Let me premise this by stating that this is my observation as a Summer Intern and that I have nearly two decades in the construction industry, therefore results may vary depending on life experiences, company and attitude.
The atmosphere which I have been exposed to at Gilbane has been a welcoming and encouraging to the interns. Gilbane Building Company has exposed me to many opportunities and allowed me to take on responsibilities and ownership of my work which gives one room for growth. One can learn quite a bit from college classes, but unless you are willing to jump into the field and learn why and how things actually work, then you are missing out on personal and professional growth.
Though my title may be one of Summer Intern, at no point have I been treated any differently or looked upon as someone without experience or knowledge for the project to which I have been assisgned, JTCC Phase III. I have looked at this chance with Gilbane Building Company as a point in which to shine and give it my all. These days and weeks can either make me or break me on how the future may develop, and if given an opportunity to move forward with this great company. Being given the chance with Gilbane would only add fuel to the fire of my desire for continued growth.
Remember the popular saying: If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Having worked in the construction industry for nearly two decades, I have seen a lot of great contractors and some that are not so great. No matter which contractor I was working with on a project, they all had a safety plan which was supposed to be implemented. In the past, many companies would glance over their safety plan, hand out some paperwork, and let you go about your way. Something that I have been greatly appreciative of while at Gilbane has been the importance of safety.
The Gilbane way is not just discussing the importance of safety, but the understanding that everyone has something to lose if a coworker is injured or dies from a construction accident. This does happen, much too often. Each one of those assigned to a Gilbane project is looked at as a person, and not just a body filling a position. Before starting work on any project, one must watch a Safety Orientation video, complete a short quiz and sign a safety pledge. Most companies would stop at this point, but Gilbane does not follow this line.
Every day, safety is reiterated and discussed. There are Toolbox meetings every week by the subcontractors. To prevent injuries, in the morning there is a short stretch and flex to loosen up the muscles and joints. The environment is extremely pleasant and positive on Gilbane projects. Instead of yelling at someone for improper or missing equipment, they are approached and it is discussed to see if it was misplaced or damaged and can be replaced prior to moving on with the task at hand. This attitude draws more people to wanting to work with and for Gilbane.
No matter one’s title on the project, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the safety of those around them. It is the understanding that we are all part of a great team and by ensuring that our teammates are safe, it allows them to return home the same way they left, all in one piece
While nothing will completely eliminate accidents on construction sites, we all can make sure we are working safely and utilizing the proper equipment and not risking injury or death by attempting a short cut. While “Gilbane Cares” may be seen as a catch slogan, the measure is seen by the actions of those throughout Gilbane, which shows they do care.
When afforded an opportunity to enter into a company as an intern, one should not just look at the experience they will gain from their employment no matter how long or short, but also at what you are going to bring to the table for the employer. Students often accept these positions believing that they will be sitting around filing paperwork, making coffee, picking up donuts, checking email or performing some small tasks without having to get deep into the project details. While this may be the case in some industries, it does not apply to one entering the construction industry.
One should never expect that they will not be challenged or believe that the day begins at 8 am and ends by 5 pm. Before one jumps into the construction industry, they should realize that some days start well before dawn and at times will end well after most of your friends have already been at the pool relaxing for the day. Sometimes there are chances, when the project has been delayed, that you may have to work all day Saturday or even Sunday.
Construction is not for the faint of heart or those that get weary easily, for each day is a challenge and requires a lot of work. If you are afraid of sweat, blood, high pressure or being pulled in five directions at every minute of the day, then construction may not be the place for you and your career. One must realize that construction happens in the field and that buildings, roadways, and structures have to be built in the environment where it is never predictable.
While construction is not an easy profession, for those up to the challenges it is extremely rewarding. For those who loved building forts, pushing the limits to construct something new or those who would build with Legos just to tear them apart to build something new every few hours, then it would a great field which to venture.