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“The Three P’s: My Internship Experience at PRB”

Jenny Jenkins

People, Partnerships, and Passion: the three main ingredients in the recipe of success at Pacific Ridge Builders. We pride ourselves on living up to the values of our culture every single day, both in the office and out on the job sites. The three P’s give meaning to the work that we do and make each experience memorable for everyone involved. For this reason and so many more, my internship and now part-time position as Marketing Coordinator at PRB have been the best possible experience I could ask for. The culture at PRB has set standards high for me going forward; I now know what it’s like to be part of a team that supports me and cheers me on, all while pushing me to be the best version of myself. Walking through the three P’s in terms of my experience at PRB will give a better picture of my time here and the impact it has had so far.

Firstly, the People. I knew these were my kind of people even before my first day on the job. Just one week after I was hired, Nicole called me and asked if I would come to the office to be in the team photo. This shocked me because my position was a temporary 3-month role, yet they wanted to show I was just as much a part of the team as anyone else. When I got there, it felt like I was at a family reunion. I didn’t know who was who at the time, but I’m sure Jeff started the banter. They didn’t seem like just co-workers, they truly acted like one big family and that is when I knew this internship was going to be a special one. I hoped that I could fit into this group and join in on the fun, but I was anxious as I was a college student and was just going to be there for a Summer.

I could write a story about how each individual made these nerves disappear, but I’ll save your time and focus on a few stories starting from the beginning: The Annual Summer Bash. It was still my first week as an intern, and I was told the biggest event of the year was happening; I barely knew the names of the co-workers at the desks around mine, let alone their families, our clients, subcontractors, partners etc. who I was about to mingle with for four hours. Simply put, I was nervous. When the party started and groups of people arrived, I searched the crowd for any familiar faces. While enjoying the live music from the Jeff Jones Band and my massive plate of CB’s Bodacious Barbecue, I wondered whose conversation I could join. As I probably looked around like a lost puppy, Jenna and Tina came over and started chatting and joking with me right away. Their warm welcome meant more to me than they probably knew at the time, but it made me enjoy the rest of the night with the people I would soon be so close to.

It wouldn’t be right to go on any further without talking about my supervisor, Nicole. Since the very first time I walked into the PRB office for my interview, she has made going to work something I look forward to every week. The best part about having a mentor like Nicole is always feeling proud of what I can bring to the team, even as a starting intern. One day at the office I was getting ready to head out to a BOMA event and Nicole pulled me into her office. She asked me what I would say if someone was curious about my role at Pacific Ridge. “Well, I’d probably say I’m just an intern for the summer, helping out with some of PRB’s marketing efforts like social media and newsletters.” She gave me the look that said, “nope, wrong answer.” Instead, she said I needed to tell them what I actually do. She went on about how I own PRB’s marketing; she told me to talk about how I started off focusing on social media, but I now write all our project descriptions, create each team member’s biography and resume, assist with RFP packages and client presentations and work on improving our company’s brand image. This is just one example of Nicole making me see that what I do actually adds a lot of value to the company. Because of Nicole, I never felt like a Summer intern.

While I could tell a meaningful story about how each team member positively shaped my experience, the constant collaboration, constructive criticism, and shared wins are what made PRB the best team I could have been a part of. The Partnerships within PRB are what make this company a success. When I arrive at the office each day I am greeted by a big hug from Sally and greetings from Grayson and Aaron over their cubicles, usually followed by a funny comment from Jenna. Since my desk is slightly tucked away, Ariana consistently asks if I’ll work in the kitchen so we can hang out. While we have very different roles, Ari and I are always seeking advice from one another, and helping each other navigate unknowns. When one of us doesn’t know the solution, either the other one does, or we figure it out together. I have found this to be a common theme at PRB. While each team member has a specific job description, everyone is willing to step outside of their role if it means the team will benefit. Collaboration comes with criticism, but at PRB this criticism is constructive, and it is encouraged. In this way, we are all rooting for each other to do the best possible work we can. We have a bell hanging in the center of the office that we ring when someone has an accomplishment. This tradition brings us all together to celebrate our teammates’ hard work and be proud of a collective team win.

Our partnerships also extend beyond the team to our clients and subs. I was lucky enough to witness this firsthand as I participated in events like the BOMA Annual Summer Mixer or the ASVB Golf Tournament. I found it so easy to socialize at these events because as soon as someone read my PRB name-tag, they greeted me with a warm smile and welcoming conversation. I love how Pacific Ridge cares about not just their work for but their relationships with their clients. Some of my best memories at PRB are when we hosted office happy hours or events like the Ladies Card Making night and the Holiday Wish Drive. While our partnerships are what makes PRB such a special place, none of this would result in an environment where going to work is something we look forward to if each individual did not have a Passion for what we do.

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My passion for Marketing and brand improvement is what made my Summer internship turn into a full-time role as Marketing Coordinator at Pacific Ridge. If I didn’t get excited whenever I came up with a new marketing strategy or if I wasn’t proud of getting an RFP put together in time to be sent out to our clients, I wouldn’t fulfill my role as Marketing Coordinator for PRB. I love the feeling of showing the world the quality work that our team creates each day. Each team member has an individual passion which explains why they are the position that they are at PRB. The best part is that if that passion shifts, PRB is willing to let you explore those interests because they know it is the only way it can work.

This past March, the women of PRB celebrated Women in Construction week by wrapping up the workday early and treating ourselves to a ladies lunch at Luna Mexican Kitchen. When we sat down at the table, we made a rule that we would not discuss work. Ten minutes into the conversation, someone said, “hey guys, I thought we weren’t bringing up work!” When work is something we end up talking about by choice, it’s pretty clear that PRB hires people who have passion for what they do.

So, what does this experience mean for me going forward? Due to the current world crisis, I am working remotely and have had more time to reflect on my experience with PRB. It actually makes me emotional to think about where I was when I started last June compared to where I am now in terms of the skills I have learned, independence I have gained, and appreciation I have developed for quality work spaces, but also for a quality team. I started this job with a basic knowledge of Adobe Suite and now feel comfortable owning marketing for PRB. I now have an intensified passion for real estate that I didn’t know existed (I even annoyingly point out construction projects to my friends and find myself calling my family to discuss industry trends I see in out here California versus back home in Massachusetts). I know now that I thrive off constructive criticism and work best with people who are all working towards success for the team as a whole because if one person wins, we all win together. My resume reads “Marketing Coordinator, Pacific Ridge Builders, Inc.” but the bullet points underneath it will never be able to demonstrate my unforgettable time as a member of the PRB family.