Opening the pipeline to Uline


By Andrea O'Neill '06

Christopher Hughes '03 has been making his professional climb with Uline for nearly two decades. As the company's Pennsylvania Sales Director, Hughes has been instrumental in opening the professional pipeline to Uline for fellow Huskies.

Christopher Hughes '03 and fellow ULINE representative at the last Career Connections Expo on the Bloomsburg campus
Christopher Hughes '03 and fellow ULINE representative Anna Horn ​​​​at the last Career Connections Expo on the Bloomsburg campus

Since Hughes started with the family-owned organization in 2005, the company has grown from one thousand employees and $650 million in sales to ten thousand employees and $10.7 billion in sales. That kind of growth isn't just good for the company's bottom line - it's also good for the now ten thousand employees in which Hughes says the company consistently invests.

"The company challenges you to be your best and gives you everything you need to succeed, [so] when we grow, there are opportunities," explained Hughes. "[Working here has] pushed the limits of my potential. I work with brilliant people, which makes you up your game daily."

During this period of rapid expansion, Hughes found himself looking to hire several interns. Knowing the quality preparation he experienced at Bloom, Hughes suggested to the company's HR department that Uline begin recruiting at Bloomsburg's Career Connections Expos.

I came out very well prepared; It's not an easy school," said Hughes. "They give you a great foundation to understand business and be a contributing member of society."

Hughes hired several interns for supply chain, sales, customer service, and other departments in the following years. He said Bloom grads not only had the grades but the diverse set of skills and experiences the company looked for in potential hires. Most importantly, Hughes found that Bloom grads were coachable, eager to learn, and exhibited an impressive work ethic.

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"We want people who invest in themselves and their career [and] Bloom is a great place where students get a good education," explained Hughes. "Many are 1st or 2nd generation college students, so they understand the value of a good education and can compete and work hard."

Gradually, Hughes became more than a recruiter. He got involved with the annual sales competition and other Professional U events to get to know the students better and give back to his alma mater.

"I was looking for good employees, but also wanted to give back to the university," said Hughes. We want to recruit but also find out what is essential to the students and give them career and life advice. Getting back to Bloom and talking to the students has been an excellent experience for us at Uline."

During his many conversations and interactions with the Bloom hires, Hughes says he has been impressed with the student and the professional experiences Bloom offers to prepare them.

"It's so fortunate they have a resource in Professional U, and I think how fortunate we are as employers to engage with the university and have that network and pipeline for employees. It's the value of a Harvard education with the understanding that you must work hard to get what you want. I've carried that into my career and society post-Bloomsburg. Bloom continues to be an excellent pipeline for us in all departments."