School: University of Wisconsin – Stout
Company: Frattalone Companies
Internship from May 9, 2016 — August 31, 2016
To begin with I chose to do an internship with Frattalone Companies for the past two summers. I chose Frattalone Companies because the companies work with heavy-civil construction is greatly respected in the Midwest area. Frattalone Companies stood out to me because they are a family based company and hold many values that I and many of the other employees look for. I started at Frattalone Companies as an assistant field engineer in the summer of 2015. I quickly found my love for this portion of the industry. Being outside around heavy equipment moving large quantities of earth made me feel as if I was a part of something significant. After completing my 2015 summer internship I began school at the University of Wisconsin- Stout where I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in construction management with a minor in business administration. With my first summer being such a success, I chose to go back to Frattalone Companies where I was an assistant project manager intern for the 2016 summer. I chose to do a construction internship to help me learn more about the industry along with all the components that make a project run safely and efficiently. Frattalone Companies has allowed for me to grow as a student by teaching me things such as estimating, takeoffs, communication, safety and scheduling.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
The internship through Frattalone Companies, allowed for me to succeed in numerous areas and achieve greatly. The area that I achieved in the most was education. Through my summer internship I was lucky to be surrounded by people with 30+ years of experience who continued to challenge me daily. The challenges they presented me where real life issues based of either current jobs or potential jobs. These daily challenges were all a part of my internship but tested my capability to process information correctly and effectively so that the company could continue its day to day operations. In result of working alongside many veteran employees, more work and challenges were put on my plate. This was not only because I had exceeded their standards, but also because they put their trust in my abilities to estimate, put together bids, and assist in managing jobs. Working with these employees benefited me by letting me learn to use HeavyBid and HeavyJob. A project that stood out the most was a multi-phase demolition and excavation job on Minnesota’s largest industrial facility. It consisted of the demolition of a 2 million square foot building on a U.S. EPA Superfund site. While demolition occurred, there was also a large mass excavation that included a contaminated soil cleanup along with site grading for the new buildings and parking lots. This was a great experience as a young intern getting to see various tasks happen at the same time in order to meet deadlines. Frattalone Companies was happy with placing me on site for half-days tracking quantities, equipment hours, man hours and most importantly being available for questions as they arose. I learned how to use HeavyJob to keep the project running on track of budget while comparing it with HeavyBid. Frattalone Companies was pleased with my attention when tracking dirt and scrap quantities and also impressed by how I used resources to solve troubling questions that presented themselves.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
Through my internship with Frattalone Companies I have learned many things that will affect me both personally and professionally for the rest of my life. I learned the importance of communication, whether it was estimating projects before bid or helping out the superintendents in the field with questions that arise during a project. Communication is crucial in the industry but more importantly life as a whole. Without communication there would be many questions unanswered, meetings missed and tasks unattended. By using HeavyJob, Frattalone Companies was capable of tracking daily quantities easily. For example, we understood how much soil to export from an excavation or how much more fill we would need to truck in for a new parking lot. The daily diary also came in handy when it came to keeping records of what was done each day and could be compared to the daily reports for equipment and man hours. One of the many benefits of communication is the ability to meet new faces and begin lifelong relationships. I saw time and time again that when someone else or myself had a strong relationship with a subcontractor or vendor, our communications together would help a project run smoothly. Along with communication, safety was also an important area that stood out as something that will stick with me forever. We all have the same goal, and that is to return home to our loved ones each and every day. The safety program implemented at Frattalone Companies has helped all of their employees achieve this goal. Safety is no accident, and everyone should keep a conscious mind of themselves and others when working and operating in the field. One thing we would do in the office before we would start a new project is that we would sit down with the superintendents for the jobs to make sure that we considered all the potential risks involved with a project and communicated how to run a new site safely and efficiently.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
During my summer internship with Frattalone Companies I had the pleasure of working with our safety director. One of the things that I remember the most was creating new Safety Data Sheets for all of the materials and products that we use. The lengthy task of combining all of the sheets gave me a new appreciation for the folks in the field. While logging all of the products that are used, I took a look into each material to see what some of the hazards are associated with each. This gave me the appreciation as well as a better understanding of the safety program that has been implemented at Frattalone Companies. The creation of the new SDS books helped the employees in the field and shop as well as in the office understand what daily risks that were associated with materials and helped keep everyone safe at the end of the day. Another aspect I was introduced to during my summer internship was collecting soil samples. Through these collections, I was able to assist Frattalone Companies in understanding the material makeup of soils and determine the conditions of the soil we were working with. After taking and looking at multiple samples on various sites, it shed a new light on the heavy-civil side of the construction industry. We were able to understand if soils were contaminated or “hot” as many would say, and this could change many factors of our jobs. At the same time many of the soil samples were uncontaminated or “clean”, which is ultimately what we were looking for.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I Build America is an initiative to show the pride we all have in the construction industry. To me the group focuses on sharing the projects we all work on, and highlighting the men and women who go above and beyond to make America what it is today. Through the use of social media, the group has given industries the capability of sharing these projects and accomplishments. I Build America not only showcases large profile projects, but all that are submitted. It gives companies the ability to display their appreciation and pride for the countless hours of planning, communication, work and safety that in turn is what builds America.