School: Lamar University
Major: Construction Management
Company: Mason Construction, Ltd.
Internship from January 2, 2014 — May 10, 2017
My family has been in the construction industry for many years. My dad has been in the industry since he began working in 1980 as an oiler for the crane my grandpa operated. He is currently the division manager for a marine construction company based in Channelview, Tx. That is how, as a little girl, I grew up around equipment and construction laydown yards. At one point, I was even homeschooled for a year in elementary so that our family could travel with my dad. At home, I could always be found alongside my dad, working on whatever project he had planned for the day. As I got older, our conversations went from “what’s that do?” and “why?” to discussions about his latest projects at work and the innovations he was creating. Those conversations and his motivation led me to deciding to try mechanical engineering. Unfortunately, that was not where I was meant to be and decided to take time off and find what was right for me. I continued to talk about work with dad and stayed up to date with the latest projects he had going on. It was then I realized I still thoroughly enjoyed the construction field even though the engineering field wasn’t the best decision. After some careful research and talking to my dad and several of his coworkers, I found the Construction Management program right here in my own backyard. Shortly after starting the program, I participated in a small construction project through one of my courses which was supervised by Mason Construction in Beaumont, Tx. After the project was completed, the supervisor spoke with me and asked about my interests in working for Mason. A few days later, I was officially an employee at Mason Construction. It has been 18 months since then and I am currently an assistant project manager for several of the project managers and estimators within the company. In the time that I have been here, I have never doubted that I made the right decision by choosing construction management. With this degree, I hope to excel further in the industry and become a project manager upon graduation.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
Officially, the degree plan for construction management requires 400 hours of field and office experience. This is what I was originally hired to complete at Mason Construction. Three years later, I am still working towards my degree as a full time Mason Construction employee. Although I am technically an intern at Mason Construction, I have steadily adopted more responsibilities during my time here. I am currently serving as a scheduler for one of the largest projects Mason has right now where I am gaining experience with field management and overall project management through out the course of the project.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
When I began this internship, I was still unsure of my path in life. I wasn’t confident in my decision to begin a career in construction and i was searching for validation that I had made the right choice. However, after a few short weeks at Mason Construction, I knew without a doubt this was the right career for me. I continue to learn and grow every day as a student and as an employee. The estimators and project managers that served as my supervisors quickly became mentors that I still look up to and respect to this day. Even though I have moved out of the main office into a field office, I still go to my first supervisor for advice and counsel for difficult stations.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
At Mason Construction, we believe that every man is a unofficially safety representative for our company. All employees are required to go through safety training and individual job orientations before they can begin work. As an intern with virtually no experience, it was a lot to take in. Every day, the men and women at our company are actively paying attention and complying with safety requirements. Safety is a frequent topic in day-to-day conversation as well as in the start-of-day activities. Every aspect of our work includes a safety component. Quality control operates the same way: every employee is responsible for ensuring the quality of the work being performed. This creates a need for communication and understanding between employees and supervisors.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I believe IBA is a wonderful and necessary platform to ensure the growth and continuation of construction. When my dad was in high school, there were essentially two construction career choices available: engineer or laborer. Going to college was never an option for dad so he began as a laborer and worked his way through the ranks and became a partner in the construction company he works for today. As I was growing up, I knew I wanted to go to college and I knew I loved construction but I had no idea how a woman could make it in the construction industry without becoming an engineer. I had no resources or guidance and reluctantly chose to begin a degree in engineering. I hated it. I didn’t like the work I was doing. I wanted to be more involved in the management side of a project and not necessarily the technical side. After three years of struggling through engineering, I took a step back to reevaluate my career choice. After several months of research, I found my construction management program. Once I heard of IBA, I wish I would of been aware of the organization while I was still in high school before I essentially wasted all those years in the wrong field.