Muscatine is known as the “Pearl of the Mississippi”. Why, you may ask? In 1887, a German immigrant named John Boepple started a thriving pearl button industry here on the banks of the Mississippi. In turn, Muscatine became the world’s largest pearl button manufacturer.
Before coming to work in Muscatine, I had no idea what to expect. After living here for a summer during my internship at The HON Company, I can confidently say that I have accomplished a lot throughout the summer, grown professionally, and learned about the town and its culture. And, of course, I’ve eaten a lot of great food along the way.
Brothers in law C. Maxwell Stanley and Clement T. Hanson partnered with former colleague H. Wood Miller to found the company in 1944. Their goal was to create jobs for those returning from World War II. Then known as Home-O-Nize, they started out making kitchen cabinets and recipe boxes. Later, leaders made the decision to change the name to The HON Company. This official name change came in 1967 as we changed our focus to office products. Upon realizing that HON needed a bigger space to accommodate the growing company, we moved into our current location which, coincidentally, was the old U.S. button factory.
HON has done a great job incorporating many different aspects into my 10-week internship program. Building professionalism, networking, and connecting with leaders within the company has been a great learning experience for me. By attending a variety of Lunch and Learns hosted by the company, I’ve gained a broader prospective about the corporation as a whole. Networking at these events in particular has given me a leg up within the business and new insight into possibilities for the future.
Connecting with other interns and learning about the areas and focuses that they work in is a great way to learn more and gain insight into the business. The interns all have a variety of different perspectives about the business and it is exciting to hear about their experience and projects they worked on.
Outside of work, I’ve been able to explore and enjoy the beautiful city. Being from the suburbs in Minnesota, I was not exactly sure what to expect. My roommates and I had the opportunity to explore the city and dine at many unique restaurants. From eating tasty Italian at Mamma Mia with the view of the Mississippi, to frequent walks around Weed Park, or sliding into the pool at the Muscatine Aquatic Center, it has been a pleasurable experience over all.
Muscatine has a small town feel coupled with a rich history and something for everyone. Overall, my internship at The HON Company has been a great experience. Not only did they work to build me professionally, but they were able to teach me skills and give me lasting knowledge for the future.
Written by Brenna Johnson, HON Intern