School: California Baptist University
Major: Construction Management
Company: Perera Construction and Design
Internship from May 16, 2016 — July 29, 2016
My name is Charles Henley and I am pursuing a degree in Construction Management. I chose to do an internship in construction because I fell in love with construction when I got a job with a local contractor when I was 16. After studying Construction Management at the College of Engineering at California Baptist University for two years and working in construction for four years, I wanted to put my skills to the test with an internship as well as learn more about the construction field. Construction has been my main interest since the first day I worked with a framing crew. Although I had no prior experience and no understanding of the tools or materials we were using, I wanted to learn more. After my first day of work I came home and began researching how to learn more about construction and found a degree program that would allow me to get a Bachelors of Science degree in Construction Management. Since then, I have been utilizing every opportunity I can to learn more about construction, from helping out tradesmen to better understand their craft, or taking engineering and business classes to better understand the administrative side of construction.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I achieved a lot during my internship, as I was given tasks to do all around the office and in the field. At first, I started procurement of insurance documents that were needed before a subcontractor could start their work on a project. This not only meant communicating with the subcontractor and their insurance provider to obtain the correct forms with the correct limits, but also coordination with the project manager of the project in which the subcontractor would be completing work. Collaborating with the project manager allowed me to get the insurance documents before the subcontractor was allowed on site. During my time with insurance I was sent out in the field to assist superintendents with certain aspects of the job they needed help with. I filed RFI’s and marked up plans with corresponding RFI numbers, as well as managed a clean up crew to make the conditions of the jobsite safe and clean for an owner walk through. In addition, I also assisted in procurement of city required water meters for a different job. Not only did I assist with tasks but I also sat in on owner/contractor meetings. Eventually I was given the role of superintendent for a job in which I had to do everything that a superintendent had to do. I conducted safety meetings, owner/designer/contractor on site meetings, as well as meetings with my project engineer and project manager. I also had to complete daily reports, and collect subcontractor daily reports, as well as manage on site workers to make sure that we stayed true to the schedule. While solving RFI’s in the field in regard to layout and material options, I also was able to create professional connections with subcontractors and their workers and promoted a team environment in order to keep the project moving. I believe that I exceeded my company’s expectations of me because each role they gave me to fulfill I did so and then they sent me somewhere to do something all in preparation for sitting in as a superintendent on one of their projects. My jobsite was always clean and well kept, with each worker adhering to OSHA regulations for safety. The project was delivered on-time and there were no injuries on site. To manage a project in the field as a 20 year old was quite a challenge, but I never had any issues in fulfilling my role. I believe I exceeded their expectations by taking my role seriously and by being a professional and effective superintendent.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
As somebody who hopes to one day own their own construction company, there are many things that I took from this internship that will stay with me for the rest of my life. First, I learned about the administrative end to running a construction project from working with insurance and contracts. This is a tangible skill that cannot be effectively taught in the classroom with real world scenarios. Second, I learned about how to work with people to achieve a common goal of finishing a project on time and within budget. Becoming a team player not just with your own project management team but also with all the subcontractors involved takes diplomacy. I learned so much about the construction industry that I realized that you can always learn from anybody if you take the time to listen to him or her and engage them when they are talking about something or trying to explain a concept to you. Construction is definitely a business where you need to make sure that everybody involved is truly involved and that their voice is heard, and I learned that collaboration is key when working in this field. We all work as a team to reach a common goal, and it is important to remember that even during the times when it may be difficult to do so.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
As a superintendent, it was my responsibility to make sure that all workers and equipment were compliant with OSHA standards, which I am familiar with as I received my OSHA 30 certification a few months prior. I took my job of conducting safety meetings seriously and took time to preplan meetings based on the dangers for the type of work to be completed on that day. One of my other responsibilities as a superintendent was to make sure that the work was done to the standards of the owner and architect. Since I had a previous background in construction before my internship I was familiar with the drive to produce quality work and the need to be safe while on the jobsite. One thing that did change my perspective on construction was the respect that tradesmen have for other tradesmen’s work. I was surprised to see that when working near exposed detail beams, the electricians, drywallers, and painters were very careful of the work the carpenters had done to preserve the beam and keep it clean and damage free. It was refreshing to see the team environment I was working in.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
The I Build America movement is something that I am a big fan of. Growing up and working building homes in my hometown, I was so proud of my work and nobody really paid any attention to what I was trying to explain. I think that those who work to build the infrastructure of America deserve some recognition because without them there would be no modern civilization as we know it today. I Build America stands out to me as a reminder of what all of us in the construction industry stand for and set out to do. We want to provide the best buildings, roads, and services to build our country’s infrastructure and develop it into something that everybody is proud to live in and be a part of. There is a drive in everybody who works in construction that pushes him or her to produce the highest quality they can so at the end of the day they can stand back and be proud of the work they have completed. Construction is a team effort, and I Build America is making the effort to show the nation that we are all one giant team working together to build America.