Olivia’s Intern Experience – Navigating the New Norm

Who would have thought 2020 was going to be a pivotal year in our history books? COVID-19 has changed our everyday lives and progressively keeps challenging different industries. Thankfully, the construction industry hasn’t slowed down too much. Alberici has taken many measures to make sure everyone is safe in the office and on the jobsite.

My name is Olivia Rowell and I am a senior studying Construction at Bradley University. This summer, I am an intern for the Preconstruction and Estimating division in St. Louis, MO.

This is my third internship and it easily surpasses the previous ones. Alberici puts so much time and effort into creating the best experience possible for their interns. They make sure every single one of us get to learn and grow in our own ways, presenting us with challenges similar to those of full-time employees. Even though Alberici is a large company, it has a small company feel. This impression was formed when I was walking down the hallway and Greg Hesser, the President of Alberici, stopped me in the hallway and asked how I was doing and how the internship was going. How often does the president of a company with a $2 billion in yearly revenues ask an intern how they are? This is just one example of the inclusivity within the company. Alberici truly excels in its company culture and living its mission and values. I have only been here for a month and see this day in and day out.

When I got the call from Tim Rosemann, Senior Human Resources Business Partner, saying my internship was still happening in person, I was ecstatic. Although it was obvious that the intern experience was going to be different than previous years because of our new normal, Alberici has been doing so much to make sure we still have the best experience possible. They have an “intern committee” that dedicate its time towards making sure we get the most out of our summer given the circumstances.

Being in the Preconstruction and Estimating department, I am able to dip my toe into different markets and get a feel for all that Alberici does. I started off helping develop an estimate for a food manufacturing warehouse, then moved into the MLS St. Louis Soccer Stadium, and various hospital jobs. All while helping with estimates, I have been very involved in the procurement of a $200 million healthcare project. My knowledge of the Preconstruction side of the industry has greatly expanded. So much work and time goes into the development of a proposal and estimate. Design-build jobs are very interesting and challenging, but also very rewarding in the end if it pays off.

A fun thing that Alberici does every year is an intern project. This year we are doing a “hackathon”, which is creating innovative solutions to challenges in the industry. The challenge given is COVID-19 and finding ways to live and work by “Hacking the New Norm”. For example, a smart hard hat that gives an alert when within 6 feet of another worker. We were put into teams of 6-7 interns from all over the US to develop an idea, create a prototype, and present it to the executives of Alberici. While this is a challenge in itself, another level of difficulty is the fact that we are working on the project virtually. Teamwork and collaboration is key. So far, it has been a great experience with weekly meetings, design pitches, and pros/cons lists. I can’t wait to see what every team develops! It’s just like Shark Tank… I am just glad we don’t have to present to Mark Cuban.

So far, I wouldn’t change this experience at all! It has been so much better than I would have imagined, especially given the circumstances. Alberici has exceeded my expectations and more. Not only am I learning so much, but I am having so much fun doing it!