School: Arizona State University
Major: Civil Engineering
Company: Pulice Construction Inc.
Internship from May 18, 2015 —
My name is Kolton Day, I have been an intern in the construction industry since May of 2015. At the same time I have been going to Arizona State University to get my bachelor of science in civil engineering, where I am currently a junior. I have been extremely blessed to have spent this time with such an amazing company as Pulice Construction is. They have been able to work with my school schedule and been patient with me while I’m still going to school.
Whenever people ask me why I chose to have an internship in construction I usually tell them “construction chose me, I didn’t chose it.” I began my undergrad in Architecture, I had always known that I wanted to be involved in the build environment, but at the time I had no thought of being part of the construction process I just wanted to design. This changed after my first year, and the switch to civil engineering began. I learned that the artsy side was not me, I wanted to crunch numbers and get my hands dirty. This change couldn’t have happened at a better time. Luck was on my side during the transition, I ran into a man named Chris Horn at my part time retail job I was working during school, we began talking and by the end of the conversation he was offering me an internship. This moment defined my continuing love for the construction field.
I have now been working with Pulice Construction for 17 months and I couldn’t be happier. I have been a part of 5 different departments in the company ranging from the Job site, shop, estimating, project pursuits, and also in the main office. I have been a part of 2 projects one joint venture design build and a design-bid-build. During these two projects I have learn unfathomable amounts of construction knowledge. I have been a part of 11 Bridge constructions, ranging from precast girder bridges, falsework flyover bridges, build high and lower in place, and soffit build bridges. I’ve also been a part of the placement of 26 miles of rubberized asphalt, 22 miles of Portland cement concrete pavement. The Joint venture was one of Arizona’s quickest 100 million dollar (22 Mile) job only taking 9 month and the design-bid-build is the first 5 level traffic interchange in the state of Arizona. I firmly believe that I am extremely fortunate that I have been a part of so much in the past 17 months. The knowledge gained from these projects is something I believe very few interns have the opportunity to have.
Some of my favorite hobbies are skiing, which I have been doing since I was 5. Someday I wish to do a helicopter drop in Alaska and ski through the most remote and difficult terrain. I’m also an avid baseball and softball player, playing 2-3 times a week. My family and my faith are my cornerstone, couldn’t do life without them.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
During my time at Pulice I have exceed not only my company’s expectation but my own. This is what keeps my love for the industry growing. Every project, every job pursuit, and every exercise in the construction field is different. I love to learn and I love to push myself to be the best that I can at everything I do. Therefore, I simply couldn’t answer this question on my own. I went to the engineers and project managers that I had worked with the past 17 months. They told me that I have greatly exceeded their expectations. Man I was glad to hear that!
Coming into the company they saw a baby faced college student and they were amazed at how well/quick that I joined into the flow of the group’s chemistry. They were also impressed in the time and effort that I put into getting to know the individuals of the company, I wasn’t just another summer intern passing through the system. I firmly believe that without good relationships a team cannot succeed, therefore I’m very blessed that they were so willing to work with me. Some of my most prized statements that many of my colleagues have said is that they were very impressed in the tasks that I was willing to take on or were given. Our structural engineer Reece Green stated “I’m impressed that you’re not treated like just another intern. We give you tasks that a normal engineer would do and you complete them with high efficiency.” Wow… when I heard him say these words I was speechless. He also stated that he was also very impressed that as an intern I was put in charge of creating a paving plan. That’s something that most interns don’t have the chance to do until their hired on. I’m extremely glad that he said that because this process and result is by far my most prized achievement. I spent most of my previous summer toiling over the plan. Making sure that everything was correct, while working alongside our subcontractor.
I’m extremely blessed and excited for what the future holds for me, if it’s at Pulice or if it’s with another company in the construction field. Just having the privilege to work alongside these amazing individuals and having them mentor me through the construction process.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
Not only have I learned many of the secrets and processes of the construction process I have also learn many lessons that will positively affect my life in the future. I believe that the biggest take away from my internship was to love the opportunities that I have been given. It’s hard when you’re waking up at 4 am driving for an hour and then working hard for 8 hours, while joggling school and life at home. Its moments like the previous question (What results did you achieve and how did you exceed the company’s expectations) that really open my eyes to what this internship is teaching me. Taking a task and not giving it my all, showing up to work with a bad attitude and messing around at work treating it just like another internship. I would have never been able to get the kind of acknowledgment that my colleagues gave me. Hearing the kind words that they said about me keeps me going in my work and also at school. It has given me a new encouragement. If I was to sum up this I would have to take a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “far and away the best prize in life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” If I was to not work hard and treat this just as a summer internship, make money, and move on I wouldn’t have been able to have the “work worth doing.” It’s a crazy thought but to work hard now so that you may succeed in the future is a huge believe of mine. Dave Ramsey says for his financial planning “Live like no one else so later, you can live like no one else.” I believe this has been what has been thought to me through my internship. Do the grunt work so that you may do the work that another engineer would do. This knowledge will have a positive impact in not only my work but anything else that I may do in life.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
Safety and Quality are huge for our company. We pride our self on the ability to go weekly, monthly, and quarterly without any incidents. We all have on our hard hats the motto of our company which is “quality built on time.” As a company and a crew we try to be the crew that makes a difference. It’s all about working together to keep one another safe. Therefore as a company we go out inspect all our work and audit crews on a weekly basis to make sure that we are running at the most efficient and safest possible way. Personally I was involved in safety by worrying about traffic control. On the Design build and the Traffic interchange project my job was and is to run the job with a Gopro. Getting pictures of the traffic control. The video is for our record. While running the jobs I will determine if all the traffic control devices are in their right position and matching the plans. Even though this job may not seem like its effective in the safety of the crew it exponentially improves the safety of not only the crews but the civilians that pass through our job sites. If a sign is not in the right position or is missing a civilian can speed through the jobsite, risking their own life and our crews. Doing this greatly changed my perspective on construction. Working along a freeway with cars travelling 60 to 80 miles per hour is extremely dangerous. Once you have worked alongside cars moving that fast in the middle of night you come to a realization of just how important traffic control is to the construction industry.
Though this was the only process that I was fully involved with safety, just being out in the field has given me a better understanding of how important it is. Especially as a future engineer. It’s the calculations, plans and procedures that you manufacture that are crucial in keeping your crews safe. Everyone wants to come home to their family, so be the person/crew that is out there to make a difference.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
Ibuildamerica.com is an amazing site. First of all they are promoting the hard working men and women that build some of the things that we take for granted. The roads we drive on every day, the water that comes right to my house, the electricity, and I can go on and on. It’s the people like these men and women that I Build America promotes and acknowledges that make the modern life that we live in now so comfortable. We are truly blessed in America to have the opportunity to both work in this field and to have the works. When scrolling through the site, the first thing I clicked on was the projects. Seeing that the company cares about projects around America is fantastic. I spent love going into this part of the site and seeing what major construction projects are going on around the country. Especially reading about the companies that were in the Construction Impact Awards. It’s absolutely fascinating what we has humans can do with the built environment. Seeing these projects was astonishing. I think this is something that myself as a student doesn’t get enough of. We hear about the projects in our hometowns but we never hear of works from across the country. Reading through the recent articles was also an awesome touch. I think that I Build America has done a fantastic job at creating a single place where the men and women, the companies and the projects in the construction world can be acknowledged and promoted. Quoted from the front page “I Build America is dedicated to: Showing the pride of construction to our modern life.” This is fantastic, many of the cool facts that I wrote about in the introduction I have never told anyone. Just writing that on paper is a great moment of pride not only to myself, all the men and women in the company, and the state of Arizona. We should be proud of what we do and I Build America has created a perfect place for the men and women of construction to show what they are proud of. By contests, companies being promoted and through their social media initiative. I hope that it will be my name, my picture and my companies name up on that site as a finalist. Thank you I Build America for the opportunity!