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“Expectation VS. Reality”

Derek Eggertson

As my first ever internship in any industry, I was not entirely sure what to expect. I didn’t know whether coffee runs and filing were going to fill my summer as that’s what I had heard from my classmates. I could not have been more wrong.

I never got close to anything like that at Pacific Ridge Builders. From day one, I was involved with so many different activities within my project team. As soon as I got a handle of one task, the team would give me a new assignment allowing me to continue to expand my knowledge and skill base; I never felt stagnant while interning at PRB. The project team I worked with also far surpassed my expectations. My team always wanted to hear what I had to say and how I felt. My team would actively shift my workload and opportunities to fit my suggestions and feedback. This extremely responsive and respectful workplace environment was amazing to work in.

I was not expecting the amazing and friendly culture of the PRB office. I distinctly remember the day of my interview for the internship and office tour. I was not sure I was going to get the internship at that point but still felt so very welcomed. I was able to spend the day talking with the Director of Administration and shadowing one of the project teams. The team members I met with were so friendly and helpful in showing me their daily job duties. Lunch was provided for me and the entire office, where everyone made it a point to introduce themselves. Even as a shy person, I was able to feel immediately at home.

On my first day at PRB, June 22, all the COVID-19 office protocols were already in place to promote a safe working environment, but regardless of the current pandemic and new safety procedures the office was still a lively and exciting place to work. The immense amount of collaboration on the team was amazing and I felt like I was able to ask questions to anyone on the team. From working closely with my project team, to superintendents popping into the office to review plans and RFIs, to working with the estimating department on bids, everyone was always willing to give advice and guidance. While working with my assigned project team, I was always able to follow their lead and keep a level head. Even with PRB’s demand for perfection and the known high-paced nature of construction, the collaborative work style always ensured that the office environment was not too overwhelming or stressful.

The many amazing mentors I was able to meet and work with passed on a lot of valuable lessons; from tips about my education to my future career, they are all things that I will carry with me for a long time. The Assistant Project Manger I directly worked with was a huge help in guiding and helping me through this amazing and rewarding internship experience. His encouragement and belief in my abilities was very representative of PRB’s faith in me. While at PRB, I was able to explore a lot of different opportunities and grow myself professionally and personally through my internship. I am extremely excited for what this experience has set me up to do in finishing my degree, and I will continue to cheer on PRB at every chance I have.