A Chat With the 2020 Perlo Summer Interns


Here at Perlo, our people are the heart of what we do. We never stop looking for the best and brightest to join our team, because we know that with the right people on board, we can do great things. Sustaining our growth and our future means mentoring the next generation of employees, even in the time of COVID-19.

This year, we hired nine college students as interns, serving in a variety of capacities. We spent some time checking in with each of them to see how their experience has been and what they’ve learned, so far.


Oregon State University | Junior in Construction Engineering Management

I’ve been stationed at the Oregon City Les Schwab remodel. I’ve been given a wide range of tasks, including taking progress photos, directing traffic inside the store during the showroom remodel and learning about how the whole process works.

I had no construction experience before now. This is my first taste of it and it has been really fun. I feel like I’ve made the right choice. I started the summer when this project was just starting and now it’s almost complete, so it’s been great to see the project from start to finish.

I didn’t have a lot of knowledge of construction before this, but I’ve learned that surprises are common onsite. There have been many things that we’ve had to problem solve and fix. Finding good ways to get past those is common.


Oregon State University | Senior in Business Administration

I have been helping with the physical implementation of a new software called Tool Watch, including managing the new bar codes, back end work, writing training guides and helping the warehouse personnel to use the program. I’ve worked on a variety of process improvement projects, like investigating rental rates and mileage tracking programs.

Hard work always pays off, and I’ve found I like working in the construction industry because it’s challenging and I like to problem solve as things come up. I’ve really improved my communication and collaboration skills, especially working remotely and getting to know a lot of people in different departments.

I’ve really enjoyed getting to work on a lot of different projects and feeling like I’m actually contributing, I’m not just assisting or reading a text book. I was given a lot of independence to work on some projects.

The people here have been really helpful. Everyone I’ve asked to meet with has been enthusiastic and it’s been really interesting to learn from everyone.


Boise State University | Junior in Construction Management

I’ve spent the summer on a large industrial project in Portland, reviewing drawings, using Bluebeam, and recently I’ve been out in the field learning how to tie rebar and pour concrete. I’ve really enjoyed learning a lot of new things, like tilt-up construction.

Surprises? There’s been so much learning. For example, I didn’t know that the whole building is tied together by the roof structure. I’m liking construction, for sure. I’ve liked the experience here, everything has been fun and the crew is great. They’ve all been super helpful and go out of their way to teach me things.


Oregon State University | Senior in Civil Engineering

I’ve been at Division Street Self-Storage, working with the superintendent and foreman, helping with pre-inspection work items, reviewing plans, submitting RFI’s and that sort of thing. I’ve visited a lot of other sites and projects we’ve had going on, too. It’s been nice to see different qualities of finishes and project types.

I’ve learned a lot about how project scheduling works. Trade stacking is difficult because they have to wait for other trades to finish. They don’t teach this in the classroom.

I’m a hands-on learner, so being in the field has helped me learn a lot. Looking at plans and visualizing the building has been neat. Watching how things get managed has been really interesting, too.


Oregon State University | Senior in Liberal Studies

I’ve been working on three large projects, including collecting and organizing a list of critical spare parts for equipment at JSR Micro. I’ve also been working on a variety of research projects related to new software programs.

This is my second year as an intern. My favorite part is having the opportunity to work with a really talented group of people who are really good at what they do. I also really enjoy getting to see the background of the construction industry and what goes into completing a project. That’s not something you see from outside. It’s been great, I’ve really enjoyed my time.

I’m surprised at how much trust was put in me as an employee. I felt really valued and didn’t anticipate that. It’s a relieving feeling, it’s awesome.


Oregon State University | Senior in Construction Engineering Management

This summer, I’ve been at the SuperValue project and a TI in Gresham. I’ve been helping with estimating, writing RFI’s, walking subs through the building, reviewing drawings, etc. I have been doing weekly progress reports and helping with tasks given to me by the superintendent.

Everything I’ve done has been new to me, so it’s all be quite the experience. The opportunity to work at Perlo was a surprise. I didn’t know how it would go because of COVID. I feel like my PM and Superintendent have given me a lot of trust to complete stuff and know that I’ll do it right.

I’ve learned so many skills and I’ve been absorbing all the advice around me. Just taking it all in. Everyone I’ve met has been so friendly and helpful and are eager to engage in conversation.


Brigham Young University | Senior in Construction Management

I’ve been at JSR Micro in Hillsboro, working on various projects, developing an equipment matrix with all their assets, some subcontractor coordination, etc.

I interviewed back in October and at that time I was going to be in the office for this internship, but because of COVID I have been out in the field, and that has been my favorite thing, getting hands on experience and seeing how it all works. I tried to take advantage of every possibly opportunity, like completing OSHA 30 and first aid training, in addition to watching the concrete pours and panel picks.

I’ve had a great experience. I interviewed with a couple other companies, and one thing I really enjoyed about Perlo was that the company feels small and people know each other.

I love seeing that people know each other and have activities ‘outside work’. I think my interview included one question about experience and other than that, it was just talking, seeing how we communicated, asking me questions about my life. That was a first time experience for me, how it was about connecting and seeing how we vibe and that was cool, to see that they care about me personally.


George Fox University | Junior in Information Systems

I’ve been working mostly with the IT group this summer, helping people around the office, upgrading software, figuring out our technology inventory. I’ve done a lot with the tools program, working on the back end of that software.

I’ve never been exposed to the construction industry. The real-world experience in an industry like this, physically getting to see what you’ve been working on is really cool. This has definitely made me consider the scope of how IT fits into everything. I never thought about IT in construction.

Coming in, I wasn’t sure where I would fit in, but if you’re willing to go ask your help and show people you’re willing to do the work, they’ll help you out. I like that Perlo is trying to constantly advance and progress and not stay where they’re at. They obviously want to optimize everything they do, and don’t just stick with the way it’s always been. In other industries I’ve worked in, people are eager to tell you what you did wrong. Here at Perlo, people are still willing to help you along even if you did something wrong.


Oregon State University | Senior in Business Management and Administration, Minor in Family Business

I have spent the summer at TOK America Storage Warehouse in Hillsboro. My responsibilities have ranged from getting stuff from Home Depot to communicating with subs and starting early dialogue with them. I’ve been learning a lot. I’ve been around basic construction but nothing like this. This is a path I could definitely see myself going down; I’m enjoying this more than I expected to.

I’ve been surprised by the speed of construction. When you’re outside it feels like it goes slow, but now that I’ve seen the process, it’s a lot faster than you think. When I got here there was just a mountain of dirt and now we’re pouring our last panel walls and the walls will be tilted soon, so I’m going from an empty jobsite to a building in 2.5 months.

I’ve learned to become more organized, making lists and keeping notes to manage my tasks. I’ve really enjoyed being out in the field. I feel like this pace fits with my personality a lot. It’s fun to go outside and see what the crews are doing or talk to the inspector and learn about what they’re looking for. Now I drive by other sites and critique the way they’re pouring their concrete and how they placed their rebar.

Lessons Learned

The final question we asked each intern was what advice they would give to future interns. Here is what they had to say:

• Go to bed early, you will need to be a morning person.

• Be willing to get your hands dirty, go for it, dive in and see what happens. There’s a lot of good people here willing to teach you and help you learn, give you guidance to succeed.

• Get the most experience that you can and get to the other jobsites to see the variety of projects that are available.

• To be heard you have to say something. Take initiative and speak up for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to ask questions.

• Don’t be afraid to push yourself and look for an opportunity to grow. Push your limits.

• Take on challenges head on. Contractually we might have more time to respond to issues, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the information cleared up sooner. Just make that phone call and be proactive.

• Success isn’t a straight path: that’s a big one. It’s not going to happen overnight, you’ve got to put in the work.

• Don’t be super nervous about talking to people. Ask for help and you’ll figure it out. People will help you.

What’s Next?

The reality of COVID-19 means that the school year looks different for all of our Summer Interns. Many of them will only have virtual classes. A few will have select in-person classes. But one thing is clear: they have all enjoyed their time in the construction industry. We are grateful for all of them as they wrap up their time with us for 2020, and wish them all the best on their future endeavors.

Interested in an Internship?
Watch our Careers page this winter to apply!