School: University of Maine
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Internship from May 11, 2015 — August 26, 2016
My name is Jared Cox, I’m entering my fourth and final year pursuing a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maine. I have been involved with construction my whole life, both my grandfather and father own or did own a masonry company. From going to work with my father when I was very young, to working for him to purchase my first car, I have grown up through construction. It was because of this experience I chose to do an internship in construction. The construction field allows me to apply my passion for engineering with the field of work I have enjoyed for so long. Construction is something I have found to be impossible to leave, the work is incredibly satisfying and the people you work with make the jobsites as fun as they are productive, no other job has been able to offer me what construction has.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
This is actually my second year into my internship, the first was such a success that I never left. Instead, I stayed involved with the project throughout the school year during breaks in classes. I have had the opportunity to be involved with nearly every aspect of a project. Everything from field work, field engineering, management and planning, estimating and purchasing material, and now a business development project have been incorporated in my internship. I exceeded my company’s expectations by continuously striving to learn as much as possible. My company encourages interns to accept as much responsibility as necessary to obtain the experience you’re looking for, I took advantage of this and learned a lot a long the way. My efforts were recognized by my company when I was selected to deliver a personal presentation covering my internship experiences to our board of directors. I will never forget that presentation and the overall experience, it was very satisfying knowing my work was noticed. After that I went on to work part time during the school year whenever I got the chance to support the crew. I was trusted to write a two page article for our company’s bi-annual magazine, this article covered our jobsite and largely represented the entire industrial and manufacturing aspect of the company. The magazine was then sent to every employee, as well as used to provide insight into our company for potential future clients. Since everyone in the company has seen the article, I have received many compliments for my work, everyone seemed to really enjoy how I portrayed our project. It was also on this job where I learned to do surveying work, something my curriculum doesn’t cover. Though surveying isn’t something I had ever done before, I learned quickly and was later responsible for supplying the crew with elevation benchmarks. I took this work very seriously and always double checked my results, this mindset led me to completing the job without a negative incident which impressed my supervisors. Surveying work is what introduced me to many of our dedicated crew members, building relationships with these men and women earned me a role performing field work with them. During this time I called on my previous construction experience and strong work ethic to produce the quality of work that was demanded. Proving my capabilities in the field was important for the success of my internship, knowing my work ethic led the crew to giving me additional responsibilities which allowed me to learn and grow within the company at a faster rate.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
Anytime I have been asked about my biggest take away from my internship, I always respond with leadership skills. Throughout my internship I have been exposed to some of the greatest leaders I have ever met. I learned that they come in all different forms, and each has their own way of inspiring the crew to reach their full potential regardless of the task at hand. I have learned that when you are handling situations that seem impossible to overcome, the best outcome will always come through keeping your composure and utilizing the knowledge of everyone on your team. I was also exposed to a leader in the field who inspired the crew with his actions instead of words. This team member reminded everyone to be proud of the company you work for and to always strive to represent each other as well as you can through his actions. Another experience from my internship that has affected my life in a positive way is the exposure to such a high level of thinking pertaining to safety. My company reminds every employee that their number one goal for the day is to leave work better than they came. At first I didn’t understand how you could leave in a better condition that you arrived, but it all made sense when I found myself applying my newfound knowledge of safety with various projects I did at home. Being involved with identifying and planning work around potential safety hazards has give me a new perspective on how to work safe. As a company, we also encourage our team members to recognize that we work safely for ourselves and our families. This idea of working safely for the sake of myself and those I care about was something I hadn’t realized yet, knowing my company cares about my personal well being so much is very satisfying. Now when I mow my lawn at home I understand that it isn’t an inconvenience to wear hearing and eye protection, it’s in my best interests to do so.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
My internship consisted of focusing on safety, and they way we approach keeping our team members safe. This involved learning how to identify and plan our work to ensure we are always as safe as possible, without ever compromising safety efforts. Construction is historically a dangerous field of work, but my perspective was changed when I realized that we have adapted and now plan for the work we need to do in a way that allows everyone to perform it safely. I also had the opportunity to be involved with a meeting regarding quality control on my project between the project manager and a internal quality control audit team. During this meeting we talked about areas where we could improve procedures and created a plan to move forward with. I then took our findings and created several documents that are still in use today, these documents serve as a check list or reminder to combat complacency regarding quality.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I Build America represents the people I have come to love working with throughout my professional career. Construction workers have some of the strongest work ethic I have seen, producing impressive work in less than favorable conditions. These men and women often work taxing jobs while exposed to mother nature, any organization that recognizes their accomplishments I appreciate very much. While I worked for my father’s masonry company I learned how hard construction workers work during their shifts. It was here that I found out how long a work day can be when you are working a schedule driven project. During my internship I was on a project that included many different forms of leaders, as I mentioned before. These leaders showed me that you do what it takes to complete the task, regardless of the difficulty of work it takes. I think construction offers some of the most satisfying work available for this reason, because once the job is complete you know how hard your team worked to produce a quality result.