School: Brigham Young University
Major: Civil Engineering
Company: Geneva Rock Products, Inc.
Internship from April 28, 2014 — December 31, 2016
I am currently a student at Brigham Young University pursuing a degree in civil engineering. Throughout my life I have always been interested in the why and how our infrastructure is designed and constructed. I have been working as an intern at Geneva Rock Products, Inc. for three years. I chose to apply there because of my interest in construction. I have realized during my time working there how fortunate I have been in working at Geneva Rock and the large amount of learning I have to do there. The opportunity for learning has helped me continue to stay engaged in the construction industry and has led me to desire to work in construction after my graduation. I have chosen to continue my internship because I find the work to be very fulfilling. I have seen the service the construction industry is to the public and how important construction is to the economy of our states and nation. I enjoy construction because it makes me feel that I am an active contributor to building a strong and growing community in each of the cities that we work in. I know that service is an important part of life and I find construction an effective way to serve others and to use my skills that I have learned and developed to be able to give back.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I had the opportunity to work in the construction area at Geneva Rock and started out learning how to bid small asphalt paving jobs. I was then taught how to bid larger jobs such as parking lot construction, utility installation, and roadway construction jobs. The bidding process was where my learning really took off. I was able to ask questions to gain an understanding conceptually how a project would be built. It was helpful for me to understand from reading plans how a project would be built and then apply that to Heavy Bid as I was bidding the project. What helped even more was actually seeing the jobs be built. By the end of the summer I was able to take on managing my own jobs and I took responsibility for both my mistakes and correct actions. I was able to exceed the expectations set for me by managing the construction of a parking lot that I had won in bidding. I was able to find different solutions to save money on the project as well as solve problems that arose. One of the most important lessons I learned from managing this job was the value in owning up to my mistakes, admitting that I had done something wrong, and then working together with my crew and the project owners to find a good solution. I learned that we all make mistakes and that, through cooperation and honesty, positive solutions can be found that benefit both the contractor and the owner without compromising the job or my own integrity.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
I learned how to work with the public sector. City management and government are extremely important players in the construction industry. I have found through my internship that there was no way around working with people. Construction is a people profession meaning that you deal with people more in this job than in most other jobs. Creating positive relationships with governing agencies is probably one of the most important aspects of the construction industry. Your image as a person and as a company depends upon how well you are able to interact with the public. I have learned that honesty and fairness are some of the best ways that positive relationships can be made. I learned that it is important to explain the truth despite what you know their reaction is going to be. I can take away from my experience that I need to constantly work at developing relationships and going out of my way to meet new people and be willing to work with new people.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
Safety was a top priority on our job sites. I was able to learn about the laws set by agencies like OSHA and help our men in the field to be able to follow those regulations. I was able to help bid and win the project for the laying of a brand new sewer main. The depths of the sewer reached as far as twenty eight feet deep with ground water at eight feet deep. One of my main assignments was to look into different shoring options for the trench that would be the safest for our men. I was able to work with engineers from different trench shoring companies to develop solutions that could meet different problems of the job that we would encounter. We implemented systems of standard trench boxes, slide rail shoring, and hydraulic shoring to meet the needs of each part of the job that we encountered. I learned that safety should be the top priority because the lives of the men in the field matter first in foremost on every project. No project is worth doing if people are not safe doing it.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I Build America is how our country grows. We are impacted everyday by construction and the men and women that work to build. Whether it is the house we live in, the roads we drive on, the water we drink, or the toilet we flush there are men and women in construction behind all of it. They work in harsh environments that most people that enjoy the comforts that modern construction brings couldn’t fathom of bearing. These workers are the backbone of the nation and if we want to continue growing as a nation we need to support these men and women and we need to support construction. In my opinion construction and the growth it brings is the strongest driver of a growing economy. As long as we keep support construction and voting for it, we will continue to grow as a nation. I have learned respect for the people I work with no matter their education. They are some of the hardest working people I know and also some of the kindest people I know. I am grateful that I was able to be a part of the construction industry because not only was it a job and a learning experience for me, it was also a calling to help the growth of the communities around me and to help improve them through the construction of better infrastructure.