INTERN BLOG BY GABRIELLA RICO – My name is Gabriella Rico and I am a Civil Engineering junior at the University of Texas in Austin. Inspired by my Mexican background and the impressive infrastructure in Mexico, I chose a career path in construction. However, I also discovered a passion for project management through my role as captain of (ASCE) Concrete Canoe. This led me to my first internship opportunity with ARCO/Murray, where I spent an eventful summer in Austin, Texas. During my three-month opportunity as a Project Manager intern, I learned and experienced more than I could have imagined, solidifying my decision to pursue a career in the construction industry.
The first lesson that stood out to me was the power of effective communication. Calling subcontractors, particularly those specialized in plumbing, was initially daunting. My limited knowledge of plumbing made me wish I had paid attention to my dad after a destructive Texas winter freeze. However, I soon realized that confidence and a friendly approach were all it took to engage with these experts. As did some key phrases like “I’ll get back to you on that” or “add it as an alternate” were life savers.
Excel quickly emerged as the unsung hero of construction project management. From organizing trades to presenting information to clients, Excel was indispensable. Unfortunately, my Excel skills were lacking when I started my internship. Determined to enhance my proficiency, I delved into YouTube tutorials during my spare time. I learned valuable tricks like conditional formatting, inter-sheet coding, and keyboard shortcuts that transformed me from an Excel novice to a proficient user.
Transitioning from a dynamic college atmosphere to the confines of an office was indeed a challenge. However, my fears were quickly dispelled by the vibrant work culture at ARCO/Murray. Regular team outings and lunches fostered meaningful connections with colleagues, encouraging open communication and camaraderie. These breaks provided a mental refresher, enabling me to stay focused and productive.
The bi-weekly “lessons learned” sessions became a significant highlight of my internship. Seasoned Project Managers shared their experiences and challenges faced during their own projects. Listening to real-time problems and solutions from my coworkers offered invaluable wisdom, preparing me for future projects. I currently don’t have the responsibility of having a project to my name yet, but I definitely will use the knowledge I gained from ARCO to save me from making the same mistakes I have heard other people share about.
As I worked on multiple projects with different mentors, I understood the importance of organizational skills. Contacting various individuals, sending emails, estimating costs, and troubleshooting required meticulous planning and time management. Sitting next to my mentor allowed me to witness firsthand the daily juggling act he managed with finesse. This motivated me to develop my organizational system, ensuring no detail escaped my attention.
In conclusion, my ARCO/Murray internship was a transformative experience that surpassed my expectations. I embraced the challenges and opportunities that came my way, learning valuable skills that will shape my future as a construction professional. From conquering communication fears to mastering Excel and fostering meaningful connections, each lesson has left an indelible mark on my journey. I am excited to continue my pursuit of excellence in construction, armed with the knowledge gained from this unforgettable internship. As I move forward in my academic and professional pursuits, the memories and lessons from ARCO/Murray will serve as a solid foundation for my future career in construction, enabling me to make a lasting impact on the industry.
Interested in learning more about internship and co-op opportunities offered at ARCO/Murray? Check out our programs page by clicking here.