School: University of Hartford
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Company: Posillico Inc.
Internship from May 31, 2016 — August 11, 2016
My name is Matthew Bernocco. I am nineteen years old and currently entering my junior year at the University of Hartford. I am a Biomedical Engineering major, but I decided to pursue an internship in the construction industry this summer. Even though my major is not directly related to construction, I chose this job due to my interest in the field which has led to an increase in knowledge of the industry. My internship at Posillico Inc. has provided me with vast experiences and some unforgettable memories. I think it’s really amazing to be able to learn about the “behind the scenes” of those construction sites you typically see driving down the highway, and my time spent summer has taught me everything that goes into a construction project, both in the field and in the office.
Although the internship lasts only a summer, I will carry the experiences I have gained here at Posillico throughout my career in engineering. Construction is a huge industry that I hope everyone can get a chance to experience firsthand at some point in their lifetime.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
My job at Posillico was primarily to work with the estimators to put together bids for projects. Before this internship, I had no idea that there was so much to be done before a shovel gets put in the ground, let alone that there was an entire department focused on it! A lot of the other guys in this position were young, so I could relate to them easily in the workplace. The main goals of this department’s job is to win projects by looking through all of the bid items and finding the “right” price on each item in order to be the lowest bidder while still being able to make a profit for the company. There’s a lot of work that goes into this, and all of the estimators would divide up the workload into different sections to get the job done efficiently. I would usually help by contacting subcontractors or performing takeoffs from the given drawings and plans associated with the project. I also sometimes double-checked my co-workers’ quantities and results to make sure nothing was missed. I would often go out of my way to ask the other guys at the office for more work when there wasn’t much to do, and I volunteered to go to bid meetings and project walkthroughs to learn more about each job. At these meetings, I typically get to see the project site for yourself, giving me a better understanding of what I’m looking at on the plans at the office.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
The relationships I built during this internship have impacted me not only as a worker but as a person as well. It showed me that there’s more to a career than just going to an office desk and doing work eight hours every day. In a field like construction, it’s very important to build these relationships with your co-workers, your clients, and your partners in order to grow as a company. This is one thing that was made very apparent to me during this summer. I was taught that key values such as open-mindedness and discipline are essential in a work environment. Many of the core values of Posillico correlates to being a good person in general. For example, during orientation it was stressed that safety was the primary factor in ANY job sit we work on. This made me think about how profits may be necessary to keep a business afloat, but making money means nothing unless everyone involved remains safe and satisfied. Keeping a happy work environment/standard of living is the most effective way to live both in the office and in life. I hope to keep these values in mind throughout the entirety of my career and wherever I go.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
My first encounter with safety and quality control began during orientation week of the internship. Posillico continually stressed to the interns that the construction industry has one of if not the most potential for an accident in the workplace. The OSHA training we underwent focused on the different dangers within a construction site, including the “focus four” hazards. These hazards include falls, struck-by, caught-in-between, and electrical incidents. Whenever I was taken out to visit a job site, I was reminded to look out for potential safety violations and call them out to the workers. Like I said earlier, Posillico regarded safety with the utmost value. This can be validated with the fact that the company as a whole achieved an EMR of 0.73 for this past year. Furthermore, Posillico encourages a safe environment by promoting a program to all of its employees, including myself. The program is called Good Catch and concentrates on identifying safety hazards and taking the proper actions to fix the issue. A reward system is created to give cool gear/equipment to those who speak up when they see something that could result in a workplace accident. All of these ideas and proactive actions have definitely impacted my view on construction. Although I knew about most of the dangers lurking behind every corner, it was relieving to find out that companies such as Posillico are doing everything they can to keep their employees safer and happier.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
To me, I Build America seems like a gateway to view construction as a positive and exciting industry. It is a very informative organization that gives people a chance to look into the daily lives on construction workers and see the types of projects they are a part of. A lot of people don’t know the truly great things that construction accomplishes, such as making the world more energy efficient, safer, and just downright a better place to live in. It’s important to know that although construction is dangerous, it can be an incredible opportunity when done correctly. In my time in the industry so far, and what learning about I Build America has taught me, I have found that a construction crew is a unified family of workers from all different backgrounds that share the same values and just want to create something better in the world, one project at a time.