Students at Lincoln High School have the opportunity to have a head start in the working environment.

It has been a year and a half since Lincoln Golden Eagle Industries started on Aug. 25, 2021. Besides screen printing on T-shirts and other apparel, they have built porch swings and painted a barn in the community.

LGEI is a student-run business that brings students from different career pathways of Lincoln to work together in a business setting and gain workforce experience. Students come to LGEI from classes in business, manufacturing, landscaping, graphic design and automotive.

Manufacturing Manager Eli Robertson, a senior, said, “I think I’ve taken a huge life experience from working with LGEI … just learning a little bit about managing some stuff and how important deadlines are not only for you but other people.” Robertson continues, “I’ve learned that timing is a huge part of a job, and everything done will have to be done as the customer wants it done.”

Teacher Kevin Munchel began the business with the motivation to give students authentic work experiences. He is president of the LGEI Foundation, which includes adults involved with the project and student managers. LGEI gives an opportunity for Lincoln students to take on occupational roles, such as working with others, handling money and product and finding passions, Munchel said. This experience allows for students to also build their resumes as they gain experience.

Human Resources Manager Gavin Trent handles interviews and applications to ensure students get properly placed into what they’re interested in and what is beneficial for LGEI.

“I have learned how businesses in the real world work and so many more soft skills,” Trent said.

Photos of Kevin Munchel, Eli Robertson, Gavin Trent, Gavin Newton and Ellie Mettler

In November, students in LGEI partnered with Farmer Brad LLC to learn how to assemble automatic chicken waterers. An automatic chicken waterer is a plastic bucket that drains water into a lower dish for chickens to drink from.

Bradley Wood of Centerville, inventor at Farmer Brad LLC, said, “I partnered with Lincoln Golden Eagle Industries Inc. to help assemble automatic chicken waterers to help scale up production … I was pleased with the quality of work that they did; it is a great resource for students at Lincoln High School.”

LGEI also salvaged wood from Lincoln’s old gym floor and reused it to make into plaques for awards programs.

Graphic Design Manager Gavin Newton talked about how LGEI has helped better him in graphic design. “I was here to help with whatever was thrown my way, so expectations started low but as we kept working through things, it just got bigger and bigger,” he said.

Social Media Manager Ellie Mettler handles advertising for LGEI on social media platforms. “From LGEI I have gained real-world business knowledge and a more professional demeanor. I will apply the skills I have learned from LGEI to my future endeavors,” she said, adding, “I expected the business to take years to develop … (but) in about six months, we were having our ribbon cutting.”

Teachers involved with the LGEI will be hosting a “Shark Tank” passion project for all Lincoln students who have signed up. Similar to the TV show “Shark Tank,” teachers will question students about how their products or ideas can benefit LGEI. Teachers involved include Munchel, Garrett Singer, Brandon Pennington and Ron Puckett. Students who will be taking part will share their business presentations about an idea or product for LGEI to invest in.

LGEI headquarters is in a dedicated room near the greenhouse at the rear of Lincoln High School. Contact LGEI by phone at 765-478-3400 or find the business on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Emily Lightfield is a graduate of Lincoln High School and was a 2022-2023 intern at the Western Wayne News.