Heres another one from the Interns Journal department. This one from the redoubtable Tim Angert:
I joined Piedmont exactly 377 days ago on January 7th 2008 as a not so lowly intern. I did my first semester as a junior intern acclimating myself to the “Project”. My second semester as a senior intern I spent as production manager at the coop. After that I rose to a full time position in the Design Build Department with David Thornton. Apparently the entire 377 days I have been on “Project” I have remained an intern because I have not submitted my Interns Journal. I haven’t done this for multiple reasons, mostly my own laziness, you see I hate writing, and frankly I am just no good at it. My hope is to put a perspective on my internship and other interns and to give some advice to future interns, and to get Lyle off of my back.
I came here with all of the great intentions of leaving. The internship for me was just going to be a filler activity between my undergrad and graduate school. I thought, “why not spend the time learning more about biodiesel.” I had built my own processor, made the fuel, and ran it in my own car. I was a HOMEBREWER. I thought it would be fun to learn about biodiesel on an Industrial scale.
I completed my first internship at breakneck speed, spending late nights in the coop’s reactor room re-re-re-plumbing it to increase capacity (the reactor room at the coop tends to get re-plumbed with ever new set of interns), So that we could keep the Moncure “Tami” tank from running dry. I spent my days and some of my nights at Industrial rebuilding the Clean-tech mobile education trailer, to make it the best educational trailer of its kind. David was kind enough to let me use his modest shop “pump and tank”, and some of his fittings, and spare parts. Bruce and Tuesday where kind enough to tolerate me asking for there help and advice. I even got Tuesday to weld some crummy old aluminum on the stipulation that I tried to do it too. I proceeded to burn a hole straight through it, she proceeded to make a nice work bench. At the end of my first internship I could hardly believe that my time was up, I had so much fun. I never had to be the coffee and bagel boy. I had an experience where my opinion was valued and considered and where I had the chance to make a difference in “the project”.
Matt asked me to stay on over the summer, as a senior intern. My responsibilities where to help supervise the new crop of summer interns and be production manager. No big deal- right. Being production manager was fun, I enjoyed the responsibility. I really loved seeing people drive away on the fuel that I had made. I also really enjoyed working and running the system that I had built at the coop. As a designer there is only a limited amount of feedback other people can give you on your system, to really get a good understanding you need to run it yourself. I think Leif will say the same thing for the Industrial plant. You find out things when your run your own plant and the worst part about it is that you have no one to blame but yourself. It is a blessing and a curse, depending on the day and circumstance.
As much fun as making fuel was at the coop, what I enjoyed the most were the new interns. My undergrad was in technology education (some of you may refer or know it as shop class, it’s a bit different than that, I like to refer tech Ed as “finding a place to actually apply all that other “useless stuff” that they teach you in school.”) I enjoyed teaching the interns about the coops production system, how to solve different problems, and how to use power tools. Some of them were a bit squeamish, others not so much, some a bit nervous others a bit cocky. Some of the interns that I thought had the most skills turned out to be not so impressive after all, others that I was unsure of at first turned out to be the super stars. I came to the project with a background of problem solving, machining, plumbing, tinkering, mechanics, industrial practices the whole nine yards. I thought that was what made me a “good” intern candidate” but really what made me a good intern candidate was the desire to learn and a willingness to work.
I found that like other things in life, I got out of the Internship at Piedmont what I put into it. I put extra into my internships and I got extra out of it. During the late nights that I volunteered helping Lyle clean at Industrial he taught me about business and economics, and lots of other things. Link taught me about chemistry while I helped him suck up spills so we could get out in time for us to go dumpster diving. David taught me about pumps and material compatibility while I helped him build ion exchange columns, and cut tanks in half on my weekends. I put a lot into my Internship and I got a lot out of it.
It turns out that my Internship wasn’t just a filler activity, I guess I never truly treated it that way anyway. If I had I might have been an extremely unhappy intern. When I completed my senior internship in September David offered me a job working with him in design build, a dream job for someone who started as a “lowly” intern.
Editor’s note: Something Tim omitted is that he actually likes children. We call on him to help with kid tours from time to time