Co-Op from Clemson Finishes Fourth Rotation at Davis & Floyd
Davis & Floyd’s (D|F’s) Co-Op and Internship Program gives students the chance to get hands-on industry experience. One of these students is Michael Edwards, a rising senior majoring in civil engineering at Clemson University who just completed his fourth and final co-op rotation at the company.
The program was created by Greg McElhannon, associate/senior project manager at D|F. “The program was designed to help develop our next generation of engineers,” says Casey Tompkins, PHR, SHRM-CP, D|F’s talent resource manager. “As integral parts our of design team, students use what they learn in the classroom and apply it to real projects; therefore, jumpstarting their engineering careers.”
Michael found the co-op program through an email that listed internships opportunities. “Doing a co-op sounded better than the standard internship. Rotations allow more opportunities to fit into the company. I also wanted something long term to get my foot in the door.”
Before listing D|F as his top choice to interview, he explored the website, immediately noticing the unique company culture. “D|F seemed more personal,” says Michael. “You can see the people, projects, and case studies from over the years. Their work showed a place that has a good foothold in the industry and is a well-respected firm in South Carolina. Casey sold me on D|F in the interview.”
Hired as a new co-op, Michael was immediately put on the Pepper Hall project. It quickly became his favorite as it grew along with him. “I’d come back a few months later for my next rotation and the project would be in a different stage,” he comments. “It’s cool to see the full lifespan of projects because it’s a realistic perspective that things take more than a few months to complete.”
During the rotations, he was humbled by the reality of the workforce, learning a lesson applicable to all interns. “Save the time, save the money, and ask the question. Everyone knows you’re coming with student knowledge and that you’re here to learn—so ask questions. And when you do, get an explanation. Ask ‘why’ so you understand for next time.”
But he also learned the job is more complex than just solving problems. “Being an engineer is a separate entity of itself,” shares Michael. “When on the clock, you’re working for the client. You have to make sure anyone on the project can understand the design and what you’re trying to do. As an engineer, you have to think beyond yourself because there’s more going on than your role—step back and look at the big picture.”
Michael will graduate spring 2024 semester and will continue to pursue work in the civil site sector.