Summer break? More like a lucky break for interns at Kraus-Anderson.
Jobsite tours, close interaction with clients, subs and mentors, and hands-on exposure to virtually every aspect of construction project management are all part of the intern experience at KA. The company maintains a robust college intern program designed to foster promising future careers in construction.
“We’ve found that investment in a strategic intern development program is an excellent way to recruit strong future job candidates and acclimate them early to KA’s culture and our work environment,” said Mike Smoczyk, director of Kraus-Anderson University. The company currently recruits students from select schools such as Minnesota State University- Mankato, UW-Stout, North Dakota State University and UW-Madison for its project engineer interns; as well as accounting interns through the University of Minnesota and St. Thomas Academy.
KA’s intern program balances structure and flexibility. All interns receive an orientation providing a broad overview of company functions and operations. Leaders from key departments– safety, quality control, operations, preconstruction, mechanical/electrical, Building Information Modeling/Virtual Design and Construction (BIM/VDC), accounting, business development and legal—each present high-level views of their respective disciplines. An in-depth jobsite tour is included.
In addition, interns gain valuable hands-on experience in a variety of workplace settings and duties, working under the wing of experienced project managers (PM’s) and other professionals.
Here’s a sample of perspectives from this year’s crop of KA interns.
Paul Noll, senior, University of Minnesota- Twin Cities
Majors: B.S. in Architecture and Bachelor of Applied Science in Construction Management
Location: Duluth office, working closely with PM Paul Frost, with additional opportunities for interaction with DO Jeff Iisakka and other project management in the smaller office environment.
Duties: Plan and specification reviews, pre-bid meetings, walkthroughs, bid prep, communicating with subcontractors to clarify scope and get price quotes, project scheduling, estimating.
Comments: “I feel comfortable going to each and every manager for technical questions, any kind of assistance I need, or just a 5-minute life lesson about the business.”
Dakota Johnson, senior, UW-Madison
Major: Civil Engineering
Location: KA Wisconsin office, working closely with PMs Mike Hinderman and Peter Linsmeier.
Duties: Bid invitations and tabs, submittals, RFI’s site photos, and quality control.
Extracurricular: Can do a back-flip, which can only help one’s career.
Comments: “As a civil engineer, knowing the ins and outs of construction and how the whole process works start to finish will be very valuable and enlightening.”
Alex Titterud, senior, UW-Stout
Major: Construction, with a minor in safety.
Location: KA Circle Pines office, working closely with PM Jason Peterson.
Duties: “Whatever they throw at me!”
Comments:“You learn so much more being on the job and on site than you will in a classroom. A professor can expose you to a wealth of information, but it finally clicks when you are in the construction work environment. I never have the same day twice.”
Molly Jutz, senior, Iowa State University, Ames
Major: Construction Engineering
Location: KA Minneapolis office, working since January 2014 on site at the 280 Building project in St. Paul, supervised by senior PM Mark Miller and working closely with the rest of the PM team, including Ryan Klick, Rody Lageson and PA Le Carstens.
Duties: Submittals and RFI’s; tracking progress of foundation work and elevated deck pours; estimating in OST; taking notes and writing up minutes at weekly coordination meetings; created a presentation to help subs fill out LEED paperwork.
Extracurricular: KAU continuing education courses, volunteering for Hearts & Hammers and playing on the KA softball team.
Comments: “Our team works really well together and we have a lot of fun. I also love the aspect of problem solving.”
Joe Gish, junior, North Dakota State University
Major: Construction Management
Location: Bemidji office, working closely with Duane Kaiser.
Duties: Assisting with preconstruction and hard bids.
Comments: “It’s a very welcoming environment. Winning the first couple of bids I got to help work on and the Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic was a blast!”
Jeremiah Graves, senior, St. Cloud State
Major: Journalism, with a Marketing minor
Duties: Assisting in production of Viewpoint manuals via InDesign, event planning and organization of KA Walleye Classic, assist Marketing Coordinator Chelsea Oldham with any projects as needed.
Trivia: Back for his second summer in the KA Bemidji office.
Comments: “I learned more in my internship under my mentor Chelsea Oldham than I had in three years of school about what it takes to be successful in the real world of marketing.”
Joel Christensen, recent graduate, Minnesota State University at Mankato
Major: Construction Management
Location: KA Circle Pines office, working with Jason Rentmeester.
Duties: Quantity takeoff, scheduling, attending construction meetings and taking meeting minutes, punch list, closeout.
Comments: “Being able to be part of such large-scale construction projects compared to my previous experience is really exciting.”
Josh Carr, junior, UW-Stout
Major: Construction Management
Location: KA Yard, Circle Pines, reporting to Jim Bergren and Greg Ryder
Duties: Helps with organizing the yard, preparing deliveries, working on job site office trailers, other miscellaneous activities.
Comments: “It’s always different every day and the people I work with are great. Just being at the Yard, I have prepared so many different things for job sites, I can work from the Yard but still have an impact on many projects.”
Tom Atkins, junior, U of M Twin Cities,
Major: Finance & Accounting
Location: splitting his time between KA’s offices in Circle Pines and Minneapolis, reporting to Yard Manager Gary Skogman and KA Mortgage Vice President Greg Nilson, respectively.
Duties: Organizes financial reports in Minneapolis; maintains inventory records and makes deliveries to job sites in Circle Pines.
Comments: “It’s introducing me to real-world examples of leasing details and contracts…showing me both the back end of the business and how job sites are charged. It’s really upbeat and enjoyable…it’s rare when I work for a half hour without hearing someone laughing.”
Will Rader, senior, North Dakota State University
Major: Construction Management with a minor in Business Administration
Location: One Southdale Place project site in Edina, working closely with PM’s Jamie Engelsma, Chad Rempe, and project superintendents Jeff Schlink and Dan Schneider.
Duties: pre-punch lists, takes meeting minutes, performs take-offs, helps with the safety orientations for new workers on the jobsite, and updates plans with RFI changes.
Comments: “Everyone is professional, knowledgeable, and very friendly. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning the daily tasks performed by project managers.”
KA also provides opportunities for existing employees to grow their career skills into new areas.
Tamera Batcher is a receptionist at the KA Circle Pines office. Working at KA has fueled her interest in the industry. This summer she has joined intern classes for an overview of what the program will entail.
Comments: “Working at KA has been my first exposure to construction, and I really like it.”