How would you describe what you’re doing at McKinstry in 50 words or less?
My role at McKinstry as a Project Engineer Intern is to learn as much as I can, as quickly as I can, in order to help the field team, perform their work on time and under budget.
What has McKinstry been successful in with tackling the challenge of COVID-19 from a company and an intern perspective (i.e. measures taken company wide and measures taken within the B.L.U.E. program)
McKinstry has been successful in tackling the challenge of COVID-19 from a company perspective in the way they have provided the option for employees to work from home for as long as necessary until they feel it is safe to return. For people in New Construction, keeping the number of people in the office down to a small amount to allow for proper social distancing has been a change I have witnessed firsthand. We work in the office on a rotation. I was given the opportunity to work Monday through Wednesday in the field office and the rest of the week at home for the duration of the summer. Being able to split up my area of work was something new to me but has readied me for a new normal with the possibilities of working from home becoming more widespread. I believe in the way McKinstry has afforded its employees the option to work from home until they feel safe in an office. It speaks loudly about how much they care for the wellbeing of their employees.
Within the BLUE program, our medium for gathering and seeing one another face-to-face has been through online meetings. One benefit to this is that the entire intern cohort across the west coast has been able to meet one another through these online meetings, an opportunity that may not have arisen without the online format.
How has this program looked different than you might have expected due to COVID-19 restrictions?
The B.L.U.E. internship program has looked different than expected only in the sense that the extra informational sessions hosted by the B.L.U.E. staff have been entirely virtual. However, in the summer of ’20 I’m sure most meetings were virtual, so in that sense it felt like the new normal. The B.L.U.E. staff has done an incredible job putting together different Lunch & Learn events for the interns to learn about a range of topics from how to put together a LinkedIn profile to discussions about specific departments in McKinstry to get a feel for what the company has to offer. One benefit of having much of the format become virtual is when your schedule gets busy and you can’t make it to the specific time of the info session, being able to watch the recording became very beneficial.
What are your three biggest takeaways from this program?
- Know who to ask and how to ask it. Throughout meetings this summer and shadowing job walks, a lot of information is spewed very quickly. Often to the point where you are left with only being able to pick up on certain keywords that might not be familiar. Going to someone on the team who might know what that phrase or word means has been a big takeaway. I have been able to keep a list of terms going throughout the summer.
- Becoming more familiar with the formalities of construction workflows. Specifically, keeping track of information along the duration of a project and knowing how to access it as well as learning how to prepare it as formal documentation for the client has been very interesting. Keeping information clear and to the point before submitting it has been a valuable new takeaway.
- Participating in coordination between multiple parties. I have learned that on projects with multiple trades involved, coordination to make sure everyone is on the same page is very important. Solving problems collectively takes multiple meetings and correspondence from several people. Learning from my team about how to run meetings and make sure that everyone’s time is used effectively has been a strong takeaway from this summer.