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ESD Summer Internship 2015 Recap

It’s that time of year again when we start saying goodbye to summer. For those of us in the office, this might not come with too many changes to our daily routine. However, there is one noticeable change occurring in our workplace this week: we are saying goodbye to our summer interns.

This summer, ESD hosted 12 engineering interns from universities across the country, including University of Notre Dame, Washington University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford University, and Purdue School of Engineering & Technology. This year we had a mixture of new and returning interns, with those returning from summers past bringing with them new knowledge and gaining experience on different engineering teams within our company.

Each intern has presented on the many projects they have contributed to over the summer as well as lessons learned. Here is a recap of some of their experiences:

“I’m leaving ESD feeling comfortable working in both AutoCAD and Revit, and seamlessly switching between the two programs.”Anne, Mechanical Engineering Intern

Several of our interns started their summers with little to no experience using two- and three-dimensional modeling tools such as AudoCAD and Revit. As they jumped into design projects in each of our market vertical groups, they were trained by engineering mentors on how to best utilize these programs when working individually and in teams with engineers of other disciplines.

One unique component of the summer engineering intern program this year was the Revit Family Development project. Each intern aimed to produce Revit families that would automate repetitive tasks when used in the project environment while allowing engineers flexibility in the model space and control over the final drawings. The interns were tasked with understanding what was important to an engineer in a Revit family, and what could / couldn’t be automated to make their lives easier.

“I felt my work was appreciated, and that I was actually making an impact on projects. My eyes were opened this summer to the role of communication in engineering. It’s just as important as the drawings to the design process.” Sean, Electrical Engineering Intern

ESD summer engineering internships allow each intern the opportunity to work on projects in two of our internal groups: Workplace Solutions; High Performance Buildings; Healthcare, Science, & Education; Mission Critical Facilities; Automation Controls & Energy Eco; and Technology. Returning interns of summers past were given the opportunity to work on new teams, broadening their experience while learning the similarities and nuances of our clients’ drivers across markets and service types. They gained experience with in-progress projects, such as the renovation of a restaurant in a historic Chicago building, the renovation of a trading floor in the Chicago Board of Trade, a purpose-built hospital campus, and the retro-commissioning of a public museum. Beyond design work, our engineering interns participated in site surveys and communicated with architects and contractors to coordinate the designs.

“My friends came to visit me in Chicago this summer. When I took them to the Willis Tower, I found myself talking about how the company I worked for this summer plays such a large role in the building’s engineering, and so many other buildings in the city.”Yi-Min, Mechanical Engineering Intern

Each year our interns gain practical work experience with design drawings, RFIs, and modeling; however, our favorite part of their time with us is sharing the excitement of witnessing our designs in action. Whether we are cruising down the Chicago River on an architectural tour or visiting current project sites to meet with architects and contractors, our interns get an up-close look at the workplaces, trading floors, and high performance buildings we design. This is what it’s all about – taking what we’ve learned in the classroom and office, putting it into practice, and witnessing our work take form. It’s about improvement, of ourselves and society, through the built environment.