Crystal’s Intern Experience: She’s Back!

Remember the crane-tower-climbing, subcontractor-managing, SLU Hospital-loving intern from last year? SHE’S BACK! I am Crystal Bell, a Senior Civil Engineering major at Saint Louis University. This summer I am working with Audrey Gravelle at the Crooked Creek Water Reclamation Facility outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Joining me is another intern, Juan Ochoa!

Although we have had only one full week on the job, so much has transpired. The main things I want to cover are: the general differences between this summer and last, some highlights thus far, and the project team.

SLU Hospital and the Crooked Creek WRF are two very different projects in type, size, delivery method, and shop type. While there are obvious differences — Hospital vs Wastewater Treatment Facility, $550 million vs $135 million, Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) vs Lump Sum – there are also subtle changes to my role. As I managed subcontractors, submittals, and contracts regarding Enclosure last summer, I have a more general scope this summer. I will be assisting with multiple scopes: Safety, Quality Control, Civil, Mechanical, Surveying/Coordination, each for a few days or weeks. This will give me the opportunity to wrap my head around the entire framework of the project and understand how each of the pieces are coming together. I have also learned that managing subcontractors is different than managing self-perform work. This project is majority self-perform, so I am glad to be exposed to something different than what I have already seen.

Although this is a constant learning experience, I can only share a few highlights! I arrived at work the earliest I ever have…4:30 am. We were able to see the concrete placement process from start to finish including the quality testing preparation, placement by pump and crane/bucket, and small scale finishing (vs the big machines I saw at SLU).

Brett, a quality control manager, ended the week on a high note…He planned a trip to the concrete testing facility that breaks all of our cylinders. It was awesome to see something I learned in class actually occur in the field!

I also learned about the electrical work on site from Tony. Electrical engineering was one discipline in which I never expressed interest, but after the quality explanations we were given, and the generator, switchgear, transformers, motor control centers, and power panels were visited, I was actually quite intrigued! I think I made a good choice with civil, but now I can at least sympathize with the electricals 🙂

My final observation of the first week was the people. Since this is a smaller jobsite, everybody knows everybody, and we have been included in so many things. People want to show us around, check in to see what we are working on, share their expertise and are willing to answer all of our questions! What a great start to my second summer with Alberici!!