IT @ GEICO: Women of IT, Part 1

By on October 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Posted in: IT @ GEICO, Working at GEICO

Welcome back to GEICO’s tech series! Here, we’ll introduce you to some of our IT pros so that you can learn more about how we use cutting-edge technologies. In this first of a two-part article, you will meet two exceptional women working in IT @ GEICO.

Alex S., programmer analyst 3 – digital design & communication

GEICO associate since 2012

After graduating from Rochester Institute of TAlexS2echnology (RIT) with a degree in new media-interactive development, Alex launched her career at GEICO’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Today, she is responsible for Web content creation, the customer experience via GEICO’s front-facing websites and brand consistency across all of GEICO’s Web properties.

Tell us about a project that you recently worked on? This summer, I collaborated with my team and our HR department to redesign and develop our GEICO Careers site to be “responsive” and work across all browsers and devices. The goal was to make our recruiting efforts mobile-friendly for job seekers, and the new site launched in August.

What do you like most about your job? Working with a great team of very talented developers.

How would you describe your job in three words? I would definitely say creative, face-paced and challenging.

If you could tell someone ONE THING about GEICO, what would it be? Be prepared to have all your friends tell you when they see anything GEICO related!

What is your favorite GEICO commercial? Happier than Dikembe Mutombo – I laugh every time I see it.

Terri S., director of multi-line system integration

GEICO associate since 1991

TerriSAfter more than 20 years, Terri has seen firsthand how technology has changed the way GEICO does business. Today, her main focus includes developing and implementing Web applications that provide the best user experience from a “self-service” perspective.

What is the coolest project you are working on? Currently, we are preparing to deploy a brand new Internet sales application for our motorcycle line of business. The ways in which GEICO can use technology are simply limitless!

What do you like most about GEICO? There are so many opportunities for career advancement and transformation at GEICO.  To use me as an example, I graduated from Towson University with an Accounting degree and then began at GEICO as a COBOL developer. Now, I’m developing large-scale J2EE and .NET applications.

What is your favorite GEICO moment? When I presented GEICO’s Internet strategy to Warren Buffett during one of his annual visits … it was an experience I will never forget. I still get nervous thinking about it!

Whether you’re interested in careers in architecture, networks, mobile technology or Web development, GEICO has IT jobs to challenge and inspire you. Watch our new IT video and apply today at geico.jobs.

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Top do-it-yourself Halloween costumes for 2013

By on October 24, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Posted in: Odds & Ends

Halloween geckoDon’t feel like picking up a pre-designed costume with a cheap plastic mask at the store this Halloween? Make your alter-ego a piece of pop culture with one of these do-it-yourself ideas. Then, share your ideas in the comments.

Daft Punk – Easiest to pull off with a friend, grab a helmet and suit and go as the French electronic duo that you’ve been hearing all summer.

Breaking Bad – With the series recently coming to an end, Breaking Bad characters are sure to be popular. Try this look to transform into Heisenberg.

Grumpy Cat – If you’re a fan of Internet memes, dress up as one of 2013’s most adored cats (even if the feeling isn’t mutual).

Ron Burgundy – With Anchorman 2 just a few months away, a suit and a mustache will turn you into Will Ferrell’s character.

GEICO characters – This is the GEICO Blog, after all. The Gecko is an obvious choice, but you can be even more creative and try Maxwell the Pig or the “Hump Day” camel.

Once you’ve got the costume put together, keep these safety tips in mind as you head out this Halloween:

  • Don’t let your kids go Trick-or-Treating without a guardian nearby, and stick to well-lit areas.
  • When Trick-or-Treating with your kids, bring a flashlight with you and make sure everyone wears reflective clothing so that you’ll be easily spotted by drivers.
  • Tell your kids to only eat candy that’s wrapped and unopened.
  • Never let your kids enter a stranger’s home (and make sure you follow this rule as well).
  • Holidays like these inevitably mean that people will drinking and driving. Don’t be one of them; take a taxi if needed.

What costume ideas do you have? Share them in the comments!

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Meet two of GEICO’s future business leaders

By on October 16, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Posted in: Claims, Working at GEICO

In this article, we’ll introduce you to two of our associates to give you an inside look at what it’s like being involved in our leadership programs. Let’s meet Jonathan and Sean, who work full time in our Fredericksburg, Va., office.

Jonathan D., Management Development Program – Claims Track
GEICO associate since 2012

MDPJonDJonathan graduated from the University of Florida with a major in marketing and minor in entrepreneurship. Not only did he work hard in the classroom, but he also played running back for the University of Florida football team. Following his academic career, he was looking to establish a long-lasting career. GEICO’s Management Development Program presented an opportunity to join a growing company in a stable industry.

Tell us about your experience with the Management Development Program.

The Management Development Program has far exceeded my expectations on all fronts. Since I’ve joined the program, everyone is eager to share their knowledge about our business operation. Each associate seems to have a true desire for me to succeed.

I’ve been especially impressed with our senior management, and the amount of time they spend developing each leader in the program. With great expectations for each MDP candidate, they’ve gone above and beyond to ensure we are equipped with the tools we need to be successful business leaders.

What’s the best piece of career advice you have received?

Learn more about people than you do your product or your service, and you will become unusually successful. The more you know about people, the better you become at communicating and building relationships. Everyone has a story, and learning about others will build a team atmosphere that produces successful results.

What is your favorite GEICO commercial?

The “GEICO Spelling Bee Commercial” (featuring Old MacDonald). The “Dagnabit” gets me every time!

Sean L., Management Development Program – Sales Track
GEICO associate since 2012

MDPSeanPrior to beginning his career at GEICO, Sean graduated from Radford University with a double major in management and psychology. Today, he’s in our Management Development Program in Fredericksburg.

Tell us about your experience with the Management Development Program.

The Management Development Program provides you an opportunity to understand from the ground up, the area you will one day work in.  From agent to supervisor, you are taking part in projects that help you network and increase your visibility within the company.

What do you like most about GEICO?

The atmosphere in the office, people are laughing and smiling.  Even when the work gets tough, the attitude is constantly positive.

What is your favorite GEICO moment?

Coordinating the “millionth policy celebration” here in Fredericksburg was a great opportunity. Seeing everyone smile when the millionth policy celebration took place was, by far, my favorite GEICO moment.

The Management Development Program is made up of bright, driven graduates. This fast-track management training program will provide you with opportunities to learn all about our business, gain hands-on experience, receive mentoring, interact with management and prepare to one day lead a team and much more! If you’re interested in learning more about our leadership programs, please connect with a recruiter and review the job requirements at geico.jobs/oncampus.

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Voice of the interns: meet our IT team

By on October 9, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Posted in: IT @ GEICO, On the Web, Working at GEICO

In this blog series, we introduce you to our some of our interns so you can hear what an internship at GEICO is like. Our latest post features two interns majoring in computer science who led projects on our mobile development team.

Our summer interns may have headed back to school for the semester, but they shared some experiences with me before they left. GEICO may be one of the most recognized brands thanks to our memorable advertising, but what you may not know is that we’re one of the leading IT shops in the Washington, D.C., area. 

MEET VENKAT AND ABHISHEK

Mobile development interns, Chevy Chase, Md.

Venkat attends the University of Virginia and is majoring in computer science, focusing on mobile Web development. Abhishek attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Also a computer science major, he plans to graduate in 2015. Here’s a little bit more about our interns and their experience this summer! 

What attracted you to intern at GEICO?

“I was applying to software internships and I noticed that GEICO was offering a mobile internship position, which I was immediately interested in because of my work on an Android application in one of my classes.” – Venkat

“I was interested in mobile development and GEICO seemed like a great fit with all of the apps they’d already created.” – Abhishek

What was your favorite project you worked on during your internship?

“We both enjoyed working on the GEICO Maps application. We thought it was a really cool project because of how many people it could potentially affect.”

If you could describe your internship using 3 words, what words would you use?

“Innovative, visionary, exciting” – Venkat

“Productive, collaborative, busy” – Abhishek

If you could tell someone ONE THING about GEICO, what would it be?

“I would tell them to discard their notions about GEICO only being an insurance company and about how many opportunities there are to work in all kinds of fields here. GEICO allows its employees to work closely with management and work on meaningful projects every day. ” – Venkat

What is your favorite GEICO commercial?

Hump daaaaaaaay!” – Abhishek

“I liked the camel one as well, but my second favorite one was with Maxwell the pig on the airplane with his phone out.” – Venkat  

Getting your foot in the door as an intern is an ideal way to launch your career. Would you like to be an intern at GEICO? Our college recruiters will be on campus this fall and we start recruiting for our paid summer internship program during the spring semester. For more information about our internship program, please visit geico.jobs/internships.

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Waving the flag at the GEICO 400

By on October 2, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Posted in: Marketing & Communications

G400By guest blogger Alex Danoff

A couple of weeks ago, NASCAR’s “Chase for the Sprint Cup” motored through Joliet, Ill., for the GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Persevering through tough, wet conditions and a more than five-hour rain delay, Matt Kenseth beat his competition to the checkered flag to take home first place.

As the race’s sponsor, GEICO was out in full force for the pre- and post-race festivities. GEICO associates, including the Gecko, were on hand to give out goodies and host games, contests and raffles. GEICO also exhibited its fleet of racing and display vehicles, including the offshore racing powerboat Miss GEICO, GEICO’s military tribute motorcycle, the Gecko bike, the NASCAR show car, the Morgan Lucas dragster and the Eli Tomac bike.

But GEICO especially was pleased to ensure that members of our military were able to be a part of the excitement. For the third consecutive year, GEICO donated admission tickets to active-duty members, wounded warriors and active reservists to attend the race. GEICO also provided transportation to and from the race for 25 active-duty sailors stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes in Great Lakes, Ill. To top it off, Master Chief Jeff Martin of the Navy Region Midwest Reserve Component Command was chosen to wave the opening flag as the official starter of the race.

Despite the weather, the race was a huge success, and GEICO was thrilled to help give members of our military this unforgettable experience.

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Memory of the Month: the man in the middle

By on September 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Posted in: Odds & Ends, Working at GEICO

Each month, we share an image from GEICO’s past and invite you to exercise your caption-writing skills.

Leo&CoEarlier this month, as we do every year, we celebrated GEICO’s birthday. It has been 77 years since the company’s founder, Leo Goodwin, pulled up stakes in Fort Worth, Texas, and moved the brand-new Government Employees Insurance Company to the location where most of his target market was: Washington, D.C.

That’s Leo, front and center in the photo on this page, which was shot at a very early company anniversary, probably around 1940. And that’s the entire company – all 35 employees – in this photo with him.

We celebrated our 77th birthday with a tailgate theme last Friday. (We have nearly 29,000 employees around the nation now, so we can’t exactly get them all together in one room for a photo.) At the corporate headquarters, employees were invited to wear their favorite sports team gear, and we set up a grill on the lawn and served hot dogs at lunchtime. We got lucky with spectacular weather, and it was a pleasant little celebration of something truly extraordinary.

Leo Goodwin wasn’t some young hotshot in 1936. He was nearly 50, and he’d had a fine career at USAA. But that company only allowed military veterans to hold its top executive positions, and Goodwin never served.

Having bumped into what I like to call the “khaki ceiling” at USAA, Goodwin decided to launch his own company – in the midst of the Great Depression. Furthermore, he chose to forego the agency business model that most insurers used then (and still use today) in favor of a direct-to-the-customer operation conducted mostly by mail.

It was a fool’s errand on the face of it, but Leo and his wife, Lillian, were determined to make it work. GEICO was hardly an overnight success, however. It turned its first profit five years later, in 1941 – and remained profitable for another 34 consecutive years.

The Goodwins were retired by the time the company veered briefly into the red in the mid-1970s. Their successors realized that GEICO had strayed from the principles that had made it successful, and engineered a return to Goodwin’s fundamentals. Emphasizing outstanding service, underwriting discipline and low-cost operation, GEICO rebounded and has enjoyed steady success ever since.

The remarkable story of initiative, determination and perseverance Leo and Lillian started writing in 1936 turned out to be a best-seller – one that’s still being written today.

Want to add a few lines of your own? Check out the Careers pages on geico.com to see the many opportunities we have available. And for a quick look at GEICO – really quick – check out the video below.

 

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IT innovation at its best

By on September 20, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Posted in: IT @ GEICO, Working at GEICO

KaitJ“It is a very exciting time to begin a career in IT,” said Greg Kalinsky, GEICO’s chief information officer. And GEICO’s new Technology Development Program, designed for tech-savvy college students and graduates, is a great way to begin that career.

Your foundation for IT success

In the Technology Development Program (TDP), you will learn how GEICO – the nation’s third-largest private-passenger auto insurance company – uses cutting-edge technologies, improving customers’ online experiences, whether they access GEICO through a computer or on their favorite mobile device. During this three-year rotational program, new associates will experience information systems, systems operations and Internet business divisions. Each rotation highlights different aspects of our IT business operations.

TDP participants will work on significant IT business initiatives, as well as individual and team projects. This hands-on experience will enhance your programming, networking, architecture, software engineering and database management skills. You’ll learn from subject matter experts, have access to IT executives, and develop your technical, project management and leadership abilities.

What happens after the TDP?

Once you complete the program, GEICO’s management will work with you to determine your next best step in your IT career at GEICO.

Are you qualified?

We are looking for college students and recent graduates with bachelor’s degrees in computer science or related technical fields, with an overall GPA of at least 3.2 and coursework or related experience using Java, .NET, iOS, Android and/or C# technologies. IT candidates with strong analytical, problem-solving and communication skills, who also have well-rounded experience outside the classroom are strongly encouraged to apply!

Recruiters on campus

GEICO’s college recruiters look forward to meeting you on campus and will attend IT career fair events this fall. If you are interested in learning more about the TDP, please reach out to our technical recruiter Hope Buehler at hbuehler@geico.com@HopeBuehler on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

If you have a passion for technology and innovation, GEICO’s IT team could be the right fit for you. We’re also hiring in web and mobile development, infrastructure, analysis and testing, and much more! Watch our brand new IT video to hear from other members of GEICO IT divisions. Don’t forget to follow us on twitter @GEICO_ITJobs to learn more about working in IT at GEICO.

Tags: IT @ GEICO, working at GEICO, IT jobs, Developer jobs, Washington, DC jobs 

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Motorcycle riders, what’s stopping you?

By on September 12, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Posted in: Safety

Tony&cousinBy guest blogger Tony Blue, public relations

Motorcycle enthusiasts know there’s nothing like being out on the open road with the throttle in your hand and the wind at your back. Riding a motorcycle brings on an overwhelming sense of freedom, exhilaration and excitement. But riding a motorcycle also comes with an abundance of safety concerns. The first and foremost safety concern starts with having a great understanding of your bike and its parts, which will ultimately keep you and your bike upright and safe.

The most important motorcycle parts are the brakes – a rider’s best friend. Experienced riders know never to apply the back brakes exclusively when riding a bike. As kids, we were taught to use the back brake on bicycles, because the front brake was usually a little bit tighter and caused the bike to stop too abruptly. Motorcycles are much different. The front brake on a cycle reduces speeds with greater efficiency and smoother stopping power.

The back brake on a motorcycle has less stopping power, and can also cause the bike to go into a skid, which can be very dangerous. This happened to me late one night on a dark stretch of highway. A bike that was sharing a lane with me in staggered file formation (two bike lengths ahead and to the far left of the lane) veered out of control and slid partially into the Jersey barrier, causing the rider to go down and parts of his bike to obstruct my portion of the lane.

At the speed I was traveling, I only had a split-second to get out of the way, so I panicked and immediately applied the back brake, which caused my rear wheel to lock up. I skidded 25 feet. Skidding on a motorcycle is almost the same feeling as hydroplaning in a car. For a few short seconds, the rider has no control. When a biker’s rear wheel locks up, it causes the rear of the bike to go into an uncontrolled wiggle, often meaning a loss of balance if the rider is unable to regain control.

Fortunately for me, I was able to release the back brake and regain control as the bike slowed down. The skid mark I left on the highway that night illustrates why experienced riders use the back brake sparingly.

That happened almost 10 years ago, but the experience has stayed with me ever since. I was very lucky that night. Since then, the Antilock Brake System (ABS) has trickled over from cars into the cycle world. ABS prevents the wheel from locking up by automatically reducing brake pressure if it detects that a wheel is about to stop rotating, then increasing it again after traction is restored so that the rider can brake fully without the fear of sliding.

An Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) Status Report confirms that motorcycles with ABS are 31 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those motorcycles without ABS. The IIHS is urging the government to make ABS mandatory on all motorcycles.  In Europe, motorcycles with an engine displacement larger than 125 cc will be required to have ABS by 2016.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is closely watching how this will play out in Europe. However, cycle manufacturers have been listening. The ABS feature is now a standard option on 22 percent of the 2013 models compared to less than one percent in 2007. The stats suggest that ABS is a lifesaving technology but most riders already know that any technology that helps prevents riders from going down will be embraced by the masses.

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College recruiting gears up for the school year

By on September 6, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Posted in: Working at GEICO

With the school year here, GEICO recruiters will be busy and may be in your area. How can you best prepare to meet with a recruiter?                                            

SociableMeet Jeanine – senior national college recruiter

After graduating from the University of Arizona in 2009, Jeanine started her career in one of our leadership development programs. She was attracted to GEICO because the company offered her job stability, an engaging corporate culture, and a real career path that supported both her personal and professional goals.

Today, she works as a national college recruiter in our corporate office located in Washington, D.C., and has helped many bright, driven graduates start careers at GEICO. Jeanine and the rest of our college recruiting team will be traveling all over the country meeting with students and sharing the GEICO story this fall.

Now let’s hear more directly from Jeanine.

Rethink insurance

“Why should I work at GEICO?” This is a question students ask regularly. GEICO’s career advancement, professional development programs and promote-from-within culture put you on the right path. Your career can be filled with unlimited possibilities, new responsibilities and endless opportunities to learn new aspects of our business.

One of my favorite things about GEICO is that we take a very active approach to charitable activity. GEICO Corporate Community Citizens, an organization at each of our 14 office locations, coordinates GEICO associates’ participation in fundraising events throughout the year for causes such as United Way and Make-a-Wish Foundation as well as other hands-on events, such as clothing and food donations for a number of different charities.

Last year, associates raised more than $2.3 million for more than 400 community organizations and causes … wow! I am proud to work for a company that focuses on making a difference in the community. The GCCC is always looking for new volunteers to be a part of their organization.

Job search tips you can use

The recruiters and I are looking forward to meeting you at our upcoming career events on campus. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for a career fair. For starters, I encourage you to do some research on the companies that will be at the career fair, so you have a better understanding of what the companies have to offer. I am so impressed when I meet students who have done their homework on GEICO. 

Don’t limit yourself. Just because you have a niche major doesn’t mean your major won’t be a good fit at GEICO. Keep an open mind – your degree may be more versatile than you think. At GEICO, we recruit students and grads with all sorts of backgrounds and majors.

You’re not off the hook, underclassmen!

We hope that you will take part in the career events as well. I am always excited and impressed to meet underclassmen who have started their job search early. As recruiters, we like to meet you as underclassmen and keep in touch with you throughout your college career. GEICO’s Achievement Award program is a long-standing tradition to recognize exceptional college students. We also offer summer internships for rising juniors and seniors in a number of our offices, so make sure to ask your GEICO recruiter about those opportunities as well.

We’d love for you to connect with us online! Please visit GEICO’s Meet our Recruiters page, where you can locate the recruiter who hires for the location/position that you are interested in. You can also connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We make every effort to respond to your questions, messages and friend requests within one business day.

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Opening wallets for Oklahoma schools

By on August 29, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Posted in: Odds & Ends, Working at GEICO

AAC_Luncheon_Jim_WhittenBy guest blogger Alex Danoff

One thing that continues to amaze me about the associates at GEICO is their unwavering commitment to helping those in need. Whether it’s contributing a part of their paycheck to The United Way, leading fundraising activities for Children’s Hospital, or buying gifts for local children during the holidays, GEICO associates are always finding ways they can help out in their communities.

This philanthropic spirit was never more apparent than after the devastating tornado that hit Oklahoma in May. GEICO associates banded together for a fundraising drive and, with a matching donation by the GEICO Philanthropic Foundation, the company’s charitable giving foundation, raised $12,500 for AdoptAClassroom.org to benefit schools that had been affected by the tornado.

Jim Whitten, a GEICO field representative based out of Midwest City, Okla., delivered the funds to AdoptAClassroom.org on behalf of GEICO at a teacher appreciation luncheon earlier this month. The funds will help more than 130 teachers in Moore, Okla., restock their classrooms with much-needed supplies and resources.

It’s efforts like this that make me especially proud of my company and my colleagues.

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