Matt’s ACT Experience

The Alberici Career Training (ACT) program provides new project engineers with insight into Alberici’s various business functions and how they operate together as a whole. Our employees spend time in different departments including Estimating, Scheduling, Project Controls, Marketing, Legal and Safety, where they work one-on-one with other Alberici employees to better understand our company.

Project Engineer Matt Johnson recently began the ACT program. Over the coming months, he’ll be sharing his experiences with us. First, an introduction:

Matt Johnson_BikeI come from a small town, New Salisbury, IN, about twenty-five miles west of Louisville, KY. In high school, I played baseball and football, I gave swimming a shot for two seasons, but it was certainly not my sport. After graduating high school, I went to Purdue University to study Mathematics. Less than a semester in, I witnessed construction going on across the street from my dorm room to remodel and expand the existing rec center. Having no idea what I’d even do with a math major, and seeing this construction, I decided to give engineering a shot. I found the Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) program and never looked back.

After one semester in the CEM program, I had my first internship with a construction company in Los Angeles. I worked on a roughly $30 million job for USC building a cinematic arts building. Here, I learned the art of submittals, RFI’s, and changer orders. The following summer, I went to Beverly Hills with the same company to help build a $12 million community center for the City of Beverly Hills. Aside from eating where Kim and Kanye like to hang out, I took on a larger role coordinating some steel fabrication.

I interned with Alberici in energy estimating my final collegiate summer. I helped put together a bid for a power plant in New Mexico and perform some takeoffs for Markwest. Since coming on full-time in January of 2015, I have been at Monsanto working on the Greenhouse/ Headhouse project.

In my free time, I enjoy running, cycling, and about anything else that involves being active. I’ve completed half a dozen marathons, a 100 mile bike ride, and this year I plan to complete my first half-ironman.

Check back in the coming weeks to learn more about Matt's experience in the ACT program!

Alena's Intern Experience - Intern Summit & Saying Goodbye

I can’t believe that my summer has already come to a close here in St. Louis. It has been such a great summer! I have gotten to know so many fantastic people both this summer and last and I’m sad to leave and head back to school. These past two weeks have been exciting to say the least!

Last week, our HR department planned an intern summit for all of the interns from Alberici and its sister company, Flintco. Everyone met at headquarters for two fun-filled days of activities and site tours. We started out on Thursday listening to Dave Gough, the president of ACL (Alberici’s Canada division). He told us about his history with the company and how excited he was to be able to spend time with us. Next, we heard from John Alberici himself. John talked about the history of the company all the way back to when it was founded in 1918. He also talked about how Alberici's Corporate Headquarters building got to be and then took us on a tour. It is so interesting to see all of the LEED elements and all of the planning that went into the building before it was built.

Thursday afternoon we traveled to the steel fabrication shop located over on Kienlen Avenue. It was very interesting to see and hear about the most recent and current projects that are going through the shop. Later that night, we headed to a Cardinals’ game and watched a great win for St. Louis! It was fun to interact with everyone outside of work and get to know some new employees that I hadn’t met before.

Friday morning, the group split and traveled to two different project sites. One half of the group went to our project at Monsanto and the other half traveled to BJC. I had the opportunity of traveling to the Monsanto project and it was awesome to see the greenhouse/headhouse and also the technology building. Both projects are coming along well and I really enjoyed the tours. Friday afternoon involved a closing from Dave and Greg Kozicz along with a few returning interns. The returning interns talked about why they chose to come and work for Alberici for a second summer and also what they like about the company. Overall, I really enjoyed the intern summit because it was a great way to meet the interns that I’m not directly working with!

I also visited BJC this past week to catch up with the people that I worked with last summer. It was amazing to see how far the project has come along, even in just a year. It was so great to see everyone again and the project is looking amazing! I can’t wait to work on a project like that someday.

Overall, I have learned so much this summer and I’m so grateful for all of the people that I have met and that have helped me along the way. Here’s to one more year of school and being out in the real world soon!

Ryan's Intern Experience - Intern Summit

This summer has flown by, I can’t believe that my summer with Alberici comes to a close in two weeks. It’s hard to describe how much I’ve learned over that last few months, but I feel as though I couldn’t have cut my teeth on a construction site with more going on than here at BJC. I’ve focused on the building enclosure, so whether its curtainwall panels being hung, setting masonry units, or installing flashing on the roof, there are always activities to keep track of.

While the job site always keeps everyone busy, last week I had the opportunity to get off of the site for two days and participate in Alberici’s inaugural Intern Summit. Interns from across the United States and Canada came to our Saint Louis office for the two day event. Between Alberici and their sister company, Flintco, about 30 interns were at the event.

Day one began with a focus on the history of the company. John Alberici walked us through the company’s development and growth decade by decade. Then, the design and environmentally friendly features of the headquarters building were explained to us in depth. After we toured the building and ate lunch we headed to Hillsdale Fabricators for a tour and presentation over some of their major projects. It was a very unique opportunity to learn so much detail about the operation of the company. After the day one events, we headed downtown for a Cardinals game. The game offered us a chance to get to know each other and learn about the different projects and offices that we all came from. As hot as it was, I think everyone had a good time and met someone new. Plus, the game was great, the Cards came back in the 8th and 9th innings for 6-5 win!

The next day we visited one of two project sites in the area. I attended the Monsanto project in Chesterfield. This was the first time I had seen a project other than my own this summer. Having spent this summer on a project site for the first time, I noticed things on the tour that I would not have seen in the past. As questions about the site came to mind, I realized how much more I understood a construction site now as compared to the beginning of the summer. The Monsanto project was very interesting, with plenty of challenging situations for the team there.

After our project tours, we headed back to the office for the conclusion of the event. The two day summit was a great opportunity for all of the interns to learn the culture of Alberici and what it means to be a part of the company. It was a truly unique learning opportunity, and I am very thankful to have been allowed to participate.

Alena's Intern Experience - Joint Ventures and Escaping the Room

These last two weeks after the holiday have been pretty exciting! We are starting to pick up some more projects, so it is interesting to see the estimating process from the start. When I arrived here in May, almost every project had been in the estimating department for at least a couple of weeks.

I have been busy with more take-off and reading specifications. I never realized how many little things are included in projects. It’s a little scary because if we forget one of these “little things”, it could add up to a lot of money that we might lose on the project. I also never knew how many estimators were involved on a single project. For some reason, I thought that one person did the whole thing, but for almost every project that we have been working on as a department, there are typically 7-8 (and maybe more) people involved with different divisions. It seems as though each estimator has a “specialty” that they estimate for most projects. For instance, someone who typically estimates concrete would have a responsibility on any project that includes any type of concrete.

One aspect of estimating that I find very interesting is the Joint Venture (JV) agreement. This partnership also extends to the workforce in the event that we are awarded the project. On the estimating side, joint ventures give us the ability to partner with other companies who may have expertise in areas that we, Alberici, do not. If we are eager to win a job but don’t have much experience, it is beneficial for us to partner up with someone who does to seem more appealing to the owner. Oftentimes in these JV projects, each member of the partnership prepares their own estimate internally. Once each company’s internal estimate is complete, we compare our quantities and prices so that our bid is as accurate as possible in regards to price and covering all of the work required. I think this aspect is awesome because you have a “partner” at a different company who is working on the same divisions and portions of the project that you are, so it’s nice to have someone to double-check the work.

Outside of work, I have been busy going to all of my favorite places in St. Louis this summer. Last week, a few of the interns and I went to “Escape the Room St. Louis”. We had so much fun! If you haven’t heard of Escape the Room, it has become very popular in the last few months. Typically, you are locked in a room with a group of people and must solve a series of clues in order for the door to unlock. Here’s the catch though: you only get 60 minutes! No worries, we managed to solve all of the clues and were released from the room in exactly 57 minutes!

I’m so excited for more intern events that we have planned for next week and I’m excited to see what these last two weeks bring for me! Stay tuned for one more update from me!

Ryan’s Intern Experience–Working Safely at a Hospital

With 5 weeks remaining, it’s crazy to think that I am over halfway done with my internship. Everyday offers something new to learn and has provided me with invaluable experience.

One of the more interesting parts of this project has been all of the considerations that must be made for working in and around a hospital. Constantly, areas where work is taking place must undergo risk assessments. These assessments break down all of the potentially harmful effects that can be caused by our construction work. This can be anything as major as a fire or power outage, or as seemingly minor as a window leak or dust infiltration. But, nothing can be taken lightly when working with hospital patients. To deal with these obstacles, it is our job as construction manager to put together a plan and rules for reducing risks in certain areas. The plan we put together is then evaluated by the owner and revised if necessary. For example, we are about to begin the tie-in process in which we will connect the new Barnes Jewish Hospital Building to the existing Shoenberg building. Since high temperature tools will be used to complete this process, combustible materials will have to be kept 35 feet from the existing building in order to eliminate the risk of fire. This is just one of many different ways that potential health risks are mitigated on our job site.

Recently, one of my main focuses has been the installation of the building roof. There are roofing areas on over half of the buildings’ levels and each one contains challenging details and constraints. I have been organizing the potential issues into a document which includes a picture and description of the issue, as well as its location. This can then be used as a tool to track the progress made towards solving the issue.

Everything that I have been a part of so far this summer has been a valuable learning experience. I am excited for what new things my last 5 weeks will offer!

Alena’s Intern Experience–Pre-Bids and Take-Offs

I cannot believe that I’m already over halfway done with my internship for this summer! I have experienced so many new things in these few weeks. I had the opportunity of attending a pre-bid meeting for a project that we will be bidding on in the next couple of months. On the job site last summer, I attended pre-bid meetings from a buyout standpoint that were run by Alberici, so it was interesting to attend a pre-bid that was run by the owner. I found the owner’s pre-bid to be much more formal with rules and procedures and it was interesting to see how the engineer and owner pointed out issues that may arise during the project. These issues are important things to keep in mind when we are putting together our bid for submittal. After the pre-bid meeting, the owner held a diversity fair. This gave minority-owned businesses the chance to come and talk to all of the prime contractors who will be bidding the job. I got to meet quite a few people and learned about companies that I hadn’t been previously aware of, plus there were cookies!

In addition to attending the pre-bid, I have been calling sub-contractors to make sure that they have received our invitations to bid. An invitation to bid gets sent to any contractor that we feel might be interested in bidding on a project that we are putting together a price for. We want to make sure that all companies have the option of submitting a bid to us. When bid day gets closer, we collect all of the bids that the sub-contractors submitted and pick the best one for each scope of work. An important thing that I have learned is that we have to make sure that all scopes or work are covered before we submit the bid. We don’t want to leave anything out on accident!

Another aspect of estimating that I have been exposed to is quantity take-off. I have begun using a program called PlanSwift that allows us to import drawings and then “draw” over them. The lines and marks that we make can be a linear dimension, an area, or even a volume. These marks and lines are then put together into a report by name and we can easily calculate the amount for each. I find this really interesting because it is a completely different way to look at and analyze drawings and also it makes doing take-off much easier!

I’m so excited for my final four weeks here and I can’t wait to see what more I learn!

Ryan’s Intern Experience–Office vs. Field

After two and a half weeks on the job site, it is obvious that there are big differences between my experience last summer in the home office and being in the field. The office had something of an ebb and flow when it came to work pace. But here in the field there is more of a consistency to the daily activities. I can tell that there are pros and cons to both work environments.

I have learned a crazy amount since starting my internship. I have been a part of administrative processes such as requests for information, change order requests, and cost expenditures. It is impressive the amount of time and attention that has to be used to keep all of the paperwork properly recorded and organized. In the field, I’ve gotten to assist our quality control team by monitoring field inspections and our subcontractor’s progress. Every day, there are multiple meetings involving the project managers and superintendents to coordinate all of the work. Sitting in on these meetings, it is amazing to see all of the challenges and obstacles that have to be hurdled on a daily basis.

It’s great to work for a company that makes safety a top priority. Yesterday, we held our quarterly safety lunch for all of the field workers. The lunch was a great way to thank all of our workers and give them a chance to refocus on safety in the field. Plus, the barbeque was delicious.

My experiences so far have gone a long way towards growing my knowledge of construction. I am very excited to see what else the summer has in store.

Alena’s Intern Experience–Pricing

As my summer internship in estimating continues on, I can’t believe how much I am learning! I was so excited to find out that we were awarded the MoDOT bridge project that will be built on the Highway 47, crossing the Missouri River. Since I helped on this bid during my first week of work, it’s awesome that I was able to play a part in our company obtaining this project.

I have been very busy updating our estimating unit-price software. Basically, every item that we unit-price on a project estimate is contained within the system. Since prices change from year to year and city to city, we have to update these prices every couple of years in order to stay accurate with our bid pricing. It is definitely one of the biggest spreadsheets I’ve ever worked on! However, I get to work with a variety of people in the estimating department, so I am enjoying that aspect of the project. It has also shocked me in regards to the pricing of certain items. For example, I had no idea how much an elevator costs, and also how many options there are. I am much more aware of how project prices get so high so fast. I am looking forward to gaining more knowledge about pricing and also getting to work more closely with others through this project.

Additionally, I have been doing some research for upcoming projects that we will potentially be bidding on and also attending meetings in relation to development and leadership training. I’ve also found a new home in the marketing department. One of the best parts about headquarters is that everyone can see outside from their cubicle. I enjoy the natural light and it definitely makes my day a little brighter!

Ryan’s Intern Experience–Part 1

Throughout the summer, Alberici’s interns will be blogging about their experiences.

My name is Ryan Bearden and this summer I have the opportunity to intern at the Washington University Medical Center Campus Renewal Project with Alberici. Last summer, I worked as an intern at company headquarters in the estimating department.

First Week PictureI grew up in Kirkwood, Missouri, a suburb about 10 miles outside of Saint Louis and attended Kirkwood High School. After high school, I moved on to Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. At school, I am double majoring in Architectural and Civil Engineering. I am also a member of the school’s baseball team. Lessons of competitiveness and teamwork learned on the baseball diamond inspired me to look towards the fast paced industry of construction for a career.

In the office last summer I was able to assist the estimating team in multiple ways. I reached out to subcontractors for bids, completed quantity take-offs, and was a part of labor and equipment assignment for several projects. These were only some of the roles I was able to play last summer. The entire experience was eye opening and taught me a tremendous amount about the construction industry and the attitude that it demands. I was able to receive guidance from the estimating staff and always felt comfortable completing my work. My first days in the construction industry showed me how competitive it can be and how important it is to trust and rely on your fellow team members. I loved the entire summer experience, which I why I was excited to return to Alberici for a second summer.

Want to learn more? You can read about Alena Gabel’s first week as an estimating intern, and her first bid day.

Alena’s Intern Experience - Bid Day

Alena Gabel, one of Alberici's interns, continues to share her experiences working with Alberici's estimating group.

These first two weeks of my internship have been both exciting and very informative. I have gotten a glimpse into Alberici as a company and how we operate from sitting in on meetings and talking with employees. I have to say, one of the best benefits is the $2.00 lunch that we get every day at headquarters!

As far as estimating goes, I have gained a lot of knowledge already. I am learning about how to do quantity take-offs from documents and also how to use a special program to predict the unit costs of certain items. Quantity take-offs are done using a software similar to Autocad where you import drawings and then categorize certain element amounts like concrete, steel, floor tile, or acoustical ceiling tile. These amounts are documented in the program and can be exported for whatever purposes necessary in the estimating process.

One of the best experiences I have had so far was getting to help with and experience the bid submittal process for the MoDOT Missouri River Bridge project. I really wanted to see the process behind Alberici bidding as a general contractor and I was surprised that I got to see it within my first week of work! Nonetheless, I couldn’t believe how fast-paced and hectic everything was at the end of last week. It seemed as if every minute leading up to the bid submittal was crucial. From receiving the subcontractor bids to putting the final number together, the process was so exciting to watch!

I’m definitely looking forward to learning so much more here in the next few weeks of my internship and I can’t wait to share it!

Check back for more updates from our interns throughout the summer. In case you missed it, you can read Alena's first blog entry here.