School: Michigan State University
Major: Civil Engineering
Company: Aristeo Construction
Internship from May 9, 2016 — August 19, 2016
My name is Kyle Lash and I am a senior at Michigan State University studying civil engineering. I grew up in the metro Detroit area and have been a Spartan fan my entire life, so attending MSU has always been a dream of mine. Once I was accepted, I chose to study and major in Civil Engineering and have not looked back since. At MSU, I took a course called “Civil Engineering Materials” that had a heavy focus on the construction industry. This course really drew my interest and started me down the path of construction. It played a major factor in deciding to accept my internship offer from Aristeo. I really enjoy the construction industry due to the fact that one is able to see his/her work be put to use once the final product is finished. In Michigan, each summer is consumed with large amounts of construction. This summer, a major highway (I-275) was redone. Although I did not do any work on this job, I find it extremely rewarding to see the a project come together and now open back up for use. The highway is well now finished and a very smooth drive now that is redone. That is what I enjoy about construction, the fact that we are able to see our hard work be put to use by surrounding communities. The opportunities within the construction industry are endless as well, as new projects pop up every single day. These reasons helped me make the decision to pursue a construction internship and I enjoyed every portion of my time on the internship.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
During my internship, I was stationed at Building 31 at the General Motors Milford Proving Grounds. Aristeo was awarded a project within this facility that the final goal was to build four, 4-wheel drive dyno pits for GM to test their unreleased vehicles before they hit the markets in a few years from now. I had a substantial amount of responsibilities while on my internship, and I feel I achieved many strong results through completing these responsibilities. As the operations field engineer intern, my responsibilities included mastering the application “Contract Manager” and helping the project team with anything they needed daily. Contract Manager is GM’s application for submitting and documenting RFI’s/DCR’s, submittals, daily reports, revised drawings, field orders, and schedules. This application is very in depth, so it does take some time to become adjusted to. I learned to develop professional DCR’s and submittals to get approvals and clarifications on any questions or products that we needed to install on site. Besides working with Contract Manager, I also helped develop as-built drawings of the dyno pits once concrete was poured and saw cut. I worked hard to show my knowledge on the computer to assist my project manager and superintendent, but also did some labor work for them as well when needed. Communication was key, and I felt I did a great job with keeping GM informed as well as our own subcontractors that we hired to get this project finished. I felt as if I exceeded my company’s expectations because I proved to be a reliable asset and hard worker because my work load kept getting larger as time passed and my project manager no longer needed to approve my work before I submitted it to GM. They gained my trust and I drew positive remarks at the end of my internship from the project team as they felt I exceeded all expectations they had going into the internship.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
I learned that nothing goes exactly as planned and that you must adjust accordingly. Not only on a project will things change, but also in life. Our schedule and design changed each week but we had to stay the course and keep making progress each week. Sometimes things are out of our control and we must adjust to please the customer and finish a job properly. I will take this lesson into my present day life and future in a positive manner because each day can be life altering. At school, things do not go as planned either. I must adjust to new schedules and stress from when projects, tests, and homework pile up. Also in life, nothing goes as planned. One’s health can take a downturn out of no where. With the violence our world is experiencing, one can be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time too. I must realize things do not go as expected and adjust to make my life a positive and impactful one. I already have experience with life not going as planned when my father unexpectedly was diagnosed with lung cancer that eventually took his life. He made such an impact on me and is the reason I want to live my life to fullest and earn my civil engineering degree.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
Safety was a huge part of my internship. Aristeo’s slogan states “Everyone Goes Home Safe!” and I saw that each day on all company T-shirts, calendars, stickers, etc. This slogan is strictly enforced and followed. Anytime there was a new subcontractor on site, they had to go through a safety coordination meeting where they had to go through a checklist and slideshow about safety concerns as well as watch a video afterwards before they could go on site. Daily pre-task plans were made and signed each morning before going on site, as well as after each shift ended before leaving site. Weekly safety walk-thru’s were done by GM and weekly “toolbox talks” were done too with a new safety subject getting brought up each week. Participating in all of this really showed me how much of a top priority safety is on a job site. I also had to complete my OSHA 30 and MUST Modules prior to going on site. Going home safe each day was the ultimate goal each day, and that is exactly what happened as this is Aristeo’s number one priority. My perspective on construction did not change at all due to all the safety concerns. I knew going into my internship that construction can be a very dangerous job but if all safety hazards are taken care of and everyone is careful, we can avoid any tragic events. The safety precautions taken from the construction site have even been brought back with me home, as I now mow the lawn with safety glasses each time, do not climb tall ladders with a spotter or being tied off, and thinking of all safety scenarios prior to taking on what could be a dangerous task.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
What stuck out to me from I Build America is how much they care for recruiting in the next generation. My age is the future of this industry and we need to learn from those with experience. I felt this was similar to my internship as well, as my superintendent and I were total opposites. He was extremely experienced but lacked the technological aspect of construction while I was very inexperienced but had a substantial edge on him in the technological aspect of construction. We worked great and taught each other many things. He sees that I am part of the next generation of construction and wanted to teach me as much as possible. I also enjoyed reading up on the recent articles highlighted on I Build America, specifically the one titled “Five Construction Technology Trends to Watch in 2016.” I have first hand experience with some of the technology brought up in this article. Drones are becoming more and more popular, and Aristeo just purchased their first one this summer to show overviews of the many projects they have going on. The article talks about BIM tools and I took place in our weekly GM meetings regarding BIM coordination so I have experience in this as well. The new apps for project managers are becoming more and more helpful as I saw my project manager using all sorts of apps to complete his schedules and tasks. I am interested in seeing where robotics in construction goes, I feel they can help out drastically. This peaked my curiosity and I wonder where robotics will be 10 years from now and how often they will be on job sites helping perform work.