LJB Co-ops Put Theory into Practice and Learn the Value of Teamwork

This summer, LJB has had the pleasure of hosting four amazing co-ops—one working in our Houston, Texas, office and three in our Dayton, Ohio, office.

Having salaried co-ops isn’t new to LJB. Human resource manager Laurie Iulg says co-ops have been part of the LJB fabric for more than 30 years. The company’s goal has always been to try to expose them to and provide training in as many service areas as possible.

“Civil engineering in particular is very broad and has a lot of specialties,” Laurie explains. “The LJB co-op experience helps students determine where they want to concentrate.”

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LJB CAD designer Greg Adams reviews plans with co-op Katie Weitzel

Whether discovering software capabilities, working in the field, or simply asking co-workers questions, the consensus among current LJB co-ops is that they have gained experience that drives home and expands upon what they’ve learned in class. And, along with those valuable technical skills, they have gained the soft skills that will enable them to be respected and valued teammates throughout their careers.

Let’s meet the co-ops!

Katie Weitzel is a University of Dayton student majoring in civil and environmental engineering with a minor in sustainability. Katie says working in the transportation group in LJB’s Dayton office has helped her make a connection between the information she’s learning in class and work in the real world. “Sometimes there is a little bit of a disconnect between course work and the actual design of a roadway,” she says. “It has been really helpful seeing how my knowledge can be applied.”

Katie says she has particularly enjoyed working with MicroStation, a 3D modeling software application. “MicroStation can do almost anything and sometimes seems a little like magic,” she says. So far, her favorite task has been learning how to create profiles of driveways and roads.

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LJB co-op Katie Weitzel digitizing historic plans to convert storm sewer information into GIS-accessible data

Katie’s co-op experience has also helped strengthen her interpersonal skills. “Since I have been working at LJB, I have learned that it is always good to ask questions,” she says. “I have also learned that it is important to approach a new task with a positive attitude and an open mind.” One of her biggest takeaways is the importance of teamwork. “To complete a project, you need to be able to rely on your team members, and your team members need to rely on you.”

“Working at LJB has given me an idea of what a work environment in my field of study is like,” Katie explains. “I learn so many new things every day, and that has helped me start to figure out what I would like to do when I graduate in a few years.”

Liam Miller is a construction management major at the University of Houston. He has been working in the structures group in LJB’s Houston office. Following graduation in 2021, Liam plans to pursue a master’s in architecture.

Liam says his stint as an LJB co-op has given him valuable experience—not only in the construction world, but also in the design world. “Working at LJB has also given me valuable insight into the structural side,” he explains. “Before I had mainly only seen architectural drawings and designs, but now I’m more immersed in the other design aspects that are required for building a building.”

At LJB, Liam has had the opportunity to dive deeper into Revit, a building information modeling software application. “LJB has brought me up to speed on some of the amazing things Revit can do that I had no idea it could do, and I have been working with this software for years,” he raves.

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LJB co-op Liam Miller using Revit to create tilt-up concrete panel elevations

His favorite task so far has been assisting in detail reviews and helping lay out panel books for Jeff Griffin, a senior project manager in the structures group. “He is a great guy and has answered all my questions,” Liam says. “He tasked me with a great job that has taught me a lot of valuable lessons when using Revit.”

Working at LJB has taught Liam to “always be on your feet, because you never know when a hot job might come in.” Like Katie, he has learned the value of teamwork and how important it is to ask your team any questions you have. “Asking questions will ultimately save you time and help push a better end result for you and the customer.”

Overall, Liam says, “Working as a co-op at LJB has given me more insight and a greater ability to improve quality of life with my work.”

Rami Hanna, a civil engineering major at the University of Toledo, has been working with the transportation team in LJB’s Dayton office. Set to graduate in December, Rami says, “Gaining hands-on experience while working with experienced professional engineers, designers and GIS specialists has helped me apply my academic background while working on challenging and interesting projects.”

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University of Toledo student Rami Hanna enjoying his stint as an LJB co-op

Highlights of Rami’s experience include:

  • Working on the design aspect of the projects and making engineering judgments based on the existing roadway conditions and the proposed designs for each project
  • Collecting all the essential data required to start preparing safety studies and traffic impact studies
  • Preparing safety studies and being able to prove to a client how much safer a road can be by applying the recommendations resulting from a study
  • Using the advanced technical information offered by GIS to improve the quality and accuracy of the content of various traffic engineering projects

“My experience with LJB has helped me grow professionally and made me better prepared to face challenging projects,” Rami explains. “It has also helped me value the importance of teamwork and effective communication between the members of a team.”

Trenton Scott has also spent his summer as a co-op at LJB’s Dayton office. He is a University of Cincinnati student majoring in architecture and considering a switch to engineering.

Trenton says he has learned quite a few things at LJB, including:

  • How to use MicroStation
  • How to conduct a boundary/property survey
  • To always make doubly sure that all the proper paperwork is completed before it is needed
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LJB co-op Trenton Scott performing research for a boundary survey

A stand-out project for Trenton was conducting a fall hazard safety assessment at a factory in Kokomo, Indiana.

“LJB has helped to refine and build up my skills,” Trenton explains. “LJB has also given a good representation of how a workplace should be conducted.”

Interested in joining LJB as a co-op? Visit our Careers page. You will find Co-ops/Interns – accepting applications for future opportunities listed in Ohio available positions.

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