By De Nell Morris, Project Assistant at Straub Construction
As a Project Assistant, I act as support on every project from issuing work orders, change orders, assembling operation maintenance manuals, analyzing job costs, managing our project management software Procore, and much more. Most of the time, I’ve been working in the office. For many years I have wanted to spend some time working in the field. So, about a month ago, I finally decided to go for it and asked if I could spend some time out on a project, and my boss agreed.
For the last four weeks, I’ve spent two days a week on job sites doing all kinds of jobs from finish carpentry to cleaning. These few weeks have been such a great learning experience and I’ve really enjoyed the work that I have gotten to do.
The Physical Work
I love my position as a project assistant, but what I have learned from being out in the field is that when you spend so long in an office, it’s easy to become detached from the physical work being done every day. We spend so much time looking at plans, that we see projects through that lens and don’t see the day to day operations.
I’m married to an iron worker, so I have an idea of how difficult this kind of work is, but you don’t truly understand until you’ve done it yourself. We take a lot of things for granted being in the office such as having clean bathrooms right down the hall, getting fresh coffee whenever we want it, having all of our equipment handy, and turning on the AC or heater when it’s hot or cold. Being out in the field, you’re not afforded these kinds of luxuries.
Despite the many challenges of being in the field, all of the people that I worked with really love their jobs and being out in the field. The experience has given me a greater appreciation for the work that’s done every day on our job sites. Also, it has given me a more personal connection to these projects; bringing them to life for me with a personal connection.
I am excited to be back out in the field two days this week continuing to learn. I will be working on job sites two days a week for the foreseeable future. Thank you to all of our field employees for all of the hard work that they do, and a special thanks to Jeff Walters, James Mowdy, George Dinneen, and Rodney Pullen for their training and guidance. Also, an additional thanks to Dan VanDonge and Doug Heinen for putting their confidence in me and giving me this opportunity!