School: Virginia Military Institute
Major: Civil Engineering
Internship from May 31, 2016 — August 11, 2016
My name is Seamus O’Connell, I am 19 years old and currently attending the Virginia Military Institute. I am from Long Island New York where I was raised by two supportive parents who are also in the construction industry. Construction has always been something I have idolized. The curiosity of how things are built and how they are made never fails to keep me entertained. This curiosity led me to pursue a major in Civil Engineering. After completing two semesters of this major I could already picture myself pursuing a career in this industry.
This summer I was given the opportunity to work for Posillico, a general contractor that is based out of Long Island, New York. My future goals are to graduate from the Virginia Military Institute and serve as a United States Naval Officer in the Navy Core of Engineers or in the Explosive Ordinance Disposal community. Following my four years of service I then plan to earn my Professional Engineering license and use it to begin my engineering career. This internship is a great opportunity to earn some experience before I begin my professional career.
I chose to do an internship with Posillico construction because it is one of the largest construction/engineering company in New York. Playing a role in this company and community is a privilege that I will certainly get the most out of. I wanted an opportunity to further my knowledge in this industry and the best way to do it was through real life experiences. Real life experiences are exactly what my internship gave me. This internship will also help to create many opportunities for my future in this industry.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
Through my internship I have achieved the confidence and ability to perform all jobs within an Estimators position. Through this position I have been able to work on many different projects in the construction world. From the demolition of bridges to the paving of highways I have gained experience in many different situations. I have exceeded the company’s expectations by not only learning and performing my assigned role, but by also learning about each role within the company.
Confidence is a huge part of the construction world. If a worker is constantly second guessing his work, bids may never be submitted, jobs will never be assigned, and projects will never be complete. Lack of confidence can also serve as a safety hazard on a construction site as well. Workers need to consistently be making accurate and safe choices when out in the field.
Through this summer serving as an estimator was great. My position did not stop there, I was given countless opportunities to go out in the field and shadow several project engineers and project managers. Being proactive in the work place and taking advantage of these opportunities helped to exceed the company’s expectations for this role.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
Working for Posillico has opened my eyes to the construction world in a great way. This company has showed me the countless opportunities available in this industry. This internship has given me great aspirations for my future, along with motivation to finish school and begin my career. I now strive for working for this same company in the future and begin my path to the project manager position. I am incredibly impressed with the company I work for because of their outlook and way they conduct their business. The mission statement of Posillico states “Posillico is dedicated to setting the standard for excellence in the construction industry relative to: infrastructure, quality of life and making a difference through innovation and solid relationships at all levels”. This company truthfully operates through this mission statement. They have taught me through many situations that there are always choices to make in the construction world and it is imperative to make innovative and ethical decisions. These lessons that I have learned will stick with me through my career and help to make positive decisions throughout all positions I will one day have.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
Safety on a construction site is a major issue that can never be completely resolved. But you sure can try! This summer working for Posillico I have learned that safety always comes first. Starting off this internship was our first chapter of OSHA training. During this training I was educated on many different environments that a hazard could be found in, also they precautions you can take to avoid them. From the office point of view, I can make sure that all my bids are accurate and up to date. It came to surprise to me at first when I realized I can actually make a difference out in the field while not presently being there. As an estimator I can control the amount of people and machines are present on the site. I can also control the amount of hours worked each day and also what time of the day. All of these factors can contribute to safety. It is not safe to have too many people on a site because then it becomes a hazard with people walking every which way. To little people would mean overworking of workers or possible lack of supervision. Machinery on a work site is a very dangerous aspect of the job. With too many machines working at once it is very possible for workers to be distracted and step to far within a swing radius thus causing an injury. These are all situations that can be avoided with proper planning and careful supervision. On Posillico construction sites only one machine operates at a time and everyone is aware of what task is at hand. There are also flaggers and others assigned to help protect the areas around these machines. My perspective on construction has changed from very fast and excited to more of a motivated but cautious personality on a site. No job or amount of money can replace a worker’s life so there is no need to rush through a project if it requires an excess of risk. In the construction world a number that can represent a company’s safety record is their experience modification rating. This rating is mainly for insurance purposes although it is highly considered when bidding to win a new job. Posillico with a rating of .8 puts them ahead of most competition showing their dedication for safety. This internship has showed me the importance of safety and Posillico sets that example.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I Build America to me is an initiative that helps bring awareness and pride to the construction community. I believe much of the construction world is overlooked by the average person. I believe this motif should change because people need to become aware of the great changes and projects happening in this world. The fundamentals of everyday life such as your home, running water, even telephone lines are all possible because of the construction industry and it should be appreciated.
I Build America can also be seen as bigger than just an initiative. I Build America is a life style for men and women all across this country. The construction world may not be for everyone, but everyone is welcome. It takes hard work and dedication to remain in the construction community. At times its also a sacrifice, people all across this country are working in the darkness of early morning hours till the darkness past the sunset. And the best part about these people is that they don’t do it for the money, they do it because it’s their passion and they do what they love, and love what they do.