Major: Building Science
Company: Robins & Morton
Internship from May 23, 2016 — August 5, 2016
My name is Richard King and I am in Building Sciences at Auburn University.I have recently completed an internship with Robins & Morton on a hospital in Wesley Chapel, FL. I grew up always enjoying building things, but none of my family was ever in construction or anything close to it. My parents don’t really know where I got the knack for building things from, but I do remember when I became extremely interested in construction was in Highschool. I had a teacher by the name of Mr. Brown who had just started up an Ag Construction class. Long story short, I fell in love with construction. I chose to do an internship in construction to learn more about the big picture and get some practical experience. I plan to one day use that experience to build houses, schools, hospitals, and churches around the world.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I was on the project for 11 weeks. In my time there I was able to see the project go from a shell of a building to a near finished product on a few floors. I mainly worked on demolition of the building between the existing structure in order to prepare it for connection to the new building. My responsibilities were way to many to type them all up, but the point is that I learned a ton of stuff and truly enjoyed what I was doing. I believe that I exceeded the companies expectations through my work ethic, when they gave me a job to do I made sure that I got it done as well and as fast as possible. I can specifically remember one instance where I was given the task of demo on an 85 foot stretch of floor. Myself and one other intern had to cut the floor slab back 2 feet in order to tie more rebar to the edge of the floor so that we could pour the floor to connect to the existing structure. It took us only 5 days to complete and the Superintendent as well as the project engineer were impressed with our speed. I’d say that was a pretty big turning point in my internship as well because that’s when the Superintendent began to give us a lot more responsibility.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
The list of things that I learned is far greater than I could list, so I’ll hit the high points. First of all, I learned communication. I thought I knew how to communicate well going into the internship, but I learned that there is so much more to communication than just talking. I had to make sure that the subcontractors not only heard and understood what I was talking about, but that they also went and did what I asked them. It wasn’t always a pretty situation, but the job got done, and at the end of the day everyone got along and bonded over it. Another big learning point was time management. In college you learn how to manage your time well, but in construction it’s a different story. I had tasks that I had to complete each day, but at the same time I was responsible for making sure that the Subs had what they needed as well as were completing what they needed to each day. I could begin a task of my own, but then get sidetracked for hours accomplishing various tasks for subcontractors. Whether it be getting them burn permits, answering questions about where something goes, or coordinating between other scopes I had to make sure to accomplish those duties first before going to a task of my own, so I learned how to manage my time between those duties as well as my own tasks that way I could accomplish what I needed to each day, even if I had to stay late. I guess the third biggest thing that I learned was the important of good relationships. Sometimes I had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night to fix a leak of some sort. I could have went into that with a bad attitude knowing that I had to be back at work early the next morning, but instead I took the opportunity to “embrace the suck” and I made some good relationships with who I was working with as well as who I was working for, which eventually lead to me being able to communicate better with those people later on, which lead to tasks being finished faster because of the good relationships.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
Safety was an every day thing, as well as quality, it was company policy. But if you think about it, it should be every individual’s responsibility. I had to ensure each an every day that the people that would be working for me not only knew what task they were doing, but also how to do it and how to mitigate possible safety situations because of the task. For example, if I needed to demo a portion of the roof out in order to fit in a steel connection I had to go over the task in detail with who I would assign the task. Were they gonna need to be tied off, would they need ear plugs, would they need a fire spotter, how can they protect the people below them if necessary, those were the types of questions I had to talk with them each day that way they could take ownership in their task and how to do it safely. It was the same for quality, I would constantly remind the people that I was working with that we were building a hospital, therefore quality was crucial. I would often catch myself thinking, “If someone you are close to was in the room below you that you are working on, would you be happy with that?” I would get the people working for me to answer similar questions depending on what they were working, and that helped them to take ownership of their work in the quality category as well.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
It means that I am proud to be apart of a profession in which I am literally shaping the future. I am responsible for the safety of millions of lives, not only while building a project, but also feeling confident in the project that I have completed. Wether I’m building a water tower or a hospital, everything that I build plays an important roll, no matter how small, in people’s way of life.