Internship Story: Zachary Beaton at Sherwin-Williams

Zachary Beaton is spending his summer learning the ins and outs of management and sales at Sherwin-Williams. The rising senior from Hermon, Maine, is doing much more than selling paint. Through shadowing his managers and sales reps, he’s learning what is needed to operate a business successfully.

Why did you choose to intern at Sherwin-Williams?

I previously worked part-time in the paint department at Lowe’s. My dream was never to work in the paint industry, but I love applying concepts that I have been learning at the Maine Business School to a work setting. I’ve learned that Sherwin-Williams is much more than just a paint store. The company culture and values align well with me. Everyone I have met throughout my internship journey has been a pleasure to work with.

What are your internship tasks?

My regular day-to-day life as an intern at Sherwin-Williams involves various things. I often take and process orders for contractors and painters, as well as for larger companies that rely on the products and services that Sherwin-Williams offers.

I have also worked on a company-assigned project alongside another University of Maine student intern. The project consists of a case study that has allowed us to dive deep into the recruiting world of Sherwin-Williams. We were tasked with understanding how the company is maximizing its recruiting tools and strategies and have begun to find possible solutions to recruitment problems. I’ve met with many individuals who work for the company as division recruiters and specialists to thoroughly understand the ins and outs of Sherwin-Williams’ recruitment process. Part of the project is developing a new sustainable recruitment plan that addresses the company’s recruitment strengths and weaknesses.

We will present our findings in front of division recruiters, district managers, and Sherwin-Williams employees. Dozens of other intern teams will also present their projects on different topics. We’ll deliver our presentation in Foxborough, Massachusetts, at Patriot Place.

What do you like most about your internship experience at Sherwin-Williams?

I enjoy working with various customers and companies daily and applying many key business concepts I have been studying at UMaine. I like the opportunity to shadow the managers and sales reps. It’s interesting to see how they deal with complex situations that occur every day.

What are the biggest challenges you face as an intern?

Understanding all Sherwin-Williams has to offer in terms of products and services. It has taken a little time to understand and learn the purposes of each product so that I can find the best solution to help meet customer needs.

What are you learning during your internship that you couldn’t have learned in the classroom?

I am learning that there isn’t always a clear answer to solve every complex problem. Every day of my internship has been different. Each day brings various issues and circumstances. Although my education has provided me with the general foundation to understand and apply key business concepts and strategies, sometimes situations require quick and reactive problem solving to effectively and quickly meet a need. The ability to have business knowledge is crucial. Still, the ability to apply the right key concepts to different situations is one of the most important things that I have learned. I don’t believe that this can be easily taught in a classroom.

How will this internship experience at Sherwin-Williams help you as you move forward in your education and career?

This internship has allowed me to apply myself in a true real-world business setting. I have met many amazing people and have widened my network substantially. In the future, I would love to continue to work my way up the chain at Sherwin-Williams as the company promotes primarily from within. There are many opportunities in the future that the company can provide for me. My experience as a management and sales intern for Sherwin-Williams has been incredible.

Any advice to share with other MBS students considering an internship?

Don’t be afraid to apply to internships! I never thought I really needed an internship. I always imagined I would just wait and get a job when I graduated. However, interning can provide valuable experience that can make your transition into the workforce and the business world easy and enjoyable.

Zachary Beaton, Class of 2023
Hometown: Hermon, Maine
Majors: Management & Sport Management
Minor: Leadership Studies
Internship Title: Management and Sales Intern