School: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Major: Civil Engineering
Company: E&B Paving Inc
Internship from May 31, 2016 — August 24, 2016
Hi my name is Ethan Kieffner and I am currently attending Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for a degree in Civil Engineering. I was raised in a small town known as Haysville, IN where there’s possibly more livestock then humans. Not far from me is Jasper though where the population spikes to around 15,000. This has played a huge role in my life as far as to where I received my start. I’ve learned both sides of labor which includes the physical and mental aspects, which I owe a lot to my parents. Both my parents pursued careers involving business. My mother attended college and has two careers including insurance and banking. My father is now a sales manager for a large truck equipment company. Between these two and their associates I can’t begin to list how much I’ve seen and learned. I chose a construction internship for a couple reasons. Some which include the fact that I’m pursuing Civil Engineering, but also for the fact that I like to see completion. There is nothing simple in construction and even though the plans may seem that way, it’s never how it works out. I like the challenge that it puts forth and I also like the split atmosphere. Unlike mechanical engineering, Civil or Construction allows for mixed time in the field and office. Another intriguing aspect is the social side to construction. Relationships in are a huge part and it makes this field that much more interesting.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
E&B Paving along with Cash Waggner and Associates are the two companies I have learned the most from. Between these two companies I have been able to understand the pre, ongoing, and final stages of construction. Cash Waggner was able to show me the complete surveying, soil testing, and concrete testing side of construction. E&B Paving started from there and showed me the bidding and implementation side. Some of my current qualifications include soils and concrete testing, Carlson, AutoCAD, BricsCAD, HCSS, Solidworks, read design plans, survey plots of land, deed research, perform take-off quantities and the list goes on. I’ve been able to watch multiple types of asphalt and concrete roads being laid, bridges being constructed, bridge decks being restored, and on top off that all kinds of meetings. Some of which include the actual bid submittals and pre-construction. I made sure that my bosses knew my goal during these internships was to learn and see as much as I could. A lot of times I would plan my own weeks out my talking to the individual mangers of ongoing projects and seeing what they could take me out on. I kept up with weekly meetings to make sure I knew what every division was currently up to. I also never hesitated to go out and see night and weekend work. There was a many of days where I would go home catch a couple hours asleep and go back out for 5 or 6 hours the next night or stay to see projects going on during the weekends. My boss mentioned several times that he’s never seen an intern so involved in the program and I really do take pride in that. The way I see it is if they provide the opportunity then I need to take full advantage of it and everyone seemed to support that.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
I’ve learned that not everything is perfect. Perfection comes with time and in that time comes a lot of trial and error. No one individual can step out of school or training and know exactly how things are gonna pan out in the real world. There’s a lot of useful stuff people will tell you and it can carry you a long way if you just listen, because a lot of times there’s a reason they are telling you. They’ve been through it and instead of making the same mistake they just want you to take their word for it. There is a lot of times where people want to rush and push to get stuff done and a lot of times that leads to confusion and causes tempers to flare. You’ve got to able to see it from the other persons view and guide with a steady hand. I’ve created a lot of relationships while being in these internships by noticing all this and that right there will carry me a long way. It also helped to see the actual implementation of these projects, because what one student or engineer sees on paper, I’ve seen it actually performed where it makes a huge difference. These are some things that will help in a positive way in my life.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
Safety and quality were two huge pushes while working for E&B. I went through many of meetings involving our safety coordinators and even took the OSHA 30 training. I learned that there is a huge correlation between safety and accident rates. I also learned that with out major implementation of safety and with bad records that companies can hurt chances of receiving bid invites and can also hurt the company financially.
Quality is also stressed because a lot of jobs require work to meet a certain specification which affects payouts for that bid item. If spec isn’t met then heavy penalties can be applied. This also goes the other way though. If spec is over achieved there can be substantial bonuses especially in paving.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I Build America seems like an awesome way to allow people to understand and see more about the construction that goes on around us. The video did a great job of showing a lot of major pictures that pic out what is actually happening. The reason I say this is because during my last internship I took a lot of similar pictures and they are ones that I would have never seen unless I took on my internship role. I do think IBA has the potential to spur a lot of interests, but before this application I never knew about this site or what IBA is about. I wish that they could find a way to push it a little harder. I do think overall that they have a good thing going.