School: University of Washington
Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Company: Granite Construction Co
Internship from June 13, 2016 — September 23, 2016
My name is Cole Weyenberg, I am a 35 year old student starting my senior year in the Civil and Environmental Engineering program at University of Washington. I met a woman several years ago that made me want to be better, hence being 35 and in school, we are now married and excited for me to graduate in June of 2017 so we can expand our family to three. I chose to go into engineering because I enjoy problem solving as well as math, I chose civil because I believe our ever increasing population will require us to be more efficient with the land around us, I am choosing the construction side of civil because I like projects and the efficiency that needs to go into them to be successful. I approached (and pursued) Granite Construction Co at a job fair held at UW because of their standing as one of 2015’s most ethical companies.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
Only being half way through my internship at Granite CC, I still have a lot to learn. I have been part of a few different projects so far ranging from doing take offs for a $35mil job, to putting together an estimate for a $150k job (using HCSS of course). Unfortunately, we did not win the bid that I put together the estimate for, but it was a good experience and could have been a great opportunity to see a project from initial estimating all the way through final completion. My role at Granite is what I would describe as a project intern, I have been paired up with a project manager who jokingly claims I will have his job in no time. I highly doubt that, he is very knowledgeable and has taught me a lot about job safety and procedures. As far as exceeding the company’s expectations, I can only say I am trying to, and that I hope they see my willingness to learn.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
That’s an easy one, build relationships. Not just because our moms teach us to treat others as we wish to be treated, but because this business is too hard to do on your own. Having strong relationships with your fellow employees could lead to them helping you while they have some free time or even throwing a joke your way to raise spirits around the office. Having strong relationships with distributors or subcontractors could lead to them choosing you over a competitor or even giving advise in their area of expertise, which they obviously don’t have to do. We may go to school for years learning tons of equations, we could read book after book, even work in the construction industry for decades, but when it comes down to it, none of us know it all. Having someone who likes you and trusts you and is willing to help you could make all the difference between success and failure.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
I came into this internship with only knowledge of small projects, mostly ones that I have done with my dad in the backyard (i.e. fences, rock walls, etc..). And even though they were small, my dad always iterated the importance of safety and that no project is worth doing if somebody gets hurt. Granite has the same philosophy, I had a manager once tell me “we will spend any amount of money necessary to keep our employees safe.” I find it to be comforting that safety is not something that this company skimps on. As for how I’m involved with safety, part of my duties when I visit the job site is to report back on progress and any procedure being done in the field that I feel is deemed worthy of discussion. So far I have not had to give a negative safety report, only compliments to the guys working the site that are always looking out for me as well as each other. I have a feeling the next backyard project I take on with my dad there will be a few laughs, cause I’ll probably be wearing safety glasses, hard hat and a reflective vest.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I Build America stands out as being a couple of things to me. It is obviously the promotion of the construction industry and the importance of the people behind it. But I think it is much more than that, because I know if I wear an IBA shirt to school my senior year I will be asked what it means. And even if it’s only a few people that ask me, that’s a few more people that are informed of the importance of construction and maybe, just maybe, one of those few might decide to go the construction route. After all, our senior year is when we decide which discipline of CE we want to pursue.
I also believe IBA is a tool to distribute knowledge of what’s going on in the world around us. I see so many people looking and pointing at the dozens of tower cranes hanging above our heads as we walk downtown, if those pointer knew the process and safety procedures that go on underneath those cranes they would be seriously surprised. Having a movement like IBA, where people can become informed of the intricacies, efficiency and hard work done in construction, can only lead to an increase in the amount of quality men and women trying to develop the built environment around us.