Alumni Success: Rachel Sommers ’17

As operations manager at Pittsburgh’s Tesla showroom, Rachel gets to meet interesting people.

Rachel Sommers ’17

Back when she was a senior at RMU, Rachel Sommers ’17 was looking for a part-time job to make a little extra cash. A friend working for Tesla shared her resume with his manager, and a few weeks later Rachel was working as a product specialist, educating potential customers about the California manufacturer’s suite of electric vehicles, batteries, and solar panels.

“I knew I wanted to move up in the company,” says Rachel, who majored in marketing with a management concentration, “so I made a point to learn every aspect of the business.”

Today, after four promotions, she serves as operations manager at Tesla’s Pittsburgh showroom in Wexford, where she oversees a team of 15 people tackling everything from car sales to delivery. “Some days I work closely with our service team to rectify a vehicle issue,” says Rachel. “Other days I’m out on the sales floor selling cars and training the team on how to improve their sales skills. It’s really a jack-of-all-trades type of job.”

“Sure, the cars are super-cool,” she says, “and, yes, the company is popular, but most of all we are making a difference. What we do matters. Every combustion-engine vehicle that we replace with a Tesla and every home that we install solar panels on is a step in the right direction for the future of clean energy.”

Of course, being in the Pittsburgh market it’s also fun to deal with a lot of high-profile clients — professional athletes, notable CEOs, and other major players in the community. “It’s awesome to get to know them and learn more about how they’re involved in our city.”

In addition to her job at Tesla, this spring Rachel and a business partner are launching Resilience Digital Design, a digital media marketing company offering website creation, social media management, and logo and brand promotion for local businesses. For Rachel, who started at RMU majoring in graphic design before switching to business, it’s a welcome outlet for those skills. “A logo has the potential to be very powerful for a client, and I think it’s cool to be able to bring that power to their brand.”

The Robinson Township resident has many fond memories of her time at RMU. “I met my best friends there, and was involved in some awesome programs like the American Marketing Association, Delta Phi Epsilon, and the Italian Club,” Rachel says. “It truly prepared me for the real world.”