School: Louisiana State University
Major: Construction Management
Company: Standard Constructors
Internship from May 16, 2016 — August 10, 2016
I am Jonathan Shuler and currently enrolled in Louisiana State University (LSU). I am completing my degree in construction management with a minor in business. I grew up hunting and fishing, which made me love and appreciate the outdoors. At my family’s hunting camp, we are always trying to improve the property to keep it sustainable and prosperous. My family and I are always constructing new projects, such as a guest house, barn, dock, chicken coup, dog kennels, and wooden walkways. These projects helped me realize I love construction and completing projects. Throughout high school, I worked with my uncle, who owns a residential construction company called Shuler Construction, and assisted him with renovations and various projects. Shuler Construction is located in New Orleans, LA and specializes in high-dollar custom homes and renovations. This experience initiated my growth and knowledge in the construction industry. I was exposed to the different phases of designing and constructing and was able to witness the process from start to finish. When I graduated high school, choosing to attend LSU was a no-brainer. Due to my passion for creating, designing and executing construction projects, I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in engineering. However, in the beginning of my college career, I was unsure if I wanted to study mechanical engineering or construction management. I ultimately decided construction management was the right career. I wanted to be involved in a field that provided a wide-variety of opportunities and specializations. During my time at LSU, I have participated in multiple clubs and organizations within the construction department. The Construction Student Association (CSA) is a networking and social club offered to construction management students looking to stand out and be a forerunner in the college. CSA provides students with great opportunities, whether it is a job opportunity or social opportunities . Each semester CSA offers a Construction Interview Day. This day is where various industry representatives, alumni, and recruits all attend to interview students for internships, careers, or part-time positions.
I was offered an internship opportunity in Freeport, TX with Standard Constructors. Standard Constructors specializes in industry construction, and this field is the only construction sector I have not had the experience of working in. I have interned with residential and commercial companies on various projects previously. So, I wanted to focus on different aspects in construction management in order for me to advance within the industry.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I received great results and feedback from everybody I worked with at Standard Constructors. Several of my bosses stated I will have a full-time position waiting for me when I graduate, which is a humbling feeling. I shadowed the lead estimator for the first half on my internship, and this experience taught me how to estimate efficiently and use the software that is utilized everyday in the industry. Throughout this shadowing, I was able to generate accurate takeoffs on my own that my boss used to estimate bids. During this time, I also was given the opportunity to experience HCSS Heavy Bid estimating software by entering crews and equipment for different construction tasks. Also, I was given the chance to communicate with vendors and subcontractors to discuss material pricing in order to complete a bid. I also kept track of jobs and created a master vendor list. The second half of my internship took place at job site. During this half, I worked side-by-side with the project manager, project engineer, superintendent, and the safety manager. I was able to experience how a field office operates and how the various job roles interact with each other. At the field office, I created daily reports in order to track the man-hours for the scheduler and to track the activities performed throughout the week. These reports were then uploaded throughout the company’s server for documentation purposes. During my time at the field office, I quickly learned different activities and the process for each one. This gave me a better perspective on how projects function and how to look for the hidden obstacles.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
By going through this internship, I realized what I need to focus on to achieve my goals and excel in my career. During this internship, I was able to recognize my strengths and weaknesses and how to approve upon them. I also gained a dedicated work ethic and a drive to succeed. I have learned the importance of professionalism through client meetings and interactions. These are just a few things that I have gained from this experience that will help me throughout my career. I was excited to go to work everyday because of the new opportunities to learn. Not knowing what the day was going to bring was thrilling. I have not been this passionate about something in a long time. It makes me eager and motivated for my future career.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
I have learned safety is the by far the most important and crucial role in the field. In order to implement safety, companies have to ensure repetition to the craftsmen and crews. One of the ways Standard Constructors applied safety, was the repetitious safety meetings. Each morning, before any work was performed, we would have a safety meeting. The meeting consisted of the plan for the day, which hazards might be experienced, and how these hazards can be managed and controlled in a safe way. I believe this created open relationships between the company, crews, and clients by enabling everyone to talk freely about safety and feel comfortable on the job site, instead of intimidation and hesitation. Everyone in this industry must be involved with safety. It only takes one unsafe person or action to shut a job site down and hurt or possibly kill someone. I was involved with safety from the time I started to the time I left. Every time workers step foot on a client’s property they must have the appropriate personal protective equipment including steel toes boots, high visibility clothing, long sleeves, ANSI approved safety glasses, MSA hard hat, and others, if necessary. Half of the internship, I worked alongside with the safety manager. I experienced how he deals with multiple situations, large or small. I learned a great amount about how serious safety is in the construction industry. I was also educated on the paperwork he has to fill out before each day and during the day including Iplans, safe work permits, accountability rosters, etc.
Safety doesn’t happen by accident (Standard Constructors).
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I Build America is a great way to recognize companies and people who are typically in the shadows. Everyone in their careers wants to be recognized in a positive way. This is a great way to say thank you and recognize those who tough-out exhausting conditions and physical labor. This also is a way to identify the quality ,value, and importance of construction. I Build America could be considered a social networking organization or an award program. By reading some of the articles on the website, it gives me a different perspective on this community. It feels good to know there are people appreciative of the construction that is being done.