Alumnus Cody Arnett Takes Class for Ride in a Tesla

February 24, 2017
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Shares Success Story with WC Economics Class

Cody Arnett decided he wanted a career involving a product that is sexy, beautiful, fast (0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds!) — and environmentally friendly.

(PICTURED) 2011 graduate Cody Arnett (right) speaks about the unique car company he works for. His white Tesla has been literally maintenance free. At 30,000 miles, he’s only rotated the tires.

He found it with Tesla, the California-based automaker, energy storage company and solar panel manufacturer. The 2011 graduate shared how Wilmington College was foundational in his speedy journey to becoming Tesla’s regional manager for the greater Washington DC area.

Arnett spoke Friday (Feb. 24) to students in Dr. Steve Szeghi’s economics class, “Equality, the Environment, Economic Growth and Sustainable Development.”

“I came to Wilmington College very reserved and with a very narrow view of the world,” he recalled. “Wilmington totally opened my mind and changed my life.”

He cited the impact of Szeghi’s class in which he read the book, Confessions of an Economic Hitman, which depicts John Perkins as a highly paid professional who literally cheated countries around the world out of billions of dollars. His greedy manipulation raided developing countries of natural resources, wreaked havoc on their environments and served to economically destabilize those nations.

“That class and that book set me on a path that helped me develop a love for the environment,” he said.

Arnett took advantage of opportunities afforded by the College. He developed leadership skills as president of the Business Club and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and Order of Omega. He worked his way through school at ABX Air and even started his own computer business based upon a business plan he devised in an entrepreneurship course.

“Use you professors as a resource,” he told the class. “They’re great mentors who will take an interest in you.

“Take risks and don’t be afraid to fail,” he added. “Starting your own business is a really scary thing, but doing that, along with everything else I did at Wilmington College, led to this great job with Tesla. Wilmington instilled in me not to be afraid of trying something different.”

Arnett had an academic internship with General Electric while at WC that evolved into a full-time job after he graduated, but he soon he learned about a company selling electric cars with a rocket of a motor the size of a watermelon that produced only a third the amount of pollutants as a gasoline-powered car.

“Four and a half years ago, no one thought an electric car like that would sell,” he said, noting the company mirrors many of the successful marketing strategies of Apple, including ultra-modern and compelling stores in shopping malls.

“I knew I had to become involved with them,” he said. Arnett went from assistant managing a store to taking over two Tesla stores to now heading the sales, marketing and service components for a major East Coast region.

If you’re a representative of Ben and Jerry’s speaking to a class, you serve them ice cream, and, if you’re from Bear Naked breakfast foods, you pass out packages of granola. After Arnett’s talk to the class, he invited them outside and gave them rides in his fast, sexy, beautiful — and environmentally friendly — Tesla.

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