Skip to content
Allison Trentham

Allison Trentham


Lebanon, Tennessee

I worked for Shaw Industries, which is a flooring manufacturer. Their headquarters and most facilities are located in Dalton, Georgia. I have completed two rotations. My first term, I was a process improvement co-op at a carpet plant, where I performed several time studies to alter existing processes/procedures and create new ones. My second term, I was an Industrial Engineering co-op at a carpet backing facility, where I did mostly cost accounting for different projects and departments at the plant.

I decided to co-op to gain valuable work experience that would improve my career before I graduated from the university. I chose a co-op versus an internship due to the increased amount of time I would spend at my assignment, the break from school, and the option to stay with the same company for a full year.

During my second term at Shaw, I was assigned a task to design the process flow for the facility's new laser guided vehicles to take yarn tubes from one place to another. There had been a rough draft of the process flow completed and I noticed that it included double handling of the tubes. Once I redesigned and recalculated labor and required time, I saved the company about half of a million dollars.

Participating in a co-op prepared me to be a better engineer in the classroom by giving me real world connections and helping me be more productive on a stricter schedule. Professionally, participating in a coop has given me skills that I may not have gained in the classroom. Completing a project for school and completing a project at your job can be very different. Had I not completed a co-op, I may not be as confident in my future career when seeking out and completing potential improvements.

I strongly feel that all engineering students should seek out a co-op opportunity in order to confirm their passion, gain skills beyond what's available in the classroom, build lasting relationships, determine which type of field they'd like go into, learn how to deal with employees and employers, get experience that is pretty much required in order to get a job, have a potential position with the company you work for, and of course, make a little money that can help with school.

When I have free time, I love to watch movies, do jigsaw puzzles, spend time with my dog, read, exercise, and spend time with my friends.

Allison Trentham

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.

View our Privacy Policy.