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Meet Pinnacol apprentice, An “Andy”

May 16, 2024
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By Paola Chavez, Pinnacol Apprentice

Meet Andy

Meet 2nd year apprentice An “Andy” Tran, a self-driven and creative tech apprentice who is being mentored by Shirelle Aiken’s backend Salesforce team and Jennifer Benfield’s Product Design team.  In addition to being an apprentice at Pinnacol, Andy attends the University of Colorado Computer Science program and teaches coding skills to elementary-aged children at his second job.  Andy is a quintessential example of how our youngest employees can add value through diverse perspectives.  For example, as Pinnacol explores utilizing AI as a tool for enhancing our customer experience and our business practices, Andy is front and center in the conversation.  You’ll see him active in the AI Discussion G-chat space, as well as working alongside Dave Sauther and Nick Veith on a chatbot project.

“The apprenticeship opened doors I never knew existed and broadened my perspective on what’s possible,” reflects Andy, who is a first-generation Vietnamese-American that came to the United States when he was five years old.  Growing up, Andy was very aware of the sacrifices his parents made for him and this led him to want to put strong efforts into his studies and career.  Adapting to a new culture and learning a new language at an early age helped Andy build a strong character, evident in the way he embodies the powers of resilience and perseverance.  These qualities, plus the crucial skills of time management and prioritization, are what help Andy successfully juggle university classes, two jobs, a Twitch streaming channel, and an active social life.

Life as an apprentice

Joining the Pinnacol apprenticeship program was one of the biggest and most important decisions of Andy’s life.  Led by his supervisors Josh Schulz and Kenzee Sisson, Andy has been trusted with significant projects that impact the company and our customers while getting the opportunity to explore coding, design, and artificial intelligence.  Andy couldn’t be happier about his decision and states, “The apprenticeship has been an incredible journey and has allowed me to merge my passion for technology with practical, real-world experience.”  One amazing opportunity Andy had was to speak beside Governor Jared Polis and Speaker of the House Julie McCluskie at a press conference for workforce development.  In addition, you will see Andy very involved in events at Pinnacol.  He loves to volunteer, support Young Minds at Work Day, participate in Cultural Connections, attend the in-person Link, and contribute to ERGs.  Allen Schrader is Andy’s apprentice coach who has often stated that he might be learning more from Andy than Andy learns from him during their time together.  The two have deep discussions about life and learning and also created their own book club, where they read a selected book and chat about their thoughts on the content.

Andy’s Apprentice Supervisor, Kenzee Sisson, recognizes Andy’s unique value to Pinnacol, “Andy consistently exceeds expectations. His curiosity, motivation, and meticulous eye for detail make him a true asset to our team.  For example, his thorough research and design work on our OSHA capability directly supported the IS team's top priority, Ascent.  Furthermore, Andy's recent work bridging the gap between design and front-end development teams demonstrates his commitment to continuously go above and beyond.  Additionally, he proactively learned new skills to create a valuable component library, a crucial tool for the design team's success.”

Andy’s future

Andy is focused on legacy and longevity at Pinnacol.  He wants Pinnacol employees and leadership to know that apprentices recognize the unique gift the program offers students and that apprentices are grateful for the opportunity. “One thing to know about apprentices is that we are all hardworking and dedicated.  There’s a reason we are at Pinnacol.  We are on a different path from our peers and we are striving to succeed, because we want great things for our future.  I am highly invested and motivated in this apprenticeship, because I understand the worth and value.  I believe that this is a special opportunity because it’s not available to every young person.  I want to make the most of it.”  

Andy has one year left in the Pinnacol apprenticeship.  He plans to increase his hours in his final year, so that he can grow his knowledge and acquire vital technology skills and experience. For Andy, the greatest reward of the apprenticeship hasn’t been accolades or recognition he has received—it’s knowing that he is making a difference, one pixel at a time. Andy has never lost sight of his ultimate goal: to make a difference, not just in his own life, but in the lives of others.  Andy dreams of landing a full-time role at Pinnacol, where he can continue building his career while contributing to a company he loves.

Pinnacol Assurance assumes no responsibility for management or control of customer safety activities. Please ensure your business meets the requirements of all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances related to workplace safety.

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