School: California State University Sacramento
Major: Construction Management
Company: Teichert Construction
Internship from January 25, 2016 — November 30, 2017
My name is Linda Tran and I attend California State University of Sacramento. I am currently a Junior majoring in Construction Management and minoring in Business Administration and Computer Science. My intended major for the first three years of college was computer science, but I changed my major to construction management. I chose to change it to construction management because I wanted to pursue a career in a field more hands on, and I am passionate about building from the pre-con phase up until completion of the project. I was hesitant to switch from my previous major since it was a great change in course; however, ever since the switch, I have had zero regrets concerning my decision. My father is a landscaper and incorporated concrete in the early 2000s. To my extended family, he is known as the guru of concrete. From the age of 12, I learned the trades of concrete through my father’s business by pouring concrete with him and his company on the weekends. Ultimately, I chose to do an internship in construction because of my passion for it. If I were to ask myself in my teenage years what I like to do for fun, I have no doubt in my mind that my younger self would say pouring concrete on the weekends with my father. Construction helped the bond between my father and me grow stronger from the time we spent in the field together: setting up form work, pouring the concrete, estimating, and the fast food lunches we would sneak without telling my traditional Vietnamese mother. My assigned project, I am currently interning at, was an estimated $120 million project consisting of the expansion of the existing Emergency Storage Basins’ capacity (increase of 110 million gallons) at the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. It has allowed me to work on an upgrade for the great city of Sacramento, and it has given me the great pleasure to contribute something back to the city that help molded me in becoming the person I am today.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
On this internship, I achieved a great amount of knowledge I was not expecting at all. Prior to this internship, I was working in budgets that only contained four to five figures in the budget max. In this project, I was dealing with numbers in the nine figures in the budget. This internship has taught me about civil work I did not work with before. I learned about take off quantities and the importance of GPS coordinate system and how every foot is vital to the project. I was previously working on small, residential homes, and from this internship, I was given the opportunity to be responsible for acres of federally regulated land. I achieved more confidence in my field of study and a greater passion for the construction industry. This is my first internship in construction, and I am humbled to be part of a great company that welcomes me with open arms. I believe I exceeded the company’s expectations by doing more than what I have been asked to do. I completely my work as diligently as possible. I often ask my project manger/superintendents/foremen if there is anything I can assist them in, whether it be shoveling trenches or writing submittals to the district. Being my first internship, I can say I have exceeded my own expectations because I persevered into an unknown field of construction (civil/heavy) and came out more knowledgeable than expected.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
This construction internship has affected my life in numerous positive ways. I have learned that there will never be such a thing as a smooth project, just as it happens in life. There will always be changes and shortcomings a long the way, but the matter is how you deal with it and how you choose to move on with greater and wiser knowledge than before. My internship has taught me to deal with the problems head on, and there will be people there to assist you when help is needed. It is never a burden to ask for help or ask for a second opinion. My fellow project and field engineers are always accommodating when I seek their opinion. I have learned that people are willing to help, but you have to ask for it. I am a bit introverted and it has been difficult for me to ask questions in a big audience, but having this internship has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and speak during meetings. This internship has allowed me to grow mentally as an individual. The daily tasks we face on-site are real-life problems, and most of the issues need an answer by the end of the day. The experiences I have at this project has allowed me to be more organized, self-sufficient, and pay more attention to detail.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
Every morning during the summer, I was up by 4:00 AM and at the field office by 5:00 AM. Every morning at 6:00 AM, our foremen would have a Pre-Task meeting with the laborers for the tasks of the day. Every other morning, I would attend the Pre-Task meeting and keep notes about the foremen speaking about safety. Later on in the day, I would do site walks around the project and make sure the laborers are implementing the safety rules from earlier in the morning. The first day of my internship, the safety manager for our project site trained me for a few hours on safety because of the complexity of our work-site. Being that it was my first day, the safety manager changed my mind on construction safety. I thought it was great that they were willing to spend a great amount of time giving an intern about being safe on-site. It is a heavily safety-regulated industry, and I am glad it is because of the numbers of work hazards on site. It convinced me that the industry cares about their workers’ health and safety.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
To me, I Build America is a great organization to show others what construction truly is. It means that other people can learn about the trades and the people in the trades carrying out the work. The stories that the website posts are informative for the general public to be aware of it. I think it is a great idea to teach the uninformed about construction and what the industry is about: bringing people together.