School: The Ohio State University
Major: Construction Systems Management/ Architecture
Company: George J. Igel & Co., Inc.
Internship from May 5, 2014 — May 1, 2017
My name is Kelsey Greco and I am pursuing a dual degree in Construction Systems Management and Architecture at The Ohio State University. This is a five year program that will allow me to receive a Bachelor’s of Science in Architecture and in Construction Management. After earning my undergraduate degrees, I plan to continue my education by earning a Master’s Degree in Architecture and then working towards taking the A.R.E. (Architectural Registration Exam) and earning my Architectural license.
Even as a child, I have always wanted to become a designer and have been around the construction industry my entire life. My father owned his own residential construction business and my mother works as a bookkeeper for a small construction company. My father designed many of the residential houses in my hometown, as well as the house I grew up in. He then worked to build his designs. Growing up in this environment has led me to the career path I am on today. I believe that architecture and engineering can go much farther than designing new buildings and structures; but can also help develop more efficient, cost effective, and safer ways to actually build these projects. My ultimate career goal in the construction industry is to innovate the working collaboration between contractors, engineers, and architects, to create more energy efficient and sustainable design and building techniques.
I was fortunate enough to receive a job at the George J. Igel & Co., Inc. in 2014, after my sophomore year of college. Since that time, I have continued to work at Igel full time during the summer and part time during school the last few years to gain essential experience in construction, as well as help pay for college. My internship is in project management, but I have also been able to gain field experience and involvement in estimating. I’ve had the opportunity to work on several different types of projects, showing how unique every construction job is. I’ve worked on private and public jobs, where Igel is the subcontractor for a larger general contractor, and ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) jobs, where Igel works as the main contractor to improve roadways and travel. Each job has given me a new perspective on the construction process and ideas for the way construction will progress in the future.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
My internship helped me gain essential knowledge on how the construction industry works and the needs of construction workers. I began working at the George J. Igel & Co., Inc., when I was 19 years old as their youngest intern ever. My job included helping the Superintendents and Foreman in the field, as well as organizing and submitting paperwork to the office in order to track job costs and keep the project within budget. I had little experience when I started at Igel and they gave me the opportunity to learn how jobsites work by spending time in the field. I was able to quickly learn what needed to be completed and began taking on new responsibilities and tasks as time progressed.
During my first summer at Igel I worked on a large scale highway job that transformed the intersection of two major highways in Columbus. This project will regulate traffic, as well as make travel safer through this section of Columbus. Being an ODOT job, everything needed to be tracked, scheduled, and maintained accurately. I used HCSS HeavyJob to help me track all budget quantities, as well as what the crews were doing and where they were working each day. With up to 5 crews at a time, HeavyJob made it possible to keep detailed records of the project. Igel then made their next technological advance and gave all the Foreman and Superintendents iPads, allowing them to enter time and quantities in the field that day. I worked to help the Foreman learn how to use this software and make the transition as easy.
My second year at Igel, one of the projects I worked on was a private design-build project, building three data centers at three different locations. A major factor of this project was the amount of design and plan changes throughout the construction work. Although the projects were designed the same in different locations, each new jobsite presented its own challenge with the site itself. One jobsite was right off a busy road and keeping MOT (Maintenance of Traffic) in order was a large focus. On the other jobsite, the soil was unsuitable and needed a large about of lime for stabilization. With these jobs I priced the plan changes and the different needs for each site using the HCSS HeavyBid software. This allowed me to put together estimates that highlighted the changes and costs associated.
Now that I have had an opportunity to work on several different types of projects, with different methods and contracts, I have been able to learn the different steps in the construction process. Since the construction industry is continuously changing and progressing, I have begun to help Igel update their procedures and standardize methods for the job for new employees by updating the project manual and creating “How to” sheets for many of the procedures, including using HCSS HeavyBid and HeavyJob.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
The biggest thing I’ve learned during this internship is the affect construction has on its workers. Construction is physically exhausting job with long hours and harsh conditions. Getting a chance to know the field employees and why they are here has been truly inspiring. Since they are the backbone to construction, I feel it’s very important to pay attention to their needs and help them complete this work.
George J. Igel & Co., Inc., follows the motto of “Integrity, Gratitude, Excellence, and Leadership”. Working here has given me the opportunity to see how they have put all of these elements into their everyday work and how it has helped Igel grow to the company they are today. Igel first started in 1911 as a small, family owned trucking company and has grown to be one of the largest earthwork and utility subcontractors in central Ohio. Igel often works to help other contractors on site and does a large amount of non-contracted work for the general contractor in order to help produce the best product possible. This really brings the idea of teamwork to the highest priority and results in the best projects.
Being at Igel has taught me to always be grateful for every opportunity that is presented and to treat people fairly and generously. They have inspired me to continue in the construction field and apply my design knowledge to help the everyday construction worker.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
To be involved with safety, I first earned my 30 hour OSHA card in order to understand what the safety concerns are and the means and methods to keep the workers safe. During my internship, I was privileged with the opportunity to participate in a safety day with our Safety Director. We traveled around to jobsites, making sure all of the safety requirements were in place and that people were following these measures. After this, I began doing my own safety audits for jobsites I was working on. These safety audits included making sure all the equipment and safety precautions were up to date and completed. I made sure that the men and women in the field had everything they needed in order to stay safe. This included making sure the hardhats were kept up to date as well as proper safety glasses, masks, harnesses, and anything else they needed. Seeing jobsite injuries really puts into perspective how important safety is, and why everyone needs to focus on keeping all employees safe. This is a priority at Igel and can be seen by the eagerness of the employees to come to work and be a part of the Igel team.
The George J. Igel & Co., Inc., is well known for their work in concrete and underground utilities and they highlight having integrity and pride in their work and always completing a project with the best possible product. I had an opportunity to work on a road replacement job that shows the importance of quality. The road failed due to poor design with little drainage for the road. The gravel underneath the road eventually washed away and caused the road to fail. We then helped redesign the road with drainage and made sure the soil underneath was stable. On this project we did a large amount of undercutting and placed extra gravel underneath the road as well and added a drainage ditch to ensure the road would maintain its integrity and stay intact.
What I can take away from Igel that will help me throughout the rest of my career is to always put all of my efforts into completing any project with pride and integrity. I’ve also learned the importance of the construction team and to do whatever is necessary to help my team and keep them safe.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
To me, I Build America sends a message that the construction industry is crucial in the daily life of society and having a career in construction may be challenging, but is also very rewarding. Construction careers are generally not highlighted as rewarding, respectable careers and are generally not advertised by schools as an option after graduation. A lot of people overlook construction as a career option and take for granite the structures we have that are because of construction.
I Build America’s message is to call importance to the need for construction workers as well as honor those who have made this a part of their life. Construction is important to help improve America and the structures created will only improve with more experience, technology, and time. This will then improve life in America and help keep society moving forward.
I Build America focuses on the actual construction of many projects, which is the most important aspect, but I believe we need to focus on all careers related to construction. Architecture, construction, engineering and business are all essential for any project to be completed. These disciplines are currently seen as separate careers with very separate jobs and the collaboration between them minimal. Although each discipline focuses on different aspects of a project, they are all necessary to complete a project to the highest quality. If all the trades began to work together more I believe that construction in the future can achieve much more. Architects and engineers can help design safer jobsites and safer more efficient equipment and methods for the field worker. The field workers and contractors can begin to help with the design process, giving ideas for more energy efficient designs and ideas on the materials that will look good and be important to the project at the ground level. I Build America is calling attention to the needs of the construction industry and highlighting its many career opportunities and paths.