While in college, many students set out to build a foundation for their academic and professional careers. For Adrian Contreras, a senior in the Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University, this sentiment can be seen both figuratively and literally. Contreras is a first-generation, Mexican American college student and the oldest of his siblings, working to establish a permanent foundation.
Contreras’ effort and devotion to continually learn and improve has not only led him to meaningful relationships but also a summer internship with NOVO Construction and a blueprint for a bright future.
Through this internship, Contreras has implemented the skills obtained from the CM program and is working to construct durable infrastructure and lasting relationships with those he works with. Now working as a field engineer intern with NOVO, Contreras has the opportunity to put his knowledge to work at the construction site of the Roku headquarters – a technology company based in San Jose, California.
Family influence and new duties
Family ties are often influential in the career path that an individual takes. Throughout his time at CSU, Contreras finds this to be true.
“I chose CM because my father has worked for an insulation contractor for over 20 years along with my uncles who are also framers,” Contreras said. “Prior to choosing CM, I had already worked on homes, commercial sites, and roads so I knew this was the right career path for me to make a lasting impact.”
This innate inclination to follow in the footsteps of his family has allowed Contreras to make an outstanding impact at an early age. His devotion to constructing a better future motivates Contreras every day. “With construction, I know that my work will be here to benefit others long after I am gone,” Contreras said.
Contreras’ appetite for excellence in learning and applying construction methods can be seen in his daily duties with NOVO.
“An average day at my job starts with opening the job site with my supervisor and giving an orientation to any new workers coming onto the site for the first time,” Contreras said. “This is typically followed by ordering and tracking materials the site needs. I sit in on meetings with our owners, architects, and contractors, which allows me to gain an understanding about what it is I need to prioritize that week.”
In addition to the operations side of the job, Contreras emphasizes the importance of creating lasting relationships. “It is very important to me to have and develop a positive relationship with the tradespeople because I learn so much from them, so I always allocate time to spend with my crews,” Contreras said.
With the desire to connect with others and the capability to sustain a valuable work ethic, the sky is the limit. The skills that Contreras inherited from his family have been bolstered by the CM program and its “Ram Built” motto.
Impact of the Ram Built culture
Contreras’ exceptional work is possible due to his CSU education.
Contreras attributes both the opportunity with NOVO and his distinguished skills to the CM program. “Without what I learned in school, I would not be able to complete the estimates, takeoffs, and other tasks that my superintendent asks of me.”
The construction management program’s faculty and staff continually work to establish incredible opportunities for students. Contreras and his peers appreciate their CM professors’ time and mentorship, and the department’s resources to connect students to the industry through internships and the CM Career Fair.
“I love meeting people who are, or have been where I want to be,” Contreras said. “I think CM does an excellent job of providing us with faculty that have unique experiences.”
With the experience of his father and uncles behind him, Contreras is excited for this outstanding opportunity with NOVO, aided by his determination to continue learning. Attending CSU, Contreras uses his resources to reach his full potential.
“My favorite part of my major has been the amazing professors I have had and being able to pick their brains about all their experiences,” Contreras said.
By combining his zeal for learning more about the industry, utilizing his resources in the CM community, as well as his willingness to believe in himself, Contreras is well on his way to building a successful career in construction. His advice to future CM Rams is to be open to opportunities when they are afforded to them.
“The biggest lesson I will take from this experience is that it is important to take risks and explore new adventures whether they be in a new city or a new professional field,” Contreras said. “We are all the better for taking a leap of faith and seeing what is out there for us.”
For more information on career-building opportunities for students in the program, visit the Construction Management Careers, Internships, and Recruiting webpage.