Growing up on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, I moved to California with my family and aspired to be the first member of my family to obtain a higher education. In 2006 I decided to pursue my first degree. Not knowing exactly where I wanted to go, I took a chance and threw a dart at a map. It landed on Colorado and I enrolled in the ethnic studies program at Colorado State University (CSU).
While I was in the ethnic studies program, I volunteered for the Hurricane Katrina relief rebuilding in New Orleans where I discovered that construction is at the heart of how society functions. I saw the devastation the hurricane left in its wake and the families and communities it affected. Through this experience, I saw the potential to connect construction with community development and social justice. This is what led me to pursue a second degree in construction management so I could combine my two passions of helping others and my love of buildings.
While I was in the construction management program at CSU, I met a student that told me how wonderful their PCL internship was. He offered to introduce me to some of his colleagues at the upcoming career fair, I was interviewed and later offered an internship. I was so thrilled to accept because I knew that PCL uses its success and platform for community giving and volunteerism.
I absolutely loved my PCL student experience. I had a fantastic team and developed amazing mentors along the way who helped shape my career path through their knowledge and guidance. My mentors challenged me and purposefully loaded my plate to teach me the valuable lesson of when to say no and yes to something, which is something I struggled with. Sometimes you are saying no to something so you can say yes to something else, and I am so grateful my mentors taught me to create balance early in my career. During my internship, I even got to volunteer with my team for the Denver Paint-A-Thon, a program that offers no-cost exterior home painting to income-eligible homeowners.
In June 2020, I accepted a full-time offer with PCL despite having multiple job offers. This was an easy choice because I saw the opportunity to be part of something bigger than myself. I have been able to experience firsthand that PCL truly embodies the values I hold near and dear including diversity, integrity, honesty and community giving.
I have since been able to apply both my degrees to the work I do as a field engineer and as our Denver office’s representative for PCL’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. This council puts the tools in place to support employees and ultimately promote inclusion, equity, teamwork and innovation. I am so happy to have found a career where I love what I do. Working at PCL inspires me to invest in the company and myself.
My advice to future students and interns is to figure out what is important to you and how you can apply those values to your career. Find out whether the core values of the company are alive in their people and align with your own. For me, that's what exists at PCL. I love what I do, and my work speaks to my values and who I am.