School: Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) & Marian University Major: Dual Degree Program: Construction Engineering and Management Technology (IUPUI) & Business Management (Marian Univ.) Company: E and B Paving, Inc. Internship from 5/11/15 — 8/21/15
Three projects for the record books. As an intern with E and B Paving out of Indianapolis I was able to work and learn on about 10 different heavy civil projects. However I was able to have the biggest impact on the following 3 main projects: the first was the construction of new 2.5 miles of new road, drainage, and sanitary piping for the City of Plainfield, the second on was a new roundabout for the City of Avon, Indiana, and the last one was a new roundabout for INDOT.
E and B Paving my interning company was the general contractor for the Plainfield, Indiana project. Your general contractor can “make or break” a project. Luckily on this project we are on schedule and haven’t had any utility issues. In addition to earthwork and paving, this project consist of installing thousand feet of water line, drainage, and sanitary sewers. Due to the amount of work on this project it is being completed in several phases and is due for completion in 2016.
When it rains it pours. Our project in Avon, Indiana got its fair share of rain during the months of May and July. As the general contractor we self-performed the concrete and paving items. Our duties also included managing our earthwork, drainage, landscape, and electrical sub-contractors. We were able to get some rain days back that were not in our contract and avoid liquidated damages.
The roundabout project for INDOT was a true learning experience. We were the general contractors for this project and self-performed concrete and paving. Adverse weather proved to be difficult to overcome and had damaging effects on our critical path (dirt work and concrete). We were about a week past the scheduled opening. However we did get high praise on the quality from INDOT and the engineering consulting company.
What results did you achieve on the project(s), and what impact did they have on the company?
Great results are driven by past experiences. Luckily, I had a great team of project managers, superintendents, and foreman with a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw from.
The three projects listed above achieved expected results for the company. However as a student intern I achieved different results. My goal for the summer was to really dive into heavy civil construction, take away invaluable practical knowledge and help E and B Paving meet their goals. Today I believe that I achieved successful results.
Midway through the summer I was able to become a valuable asset to the Indianapolis office and have a positive impact on the company. Taking the initiative to approach our project managers and superintendents to see where I could help them. I picked up duties from our project managers that included completing take-offs (material estimates), performing grade checks (checking the project site to make sure that it matches the construction plans), and attending progress and punch list meetings. Acting as interim project manager allowed for our undermanned management team to focus on some of our larger projects and contracts.
What real-life technical or business skills did you learn during the internship?
This summer was full of surprises and learning experiences. Some real life experiences and business skills that I learned during my internship include: learning how to read surveying stakes, working with an organized union, estimating asphalt and aggregate, working with several pieces of heavy equipment, and communicating effectively with a wide range of people.
Out of all of these skills I really enjoyed being able to communicate with everyone from the president of the company to our tradesmen out working in the field. Upon first glance this may seem like a very simple task. However working and communicating effectively with tradesmen is an art. Tradesmen have the reputation of being unwelcoming of new people and white collars. I found this to not be the case at E and B Paving, and the guys embraced me just as another guy on the crew.
Being able to switch between communicating with the tradesmen to having lunch with the president takes a little skill. Tradesmen communication is usually informal, while communicating with the president is quite the opposite. Communicating was my favorite applied skill I picked up this summer and is something that I feel is important to be successful in the construction industry today.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
Spending time with heavy civil construction crews this summer exposed me to a different side of life. Although I have been in and around construction my whole life, because my father owns a small residential construction company, nothing could have prepared me for my first week with our paving crew. After my time with the crew I knew that I had a duty to complete school and to pursue every endeavor with an insatiable appetite. This is not only for my personal sake, but because I know there are hardworking people like my coworker who count on people like me to win contracts. Winning contracts allows them to put food on the tables for their families.
Where do you think technology will make the biggest impact in construction in the next few years, and how will it do that?
The truth about technology in construction. There is no question, that technology and machinery are the pillars of modern day construction. However I believe that the biggest impact in the industry will come from the working construction/engineering professionals and tradesmen. After working in the field as a laborer with our paving and concrete crews for the first half of the summer, I was able to gain a new life changing perspective.
When technology or equipment malfunctions or breaks down what do you do? The answer is often times rely on the on professionals you have at hand to find a solution. At E and B, I noticed that not only do our superintendents and tradesmen work hard, they also possess knowledge that cannot be taught in school or online. This knowledge can only come from on the job experience. With the construction industry being crippled by retirement and an unskilled workforce, I believe that the next biggest impact is in the people. To be more specific I believe the next biggest impact is to find a solution to make the construction industry more attractive to the younger generation and a faster system for on boarding tradesmen.
Tradesmen and construction professionals will never go out of style. There will always be a need for someone who can think and come up with solutions to a problem. The better we can equip our workforce with knowledge and skill the better off the construction industry will be. Having a skilled workforce will lead to inexpensive solutions to on the job problems, time savings, increased profit margins, increased quality of work, and a better quality of life.