School: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Major: Civil Engineering
Company: Preston Pipelines
Internship from June 22, 2015 — September 18, 2015
My name is Kristian Hayward, and I am going into my third year as a Cal Poly San Luis ObispoCivil Engineering student. I was born in Toronto, Canada, and in 2000 I moved to Mountain View, California. I have always enjoyed building things and reverse engineering whatever I could get my hands on, whether it be a Lego set when I was 8, or more recently my 1994 E36 BMW that I rebuilt and take to the racetrack, and my 125CC Honda motorcycle that I rebuilt and transformed into a cafe racer.
I chose to do an internship in construction because I wanted a good basis for what the industry was about – there isn’t a whole lot of outsider information as a first year student with regards to what the construction industry is all about and how complex it is, so I figured the only way to learn was to jump right into the action and start working!
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be given so much responsibility on the job throughout my 12 week internship with Preston Pipelines. Having only completed my first year as a Civil Engineering student at Cal Poly, my boss took a chance when he met me at the Cal Poly career fair and decided to take me on his team for the summer. The first week or two were rough, admittedly. I was introduced to brand new programs, including Heavy Job, as I spent my first few days in the field working with time cards and understanding the fundamentals of the company.
Towards the end of my internship, after just under two months of working with the company, my boss gave me the opportunity to bid my own job, and follow it through to the end. I started on the submittal process, and a week later I won the job for the company. I was given the opportunity and responsibility of being the project manager for the job, which was a sewer, grease interceptor and water line installation. I conducted all of the USA tickets, met with the supervisors and city inspectors, and took the job head on. My boss was very impressed with how I handled myself; in his review of my performance during the summer on LinkedIn, he said, “For not having any knowledge in underground construction he was a quick learner and receptive to his superiors…I gave Kristian the opportunity to run his own project knowing that he would still have questions, but confident that he would get the job done. He knocked it out of the park from beginning to end.” [Recommendation via LinkedIn]. My boss was incredibly supportive throughout the job, but made sure I got the feel for running a job and a solid understanding of how many moving parts there are in managing a job.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
This internship taught me an incredible amount, both about the construction industry, and about conducting myself in a professional manner. Everything that I know about the construction industry started at this internship, and it has helped me build an incredibly strong foundation for what the next forty years in the industry will hold for me. On top of that, I learned how to act in a professional environment; I was constantly answering calls from pipe suppliers, going into the field and discussing issues with superintendents and talking over our procedures with city inspectors. One of the biggest takeaways was that I learned how to conduct myself with my superiors. Throughout my career I will be answering to top executives, both at the company I work at as well as other companies, and city officials, and in just three months I feel like I have developed skills that I can and will consistently apply to any future job that I come across.
This internship also showed me that I can learn and truly understand brand new material, and be able to rise to any occasion that is presented to me. In school, everything is linked together – classes all have similar aspects, where as this job presented completely new challenges that I enjoyed tackling, such as estimating and bidding, and dealing with time cards and costs.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
The company that I worked for, Preston Pipelines, has an incredible safety record, and I took a lot away from their perspectives on on-site safety and following rules. This attention to safety didn’t change my perspective, but rather completely shaped my perspective on construction. From the start I was always aware in the field about wearing PPE and making sure workers were aware of my presence when operating machinery. From the office perspective, having this fantastic emphasis on safety made me extra conscious about city standards relating to shoring, as we dealt with underground utilities. I was very impressed with the foremen’s attention to detail when doing things such as sloping sides of the trench when the conditions didn’t call for shoring. I was lucky to work with a company that valued safety over costs – in the three months that I worked there, there was never a suggestion to take a less-safe route in order to save costs. That desire to get the job done, correctly and safely, has shown me the standard of work that I aim to work at.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
That is a fantastic website that really shows the amount of work construction workers put into creating a better country. The 2016 Project Winner, Finalists, and Semi-Finalists alone give an incredible view of how vast the construction industry is. From improving bridges to ensure safety of ambulance traffic, to even bringing in the first ever Formula One track (which both my Dad and I avidly follow) to the United States to join in on the world-wide championships of Formula One racing. Every construction site that is currently underway in America is contributing to improving the country’s infrastructure, and the overall better welfare of the citizens of the United States. On top of that, the construction industry…