Author Archives: jknight93

About jknight93

I attend the best school in the world!

Freshman Growth

As I recount many of my previous blogs, I realized that I used to think I knew everything I freshman-year-logoneeded to know.  Looking back I now realize that I probably knew closer to knowing nothing than I did to knowing everything.  For example I used to think that habits were something that I could easily switch on and off.  This may be true to something like eating habits when I ran out of Ramen Noodles and then I had to start eating the disgusting oatmeal my mom sent for snacks, which turned out to be pretty good so I kept eating them.  Being forced to do something is one way to start developing good habits, but its not the best way.  Habits are made from making myself do things over and over again until they don’t suck too much and I can do it without thinking too hard.  Take studying for example.  I used to try to study the material for a test the night before and do just fine.  When I tried to do the same thing here in college, it didn’t work out from all of the other things getting thrown at me at once.  Now, once I know I’m going to be tested soon, I try to learn the material as I go along instead of waiting until the exam.  Although, old habits are still tough to break.

Earlier I talked about how my passion for travel has inspired me to consider civil construction, how cross timber method could maybe one day improve the civil sector and how some construction companies have made the effort to preserve historical structures while rebuilding it to keep it useful.  Many civil construction projects allow us to travel which is one of my passions and reasons why I want to do civil.  However, I am not sure if my goal of sustaining energy through green buildings and structures can be achieved as much as if I decide to enter the commercial or residential sector.  Therefore, I’m not entirely sure if that’s what I’d like to do.  I think that the connection that surprised me the most is the one about travel and civil sector.  I described how travel can become a problem if the actual traveling aspect becomes a problem and that’s why I would like to make a difference in the civil sector.

Like I said earlier in the blog, I used to think that I knew everything, including how to be successful in college.  My approach to learning at Virginia Tech was a lot like my approach in high school; learn it when I had to.  Now I know that I must learn the material as I go along in order to be successful.

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Leadership

To me, leadership is getting a team of people to accomplish a common goal or task.
When I enter my field of choice i would like to be a trustworthy leader.  I would like to be the kind of leader that people can count on and are willing to work because they trust me.  I will do my best to give my workers the most honest answers to their questions and make safety a number one priority.  That way they can trust me with their lives as well as how to be as productive as possible.

A successful leader in the civil sector has to possess trustworthiness as well as being able to pay close attention to detail.  Civil construction projects include building bridges and dams, which can involve various hazards if things are not dealt with properly.  In Florman’s book, he explains that in many 3rd world countries that use faulty design and construction, buildings have been known to collapse because of ignorance and carelessness.  It’s the ignorance and carelessness that can get workers to loose trust in their leader, and are two qualities I hope to never possess.

New Wood Construction Innovation

     As the construction industry continues to change as the demand for more energy efficient materials and methods grows, a new method of innovation which began in Europe, is now spreading through North America.  Innovation is any original idea or system that meets new needs or requirements.  The new Cross – Laminated Timber (CLT) system is a method of construction that meets the needs of the changing construction industry. Building large structures out of wood was considered impossible because of the weakness of conventional wood construction methods, until now.  The CLT system uses solid wood that has much less glue in them as opposed to plywood.  The new method involves laying the timber boards perpendicular to one another for for maximum strength and is used for walls and floors.  

     Because CLT is used for mid – riseImage construction as well as other building projects, the method could be used for some civil projects such as airports, train stations, etc.  It could also be used to build dams and framework for some bridges.  The lighter material will help make finishing projects less expensive and faster to complete because lighter equipment is required to lift the material.  Also, a smaller crew is required in this method, which also makes it less expensive and quicker to build. The wood panels are prefabricated which makes for a more plumb and rigid finished project.  The wood panels have longer life spans than metal or concrete because it sequesters carbon and won’t erode as fast.  

     I think that the Cross-Laminated Timber system will greatly benefit the civil and many other construction industries in the future.  The methods of building will help finish projects faster less costly and more energy efficient. 

Milton – Madison Bridge

A new bridge project, the Milton – Madison Bridge project will connect the two towns of Milton, Ky.,  and Madison, Ind. over the Ohio river, replacing the old toll bridge that used to connect the two towns.  Walsh Construction Company is teaming up with design firms, Burgess & Niple Engineers to build the new bridge.

I chose the article about the bridge because I wanted to learn about the process of how bridges are  constructed.  I have a passion for travel and this was a cool project to read about because it involved strengthening materials from an old bridge and putting in place on the new one.  I think this article portrays the construction in a positive way because it shows that some companies are willing to preserve pieces of history, while building something new and better for people to use.

The artcile: http://www.miltonmadisonbridge.com/construction/construction-update/

Summer Goals

Over the summer, some of my biggest plans include, going on a SCUBA diving trip with my dad, take summer courses at a nearby college, and last but not least, find either an internship or get a part time job near home.  I have planned to contact Buckner Companies about an internship in Graham, NC, about 45 minutes from where I live, because I am not sure that I want to be in the construction business.  I think that being around the industry in an internship for a company that erects steel and precast is a good place to find out.  From now until the beginning of summer I will sign up for summer classes, continue to talk to my dad about our summer vacation, and contact Buckner Companies about an internship.

Samuel Florman, much like myself, also had to figure out his own passion as a youngster, as described in Chapter 2 of his book, “Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings”.  When he first went to college, he was not sure what exactly engineering entailed as he entered Dartmouth other than; “science and math with a paycheck”.  Likewise, I would like to figure what exactly the Construction Industry is all about other than, hard hats, lifting up large heavy materials and putting them somewhere.

Passion for Travel

I have always had a passion for traveling.  I’m not sure if it is the excitement of arriving to a destination or the thrill of knowing you are travelling 500 mph 30,000 feet in the air getting a glimpse of life in other parts of the world.  I love flying and the same goes for sailing and riding in a car.  The first memory I have of seeing the massive buildings in New York City was in a cab looking through a sunroof.  With that being said, traveling can be a hassle if it doesn’t run smoothly.  This is why the Civil industry is important.  The Civil industry builds new roads, metros, railways, tunnels, and repairs the old.  In Florman’s book, he tells about a project in which he had to bid for the repairing of wooden fenders on the Cross Bay Parkway Viaduct in Queens.  To me this is one of the  more challenging projects that he had to face in his story.