Meet Staff Engineer Ben Albrecht
Ben Albrecht first joined Braun Intertec as a co-op, and now works full time as a staff engineer with our geotechnical consulting group. We asked Ben about his experience as a Braun Intertec co-op, what advice he had for incoming co-ops and how the co-op program prepared him in his career path.
What is your current position at Braun Intertec and what did your career path look like to get there?
I’m currently a staff engineer at Braun Intertec. I originally signed on for a 3-month summer internship with our geotechnical consulting group. After the summer was over, I worked part-time as I was attending my last semester of school in 2016. Then following graduation, I came on full-time as a field engineer in training (EIT). I worked full-time in the field for one year before coming back into the office as a staff engineer.
What is your most memorable moment from your co-op experience?
My mentorship through the Braun Intertec Co-op Mentor Program really stands out. I originally had a structural engineering emphasis in school, but my mentor got me interested in geotechnical engineering and excited about a couple of ideas. First, geotechnical consultants like Braun Intertec are involved in both the design and construction phases of projects, and often work hand-in-hand with the other design engineers through special inspection and construction material testing services. Secondly, soil conditions are never identical in two locations. Two projects with very similar construction may need completely different foundation recommendations and solutions which keeps things challenging and interesting.
What projects did you get a chance to work on?
I was assigned to projects across the west side of the Twin Cities. Some of the more notable projects I worked on during my co-op included the 900,000 square foot Amazon Fulfillment Center in Shakopee, MN; the Rahr Malt House #6 that poured concrete 24/7 for two weeks using slip-form construction; and the Curling Club at Firemen’s Park in Chaska, MN.
What is your biggest take away from your co-op, and/or how did it help you prepare for your career?
The biggest take away for me was just general construction knowledge. Things like who’s in charge of a job site at what times, learning about construction equipment and the capabilities of each, how to best communicate with project team members and learning how to interpret plans and specifications. These things seem basic, but they’re so important. Knowing how things work onsite makes you a better engineer.
What do you think sets our co-op opportunity apart from other companies?
Many companies want previous experience or certain classes taken before a student can apply, when in reality, that’s not always possible. Braun Intertec wants individuals who have a good worth ethic and communication skills, show up on time, and want to learn. If someone has those traits, they can absolutely succeed in this role.
It’s also a great way to introduce yourself to construction no matter which discipline you’re studying. It’s going to help you regardless if your emphasis is heavy civil, municipal, structural, geotechnical, etc. If Braun Intertec is on your radar, doing a co-op is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door for future internships and full-time opportunities.
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