A Tale of Two Co-Ops

December 15, 2015

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What’s it like to be a co-op at Brasfield & Gorrie? Alexis Jones, a student from Auburn University, and Lauren Bonney, a student from Clemson University, share their experiences. Lauren served as a co-op in our Atlanta office and Alexis served as a co-op in our Birmingham office.

Bonney, LaurenLauren Bonney

What was the most valuable lesson you learned from your co-op experience?

I learned that every person—no matter his or her role—has something to contribute to the success of the team. We are each gifted in different ways, and the combination of all these gifts enables our project teams and company to succeed. As a co-op student, I have worked with people at all levels of different projects and have been able to see the value of each person on the job.

What did you like most about your time as a co-op?

The vast learning opportunities have been my favorite part of each co-op rotation. Each assignment has come with a new set of challenges that have allowed me to learn more about the construction process as well as my own strengths and weaknesses. I love going on site to observe and talk to people about what they are doing and how it fits in with the big picture of the project.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment during your co-op experience?

This summer, I was able to take charge of the entire submittal process for St. Joseph’s Orthopedic Center. In doing so, I learned how to use a new document tracking system, contact subcontractors, and communicate with architects to collect all of the submittal information for each trade. I enjoyed taking ownership of a piece of the project and seeing it through.

How did your experience change your views on the construction industry?

My co-op experience has opened my eyes to the complexity of the construction industry. I wasn’t aware of the number of people and the amount of time and planning it takes to complete each project. Safety, efficiency, communication, and teamwork are all vital parts of project completion and working in construction has made me more aware and appreciative of these things.

Jones,-AlexisAlexis Jones

What was the most valuable lesson you learned from your co-op experience?

One thing that’s really stuck with me is how much I can learn from anyone. In construction, I’m seeing that I get the chance to interact with a lot of different kinds of people; no matter who it is, they can always teach me something. I’ve also learned how important it is to network.

What did you like most about your time as a co-op?

It’s been really great getting exposed to so many new things, especially on the jobsite. I’ve had the opportunity to see concrete pours and attend subcontractor meetings. I’ve even had the chance to work with some tools. It was fun being able to work with my hands.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment during your co-op experience?

I’m extremely proud of having made and completed the punch list for my project. It made me feel important when my project manager needed to know something and I actually had valuable information to give him.

How did your experience change your views on the construction industry?

Before coming here, I didn’t realize exactly how much goes into completing a project outside of the building part. Working here has shown me that there are a lot of important parts of construction going on behind the scenes. It’s not quite as easy as it looks! Working here has definitely made construction seem like a viable career option for me.

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