School: California State University, Chico
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Internship from May 30, 2016 — August 12, 2016
Growing up with my father being an operating engineer I had always been exposed to the industry from when I was a small child visiting my dad’s work sites, to in depth discussions on what he would do every day. Currently I am pursuing my degree in Mechanical Engineering at California State University, Chico and last summer decided to get a taste of the construction industry with an internship with Valentine Corporation based out of San Rafael, Ca. I chose this internship because I had always thought about pursuing some career in the construction industry, and Valentine being a smaller company and a General Contractor, saw this as a perfect opportunity to experience a wide swath of jobs and tasks that I could possibly see in the post-academia world.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I let Valentine Corporation know what to expect from me when I drove two hours for my initial interview in San Rafael. I kept that level of determination and hard work throughout my summer there while I was working on about 5 projects that were all running at the same time. One of my main projects that I spent a majority of my time on was the Pump Station Rehabilitation in the Sutter Basin that was owned by the Department of Water Resources for California. Dealing with a government agency allowed me to really see how the chain of command works and how intricate a job can become when you are working side by side with numerous agencies. I also worked on bids with an estimator that included calculating take-offs for excavation and concrete pours that were improved and then used. I let Valentine Corp. know what to expect from me when I drove two hours for my initial interview in San Rafael and kept that level of determination and hard work throughout my summer there.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
Throughout the summer I was constantly being engaged in areas of work, that I had no experience in. Everyday was either dealing with a new item for a job or picking up a few to-do’s for another. For a majority of the time that I spent with Valentine I assisted my project manager on numerous jobs ranging from retro-fitting a pump station on the Sutter Basin for automated flood control to assisting in updating CAD files for creating an excavation plan for sewage main line repair and rehabilitation.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
While working on their Sutter Bypass Pump Station Retro-fit job I represented Valentine on numerous occasions for witnessing the installation and start-up of automated lubrication systems and also a fuel filtration system. During the installation/start-up I had to go through with the foreman on the job site and test a total of 14 lubrication units to make sure that they operated properly. During the testing portion we discovered a faulty unit that had been shipped. I had to deal with the return of the unit to the manufacturer who was based in Israel. Later on the same job site we had an arc-flash incident occur and I was responsible for documenting what happened and witnessing the initial repair of damaged components. Thankfully no one was injured and because of that this was a great experience in terms of seeing how a government agency like the Department of Water Resources handles these situations. With Valentine, I had a fully immersive taste of quality control and safety procedures.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
Entering into a professional field can be intimidating and difficult, but these are just temporary feelings. Pride, honor, dedication and determination are what construction workers have thought and felt about their work for hundreds of years and what I felt while working this summer. At any given moment, whether in the field or in the office, you can stop and take a minute and look around and realize what an integral part of something bigger you are. That’s something that is special to the construction industry and something I got a taste of this summer that will be bringing back to hopefully have a career in.