This past summer I was able to gain my first experience within the civil engineering industry. Kimley-Horn is one of the largest and most established civil firms in the country, and therefore a great opportunity to learn more about the industry. They have teams that work in Transportation, Mobility, and Transit Systems, but I specifically interned on their Development Services team. The work of Development Services is very much reflected in the name, which is the site development of land; this includes landscaping, parking lots, roads, canopies, etc. It is also includes the sub-surface development, such as grading and utility tie-in of domestic and fire water, sewer, and stormwater.
Because Site Development is so eclectic, I was able to shift around and work on many different smaller projects and gain many new skills. Additionally, with Kimley-Horn being such a large firm, I was able to work on projects for several high-profile clients. Several of my projects during the summer were with Target. One notable project was my assistance with the expansion of the Target drive-up stalls, which included the addition of canopies over the stalls. I had to develop a canopy layout based on the architect’s specifications and adjust drive-up layouts that were inaccurate or needed to be moved. This work was great technical practice for how to develop and organize engineering drawings and plans. In another direction, I also assisted Target with a national Fire Flow Remodel Program, where we used fire hydrant flow data to calculate water pressure entering the building. Gradually throughout the summer I was given freer rein and handled this project autonomously for my team. I was also able to develop a spreadsheet that auto populated the calculations, which was a great help for my team in terms of efficiency and streamlining the process. It also is continuing to be used even after I left, so it was nice to leave a legacy as a testament to the work I completed!
Overall, this summer while very busy, was an important step in my growth and transition from student to engineer. I achieved insight into the civil engineering industry and a better understanding of corporate culture and how to be professional in those office settings. Both the hard and soft skills I gained are ones I carried into my senior year of college and ones I will continue to carry in my life post-grad.