School: Xavier University
Major: Marketing & International Business
Company: Lakeside Industries
Internship from May 31, 2016 — August 11, 2016
My name is Peyton Beyer and I am a senior at Xavier University in Cincinnati. I am pursuing a double major in Marketing and International Business. I interned for the IT Department at Lakeside Industries in Issaquah, Washington this summer. Lakeside Industries is a third-generation family owned business. It is a hot mix asphalt producer and paving contractor in the Pacific Northwest. The company has approximately 675 employees in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. I was excited to explore the construction industry from both an IT and marketing perspective. Three key factors led to my interest in interning at Lakeside Industries this summer. First, my father has worked in the construction industry for 25 years. I grew up hearing about many interesting construction projects from him. He frequently shared what he liked most about construction companies and the many great leaders he worked with at construction companies across the country. I saw the importance of communication and marketing as my father wrote many articles and spearheaded many presentations for the construction industry. Second, a major event that was especially impactful to me was the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis on August 1, 2007. As a Minnesota resident at the time, I could see firsthand the devastation and despair that was caused by a poorly maintained bridge. This disaster highlighted for me the importance of not only sound construction techniques, but also the necessity of good construction maintenance practices. Third, as a rising university senior I was motivated to complete an internship in the construction industry for pragmatic reasons. I believed this experience would help me in my search for full-time employment following graduation. I frequently read about the workforce shortage in both the construction industry and among technology companies. I have read about the need for diversity in both the construction and technology industries. I was fortunate to gain experience in two areas of the economy where there may be a higher need for new college graduates. I learned I enjoy both the construction industry and technology and marketing as a career option.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I helped lead the transition of the Risk Management and Safety team from desktop computer use to Surface tablet technology. I also served to provide technical support and trouble-shooting services on the tablet technology to this team. As part of this transition, I created learning guides and templates for this team’s use. Moreover, I provided one-on-one training for various programs to the Risk Management and Safety Team as well as other associates in the office. The major hardware and software platforms I assisted with included: Surface, Windows 10, Microsoft Office 365, OneNote and ShareFile. Another one of the main tasks of my internship was producing infographics which were distributed throughout the company. I developed training and communication resources using various applications, especially Easel.ly, Sway and Yammer. One example of this was the JB Knowledge Technology Report, where I condensed a 60-page article into a 2-page infographic. This infographic was shared with senior management of the company at a Digital Business Committee. Being invited to this meeting and sharing a condensed snapshot of the most important statistics and insights from this Technology Report far exceeded my expectations for the internship. I exceeded the company’s expectation of my role by bringing a unique marketing perspective to the IT and construction industries. The marketing aspect of my role focused a lot on company-wide communication and distribution and making both of these aspects more attainable. The feedback I received was very positive. I learned from my supervisor and his team how helpful it was that I developed user-friendly communication tools and learning guides when I provided training. The IT team appreciated how I developed documentation guides that included “cheat sheets” filled with helpful tips for users.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
There are many skills I learned from my internship this summer that will positively affect my life. The most important skill I learned in this internship was the value of listening and collaborating with end-users to understand their needs and their perceived obstacles to learning new technology. I learned techniques to overcome the natural human tendency of resisting change. The value in this lesson is obvious: no matter how valuable a new idea or technology is if no one knows how to utilize it then it will merely sit on the shelf. The importance of leveraging communications and change management is vital in marketing, IT and all business disciplines. Another important skill I acquired this summer was taking a long article, filled with information, and condensing it down to a one page infographic to highlight the most important information. This skill was acquired through hours of hands-on experimentation with graphics packages to produce multiple versions of the numerous infographics I made. The infographics were popular communication tools placing the summary of information in a more creative and easier to read format. Another valuable skill I acquired with my experiences at Lakeside was the ability to conduct training sessions. I spent much of my internship learning new software programs, IT platforms and mobile technology applications from start to finish. I utilized this new knowledge to conduct training for various employees in individual or group sessions. These sessions taught me the importance of proper research and comprehension. In addition, the experiences enhanced and polished my overall presentation skills. All of these skills are incredibly important to have as I graduate college and enter the professional business world, where I will no doubt need these skills to be successful.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
I worked directly with the Risk Management and Safety Department during my internship. I previously mentioned how I supported the conversion of this team from traditional laptops to Surface technology and how I provide training to this team. I converted approximately 40 Safety Alerts and Risk Management Best Practices PDFs and Word documents into Sway and Easel.ly for easier and digital distribution through the Yammer social media app. A number of these infographics were distributed throughout the company’s various divisions and affiliated companies. I also created multiple infographics outlining the important safety information that was provided by two books used in the company to drive its safety culture: Safety 24/7 and Winning with Accountability. These infographics were released for company-wide distribution. These infographics were posted on wall mounted bulletin boards and incorporated into training sessions. I also demonstrated how the company’s quarterly newsletter could be digitized using Sway to provide a visually appealing mobile app version. Working directly with the Safety Department changed my perspective on safety in the construction industry because I witnessed firsthand the safety challenges that exist and the ways Lakeside Industries, and the construction industry as a whole, are attempting to fix these issues. I am proud that my efforts were distributed to help managers, supervisors and the Risk Management and Safety team to promote personal responsibility for safety. I gained valuable experience in sharing tools and resources to help reinforce safety management accountability in a company committed to safety.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
Pride. Respect. Construction. Impact. IBuildAmerica is an excellent platform for showcasing how essential the construction industry is to our everyday lives. By sharing this unique insight into the industry IBuildAmerica is offering a way for the public to gain a better understanding of what working in construction really means. IBuildAmerica hits the nail on the head with their short video highlighting all that those in the construction industry do for America. With workforce scarcity creating production pressures, construction companies in the United States will face many challenges in the coming years. Typically viewed as a blue collar job, construction workers do not always receive the respect they deserve. Construction workers are a critical component to the growth of our cities and country. Deteriorated infrastructure adversely impacts quality of life in our cities and jeopardizes our economic vitality. As the IBuildAmerica initiative highlights, the men and women of construction are an integral part of building our great nation and should take pride in all they do to keep America growing and thriving. By raising awareness, IBuildAmerica is successfully spreading the word and the recognition for these hard workers in the industry worldwide. In my internship with Lakeside Industries I learned how construction is a valuable industry. Many Americans take for granted how great our country is. IBuildAmerica is a great way to increase awareness, appreciation and advocacy for the construction workers behind the powerful economic engine that is America. Our country’s leaders and the general public must invest in the construction industry to continue our economic prosperity for the generations to come.