School: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Major: Construction Managment
Company: Morley Construction
Internship from June 13, 2016 — September 1, 2016
My name is Grant Bettisworth and I am a junior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo studying Construction Management. With no one in my family having worked in the construction industry, I gained my interest in the industry from a fascination with skyscrapers which led to researching career opportunities on the Internet. After researching the construction industry, I was convinced that this was the right field of study for me.
From an early age, I knew that I wanted to be involved in some aspect of the business field as this is a common theme in my family. However, being confined to sitting behind a desk was not appealing to me as I love to be outdoors and desire a career where most of my days would be working outside the office.
During my first two years at Cal Poly, I learned a tremendous amount of information relating to all aspects of construction. My classroom training included learning the basics, including reading plans to more complex topics such as planning schedules and creating 3-D building models.. With this tremendous knowledge base, I still felt like I lacked an important element of the business; hand-on experience. Unlike many of my fellow students who had worked on a construction site, I lacked the hands on experience that would help me be successful in the field.
I found a solution to this need in learning of the Carpenter’s Apprenticeship program. This is a program offered in partnership with the union in which you join the brotherhood known as the Carpenter’s Union and work hands on as a first level apprentice. This seemed like the perfect solution to my challenge; of solidifying what I learned in my classes by putting these concepts to work in the field. As a visual learner, there were multiple times in class where we would be reviewing a set of plans and I would think that this topic would be easier to understand if I could just see it come together from first-hand observation. Fast forward to this internship; I can now say that seeing the execution of the project from the plans has led to a better understanding of how the drawings describe the construction process.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
In completing the internship program; one key aspect of what I learned was the importance of the communication between the office and the field. The field needs information almost instantly and depends heavily on the office for obtaining and communicating the required information. If this process does not run smoothly it can result in delays which in addition to impacting the project schedule can affect the profitability of the job.
A summary of the key items that I focused on during the internship which will reinforce my classroom training include:
• Reading plans
• Working with requests for information (RFI)
• Working with Sub Contractors
• Understanding the Grid System
• Determining the length of each activity and how various activities interrelate
I believe I exceeded the company’s expectations by being a team player and my willingness to do whatever needed to be accomplished to get the job done. At all times, I hustled around the construction site as I knew that time was such a crucial part of productivity.
Another aspect where I thought I did well with was trying to be a step ahead of my supervisor at all times. I would try to anticipate the actions he made and be ready to give him a tool or a pencil and have it in his hand before he asked for it. This helped speed up the process in the field. I am sure that this can be applied to the office as well. This really made my supervisor happy as it enabled him to be more productive.
This was the first time that my employer, Morley Construction had participated in the Carpenter’s Apprenticeship program. They also came away from participating in the program satisfied that it met their needs. In response to a thank you note that I had sent one of my sponsors at Morley, the following sentiments were expressed; “It was a great experience for us as well, thanks to your hard work and great attitude. I wasn’t sure how it would work out but you made us proud buddy.”
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
While working with experienced construction men and woman, I was pleasantly surprised when they gave me life advice. This was something I didn’t really expect from the internship process. Everyone in the company was very willing to help me and guide me in the right way. The most common message I got was to stay in school and how education is very important to my future endeavors. However, the advice did not end there, as many gave me additional advice that was not related directly to my training. . My direct supervisor communicated to me the importance of saving money as well as how to excel in any job I take on in the future. These lessons remain invaluable to me and act as a model for how I should go about my life.
Aside from personal advice, I have retained more construction knowledge than I had ever thought possible. Being in the field, I am now comfortable with tools from the basic hammer to more advanced tools like the robotic total station. Aside from tools, I have a strong understanding of how a construction project should be run. This includes scheduling, timing, keeping workers motivated, as well as many other take-aways. From a management perspective, I have participated in meetings between the owner and project manager as well as meetings between project superintendents with other subcontracts. This experience will affect me in a positive way by providing valuable information on how to carry myself in those situations as well as any other meetings I find myself involved in. It is essential to create a good image for yourself as you are representing the company and it is important to conduct business in a professional manner.
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 safety as one aspect of my job was to identify any unsafe conditions on the job site and either fix them or get help in resolving them, This was an important role for me as I had to “keep my head on a swivel”, determining what could possibly be dangerous to the my health as well as my coworkers. As I walked around the site, I really understood how my company stressed safety. It was the absolute top priority on the site and determined to be more important than productivity. This had a really big impact on me as my supervisor continued to tell me to not do anything that does not feel safe. We started off talking about safety every morning. We would huddle up as a team and discuss possible hazards on the site as well as what deliveries or other subcontractors would be doing as we would need to respect their workplace. Having such a big influence in the safety process helped me realize how dangerous construction can be. Without the proper OSHA regulations and safety manager the job would be chaotic and very dangerous to enter. Another concept that I did not realize until I got onto the jobsite was understanding the rule that every person is responsible for the safety of the crew. This means that it is critical to be looking out for the fellow workers to ensure everybody makes it home safely. It really is a group effort to make the project safe.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
To me Build America means inspiring the youth to build green. As we all know, the world resources are being depleted and we are not doing a good job of preserving these limited resources. I recently completed a class on green building and LEED practices to be used on construction sites. This class taught me better ways to use renewable resources on a project site. By implementing this technology and efficient strategies, we can dramatically reduce the waste generated, making the world a better place for many years to come. However, this does not happen overnight, as teaching and understanding takes time.
When we talk about educating the youth, we are talking about the future generations of contraction professionals. This is why it is important to provide them with the resources needed to excel in the competitive construction industry and let them know that anybody that wants to work in the industry can find a path to success and a rewarding career. I also really agree with Building America’s motto of stressing pride for both the employees and the work done on the construction project. Pride is such a beautiful and useful emotion that brings out the best in companies and their employees. It should be an emotion that is highlighted and encouraged. Personally, I think Build America reveals to our future generation that we have the ability to “build” whatever we envision. I believe that in ten years from now, we will have exciting new developments that will spring the industry forward by employing new and improved means of constructing building. The other key objective is to develop determined and prideful people to turn these construction projects into reality.