Here at Career and Professional Development, we understand that networking with Gonzaga alumni is a huge resource in career advancement that can take students and grads anywhere! That being said, we focus on bringing Zag alumni to the Treks we host so that students may practice networking skills, and get familiar with the Gonzaga community in the work place. Of course, it is never too early to begin making connections, so we encourage all students to come to the Seattle and Portland Treks over winter break to start building their network!

PACCAR, a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of the trucking industry, is another Trek Host company that is full of Zags to connect with. Kelsey Olmstead, a senior recruiter at PACCAR, wrote in a Q&A that one of the best things about Gonzaga is the post-grad community that continues the Zags Help Zags mentality and work culture.  


Fellow Zags Erica Overfield and Julia Donovan

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Q&A with Kelsey:

What should students know about PACCAR as they prepare to meet employers?

 PACCAR is really passionate about our company history. Do your homework and come prepared with questions about our business! As a Sr. Recruiter, I love it when students ask me specific questions that I don’t know the answer to. There is so much to learn about the company, and I love when GU students ask educated questions!


Can you give a brief behind-the-scenes pitch for your company? Why should students be excited to speak with PACCAR at the Trek? 

PACCAR is a 114-year-old company with deep roots in the Pacific Northwest. There is more to PACCAR than trucks. PACCAR is a global technology company, a finance and leasing company, a parts distributor, and so much more! Whether you want to build the trucks, sell them, purchase parts, design the technology that goes into the trucks, support teams in an HR or customer service role, and beyond, the sky is the limit when it comes to career growth at PACCAR!


What career and internship opportunities does PACCAR have for college students? What positions are you seeking to fill?

 PACCAR offers Internships in all areas of our business, and throughout the US. If you are open to being mobile after completing your Internship, that is a huge plus! Our largest groups that we hire Interns are in our Purchasing and Accounting departments.  Other areas that we hire Interns are in Marketing, HR, Credit, Engineering, Sales, Truck Assembly, Legal, IT, Contract Administration, Supplier Quality, Facilities and the Environmental department.


Why is PACCAR a good place to consider starting a career?

 PACCAR promotes from within. I have never worked for a company that truly lives this like PACCAR does. Our division leaders design succession plans for top performing employees to develop them. Whether you want to stay in the same department, transfer divisions, take on an international assignment, or move throughout the US, our leaders listen and help employees grow and succeed. In my time with PACCAR, I have been promoted 3 times in less than 3 years, and have had the opportunity to travel to our plants and truck shops in Texas and Illinois! PACCAR is also supporting me as I begin studying for my Master’s in Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga.


What advice do you have for students going on the Treks?

 Be open to where the Trek may lead you! I first participated in the Trek as a Sophomore at Gonzaga. Through the excursion to Nordstrom, I was introduced by a Zag in HR to the Store Manager, who knew another Store Manager, who hired me as a salesperson at that store. I was then promoted to a Retail Management Intern, the Buying Office and Corporate Recruiting. Every job I have had since graduating in 2012 has been through networking with Gonzaga alumni.  Networking with a Zag led me to a job opportunity in San Francisco,  and back home to Washington through a Zag who worked at PACCAR, and here I am today! It’s normal to be nervous, but don’t be! It’s amazing how many seasoned career professionals and alumni (like myself!) want to mentor and hire Zags!


Please add anything else that you have in mind that would be valuable to hear for GU students 🙂 

Utilize the Career Center! They are super friendly and genuinely want to help you navigate your career and find your passion. It’s normal to try an internship and maybe not like it. No big deal – try something else! You will find your calling. Don’t be afraid to reach out to Gonzaga alumni. I truly want to give back to students the way alumni have given to me.


Interested in meeting PACCAR and other highly respected organizations?

Click here to register for the Portland or Seattle Treks!