School: Ohio State University
Major: Civil Engineering
Company: Kokosing Industrial, Inc.
Internship from January 5, 2015 — August 19, 2016<
My name is Trevor Harrison and I have had the opportunity to work for Kokosing Industrial over the course of 3 co-op terms. Kokosing Industrial is a general contractor based out of central Ohio and working throughout the Midwest in markets including power, water/wastewater, industrial, oil and gas, marine, and heavy civil. Having grown up around the construction industry, I have always had an interest in building things. Going back to building forts in the woods behind my house as a child to working as a laborer and carpenter for a residential contractor while I was in high school, I’ve always known this was an industry that I wanted to be a part of as my career. Because of this interest, I decided to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering at Ohio State University. During my sophomore year of college, I received an offer to work for Kokosing Industrial as a co-op on one of their water treatment plant capital improvement projects for the City of Columbus in Ohio. This was my first significant exposure to real world engineering processes, procedures, and construction management methods. During this experience, I worked with project engineers in learning to read construction drawings and specifications, analyze cost codes, write RFIs and RFPs, and communicate project scheduling. The following summer, Kokosing Industrial placed me on a different water treatment improvements project for the City of Columbus, this time giving me the opportunity to gain exposure to LEED construction practices. This past summer, I had the opportunity to co-op in Kokosing Industrial’s estimating group in their corporate Westerville, Ohio office. As Kokosing Industrial self-performs a large portion of their work, I gained extensive exposure to HCSS HeavyBid while helping develop material and labor cost estimates for bid proposals. The HeavyBid software was an integral part of my effectiveness in helping Kokosing’s estimating teams as I was able to use pre-made production rates created for tasks in previous projects and the organization structure made it easy for senior estimators to review my work.
What results did you achieve on the internship, and how did you exceed the company's expectations for your role?
I contributed to the bidding of several major projects for Kokosing Industrial over the summer of 2016. After just a couple of weeks, I had learned enough that my supervisors trusted me with completing estimates for significant portions of the bids, subject to their final review and approval. This role enabled me to increase the team’s efficiency by reducing the workload on the senior estimators, giving them more time to focus on the more complex estimating tasks as well as to work on other estimates. While still consulting with them regularly for advice, I was able to complete the work on my own that otherwise would have ended up on their plate. Kokosing Industrial was awarded two of the projects that I made significant contributions to this summer, which totaled around $10 million each. Being an integral team member for the winning projects gave me the additional experience of then handing off and explaining my estimates to project implementation teams and helping them address scope clarifications with subcontractors and suppliers to complete final pricing.
What did you learn in this internship that will affect your life in a positive way?
I learned a considerable amount during my co-op terms that will have a positive impact on my future. First, my experiences have given me a greater appreciation for everything I learn in my academic course work while in school. Prior to the co-op terms, I didn’t have much perspective on how the industry functions and how projects come together based only on course work. I am now able to understand the value in what I am learning in school and how it applies to real world applications. Additionally, this experience has taught me a lot about professionalism and the value of working as a team in an engineering and construction environment. Those are skills that will be equally valuable in beginning a successful career when I graduate and will help me reach my full potential as an engineer.
How were you involved with safety and/or quality during your internship, and how did that change your perspective on construction?
Safety played a big role in my internship experience. Kokosing Industrial is a company that is highly dedicated to safety, with constant safety reminders and training. While working for Kokosing Industrial, I completed weekly safety quizzes, participated in daily safety meetings every morning, and was responsible for helping ensure the safety of our employees as well as everyone else on the job site. In participating in daily safety meetings, we were able to identify safety hazards that could be faced in the day’s work tasks and make sure all employees understood the safe way to perform their tasks. This experience has really driven home the meaning of the phrase “safety first” that I have heard all of my life. This doesn’t just mean to do something in the safest way possible, but that if something can’t be done safely, it shouldn’t be done at all. The safety of everyone on a project takes priority over everything else, including the schedule and cost. Quality is also a vital part of a construction project. Whether it was checking field measurements, confirming material order quantities, or reviewing submittals, I spent a significant amount of time doing quality control. Not only is quality control important in keeping projects on schedule and on budget, but it is also important in providing clients with a project that meets their standards and will provide you company with a reputation that will help them continue to win projects in the future.
After reviewing www.IBuildAmerica.com, tell us what I Build America means to you?
I Build America is about taking pride in the work the men and women in the construction industry do every day. There are so many aspects of daily life that most people take for granted such as safe roads, clean water, power production, and more that wouldn’t be available to the public without the hard work of construction personnel. Technically complex and physically challenging work must be performed by construction professionals before citizens and businesses can use infrastructure that they rely on in their everyday life. I Build America is about making sure those professionals understand the value in what they are doing and how it impacts their communities.