Oscar Flores experienced a unique 10-week internship with Clark Construction Group over the summer, which allowed him to develop skills needed to succeed in both a virtual and onsite work environment. The senior construction management major commuted over an hour by train to get to his daily job site in the West Loop of Chicago, where he worked on a 57-story high rise office building.

He enjoyed the exposure to different project areas, and worked on jobs such as superintendent work, project management, and MEP (mechanical, electric, and plumbing) management.

“This was a huge plus because I was exposed to a lot of different roles I could potentially be in after graduation,” he said.

While his main responsibility was to look after work that was being installed, he also worked with project progress photos and attended meetings with the Clark team, foremen, and architects and owner teams.

COVID-19 did play a role in the structure of the internship, delaying his ability to begin work onsite. Instead of working at the project site for the entire summer, Flores spent the first five weeks of the internship working remotely. He said Clark Construction worked to accommodate interns and employees in that time, offering professional development courses, free seminars, and other resources to make the virtual experience worthwhile.

Flores was originally introduced to the internship opportunity through ISU’s Construction Management Career Fair. He was looking into top companies in the field and noticed Clark Construction’s highly ranked internship program. He was also influenced by instructional assistant professor Randy Jacobs, saying that, “He has always pushed me to aim for the best opportunity and has helped me out immensely since attending ISU.”

His favorite part of the internship was being exposed to different aspects of construction, but he also enjoyed the views that came along with the job. “I was going all the way to the top floors on a daily basis for my responsibilities, so I was getting the view of the whole city while doing work that I love. Being exposed to the different positions gave me experience to really choose what area I want to pursue after graduation,” he said.

Flores felt that the ability to see his hard work pay off, combined with the impact he made on a large-scale project was the most rewarding part of the job.

The summer experience was certainly unique, and the commute required Flores to carefully balance work and family life—but he was motivated to succeed. “I was happy to wake up every morning because I was going to do something I love and grow myself in the process. There really isn’t anything better than that. I did my best to balance life with my family including my little two-year-old daughter, who is my motivation to really get better and grow in my career.”

Flores is looking forward to the next Construction Management Career Fair, where he hopes to find a fill-time position to fill after graduating from ISU.

Interested in learning more about the construction management program at ISU? Check out the Department of Technology’s website for more information.