On June 1, 2011, Rennie Bodden completed his first week of work in the Safety, Health, and Wellness Department at Volkswagen Group of America’s Chattanooga plant. Confident that this is where he belongs, Rennie recalls how the journey to becoming a conditioning specialist at Volkswagen began with a simple classroom assignment during his senior year at Southern Adventist University.
Every Friday in Writing for the Media, Rennie and his classmates were tested on current events. One day, while studying the Chattanooga Times Free Press, he read Volkswagen was partnering with Erlanger Health System to build a health and wellness facility for the plant’s employees and the community. The story piqued his interest.
“The biggest motivation for me was definitely getting a good job,” says the then corporate wellness major. “I wanted to do something I would enjoy for the rest of my life.”
After submitting his resume, Rennie learned there was only one position available and it needed to be filled immediately. Volkswagen offered him the job after his interview, but because he was taking a full load of classes, Rennie decided to turn down the full time position. The week before final exams, he called back to find out if the position was still open. It was.
After a second interview and an observation trial, Rennie was hired. As a conditioning specialist, he facilitates tests to check if potential employees are fit for a job. He also gives wellness presentations and works with existing employees to strengthen and improve their health. Rennie says he felt confident going into the job knowing that his professors at Southern prepared him for even more than what the work would demand.
“Southern offers the best higher education in the city,” he says. “The way Volkswagen is, they’re going to want the best students. They’re going to pool from our market.”