School: The University of Texas at Austin
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Company: The Levy Company
Internship from June 1, 2016 — August 12, 2016
My name is Daniel and this past summer I had the opportunity of being an intern at The Levy Company. The Levy Company is a construction company based in Selma, Texas that focuses mostly on electrical work on highways and roads. During my tenure as an intern I worked on several projects, but most of my time was spent on a project that involved the installation and replacement of roughly 1000 highway signs in the San Antonio area. I chose to do an internship in construction because I have always been interested in it. Ever since I was a child I have loved construction sites, especially the trucks, and as I grew older my interest shifted from trucks towards the management of construction sites.
I am currently a sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin and am studying mechanical engineering. I don’t quite know exactly what I want to do with my career but a couple of things that I have in mind are to be a supply chain engineer or an industrial engineer with a focus on logistics. While at The University of Texas I have been able to pursue one of my longtime passions of playing the trumpet. Last year I was a member of both the Engineering Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony band, and this year I have also joined the Longhorn Marching Band.
While in school I have also found a new interest in fitness and recreational sports. I am currently in the process of getting certified by PADI to scuba dive and am training for my first half marathon this coming February.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
During my internship I worked on several different jobs, but my main focus was on a job from the Texas Department of Transportation that involved the installation and replacement of roughly 1000 highway signs in the San Antonio area. The project was still in the pre-construction phase during my internship, and my main responsibility was to design a sequence for installing the signs. My goal was to come up with an efficient plan to install the signs so that the company could save time and cut costs. In determining the sequence, I took into consideration the location, type of sign, and which type of road closures, if any, would be needed during the installation of the sign. While working on this project I also took it upon myself to analyze the job plans for any errors. Once I found an error I would send a request for information to TxDOT so that the issue could be resolved and so that our work would be in accordance with what TxDOT wants.
During my internship I also did some smaller tasks for other jobs such as taking field measurements of electrical wires so that a design flaw could be resolved and creating earned labor reports so that the company can look back and see which areas they can be more efficient in.
I also had the opportunity of working as a field laborer during my internship. For the first week of my internship I worked with a crew in Austin constructing the foundations for overhead sign bridges. Working in the field was beneficial to me because the hands on experience gave me a better idea of what the construction process was like. This was important because once I started working in the office I was able to better understand any issues that came up with projects in the field.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
The main thing I learned in my internship that will affect my life in a positive way is how to work with a diverse group of people within a company and that each person is valuable to the company. Over the course of my internship I worked with a wide range of people. I worked with laborers in the field, coworkers in the office, and also with representatives from other companies that we were involved with in projects. Each group that I worked with had a different dynamic, and the skills and lessons that I learned from them cannot be taught. What I learned from them could only be learned through experience, and that is an opportunity that I took advantage of during my internship.
The second part of this lesson is that each person in a company plays a valuable role. In order for a company to function well, each person from bottom to top must execute their role in a good manner. If there is even one person who isn’t working up to par, the effects can be felt throughout the whole company. A situation where I encountered this idea happened while I was working in the field. While on a job site the drill rig my crew was operating broke down, and without it we couldn’t accomplish our task. That night, a mechanic fixed the drill rig so that we could continue our work the next day and get back on schedule. Although it was a small task, the mechanic played an important role in allowing my crew to stay on schedule which ended up benefiting the company as a whole. This positive outcome to an issue that came up while on a job site demonstrates that everybody in the company plays a valuable role in the company’s success.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
I was involved with both quality and safety during my internship. Much of the work I did during my internship involved analyzing data and then applying that data to increase efficiency in some form or another. If my work was of low quality then it would not be accurate and it would not benefit the company at all. Some of my reports were also used by other companies, so the quality of them would affect both The Levy Company and whichever company we were working with.
I was also involved with safety during my internship, especially while I was working in the field. Before I began work in the field I was educated on all the safety rules and procedures required by both OSHA and The Levy Company. I was expected to follow the rules not for just my safety but also the safety of my crew. While I was working in the field, my crew and I successfully followed the safety protocol, and accidents occurred. I also attended the The Levy Company’s quarterly safety training where I was given a refresher course about safety on the job, and shortly after I finished my internship The Levy Company celebrated two years without a lost time incident. I had always known that construction is a dangerous industry, but since working at The Levy Company I have gained a new appreciation for the importance of safety in construction.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I think I Build America exemplifies an idea that is similar to something that I learned during my internship. During my internship I saw firsthand how everybody plays a valuable role in the company, and I Build America seeks to recognize how valuable construction workers are to society. One of the things that I Build America stresses is the hard work that construction workers do in conditions that can be quite uncomfortable, and I think that this idea is important for people to understand. I experienced those tough conditions for myself when I worked long hours in the Texas heat during my internship. Throughout my internship I gained a new appreciation for the work that construction workers do, and I like that I Build America is striving to recognize the men and women that work in construction.