School: Pennsylvania College of Technology
Major: Construction Management
Company: Gilbane Building Company
Internship from May 10, 2016 — August 12, 2016
My name is Payton McGuirk, I am 20 years old and am attending Pennsylvania College of Technology in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management. I come from a large family, was homeschooled, and am one of nine brothers and sisters. My Father owns a small residential construction company which I worked for all throughout high school which has also been my jumpstart into the construction industry. From an early age, my interest in construction drove me to go to work with my Father any and every chance I received. Working for him also solidified my decision to pursue a career in the construction industry. Coming from a large family has helped me value individualism, determination, and self-achievement. My Father always taught me to work hard at anything I do, and I have taken that to heart. I desire a family of my own one day, and I am determined to find a career with a company that will enable me to support and provide for them. I see that interning with companies is a stepping stone to help finalize a career choice and pick a company that will help me achieve my goals. I have completed two years of my four-year degree, and I just finished my second internship with a commercial construction company. After my first internship freshman year, my desire to further my knowledge in the construction industry only grew. Since then, my desire to explore my options in the many companies in the industry grew and lead me to intern with Gilbane Building company in the DC/Virginia area for the summer of 2016.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
While interning with Gilbane Building company of the summer of 2016, I was able to achieve and exceed the goals that I set for myself as well as the goals that Gilbane set for me. I was determined as a first year intern to meet and exceed any expectations that Gilbane set forth for me. Every day I challenged myself by setting forth daily and weekly goals for the assignments and tasks I was given. I tried my best to deliver every task I was assigned before it was due and also tried to ensure that the quality of my work was clear, concise and consistent. I set major goals to learn more about the roles of a project manager and a project engineer to give myself a good background of experience for when I get out of college. The goals that I set for myself I strongly feel I meet and then some. For Gilbane, I was given a self-evaluation form upon my last week with the company before returning to school. I based my performance that summer off of the project team I was working with instead of another intern or new hire. I wanted to compare myself to the team members so that I set my goals high. After review of my evaluation form, my Project Executive went over every aspect of the review such as punctuality, determination, good work ethic, willingness to learn, acclimation to the team, and showing passion for the construction industry. My Project Executive gave me the highest rating possible for every item we discussed and gave me great compliments based on my overall performance. On top of that, I was invited to return to work for Gilbane over the summer of 2017 as well as an invitation to return to the project I worked on over the summer for winter break. I have every intention of returning to Gilbane for the summer of 2017 and hope to continue my education and my path forward towards my career as a Construction Manager.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
There were several things that I learned from Gilbane while interning with them over this summer. One important thing I learned was time management. Only after a few weeks working for Gilbane, my schedule was already busy and I was continuously given new tasks to start. Completing these tasks on time and making sure I submitted good work was a challenge. The amount of coordination and even prioritization required for the job was eye opening. Learning and gaining a better understanding for exactly how the construction project progressed and the amount of coordination involved in order to keep things running smoothly was important. Time management directly relates to my everyday life in many ways. Being a college student, managing time between classes, work, and studying is always a challenge. Another important thing I learned from Gilbane was the importance of family and spending time with them. Gilbane is strongly geared toward making sure every employee is getting family time and not working non-stop. Being able to separate work from family life was an important thing that I learned. I feel it is very important to be able to separate yourself from your job, especially when things can get stressful. One last major thing that I learned while working for Gilbane was the importance of safety. After talking with our regional safety manager, He gave a lot of good insight on how to stay safe on the job site and even at home. After hearing stories of injuries and close calls, I now try my best to use proper protection such as safety glasses and gloves for even the smallest of jobs at home. I even went out and bought a personal set of PPE for working off the jobsite. My time with Gilbane was a very positive learning experience, and I try to apply what I learned there to my everyday life when at all possible.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
While interning with Gilbane I was involved with safety in a few different ways. During my first month with Gilbane, I met our regional safety manager who asked me to enter into their system of doing weekly safety walks of our project site to ensure that the site was as safe as it could be. I performed a few of these safety walks which involved identifying any current safety hazards and having them fixed immediately. It also involved taking note of any potential safety hazards as well as taking pictures and writing a report documenting the hazard. I also was involved with making sure that anyone who was working on the project site had the proper PPE and had gone through the mandatory safety orientation. Every week the project team talked about a potential safety hazed that we wanted to keep in mind and be aware of and help minimize risk. I also attended our whitecap safety event to learn more about jobsite safety and safety in construction all together. My experience with safety over my summer internship has certainly shed some light on ways I can improve on being safer at home. I purchased a personal set of PPE to use for any projects I may be involved in outside of work. I also learned the importance of using ear plugs whenever using loud equipment or tools, and using safety glasses and hard hats whenever possible. I think my experience has helped me make safer decisions when it comes to work, whether it be on the jobsite, or at home.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
After visiting Ibuildamerica.com and reviewing the website, IBuildAmerica, I feel is a great initiative and realistic way to help recognize the individuals and the work that they do. Just in personal experience, the work that is involved in making everyday things usable it often forgotten or taken for granted. I think that IBuildAmerica, taking the work of individuals and companies, recognizing it, and helping others to recognize it is a great thing. Especially in today’s society where having a career in the construction industry may be frowned upon. I also think that trying to recognize the work the companies and individuals preform to help bring in new recruits to the construction industry is a fantastic idea. Being a junior in college, it is somewhat stressful thinking about a future and a career after school with student debt being racked up in the background. Knowing that there are organizations such as IBuildAmerica and the HCSS is a relief and motivation. Knowing that organizations such as these are helping to pave our war into the construction industry is greatly appreciated. Giving students and new hires opportunity and insight into the construction industry is a great thing that I feel can be very beneficial. I think IBuildAmerican should keep up the good work and continue to try to spread the word about the construction field, and continue to help recruit rising individuals into the construction industry.