School: University of Nevada Reno
Major: Mining Engineering
Company: Q&D Construction Inc.
Internship from August 10, 2015 — May 8, 2017
My name is Matt Mannens, I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. After I graduated high school in 2013 I played two years of college baseball in Northern Colorado. This school was a perfect fit with the endless outdoor opportunities it had to offer. Going out of state for school really made me appreciate the area that I grew up in, so I decided I wanted a career that would keep me in the area. After I obtained my associates in science I decided it was time to further my education, from there I started pursuing a mining engineering degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. My first real job was washing and detailing cars for Q&D construction Inc., I was catching up with an employee of the company who informed me that they had a mining division. At the time I had no idea what type of work happened on a mine site let alone what type of construction is done at a mine. I was very interested to start gaining any type of knowledge about the industry that I could. I had a brief discussion with the project manager of the mining division along with the president of the heavy/civil department and soon after had an internship. The company was generous enough to let me work part time around my school schedule and full time in the summer.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
The biggest result for me is the growth in my knowledge about the industry. Before my internship at Q&D I had absolutely no knowledge of the industry. My boss (Project Manager/Estimator-Mining Division) Doug Elder started me out with an old set of plans from a job that was already completed. He simply told me to read them. Every two hours I would go to his office thinking I had the plans figured out until he would ask me a few questions about them. Half the time I didn’t really know what he was talking about or asking me to find. I was persistent and became more accustom to the plans, I eventually figured out it entailed building a tailings storage facility. From there my knowledge about plans and construction in general grew exponentially. I don’t think the company expected me to be as malleable as I am. I have done takeoffs on 15 miles of 12 inch pipe for a mine; and with some guidance estimated my own job in HCSS for 10,000 sf of permeable pavers.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
There are a couple things that stick out to me more than others. I learned that in this industry if you can’t manage your time, things that need to be done can sneak up on you quite fast. This internship has taught me to manage my time in many different ways that has not only benefited me personally and professionally, but put me in a position to succeed academically. I also learned that if you surround yourself with the right people who have a like mind set, they rub off on you. The people I work around at Q&D don’t put on a fake smile and show up to work and “look” busy. When I asked my boss if he liked what he did for a living he said, “If I didn’t like what I did or where I worked. I simply wouldn’t work.” That made a huge impact on me.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
I was not directly involved in implementing safety, but when I was out on job sites it was definitely something I noticed. Safety in construction is something that I think is directly related to the quality of the work being done. When people are flying around rushing themselves, they tend not to pay attention to detail. Q&D has taught me that it is not worth someone’s well being just to make a few extra dollars. I think that the quality of the work done by this industry is something that the public takes advantage of and doesn’t show enough appreciation towards. The amount of man hours and experience it takes to make a quality product is definitely something I underestimated coming in to this position.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I Build America means quite a bit to me. The people that build America are an absolute necessity to the way our culture functions and how or civilization has gotten to where it is today. Technologies couldn’t advance, cures for medicine wouldn’t be discovered, and America’s people would be at a dull stand still if it weren’t for this industry. Construction is the back bone of this nation. It does not only provide a high quality of life for everyone, but supports and provides for the families of hard working men and women every day.