During my time here at Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc., I did not get the internship experience I expected. Starting out, I expected to be given tasks, complete them, and then wait until the next one arose. Instead, my first few days were filled with sitting in on meetings and being an active participant in creative decision-making. I was immediately given interviews with the founders to translate into a brief and all-encompassing CEC History blurb for the website. By combing through old documents and reading about the history straight from the founders’ mouths, I learned more about CEC as a company than I ever thought I would have, a project which effectively built a special relationship between me and this large and vast company. The same mindset can be seen in CEC’s new Connections program. The company not only respects but champions their history and how each steppingstone has led to their current success. They care about keeping employees and motivating them to become an active member in the creation of CEC’s history.
Throughout my internship, I was also given a level of autonomy I have not experienced in a workplace before. I was trusted with handling email communications, posting my own work on various social media pages, and designing my own projects – all of which made me more excited about them. It felt like I was truly an active and appreciated member of the team, an aspect that encouraged me to work harder in my department and give my best to this internship. In all honesty, I knew little about what an engineering and consulting firm does. I figured much of my time here would consist of promoting the company without fully understanding the material I was using, but I was able to learn so much about what all the different disciplines do and how they constantly interact.
The most valuable portion of my internship was having an experience that was built around my career goals. My team actively listened to what I hoped to achieve here and took my goals seriously by allowing me to take on assignments that directly correlated to deliverables that I can now show to any future employer as a testament to what I learned. My favorite part of the internship might have been the final piece of the company history project: an interview with Ken Miller, co-founder of CEC. I showed him my first draft and expected him to simply find and replace the facts that needed to be tweaked, but instead I got to learn about why they really started CEC. If you make money, you stay in business. It’s a viable and popular business model, but not one that catalyzed CEC’s creation. First and foremost, the founders wanted a place where senior leadership stays involved, employees are treated well and can expand on their knowledge, and where client relationships are built on camaraderie and trust rather than solely profit. It’s a rock-solid foundation built on a simple premise and executed well. I will never come close to possessing an engineering mindset, let alone becoming one, but the truth is that you can get behind CEC if you empathize with people who are passionate about what they do and who they work with. Passion is a universal equalizer. People who put their all into something because they inexplicably love it find people who are wired the same way, and it’s a fervent energy circulating throughout the halls here. For example, Ken taking the time to sit down with me and explain the history. He ensured I truly understood it and could write about it in a voice that communicated the motivation and drive behind every step they took rather than simply outputting the correct dates and titles. They don’t look at their history and say it’s good enough, they say this is what we stand for and what’s important. If the rest was forgotten, this is what needs to be remembered, and I think knowing that speaks volumes about the kind of people you can find here. People who understand what they’re working towards and why they care so deeply. Interning at CEC? I would recommend. It has been quite the unexpected summer.