School: University of Alaska Anchorage
Major: Construction Management
Company: Quality Asphalt Paving
Internship from 5/6/15 — 8/18/15
I was on two projects this summer for the company. The first one was a pavement preservation project in Ninilchik, Alaska. This particular job was a shave and pave with some pipe. There was, grinding, digouts, foaming, removal and replacement of pipe, slip lining of pipe, and paving on this project.
The other job I was on was an erosion control project in Anchor Point, Alaska. This job was on the bluff by the ocean and it was to fill the hole that erosion had caused to help preserve the Sterling Highway and prevent future erosion in this spot. The main activity in this project was hauling in material to fill the hole. Then one of our rock trucks would be loaded with material, drive down the access ramp, and dump the material in the hole.
What results did you achieve on the project(s), and what impact did they have on the company?
Before I had to leave for school, the erosion job was about ninety- five percent complete. The hole was filled in at the proper slope, shouldering was completed, and the crew was working on making the top look nice and evening everything out. There was also seventy percent growth on the slope where it had been seeded, and we were waiting for the crew to go out again and seed the remaining part of the slope.
The pavement preservation job was still under way but making great progress. All of the pipe was completed including the slip lining. All of the foaming sections had been completed and just needed to be paved. The crew was just working on grinding up the existing asphalt, re-grading the CABC, prepping approaches, and we had the paving crew on nights for mainline paving and approaches.
What real-life technical or business skills did you learn during the internship?
Throughout this internship I have learned a few things when it comes to this type of work. One of the things I noticed is how much interaction goes between a contractor and the state. Every day we are working with the state to get things accomplished on the job; whether it is putting the right amount of traffic control out to protect the crew and the public, buying grade so that we can pave, or even doing paperwork documenting what is going on throughout each day. I have learned that you need to have a good relationship with who you are ultimately working for whether that is the state/DOT or just the city where your project is located. If you can keep good professional relationships with these people, the job will go smoothly on both ends. It is not supposed to be a war against each other, everyone is supposed to work together to accomplish the same goal.
Something else that I learned that is worth noting is how to keep track of quantities, the budget, and more so the numbers behind the construction projects, not just the work you see outside. I am by no means a master at these things, I just got a glimpse of what actually goes into the jobs behind the scenes. But it helps to see construction in this light because it helps to explain why we do things the way we do on these projects. The numbers tell us what we are doing well and what could need some improvement on and it helps determine what we should do in the future on these projects and any other projects we win from bidding.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
What I took from this internship is that there is always something new to learn. There is no way to know everything that is going on all the time, so asking for help or putting a little extra time into things to understand what is going on will only help in the end. To become good at anything, you must train yourself and practice to become successful.
I also learned that if you want to make it in this business, you can’t be stressed out all of the time. There are too many things going on at the same time; stressing about them won’t help anyone including yourself. There is no need to worry because everything works out in the end. If your quantity versus the states quantity is different and it is a matter of getting paid $100,000 or not, then it is definitely worth looking into and putting the extra effort in to finding what the problem is. But stressing out will only make it worse for you and whoever you are working with.
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 it will make the biggest impact out in the field. As soon as all of our equipment has GPS hooked up to them, plus all of our grade checkers having GPS for building jobs, then it will be amazing the things that get accomplished. Right now, there are only a select few pieces of equipment in this company anyways that have the GPS. When that kind of technology is available on equipment, just about anyone can run it. This opens up opportunities for more people to hop on the equipment on the job and get whatever is needed done. Then having a grade checker with GPS to do a quick double check on everything would make it that much easier to accomplish daily tasks.
There area always small technological changes within the office on which programs to use for what or if there is a new update on the programs that are currently used. This is a yearly thing which is not a huge impact on how the jobs get completed. That is why I say that the field is going to see the most impacts because as of right now, we are still living in the dinosaur ages when it comes to equipment but we are slowly making our way out of it with different changes like GPS.