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#TGW: Ahead of the Race

By Matt Winkeljohn | The Good Word

THE FLATS — Brentavious Glanton and Lila Best come from different corners of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association, yet they were quite alike while in “micro internships” last month at RaceTrac Petroleum headquarters.

Best, who graduated in early May with a business degree, was a swimmer for the Yellow Jackets. Glanton, a senior who is on track to graduate in December with a business degree, is a defensive lineman on the football team.

They’ll both turn professional soon, joining the work force and, toward that end, each worked paid internships from May 6-17 at RaceTrac, which is located in Cobb County, near Smyrna’s SunTrust Park.

“I worked with promotions,” Glanton said. “We were building limited-time offers and stuff like that. We met with different vendors . . . and I learned a lot about how to carry yourself, and how to get what you want.”

He continued, “We were in the office mostly, but we did store visits. If a vendor has a product they’re trying to get on the shelves, we did taste tests. I really liked the culture they had. It felt like a family environment.”

Volleyball’s Grace Rigsbee and student assistant football coach Jaylend Ratliffe – whose scholarship Tech has honored since he suffered a career-ending injury in a 2014 ATV accident – also worked at RaceTrac as a record 107 student-athletes lined up summer internships with help from the Georgia Tech Athletics Association.

The athletics’ internship program was rebranded as the Fifth Street Bridge Program in light of the many opportunities available to student-athletes in Midtown, which is connected to campus by the Fifth Street Bridge. Accenture and EY, for example, are nearby.

Plenty of internships lie elsewhere, too, as RaceTrac, adidas, Waffle House, Atlanta Zoo, NASA, IBM, Norfolk Southern, Delta, UPS and other companies offer on-the-job learning experiences for Georgia Tech student-athletes.

“I worked in the operations department and I looked at potential new products that they should offer, and decided what would be good ideas going into the summer,” Best said of her internship with RaceTrac. “We actually did store rides and went to their truck stop.”

Best and Glanton are further similar in that they both have settled into longer summer internships. Best is with UPS Capital in Sandy Springs.

Glanton and teammates Omahri Jarrett and Christian Campbell are currently interning at Barton Executive Search, which has hired many Tech student-athletes in recent years. “We like to say we don’t find jobs for people, we find people for jobs,” Glanton said.

Best is living at home in Sandy Springs this summer. That’s convenient to her current, 12-week internship at UPS Capital off of Abernathy Road.

“I work with the higher-ups to help develop corporate strategy they want the company to focus on in the future,” she said. “Another one of the projects is I’m working interviewing people in different departments — they all have different committees and governance — to see if their meetings are redundant. We want to eliminate red tape.

“In a more creative project, I’m also helping upgrade the [employee] reward system.”

Growing up in Albany, Glanton considered attending Tennessee, Wake Forest, Cal, NC State and Tech among others. One of the reasons he chose Tech was because he saw that so many internship possibilities are made available to Yellow Jackets.

“That was definitely something that I considered when I was looking at schools,” he said. “I really looked at life after school.”

Glanton hopes to work at a marketing consultant after he graduates, preferably in Georgia, and Best would like to stay near home, too. She has considerable local experience after interning last summer at Southern Market, and in 2017 in the career center at the Emory College of Law.

“After this internship, I’m going to move closer to campus,” she said. “I would love to work for UPS Capital or RaceTrac. I was thinking of going to law school in the future. I still might.”

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