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internships at Krech Ojard

Engineering Internship Q and A

Engineering Internship Survey Responses:

1. How would you describe this engineering internship experience to others?

Jonathan: I would describe my internship experience so far as being challenging, eye-opening, and exciting. I’ve been able to use cutting edge technology in the field, as well as leveraging multiple programs to visualize, design, and validate complex structures and systems. A strong company culture promotes creative thinking and collaboration, which fuels productivity and personal growth. It has been very interesting so far, and I look forward to future work.

Adam: I would describe this internship as a very beneficial experience. I learned so much about how a real engineer operates inside of a company and the structure that goes on to get something like a drawing package out the door.

Abby: I would describe this internship experience as an opportunity to build upon your knowledge from schooling and see real world applications to a wide variety of structures, in an environment of helpful and knowledgeable people.


2. How would you describe our company culture?

Rory: An understanding and “hip” culture that works collaboratively and pushes everyone to continuously learn in their respective field.

Adam: The company culture has been very positive here. Everyone is friendly and willing to talk about fun things that we share common interests in like mountain biking. I feel like most people in Duluth are outdoorsy, so I had lots in common with the employees here. People joke around and banter which I wasn’t expecting much. I was a little worried that everyone would take themselves too seriously here and that was certainly not the case.

Kal: I would describe it as connected, fast-paced, and challenging. In the past, I have only worked with one discipline of engineering (municipal or geotechnical). Here it is very connected in the sense that structural, mechanical, and electrical work together on the same project. Time management is important here. Being able to manage your time between projects and needing to complete them in a reasonable time shows the high-paced culture. Finally, there are many different software used along with multiple different design codes you must interpret. I feel I have to be pushed to grow my knowledge in understanding the code along with learning how to think through problems and troubleshoot them. The people I’ve worked with have challenged me to help my engineering knowledge grow.


3. How did the job match your expectations?

Rory: My expectations were to work in a professional setting that challenges me, along with learning more in-depth aspects of the design process not seen or taught in class. I learned a lot, but most importantly I can approach a problem not just linearly (trying to find one thing) but start seeing the components to the whole project.

Jonathan: The internship met and exceeded my expectations. From outstanding company culture to interesting technology and challenging tasks, I feel much more involved in company operations than in my previous internship.


4. Discuss the challenges of your engineering internship experience and ways they may be improved.

Kal: The biggest challenge was using the structural analysis software. Not using an analysis software prior required a learning curve, but that was not the challenging part. Understanding how things acted in the model to match how they are supposed to act in the real world was challenging. Being able to get results from your model wasn’t too complicated but making sure the results output was correct was the tricky part. I do not think there is a way to improve it. I think that knowledge comes with experience.

Rory: The hardest challenge was learning the analysis software. Understanding the fine details and why errors are occurring was a challenge. Another challenge would be having ‘imposter syndrome’, that feeling of giving an important task and not having the experience/confidence and being like, “Wait, they are having me do this, is someone checking this?”

5. How did you feel about your training and mentoring/supervision?

Rory: Whenever I needed help or starting a new task, I was taught how to accomplish the task and explained usually in a simplistic way to the best of the individual’s ability. I also spent time using references to help with my learning.

Abby: I thought Serena did a great job of mentoring me. She kept my schedule up to date and was willing to stop and help me with any of my projects, even if they were not the ones she had given me. I felt comfortable asking questions but still had the room to learn how to do things on my own. I was also always able to ask Andy questions and learned a wide range of things from him. Sarah also did a great job of answering my questions and taught me a lot!

6. Outline one of your favorite projects.

Abby: I enjoyed getting to work on the railroad bridge load rating report. I was able to create a simple model of the bridge and apply moving train loads, which was a unique topic to learn about. I was further able to do the hand calculations and utilize different spreadsheets to pull together the calc package for the report. I was then further able to see the reviewing process and go through different passes on edits/fixes that were needed.

Adam: I would say that new lime facility has been my favorite project that I have worked on because I was left to my own devises to go through the PDFs and build the actual chute models that fit into the project. Ethan did a fantastic job of showing me what to do and how he wanted it to be done so I felt informed about what was going on and the goal we were trying to achieve. Over the past month or two I have been slowly chugging through the 100 or so chutes and getting them built how the customer wanted.

7. Tell us about any new skills, techniques, and knowledge you gained this spring/fall/summer.

Adam: I came into this job never having heard of Revit before so I would have to say the thing, I learned the most would obviously be Revit in general. I have never worked with a program that is advanced as Revit is in the sense that Revit has so many ways to do the same thing, so many toggle menus inside of toggle menus, and the different ways you can model things and how that can change a project if it’s a family, assembly, or modeled in place.

Kal: One of the skills I’ve learned is how to use analysis software and some steps to take to troubleshoot it. Regardless of the software, learning the steps of adding information and how to go through the analysis is very beneficial. I have learned more about steel connections, shear flow, and welds as well.

Jonathan: I have gained a lot of different skills through the last couple of months. I am confident in my Revit modeling, and continue to improve every day, as well as improving in AutoCAD, Bluebeam, and Navisworks. I also have gained beginner knowledge in project coordination, and I now realize that time management and precise communication are two of the most important skills in engineering. Communicating resin pipe layouts, as well as other dust collection and chute designs have helped me learn how to communicate more effectively.

8. Would you recommend this internship to other students? Why or why not?

Kal: Yes, I would recommend this internship to another student. Throughout the internship, I feel, you start to develop an understanding of how to think problems through and if they make sense after analyzing them. Those things you could probably get at another internship, but the people and the mentoring I got here I would not be able to get anywhere else.

Abby: I would recommend this internship to others, as it provided the opportunity for learning and applications of skills, in a way that exceeded my expectations.

Jonathan: Yes, I would. I would recommend it on the basis of my helpful, friendly, and motivated coworkers, as well as fantastic exposure to interesting projects, modern technology, and multi-disciplinary engineering work.


Field Intern Questions

1. Did You Receive Adequate Training and Support During Your Internship?

Sophie: Yes. One of my favorite parts of this internship is being able to learn as I go and figure some things out on my own. There isn’t a ton of “handholding”, but I also know that I can reach out anytime to get pointed in the right direction. Everyone that I had the chance to work with (both KOA coworkers and contractors on site) was eager to share knowledge and help me through any questions I had.

2. If you could change anything about the internship program, what would it be and why?

Maude: I struggled to come up with any criticism, I feel that I have had a well-rounded and very educational experience. I would have liked the opportunity to work on more projects, as I was focused on same one most of the summer. However, this is only a result of the time constraints of any summer internship.

Sophie: Last summer I was in the field for almost the entirety of my internship. However, this summer I spent about half in the office and half in the field. I really enjoyed this summer with the mix of work, and I think that all interns should have a similar set up if possible. There is a lot of knowledge to gain in both areas. Being able to see design vs. construction really brings it all together.

3. What was the most challenging thing about working in the field?

Sophie: Being in the field can be a little intimidating at first. However, I got comfortable fairly quickly, especially after spending a lot of time in the field last summer. I learned that it is a lot about just learning to communicate with the contractors and not being afraid to ask questions.

4. How do you think your field experience will benefit your future as an engineer?

Maude: My experience in the field gave me a working knowledge and real world understanding of plans. This understanding will be applicable to projects I work on in the future.

Sophie: I enjoy being in the field because it brings engineering to life for me. When I get back in the office or the classroom, I find myself thinking of things that I saw while in the field. When doing design work or conceptual work it helps me to think about connections to real-life events.

5. Please tell us about your favorite equipment to use & why!

Maude: My favorite equipment to use was the laser level. Before this summer I had never used survey equipment, so I am very glad I had the opportunity to develop this essential skill.

Sophie: I was able to go out on a couple of survey trips with Dustin J. this summer. I gained valuable experience, and it was fun! The department recently got some new survey equipment that allows you to collect points without having your rod completely level. I enjoyed learning more about surveying, especially how to put together a survey and what points are important to collect.

6. What was your favorite site to visit & why?

Maude: My favorite site to visit was the Lawer Bridge Road bridge reconstruction. I was able to be involved in this project from start to finish which was a very educational and interesting experience.


See position openings at Krech Ojard’s Career section.

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