Birch bark texture.

Ahtna Kanas Fall 2018

Intern Gains Hands On Heavy Civil Construction Documentation Experience

My name is Rodney Lengele and I’m currently interning with Ahtna Engineering Services (AES) and Ahtna, Inc.’s Corporate Communications department. I was given the opportunity to help document Ahtna Construction and Primary Products’ (AC&PPC) Delta -Clearwater remediation project. Because of environmental concerns and the potential risk for sediment to reach the Delta-Clearwater River and Clearwater Bog during high levels of flowing water; AC&PPC along with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are restoring the existing project site to original conditions.

Rodney working in the field

What were your duties?

My main responsibility was to document any change in conditions and photograph the daily operations of the construction project. My day consisted mainly of writing detailed daily reports and photographing the heavy equipment operations. I also assisted with various tasks such as gathering daily measurements of the remediation area and building station markers.

What did you learn?
I learned a basic knowledge of how a heavy civil construction operation is conducted and the terminology needed to write a detailed description for the photo logs. Documenting a construction project was a different kind of photography than I’m used to. I had to keep in mind that these were not artistic photos and composition/rules of thirds was not so important. I also had the opportunity to shadow soil scientists that were tasked with collecting soil samples. It was interesting to have firsthand experience of what soil scientists do in the field when collecting samples.

What did you enjoy?
I enjoyed getting the opportunity to learn about all the different jobs and duties involved in a heavy civil construction project. It was exciting to learn how to read plans and specifications. I enjoyed taking photos and videos for documentation purposes. I believe that’s an important skill to have, especially since I want to produce and film a documentary someday.

What was challenging?
Not having an extensive background in construction or a similar field made my first week challenging, but I was able to adapt quickly. Learning to write a detailed report was another challenge, given the fact I had little experience. However, I was surprised how detailed and professional my reports were after my first couple of days. This wasn’t my first time in Delta Junction, but it was challenging being so far from home and working long hours. It can get overwhelming with few days off, but I was able to stay grounded and still have the energy to explore Interior Alaska and take photos.