The One With the Interns: David and Devon
Editor’s Note: This summer Flatiron presents The One with the Interns: David and Devon (hope you caught our “Friends” reference), a blog series where our Texas summer interns David Mansour and Devon Didion give you a front-row seat on what it’s like to intern for our great company. They will post about the important projects they’re working on in different Flatiron departments. Our corporate slogan is “Transforming Infrastructure,” and at Flatiron, our interns get to be directly involved in doing just that.
My name is David Mansour, and I’m excited to share a little bit about myself. I am an intern at our Interstate 20 Express project in Grand Prairie, TX.
I was born in Lebanon, and moved to the United States after I graduated from high school. I learned to speak English in three months. It was a bit of a struggle to be in such a drastically different country, but I worked hard to adapt to this environment in order to achieve my dream of becoming an engineer. Now, I am a civil engineering major at the University of Texas at Arlington, graduating in the fall of 2020.
This field of study has interested me for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I grew up watching my dad working in construction and strived to follow in his footsteps.
Last summer, I was driving down the highway and saw a sign for Flatiron. I was immediately intrigued. The more I looked into the company, the more I wanted to join the team.
A few months after learning about Flatiron, I received the biggest sign that I needed to apply for an internship. It came from Mike Arnold, one of Flatiron’s business development managers. He happened to walk into the mall the day my sister was working and gave her a business card. Everything changed from that moment on.
After I saw the card, I was surprised that it was Flatiron–the same name that I see on the highway every day. I emailed Mr. Arnold, who encouraged me to apply for the internship, and here I am today. Once I became more familiar with the team, I found even more reason to stick around. I was attracted to Flatiron because of its continuous growth, success and evolution as a whole.
I began my internship at the beginning of the summer. As an intern, my day consists of reviewing timecards, going to the field to check if all of the timecards are correct, collecting deliveries and making sure the foremen are using the right cost code. Afterwards, I go to the field and inspect what they have completed the day before as well, as what they will be working on that day.
This summer working with Flatiron, I hope to continue learning as I grow with the company and to work my way up in the company. I’m so excited to continue working here because so far, every day has been a new adventure.
Wow David, that’s really impressive you learned to speak English in only three months.
Hey everyone. I’m Devon Didion, the second half of “David and Devon.” I grew up in southern Arizona and moved to Houston, Texas in 2013. I’m a construction management major at the University of Houston. This summer I’m interning at Flatiron’s Taxiway WB rehabilitation project at Bush Intercontinental Airport.
In reality, my story starts with my father’s story. He worked his way up through the ranks in the field, from pipe crew laborer at 19, to becoming a project superintendent at 28. He worked as a superintendent on projects ranging from $6 million bid-builds to $721 million design-build projects.
As you can assume, my life never lacked any micromanagement. Saturday mornings I would wake up to a list of detailed instructions on what chores I was to complete by a certain time, there would also be a visual inspection of such afterwards. In 2013, my dad went from field operations to the estimating department. He currently is employed by Flatiron and is a senior estimator who specializes in utilities and earthwork.
Due to my father’s profession, I have grown up grading dirt, setting forms, finishing concrete, surveying our property and all the other activities that a young man wants to be doing…NOT. Although it was difficult and hard work, in retrospect it has sculpted me into who I am today, and has helped me out tremendously in my career in construction thus far.
Flatiron appealed to me because I was very intrigued by the idea of working on Houston Airport Systems projects.
This summer I have made a goal to further my understanding of how managing a project works and correlates to field work. I really want to understand the traits and responsibilities of the field superintendents, and build upon my basic knowledge of construction. When my internship ends, I will look to take on a utility foreman position to get even more field management experience.
I started working on a pipe crew last summer, and the amount of knowledge I have accumulated over the course of the past year has been a tremendous help to me during this internship. It goes to show me how valuable the experience in the field has been. I really want to improve my fluency in reading the plans and specs.
As Jeroen Dijkema, the project engineer here at WB says: “The ability to read the plans with a mindset that you are investigating the plans for issues or hiccups that will occur, before they occur, will be a huge asset to a project management team. To have that ability to begin solving issues before we run into them will benefit the project in all aspects.”