Samantha Fargo and her colleagues at the Columbia, SC plant

A Promising Early Career Takes Flight

How Samantha Fargo turned her passion for flying planes into an early career in Human Resources.

Samantha’s team is hard at work in the Columbia, SC plant. Pictured from left to right: Samantha Fargo (HR Intern), Monya Grant (HR Business Partner), Tekowa McFadden (Production Leader), Ethel Dinkins (Team Leader)

As a graduate student pursuing a degree in Human Resource Management at Purdue University, Samantha’s career path already boasts unexpected twists and turns. She began college with a major in professional flight and planned to fly commercially. After taking on the role of Resident Assistant in her dorm, however, she recognized an opportunity to combine two additional interests: strategic thinking and helping others.

A shared passion for uplifting employees

Samantha changed her major four times before choosing Human Resource Management. While exploring internships in the field, she quickly identified Trane Technologies as the right place for her. “I was encouraged to speak freely about my values in an interview, and I could tell the company deeply cared about its employees and other communities. For example, the recruiting team offered me a free meal as a thank you for my time and pledged six additional meals for kids fighting food insecurity. It was amazing to see the ways they linked recruiting practices with strategic corporate citizenship.”

After accepting a human resources intern role in the Enterprise Program for Interns & Co-Ops (EPIC), she seized the opportunity to apply her knowledge and previous experiences by working in a Trane Commercial HVAC plant.   

Working with planes and people

Samantha Fargo piloting a plane

Samantha recognizes the overlap between managing people and aviation. “HR deals with many grey areas; things are never black and white. What works in one situation might be disastrous in another, and it’s my job to figure out different solutions and make a strategic decision.” In comparison, she adds, “Flying planes enabled me to become more confident and focus on what I could do instead of what I couldn’t. Even if I was nervous, I had to land the plane.”

Working with aircraft subtly influenced her newfound interest in manufacturing as well. She notes, “I never thought I would end up in this industry but spending so much time looking inside the engines of planes made me realize that I like seeing how different machines work.”

A sense of belonging

In addition to her role’s proximity to manufacturing, Samantha gravitates towards the close-knit culture found within Trane Technologies. She witnesses such camaraderie amongst everyone in the plant. She enjoys building meaningful connections with diverse groups of people on the production floor, as do her teammates. Samantha shares, “I am creating new employee recognition initiatives, and as I read through survey feedback, I am surprised to see the number of people that value team incentives over personal incentives. This data speaks highly to the family atmosphere we have at the company. Everyone is so connected, and people are more than just co-workers here.”

I will dig deeper and figure out new ways to adapt the strategies that I’m being taught. Learning in a classroom is nothing like working in a corporate role. Theory and practice don’t always align.

Samantha Fargo, Human Resources Intern, Trane Commercial

Applying her experience in the classroom

As Samantha finishes up her degree before graduating in December, she feels confident that these hands-on experiences will impact the way she learns. “I will dig deeper and figure out new ways to adapt the strategies that I’m being taught.” She also points out, “Learning in a classroom is nothing like working in a corporate role. Theory and practice don’t always align. Being a human resources intern continually teaches me to fuse those two elements together in a wa­­­y that makes sense given the circumstances.” She prides herself on asking questions in order to figure out the “why.”

Even though Samantha is no longer pursuing aviation as a career, she plans to earn her pilot’s license in the future. While it may not be her full-time job, she appreciates the lessons learned from flying and all the ways she can apply those skills in a human resource role.

Trane Technologies helps young, high-achieving college students explore their passions and discover new interests through a multitude of 12-week, paid summer internships and co-ops. Explore the opportunities in fields like engineering, operations, supply chain, finance, accounting, marketing, human resource management, information technology/information systems, and sales, and learn more about early careers .