School: California State University, Chico
Major: Construction Management
Company: Martin Brothers Construction
Internship from June 6, 2016 — August 12, 2016
Hello, My name is Cole Whipple. I am 19 years old and I am currently an intern at Martin Brothers Construction out of Sacramento, California. I am a construction management major at California State University, Chico and I chose to do an internship in construction because I wanted to learn more about the vertical and horizontal sides of construction. Ever since I was a child playing with tractors and playing on my bob the builder play set, I have wanted to learn about and be involved in construction. I chose to do an internship because I wanted to learn more about the industry as a whole, and I wanted to learn all there is to learn and gain all the knowledge and keen insight there is to gain about construction outside of the classroom. I wanted to get the most involved in the construction industry as I could and get my foot in the door as early as I could.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I have achieved outstanding results on my internship thus far. Coming into the internship, I did not nearly expect to learn all of the things I have learned. I expected in the beginning to be doing paperwork, maybe send a few emails, make a few phone calls, and just sort of observe and never leave the office. Instead, I was thrown into the fire of construction my first day of interning and I found myself doing actual work and contributing to actual jobs just like my co-workers in my office do for a living! Everyday I find myself emailing and talking on the phone with prime and sub-contractors, manufacturers, and construction companies about all sorts of work that we are doing. On top of that, at least once a week I get to visit the various job sites we are doing work on, walk around, and see first hand how construction actually is in the field. In fact, last month, I got to be on site for a whole week, 8 hours a night for road work Martin Brothers was doing on freeway gores. I learned so much about the different types of equipment and materials and the different purposes they have, and I was given so much advice and so many tips about different aspects of construction by the laborers, operators, and foremen on site that I believe will tremendously help me in the future. One job I have been doing quite a bit of work on since it began in June of this year is the Sheldon road and Waterman road intersection improvements project we are doing in Elk Grove, CA. It’s a 2.3 million dollar job, and we were only given 30 days to complete! The job consists of completely excavating a four-way stop sign intersection, and putting in a new roundabout. I find this job extremely cool to be working on because I drove on that intersection almost every day prior to the job, and I am way more involved in the job than I thought I would be in the beginning. I was almost entirely responsible for making sure all submittals for the job were approved, and I was in charge of ordering various materials for the job from suppliers including reinforced concrete pipe, concrete flared end sections, frames and grates for drainage, Thermoplastic materials, road markers, road signs, and so much more. As far as the company goes, I feel I have greatly exceeded the expectations for my role here. Everyday I do my very best to help the company grow and thrive in any way I can and I have been told on more than one occasion by my co-workers that I was the best intern they had been around thus far.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
I learned a tremendous amount in this internship that will affect my life in a positive way. Not only have I gained so much knowledge about the textbook side of construction (i.e. common terms, acronyms, definitions, equipment names/purposes, ect.), but I have learned so much about how construction is in the real world and how all of those things apply to actual jobs and projects. I have also had the privilege to learn how to use so many different types of software programs like Blue Beam Revu, Google Earth, Earthwork, and Project Manager for example, and how these tools contribute to the preparation and execution of projects. I have become very familiar with how to read plans and specs, measure the quantities of areas, review and advise various submittals, and much more. Another thing I think will affect my life in a positive way is all of the people I was fortunate enough to meet. I have met and developed good business relationships with so many people and local companies in the construction industry and I believe having these good relationships and getting my name out there will greatly help me get my foot in the door and later on in the future when I am beginning my career.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
I have been quite involved with safety during my internship. Shortly after I started here, one of the first things I learned is that safety is the most important aspect of construction. Being surrounded by so much heavy machinery and moving parts on a job site, it is vital that safety and precaution are taken very seriously. The week I worked nights for the freeway gore job we were doing for Cal Trans, the foreman on the job had me update the HCSS module each night at the end of the shifts. I was responsible for staying up to date with and documenting all safety inspections, near misses, and incidents, if any had occurred. The information I submitted each night was then gathered and emailed to everyone in the company, and was also talked about in the weekly meeting we as a company have each Friday morning in the office. In addition, much of the work I have done this summer has consisted of creating required plans for different jobs for the submittal process, safety plans included. I have developed at least half a dozen complete safety plans for different jobs so I have a pretty good understanding of the various safety precautions there needs to be and just how important safety is in construction and how meticulous plans for safety need to be. I have to say, after realizing how important safety is, my perspective on construction has definitely changed. I realize now that there is so much more that goes into a job than just the actual labor work and constructing, and that when it comes to completing a job, safety should be above all other priorities.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, I can tell you that I build America means a lot to me. It is such a useful tool that I can always refer to and learn from, and a great source to stay updated on all the new things going on in the construction industry. Most importantly, I Build America is important to me because I strongly believe and support what the organization stands for and the message behind what they do with showing the pride in construction and promoting just how big of a role the industry plays in the world today.