Djernes Grateful for Helping Hands during Education, Career
By Dan Silvia
Listen to your professor!
Dereck Djernes, a Corporate Project Manager for Hamilton Telecommunications in Aurora, Nebraska, was looking for somewhere to continue his education when he finished his associate’s degree at Central Community College (CCC) in Grand Island. Some input from Gene Manhart, his instructor at CCC and an adjunct professor for Bellevue University at the time, helped him make the decision to become a Bruin.
“We had multiple conversations about the content that would be covered in the bachelor’s program as well as the flexibility that Bellevue offered Djernes said. “I went through a rigorous vetting process when looking at bachelor’s programs because it was very important to me that I received a valuable and credible education that would allow me to succeed in my career of choice, as well as in life.”
Djernes did not want to accumulate debt while going to school and that meant working 40 hours a week while pursuing a degree. However, working full time afforded him the opportunity to apply what he learned in a real-world environment.
“The courses were challenging but enjoyable at the same time. My Bellevue (University) business professor was awesome about teaching the courses in a way that can be directly applied to the real life business world,” Djernes said.
Djernes worked with the Bellevue University Relationship Manager, who was located on the CCC-Grand Island campus, to assemble a plan for his transition to Bellevue while he finished his associate’s degree
“We had multiple meetings where we discussed the courses I had taken while attending CCC and then discussed the courses needed to complete my bachelor’s degree through Bellevue University,” he said. “It was a pretty seamless process.”
Djernes, who completed his Bachelor of Science in Business degree in 2012, started at Hamilton when he was 16 years old and has worked there for a little over 13 years. Hamilton is a communications and technology company that offers a range of services, including telecommunications, internet service, managed network services and managed hosting services. Hamilton Relay, a division of Hamilton Telecommunications provides telecommunications relay services for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking. The company has over 1,000 employees across the nation with relay centers or office locations in eight different states.
“I am extremely passionate about my career and the company I work for, especially when it comes to working with our Hamilton Relay business line,” Djernes said. “To be able to walk in the door every day and know that I am able be a small part of delivering communications services that allow individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking to communicate with family, friends or even the general population, is absolutely priceless.”
In his current role as a Corporate Project Manager, Djernes is responsible for overseeing project teams and activities that are associated with business technology and corporate projects, comprised of enterprise level applications and technology solutions that are highly complex and strategic in nature, typically with an enterprise-wide scope.
“I have been blessed to have many mentors that have helped me achieve success in whichever job I have had within the company,” Djernes said. “I have a strong understanding of all internal business lines and systems enterprise-wide, which allows me to successfully interact with our executive leadership and major stakeholders to establish strategic plans and objectives.”
Earning his degree at Bellevue University has certainly paid early dividends for Djernes.
“My bachelor’s degree has allowed me additional career opportunities that I may not have had otherwise. I graduated in January of 2013 and in February of 2013 I was offered a new position in Corporate Accounting department working with our Enterprise Resource Planning software solution that handles tasks such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, financials, sales and distribution, etc.,” he said. “I was well prepared to interact with these departments due to content from the Bellevue (University) courses.”
From the advice he received at CCC early on to the education he received at Bellevue University and through the support he gets daily at Hamilton, Djernes is thankful for the helping hands he has encountered on his journey.
“There have been so many people along the way that have supported my academic and career goals ranging from my family and friends to managers and leaders within the company I work for,” he said. “I have worn many different hats in the 13 years at Hamilton, and every boss that I have ever had has positively impacted my career in some way.”