My name is Patrick Olsen and I am a rising junior at Virginia Tech studying building construction. I enjoy the study of structures and the materials used. This past school year I was fortunate enough to be able to do an internship both during my fall semester, with National Pools of Roanoke, and during my summer, returning to DPR Construction. I chose to do an internship in construction because you could not have learned the knowledge I gained through my internships in the classroom. Construction takes real world and hands on experience to get good at, and that is exactly what I was going for through these two experiences with National Pools of Roanoke and DPR Construction.
I had come to hear of National Pools of Roanoke, a custom concrete pool building company, through my father, who is also in the residential contracting industry. The company, based out of Roanoke, VA, is family owned and operated. They have operated for the past fifty years with both brothers acting as the president and vice-president, and both being Hokie (Virginia Tech!) alumni as well. I reached out to them, letting them know of my interest in construction, structures and design. I didn’t know just quite what I wanted out of an internship experience, I just knew I wanted to start discovering my interests and talents in the industry. They were more than happy to provide me with a great experience. Not only was I in the office helping the President with Auto CAD designs, estimates through quantity take off, and written proposals for the customer, but I was also out in the field excavating, laying grid, and bending rebar to fit the custom shape of a pool. I learned that watching the sunrise as your digging a pool with a backhoe and delivering a customer a proposal you put together yourself are both truly great feelings of accomplishment that can only come from the satisfaction of building something great.
During my summer, I returned to DPR Construction for my second summer with them. Last summer I was in St. Petersburg, FL working on a $60M luxury apartment high-rise; this summer I was in Ashburn, VA working on a data center project. I had heard that nearly seventy percent of internet traffic in America travels through Ashburn, VA, and so that alone was enough to get my attention. The project I was placed on was a $40M renovation of a previously built, four-acre data center. The renovations DPR were performing included an upgraded water cooling system, new wiring, panels and boards throughout the facility and renovated office spaces. The project was exceptionally challenging due to the amount of changes the customer made throughout the entire project. It made me realize how the schedule of one item can have a domino effect on the rest of the project. Every day I must come into work prepared to take on a multitude of tasks, because I never know what will be expected of me throughout the day. My internship with DPR Construction was truly a great one.
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