The Value of Field Training: Perspective from Precision Project Engineer Libby Banse-Fay

The Value of Field Training: Perspective from Precision Project Engineer Libby Banse-Fay

Precision Construction Services Project Engineer Libby Banse-Fay recently completed a field training opportunity at our jobsite, The South Lot Comfort Station at Yosemite National Park. Libby was able to gain real-world experience that she is bringing back to the office — and our clients — that helps her see her projects from a new perspective.

“Being out in the field is crucial, especially for those (like me) who are just entering the world of construction,” Libby said. “In school, most of my learning happened in the classroom by designing and creating drawings, rather than going out into the field and seeing a project constructed first-hand. It’s an important skill to be able to see what’s happening on-site and recognizing it on the plans, or vice versa.”

Libby also learned to navigate professional relationships among all parties on a project, an essential interaction that ensures the job runs smoothly. “Being able to see things from the perspective of those working on-site — and those off-site — helps add to the project’s success,” she said. “For example, I saw first-hand how labor-intensive it is to pour concrete, and now I have a better appreciation for the hard work of the crew — as well as a better idea of how many workers should be scheduled for the task and the amount of time that might be dedicated to it.”

Observing, asking questions, and participating in the jobs were the central tasks Libby participated in. She learned how to drive a skid steer to help move dirt and transport concrete, installed a ground electrical box, and performed additional installation tasks in restrooms and on the HVAC systems.

Overall, Libby’s experience gave her the opportunity to visualize the project, the jobsite, and next steps to better understand the plans. Ultimately, Libby’s new knowledge will help her with uploading direct costs weekly, by making sure that the work performed and cost codes provided make sense with the schedule. The visit allowed Libby to improve her input for this month’s invoice, since she knows what percent complete certain tasks are and projecting the percent completed out to the end of the month.

Libby was mentored by Precision’s Senior Superintendent Jerry Troyna and Precision’s Director of Field Personnel Gary Linowski, who explained the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind certain aspects of the project. She also had the opportunity to observe the dozen skilled Precision tradesmen that worked on the project.  “I learned so much during my field training. Gary taught me a lot of miscellaneous facts about various elements of the work being performed, and the means and methods of the work, like which size hose is needed and why smooth dowels are used for concrete mixing,” Libby said. “I now understand the intricacies of concrete mixing, like the fact that they add more air on-site in higher elevations because of the temperature changes, but too much air will decrease the strength of the concrete. These types of observations are some that can only be understood when you’re in the moment on a jobsite.”