College Works Painting
FOLLOW US | YouTube College Works Follow Me on Pinterest Facebook College Works
Zach Cocagne

Zach Cocagne

Rockline Industries

Mechanical Engineer

Personal Information

< Back to Our Alumni

School: University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Years at College Works: 2007 to 2008

Career Information

Company You Work For Now: Rockline Industries

Title: Mechanical Engineer

Industry: Consumer Goods

Brief Description of Duties / Responsibilities

Installation of reallocated or new machinery or lines. Mechanical design of parts or assemblies. R&D work with a focus on machine flexibility and meeting customer needs.

What Has Been Your Proudest Accomplishment Post-CWP?

Becoming a father!

CWP Career Impact

In one sentence, what has CWP meant to you?

It was the most challenging and most rewarding experience I have ever had.

How did your CWP experience impact your career? Immediately after graduation? Now?

In college, it taught me how far I could push myself. I created a profitable, successful business out of nothing with no business experience. That's amazing to say! It also made me realize how important it was to balance my personal, professional, and social life and has kept me from developing into a "workaholic". After graduation, because of my College Works experiences, it helped me decide what type of company I wanted to work for because I realized the importance of great company culture. Today, separating the stresses of home and work life would not be as easy if I had not gone through CWP. Balance is so important, and the CWP culture helped me realize that.

What do you want to tell your clients about what it meant to work with them and how it has helped you get to where you are today?

I do not remember any specific clients - that was 9 years ago! But to my past clients, I would like to say thank you for taking a chance on me. You had no reason to blindly trust someone with zero business experience and who had never painted a house before. I hope you are still pleased with the product and will use College Works again.

What was the greatest lesson you learned from your CWP experience?

Surrounding yourself with great people makes your job much easier. One of the most difficult parts of my CWP internship was having to release all of my painters (which happened to be friends) and hire new ones. It was tough to do, but once the right people were in place, I was better able to balance all of the requirements of the job.

How has the friendships and networks you built during CWP affected you?

I have lost touch with most people I interned with, but I will never forget the feeling of sitting in a room with 50+ incredibly smart, focused, and driven people. It makes you want to be better. I did attended a few weddings of CWP alums and regularly stay in touch with my DM.

If you had to come up with an one line slogan for CWP, what would it be? :)

Become your own CEO.


What advice do you have for potential CWP participants? Current CWP participants?

Potential participants - This internship is not for everyone. It takes a special person to be able to accept the challenge and succeed. But if you are successful, it is life changing and eye opening in so many ways. Current participants - The day-to-day may seem like a grind. But business is a culmination of all of the work you have done before and will do moving forward. Keep your focus on customer service, surrounding yourself with great people, and your long-term goals.

Many college students struggle to choose between an internship specific to their target industry or doing CWP. What advice would you give them on this subject if they wanted to enter your career field?

No matter what field you go into, College Works develops transferable soft skills that you cannot learn in any way except through experience. The ability to talk with people from all walks of life, clearly and concisely transfer ideas, sell and market yourself, and delivering what you say are ideals that must be developed in order to complete the internship successfully.

What's your best advice for someone interested in entering your career field?

Most people think of engineers as dry and boring. However, today's engineers must be multi talented to keep up with business. My biggest advice for future engineers is simple: be curious! If you lose your curiosity, then the work becomes a job. After that, you must always keep a customer focus. If your customer is happy, then you are doing your job.

What's your favorite memory from CWP?

Payroll events. On Thursday nights, we would always go to my District Manager's house to do payroll, then a full day of fun would happen on Friday with the payroll events. I was also fortunate enough to be in the High Performer's Club, which had additional special events. Those events every other week allowed me to recharge my batteries, let go of the stress, and regain the joy of running my own business.

Last words of wisdom

What you put into this internship is what you will get out of it. If you invest yourself emotionally into the internship, you will get way more than you ever imagined possible from a summer working with College Works Painting.