Building Future Leaders

Emory Sweeney, previously an intern and now a full-time project engineer on a Texas medical clinic project. (Photo by Chase Moser)
Emory Sweeney, previously an intern and now a full-time project engineer on a Texas medical clinic project. (Photo by Chase Moser)

Forty-seven students—12 of whom are returning from previous years—participated in this year’s summer internship program. The program is a unique opportunity for students to gain valuable hands-on work experience and for DPR to help build future industry leaders.

Prospective interns typically learn about DPR either through employee referrals or from the more than 20 DPR College Champions, who travel to campus career fairs around the country in the spring and fall to interview students studying construction management, construction engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering.

“Our summer internship program continues to be extremely successful and, in many cases, becomes an extended interview process, allowing us to effectively identify those candidates who embody our core values and have a true passion for our business,” said Jorinne Jackson, who leads human resources at DPR. As a learning organization, DPR places a strong emphasis on building and developing its people.

For interns, stepping out of the classroom and jumping headfirst into day-to-day operations allows them to really understand what it’s like to work in the industry. Nelly Garcia Lopez, a first-time intern, joined DPR from Stanford University’s Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE), where she is pursuing a master’s degree in construction engineering and management. Originally from Colombia, Garcia Lopez hopes to gain a solid foundation of construction business knowledge from her experience and translate that into success upon graduation. Said Garcia Lopez of her experience, “I love that DPR expects me to take charge of my own development. I get as much responsibility as I ask for. People are open to answering my questions and helping me out, which allows me to learn quickly.”

Besides gaining knowledge, interns also have the possibility of gaining employment upon graduation. Case in point: Emory Sweeney. Sweeney first learned of DPR when he was at the University of Texas engineering department career expo and met one of the company’s College Champions. Sweeney interned at DPR last summer and returned in January of this year—not as an intern, but as a full-time employee. He is now a project engineer in Marble Falls, Texas, currently working on a medical clinic project. Regarding his internship at DPR, he said, “I liked the attitude of the people I was working with. I felt that I wasn’t just doing ‘intern-like’ tasks. I actually had responsibility, which was rewarding.”

It is no wonder that the Huffington Post mentions DPR among the “10 Companies College Students Should Want to Work For.”

To learn more about DPR’s internship program, visit the University Connection page.