My Summer Experience: Jessica Miles
Summer Co-Op Working with L.S. Brinker on Hospital Renovations
Summer Co-Op Working With L.S. Brinker On Hospital Renovations
L.S Brinker is the company I was hired by for my summer co-op program. It was founded in 1993 and specializes in providing construction and management related services. Focusing on effective communication and efficient project management ensures your project is completed right the first time. L.S. Brinker maintains a strong commitment to quality, safety and best practices to exceed client expectations.
To begin, I worked under Nicole Blocker, one Detroit’s very few African American female project managers. This was an amazing opportunity for me because there are very few African Americans in the construction industry, and a woman in my field is similar to a rare diamond in the rough. It was great establishing a relationship with her as my mentor.
My job title this summer was assistant project engineer on all of our Detroit Medical Center (DMC) projects. The DMC includes over four specialty hospitals and health administration offices. Our field team is small, but we have many sub-companies that work for us in trades ranging from electric to plumbing. The assistant project engineer/office manager assists and supports the project manager and superintendent on assigned projects. So I worked directly under Nicole, helping her perform routine daily activities and gathering and distributing information. The project engineer must be a flexible and an adaptable team player, have strong communication and client service skills, and demonstrate strong organizational and time management skills.
Some of our big projects this summer I had the pleasure of working on were the remodeling of over 100 personal care units, remodeling the lobby for the Detroit Children’s Hospital, and lastly remodeling the Detroit Receiving Hospital emergency room.
A lot of people questioned why I worked in a hospital if I was in construction, and that’s because every large facility has a construction and design department, and my company was hired to be the project managers. Plus, every building needs remodeling and construction to be up-to-date and make customers feel like they are in a safe environment.
Working construction in the medical field is a trade by itself, and is often much harder because of two things—safety and funding. Safely was harder because a lot of times we were working right next to someone who was very sick and construction brings dirt and dust. So, there are certain protocols and procedures we have to take to keep the area as clean as possible. For example, every temporary door we created to separate the construction area from the patent area had a sticky mat on the floor and every person who entered and exited had to the “happy mat dance,” which made the sticky mat collect all the dirt or loose dust off their feet to keep the area on the other side of the door as clean as possible.
Also construction in the health industry is tough because of funding. A lot of funding was from the government and had a lot of requirements attached to it. At the DMC, every trade company working had to have a certain amount of Wayne County workers as well as a certain amount of minority workers on the site. Also, they all had deadlines for when the money would eventually expire, which really put pressure on us and the workers to get everything done in a certain time frame.
After this summer I know 100 percent I’m in the right field. I want to become a project manager for an interior construction company like L.S. Brinker. Since I’m going into my senior year with an offer from them to work after graduation, I know my dreams are with in my reach. This summer has taught me so much about myself and the field I want to go in, and I’m truly grateful and motivated to finish off strong here at BG and graduate with my degree in construction management.