Meet our 2016 Summer Interns

Meet our 2016 Interns

Noah Blickensderfer

My name is Noah Blickensderfer, and I will be entering my ninth and final semester at Illinois State University in the fall of 2016.  I am majoring in business administration and am minoring in insurance.  Illinois State University has a great insurance program which has provided me with a wealth of useful information that I will be using for the rest of my career.  I am involved with a professional business fraternity called Phi Gamma Nu.  I am one of the founding fathers of the organization, which has provided me a special perspective on how to grow and organization or a project from the beginning.  I have held numerous positions in Phi Gamma Nu, with the most relevant position being philanthropy chair.  It allowed me to coordinate activities, communicate with a team, and try to find unique methods of helping others.  Through meeting industry professionals, attending speaker panels, and participating in workshops, I have gained skills that will certainly translate to Zeiler Insurance as well as the rest of my career.

The decision to intern at Zeiler insurance for the summer of 2016 was an easy decision to make.  From the first time I spoke with Zeiler at Illinois State's internship fair, I felt as though Zeiler Insurance is a special place to be.  The fact that the company has been run by the family for 101 years was an indicator that it is a place where people can thrive.  There is no better way to learn aspects of an industry than receiving hands on experience.  I realized that by learning from the current leadership at Zeiler that I would be in a great position for my future.  The fact that I would be challenged with tasks that I have never needed to do before in my life appealed to me because I knew I would be more well-rounded once I go through the experience.

For the past two years I have worked at Menard's Home Improvement in Normal Illinois as a hardware sales associate.  This has prepared me to know how to qualify the needs of customers and find the best possible solution to meet those needs.  Much like insurance, if the customer does not receive the correct product or proper advice, there are other places for them to go so I understand the importance of doing right by the customer.  Zeiler Insurance is my first internship opportunity, and I am eager to see my progress at the end of the nine week program.  I hope to improve on the current knowledge I have of the insurance industry from classes, and have a fundamental understanding of the industry.  On top of insurance knowledge, I also hope to to learn to interact with potential clients and show them the benefits of choosing insurance through Zeiler.  


Jamie Piatek

My name is Jamie Piatek and I'm from Downers Grove, Illinois. This fall I will be entering my senior year as an accounting major at Illinois State University. I am a member of the international honor society Beta Gamma Sigma. Additionally, I was recently elected as the president of my club, Business Association, for the 2016-2017 school year. I previously held the position of social chair. As the social chair I organized many events for our members such as bowling, board game night, and a soccer intramural team, just to name a few. I am extremely excited to start in my position as president, it's my hope that the club can become bigger and better than it already is under my leadership.

I am also extremely excited to have the opportunity to work at Zeiler this summer. This is my first internship and I already know that I will learn an incredible amount of useful information as well as enhance many of my skills as a young business professional and  I'm excited to get real world business experience. Through the internship program, I hope to learn how to effectively use social media as a marketing platform. The use of social media as a marketing tool will only increase as my generation enters the workplace, and Zeiler will be able to provide me knowledge I will be able to utilize throughout my entire professional career. Additionally, I hope to leave the program at the end of the summer with a greater understanding of the insurance industry. From knowing basic terms to learning more in depth about insurance sales and marketing, I hope that I will have a good baseline of knowledge and understanding in order turn around and teach others what I have learned. Lastly, I want to walk out of the doors at the end of the summer confidently knowing that not only has Zeiler Insurance helped me, but that I have provided them with value as well. I want my work to matter and I will work hard every day in order to see that that happens.

Along with my internship this summer, I will be working at a local pizzeria where I have been an employee for 5 years. While this job is much different than my job as an intern, it has prepared me for the work I will do at Zeiler. At the pizzeria I am constantly on the phone with customers. Having that phone experience will help me to communicate more effectively with potential clients. Other simple skills such as being on time for work and completing tasks on time have also prepared me for this internship. This summer I will also be nannying once a week. I have always loved kids and am looking forward to having the chance to spend some time with the neighbors I will be watching. Although I will be very busy this summer, I am looking forward to all of the great experiences I will have.


Alex Taraska

My name is Alex Taraska, and I'm going into my senior year at Illinois State University in the fall. I'm a double major in Finance and Insurance. I was involved on campus in a Greek organization, Sigma Chi, and have held positions such as treasurer and risk manager. I handled the finances and budgets for the organization my sophomore year and all the risks involved with being a part of an organization. I wasn't involved with any clubs or organizations until my sophomore year, which was one of my biggest regrets. I wasn't the biggest fan of being away at school after my freshman year. However, coming into my sophomore year I knew getting more involved and networking would make it a better experience. Joining an organization and acquiring a mentor has helped me carve out my path towards my future goals and I'm looking forward to getting even more involved my senior year. One thing I will for sure be a part of next year is the Bass Fishing Team. I am a big fishing guy, but didn't have the time to be a part of that club last year. 

I found out about the chance to intern here after going out to the internship fair. After getting an offer from Zeiler I couldn't pass it up because I knew I would gain a lot of real world experience. It has only taken me a couple days to notice that everyone in Zeiler Insurance is striving for us to learn about the insurance process and be able to leave the program more knowledgeable. Every morning I wake up, I'm excited to come into work and see what I will learn next. Everyone seems to be friendly and welcoming, and also has a drive to succeed. Aside from Zeiler, I will also be working part-time at Affordable Moving in Chicago this summer, which I have done for two years now. Since I started working I have had many jobs; including retail, stock, construction, and running soccer and basketball camps at my high school. I am very appreciative for every opportunity I have received because I have taken in useful information and gained a variety of skills.

I plan to one day work in the finance department for a professional sports team. I'm a big sports guy and it has always been one of my dreams to be a part of one, since unfortunately I wont be playing for them. However, right after college I hope to work my way into the auto insurance world. I expect the experiences and knowledge I gain at Zeiler to be useful for my future encounters. 


Will Toher

My name is Will Toher, and I'm going to be working as Zeiler's IT Intern this summer. This is the first time Zeiler has had anyone in this position, so naturally I'm excited to help define the role and see what can be done to ensure we stay where we've been for over a century - on the cutting edge of technology! For a start, I'll be making sure that my fellow interns have all the tools and data they need to get things done, and, when things go wrong, checking to make sure they've tried turning it off and back on again.

I graduated from Heartland Community College in Normal, IL, and will be returning to college next year to complete my Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science. I also studied abroad for a year in the Engineering Science program at the University of Oxford. While at Heartland, I worked as a tutor in subjects including math, english, and science; I also worked with the math department on a program providing additional instruction to pre-college level math students. I love teaching, and having the opportunity to work with the thoughtful, determined students and passionate tutoring faculty of Heartland was both a humbling experience and loads of fun. The skills I've learned as a tutor, such as the ability to explain a concept in several different ways while respecting the knowledge and experience of the people I work with, will be of great use in the context of implementing new technologies in an office setting.

With this internship at Zeiler, I'm looking forward to transitioning from the world of education to the world of business, with all of the shifts in pace and focus that entails. I know I still have a lot to learn when it comes to finance, insurance, and business in general, so I see this internship as an opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business.

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