School: West Virginia University
Major: Civil Engineering
Company: Golden Triangle Construction
Internship from May 19, 2016 — August 10, 2016
My name is Ryan Pendeville and I am currently entering into my junior year at West Virginia University in Civil Engineering. I chose an internship in construction because it has always been something I have had interest in, but have never had the chance to experience. The thought of working on bridges and roadways that people will use everyday for a very long time was something that really intrigued me and made me want to try the construction industry. I also saw construction being the right fit for me because I cannot picture myself in an office all day and not being able to get out on the job and see the progress being made. During my Spring semester of 2016, the opportunity to have an internship with Golden Triangle Construction presented itself and I jumped on it. I got to spend the summer shadowing a project engineer and a project manager on a 51.2 million dollar project that includes the first diverging diamond interchange in Pennsylvania. It was a great experience and has led me to believe that construction is the right field for me.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I achieved an A for my work done over the summer. I believe that I exceeded the expectations of my employer for several reasons. The first was availability, no matter if I had to work nights, stay later or come early, I always made it clear to my employer that I was willing to come at anytime. I also made it known that I was willing to do any job that needed done. I was just supposed to be shadowing the project engineer, but if I could help on the site I would do it. Whether it was running somewhere to get something, moving a truck for someone, helping break concrete cylinders or anything else that I could do to help. Lastly, I was invested in the company, they gave me a great opportunity to work there and I wanted to do everything that I could to see the company do well. I asked a lot of questions to learn how the company operates and their plans for future projects because it is a great place and I would be thrilled to come back.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
I learned an incredible amount of knowledge that will affect me positively from my internship. Before this internship, I had never set foot on a construction site, so this experience has opened my eyes in many ways. First of all, I learned the general way that a construction site works and the chain of command on the job. Something else, that is very important that I learned, is how to read the plans for a job. When I first started, I had no idea and now I can go through them and actually understand what is going on and what I am looking at. I also learned about all of the behind the scenes work that the public does not see that project management has to take care of. These tasks include obtaining permits, scheduling trucks, concrete and aggregates, directly working with the state (PENNDOT) to overcome obstacles on the job, and handling erosion and sediment control issues.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
During my internship, I spent about half of my time in the office and half of the time on the job. While being out on the job I got to see directly how serious safety is on a job site and how the company was actively working to keep employees safe. While going out for daily inspections of the job, I could see safety precautions being taken such as trench boxes for workers in trenches, carpenters being correctly tied off while working on bridges and just the general use of hard hats and protective eye wear. I also attended a weekly toolbox talk before everyone’s shift started that went over what was going on on the site and reinforced safety training. That changed my perspective on construction because I had imagined that sometimes safety was not very well enforced and pushed aside like the media displays when there is a tragedy, but I found quite the contrary. Safety is a big issue and is taken very seriously by Golden Triangle.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
To me, I Build America means taking pride in your work that will better the rest of the nation. There is no doubt that construction is very hard work, with back breaking jobs and crazy hours, we often times take our hard working men and women for granted. I Build America is all about showing just how hard these men and women work to make the rest of America’s life easier. Whether they are building roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, buildings, sewage treatment plants or the many other things that the construction industry is involved in, they are making peoples lives easier and building infrastructure that will serve an incredible amount of people for years to come. I Build America gets these workers the appreciation they deserve and lets them know just how important they really are to improving this great country we live in.