Shawn LaPorte

IMSE Undergrad Class of 2017

Allan Myers

What does Allan Myers do?
• Allan Myers is the #1 Transportation Contractor in the Mid-Atlantic with over 20 material locations, and it holds an OSHA safety rating 4 times the industry average. Allan Myers provides construction and contracting services from earth moving, bridge construction, material movement, project management and estimating, to road construction of all shapes, sizes, and material. Allan Myers can be the one stop shop for all construction needs with its vast footprint along the Mid-Atlantic with its own fleet, personnel, and material quarries.

Current Role:
• Field Engineer/Fleet Operations Manager

How I got my current role:
• Allan Myers Field Engineer Intern May 2017 – August 2017
• Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal Industrial Engineering Intern May 2016 – August 2016
• Manhattan Construction Project Engineer Intern May 2015 – August 2015

Overall summary of a Field Engineer/Fleet Operations Manager for a construction company:
• For my position, I share a lot of responsibilities as a Field Engineer and a Fleet Operations Manager. What a Field Engineer is responsible for is managing the work and equipment out in the field as well as the office. They are primarily involved with overseeing projects, fixing equipment, developing test programs, and designing improvement procedures. Fleet Operations involves a range of functions from vehicle financing, equipment telematics, driver management, fuel management, as well as the health and safety aspect of equipment operation.

A day in the life as a Field Engineer/Fleet Operations Manager:
• 5:30AM I start my day around 5:30am (or at least try to). I have a lot of autonomy when I start work. When I start usually depends on what I need to do that day. On Mondays, for example, I am in the shop at 6:30am to assist in our weekly shop meeting. These outline the big repairs and jobs that need support for the week. This is also a time where any of the mechanics can bring up issues that are coming up in the field. Some days I travel to different business units which are 2+ hours away, so I get up earlier. Most days I am in the shop at 6:30/7.
• 6:30AM Once I am done with the Shop meeting, I immediately walk the yard to see what equipment is there currently. Since we run 24 hours a day 7 days a week, equipment is always moving. It is my job to make sure I know where all the equipment is at all times, as well as it being correctly charged to the correct person or job.
• During this time I receive a lot of phone calls from the field asking what equipment is available, where to send it, etc. Also, I am making sure time sheets are correct and submitting them as I catch up on my emails. I stay in close communication with our Delaware division because we act as one unit, whereas our other divisions in PA and VA act on their own.
• 9:30AM The people I work with in the office absolutely love Wawa, so around this time we usually run down the road to take a quick break to stock up on caffeine and Fritos.
• 9:45AM-12PM By this time everyone is rocking and rolling out in the field and it is [usually] quiet. If I am not tied down with logistics, phone calls, or emails, I use this rare time to advance the projects I am working on. Such as implementing 5S to clean up the shop, or more recently, communicate with our vendors on connection issues with our equipment. With such a vast fleet, this is a full-time job on its own, tracking down and coordinating non-reporting machinery and dispatching mechanics to solve the issue.
• 12PM-1PM This is the designated lunch time. Some days I’ll go out to lunch, eat at my desk, or just work through my lunch while eating at my desk if I am not in the field. It entirely depends on what I am doing that day. Some days I must remind myself it is lunch and to at least eat something. It does get that hectic some days.
• 1PM-2PM On a day like today, our other business unit contacted me for registrations on trucks in their area that are about to expire. I need to go down to MVA and obtain these registrations. If I know about this ahead of time, sometimes I do this on my lunch or earlier in the morning because when is the MVA ever a short trip? I am fortunate this is not a transfer of equipment from PA or VA, which we frequently do, which would cause me to travel 45 minutes south to go to the Glen Burnie MVA which sometimes takes up the entire afternoon.
• 2PM Since that was a quick trip and it is the start of the week, I assist the Equipment Manager on daily rate approvals for our equipment. This is essentially making sure that what the field says it ran matches what our tracking software states. If there is a discrepancy, we must figure it out. This is a major cost savings opportunity. If the field says it ran 32 hours but our tracking software says 40, that 8 hours of wear/tear, FOG, repairs, and maintenance cost adds up over time. It costs us more to run the machine than what we are charging it out for. Multiply that by x number of machines and it becomes a massive cost.
• 3PM This is where the night crew comes in. What they do is run maintenance calls, repairs, and fuel up the equipment at night so they are serviced, fueled, maintained and ready to go for the 1st shift crew during the day. This is what I did in my internship so I would understand firsthand how this is organized and how to implement improvements. How I assist now is I manage the services, talk to the Superintendents to see when I can take the equipment, service it, and return it if it needs to come to the shop.
• 5PM Around this time I try to wrap things up and head home to work out or do an activity in the city or just run to clear my head. This is necessary for your sanity. If you work all day and go home and sit, it can really drain you. Find something you enjoy and dedicate yourself to it. Whether it be boxing, biking, running, taking a class, learning a new skill, or exploring your area. Some guys bring Jon boats to work and fish in the creek and rivers nearby. Some bring bikes to bike the trails around work as well.
• Note This is just what happened on the day I decided to sit down and write about it. My days are extremely versatile and change within a moment’s notice. Sometimes I am asked to compile technical reports, analyze fuel consumption data, track machines, even perform field repair work. Just last week, I was unfamiliar with what exactly went into servicing an undercarriage on a D6 Dozer. Instead of reading about it in a book (which I feel anyone can do) I went out and helped the guys in the field. By helping, I mean actually turning your own wrench and not sitting off to the side watching. This develops respect from the guys in the field when you’re out in the trenches beside them doing the same work.

Why did I choose Allan Myers?
• Allan Myers is a huge company with over a billion dollars in backlog but still feels like a small family company, that is what I like the most. I have friends, family, and colleagues in other professions that have never met their bosses boss, or executive leadership. It might have to do with my position, but I have had the exceptional opportunity to work with the Executive Leadership Team as well as the Directors and Managers of the different business functions. My job directly affects all business units across the board from Payroll/Accounting, Safety, and Transportation. Additionally, I really enjoy that I have the ability to work in the office or the field, I feel that if I was tied down strictly to one or the other, days might get stale.

Suggestions to students who might be interested in a career like mine:
• Have thick skin and don’t take things personal. Construction is a rewarding, fun, and an accepting atmosphere, but you must work for it. Nothing will be handed to you.

What’s the end goal?
• I’d say my immediate goal is to continually learn how to manage a shop and grow my understanding of field operations. Currently I assist the operations in a minor way, but I know what all encompasses managing a shop is huge. I feel that if I continue to excel at my current role, I will learn new skills that can be transferred in any position or in my personal life.

Most surprising thing I didn’t expect coming out of college:
• How much and how little I use what I learned in college in the real world. I know that sounds the exact opposite of each other, but it is true. Now while I currently don’t use the convergence, p test, or double integrations in my daily activities, I do use my ability to find the answer as I found those answers in college. In the real world, you are expected to find the answer, no excuses. What engineering teaches you, I believe, is to not only find the answer but to create it. In the real world, there is no one “set answer.” If you use the logic, processes, and steps you learned in college to obtain an answer, you will obtain a “feasible” solution. What I have learned is there is never an “optimal” solution. The best answer is obtained using the information you have present at that moment and moving on. There will always be hindsight 20/20.

Least favorite thing about Allan Myers:
• There is a steep learning curve within the construction industry, and no one spoon feeds information. You must seek out everything. If you don’t have the drive, work ethic, or desire to excel and improve every day, you will most likely be left behind. I feel that is the same with most if not all industries, it is just very apparent in the construction industry. Although it is my least favorite, it is also one the thing I like most, because in a company like Allan Myers you are where you are because you have proven to have the skills, aptitude, and intelligence to get the job done.

My 2 cents:
• I go off a quote from Albert Einstein that Dr. Byrd presented in IE 472, “To do something that is great and wonderful, I must do the little things as they are great and wonderful.” This is exceptionally true. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Also, when you start out, no one expects you to know everything. That is why there is a transition stage. If you continually strive to learn something new every day and take a step forward rather than a step back, you will be fine and people will help you. The problems you encounter in your job will be nothing like what you have learned in college, but if you take the skills you learned in school and apply them correctly you will succeed.
• I remember when I was starting in college and I saw all the seniors graduate with a bunch of internships and job offers. I also saw all these professionals with loads of experience and I asked myself, “How is that possible? What is the first step?” The answer is to simply take the first step. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your career won’t be much different. Great careers take time, so take the first step.

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