Sam Hiester is an East Tennessee State University senior and Kingsport native. A business management major, he has definite plans for the future. Right now, he is under consideration by Harvard University and the University of Chicago for their organizational behavior doctoral programs.
When he completes his education, Hiester hopes to begin a career involving teaching, consulting and researching, either at the university level or with a large firm.
As a teen at Sullivan South High School, Hiester wasn’t sure he wanted to stay in the area for college, but an offer of a University Honors Scholarship was too good to refuse. “I absolutely made the right choice,” he says.
Hiester has been president of the Honors College Student Council for two years and organized projects from Toys for Tots to the annual Honors College social. He is assistant director of the President’s Pride service honorary, and, as a member, he volunteered to dress as Santa for ETSU’s first Winter Celebration. For three semesters, he has been an intern at Eastman Chemical Co., working in Corporate Pricing on project management, pricing analytics and creative consulting.
Before he graduates in May, Hiester will complete his honor’s research thesis, entitled “Recruiting and Retaining the Millennials: Managing for Capitalization Rather than Conflict.”
“I am looking at the problem of hiring and retaining Millennials,” he explains. “People my age, Millennials, are more concerned about enjoying their work than in money or titles. Organizations will need to change to draw the best crop of young professionals without alienating experienced, more traditional workers.”
With all the pressures involved in Hiester’s life, he needs relaxing ways to take a break. “Dinner parties,” he says. “I like to throw dinner parties. I really like French cuisine.”
His interest in food began in high school. “We had a great culinary department,” he says. “I took classes for three years and qualified for state-level competition twice—once with sushi and once with general skills.” Other commitments kept him away from the sushi competition, but he went to the general competition and retains his skills.
“One of my favorite classes at ETSU,” he explains, “was Scott Contreras-Koterbay’s ‘Artistic Experience II’ course. He not only instilled intellectual curiosity in me, but he did so with culinary references. I began to see preparing food as an artistic endeavor.”
That interest has motivated Hiester to volunteer at the new One Acre Café on W. Walnut St., where anyone can dine for either a donation or working in return for a meal. He can observe business and food preparation while supporting his community—the perfect intersection of some of his greatest passions.