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A PR job on wheels! UTPA alum drives Wienermobile as brand ambassador for Oscar Mayer

Juan Rocha COURTESY PHOTO

The University of Texas Rio GrandeValley will hold its first Spring Career Expo this month.

In Brownsville, the expo will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 23 in the PlainsCapital Bank Gran Salón and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 24 in the Fieldhouse on the Edinburg campus.

Local and national employers will be looking to hire students for jobs after graduation and provide information on internships and careers.

On Feb. 25, Oscar Mayer hosted an information session on the Edinburg campus for job opportunities after graduation.

Juan Rocha, a recent management graduate of UTRGV legacy institution UT Pan American, was a guest speaker at the information session and several classes throughout the week.

Rocha was recruited as an undergraduate and works as a brand ambassador, also known as a “Hotdogger,” for Oscar Mayer.

“As a brand ambassador, our motto is ‘Spreading Miles of Smiles,’ which means we go around all across the country doing all different kinds of events,” he said. “Those events are festivals, parades, grocery store appearances.”

Rocha said he attended an Oscar Mayer’s information session as an undergraduate and got to interact with last year’s “Hotdoggers.”

“They told me that you get to travel for an entire year, get to meet thousands of people, and sometimes you get to meet celebrities on the road that are sometimes able to network with you,”

Rocha said. “So, I was like ‘Wow, this is a dream job! Who doesn’t want this?’ So, all of those elements and aspect of the job got my attention and motivated me to apply as a Hotdogger.”

He said he has had the opportunity to travel to 27 states from the Midwest, East Coast and to the Southwest while gaining experience.

“Sometimes still today, we see our reflection in the store building,” Rocha said. “[Or] with the Wienermobile and I’m still kind of surprised that I’m doing all this. It’s cool.”

Ed Roland, senior experiential and scale marketing manager at Oscar Mayer Kraft Heinz Foods, said the position of brand ambassador is competitive.

“We recruit great people from all over the country,” Roland said. “We get an excess of 1,000 people, sometimes as many as 1,500 every year try for 12 spots. It is a unique job. It requires 100 percent travel for an entire year from June to June, so we need to have someone who can work independently, that is very self-motivated, that is someone we can trust.”

Roland said the types of majors that typically apply for this position are marketing, advertising, public relations and communication majors. However, it is not only limited to these. Rocha is a management major and other “Hotdoggers” graduated with degrees such as biology.

“I think that we’ve had a history of success at UTRGV and I think the students should just keep working hard and building on those skill sets that we are looking for: independent, proactive  and hardworking individuals,” Roland said.

He said Oscar Mayer is recruiting for Hotdoggers Class 29. Rocha is in team 28.

Rebeca Rodriguez, a management senior, said she learned about Oscar  Mayer’s information session through her organization, the Society for Human Resource Management.

“People always emphasize on internships and experience before you actually leave college,” Rodriguez said.

“So, getting information was helpful to go and see what it was about.”

She encourages people to attend the information sessions.

“It doesn’t hurt to just go and hear about it,” Rodriguez said. “It might be, at the end of the day, a position you don’t like but at least you got to go and say ‘OK, I don’t like this’ or ‘OK, I like this’ and then you go and research more about it. You don’t lose anything on that.”

For information on internship or job opportunities, call the UTRGV Career Center at 665-2243 in Edinburg or 882-5627 in Brownsville.

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