School: California Polytechnic State University
Major: Construction Management
Company: Myers and Sons Construction, L.P.
Internship from June 20, 2016 — September 9, 2016
My name is Kent Beecham and I am a student at Cal Poly, majoring in Construction Management. Growing up, almost every weekend, holiday, and summer break, was spent working on jobsites with my dad or on the ranch with my grandfather.
Ever since I can remember, I have been around construction. Some of my first memories are of visiting the jobsite with my mom and getting to ride on the D-6 dozer with my dad. I was so fascinated by it and would feel invincible every time I hopped on a piece of heavy equipment. I soon found out that I was not invincible when I was swarmed by hundreds of bees after my dad took out a tree with a bee hive in it.
Nevertheless, I am still fascinated with construction today. My favorite part about it is the proud feeling of accomplishment I am filled with after finishing a job—something that I put my sweat and blood into. It is my own way of leaving a mark on the community and some day when I’m driving down the road with my children I can tell them that “I built that building” or “I made that road.” For example, one summer in high school I was on an apartment building job. We were building the pads, installing the utilities, and doing the concrete work. There was a crashed schedule and I was forced to work long and strenuous days. It was a lot of exhausting work but by the end I was so proud to have been a part of the construction.
Both sides of my family have been in heavy civil construction for over four generations. This strong influence that I grew up around influenced my choice of major in college and where I have interned thus far. All three of my summer internships have been with heavy civil companies that use HCSS daily: Papich Construction, Granite Construction, and Myers and Sons Construction.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
As an interning project engineer for Myers and Sons Construction in Colorado, I was assigned to the Eisenhower Tunnel project in the Rocky Mountains. Every day the foreman or I would sign the crew out on the HCSS Field app. I would also run weekly safety meetings using a topic of my choice. My internships previous to this one I used HCSS software Heavy Bid and Heavy Job on the daily within the office. Being on the jobsite full time this summer, it was nice to experience the field app, which makes work in the office much easier!
My other duties were standard PE duties. I attend weekly meetings; assist the foreman, superintendent, and project manager; negotiate with the owners, direct the crew, check quantities, create three week look ahead, order and track concrete, and many other various tasks. I worked long hours, which made this summer a blast!
Those are all important tasks that help a jobsite run smoothly and productively, though they are not my proudest accomplishment during my internship. But, I am most proud of the hard work I put in with the crew. Whenever I had down time I would jump in to assist the workers. It didn’t matter what the task. I would operate, muck concrete, dig ditches, chip out concrete, sweep with a broom, and do anything else to help get the job done. I was not seeking glory or respect, but I was simply raised to never be above anyone and to get the job done as quickly and safely as possible.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
My internship with Myers and Sons Construction exposed me to many new things in our industry. I have been around earthwork, underground, and paving for most of my life but I have minimal experience with concrete and pump trucks. Being the point of contact with our concrete supplier, concrete tester, and pumping company, I learned a vast amount about everything that goes into concrete work.
I also learned a lot about working in another state. I am born and raised in California and working in Colorado broadened my perception. There are many overall similarities but many differences as well. For example terminology, CDOT specification vs Caltrans, and especially many factors including weather!
Being in the field I also learned a lot about working with a new crew. Along with myself being new to the company, so was the rest of the crew. Over time clicks can form and true personalities tend to come out. Over time, safe and hardworking crew members could be identified from the bad ones.At times, I found it challenging to work with this crew while there are so many underlying factors going on. I found it best to ask people to do something and listen when there is a problem. I had a great foreman on the job that helped me learn a lot about working with a big crew. That was a huge learning experience for myself that I can apply many situations in life.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
On my project at the Eisenhower Tunnel in Colorado, safety and quality were things I was involved with on a regular basis. Every Monday, the foreman or I would run the crew through a safety meeting. I would then have them sign for participation through the safety mojo app on the iPad. Also, every morning I would sign in the crew on the same app. It was really handy to keep track of time, safety, and management.
Quality was another large part of my work. Being on site full time, I often assisted and directed our crew and subs. For example, all of our concrete had to be tested out of the end of the pump hose. If it did not pass the tight margin of air entrainment, we could not pump it without a pay reduction of 25%. Before I was onsite the concrete foreman poured multiple trucks with led to the pay reduction. Along with the project manager and superintendent, I was proud that not a single load was poured with a pay reduction with me on board. I accomplished this by simply being patient with our concrete testers and direct with our pump operator.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I see I Build America as the beating heart of our industry. It is something that reminds us to take pride in the work we do. It is the sweat beading from my brow on a hot day laying asphalt, it is the blood dripping from my hand onto green concrete without knowing it, it is working late into the freezing night to replace the tracks on an excavator. Feelings and tasks like these can be over looked if not reflected on.
I Build America is a way to show your pride in the work we all do. We all know someone that swears at the sight of a lane closure to build a bridge or pave a road. Yet, they could not comprehend or last a single day doing what we do. This thought goes without a single regard to the health and safety of men and women working hard to bring home paychecks to feed their families.
From the way I look at it, we are no different from police, fire fighters, and paramedics. We provide a safe environment for the American people we coexist with. Whether it’s a safe road to travel down, a comfortable office to work in, or pipelines that provide fresh drinking water to our tap. Our industry is the backbone of American health and safety.