Where Exceptional Begins

Every Little Girl Grows Up Wanting to Sell Metal, Right?!

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By Katlin (Gainer) Biehl ’14

Okay, probably not… however, maybe by the end of this blog you will be inspired to consider things outside of your normal dreams. 

I am Katlin Biehl, and I graduated from the University of Mount Union in May of 2014. I identify myself as many things, but most importantly I am a Christian, a wife, and a mother who has loved her journey called life so far.

When I began at Mount Union, I did not have the slightest clue what major I wanted to pursue. When I was young, I aspired to be like Katie Couric. I wanted to do something I thought of as glamorous. Something everyone would recognize. However, I quickly learned that I did not have the slightest idea what I actually wanted to do with my life. In retrospect, I probably did know, but just never took the time to ask myself and allow myself to answer.

As a young woman fresh out of high school, and on my own for the first time (so to speak), I decided I would start “finding” myself. The first leap towards discovering Katlin Biehl was trying out for the Mount Union Cheerleading Team and, drumroll…. I made it! Summer practices and events immediately allowed me to bond with wonderful people who I am still privileged to be friends with and share in their life events with. Also, I learned the discipline, dedication, and time management skills being so involved in college required.

The next piece of my identity came through sorority. As soon as I joined ADPi I began to realize the big picture in life. It’s not about the day to day motions of college, but the big picture. Being involved in sorority gave me the opportunity to get involved in actual service that gave me a purpose, and again challenged my time management skills. It opened my eyes to the world of philanthropy and its importance in our lives. It showed me how a group of people working together with the same underlying goals and ideas can be dynamic. Most importantly it gave me a bond and a commitment to these women and to women all over the world who are able to say they are ADPi.  It was amazing to have so many women to lean on, hang out, and go to classes with.

So social aspects seemed to be handled…. But what about academics? Well, my first two years at Mount looked like this:

1. Start in towards a degree in journalism (not exciting to 18-year-old Katlin)
2. Move to undecided
3. Decide some decision  on a major was necessary
4. Begin classes to become a teacher (still not right)
5. Take a multitude of general education courses
6. Day 1 of Introduction to Marketing………. Wait this is a class?!

And there we had it. I had found something I truly enjoyed. After that first class, I was off and running! That next semester I joined the American Marketing Association chapter at Mount Union, and soon after became an officer. As officers, we traveled to the American Marketing Association Conference in New Orleans where I was first exposed to executives in marketing and related (sales/advertising, etc.) fields from around the country.

Every speaker made me feel invigorated, and for the first time made me feel like I had found something I was meant to pursue. Not to mention the parties every night on bourbon street with collegiates from around the country were pretty awesome.  Before I knew it I was on my way to a major in marketing. Throughout my experience at Mount, I also joined ample clubs/organizations to stay as busy as possible, and studied abroad to really push myself out of my comfort zone, and ended up landing a second major in French along the way.

However, my very, very favorite part about Mount Union is that it brought me to my Purple Raider husband, Jon Biehl. He and I still are extremely passionate about Mount Union, and thankful for the way it has shaped our lives. Biehl was totally a twitter poet through college (haha) and completely won me over. I was friends with his roommates and after we eventually met – the rest was history. We have since had a beautiful baby girl that will be a year and a half this March!

So what am I doing with my life, and how did I get there? My life after college starts with my SCE project for my senior year and my last ever marketing class. I was challenged along with my class of seven to conduct and present a marketing plan to AJ Oster, a processor and distributor of metal, headquartered in Warwick, Rhode Island. The facility out of Alliance, Ohio is who we directly worked with. Given the dedication of Mount Union faculty, I had experience interacting with real world upper management through this project before even getting my diploma. We presented the project during exam week to a panel of representatives from AJ Oster, and to be honest, I had more focus aimed at my corporate finance exam than I even thought about giving to my marketing project… but, hey – I was your typical, stressed out college student. As a senior marketing student with one semester of classes left – presenting was pretty second nature to me. If you would have told me what would happen a few months later, I guarantee I would have treated that presentation differently.

But, to quickly summarize, I had accepted a full-time position with a wonderful company upon graduation and thought I was completely set. I enrolled in three workout classes my final semester and took some time for myself before the inevitability of entering the “real world” after graduation. Then, halfway through spring semester of my senior year, I received an email from AJ Oster asking me to come into their Alliance, Ohio facility and meet with their management group. I accepted, thinking they needed to ask some questions about the marketing plan. A couple weeks later, I had a job offer in the mail as an Outside Sales Representative for AJ Oster with a territory covering 5 states and Canada. I was ecstatic. This is exactly the type of career I saw myself in. After a little over a year at AJO, the opportunity came about for me to take on most of the USA and Canada as my territory, traveling all over to sell the entire product line with a focus on coated products and aluminum. It was thrilling. However, I was 7 months pregnant at the time which presented a few challenges to the “on the go” lifestyle my husband and I had become so accustomed to. I maintained this position until December of 2016, and I could not possibly say enough positive about this wonderful company. They afforded me so many wonderful experiences that few young people starting in their careers are able to be a part of. I gained perspective on a multitude of industries through the business to business sales I was conducting and seriously expanded my network. However, moms constantly say that your priorities change after the baby comes and I was no exception. I longed to be home every night for bedtime, and run home for a surprise lunch with my family, and do things that a 9-5 could offer…. But I would never survive at a desk job. That’s when I made the big decision to do exactly what I wanted: make my own rules and sell when and where it fit in MY work life balance. Therefore as of January 1st, 2017 Biehl Consulting is a company I started to allow me to sell for AJ Oster and do what I have truly grown to love in the metals world with an amazing company I believe in. In addition to that, I work as an independent Outside Sales Representative for Adtek Promotions, a promotional products company that puts true worth in sourcing American made products whenever possible, and selling at competitive prices to contribute to the local community.

To think my journey with Mount Union started seven years ago is crazy, but to think about how my life has changed so drastically since I enrolled at the University of Mount Union is even more insane. If I would have listened to myself years ago, I would have discovered that I wanted a career, but I wanted a family too. Family will always be number one in my life, but my career goals have a definite place in there, as well. I love my life, and that is a complete credit to the work-life balance I was able to achieve. I believe in working hard for companies that I believe in so, in return, they believe in and work hard for me.

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