This is my second PCL internship with the California Buildings district in Los Angeles, California. I am currently completing a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management with a minor in Sustainability at Arizona State University. I first learned about PCL Construction when I participated in the ASC Regions 6 and 7 “Reno” Competition (a national collegiate construction competition). Every company in attendance held a hospitality suite for all the students. Initially I had gone into PCL’s suite with the perception that PCL only has a heavy civil and industrial sector, but when I found out that they also participate in the buildings sector I was sold. I learned that PCL does vertical construction and that the people are great. When I started my first work term with PCL, I learned that the work atmosphere is great too.
Since my first work term with PCL, my goal has been to gain as much experience as I could and learn things that could not be taught in a school setting. One thing I have learned from my experience and would like to share with other interns is you should strive to become an asset to the company. We all go to school with aspirations to one day start a great career. The key word here is “start.” If you want to advance in your career, it is important to recognize the career path you want to take and then identify the skills required to help you get there one day. These skills will not only help you in your current role but will also help you develop into a new role.
After finishing both of my PCL internships, I have decided to pursue the superintendent career path. I’m not blind to the fact that being a female superintendent in a male dominated industry will have its challenges, but I’m confident in my ability to overcome these challenges. Something I plan to do to enhance my skill set is to work with the trades to further understand the different systems and processes in a building. I have learned that it is important to establish positive relationships with subtrades and learn about what their job entails. Construction is a small world and there is a good chance that you will work with them again. Most of the superintendents that I have worked with have started their careers working in trades and use this experience when managing construction projects.
Here’s my advice to interns:
- Form positive relationships. This helps you build credibility within the company. Go to networking and volunteering events such as industry mixers, PCL events, and habitat for humanity.
- Build bridges and do not break them.
- Take pride in your work.
- Make safety a top priority.
Ask a lot of questions!