School: Georgia Southern University
Major: Construction Management
Company: E.R. Snell Contractor
Internship from May 16, 2016 — August 11, 2016
My name is Chandler Harswelly Price, and over this summer I proudly worked as an Intern for three months with E.R. Snell Contractors while also pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree at Georgia Southern University. E.R. Snell is a Heavy Civil Construction Company that has been open for 93 consecutive years that operates with roads and bridges. In my town of Snellville Georgia, I’ve had the pleasure to watch E.R. Snell do miraculous things over the course of my stay from Elementary School and College, which changed my mindset about Construction forever.
Throughout my life, I’ve always been around people who wanted to make a change for the better. Many members of my family are fire fighters and others who work for the CDC. Between those two occupations many might look at me and say, “What led him to want to do Construction?” My answer is the pure characteristics that Construction brings. The qualities of leadership, patience, team-work, planning, and hard work are all things I’ve been striving to make better my entire life. This internship has really made me believe I made the correct decision in choosing Construction, because every day throughout my internship I was out there doing everything I’ve ever wanted to achieve.
My classes at Georgia Southern University also played a big role in me choosing either vertical or horizontal Construction. The first class I took was Intro to Construction Management. This class taught me the overview of the industry and the three main types of Construction: Residential, Commercial, and Heavy Civil. I seemed to fall in love with Heavy Civil because of how interesting roads and bridges are to me. I also figured everyone I ever talked to did either Residential or Commercial Construction, so why not try Heavy Civil? As a matter of fact, if you fast forward some years, that’s exactly what I participated in. In all actuality, everything seemed like a blessing destined to happen. Over the course of my internship, the change I wanted to make in the beginning seemed that much closer to achieve.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
Over the course of my Internship the main thing that I achieved was experience. Experience was a main point for me in the beginning because so many of my friends had either had parents that worked in the industry or they did some type of construction work. In my position my parents did not work in the industry nor did I participate much in construction work. All through my life something that I was taught was respect. I used this to know that I would never want anyone that never had experience doing what I was, to be able to tell me what to do. Throughout the Internship searching and interview process my main question to the companies was, “Would I be able to be able to work in the field on projects to get a grasp on what one day I would be managing over?” A good amount of companies were surprised that I actually wanted to work in the field and said a good amount of the internship would be inside the office. I never took that to offence because many companies had specific things they wanted their interns to do, but I knew what would make me more efficient and comfortable for me and I continued to look for that. A few weeks later at Georgia Southern University there was a Stem Fair tailored toward Construction Management and Engineering students. On this glorious day I met E.R. Snell Contractors and what I was looking for was immediately found.
E.R. Snell has many divisions including Asphalt, Grading, Private Jobs, Bridges, Traffic Control, Wall & Piping, and I actively worked in all of these. E.R. Snell told me from the beginning that some days would be very hard and would need full commitment to what the project was. They also said if I did work hard and commit then I would definitely see if this is what I would want to continue doing. After an entire summer I am a living testimony for hard work and commitment. One of the biggest projects I worked on was the first time this was done in Georgia. This was a bridge using high performance concrete and steel fibers which increased the strength of the bridge. There I participated in some management in the office, working with the laborers contributing to the concrete mix and pour, and lastly just the great feeling that I contributed to something bigger than myself. Over this time I received multiple praises from supervisors in each division for my will to do great things and I was highly grateful.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
My Internship brought back memories from a hard time in High School that changed my life forever. It was my junior year and I was eligible for the starting position at Fullback. At that time my high school ran an offense where the Fullback and the Quarterback needed to know the entire playbook. Other positions had it easier because a lineman per say just needs to know if it’s a pass or a run. A Fullback needed to know everything because they are very essential to the protection of the Quarterback and Running Back and serve as a symbol to defenses on where the ball could be going. So a lot of plays were designed for deception to fool the defense and if the Fullback did something wrong the play could ultimately crumble. On top of this I was in competition with three other guys my age which meant that this was my only chance to start seeing that next year the coach would keep the man with the most experience. So throughout this time I remember myself just struggling very hard with plays. I was essentially the favorite to start from my peers but the coaches never made that clear at all. All I remember is after a long day at school I used to envy the kids who used to be able to go home and enjoy the rest of the day because my day was just beginning and it rarely was ever good. As days past I had some good days and some bad but every day took a toll on me emotionally. I loved the game and didn’t want to sit on the bench but at the same time nobody did. I remember telling my friends that I wanted to quit because it was just that bad. Nights were consistently me going over plays and praying the coaches seeing I was capable of more. So finally the time came when it was the first game of the season played at the Falcons Stadium and the starters would be announced soon. The head coach pulled us three to the side and gave a speech about how we all have worked hard but I was hardest worker and I was given the starting position. As of that moment I understood to never give up on your dreams. Throughout this internship there were some hard times and very early mornings that could make you question is this for me. Then again, every time I felt like that at the beginning of each day I would take a picture of what we started with then compare it to what we ended with and it would remind me of my goals. Never give up, and always make a change.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
During the course of my Internship safety was covered every day. Before my internship I actually took a class named Construction Safety which gave you the do’s and don’ts of operating in the field. This gave me all the warning needed before going on my internship especially dealing with heavy machinery. During the internship every week the safety manager sent out a safety list that all the supervisors and foreman read to their crew before work. These safety meetings were never the same and were based on the division you worked in. So say I was working asphalt road paving that week, a safety meeting would be to watch out for incoming cars in the opposite lanes. These meetings were very serious and showed how the company actually really cared about your safety. Also dealing and seeing a lot of divisions at E.R. Snell showed me that construction is dangerous. For instance if you have been working construction for a while you tend to get used to certain instances. Backing up alarms, not wearing safety glasses, and not looking both ways are some things you can get used to not doing while working construction. Getting “used” to anything in construction could mean injury or even death for a worker that could bring a huge shadow back to the company. This changed my perspective on the workers in construction more so than construction as a whole. From the supervisor to the laborer, these men/women have to be on their p’s and q’s every second of the day. My respect for construction as a whole has increased tremendously, because many times people just see the end result of a project. Patrons that used the bridges or roads didn’t get to see the blood, sweat, and tears that these workers put in on a daily and the risk they are at every day. That’s the group I want to be a part of, the group that gets things done safe and sound for the in betterment of society without needing to be told thank you.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
What I Build America stands for is entirely and exactly how I feel about construction today. The men and women who do construction are very special people. They use the skills acquired over time and combine them to make these great projects which helps out billions of people worldwide. For example, E.R. Snell opened in 1923 and created where I live today in the city Snellville. Along with Snellville they created roads in various areas that help me get to and from my College in Statesboro, GA. Without the help of the workers who help create these roads back in 1923, Snellville would probably not be my home. I wouldn’t have gotten a chance to live next to a company that inserted its great work into my mind for me to remember them at the Stem Fair, then for me to get an internship. This organization of events could be done with anyone in society. I Build America says that the men and women should be acknowledged for the things they do on a daily basis that literally shape the world we live in. I also love how the companies can enter in their project into a contest and get recognition for the company as a whole. Companies deserve to feel good and get recognized for a project especially because it could take years to finish. So all In all, I Build America means that someone out there is always watching and really does care for the workers of construction and construction as a whole. That love for what you do can now finally be expressed in a job where others might not know what really goes on in construction. I feel as I Build America could definitely be an example for other jobs because everyone striving toward making this world a better place deserves to be recognized.