School: University of South Alabama
Major: Civil Engineering
Company: Tikigaq Construction
Internship from May 6, 2016 — May 4, 2018
I am currently enrolled at the University of South Alabama studying Civil Engineering. I am heavily involved in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), currently serving as treasurer. I have recently become involved with the Association of General Contractors (AGC). Through these student chapters I have had the opportunity to meets several of my engineering peers, as well as professionals in different areas of Civil Engineering. Prior to graduation, many of my friends worked in construction as interns and some had plans to work in construction upon graduation. Construction was always something I had an interest in from close family members working in that field. They explained to me various details of their jobs and I became even more interested. I was presented with an opportunity to apply for an opening position as an Engineering Intern at Tikigaq Construction and was offered the position. I love the idea of getting to see something built or renovated from start to finish, as well as the number of people involved in the process. I enjoy working hard to complete and improve a project.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I began my internship at Tikigaq Construction in May 2016 and will be continuing it until graduation. My internship consists of the office aspects of construction. The original responsibilities I held included: printing plans and finding and calling subcontractors to assist in estimating. While I still do those things from time to time, I mostly work on Agtek, which I am now certified in, and am learning how to read plans to know how to do takeoffs by hand as well as on Agtek. Some types of projects I have worked on in Agtek include landfills, levees and a firing range. In addition to working on takeoffs, I have some experience in getting permits for jobs. I hope to get more involved in the estimating and project management process as my internship continues and take what I can do in Agtek and use it in other aspects of construction.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
From this internship I’ve learned that aside from the physical construction we see happening every day, there is a whole other side that takes place in the office. Most people never even consider all the work that goes into bids and projects prior to the actual construction. The office side is involved from start to finish and it is a process that requires several people working as a team. They do not just communicate with people in the company, but with subcontractors as well. It is important to know how to communicate effectively and professionally so that the company can be as productive as possible and meet bid deadlines. After being at Tikigaq Construction for a few months, I have been able to take some of the things I have learned in the office and make that connection to what I am learning in the classroom.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
On a daily basis I used my engineering judgement, skills and abilities to utilize the tools at hand, including but not limited to, Agtek, MicroStation, and other modeling software to ensure specifications are effectively and efficiently met. I have continuously tried to give the most accurate quantities I could get from the software to help the estimators get the most accurate numbers and save time and money. I have learned both at the office and in the classroom that it is important to maintain the quality of work to not only benefit the company but to also make sure the safety is maintained.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I believe that I Build America is a great movement and that people need to be more aware of the opportunities there are within construction, as well as how much work is involved in the process from start to finish. Construction workers work long hours for weeks to get projects completed as quickly as possible for the client. People seem to just see the process occurring and do not take the time to truly appreciate the work and skill that goes into the construction of the places they go every day. Our society is constantly improving and changing things to make them more efficient and safe and I think that it is important that people become aware of the entire process of construction and should want to get involved to keep up with the demand for improvement.