Students Reflect on Their Summer Internship at Abbott Construction

by Karen Lee

Posted on

September 19, 2019

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At Abbott, we are committed to our internship program to help guide the next generation to be successful so that the industry stays strong. As we approach the end of summer, we asked our interns about key takeaways from their internship experience. We were delighted to hear their responses echoed many of the things that we hoped the interns would gain from the internship as well as supporting that Abbott remains true to their values.

In the past, we have had exceptional interns and this year’s group were no exception. They include:

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Alvaro Gonzalez is a graduate from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science in architectural engineering and a minor in construction management. He is now a full-time employee at Abbott.

Connor Pritchett is a two-time intern at Abbott and is heading into his senior year at the University of Washington majoring in construction management. He has accepted a full-time position at Abbott and will be starting next June after he graduates.

Ava Baumgarten goes to Washington State University and is in her junior year studying construction management.

Caleb Keeney attends the University of Washington and will be in his junior year working towards a bachelor’s degree in construction management with a minor in civil engineering.

Weston Cramer is studying industrial engineering with a focus on manufacturing and process improvement entering his senior year at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Alex Lyon is a construction management student and will be in his junior year at the University of Washington.

What was the most interesting or most surprising aspect about working at Abbott?

Alvaro: Feeling accepted as part of a welcoming family.

Connor: The culture at Abbott. Like their tag lines says — Built True. Built Together. What I have learned over the seven months at Abbott (two summer internships) is that Abbott is who they say they are. Abbott employees take the time to do what’s right for their clients and subcontractors.

Ava: The most interesting part about working for Abbott was learning about the various sides to a construction process and all the aspects and branches that go into making a project successful.

Caleb: This is my first internship with a construction company so there were many surprises throughout my internship. The most surprising aspect about working at Abbott would have to be the lack of complacency that employees possess to keep improving their company. I saw this mainly by the individuals who worked closely with the internship process and their desire to keep elevating each interns' experience with Abbott.

Weston: Abbott is a place of outstanding morals.

Alex: It surprised me how everyone was kind and willing to help! People that I worked with told me I could come to them with questions and offered me great advice the whole summer.

What did you learn about construction? 

Alvaro: Relationships go a long way. It’s good to maintain good connections and impressions with people for possible future opportunities. This is what I learned first-hand from my supervisors and something I practice in other parts of my life.

Connor: My first experience in construction started with my first internship at Abbott in the summer of 2018. I was able to gain a lot of knowledge through their internship program that specifically focuses on exposure to actual tasks that a project engineer would need to perform in construction. I was given the opportunity to take on responsibilities with the project and see them through to completion. In addition, I learned that supporting the teams on the jobsite is critical to project success.

Ava: I learned so many different things, but the most valuable was the language and lingo I learned from being on site and in the office.

Caleb: Everything I have learned about construction has come from this internship. One thing that I learned about and came to understand, was the importance of paper trails and documenting everything that happens on a jobsite.

Weston: I went in not knowing what framing is, to now understanding how to schedule, quality control, and verify nearly everything from framing, concrete, mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP), drywall or gypsum wallboard (GWB), and specialties. I learned an incredible amount in three months.

Alex: I learned everything I know about construction this summer! I have yet to take a construction class at UW, so it was incredibly insightful, and it gave me a much better understanding of what my career in construction could look like.

What was your favorite part of the internship? 

Alvaro: I enjoyed the comradery and being accepted by the team I worked with on my first project at Abbott. I also like interacting with people and having the opportunity of working on a variety of smaller jobs.

Connor: The people. Even as an intern, I felt like I was a part of the team.

Ava: My favorite part of the internship was all the people I met. I was nervous to go into a field that I didn’t know a ton about, but I had such good mentors that cared about what I learned and my experience.

Caleb: My favorite part about my internship with Abbott was the accessibility within the internship to learn about the different aspects in construction. For example, I worked with the estimating department for a week, which gave me valuable insight about the different phases that projects go through.

Weston: Finding opportunities for improvement in different aspects of the business — including decreasing waste, increasing productivity, reducing time required to do tasks, and improving quality.

Alex: My favorite part of my internship was getting some hours in as a laborer. It was interesting and fun to get my hands dirty and experience a little of what it’s like working on a construction site.

How might this internship influence you in the future?                     

Alvaro: It was a great experience. I started out as an intern not knowing for sure if Abbott would be a good fit for me. However, after a couple of weeks, I knew Abbott was the right place for me and I decided to accept a full-time position here.

Connor: I wasn’t sure if construction management was the right fit for me in my career, but after my internships, I am excited to start my career in construction with Abbott. I am very thankful for the valuable experience and training they provided me.

Ava: The internship helped me a TON for my future because I learned things that I will forever use in my career and my future classes for my major.

Caleb: This internship has shown me the impact on one’s career when they are organized, time-oriented, and patient along the way. With paperwork, I found that organizing assignments and emails in neatly labeled folders allowed me to eliminate a lot of wasted time. I saw the significance of using your time efficiently by working on a jobsite that was in pre-construction and seeing the entire process of submittals and RFIs. The most influential piece I will take away from my internship is maintaining patience early in my career. I believe my future will be enhanced by on-going learning and acquiring knowledge rather than attempting to climb the ranks as quickly as possible.

Weston: I might stay at Abbott despite 10+ years in manufacturing!

Alex: I am excited to see how this internship will influence my next school year. I am looking forward to learning about things I encountered during my internship in more depth.

Thanks again to all the interns for their enthusiasm and tremendous help throughout the summer. We welcome those who have or will be joining Abbott and we hope they have all gained valuable knowledge during the internship that can be applied to their studies and future endeavors.