April 03, 2010

Co-op Experience: Andrew Sean Meade

"My co-ops have reinforced everything that I have learned in my classes over the past few years and they have allowed me to use this information in real world situations."

Construction Management (BCMT) ’09
Co-op Employers: Hensel Phelps Construction Company
Position: Assistant Field Engineer

Co-op in the Capital

Andrew Meade knew that by choosing Wentworth he would have a large advantage in his field, construction management, because he would be in one of the best programs of its type nationwide. One of the things he liked best was the minimum two co-op requirement, which “gives students the opportunity to form valuable ties with industry professionals and companies.” Andrew has done just that, carrying out his second co-op with Hensel Phelps Construction Company (HPCC) as an assistant field engineer.

HPCC is an industry leader in the successful delivery of projects for the federal government, as well as state and local governments throughout the nation. Andrew is honored to be working with HPCC on a project in the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

“In this Pentagon Renovation Project I have been able to see blast-proof windows, bullet-proof doors, sound-proof rooms, Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) rooms with various Sound Transmission Classification, high-security areas, and smart or computer data walls.”

Learning by Doing

Andrew’s long days are filled with tasks such as creating ‘as-built’ drawings for demolition locations in the Pentagon Renovation Project, participating in job site safety meetings, coordinating subcontractors with a Short Interval Production Schedule, updating detailed tracking logs for equipment, fireproofing and fire caulking small openings in columns and ceilings, and completing the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan areas.

Andrew has been applying the knowledge he has gained in specific classes to aid his co-op experience, including Materials and Methods I and II, Surveying I, Advanced Estimating and Bid Analysis, and Construction Project Control and Scheduling.

“Having the opportunity to put information to use in a job experience has increased my understanding of construction and construction knowledge.”

Having a Mentor

ndrew’s employer has been proactive in making sure that he is getting the most out of his co-op experience. HPCC paired him with two mentors and a supervisor who make sure that he is learning and completing tasks focused on construction management. They also make sure that Andrew attends some of their training sessions at the headquarters and takes full advantage of these opportunities.

Andrew has taken on a lot of responsibility in the short time he has been at HPCC and his duties have increased over time, which he attributes to having a fantastic mentor and supervisor. He has made a point to request extra assignments as the weeks passed.

“My two mentors and supervisor make sure I have completed my tasks to the best of my ability and gradually increase my responsibilities.”

Perspective and Possibilities

After working two co-ops, Andrew has gained valuable insight from both experiences and he has a much better understanding of what he wants in his career. He envisions himself doing something most similar to his current position at HPCC, and he hopes to be offered a full-time position as a field engineer upon graduation. After all of the hard work Andrew has done on his current project, he plans to return to the Pentagon Renovation Project and see the finished product.

Andrew has also discovered that he prefers to work for a general contractor that provides construction management services rather than for a construction management firm. Participating in the co-op program at Wentworth has prepared Andrew for his career, and it has also strengthened his outlook on the construction industry, his potential role within it, and his appreciation for the current industry professionals.

“Through my experience I have come to see that the construction industry is gradually reaching feats that have never been seen before.”

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