Berglund Intern leverages opportunity to join St. Bernard Hospital

Rashaad Williams outside the Ambulatory Care Center which is under construction on the St. Bernard Hospital campus.

Rashaad Williams outside the Ambulatory Care Center which is under construction on the St. Bernard Hospital campus.

When Rashaad Williams began his internship at Berglund Construction, his supervisor told him he’d be doing a lot of paperwork.

With an eye toward studying business and administration in college, Rashaad was ready to learn the professional office skills required for that type of career. What he didn’t realize, though, was that he’d also learn the skills required to find a great part-time job that will help support him when he starts college classes.

“If I don’t have any emails or paperwork I have to do, I go into the field and start working,” he said.

Rashaad has been assigned to a high-profile Berglund project since he graduated from Englewood High School and began his internship in June of 2015: the construction of a new three-story, 70,000-square-foot Ambulatory Care Center at St. Bernard Hospital. In February, he will begin his new part-time job in the hospital’s cafeteria as he begins general education classes at Kennedy King College. His work on the hospital’s new construction project played a direct role in helping him land the new job.

“I’m learning a lot from all the foremen and everything,” he said. “It’s a good learning experience.”

Savan Hines, Berglund’s veteran laborer foreman on the project, has taken the lead in ensuring Rashaad learns what it takes to maintain an efficient work area.

“We talk about work ethic,” Savan said. “We talk about life stuff in general.”

Rashaad’s office duties required that he arrived to the project at 7 am every day. Savan told Rashaad that in order to be a dependable employee, he shouldn’t arrive on time. He should arrive early.

“I told him that if you have a job that’s starting at 7 am, I need you to be there at least at 6:15 to get yourself together,” he said.

Following Savan’s lead, Rashaad began setting his alarm for 5 am and fought through the yawns to develop the habit of getting into work earlier.

Chris Phelan, a Berglund project manager, has mentored Rashaad on developing the business management skills that he will use when he begins classes. Rashaad’s office duties have included updating the project drawings, tracking production, coordinating the equipment schedules, documenting progress and performing safety and quality control audits.

“We’ve stressed to him that it’s not how quickly you get a task done, but how correctly you get a task done,” Chris said.

Whether he’s working with Savan in the field or working with Chris in the office, Rashaad is grateful for the knowledge and skills he’ll take with him in his future endeavors.

“These are a good group of people to work with,” Rashaad said. “They give me advice every day and I take it and I learn from it. They always tell me to do better and keep up the good work and I always tell them thank you.”

REPRINTED BY PERMISSION OF BERGLUND CONSTRUCTION