“Let Your Passion Shine Through” | KA Interns 2018
Kraus-Anderson Construction Interns 2018
Education is vitally important to growing our next generation of leaders. However, not everything can be learned in the classroom.
This summer 19 college interns augmented their coursework with real life, relevant job experience at Kraus-Anderson offices and projects around the region. As they return to school, here’s a snapshot of their perspectives and takeaways from the Kraus-Anderson intern experience.
Zac Syverson, Project Engineer Intern
- KA office: Bismarck, ND
- School attending and major: NDSU Construction Management
- Career goals: First and foremost, graduate in May 2019 and have a full time position lined up, from there I would like to be in a position as a PE/FE/APM role where I can learn both the field and office sides. After a few years in this position I would like to end up as a Superintendent or as a Project Manager; at this time I am still undecided which way I want to go.
- Year are in school: Beginning my Senior Year this Fall
- Mentor at KA: Rachael Oelke
- Working at: NDSU New Residence Hall (Cater Hall) & NDSU Underground Steam Tunnel
- Duties/responsibilities at KA: Daily Manpower Log, Safety Audits, Submittal Review, Write RFI’s, Any other tasks I am asked to do.
- Observations/takeaways on KA’s culture: There is no such thing as a stupid question and everyone is willing to help you learn and will explain something to you if you need it.
- Advice to a brand-new intern at KA: Take every opportunity you have to learn something new or more about something.
Mike Ankeny, Estimating/Pre-Construction
- KA office: Twin Cities
- School attending and major: University of Wisconsin – Stout; B.S. Construction
- Career goals: My goal is to earn a Project Manager or Pre-Construction position where employees are valued and everyone is committed to building enduring relationships and strong communities. I hope to continuously learn, grow, and advance to a leadership position. Overall, my biggest priority is to strengthen my passion for construction and continue to enjoy what I do.
- Year in school: Senior
- Mentor at KA: Mark Nolta
- Working at: I work from the office on potential projects.
- Duties/responsibilities at KA:
- Analyzing drawings, specifications, narratives, and other technical documents
- Completing take-offs and preparing cost estimates
- Contacting suppliers and subcontractors to obtain prices or make clarifications
- Participating in competitive bidding processes
- Obtaining and evaluating bids from various subcontractors, vendors, and suppliers
- Developing and maintaining a project cost history database
- Observations/takeaways on KA’s culture: My time at KA so far has been a great learning experience and very beneficial to my future. I have realized that there are many opportunities KA has to offer and the pre-construction phase is something that definitely interests me. The employees here are all very supportive and helpful by making sure my experience at KA is the best it can be.
- Valuable experiences of being a KA intern: The Intern Summit was a great learning experience and chance to get to know other interns and employees. I also have enjoyed participating in various meetings, pre-con team outings, and lunches with co-workers. Taking part in a competitive bid day is also high on the list. Every day is a valuable experience.
- Advice to a brand-new intern at KA: Take time to set goals for yourself prior to starting, continuously monitor those, and set new ones. The time will pass by quickly so be observant, ask questions wisely, and learn as much as you can from co-workers. Do not be afraid to arrive early, stay late, help others when asked, and take on more work without being asked. Let your passion shine through.
Aaron Filzen, Project Engineer Intern
- KA office: Rochester
- School attending and major: Minnesota State University, Mankato – Construction Management
- Career goals: To enjoy my career and work with passion.
- Year in school: 5th year with one semester left
- Mentor at KA: John Pristash
- Working at: Rochester Ramp 6, and Blue Earth County Government Center
- Duties/responsibilities at KA: Assist the PE with day to day tasks, sending in submittals and writing RFI’s, taking meeting notes, phone calling, walking the site with the superintendent.
- Observations/takeaways on KA’s culture: I have tried to incorporate building strong relationships into everything I have done here at KA. Overall the company culture has been pretty good, the culture of any company goes as far as the employee you interact with takes it. Knowing this I found it my responsibility to develop the relationships I have been able to be a part of working with KA.
- Valuable experiences of being a KA intern: Being able to find a way to learn from each thing I am involved in. The most I have learned has usually been in the field with the superintendent and getting to build relationships with other contractors on site.
- Advice to a brand-new intern at KA: Write down a to-do list every morning and at the same time never let that to do list become more important than the relationships at work and at home.
- Other comments: Working at KA has been a great opportunity for me to be able to see the general contracting side of construction. After the internship is over I am going to miss not being able to see the relationships and projects develop.
Beau Peterson, Project Engineer Intern
- KA office: Twin Cities
- School attending and major: University of Wisconsin-Stout, B.S. Construction
- Career goals: 3 years- Assistant Project Manager. 5 years – would like to be in consideration for Project Manager. 7 years – Project manager. 10 years – have lead multiple large scale projects.
- Year in school: I will be a senior.
- Mentor at KA: Eric Quam
- Working at: North Branch Middle and High School.
- Duties/responsibilities at KA: Reviewing submittals, reviewing RFI’s, reviewing PCO’s, recording meeting minutes, tracking schedules/deliveries, recording daily field reports, and helping KA team members with whatever task they need completed.
- Observations/takeaways on KA’s culture: All the KA people I see around site and in the office are very helpful and willing to answer any question I have. KA has a culture that is all about learning, growing, and making a good impression on people of other companies and the community.
- Valuable experiences of being a KA intern: Being on site. Seeing first-hand the daily activities and problems of a construction site is a valuable learning opportunity. Being on site also implements a hands-on learning approach that is beneficial.
- Advice to a brand-new intern at KA? First off, it is okay to not entirely know what is going on. It is not okay to accept your lack of understanding on a topic. If you don’t understand something, ask a KA team member. They will be more than happy to help you grow your knowledge. Second, don’t beat yourself up over mistakes that you make (because you will make them), making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn. Just give your best effort at everything you do, your mentor understands that this is a learning process for you at this point. Next, the experience you will take away from this internship is far more valuable than the money you make. So, don’t focus on the money; focus on the priceless learning opportunity you are being presented with. Lastly, have fun! You are going to be surrounded by people who have the same general interest as you; give your best effort to make some good networking connections.
- Other comments you’d like to share? I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with a company that has such a well set up intern program. My experience here has been priceless, I don’t think there are many companies out there that are as invested in the future as Kraus-Anderson is.
Joel Boulter, Project Engineer Intern
- KA office: Twin Cities
- School attending and major: Iowa State University, Construction Engineering
- Career goals: After I finish up at Iowa State I’d like to start my career on the field route, and spend some time there with the possibility of eventually transitioning over to the office side of things down the road. I’d love to find a company in Minneapolis to work for full-time.
- Year in school: I will be a senior this upcoming fall, graduating in May of 2019.
- Mentor at KA: Renae Anderson
- Working at: Ironclad (downtown, on the corner of Chicago Ave. and Washington Ave.)
- Duties/responsibilities at KA: As a Project Engineer Intern, I have a wide variety of responsibilities at KA, which include: submittal/shop drawing review, subcontractor bid acquisition/qualification, RFI processing, creation of monthly updates for owner, various quantity takeoffs and drawing review exercises, and miscellaneous field tasks.
- Observations/takeaways on KA’s culture: KA has a unique culture that is unique to the construction industry. Everyone I’ve interacted with so far has been more than willing to help me learn, and the company’s dedication to the community is something I appreciate as well.
- Valuable experiences of being a KA intern: The ability to work full-time on the jobsite has been the most valuable experience I’ve had here. I’ve been able to learn not only from the project managers who I work closely with, but also the superintendents on site as well. The fact that I’m able to go out and walk the site to answer a question I have or just to observe something I’ve never seen before has been so beneficial to me, especially as someone who is interested in starting my career in the field.
- What advice would you give a brand-new intern at KA? Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and expose yourself to as many new learning opportunities that you can during your time at KA. Utilize the resources KA gives you to their fullest extent. Try to spend time outside of work with the other interns as well!
Cody Darling, Field Engineer Intern
- Year in school:Senior at UW-Stout for Construction Management
- Working on: St. Croix County Highway Maintenance Department
- Mentor: Tom Michels
- Career Goals: Continue to gain experience, learn and grow in a strong company. The construction field is where I have always wanted to develop my expertise because when you look back at the end of the day it is very rewarding to see the progress you have made. I plan to train hard to become a seasoned Project Superintendent. Instead of asking all of the questions I want to be able to answer them.
- Duties: The number one duty is to show up to the job site every day ready to learn. I began my internship towards the beginning of this project so I am experiencing the initial construction phase. I take progress photos, conduct site safety orientation, answer site specific questions to the best of my ability, and perform maintenance tasks around the project. I am a greater problem solver now than I was at the beginning of the summer.
- Observations/takeaways: It is rewarding that I can say I have interned here with KA. I had a chance to meet several employees and they all impressed me. Everyone knows their job positions very well along with KA’s culture. I enjoy hearing about how many projects we take on in a year and our never-ending work load.
- Advice to a new intern: Show up to work on time every day and ready to learn. KA is a very structured company and one of the most competitive contractors in the market. They expect the same out of you. Always be up for a good challenge and take pride in the fact that they chose you to learn from them. Take advantage of the intern gatherings and tours KA offers. It’s great to meet other interns and compare your experiences with each other.
Riley Sletten, Project Engineer Intern
- KA office: Twin Cities
- School attending and major: Minnesota State University, Mankato, Construction Management
- What are your career goals? I would like to start out as a Project Engineer and eventually become a Project Manager for a General Contractor. My goal is to one day be a Senior Project Manager for a General Contractor in the Twin Cities Area.
- Year in school: Senior. I am graduating at the end of the summer.
- Mentor at KA: AJ Lillesve
- Working at: Edgewood Education Center in Brooklyn Park & Capitol View Center in Little Canada
- Duties/responsibilities at KA: Submittals, Meeting Minutes, Punch-list, Attic Stock/Training documentation, Minor Scheduling, Learning.
- Observations/takeaways on KA’s culture: KA is a great company with awesome people. KA has a very kind and down to earth company culture. I’ve enjoyed my summer thus far as well as everyone I’ve gotten the chance to meet and work with.
- Valuable experiences of being a KA intern: Getting to spend most of my time on site is extremely beneficial to me. Learning and seeing new things every day and getting to see how projects come together is really great learning experience
- Advice to a brand-new intern at KA: Approach each task as a learning opportunity and if questions arise, don’t be afraid to ask them. KA is full of people who are more than happy to help.
Matthew Brettingen, Project Engineering Intern
- KA office: Duluth
- School attending and major: University of Minnesota Duluth, Civil Engineering.
- Year in school: I will be starting my senior year, and graduating this upcoming spring.
- Mentor at KA: Patrick Gallagher
- Working at: I have been exclusively working on the Superior High School Project all summer.
- Duties/responsibilities at KA:
- Being on a relatively large size project, I am in the unique position that my responsibilities and duties are different each day.
- I have had a big part in teaching others how to use PlanGrid for generating punch list reports. I then create these punch list reports and follow up with contractors to ensure they are completed.
- I have also used PlanGrid on a daily basis to run square footages, generate things for contractors to price, update daily progress photos, and overall just as a means for more effective and concise communication.
- I also do anything I can to help out our team, usually preforming smaller miscellaneous tasks to help others with their workloads.
- Observations/takeaways on KA’s culture:
- I discovered quickly how important relationships are, (both in this industry and in general) due to how much emphasis KA puts on them.
- I found it motivating how everyone on the KA team is willing to go the extra mile to reach a common goal.
- Valuable experiences of being a KA intern:
- I think the biggest thing I will take away from this internship experience are the communication skills I have learned. The personal experiences I have had this summer have exposed me to different ways of communicating concisely and effectively in a wide variety of situations.
- Advice to a brand-new intern at KA:
- Due to your limited life and job experience, you are going to make mistakes during this internship. Don’t let this scare you or effect your ability to perform your job. The lessons you learn from these mistakes can be some of the most beneficial you will encounter through this experience.
- NEVER be afraid to ask questions. No matter how crazy or hectic it may seem, everyone you will be working with genuinely cares about making your experience as beneficial as possible.
- Spend as much time as you can in the field.
- Other comments you’d like to share?
- This internship experience has been better than anything I could have asked or hoped for in the aspect of gaining knowledge and real world experience while working with such a high integrity group of people.
- One thing that has really enriched my internship experience here has been how much responsibility and trust you can earn, with hard work and determination, in such a short period of time.
Jake Abbott, Project Engineer Intern
- KA office: Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport
- School attending and major? University of Minnesota, majoring in Construction Management with emphasis on commercial construction.
- Career goals: Eventually I would like to become a Senior Project Manager in one of the various sectors of the construction industry, whether it be commercial, residential, roadwork, etc… Along the way I hope to take on a variety of interesting and challenging projects.
- Year in school: I am entering my senior year in school.
- Mentor at KA: My assigned mentor is Bob Carter, however, I do most of my reporting to JB Kennedy.
- Working at:There are multiple projects out at the MSP International Airport, however, the majority of my work is on the South Exit Façade Expansion and Vertical Circulation Phase 2 Projects.
- Duties/responsibilities at KA: My duty is to help the project managers in any way that I can on the multiple projects here at the Airport. I do this through a variety of tasks such as putting together change orders, reviewing submittals, writing up weekly reports, attending meetings, and more.
- Observations/takeaways on KA’s culture: The culture at KA has had a strong impression on me. The overall attitude of the company is fantastic with everyone so willing to help out the person next to them. The relationships people seem to have here go beyond the strict duties of work. However, that does not take away from every employee’s drive to get their work done at a high standard. I have only been here for a few months and I can already see how great this company is.
- Valuable experiences of being a KA intern: I would say the most valuable takeaway for me has been the hands on experience managing a construction project. School has definitely helped me learn a good deal about construction management, but I believe the hands on experience is what really helps a person learn in the long run.
Nicolette Smerillo, Accounting Intern
- KA office: Twin Cities
- School Attending and major: University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. Double majoring in accounting and finance with a minor in business law.
- Career goals: A goal of mine is to obtain my CPA within a year of graduation.
- Year in school: Senior
- Mentor at KA: Logan Carter
- Observations/takeaways on KA’s culture: The people at KA are warmhearted and inviting, it was very easy for me to integrate myself into the culture.
- Valuable experiences of being a KA intern: Being able to touch all three of my fields of study rather than just accounting.
- Advice to a brand new intern at KA: Be open to new experiences and be prepared to meet a lot of new and great people.
Brooksten Mathern, Field Engineer Intern
School attending and major: NDSU, Construction Management with a double minor in Business Administration and Military Science.
Year in School: I am currently a Junior with 3 semesters left (expected graduation date of Dec. 2019)
Working at: MSP Airport office, assigned to Terminal 1 Lindbergh Parking Ramp Expansion.
Observations/takeaways on KA’s culture: I have learned quite a lot this summer but my biggest takeaway is how professional everyone is and the way they conduct business. Also KA invests in its employees, it really is a family culture which is one thing I didn’t expect since this is a large company in a large city.
One of the reasons I chose KA for my internship is that KA has a very structured internship program, one that is mapped out and actually aims to build the intern and allow them to grow and be mentored. My other two internships did not have a mentor program or a structured internship program. The most valuable asset I gained at KA is the connections and friendships that I have made. I will be able to call on my mentors for the rest of my career and know that they will always be honest and have my best interests in mind.
Advice for incoming interns: Get connected, don’t be afraid to screw up too bad. Be eager to learn and always ask for more than you think you can handle.