School: Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo
Major: Construction Management
Company: Beck Group
Internship from June 20, 2016 — September 2, 2016
I am a small town country kid. I grew up on a ranch in Wyoming, moved to Arizona in high school, and have gone to Cal Poly-SLO for 4 years. I will be a 5th year studying Construction Management, planning on graduating June 2017.
I chose to do an internship with Beck in Fort Worth, TX this summer for many reasons. This was my last summer before graduating so I wanted to go somewhere new (that I could potentially see myself living after graduation), intern with a company headquartered near the area (Beck HQ is in Dallas), and have the ability to still compete in rodeo (Tie-Down Roping). With this internship I was able to accomplish all 3 of these goals and had an amazing summer throughout the experience.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I achieved results of being a great team member and contributing valuable assets to the project. My role became greatly focused on the Quality Control side of the Superintendents. The project we were working on is a $50mil 6 story parking garage; lots of concrete, rebar, and post tensioning. I focused on these 3 aspects heavily and became Beck’s QC man prior to the 3rd party inspector.
I exceeded my supervisor’s expectations in multiple factors that he and I went over the last day of my internship. These include: dealing successfully and professionally with all individuals involved on the project (primarily subs), preparing punch lists, strong work habits (getting to work on time, working required hours & OT, team player, positive, enthusiastic, and spending time in the field), listening, strong understanding of construction business, and reading plans.
My goal was to have a great attitude every day, learn as much as possible, and becoming a strong member of the team by the time I left, for my absence to be felt (in a positive way). My supervisor repeatedly told me that I had become a great asset and he would need to find someone to take my workload when I left, to me that means I succeeded. Also, a few laborers on site mentioned to me that they appreciated the help and attention I had given them throughout the summer and that they would miss me, hoping I’d be back after graduation. This also showed me I had made a great difference to them personally, which is very important and special to me.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
I learned that I have great potential in the construction industry and there are many ways to make a positive difference in the lives of numerous people. Construction is about more than completing a project, it provides the infrastructure for a community and can become the symbol of a town. The relationships developed range from an owner to a laborer, all being equally important and potentially strong.
I learned that I want to and can make a difference on a large scale in an intimate way. Construction allows you to shape the progress and identity of a city, along with every individual in it.
I will continue to learn and develop my skills to work toward these goals.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
As I stated before most of my focus was on quality. I began to learn more about safety standards as the summer progressed. Commercial construction is far different from residential remodeling or building things on the ranch with Paps. Things like properly using a ladder, operating machinery, and even inspecting power cords are tasks that I’ve always been cognizant off but never paid close attention to. We had several safety personnel on site every day watching, maintaining, and training us all on procedures for a safe site. I had never been exposed to this level of detail in safety before so every aspect of it was eye opening.
My role in Quality Control showed me that as construction is a process, there are intricate processes within the individual trades working on site. Checking rebar has an efficient flow to the tasks of the rodbusters, check to early and there isn’t much to see, wait to long and it becomes a big pain to fix (for everyone). Similar with post-tensioning, minor flaws must be immediately addressed and resolved, otherwise post-pour stressing of the cables can get ugly.
Attention to detail is without a doubt a speciality when it comes to large-scale construction.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I Build America means exactly what I see in construction. As I stated in previous answers, construction shapes the society we live in. Construction is about relationships, working together to build a better project, town, community, and ultimately a better world for us all. I Build America, to me, is promoting this same idea, taking pride in the men and women who devote their lives to construction. Construction is taken for granted in many ways, but efforts like I Build America is putting forth raise awareness and build a hub for people to learn from.
Construction is the foundation of advancement. Lets stand together and continue building as WE build America!