December 12, 2011

Construction management student works to connect Queens and Manhattan

Joao Tavares, Construction Management ’12     

Co-op Employer: Granite Construction Company

Co-op Position: Assistant Field Engineer

Hometown: Queens, New York

Great Impact

As an assistant field engineer for Granite Construction Company, Joao Tavares, BCM ’12, has spent two co-op semesters contributing to the “The East Side Access” project—an endeavor that will connect the Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) Main and Port Washington lines in Queens to a new station at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. “What makes me so excited is the fact that it is such an immense project that will impact so many lives, now and in the future.”  That impact is measureable, too: New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) estimates that—once completed—the project will save commuters up to 40 minutes every day.

Great Experience

Tavares is responsible for helping the lead field engineers with daily tasks. He spends his days updating drawings in AutoCad, revising and creating schedules, communicating with supervisors and union workers, helping plan future work, and producing and monitoring estimates to make sure the project is on budget. On his first co-op with Granite, Tavares worked closely with the lead field engineers on the launch shaft where a pair of 22-foot diameter tunnel boring machines began pushing their way through a mix of solid rock and sediment underneath Long Island City, Queens, to create the tunnels for the LIRR trains. His success in this co-op set him up to take on even more responsibility when he returned to Granite for his second co-op this fall. “Granite threw me right into the job site to interact with the trades to get familiar with the crew and the site. I wasn’t treated as an intern, but as a full-time field engineer.”

Forging a Path to Success

Because this is currently the largest public works project of its kind in the country according to the MTA, Tavares has been exposed to various aspects of construction. “The project is so unique that you see a variety of construction means and methods not seen in smaller projects, from ground freezing to large-scale support of excavation techniques.” After almost nine months of job experience at Granite, Tavares is excited to complete his degree and begin work in the construction management field. “This co-op made me realize that this is definitely the field I want to work in after college.”

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