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Student Perspective: Economic Alliance Summer Internship

Kaitlyn Conner





Hi, my name is Kaitlyn Conner; I am the summer intern at the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region. I currently attend Sam Houston State University as a senior in pursuit of a degree in Public Relations.


I could be generic and start from Day 1 of my internship but in reality my adventures with the Economic Alliance began four days before my actual start date.

I was fresh out of school with the entire summer ahead of me, just waiting to get my hands ahold of some form of Public Relations experience. I arrived at the Economic Alliance for a meeting with Chad Burke about when my start date would be. He addressed that I would begin on the 18th of May but that there was a launch event he wanted me to attend on the 14th. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. When I got home from the meeting a thousand thoughts ran through my head… ”I had never been to an event before. What do I wear? Am I going to have to introduce myself to people as the intern? Is the staff going to be nice? What kind of work are they going to want me to do? I’m not prepared.”  After a few days of mixed emotions the event finally came and I quickly learned that this internship was going to be right up my alley. I loved the people, the staff, the environment and everything about the Dream It. Do It. program that the Economic Alliance was presenting during the launch event. The past 3 years of bending over backwards in school finally paid off. I had found my niche.


Thankfully, the Economic Alliance Staff has invited me to participate in the Petrochemical and Maritime Outlook Conference. I have never been a part of such a large event and I can’t wait to see the final outcome of the event that we have so diligently been working on. I can’t wait!


I have been so blessed by the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region. They have taken me under their wing and shown me what team work is like in the real world. I am happy to return back to Sam Houston State University to finish my Bachelors degree but sad to leave behind such an amazing group of individuals here at the Economic Alliance. Thank you for teaching and guiding me along the course of the past three months. You have helped me in ways I never expected when I entered this internship. Thank you for making me apart of your EA Family.


 Don’t forget to check out my Article in the Bay Area Houston Magazine – July Edition!

Kaitlyn Published


Women’s Leadership Luncheon  Wednesday, August 12

11:30 – 1:00pm

PMOC Committee Meeting  Tuesday, August 18th

3:30 – 4:30pm

Board & Membership Meeting  Wednesday, August 19th

3:30 – 5:00pm Meeting

5:00 – 6:00pm Reception

Workforce Development Task Force  Thursday, August 20th

3:30 – 4:30pm

Public Policy Task Force  Tuesday, August 25th

3:00 – 4:00pm

M.V. Sam Houston PMOC Sponsor and Speaker Dinner Tour  Wednesday, August 26th

6:00pm – 8:00pm

Petrochemical and Maritime Outlook Conference (PMOC)  Thursday, August 27th

7:00am – 3:00pm


Kaitlyn ConnerINTERN IN TURN




Hi, my name is Kaitlyn Conner; I am the summer intern at the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region. I currently attend Sam Houston State University as a senior in pursuit of a degree in Public Relations.


The Economic Alliance has been working diligently on the annual Petrochemical and Maritime Outlook Conference (PMOC) to make sure everything falls into place. The weeks have flown by and I can certainly see the hectic side of the Public Relations work place. A large event like PMOC has many moving parts. For example, in the past three weeks, I have spent a lot of time on the phone and drafting emails to confirm barriers to define the area where the Houston Police Department – Air Division’s helicopter can safely land in the parking lot of the venue where the conference will take place. I spoke to six people, sent thirty-two emails, and have made about twelve phone calls about these barriers. After all this work, I was able to finally confirm receiving them. Through all this effort, I developed patience for the repetitive conversations I had with each individual. Who knew finding blockades could be so difficult!

Even during the busiest times at work, no matter how stressful it can be, I have always been able to find fun in the work environment. I have been spoiled and blessed with this internship; the organization provides me with so many wonderful opportunities to experience Public Relations with a hands-on approach. This past week, I was able to tour the Houston Ship Channel with the Dream It. Do it. Southeast Texas Youth Manufacturing Summer Academy (YMSA). We had a blast. During the tour, thanks to Michelle Hundley, I was able to take pictures from the Captain’s Wheelhouse. I enjoyed learning about the port, and the industries that border it. The Houston Ship Channel spans 52 miles long, with a depth of anywhere from 35-45 feet. It amazed me at how little I knew about the industry that my organization partners with.


“I was volun-told.”

This word has been applied all too many times, and must be put in the dictionary. We love what we do here at the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region, and are always looking to extend a hand. However, when we have an event or action we need to take, we are often “volun-told” to do it.

“Your redneck is showing.”

Sometimes when we discuss problems in life we bring our southern ways into the conversation. We were sitting in a meeting discussing how a flying drone works, when Traci said, “Hey, you can take it to the deer lease!” in which I responded by murmuring “Your redneck is showing.”




PMOC Committee Meeting   Tuesday, July 21st 3:30 – 4:30pm
New Member Orientation Thursday, July 23rd 3:00 – 5:00pm
Business Update Luncheon Thursday, July 2811:30am – 1:00pm
Public Policy Task Force Tuesday, July 28th 3:00 – 4:00pm


Here are a few photos from the Youth Manufacturing Summer Academy Houston Ship Channel Boat Tour.







Kaitlyn ConnerINTERN IN TURN




Hi, my name is Kaitlyn Conner; I am the summer intern at the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region. I currently attend Sam Houston State University as a senior in pursuit of a degree in Public Relations.



Over the course of the past six weeks I have learned many important qualities about the Public Relations environment. The one quality that has stood out to me the most is multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is my friend, as it should be for every Public Relations individual. If your day doesn’t consist of six Google Chrome tabs, three Microsoft Word documents, the business’s hard-drive opened in two different places, one excel spread sheet, and your work email being filled with un-opened and opened emails then you are doing something wrong. I have quickly adapted to the Public Relations environment, two things that have helped me are: a planner and a task-list.

My planner keeps me sane when scheduling meetings and events in the future. As a student and an intern at the same time, I have work running out of my ears at a rapid pace. My life is scheduled out in a tiny, hot pink, booklet that is the size of a small novel. This tiny book keeps my brain organized and sane, to an extent.

Every anxious person, like me, should have a task-list. A daily task-list allows your brain to break down the different steps of accomplishing the final mission of the day. Every time I cross something off of my list I do a tiny victory dance inside my head. It’s the little things that give us satisfaction.


“Consistent Jinx”

Out of the employees at the Economic Alliance I spend the most time with Traci Koenig and Michelle Hundley. Since we spend the majority of our time together, we find ourselves finishing each other’s sentences or saying the same thing at the same time. Having a team with a Public Relations mind as quirky as ours, we live in a consistent jinx amongst each other, and I love it.

“I love all food.”

We make difficult decisions every day at the Economic Alliance, but one of the hardest decisions for us to make is where we want to eat for lunch. One day Traci and I had left for a meeting. After the meeting we had plans to grab a bite to eat before heading back to the office. Traci wanted Double Dave’s but was sad to find out that the only Double Dave’s was 15 minutes away. Traci listed four places to eat; I responded in a pathetic voice as if this were the biggest decision of my life, “I am just so hungry, I love all food.” We proceeded to drive down Fairmont looking for something to quench our appetite and finally settled on the purchase of a personal pizza at our local Target superstore. With a Coke Icee in one hand and a pepperoni pizza in the other we made our way to a table that hadn’t been cleaned in quite some time and proceeded to discuss our favorite topic, politics.   


We have been posting “Throwback Thursdays” every week; I can’t wait to see what this week’s photo is! Also, PMOC 2015 is right around the corner. From the time I started at the Economic Alliance, I have helped piece together this main event. I can’t wait to see the finished product.



Quality of Life Task Force                                         Wednesday, July 8th

                                                                                              9:00am – 10:00am

New Business Development Task Force              Wednesday, July 15th

                                                                                             12:00pm – 1:15pm 

Workforce Development Task Force                    Thursday, July 16th

                                                                                             3:30 – 4:30pm
PMOC Committee Meeting                                       Tuesday, July 21st

                                                                                             3:30 – 4:30pm



Here is a photo of the women of the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region standing with Brenda Hellyer at the Women’s Leadership Luncheon this past June. [Kaitlyn Conner, Traci Koenig, Michelle Hundley, Brenda Hellyer, Jerilyn Hansen, Bridget Yearly]




Kaitlyn Conner





Hi, my name is Kaitlyn Conner; I am the summer intern at the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region. I currently attend Sam Houston State University as a senior in pursuit of a degree in Public Relations.


Over the course of the past 5 weeks, I have learned how to draft organization newsletter articles, an article about the accomplishments of the organization, letters to executives, professional emails, and how to present a project in a professional stance. I am learning how to apply what I have learned in school into the workforce. I’m not going to lie; I did not start off as a very graceful writer. Thanks to Michelle Hundley and Traci Koenig I am gradually picking up the key components of how to write professionally while still keeping my voice.


When I started at the Economic Alliance, I was fairly reserved. As the work progressed and I found myself working on multiple projects at one time, I began asking more questions and becoming more comfortable in the environment I am in. I have always been a visual learner, so when I was presented with a hands-on project, I took it without a blink. I have learned many social skills such as tailoring my language and content to the audience I am addressing. This is a priority in the Public Affairs field of work. Another skill I am working to perfect is punctuation. I have been told to decrease my usage of exclamation points; however, I feel they are necessary in this next phrase to express how I feel: COMMAS! COMMAS! COMMAS! In punctuation, I lack in comma placement, and I look forward to more comma training. Traci loves the Oxford comma.


“Coddling is Caring”

During the first few weeks of my time here at the Economic Alliance, I have learned many things about how to communicate to the various audiences that we speak to regularly. Traci and I were conversing about the language I should use to send an email to a member. I am a very blunt person, so Traci was breaking down an email that I had drafted and explained to me how and why I should say certain things. “Sometimes, Type A personalities like you and I have to soften what we say so we don’t come across as demanding or blunt,” she said, “sometimes you must coddle. Does that make sense?” To which I responded with, “Yes, coddling is caring.”

“Harsh criticism is the best criticism

I love to learn and to problem solve (this must be the good student side of me.) When I do something wrong, I like to be told right away so I can fix it. When I was drafting my second quarterly newspaper articles, I gave both Michelle and Traci a draft with a bright orange post-it note that read, “Please mark this up! Remember, harsh criticism is the best criticism! ” that way they knew I wouldn’t get offended by what they had to say, because I meant business.


I have spent a great amount of time in the offices of Michelle and Traci discussing work related issues and issues outside of the work place that could affect our business in the long run. One of these topics has to do with politics. Since all three of us are very opinionated and vocally intact women, we sometimes express our personal feelings towards an issue. After expressing our feelings, we simply say, “#NotBiased,” to give a small amount of comedic relief to our passionate outlook.


I am looking forward to learning more from the staff at the Economic Alliance. I thank them for the opportunity to shadow their work, and for providing me with an educational role in their company. These next few months are packed full of meetings and learning opportunities; I can’t wait for PMOC 2015!


Public Policy Task Force Tuesday, June 23rd 3:00 – 4:00pm
Board & Membership MeetingLegislative Wrap Up Wednesday, June 24th 3:30 – 5:00pm Meeting5:00 – 6:00pm Reception
Business Growth Task Force Wednesday, July 1st9:00 – 10:00am
Quality of Life Task Force Wednesday, July 8th 9:00am – 10:00am
New Business Development Task Force Wednesday, July 15th Noon – 1:15pm  
Workforce Development Task Force Thursday, July 16th 3:30 – 4:30pm


Economic Alliance and Neighborhood Centers Announce Dream It. Do It. Southeast Texas

DEER PARK, Texas:  On May 14, the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region will announce joining the Dream It. Do It. network representing Dream It. Do It. Southeast Texas. A significant donation to DIDI Southeast TX from Sandvik Coromant will be also be announced. With their new membership, Dream It. Do It. has expanded its network to 35 programs in 34 states, helping to reach 365,000 students. The event will be hosted by Shell Deer Park.

Dream It. Do It. works to change the perception of the industry and inspire next-generation workers to pursue manufacturing careers. Members of the Dream It. Do It. program gain access to national support and resources to aid their pro-manufacturing efforts and join a network of industry leaders that implement activities to meet local, regional and statewide workforce needs.



Dream It. Do It. Southeast Texas Public Announcement


Shell Deer Park, South Conference Center, 5900 TX-225, Deer Park, TX

Due to security requirements, please RSVP to by 4:00pm, Wednesday, May 13, 2015.


Thursday, May 14

2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Economic Alliance, Manufacturing Institute, Neighborhood Centers Inc., Shell, East Harris County Manufacturers Association, Greater Houston Partnership, San Jacinto College, Lee College, Regional ISDs, Pasadena ISD counselors, and more.



About The Manufacturing Institute

The Manufacturing Institute (the Institute) is the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. As a non-partisan organization, the Institute is committed to delivering leading-edge information and services to the nation’s manufacturers. The Institute is the authority on the attraction, qualification and development of world-class manufacturing talent. For more information, please visit

About the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region

The Economic Alliance Houston Port Region is a non-profit organization, created in 1985, to provide professional economic development services on behalf of 16 communities surrounding the 25-mile Houston Ship Channel – home to one of the world’s most influential energy corridor and trade ports. Since 2008, the Economic Alliance has supported over 40 successful projects that facilitated business activities creating over 4,300 new jobs and providing over $3.8 billion of capital investment to the Houston Port Region. For more information, please visit