Cydney Nakama has been a mentor for many interns at Kiewit Building Group Inc. since she started at the company nearly nine years ago, but this year she jumped in as intern coordinator.
As an intern mentor, Nakama was responsible for guiding one intern through various projects each summer. Her role as intern coordinator means she works with the client, as well as the intern, in order to create a professional relationship and guide interns through the building process.
A great amount of coordination and training went into this summer’s project, but Nakama wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I decided to volunteer myself to be intern coordinator because I wanted to make a bigger impact,” says the project engineer. “I thought I could do a good job of guiding the interns as an entire group to make an impact on the community. I’m also going through making sure they’re not only learning, but also making sure (the client) is getting what they want.”
Her recent summer project provided Pearl City Elementary with a new stage area and benches for an after-school reading program. Principal Susan Hirokane wanted a facility where students could read aloud to each other, in order to help them break out of their shells. Rather than sitting on the ground, Kiewit devised a plan to create a stadium with four tiers of seats and a stage that wrap around a large tree.
The group only had 12 weeks to plan and execute the project but proved resilient. “As a company, one of our core values is stewardship in people,” Nakama says. “It gave the interns a good start-to-finish idea of what’s involved in building, but also giving back to the community.”
Thirteen interns put in countless hours on their own accord, with no prodding from Nakama.
“I didn’t require them to stay late,” she explains. “But they did because they wanted to see the project through.”
The whole experience was rewarding for Nakama, though she admits the process was stressful at times.
“But at the end of the day, walking away from it, my interns learned a lot,” she says. “We want to allow our interns the best experience, and I’m very proud of what we accomplished this summer. It was amazing to see what they accomplished in such a short amount of time.”
Students interested in learning more about the internship program can apply online at Kiewit.com, call 457-4500 or email KBGHawaii@kiewit.com.