School: University of Wisconsin – Platteville
Major: Civil Engineering
Company: J. F. Brennan Company
Internship from June 6, 2016 — August 26, 2016
My name is Garrett Riggs and I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. I am on the track and field team at the University and I am a three time NCAA National Qualifier and a one time NCAA All-American. I chose to do a construction internship because I am studying civil engineering at UW-Platteville. Also, I have grown up with construction all my life being that my father owns his own construction company and I have worked for him for over six years.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I received many results from my internship with J.F. Brennan. Fist, the marine construction industry is completely new to me because the company I used to work for builds and remodels homes. I exceeded the company’s expectations because I caught on to the wording and the verbiage very quickly. By the second week I was out on a project helping complete submittals and doing the daily construction and project management tasks. Also, within a month of working in the internship, I was given the lead estimating position on a project. I exceeded their expectations with my organization, time management, and hard work. If I did not understand something or felt that I could not complete something I worked late to figure it out or I communicated and asked someone for help. Some weeks I would work nearly 60 hours to help myself understand and complete the task at hand.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
I learned many things at my internship. I learned many aspects of the marine construction industry first and foremost. Not only that but I learned much more about organization. At some points I would be working on four projects at once doing different tasks for each project. I already had very good organization skills because being on the track team and being a student requires me to be extremely organized but my construction internship improved my organization skills. Also, the internship helped improve my time management and team building skills. Being able to work on so many different projects allowed me to work with many new teammates. I was able to work with project managers, project owners, company owners, subcontractors, and laborers. It improved my time management because the tasks I was given had specific deadlines and working on multiple different jobs meant I had multiple different deadlines, so I was forced to use time management to make sure that the tasks go completed by the specific deadline.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
I was extremely involved in safety during my internship along with quality. Being a marine construction company meant being around waterways throughout the workday. During the day we wore hard hats, safety glasses, bright shirts, steel toe boots, and most importantly life vests. The hard hats and safety glasses was not new to me because of my past experiences but the life vest was new. Also, my first day at the internship I went through a three hour safety course before I could work on any jobsite. Being a Volunteer Firefighter and Hazardous Material Certified, safety was nothing new to me. I knew that safety is the number one priority on any job site. Quality was another huge aspect of my internship. The company I worked for did not get where they are today by completing a job in a poor manor. Quality was the next biggest thing right behind safety and it showed. Being able to go to the job sites, I was able to see first hand how much time and effort they put into making sure every job gets completed in a timely manor to the highest possible quality. It changed my perspective on construction because it shows that when you truly try to make every job perfect and to the highest quality, clients will be more likely to choose you even if your bid is a little higher than the competitors.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I Build America to me, is the future of construction. By that I mean that it helps people realize how important construction is to the modern world. Technology is expanding at and extremely rapid rate which makes it easier for people to design projects but not necessarily to build them. I Build America shows appreciation to those who are both in the office and in the field working hard day in and day out to make sure that every construction worker from every aspect of construction maintains their job and comes home safely at night. Being a long time construction worker, I cannot express my appreciation enough for I Build America because it shows gratitude to those who work hard in the construction industry.