School: Texas A&M
Major: Construction Science
Internship from 1/5/15 — 5/15/15
The main project that I worked on during my internship with Flintco was a redevelopment site. The redevelopment consisted of a three part project, beginning with a retired Austin Energy powerplant, a two story low-rise, and a thirty story high-rise. The retired powerplant was a remodeling project that gave Flintco the opportunity to gut and remodel the interior of the building for real-estate use, namely Athena Health. While the interior was completely remodeled, the exterior shell of the powerplant was renovated in order to maintain the traditional and asthetic appeal of the Austin Energy powerplant, while completely redesigning the use for the building.
The 2 story low rise was also used for real-estate, one company in particular that is now occupying this space is Under Armour. In addition to the low-rise, Flintco also built an underground garage in order provide parking for those that would be working inside of the powerplant, as well as in the low-rise. The underground garage has a plaza at the surface, which connects the powerplant, low-rise, and high-rise into one redeveloped site.
Finally, the thirty story high-rise is a mixed-use building that includes a restaurant on the first floor and real-estate on the second floor. From there, the building is designed with above-ground parking until the ninth floor, and from the tenth floor to the thirtieth are residential condominiums that are used to support the growing population in Austin, Texas.
What results did you achieve on the project(s), and what impact did they have on the company?
The results that I achieved on the projects were anything but small. Much of the work that I provided on the redevelopment was for the thirty story high-rise. This work involved procurement of materials, administrative paperwork, and safety orientations in both English and Spanish; these were only a few of the tasks that I produced, however.
One of the greatest achievements that I produced was coordinating a safety lunch, during Safety Week 2015. This was a long, yet rewarding process that involved much coordination between catering companies and rental companies, in addition to coworkers and subcontractors. In short, I was able to plan a $6,000 lunch for over 500 individuals because of the resources that were provided to me and the support I received from my coworkers and friends.
I believe I made a large impact on the company, and set a high expectation for future interns that will work with Flintco. One of my coworkers said that I was the best intern that he had ever worked with in the past couple of years. The idea that was most rewarding to me, however, was knowing that I made a difference on the project; I was able to find scope-gaps, contribute in meetings by solving problems created by inspectors (who can be a pain sometimes), and simply be an eager learner to those who are willing to teach on the field.
What real-life technical or business skills did you learn during the internship?
The technical and business skills that I learned during my internship included speaking publicly, presenting information, and professionally contributing to information during meetings. This was one of the times during my life that I gained the greatest amount of communicative skills in the shortest amount of time. The reason: I spoke with about almost fifty people, every day!
There were other times when I wanted to ask for days off, but I did not know how to do this professionally. The ideas that one of my coworkers gave me were explaining to my boss why I am able to take the days off, and how I will be able to take care of work while I am away. This is part of the information that I had to present that I did not know how to do. But by having the opportunity, I learned invaluable experience relating to my responsibility and persuasion.
Finally, during my internship I also gained experience in my ability to contribute during meetings. Normally, I am not one who is comfortable being the center of attention or the most talkative. However, I learned that the best way to contribute is by offering solutions, whether or not I believe my voice will be heard. This happened when many of us were trying to find a solution for staying within fire codes for a gas powered generator. In short, because we needed to provide a certain output from the generator but were hindered from doing so, I proposed we ought to have two in order to stay within the restrictions of the code! This action was eventually implemented, and this is one of a many times I was able to provide the technical skills that I learned on my internship.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
One of the biggest lessons that I learned on my internship was the importance of family and relationships inside of the industry. It can be sometimes easy to think that construction is all work, however I learned that, especially in Flintco, relationships are key in order to building a successful business.
These relationships are obviously helpful inside of the industry; networking to find jobs and to find the best people to work with, are obviously a goal for any general contractor. However, relationships with family, I believe, is also key. The reason is, we ought to not be consumed by our work, but share in the happiness that comes from a family. For example, there was a situation within the company that led to the resignation of one employee. He was so consumed with work that he did not have time for his family. It was not because he was a bad father or husband, but because the stress of work outweighed the satisfaction from life—he forgot to live.
I do not want to be a man that grows up and does not have time for his family. This is something that can be easy when we work sixty-hour weeks. But I want to enjoy my family and be a great asset to my company as well. Work and family should never be mixed. And this is something that I learned with Flintco. One day in my life I will stop building buildings, but never in my life will I want to stop building relationships.
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 technology will make the biggest impact in construction blueprints within the next few years. I have already seen many blueprints and 3-D models that have been paperless and I was only in the business for one semester!
The largest impact that this will make in the construction industry will be in the actual construction of the building, and the time saved from lack of coordination and mistakes made on the field. There are companies out there such as JB Knowledge that are committed to advancing technology exclusively for construction. Additionally, 3-D models will allow contractors and facility managers to locate the exact location of any material that will need to be found in the building. The contractor can install the material where it is designed to fit, and the facility manager can locate the material in case of a malfunction.
I am excited to see where our technology will lead us in the near future!