December ’21 graduate Enzo Bonventre went straight from full-time college student to full-time executive assistant at Paul Gray Homes.
Early in the fall 2021 semester, associate professor of business Larry Straub received a text from Paul Gray of Paul Gray Homes, a custom luxury home builder in Wichita.
“Paul’s team built our house about four years ago, and he asked if I knew of a student who could come on board for an internship and help him as an executive assistant,” Straub explained. “I knew just the right individual and it was Enzo.”
Bonventre earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and management and hails from Saint Clair Shores, Michigan. While playing summer baseball in the Sunflower Collegiate League in Kansas, he enjoyed the city of Wichita so much he decided to transfer to Newman University for the following semester.
Just as he’d hoped, Newman fit like a glove.
As a student, Bonventre was a member of the Newman baseball team and a member of the American Marketing Association. He looked forward to learning from enthusiastic, knowledgable professors who provided a classroom experience “that was never boring, dry or dull.”
“Dr. Straub and Dr. (Wendy) Sahatjian were both extremely inspiring and engaging professors,” Bonventre said. “They were a huge part of my passion to learn and did so much more than just teach general business knowledge and class topics. They went in-depth, to show real-life examples and went above and beyond to help students learn and grow.”
Straub shared the Paul Gray Homes internship opportunity with Bonventre and encouraged him to apply.
“I started off easing into things while I was getting a grasp of how the business ran,” Bonventre said. “I was answering emails, phone calls, meeting with clients, checking up on houses at various stages of the building process and making calls with customers and employees.”
Bonventre recently transitioned from his internship role to a full-time position as an executive assistant.
The most rewarding aspect of the job opportunity is the knowledge Bonventre is collecting from the business world, he said.
“Mr. Gray has spent numerous hours showing me things, growing my knowledge base in general business and giving me different perspectives on certain topics,” Bonventre said. “I am grateful to be a part of such a great organization that is as committed to the growth of their employees as they are committed to the quality of work they produce for their clients.”
Straub believes that connecting students to real-world opportunities is “what this is all about.”
“This is why we do what we do,” he said. “Making these kinds of connections with the communities we serve and helping build people. … It’s an incredible and enriching experience.”
Straub added, “Enzo is ambitious, courteous, fair and very consistent in his efforts and results. He regularly (took) time after class and even (stopped) by my office to engage and discuss world events as well as career and business philosophies. He has been a really great person to work with both in and out of class.”
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