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28 YEARS IN THE MAKING by Joe Guldan | 2012 LEAPS Marketing Intern | Junior, University of Michigan

Program Foundation The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) criticized universities with construction management programs during the mid-1980s for graduating students with minimal knowledge of the industry and little experience with on-site construction. In other words, students were not prepared upon graduation to be productive employees of the industry and needed to combine the theory-based knowledge learned in college with the real-world experience in construction. Around the same time, Barton Malow was working to improve the company’s college recruiting methods through a more disciplined approach in order to recruit the highest quality of students into its internship program. Giving minority and female engineering students a competitive edge in the job market was also of primary importance from the start. In response to these concerns, Barton Malow LEAPS (LEArning Practicum for Students) summer internship program was officially launched in 1984. Erica Mertz | Junior, University of Michigan

Eastern Region LEAPS interns participated in a Habitat for Humanity build to fulfill the community involvement portion of their curriculum.


Early Beginnings Barton Malow developed a program following the structure of Purdue University’s engineering program, but with a few differences. The goal was to have each student participate in the program for three summers of meaningful work experiences. The first summer would focus on field experience, working directly on a project site with the superintendent, project engineer and project manager. Year two would consist of experience in the main office, including estimating and accounting. Finally, third year students would have a choice to gain additional experience in the field or office with greater responsibilities. The realization came early on that the program was missing a component of the corporate environment – the “business” side of the industry, including profit & loss, human resources, overhead, marketing, etc. Barton Malow’s officers were encouraged to include their interns in various meetings to help them better understand the business as a whole, which proved to be an invaluable learning experience.

B uil d i n g I nn o v a t i v e S o luti o n s

“We want our interns to experience as much as they can and get involved in something that helps enhance their education and make it more meaningful and valuable.” Ryan Maibach • President • LEAPS Class of 1996

Continued Growth The lack of technology in the early days of the program made communication quite challenging, so group sessions, both educational and fun, were added. The interns began seeing that Barton Malow valued the personal development of the student as well as the professional. Homework also became a part the LEAPS program. Developed from university Capstone programs, students were given a problem or area of opportunity to study within Barton Malow or the construction industry in general. Their goal was to enlist experienced Barton Malow employees, as well as subcontractors, suppliers, design professionals, etc., to help develop a solution.

Further Expansion As Barton Malow expanded its network of offices, each location was encouraged to recruit from regional schools, developing a comparable program with the same principles and guidelines. Over time, all participating students were provided the opportunity to gain experience in geographic locales outside their hometown or university area. Since its inception in the summer of 1984, the LEAPS program has continued to provide unrivaled work experience for students developing their careers in the construction industry. Whether out on project sites or working in one of Barton Malow’s 13 regional office locations, LEAPS provides students an opportunity to develop their skills and guide them in becoming effective construction professionals. (continued on next page)

Andrew Vasquez | Senior, Purdue University




(continued from page 3)

A Place to Learn & Grow In a series of interviews conducted with LEAPS alumni, a few common trends existed when discussing the experience of working as a LEAPS intern. Despite being a very diverse group of individuals with very different roles in the company, it was clear that LEAPS has provided a strong foundation for building careers in the industry and preparing students to become part of a workforce focused on delivering successful projects to all Barton Malow clients. As a very structured program that strategically places its students on projects where they can develop and diversify their skill sets, the LEAPS program provides interns with exposure to a wide range of experiences and aspects of the organization during their 12-week stay. As Tara Jennings, 2009 LEAPS graduate and current Project Engineer at Aunt Martha’s Service Center in Chicago, says, “the LEAPs program wasn’t like other internships. It prepared me for the real world because it allowed me to do real work. Most owners and clients didn’t even realize I was an intern until I told them and that demonstrates the commitment Barton Malow has to developing capable employees. I think that commitment helps Barton Malow to maintain strong relationships with clients because it shows the pride and investment the company makes in its workforce. That makes the experience worthwhile for everyone involved.” As the timeline below shows, over 50 interns in the past 20 years have chosen to return for multiple summers and build their careers at Barton Malow. When asked about why that might be, President Ryan Maibach explained that “there aren’t many other companies out there that are as thoughtful in terms of how they structure an internship program as we are. We want our interns to experience as much as they can and get involved in something that helps enhance their education and make it more meaningful and valuable. It gives them a good opportunity to get exposure to the industry, and I think the interns value that.” The LEAPS internship program requires extreme focus, collaboration and creativity from all of its participants. In return, the program provides the best real-life construction experience the industry has to offer. Through intensive training, daily job functions, and corporate networking events, LEAPS participants are thoroughly prepared for entering the construction industry workforce upon completion of the program.

“A lot of emphasis is placed on the program because a great amount of consideration and attention is spent developing our future leaders from within. We truly value our interns and look to make their experience extremely beneficial and memorable.” Jeff Baxa • Vice President • LEAPS Class of 1993 ‘91







LEAPS ALUMNI NOW EMPLOYED AT BARTON MALOW Years shown reflect full-time hire dates






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ADVICE to LEAPS “Know what you don’t know. Take the time to become self-aware and take inventory of your capabilities and knowledge. Most of all don’t be afraid to ask questions! Approach the internship humbly and make it a priority to learn as much as you can!” Kasie Mathena • Project Manager LEAPS Class of 2003 “One of the biggest things that attracted me to the LEAPS program and to working for Barton Malow full-time was the people and the commitment they had to the core values of the company. Everyone embraced partnership, integrity and empowerment. I wasn’t just a number, and I felt that I was always given the opportunity to really make an impact on the company.” JD McNulty • Project Engineer LEAPS Class of 2011 “The best piece of advice I could give anyone that’s considering applying to the program is that you will get out of it what you put into it. Barton Malow invests a lot into the internship program, and if you are willing to take advantage of the opportunities presented, you can grow a lot in one summer.” Taylor Friebertshauser • Project Engineer LEAPS Class of 2011

In addition to their summer responsibilities, LEAPS interns regularly attend job site tours, participate in community and charitable events, and attend local sporting events.















LEArning Practicum for Students


The 2012 Barton Malow LEAPS interns had a jam-packed summer of work experience, community involvement, and learning opportunities. Interns participated on a wide variety of projects including the DTE Wind Farm in Bad Axe, Michigan, the University of North Carolina’s Spartan Village Residence Hall, and the VCU Emergency Room Renovation in Richmond, Virginia. While many of our interns were placed on project sites, some were assigned to work at Barton Malow Headquarters as well as regional offices with preconstruction, finance, and marketing teams. In addition to their daily tasks, the interns gained project insight through visits to jobsites including The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, the DTE Thumb Wind Parks, New Cabell Hall at the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Emergency Department Renovations, and Barton Malow’s Oak Park Operations where they learned about equipment installation, concrete, interiors and resteel fabrication procedures. “My favorite experience I’ve had this summer was the day that Casadei Steel began building the bridge connecting the addition to Crittenton Hospital’s current structure,” said LEAPS Engineer Erica Mertz. “Watching the huge steel trusses connect the two buildings was unlike any component of construction I had witnessed before because of the sheer magnitude of the job.” Aligned with Barton Malow’s community-focused spirit, interns in both Michigan and Virginia participated in Habitat for Humanity building events. Jenna Engle, second-year LEAPS intern and Virginia Tech Senior stated, “ I really enjoyed the Habitat for Humanity build because as a Marketing Intern I don’t get the chance to go onsite every day. The build was a great opportunity to work alongside my fellow LEAPS interns and give back to the community.” Just blocks away from Barton Malow’s headquarters, LEAPS interns along with some of Barton Malow’s concrete staff had a successful day pouring two concrete driveways and a back patio. In Virginia, the LEAPS interns endured a blistering 100+ degree-day hanging drywall in an energy efficient house that is part of a sustainable community in Richmond. The leadership team at Barton Malow continues to be impressed by the level of engagement and the amount of responsibility that each intern takes upon themselves. “Quite simply two things impress me most about our LEAPS class,” said Executive Vice President Doug Maibach. “First the talent they have brought to the organization is beyond their years and second the relationships they appear to be building with each other and their coworkers are a great foundation for a successful career.”



Michigan State University Construction Management Self Perform Interiors



University of Michigan Communications Central Region Marketing


Purdue University CEM Program St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital


Virginia Tech Marketing Central Region Marketing


Purdue University Civil Engineering Bloomfield Hills Schools




Michigan State University Finance Central Region Finance

Ferris State University Construction Management Michigan State University FRIB

Florida State University Civil Engineering Self Perform Interiors


Michigan State University Construction Management Van Dyke Public Schools


University of Central Florida Civil Engineering DTE Bad Axe Wind Farm


Penn State University Architectural Engineer DTE Bad Axe Wind Farm



Purdue University CEM Program Barton Malow Oak Park Office

University of Michigan Civil Engineering Crittenton Hospital Medical Center


Purdue University CEM Program Chrysler Trenton Engine Plant


Wentworth Institute of Technology Construction Management Penn State South Hall



Penn State University Architectural Engineering GM Toledo Transmission Plant


Penn State University Architectural Engineering Penn State South Hall

Ferris State University Construction Management Chrysler Dundee GEMA World Engine Plant


University of Michigan Civil Engineering Estimating


Michigan State University Civil Engineering Coppin State


Virginia Tech Building Construction Virginia Tech - Davidson Hall


Penn State University Architectural Engineering Virginia Commonwealth University Emergency Room


Purdue University CEM Program UVA New Cabell Hall


North Carolina A&T Construction Management UNC Spartan Village


Indiana University Marketing Eastern Region Marketing


Penn State University Architectural Engineering Emery University Cox Hall Kitchen Renovation


Purdue University Civil Engineering Charlottesville Estimating


Michigan State University Construction Management UNF Osprey Dining Hall




"Nick has been a great addition to our project team, carrying out project engineer duties with great attention to detail." Ryan Johnston, AC, LEED GA • Project Engineer

"Vince is very eager to learn and share his knowledge regarding safety practices and procedures. He regularly asks questions to ensure a safe site." Daniel Ortega • Site Safety Coordinator



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Second year LEAPs Interns, Nicholas Zitterbart (Penn State University) and Vincent Smith (University of Central Florida), are now learning what it takes to succeed in the field. Building on experiences they gained last summer, the two are taking on further responsibilities in Michigan’s Thumb region, assisting with the installation of 69 wind turbines for DTE Energy. Through this unique and complex project, Nick and Vince are learning how to support coordination efforts of this magnitude. With Nick focused on project engineer and quality control responsibilities, and Vince on project safety, the two are in constant communication, feeding off of each other’s daily experiences. Sharing knowledge of their individual roles, Nick and Vince feel they have gained broader exposure to the project and are learning twice as much. Together, the two participate in team “POD” (Plan of the Day) meetings, observe and work on the jobsites, share new experiences and log daily activities. Following a Path of Opportunity With both interns interested in gaining more practice in the field, this particular project was a perfect match for Nick and Vince as they continue to explore their career paths. The project (spread out over three different jobsites throughout the region) challenges professional skills and affords an exciting opportunity to learn about the set-up, assembly, and erection of wind developments – a growing market. “Knowing that this isn’t a typical construction project is exciting,” says Vince. Building Skills The project has also taught just how important daily “basic” skills can be. From the fundamentals of email communications to social interactions in team meetings, the two agree that this opportunity has educated and helped them improve their skill set. Responsibility, accountability, and teamwork have taken on a greater meaning. On a project of this magnitude, intense logistics and getting all of the components to the correct sites at the correct times requires a good deal of professional discipline and a realization that you are all working towards a common goal. And, as Nick said, “Nothing can match the experience you get in the field. Being in the field gives you an entirely different perspective.”




THREE WORDS TO BUILD ON by Jenna Engle | 2012 LEAPS Marketing Intern | Senior, Virginia Tech

Meet 2012 LEAPS Intern Sheila McLaughlin, a junior studying Civil Engineering at The Florida State University. She spent last summer estimating in Barton Malow’s Charlottesville, Virginia office and this summer has ventured north to Barton Malow’s Headquarters in Southfield, Michigan to work with Project Director Neal Morton on select interior construction projects. Sheila explains, “Working as an intern focused on interiors, my role this summer is similar to a project engineer during preconstruction.” In just three words, Sheila describes herself as a, “leader, humanitarian, and goal-oriented” individual. Leader. “I’ve always been told that the most successful leaders in life are those who know when to step back and be a follower.” Although Sheila holds important leadership positions at school in organizations such as Engineers without Borders and The Student Alumni Association, she is thankful to have this additional opportunity to observe and learn from experienced leaders within Barton Malow. Through her internships this summer and last, Sheila is absorbing as much information as possible to benefit her future leadership positions. Humanitarian. The summer before leaving for college at FSU, Sheila traveled on a mission trip to a small village in Costa Rica. The purpose of the trip was to build a home for a family who was residing in an animal pen. She described it as “the most rewarding experience I have ever had.” The trip also validated her career choice as she realized she could combine her talents and passions into one through the field of construction. Goal-oriented. Sheila excels in setting long-term goals. She reminds herself that focusing on the little things now will help her achieve her ultimate goal for the future – to see the industry gain more involvement in helping the homeless community. “I have learned so much in my short time interning with Barton Malow and hope to have the privilege to work for a company of such integrity in the future.”


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“Spending my summers at Barton Malow has given me the confidence to grow in the construction field.” Sheila McLaughlin





RYAN MAIBACH • President, Barton Malow As a construction engineering student at Purdue University, Ryan held an internship each summer. He gained a broad perspective by working for three different companies in four summers including his last internship at Barton Malow in the LEAPS program. On April 28, 2011, Ryan was appointed to President of Barton Malow Company. A fourth generation builder, he holds overall responsibility for corporate operations including regional offices. Prior to becoming President, Ryan was the operations lead for the LEAPS program for seven years. His passion for LEAPS stems from his own internship experiences and his work with the program has broadened its curriculum and the students’ overall experience, providing a realistic view of working within the construction industry. LISTEN TO RYAN’S ADVICE TO THE 2012 LEAPS CL ASS

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Barton Malow Marvels Newsletter 2012C  

Barton Malow's electronic newsletter. We are pleased to introduce Barton Malow’s July issue of Marvels. Peruse the interactive newsletter th...

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