Editor’s Note: We asked 2019 intern Jason Orr to reflect on his summer at McKinstry, respond to a few questions, and share his tips, best practices and suggestions for future interns.
Q: What are the keys to a successful internship at McKinstry?
A: Everyone has a unique experience here. The work from position to position varies greatly, and the departments themselves work on very different projects. However, across all positions there are a few key actions that can help future interns be successful.
The first is to get to know your immediate team. These are the people you’ll be spending the most time with, meaning you can learn the most from their expertise. Work hard with your team, but also get to know people on a personal level.
Secondly, you should go to as many events as you can fit into your schedule. The B.L.U.E. Program team does a fantastic job scheduling events and giving interns opportunities to learn about relevant topics. At these events, you should get to know a variety of people—everyone has a unique story to tell.
Lastly, future interns should connect with people at McKinstry who have the same hobbies/interests if you want to make a deeper connection outside of the office. I ended up rock climbing this summer with two awesome fellow employees at Little Si (a mountain outside of Seattle). It was an amazing experience!
Q: What would have been helpful to know when you started your internship?
A: Starting an internship was a scary and unpredictable process, particularly as it was my first job in an office environment. My previous work experience in manual labor differed greatly from typical office work.
Before beginning at McKinstry, I knew that the company’s Energy team largely works in two programs outside of the typical Microsoft Office suite: Bluebeam and Revit. The first is a document viewer/editor while the latter is an incredibly powerful tool for modeling mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems for large buildings. Having prior experience with these two software programs could have made my time at McKinstry much smoother.
It’s also key to know that McKinstry (and the construction industry as a whole) loves acronyms. It seems like new acronyms are being established every day and it can be difficult to keep up as an intern! I recommend that future interns take some time to study up on common construction and engineering acronyms before arriving at McKinstry—it’ll be much easier to understand and participate in typical office conversations.
Future interns should know that there’s a large team behind you to help with questions and review your work—it’s OK to make mistakes!
Q: What should our 2020 interns expect?
A: Interning at McKinstry taught me the following lessons:
- Be flexible and be engaged. These two alone helped to be ready for anything and everything thrown my way.
- Mindset is everything. Having a positive attitude and saying “Yes!” with enthusiasm tells everyone that you’re ready and excited to work.
- Don’t be afraid to fail—failing is better than not trying. If you have any interest in a project, try to learn as much as possible and absorb information like a sponge—there’s no shortage of information or opportunities.
- Anticipate an environment where no relationship is too far-fetched and interact with as many people (and as many types of people) as you can.
It’s been an honor working for this company, and I look forward to what is to come. From intern events to jobsite visits to the people who work here, I can’t say enough good things about McKinstry. Farewell for now!