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summer interns give the scoop: part 2
by cormac mcpherson, troy morris | theme: people
10.2.17

TROY MORRIS | PROJECT ENGINEER INTERN
Montana State University: Construction Engineering Technology

What project did you work on? What were your responsibilities?
I worked on the Seattle Academy Cardinal Union Building [CUB]. Regular tasks included posting, receiving and distributing RFIs and ASIs, working through submittals, and coordinating with subcontractors on design and calculations. Other minor responsibilities included taking daily pictures of the jobsite, creating training documents for GLY's PE development program, and shadowing the Superintendent and Senior Project Manager. I also spent time in the field and learned how engineers increase productivity on the site by providing clarification and objective drawings.

Who was a big help to you?
Senior Project Engineer Jeff Mix and Project Engineer Ryan Cox were very helpful as I took over the responsibilities of a Project Engineer—entrusting me with various important tasks. Superintendent Garth Stoppard provided insight and guidance in the field and helped me understand the importance of coordination and the schedule. Senior Project Manager Amy Bergman explained the basic roles of a Project Manager and demonstrated the tools/software and processes that she uses throughout the week.

Troy and Amy on the jobsite

Senior Project Manager Amy Bergman works with Project Engineer Intern Troy Morris on the jobsite.

What did you hope to accomplish? Did you develop new goals throughout the process?
I wanted to walk away from my internship with a solid understanding of a Project Engineer's role throughout the course of a project—and how the General Contractor facilitates construction of the structure. I learned much more than expected and it planted the seed for what I want to learn at my next internship. Next year, I hope to dig further into MEP and steel + structure coordination. Exposure to the concrete and steel scopes of this project gave me the opportunity to switch gears from the structural engineering and calculations learned in school to the actual coordination and installation of the components on site. I realized how much engineers and architects take into consideration besides just the building itself.

What did you find most interesting?
PT concrete decks. Although I learned about PT structures in school, it was awesome to see first-hand how they’re installed. Constructing a PT deck or beam can affect the project in ways that are difficult to see until the project is actually going up in front of your eyes. I learned about most of the different processes in school regarding PT, shotcrete, drilled shafts, tiebacks and so on, but physically watching a crew perform the work gave me a much greater appreciation for the engineering behind the systems and a deeper understanding of structures as a whole.

What was the best part?
I can’t narrow it down to a single event because the team exposed me to so many amazing parts and processes including building tie-ins, mass excavation, and building demolition. I was fortunate to start my internship at the very start of this project, which gave me the chance to witness three major phases of a ground-up project: demolition, structure, and tenant improvement. In addition to my own project experience, touring other jobsites was eye-opening as well.

Jeff Mix and Troy Morris

Senior Project Engineer Jeff Mix works with Project Engineer Intern Troy Morris.

Did the experience help you decide what you want to focus on in the future at school or in your career?
This internship has undoubtedly given me greater focus as I head into my final year of college. I have a better idea of which additional classes I want to takemost revolving around Revit, design, and project management rather than just engineering [my degree]. Although I still enjoy the technical aspect of designing and engineering a building, project management is now a greater interest and more appealing as a career option. The beginning-to-end construction process as a contractor seems much more exciting and rewarding than designing the project.

How did you find this internship?
My original internship plans involved another Seattle contractor, but before I accepted the offer, my brother encouraged me to apply at GLY. He had nothing but great things to say about the company, so I decided to give it a shot. After touring the Lincoln Square Expansion project and meeting some employees, I was convinced GLY would be the perfect place to learn about the industry and meet great people. I am extremely glad for the opportunity to intern here and have some amazing new mentors. I’m heading back to school with confidence and enthusiasm and hope to return to GLY once I finish my degree.

Troy Morris

Project Engineer Intern Troy Morris

Cormac McPherson

Project Engineer Intern Cormac McPherson

CORMAC MCPHERSON | PROJECT ENGINEER INTERN
Virginia Tech: Construction Engineering and Management

What project did you work on?
Vulcan Lakefront Blocks.

What were your responsibilities? Describe a typical day.
I supported the structural team in reviewing submittals, writing RFIs, taking meeting minutes, updating Revit models in accordance with CDs, and taking spherical photos of as-built conditions for quality assurance and quality control. Each day differed since I received assignments from various team members with different priorities, deadlines and workloads. In addition to attending weekly team meetings, subcontractor coordination meetings, and GLY field staff meetings, I also tried to get out of the office and walk both sites at least once every other day in order to stay on top of onsite activities and project progression.

Was anyone in particular a big help to you?
I was lucky enough to have multiple people take time out of their extremely busy schedules to help me develop as an aspiring Project Engineer ... so it is hard to select one person. Project Engineer Jeff Richards helped me throughout the summer on a daily basis. He exposed me to multiple facets of the structural building world and consistently assisted me with my work while he spearheaded the structural Project Engineering on Block 25 during a fast-moving phase. Senior Project Engineer David Bryant was an incredible mentor and gave invaluable insight on work, the industry, and life. Senior Project Engineer Craig Wallace also provided guidance and sage advice as a GLY veteran throughout the job.

What did you hope to accomplish? Did you develop new goals throughout the process?
I wanted exposure to a new aspect of the building process and new sustainability practices that are commonly found on the west coast. After I got my bearings and started supporting the structural team, I strived to be a contributing member in any way possible. During the following weeks, I learned more than I'd imagined about structural project elements.

Did anything surprise you?
Yes ... the project team's fluidity. Everyone constantly shifts tasks and focus to help other team members address hot items and keep the project on track. It was inspiring to see first-hand how strategic teamwork ensures a project's success.

What did you find most interesting?
The repeat work that GLY receives from owners, suppliers, and subcontractors alike due to the company's honesty and high quality delivery. Throughout the summer, I witnessed how these mutually beneficial relationships make it easier to work as a team—and result in more successful outcomes for everyone.

What did you find most challenging?
Getting up-to-speed on the project during the first few weeks. I joined the team at the beginning of the mat foundation pours while the other team members had been working on Lakefront Blocks for months. This was a little daunting at first but the entire team was very helpful in the onboarding process.

What was the best part?
Exposure to a plethora of new experiences, especially on the structural side. I now have experience with stud rail and PT cable shop drawing review, practical Revit modeling, rebar layout, and much more. I have a better grasp on the build process for large scale commercial projects.

The intern appreciation golf outing with the Senior Project Engineers and Project Managers was a close second.

Did the experience help you decide what you want to focus on in the future at school or in your career?
Yes ... I enjoyed digging into the drawings and learning about the technical side of the project. I want to be a Project Engineer post-graduation in order to gain as much experience with the build process as possible. This knowledge will make me a valuable team member in the futureand also give me versatility with career options further down the line.

What did GLY offer that you haven't experienced before?
Exposure to VDC/BIM. My last internship did not include any modeling or rendering practice so I appreciated working with GLY's Integrated Design Engineers [IDEs]. It solidified how valuable IDEs, preemptive clash detection, and work packages are to reduce rework and long-term cost.

What brought you to GLY?
I found a GLY posting for a Project Engineer Intern while searching for opportunities in Seattle on Indeed.com. I looked at internships in both Washington, DC [where I am from] and in Seattle due to the booming construction work in the area. A quick search online showed a multitude of GLY's impressive projects as well as evidence of an attractive company approach and culture. I applied, and was lucky to get an interview and ultimately an internship offer.

Given the competitive market we’re in and the sometimes challenging nature of finding a good job, any advice for those on the job/internship hunt?
Apply for your dream job[s] and many others. Landing interviews and receiving offers is a numbers game ... applying for many positions increases your odds.

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