Anniversary Spotlight: Debbie Stone

As Debbie Stone, an Office Manager for Alberici's Canadian division, is celebrating her 25th anniversary this year. To mark this milestone, she shared some of her experiences with Alberici.

Describe the path that brought you to your current role?

I interviewed for a full-time position with Ryco-Alberici for a position at Ford Windsor.  lthough the position was guaranteed for only 18 months, Ryco-Alberici seemed like the right fit for me. Here I am writing about it 25 years later.  I worked in an administrative role at the Ford facilities in Windsor for almost 12 years, together with several people who remain close to my heart.  From Ford, I moved to Chrysler, before travelling to Goreway in Brampton, Chrysler Brampton, Hillsdale Structures, Stone Church in Hamilton, Highland Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant in Scarborough, BioAmber in Sarnia, and then back to FCA in Windsor.  I am currently in Sterling Heights, MI as an Office Manager/Financial Coordinator for ACI, where we are working as Construction Managers for FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automotive).

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

I enjoy experiencing the differences between the U.S. and Canada, and the fact that after 25 years I am still learning.  I am understanding and learning the Italian culture and language, as our current Owner is from Milan, Italy.  We have been working at the FCA Paint Shop for over a year, and last week I witnessed the painting of the first box.  I was in awe of the robotics and the whole process. I was proud knowing Alberici played a big role in making this happen.

What do you like most about working at Alberici?

 I feel great satisfaction after working so hard to complete a project, while achieving goals and milestones.  I enjoy the learning environment and making each project interesting and challenging.  It’s a good feeling to go home at the end of a day knowing you have accomplished something and are making a difference.  I am grateful to be working with amazing people, some new and some from past projects, and to get to do it over and over again.  Each new project is a new experience and that makes going to work every day enjoyable.

What are you most proud of in your time at Alberici and why?

There are a number of instances where working at Alberici made me proud, and I had to go back a bit in my career for this one. While working for Alberici at Ford TMEP, I was able to help Ford recoup millions of dollars of government grants for infrastructure.  It took hours of hard work and I was very proud that Ford recognized it by mentioning myself and Alberici in a letter to both Ford Executives and Ryco-Alberici Management.

In your time at Alberici, which project was your favorite and why?

I’ve never worked on a project that I didn’t like. The project that stands out for me more than others is the Sarnia BioAmber project.  My role was to track millions of dollars of civil, mechanical and electrical time and equipment work.  Everything about the project went smoothly, from start up to close out.  It didn’t hurt either that Sarnia is not far from Ipperwash, Ont., a small beach town, where I spend as much time as I can in the summer!

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting in the construction industry?

I’d say bring your energy and eagerness, represent Alberici with integrity and professionalism, and learn from others with experience.  Every project is different.  You’ll face many challenges along the way and every time you’ll be stronger because of them. Work hard and remain loyal and you’ll reap the benefits.  Alberici encourages growth and cares about every employee. There is no other place I’d rather work.

Kyle's Intern Experience: Last Weeks and Intern Summit

As the internship came to a close this summer, Alberici invited all of their interns to join them for an Intern Summit. This summit was the 2nd annual event, and was a two-day event at Alberici headquarters. All of the interns from all of Alberici’s enterprises, from Alberici Constructors Inc., to Flintco to Alberici Constructors Ltd. in Canada came to St. Louis for this event.

The first day’s theme was “Who We Are” and was based around all of the markets that Alberici enterprises are involved in and all of the services they offer to help with the construction process. It was great to see all of this diversity in the work Alberici does, as it was one of the reasons why I chose to work with Alberici in the first place! Some of the projects that were introduced were very interesting, and gave all of us a glimpse of what our potential future with Alberici looked like!

The second day’s theme was “Why Choose Us?”  This day was another packed day with a lot of cool events. We started off the day touring a local project site, and I was lucky enough to see the Route 47 Bridge that I helped with putting the bid together for the previous summer! They were making great progress on the bridge, and it was cool to see how much had changed in one year.  Upon returning to main office, we got a glimpse at the cool technologies being used in construction today. After lunch, we got to hear from a lot of different people about their experiences with Alberici. I even got the opportunity to share my experiences from the two previous summers!  It was great to hear everyone’s perspectives on working with Alberici, but what was even cooler is how positively everyone spoke about their time with Alberici!

While we did a lot of learning throughout the day, we had the opportunity to network with some great people throughout the two days. The night before the summit, some of us met at a go-kart track and had a friendly competition. I didn’t race so well, but it was great to just take some time and get to know the people I was working with a little bit better. Also, after the first day of the summit, we all took a bus to a St. Louis Cardinals game. It was a great game, and we got to see a walk off win for the Cardinals!

After the summit, I flew back to Detroit and finished up my summer. It was a great experience to work in the automotive market, and I was able to work with so many great people in an environment where I could learn so much about construction! I have really enjoyed my past two summers with Alberici, and I hope that you might consider Alberici for your internship!

Kyle's Intern Experience: Working in an Automotive Plant

Since I last posted, I have learned a lot about working in an automotive plant. One of the key things about construction work in a car plant is coordination. Last summer, Alberici was the only contractor on the project site that I was on, and they organized all work on site. This summer, however, many different contractors with many different contracts with Fiat-Chrysler are working on one site. Every morning, there are coordination meetings to make sure there are no conflicts with everyone’s work. Dozens of people attend these hour-long meetings, and there is a lot of discussion as to how to resolve the issues on site in that hour alone.  The amount of coordination that needs to occur for a project of this size to run is astounding, but with strong communication, completing the project is possible.

After two weeks on the General Assembly side of the Fiat-Chrysler Sterling Heights Plant, I moved to the south side of the plant to help with the construction of the Paint Shop. Despite just moving to another side of a building, a whole new project with a whole new set of challenges, organization, and people is underway! To start, I assisted one of the superintendents in overseeing miscellaneous projects on site, including cutting holes to allow for ductwork. There is a strict deadline for this project, as the holes need to be cut to allow a helicopter to fly over the building and place ductwork in the holes.

Now that I’ve settled in, my main project the past couple of weeks is to be the administrator of a log of items that have been developed to aid in finishing the project on time. A strict deadline to produce vehicles is in place that needs to be met, and this log of items has been developed to gather all issues that haven’t been resolved and find a way to resolve them. These items come from issues all over this section of the project, so as I record these issues, I learn a lot about what is needed to build a car paint shop. I have also learned a lot about the process of getting these items ready to be built. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that needs to occur for a subcontractor to be given specific work, which includes the general contractor asking subcontractors for a price for an item, reviewing the prices, and then selecting the best subcontractor and issuing them a document called a purchase order that provides them the money to do the work. Sometimes the work needs to be changed and reviewed, and so some of those steps may repeat. With the size of the project and the amount of work, this process is repeated many times. Coordination is also key with this project, as there is coordination that needs to occur between Fiat-Chrysler, the project management staff, the engineers, and every subcontractor to identify interferences and unresolved issues and ways to resolve them. As the administrator of this log, I review these issues and communicate the issues in the best way possible to the people who work on these issues. It’s a big task, as a report centered around this log is sent to the senior management of Fiat-Chrysler every week. It requires a lot of detail and time, but it has been teaching me a lot and it’s great to know that Alberici is willing to give important work like this to me.

I only have 5 weeks left. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me!