School: Western Governors University
Major: Human Resources Management
Company: Simon Contractors
Internship from May 9, 2016 — October 1, 2016
My name is Paige Brightman and I got the amazing opportunity of being a part of an incredible Intern program through Simon Contractors, a major road, highway, and bridge contracting company. My internship may be a little different than the others you will see submitted because my internship was on the other side of construction, the side that most people don’t really think about when they think of a contracting company. You see, I’m a Human Resources Intern based out of Wyoming. When I used to think about what a construction company did, I usually didn’t think HR played a big part in that. I was wrong.
I graduated out of High School thinking I knew exactly what I was going to do but after a year of college that image of the future I had seemed to me a bit blurry. I made the decision to drop out of college and travel and experience life. At the age of 25, the image of my future became much clearer and I realized that I wanted to go into HR. After working in customer service for 9 years I realized how much I loved it but also how I truly enjoyed the behind the scenes aspect of a business; the recruiting, hiring and firing, compliance, and laws that go into it.
I ultimately made the decision to move back to Wyoming and go back to school. Going on campus was no longer an option for me with working a full-time job, so I dug around and found Western Governors University, an on-line school that allows me the flexibility to work and attend school full time. I then began searching for internships knowing I wanted to get my foot in the door. Internships are few and far between in Wyoming, especially in HR. I had originally learned about Simon Contractors because my Uncle has worked for them for 20 plus years. To learn that a major contracting company offered an internship program was awesome, but to learn that they had a program for HR was a dream come true. When the chance arose to become a part of the Simon team I didn’t even think twice about leaving my full-time job to take the internship.
Human Resources is a diverse field. Any company, big or small, is bound to have a HR department. What really drew me to Simon Contractors was the fact that I would get my first experience in working in HR to be with a construction company. Being able to work and get the chance to learn about a field that I truly didn’t know anything about was the chance of a lifetime. I can say that I came out of my internship learning a great deal about HR but also learning a great deal about construction. Construction is an industry where you are learning and growing every day, to be a part of it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve gotten thus far.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
One of my biggest achievements of my summer internship was organizing and putting on the 2016 Summer Intern Orientation. Simon Contractors is based throughout four different regions located in NE, CO, SD, & WY. In 2016 they had 23 interns working throughout each state in positions ranging from Bridge interns all the way to IT interns. I was responsible for bringing all the interns in to our main region in Cheyenne, WY and hosting them for the day, in which they would hear from our President, heads of each department as well as our Regional Managers. After the speakers, the interns were driven through the regional and given a guided tour through our worksites as well as shown some of the local projects we were working on. It was an amazing experience to be able to work on this project and be a part of an educational and influential event with speakers who truly set the tone for the summer internships.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
One of this biggest things I learned this summer is that a job can truly change your life and spark a passion within you. There were days when it could be frustrating, days I felt like I wasn’t sure if I was doing something correctly, and days I would mess up but when you’re in a field that you love, it doesn’t make or break you. There wasn’t a single day that I didn’t leave work feeling like I hadn’t accomplished anything, each day I felt proud of the work that I did and couldn’t wait to come back tomorrow.
Another thing that I learned is that no matter who you are or what you do, you should never stop learning. To work in an industry I had no previous experience in was intimidating at first, but even people who have worked in construction forty plus years said they are still learning new things. Construction is an ever changing industry which is making advances everyday. You should never think you know everything there is to know and always be willing to learn.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
Although I worked in an office and didn’t get out in the field often, safety was always prevalent. One of the main things I worked with during my time at Simon Contractors was FMLA (Family Medical Leave Absence), Short Term Disability, and Workers Comp. It was extremely interesting to see the other side of what happens when someone gets hurt and how we can avoid accidents in the work place. One of those ways is practicing Safety in all aspects of your life, not just when you’re at work.
Not all accidents can be avoid but a vast majority of them can be. Working in a field such as construction is a dangerous job and if accidents can be prevented
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
To me I Build America means advancement and progress. It shows you just how important the construction industry is in the world we live in today. Without it, it wouldn’t be the world as we know it now. Each and everyday our world is changing and growing and it wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the work that we do. Most people see construction and think about the delay or the noise but they don’t realize that it provides the roads we drive on, the roofs over our heads, the access to remote locations we wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise, the hospital we go to when we’re sick.
I Build America means safety and pride. Pride in the work that we do and pride in the safety we take in doing that job correctly and efficiently so that workers don’t get injured.