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Callahan Ceplenski Acquiring Real Estate and Experience

Callahan Ceplenski
Callahan Ceplenski's internship involved helping Publix’s real estate acquisition team in its efforts to purchase shopping centers in which its supermarkets are located.

Nov 27, 2015

By Cary McMullen | Publications Editor

The FSC Career Center gave senior accounting and business administration student Callahan Ceplenski valuable help preparing his résumé to apply for an internship with Publix Super Markets, Inc., in Lakeland. Publix offers several competitive and highly desirable paid internships each year, and out of 60 applicants, Callahan was offered one in the company’s accounts payable department. The internship involved helping Publix’s real estate acquisition team in its efforts to purchase shopping centers in which its supermarkets are located.

Ceplenski was given an acquisition project that included reviewing leases, billing tenants, preparing tax documents, and making sure the accounts balanced. The experience has pushed him to pursue a CPA license after he graduates.

“I’m learning about how real estate works. If I wanted to start my own business, this would be really valuable. It’s good to see how accounting principles work in a live business situation,” he says.

Ceplenski’s 11-week internship also included exposure to other departments and a luncheon with Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw.

“It’s not every internship where you get to meet the CEO,” he says.

COMPANY PROFILE: PUBLIX SUPER MARKETS, INC.
Largest employee-owned grocery chain in the United States
Headquarters: Lakeland, FL
Employees: 177,000 worldwide
2014 sales: $30.6 billion

Michael Carter ’94 was Ceplenski’s supervisor and said he not only had the requisite knowledge of accounting, but he also worked well with the acquisition team.

“It’s one thing to do accounting, but to be able to work well with a team is another skill set,” he said.

At the conclusion of the internship, Ceplenski had to give a five-minute presentation in front of about 200 Publix associates, including some executives, which could make even a veteran employee nervous. Ceplenski passed with flying colors, and he was hired for a part-time position during the fall semester, with a goal of becoming a full-time employee upon his graduation.