KA’s summer internship program provides young adults with the opportunity to put what they learn in the classroom to the test. With real-world and hands-on experiences, our interns are exposed to a variety of different challenges, tasks and responsibilities. The knowledge and lessons learned over the course of three months, is easily something they will take with them for a lifetime.
As summer comes to a close, Kraus-Anderson’s interns reflect on what they have learned, talk about their goals, career paths and advice for our future interns.
Intern Name: Dillon Rudrud
Job Title: Project Engineer Intern
KA office: Duluth
School: Senior, University of Minnesota, Duluth. Civil Engineering major
Mentor at KA: Pat Gallagher
Working on: Superior High School job site
Duties: scheduling, meeting minutes, shop drawings, RFI and PCO filing, Bike Duluth Festival
Valuable Experience: being able to sit in on different meetings to see how they are dealt with, bid packages, owner meetings, foreman’s meetings, construction and management meetings, etc.
Advice to new intern at KA: try to pick up on as many things as possible throughout the day and always be looking for things to do that can be helpful
Intern Name: Charlie Sweeney
Job title at KA: Project Engineer Intern
KA office: Rochester
School: Senior, Iowa State University, Construction Engineering with a minor in Business
Career goals: Most importantly, throughout my career I want to continue to learn and grow with a company that is doing the same.
Mentors at KA: Shawn Lortscher and Andy Johnson
Working on: Miracle Mile, a 5 story mixed use building in downtown Rochester
Duties: It would be easier to list the things I don’t do! I started out doing a lot of precon with Andy, and then recently have been getting more involved with the project management aspect of the Miracle Mile. I’ve been working on a procurement log that keeps track of all the materials we need to order, when we need them, how long it takes to get them, and ultimately when we need to order them. It was used by another PE on a different job, and I have been working on making it even more powerful and useful!
Observations/Takeaways: Being in a smaller, newer office like Rochester has given me a good feeling for how KA operates. It’s always reassuring when subcontractors, owners, and even our field staff tell me how great the KA team is in Rochester! Getting up to the main office during the intern summit, I felt like my experience with KA was pretty typical, and that KA has worked to develop a cooperative and encouraging environment.
Valuable Experience: This week I have been covering for our superintendent on site (with support, of course!) and it has been great so far. I have learned a lot more about the project and why certain decisions have been made the way they are. It has helped me start to look at things differently and try to look at the future implications of a decision or activity.
Advice to a new intern at KA: Ask questions! I wish I would have done that more when I first started. Now that I am more familiar with things and asking more questions, I am learning more… go figure!
Job Title: Project Engineer Intern
KA Office: Circle Pines
School: Senior, NDSU, majoring in Construction Management
Career Goals: I would like to start my career in either project management or work procurement, and work my way up to a construction executive role. When the market is right, and I’ve gained enough experience, I plan on running a construction firm of my own.
Mentors: AJ Lillesve & Eric Quam
Working on: Carver Elementary, Chaska Multipurpose Dome and Field, and Pioneer Ridge Middle School Pool Addition
Duties: Working heavily on the office side, performing tasks such as tracking down and reviewing submittals, taking meeting minutes, and distributing RFI’s. Also starting to work on PCO’s/PR’s and punch list duties.
Observations/Takeaways: One thing that has really impressed me about KA is the team-first mentality here. People are here to help each other meet a common goal. So far, throughout the summer slam season I have not seen any bickering, finger-pointing, or other types of in-fighting that often plagues the construction industry. It has been an excellent experience and a great place to work.
Intern Experience: The best part about my intern experience is the degree of responsibility you are given. I have not been micro-managed or sheltered, but rather mentored and expected to perform.
Advice to other interns: Do as much as you can with the time you have at your internship. Life moves fast and it will be over before you know it. Also, be patient and take the time to learn how and why we do things a certain way. It is easy to focus on output exclusively, but putting your head down and filling out spreadsheets will not help you become a better builder down the road.
Job title at KA: Field Engineer Intern
KA office: Circle Pines
School: I attend UW-Stout and I am in the Construction program. I will be starting my 5th year in September 2017 and will graduate in December 2017.
What are your career goals? My career goals are to become a very knowledgeable and experienced project superintendent.
Mentor at KA: Brandon Larkin
Working on: Waconia High School new addition and remodel. I also attend Spring Lake Park New Elementary in Blaine once a week for the project meeting.
Duties: Creating RFI’s using PlanGrid, taking notes during project meetings, coordination with subcontractors, weekly safety inspections, daily logs, assisting the superintendent and learning how to handle different situations and find answers that come up, pull planning, reviewing submittals, reviewing plans and specs, and also Updating PlanGrid with PCOs.
Observations/takeaways: Overall, I have really enjoyed my time here. The reason being is that everyone that I have met/worked with is very friendly, and they take the extra time to really make sure that I understand something if I have a question on it. The intern summit that we attended really showed me how great KA’s culture is, by taking the time to really show us interns all of the different parts of the company, and everyone that is involved with making this company even more successful.
Valuable Experience: Being able to learn from such a knowledge and experienced project superintendent, and also everyone associated with the project team.
Advice to a new intern: Ask a lot of questions, because the more you ask, the more you will learn and understand.
Job title at KA: Accounting Intern
KA office: Circle Pines
Have you interned at KA previously? When? No, I have not interned previously for KA.
School: Senior, University of Minnesota Duluth, Labovitz School of Business and Engineering (LSBE) majoring in Accounting.
Career goals: My career goals include graduating with a job set up immediately, preferably in the public sector, specifically auditing. Within that first year or two I aim to earn my CPA. After a few years working with a public accounting firm I would like to transition into the private sector. My time thus far with KA has shown me some really great aspects of accounting in the construction field, so that could be a direction I’d like to go in. Ultimately I would like to be working as an accountant with a larger private company, working hard to contribute to the company and advance within it.
Mentors at KA: Logan Carter and Ryan Szarzynski.
Duties: My duties vary day-to-day depending on what projects/tasks I am given. I work mostly with two project accountants (Maria and Sara) and I help them with invoices, billings and keeping up with specific jobs’ progress. I attend meetings with Maria and the project manager she works with on the BSC jobs, Erika. I also work on and complete small projects for my supervisors, Logan and Ryan. They are varied in content and objective, but often involve working with Viewpoint and Excel.
Observations: KA’s culture is very helpful, inclusive, and encouraging, but still a challenging environment. Everyone I’ve worked with thus far has been so patient with me and they continue to answer my questions and guide me along with whatever I’m working on. However, they still allow me to work my way through some tasks and challenge me to figure it out on my own. The meetings I’ve attended, both within the Accounting department and outside of it, has shown me the emphasis KA puts on communication. The company seems to understand that by being great communicators, they will be as efficient and successful as possible. This is an aspect in business that I’ve always known is important, but my time here has shown me that strong communication skills are vital in any company and an imperative skill to have and to work to improve.
Advice to a new intern: Not only focus on expanding your knowledge of your chosen field of study (ie. Accounting) but also take notice of general skills that will help you in any business/job. Ask questions about the corporate atmosphere and operation. Work to improve your general skills like communication, leadership, work ethic etc. because those are skills and experiences that you can build upon and then take with you wherever you go.
Job title at KA: IT Intern (Support Specialist/Security Analyst)
KA office: Minneapolis and Circle Pines
School: Senior, St Cloud State for IT Security
Career goals: To achieve a healthy work/life balance and to have job that doesn’t feel like a job.
Mentor at KA: Jen Hansen
Duties: Currently working on KA’s Cyber Incident Response Plan and assisting in rolling out new PC’s for KA employees. As well as working with various vendors and side projects to further improve online security for KA, in addition to other IT helpdesk support.
Observations on KA’s culture: Very relaxed and inviting. Wasn’t sure what to expect working in IT for a construction company, but I was pleasantly surprised to meet helpful and open-minded people. Can’t remember her name, but during the Minneapolis office tour an employee advised us to “come for the work, stay for the people.” I’d say that’s pretty much true.
Valuable experience: Working in a real world environment and knowing that the work I do will last. Longevity is what matters to me. Whether or not I return, I hope that I have a positive impact on KA, as it has had on me.
Advice to a new intern: You’re here because of your attitude and potential, so take advantage. Relax, do what you can, ask questions, and have fun.
Job title at KA: Project Engineer Intern
KA office: Circle Pines
School: Senior, University of Minnesota pursuing a major in Construction Management
Career goals: My career goals are to become a PM, then a Senior PM and then become part of upper management in a construction company. Also I would like to develop an application (in which I have been working since January) to better communication between parties in the construction industry, which would help to deliver a more concise, organized, clear and on time project benefiting all parties involved.
Mentor at KA: Dustin Phillips is my internship mentor and Ryan Klick is my school mentor
Working on: I am working on the Hudson High school, and I am helping Dustin and Laurie Fronk with some small tasks for the Washington County EC and the Stillwater high school respectively
Duties: Weekly duties are to perform safety audits, call subcontractors regarding missing submittals, and use PlanGrid to take pictures of the building previous to demolition. I also do estimating, attend meetings with subcontractors, help them with the construction plans and help Jeff and Jack with any technological problem they could be facing.
Observations/takeaways on KA culture: They act like a family, I feel super welcome and all the people I work with are caring. It is enjoyable to go to work and exciting knowing the next day there will always be something new. Also I have learned a lot with Dustin as a mentor, he expects a lot from his interns which makes me try my best at all times.
Valuable experiences: Learn how the day by day at a construction site is, how prepared you have to be for future problems, and that to be able to build and finish the project everyone has to cooperate and work in teams with excellent communication skills.
Advice to a new intern: Ask as many questions as you can, ask people if you can help them in any way, don’t be shy, and to take notes on subjects they consider important so they can apply them in the future.
Other comments you’d like to share? I would like to point out how inclusive workers at KA are since I am an international student from Venezuela and English is not my first language. They treat me like a normal employee and respect has always been present.