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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC grad ditches academia for macadamia

Planters representatives Alejandra Galindo and Dylan Eikes with their "nutmobile" on Saturday afternoon.
Planters representatives Alejandra Galindo and Dylan Eikes with their "nutmobile" on Saturday afternoon.

Galindo and her partner Dylan Eike are two of nine Planters Peanutters: recent college graduates who have been chosen to drive the NUTmobile. The nutty vehicle is a peanut-shaped bus powered by a biodiesel generator, solar panels and a wind turbine.

The interior of the bus is lit by low-energy LED light bulbs, and the flooring is reclaimed wood from an 1840s barn. The ceiling is a timeline of the Mr. Peanut character as he develops, from his origins in 1916 to his portrayal today. The bus was designed by Turtle Transit, a company that specializes in promotional vehicles.

“It’s different than the one that designs the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, but we’re both owned by Kraft Heinz Food Company, so that’s kind of what our program is inspired by,” Eike said.

Galindo was the first Tar Heel to join the Planters Peanutters program, which she said has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s an amazing opportunity if you’re interested in public relations, media, marketing and don’t know exactly what you wanna do,” she said. “It’s a great year to kind of get paid to travel the U.S. and get a lot of experience and see a lot of cool cities.”

The Peanutters’ stint on the bus begins after a training session called Peanut Prep — they learn about Planters’ history, products and how to handle a giant legume during rush hour. Once on the road, they act as the face of the company, speaking at special events and colleges to spread the word.

After the yearlong experience on the bus, Galindo said Peanutters use the sales and marketing experience to move onto careers. Galindo hasn’t decided what she wants to do yet, but she said the job has opened up several doors.

“I didn’t realize I would like media interviews as much as I did, so I’m considering that or working for another big corporation, in marketing,” she said. “Possibly even working with nonprofits and education. I like people.”

Galindo said several of the UNC applicants were strong candidates, so UNC is on the NUTmobile’s radar, and there are plans to send the bus back each year to recruit applicants.

Prime Peanutters must be graduating seniors, and those with a background in marketing or communications are preferred, but applicants of all backgrounds are accepted.

“It’s for friendly people who love to travel, who can be flexible and responsible and are looking for a nutty opportunity,” Galindo said.

Not all UNC students are sold.

“I’m not sure I’d consider the peanut bus. It seems a bit nutty,” sophomore Alexander Peeples said.

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