Student Volunteer Project – Manitou Incline

On Saturday, December 13, 2014, students in the Career Coaching Program joined forces with the non-profit, Incline Friends, to help fund raise for the upkeep of the Manitou Spring Incline. They sold ornaments at the bottom of this one-mile hike, and hikers could place them on a Christmas tree at the top. It was a beautiful day, and a few of the students even hiked the incline themselves (which is no small feat!). The afternoon ended with lunch at PJ’s Bistro, a local restaurant that specializes in Eastern European fare. We were excited to get out into the community and to help keep our beautiful open spaces accessible and safe for generations to come.

Tour of Colorado Springs Utilities

In the Career Coaching Program, we value experiential learning, and that is why we plan activities in the community that allow both students and mentors to touch, see, feel, and understand different types of businesses. To kick off this semesters activities, we arranged a tour of J.D. Phillips Water Resource Recovery Facility on Friday, October 24, which is managed by Colorado Springs Utilities. During the 45-minute tour of the facility, which is conveniently located near campus just West on Garden of the Gods Road, the group learned how our waste water is treated and purified in order to be made either potable or non-potable. Afterward, the group rejoined back at UCCS for a panel discussion with six CSU employees. The discussion was rich and enlightening, covering topics such as how Colorado Springs is managing an increasing population with limited water resources, volunteer firefighter team, and natural gas trading. The students also learned about how CSU filters through over 15,000 applications every year to fill less than 300 jobs as well as some of the political challenges our local utilities face with regulation and governance. An educational Friday afternoon, for sure! Thank you to Kerry Comer and Sandi Yukman for helping to put this event together. Also, thank you to our esteemed panelists, Renee Adams, Tristan Geahart, Steward Cooper, Tami Blackwell, Na Hoang, and Glenn Gross!

Individual Portraits – 2014/2015 Class

We just launched our new Career Coaching Program for the 2014/2015 year! 17 Awesome pairs of students and Career Coaches have just embarked on a learning journey together, and we are excited to see the outcomes. During our orientation breakfast last week, we had professional photographer Shannon Coker take each student’s portraits. Don’t they look great?! Welcome, class of 2014/2015!

Individual Portraits – Spring 2014 Class

These guys clean up nicely! We were pleased to bring in Shannon Coker of Shannon Coker Photography to snap these very professional portraits the students can use for their social media profiles. Didn’t they turn out great!? Now that they act the part, they can look it, too.

Spring 2014 Tour 2: Life of an Entrepreneur

Now that we’ve covered the corporate world, we thought we’d take a totally different look at business through the eyes of local entrepreneurs working at Epicentral Coworking in Downtown Colorado Springs! We toured their space, which consisted of spacious rooms with shared desks, conference rooms, lounges, and a community kitchen. In addition to getting to speak with co-owners Hannah Parsons and Lisa Tessarowicz, our group of 30 students and Career Coaches heard the stories of four uniquely passionate entrepreneurs. Here were a few takeaways:

  • The “tipping point” or in some cases “pain point” of an entrepreneur is when he or she sees a problem and wants to be the solution. In some cases, people have to hit a point where they are completely dissatisfied with where they are or how something is currently being done, and they decide to change things.
  • Create a “transition fund.” Many people are handicapped by fear, leaving their steady income and benefits to pursue a dream. Stash money away for when opportunity arises, you can pursue it knowing that you are taken care of in the short-term.
  • You can’t do everything as an entrepreneur. Know what you’re good at, and hire professionals to do the rest! (We specifically talked about the importance of finding a good bookkeeper, accountant, and legal adviser.)

Thank you to Scooter Wadsworth, Noel Boyce, Julian Flores, and Kimberley Sherwood for providing great advice for our students! And thank you to Hannah and Lisa for hosting!

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Spring 2014 Tour 1: Understanding Corporate Careers

On Friday, February 21, our group toured a local corporate office, T. Rowe Price located in north Colorado Springs. This financial investment and advising firm is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, has offices in 12 countries around the world, and has employed many of our alumni. Not only did we enjoy a lovely lunch, but we also got the benefit from hearing from six panelist regarding corporate culture, the interview process, and their particular business model. Thank you for hosting, T. Rowe Price!

Next month’s tour will feature Epicentral Coworking…stay tuned!

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Your employer can delete everything on your cell phone?

We recently saw this article in the Wall Street Journal and had to share! Make sure before you BYOD (bring your own device) that you check to see what the company policy is regarding information you might carry after your employment.

Here’s the article from January 21:

BYOD? Leaving a Job Can Mean Losing Pictures of Grandma

Some Companies Wipe Workers’ Personal Cellphones Clean After They Leave

In early October, Michael Irvin stood up to leave a New York City restaurant when he glanced at his iPhone and noticed it was powering off. When he turned it back on again, all of his information—email programs, contacts, family photos, apps and music he had downloaded—had vanished.

The phone looked “like it came straight from the factory,” said Mr. Irvin, an independent health-care consultant.

It wasn’t a malfunction. The device had been wiped clean by AlphaCare of New York, the client he had been working for full-time since April. Mr. Irvin received an email from his AlphaCare address that day confirming the phone had been remotely erased.

As more companies allow and even encourage employees to use their own phones and tablets for work activities, often referred to as “bring your own device,” or BYOD, an unexpected consequence has arisen for workers who have seen their devices wiped clean—remotely and with little or no advance warning—during or after employment by firms looking to secure their data. Twenty-one percent of companies perform remote wipes when an employee quits or is terminated, according to a July 2013 survey by data protection firm Acronis Inc.

Joel Landau, AlphaCare’s chairman, declined to confirm whether Mr. Irvin’s phone had been erased. He provided a copy of AlphaCare’s BYOD policy, effective as of July, which includes a reference to remote wiping. Mr. Irvin said he was never given a copy of the policy.

Phone wiping is just another example of the complications that emerge when the distinctions between our work and personal lives collapse. Employers increasingly expect workers to be available 24/7 but don’t always provide company equipment to make that possible, leaving workers in a bind: Expose themselves to losing personal information when a phone is erased, or refuse to use a personal device and risk looking disengaged.

The practice hangs in legal limbo at the moment, say employment lawyers and privacy advocates, thanks to the inability of legislation and case law to keep pace with innovation. The Society for Human Resource Management in November warned its members that phone wiping “will likely be tested through the courts in the days and months ahead.”

If erasing a phone is necessary from a data-protection standpoint, employers should give workers advance notice so they can back up personal information, said Lewis Maltby, founder of the National Workrights Institute, a nonprofit group that monitors workplace issues, including privacy. Instead, many are simply “following the path of least resistance without thinking about the consequences” for employees.

Many employers have a pro forma user agreement that pops up when employees connect to an email or network server via a personal device, he added. But even if these documents explicitly state that the company may perform remote wipes, workers often don’t take the time to read it before clicking the “I agree” button.

Phone wiping has become the most common complaint received in recent months by his organization, Mr. Maltby said.

Philip Gordon, co-chairman of employment law firm Littler Mendelson’s Privacy and Background Check group, has heard from two clients whose ex-employees complained after their devices were erased, each demanding compensation. (In one case, the employee had lost photos of a relative who had died.) Though neither pressed charges, Mr. Gordon expects legal remedies for workers may ultimately be found under state computer-trespass statutes, which were originally designed to prosecute hackers.

A former employee of Hopkinton, Mass.-based cloud-computing firm EMC Corp. EMC +0.32% who requested anonymity, said his phone was wiped a few years ago after he was terminated for not hitting sales quotas. The employee started the job without a smartphone, and EMC didn’t provide one, but he said he was missing late-night notices of meeting changes and other important information, so he purchased an Android device.

On midnight of the day he was terminated, the phone went blank. “I was completely surprised,” he said. “I know it’s so they can protect their data assets, but if that’s such an important policy, we shouldn’t be mixing business with personal.” He has no memory of signing a release or user agreement, though he concedes that a dialogue box may have appeared when he first connected to EMC’s server “and like everyone else, I was like ‘OK, check.'”

In a statement, EMC declined to comment on individual personnel matters but said it doesn’t, “as a matter of standard practice, remove personal information from departing employees’ personal cellphones.”

Since the BYOD trend started gaining momentum about two years ago, most large companies have adopted mobile device management systems to cover the expanding number of tech products that workers tote around, said Lawrence Pingree of technology research firm Gartner. The latest versions of the software allow IT staff to surgically remove work-related material from a smartphone or computer, a feature that is becoming a best practice in the field, he said.

Mr. Gordon of Littler Mendelson counsels clients to have a BYOD user agreement that tells employees what will happen to their phones if they separate from the company. “If the employer is deliberate about letting employees use their personal devices for work, they can eliminate the risk,” he said.

And employees, he added, should back up devices regularly to a cloud program or personal computer. That can still create data protection issues for employers, and companies should forbid workers from backing up corporate data—or at least have a policy saying that. “Whether or not people will follow that policy is hard to say,” he said.

Write to Lauren Weber at


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