Nate Puksta, a Cabinetmaking and Wood Technology major in Thaddeus Stevens College’s associate degree program, has spent his summer interning at Premier Custom-Built in New Holland, Pa.
Established in 1991 by Marlin Horst, Premier Custom-Built is rooted in German heritage while exemplifying what it takes to preserve the craft while also leading innovations into the future. The company provides luxury cabinets, architectural millwork, metal, and outdoor cabinetry.
What does your day-to-day look like at the internship?
I wake up when it’s still dark even in the summer at 4:20 a.m. so I can workout and arrive at work between 20 and 30 minutes before the workday starts at 6 a.m. I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity in the finishing department at Premier, and I’m in the sanding sub-department. Sanding all day may not sound enjoyable, but I listen to music and the others in the shop are great to be around. I ask a lot of questions and the leadership is always happy to answer them. I’m wrapped for the day by 4:30.
What is something you were surprised to learn in your time as an intern?
As an intern, I’ve learned that even large companies can have a family-like culture. Premier’s core values aren’t just on their website – they’re also present for employees and regularly embodied. At a monthly meeting, the president spoke about the importance of representing the core values and it’s apparent in the atmosphere.
What’s been something challenging about your internship?
When I first started working here, it was in the press area, which is where the cabinet structure is glued together. We glue the panels to the sides of cabinets, the floors to the returns, the frames to the boxes, and the list goes on. The challenging part about this was not the work itself, but the myriad of terms I had to learn in such a short period of time. It was challenging and I made some mistakes.
What has been the best thing about your internship experience?
The best thing about this experience has been how much I’ve learned. I learned what I like and don’t like within cabinetmaking, the importance of being on time, and most importantly: why Mr. Latta, one of my instructors, had some rules about certain things and flexibility about other things. It made a lot of sense as I worked there.
Would you recommend seeking out an internship to other students?
Absolutely! The people who work at Premier are very affable, diligent, and hard-working. I’ve benefitted from ‘iron sharpens iron.’ The work is enjoyable, and it’s taught me how to commit to longer workdays.