School: UW-LaCrosse Major: Communications-Organizational and Professional Company: J.F. Brennan Internship from 10/13/14 — 9/24/15
During my internship, I was given exposure to many different tasks. I was hired as an intern for the Human Resources team, but the projects and knowledge I was given were much more than the administrative work I had expected. I started out with the basics of the office, such as filing and data entry. I tracked vacation for employees in the company, assisted in interviews for employees in all fields of our company (i.e. carpenters, laborers, deckhands), and maintained certification and licensing tracking. As my knowledge for the marine construction industry expanded, I was given the opportunity view the incredible diversity of the company and it’s workers.
I started to work on many different visual communication projects such as addition to website entries, creating company commercials with video footage, or photographing specific job sites. I learned many different techniques to show the corporate office employees what the field workers do day after day. I was given the opportunity to work with a videographer that specialized in drone footage on the company’s orientation video. This was a very coolMy primary project is the creation and maintenance of an employee portal for those in the field and the office. I had the opportunity to learn a web creation software and utilize apps and widgets to make our site more effective.
Some examples of job site visits I was fortunate to visit were job such as the Blanchard dam remediation, a dredging project in Green Bay, or a sheet piling project in Island Lake near Duluth. I also was able to visit Thomson Hydro-electric dam in Duluth and view the massive project they were working on there. I was given a fall-arrest harness and lowered into a penstock to see a new form of construction technology which was essentially a robot that painted the inside of the penstocks. This was an incredible experience, and I was very fortunate to be exposed to this. From going to no knowledge of marine construction, to be able to see these projects and gain so much knowledge was very life changing for me.
What results did you achieve on the project(s), and what impact did they have on the company?
During my projects within the corporate office, I increased the efficiency for employees by maintaining and updating files, tracking sheets, and personnel files. I also helped the field employees by keeping their certifications up to date so they could continue their work on the job sites. Also sitting in on interviews gave greater insight to my co-workers as I offered my opinion of candidates.
For my visual projects such as the company commercials or photographs, many positive outcomes came from those projects. My commercial was shown on the jumbo-tron at the UW-LaCrosse football field during a football game, and also on the jumbo-tron at the LaCrosse Logger’s field during Aquinasfest. My photographs were used for some company articles and also at the company party. In addition to job site photos, I also took and utilized all photos for the company directory. The company’s orientation video is used for all new hires and will be accessible on our company website.
The employee portal will offer a greater connection between all employees whether they are in the field or in the office and connect our growing company from several different states. It will make form building, appointments, and communication more efficient throughout the company.
What real-life technical or business skills did you learn during the internship?
Coming into this internship, I had absolutely no knowledge of the marine construction industry. I gained extensive knowledge of the industry and it’s language and procedures. I learned how to communicate with a very diverse group of people by visiting job sites and by working in a professional office environment. I learned the importance of bridging the communication gap between all employees and how difficult it can be. It enhanced my technical writing and communication skills by typing reports and using many different mediums.
I was given the resources to learn about several different programs that I had never used before that helped not only excel my knowledge in my field of photography, but also helped enhance field of study in Communications as I had contact with various people within and outside of the company (i.e. clients or customers).I also am a certified open water scuba diver, and was able to watch some technical divers work and gain insight to their field of work. This definitely benefited me on a personal level as well.
I also learned the operations of many different fields such as how the estimating process works, the health and safety requirements, and the marketing aspect of the company as well. It was very exciting to have exposure to each of these fields and gain a greater understanding the ins and outs of the construction industry.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
In this internship, I had the opportunity to work with several different people that all do an outstanding job. They taught me that every single person within the company is important, because without them we could not operate. The president of my company made the point that if he came into work one day and all of the people were gone, we would shut down. If he came into work and all we had were our people, but all of the equipment was gone, we would still go to work. This showed me the importance of every job within the company and how everyone needs to work together to accomplish something great.
I know this will cause me to have a greater understanding for employees in any job that I find myself in, because everyone makes a difference, no matter how big the company might be.
I also loved the opportunity to visit the job sites and see history being made, whether it be dam repairs or dredging projects. It helped open my eyes to the fact that there is a lot more going on than just inside of our office. It helped me gain a greater perspective in general.
Where do you think technology will make the biggest impact in construction in the next few years, and how will it do that?
I think that technology will make the largest impact is coordination of data in every field of the industry. By being more efficient with data entry systems, we will be able to become more efficient in accountability for each of the job sites and within the office. Some examples of this include; GPS systems on equipment to track inventory and hours used, expediting the bidding process and its archives, and overall the design of a particular project. By coordinating all of this data and having it in one central system, it will allow us to be more efficient in every aspect of our jobs.