In addition to his years spent as an EMT, Salzinger's resume boasts experiences with Johnson & Johnson, the largest and most diversified health care company in the world; Intercos America, the leading global supplier, contract manufacturer and strategic innovation partner for the cosmetics and skincare industry; and Woodard and Curran Engineering, an engineering, science and operations firm that serves public and private clients nationwide.
Elena Joshi, associate teaching professor and undergraduate program coordinator, said that she was impressed to find out that Salzinger worked as an EMT, especially considering the number of hours he dedicates to the job.
"Being an engineering student on its own is not easy," Joshi said. "It is challenging to balance your studies, work and extracurricular activities. There is a great payoff in terms of job opportunities for students that manage their time well. They are precisely the type of people that companies are looking to hire.”
EMT by night, student by day, employee by summer
During the semester, Salzinger works as an EMT anywhere from 20 to 40 hours a week; however, he explained that he is available up to 50 hours. These working hours are stacked on top of his already full course load. Usually, he works one overnight shift per week and heads to class the following morning. If he is lucky, he can catch a break during his overnight shift to work on homework or take a quick nap.
He also works shorter, six-hour shifts during Penn State athletic events, as an ambulance has to be present and ready to go at all the major games.
Salzinger's dedication to his EMT work led him from volunteer to crew chief and teaching assistant. As a crew chief and teaching assistant, he is responsible for teaching roughly 30 EMT trainees a semester in medicine and emergency services operations. Also, he served on a committee for organizational restructuring.
Salzinger said that his experience working under stressful conditions allowed him to grow as an employee. Through his work as an EMT, he is familiar with maintaining his composure and reacting to emergencies.
“Alex is a tremendous asset to Penn State EMS,” Robert Edwards, senior associate director for University Health Services, said. “He is a skilled emergency medical technician and his position here has helped him grow and develop his leadership, critical thinking and decision-making skills, all of which carry over well to all future employment activities.”
His calm and collected demeanor and his industrial engineering education came in handy during his co-op experience working with Johnson & Johnson from December 2018 to July 2019 on the trade customization and rapid response teams. The trade customization team is responsible for overall supply chain efficiency for the company's major accounts, while the rapid response team handles support for global emergency supply chain disruption to mitigate potential impacts.
"The rapid response team was right up my alley because it utilized my skills of being able to think with a clear-head under a lot of pressure while still being strategic," Salzinger said. "These kinds of scenarios happen all the time; they are high profile and easy to find online, like a material supplier being destroyed by a natural disaster."
During his time with the company, Salzinger was able to identify key process improvements for the trade customization team, which resulted in a 100% process efficiency improvement by eliminating sources of error in business reports and decreasing the lead time for material deployment.
Additionally, Salzinger spent time supporting management to create a visual-basic reporting system that integrated multiple databases while providing a user-friendly interface. The system provided analytics reports to assist in supply chain disruption responses, as well as to help predict any future disruptions.