the founder or CEO, but not at QBP!” – T’Keyah Gadson, 2017 legal intern
“Working in the bike industry has been a goal of mine since my junior year of high school when I started racing with NICA. A lot of the coaches were from QBP, so I was familiar with the company and it seemed like a cool place to work. Coming back here as an intern was kind of everything I hoped for as a high school racer.” – Carley Endersbe, 2017 data analyst intern
“I really like that all the interns are in it together. We have meetings twice a week, hang out outside of work, and went on a bikepacking trip. It almost has more of a summer camp vibe than work vibe sometimes.” – Sophie Arp, 2017 videography intern
In taking a deeper look at the lack of diversity in the outdoor industry, QBP is adapting this program to extend beyond gender in the future.
*The internship is inclusive of women, trans, femme, and non-binary individuals.