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Innovation and Perseverance Key Factors in Project Engineer’s Career Pathway

Published Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Andrew Brundell knew early on that he would pursue a construction career of some kind. He spent many summers working for his father who owns a local custom home company, Allan Custom Homes. Brundell is a 2015 graduate of Linn-Mar High School and is now employed as a Project Engineer at Ryan Companies.

“While growing up I had a lot of opportunities to learn about this field whether it meant working for my dad or other local construction companies such as Abode Landscaping,” said Brundell.

Following high school Brundell went to a large university and after the first year knew it wasn’t quite for him.

“I came back to the Cedar Rapids area and worked alongside my dad. While managing residential home projects for a summer, I then decided to continue my education at Kirkwood Community College in the Applied Associates of Construction Management program,” recalled Brundell.

The next summer Brundell did something not many others are willing to do, he put himself out on a limb by reaching out to Ryan Companies for an internship.

“I had heard they have a great summer junior/senior co-op program and I decided to give it a shot. It ended up working out!”

In May of 2017 Brundell started that internship and continued with it while still in school and eventually accepted a full-time position following graduation. Now, Brundell is a Project Engineer at Ryan Companies.

“I am involved in all phases of the construction process from pre-construction (bidding), construction, and post-construction (warranty) work,” says Brundell.

The position requires a high level of organization in project administration, design coordination, estimating, construction, scheduling, cost control and construction management.

“You’re always managing a variety of tasks and I need to keep each project organized in order to move forward and meet our deadline.”

Brundell went on to share the multiple levels of working through a construction project but says it all really boils down to communication and organization.

“When you do land any kind of internship or co-op position it’s important to be a sponge and ask questions. I’ve been lucky enough to have mentors that don’t judge me for asking lots of questions – it’s a fine line of being resourceful and being brave enough to make decisions to move forward on a project.”

Brundell emphasized the importance for high school students to begin exploring opportunities now and be willing to work from the “the bottom up.” Additionally, students can learn about this specific job by seeking out the job profile on Community Promise. These exist for students to see where future talent is needed in the area.

Pictured above from left-right: Alec Brundell, Andrew Brundell, Susan (New home owner), Paul Brundell) is a house that Andrew built alongside his father/brother/uncle as part of a 5 Day “Blitz build” voluntary project with Habitat for Humanity.

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