As a freshman, Caden Coy has already achieved more than the average college student.
His drive to succeed led him to establish his own limited liability company (LLC) before he even took his first college class, and in his second semester at UToledo, the finance and business management student has already secured a pair of top-level internships in sales and financing, one of which is usually reserved for juniors and seniors.
“I have zero family in the corporate world, so don’t have any background in business that isn’t entrepreneurship,” Coy said. “My focus coming into college was just to try to gain as much knowledge as possible right away — to go headfirst — and that kind of pulled me in and so many opportunities came as a result.”
For Coy, coming to UToledo was a no-brainer. He grew up in Ottawa Hills, and his parents are alumni.
“I can literally hear football games from my house in the fall,” he said. “We could ride our bikes to everything, from tailgating to basketball games, so it was pretty much the only thing I knew. Toledo is the only college I applied to. I kind of had my heart set on it, especially since my parents had a great experience here.”
Once he arrived on campus, Coy immersed himself in everything the John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation had to offer.
Dr. Jackie Flom, a senior lecturer who was Coy’s professor for the Introduction to Business course, noted the freshman’s inquisitive nature straight away.
“Caden isn’t afraid to try. He always came to class prepared to go further into a topic,” Flom said. “He is a sit-in-the-front-row-, answer-questions-type of student. He has the desire to see the big picture and to learn how things fit together.”
Coy said that, outside of the classroom, Pi Sigma Epsilon (PSE), the business fraternity, has been another source of information.
“They kind of made me more comfortable because it was all new to me. Just the knowledge and bringing in speakers, they were able to make me feel comfortable about it,” he said. “And so, I really got a lot of knowledge from them.”
Those at Pi Sigma Epsilon encouraged him to take the step to attend his first job fair in fall, where he networked and landed his first internship as an inside sales intern for Schindler Elevator Corp.
“Most internships, you shadow, then you do a report on what you learned,” he said. “They give you a little time in doing the hands-on in the field. At Schindler, the internship for inside sales is more like a job, which I think is an effective way of learning because it’s so hands-on. It’s two months’ worth of training and shadowing, and then you are given real responsibilities.”
Six months later, Coy is still interning at Schindler, but his work ethic and ability has been noticed by others in the business world.
Before the job fair, Coy contacted Toyota North America for feedback and consideration for their internship positions. He was told that he was too inexperienced, since juniors and seniors are usually the only students considered.
After Toyota’s recruiters heard about the work he was doing for Schindler, they reconsidered: Last month Coy received an offer for a role as a financing intern this summer.
And so for the first time since he turned 15, Coy will not spend June, July and August focused on his business, Coy’s Detailing LLC.
“During COVID I was 15 1/2 turning 16. The shutdown happened and I moved up to my parents’ lake house. I was working on a Marina there before the shutdown and I would detail boats in the offseason for them,” he said. “I couldn’t work when everything got shut down, but I got bored after a few months and I decided I was going to try to do some boat detailing on the side.”
It started with a few flyers, with the idea that his service was geared toward people in the area who were weekenders.
“They’ll come up on like Friday and leave Sunday night. I was going to go to their place on Thursday or Friday and do a quick clean of the interior of their boat, take their trash out, take the cover off the boat,” he said. “And I marketed it as a way they could come to the lake and everything was already taken care of for them. It was a rather good return on the effort I put in, I put out 20 flyers and got three responses.”
Caden Coy had caught the business bug. Curious to see where he could go with this idea, he continued to build on the business every year.
Through the use of different services, websites and marketing strategies, Coy grew his company: it details 35 boats per week and employs his two younger brothers.
“Now I’m a lot more on the management side and hands-off, which I’m excited for,” Coy said. “It’s taken four years to get to that point. But it’s just something like when I first started, I would have never expected. I don’t know how this happened, but I decided to go all in and see where it went.”
Between his internships and school, he doesn’t know how much longer he will be able to remain in charge of his business and is considering passing Coy’s Detailing on to his brothers in the next couple of years, but Coy said it provided him with invaluable experience, that coupled with his experience at UToledo has set him up for success.
“In our college, it is clear that if you are motivated, there are so many things you can achieve,” he said.
“Thinking about my Toyota internship — that came because of my internship at Schindler, which came because of my involvement in PSE. Things have happened one after the other, not necessarily because I had a list of things I wanted to check off, but because I wanted to learn as much as quickly as possible.
“You just have to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.”