NANA College Support Program: Lance O’Neill

20961393352949Lance.jpgLance J. Uuyana O’Neill has interned through the NANA College Support Program for the past two years. O’Neill grew up in Deering and then Kotzebue, Alaska. He is a senior at the University of Alaska Anchorage seeking a bachelor of business administration in investment finance.  In the summer of 2013 he worked as an IT intern under Project Controller Dave Sinclair in Anchorage, Alaska, where O’Neill is still happily and gainfully employed.

“When the person that did IT’s invoice processing left the state, Lance filled the gap,” Sinclair said. “He learned how to code and get invoices approved.  He has also worked on complex Excel projects involving massive amounts of data and formulas.  He is always good natured and easy to work with.”

“Last year I learned web development and design and programming languages. This year I learned accounting as it’s applied in business; how to do rolling forecasts, run and create reports using Cognos report writer, and research bills in Costpoint; and invoicing for the IT department as I mastered Excel, Access, and Word 2010. Additionally, I had the freedom to learn advanced finance and business leadership concepts in-between projects,” O’Neill said.

He was also tasked with assisting accounts payable in their process, which involves project coding, managers’ approval and invoice delivery. He took it a step further when he started analyzing invoices and noticing discrepancies from month to month. His mission was to save NANA money, and he succeeded by pointing out several irregularities in various month to month invoices.

“I’ve learned that NANA has a deep commitment to shareholder hire and development and that eventually there are many ways even an intern can figure out how to cut costs across the organization. Such as analyzing invoices to find unneeded internet lines that have since been cut and cell phone plans that can be upgraded to avoid overage charges or downgraded to avoid additional unnecessary expenses,” he said. “I’ve also learned that NANA can be more proactive in being more environmentally friendly in new ways, like the initiative started by Mike Robbins where I recycle all the used toner cartridges in the 909 building.”

The software O’Neill has learned to use through his internship he’s put to use in his personal life, such as managing his mother’s IRA account. He tracks the current price per share and how much money she has made down to the dollar in real-time using skills he learned both at school and on the job and has averaged an annual return of 11 percent over three years.

O’Neill continues to help people around him in various ways. Since he started his internship with NANA, he has helped family and friends overcome difficult times. This internship has “allowed me to become more independent and save people from homelessness; I’ve saved two this year,” he said.

In O’Neill’s opinion, NANA’s College Support Program is fantastic. He believes that it’s wage-competitive and allows people to grow, plus gives time to the company to see if that employee fits. He’s certain the internship has expanded his mind and advanced his understanding in a multitude of ways.

O’Neill will graduate in the fall of 2014. After graduation he hopes to take on more responsibility at NANA Development Corporation. He also wants to create a business around an invention of his which will reduce the high costs of fresh organic fruits and vegetables in rural Alaska.

“Regardless, my plans are unchanged on a career path at NANA after graduating in December 2014 as they may eventually give me authority and responsibility over a portfolio, which would benefit many shareholders and Elders, if managed to the best of my ability,” he said.

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