CTK Alum Takes a Different Path to Achieving Professional Success

Marcus Hills, CTK ’16 was at a life crossroads. He was taking classes at Harold Washington College after graduating from Christ the King, but his heart wasn’t in it. The place where he was most comfortable and thrived was working at Transwestern as part of their IT team. He had started at Transwestern as a paid intern over the summer before his sophomore year at CTK, and continued working at the company for his Corporate Work Study Program job assignment during the next three school years until he graduated. He decided to approach the HR department at Transwestern about working there full-time.

The combination of strong academics, Christian values, and the unique Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) led Marcus to choose CTK for his high school experience. He mostly kept to himself at CTK, but valued the coursework and teachers, especially his favorite, Dr. Charles Barlow. “He was my toughest teacher, but I greatly respected him for holding us accountable and preparing us for life and careers.” His faith was also important to him, having grown up in a family with close ties to the church. At the Resurrected Life Church formerly Evangel Assembly of God, his father served as the Head Deacon and his mother as the Head Deaconess. His grandfather had also been a pastor and grandmother a church choir director. His strong faith led to his appreciation for the religion classes and masses while at CTK.

To Marcus, the best part of going to CTK was the opportunity to work in a professional setting. During his freshman year, he was assigned to work at a Java City cafe at a hospital. While he put forth his best effort, he ultimately aspired to work in a corporate setting in downtown Chicago. One of the CTK counselors approached him about a paid summer internship at Transwestern, a top commercial real estate firm. “As a 15-year-old, the opportunity to work downtown at a corporation and get paid, was something I couldn’t pass up.” That experience went well enough that the company asked for Marcus to continue as one of their CWSP interns during the school year. The first year, he provided assistance as an office administrator, but he discovered his niche during his junior and senior years when he branched into an IT (Information Technology) role. He applied his positive can-do attitude and aptitude in computers to “make a name for himself” within Transwestern. He expressed his gratitude to several early mentors including Myles Heck, Jeffrey Ma, and Tonji Bryan for providing meaningful opportunities and helping him to “learn the ropes”.

His comfort level and positive experiences as an intern at Transwestern led him to seek full-time employment in 2016. The HR team there, including HR Business Hiring Manager, Adair Bryan recognized the quality of his work and potential in offering him an opportunity to join their team. Including his CTK internships, Marcus is now in his 10th year working at Transwestern. He is a Technology Advisor as part of the IT department. In this role, he works to troubleshoot any IT service needs, and provide technical support and guidance to the staff. He works out of the Chicago office but serves the IT needs of co-workers throughout the US.

In lieu of college courses, Marcus has focused on enhancing his technical skills, knowledge, and credentials through a wide range of IT Certifications. He prides himself on providing strong customer service through his responsiveness to help requests and by teaching his co-workers to be able to address tech issues on their own. He acknowledged that ultimately, it’s the quality of the people he works with, the family atmosphere, and his continued growth that keeps him there. He is proud of his contributions and the connections he’s made while at Transwestern, and was recognized with the People’s Choice award for in his words, “the positive light he brings to his team and company.”

Marcus offered this advice to current CTK students: “Don’t expect your friends to get you to where you want to go. You need to develop and sell your personal product. Having a strong work ethic and a business mindset are the keys to your personal success.”

Marcus’ efforts over the last 10 years at Transwestern have resulted in the achievement of his own personal success.