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Preparing the Engineers of the Future

Two women wearing protective equipment in a store room
Seattle Interns Shaelyn Chen (left) and Ifrah Khalif (right) gear up in their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for a tour of the Seattle marine yard. Photo credit: Melanie Erdman—Northwest Office Manager

Seizing the opportunity to mold the next generation of engineers, Manson’s College Internship Program offers students the chance to learn from experts and work in several unique service areas, including marine construction, dredging, and offshore energy.

The program pairs students with some of Manson’s most skilled and talented engineers, exposing students to hands-on learning opportunities in dynamic work environments across the U.S. The internship program has produced an impressive roster of engineers, with some taking the helm to guide and share wisdom with Manson’s seasonal interns.

“Interns have a great opportunity to work with seasoned engineers and those in the early stages of their career,” says Dredge Engineering Manager Kyle Dickens, who leads the Gulf and East Coast Dredging recruiting efforts. “They learn from people who are receptive to new voices and hold true to Manson’s core value of taking care of people.”

Manson Equipment Engineer Ross Dombrowski—who interned with Manson for two years—attributes the company’s values and work culture to why he decided to join Manson after graduation. “My journey at Manson began with a nine-month internship in 2020, where I was tasked with helping the Seattle Operations team on small works support,” Ross explains. “My internship was unique because I could assist with managing projects, purchasing materials, and even helped find the most affordable materials for Manson’s Mukilteo Ferry Terminal project.”

The Internship Program gives Manson the unique opportunity to introduce students to the niche marine construction and dredging industry, according to Melanie Erdman, Manson’s Northwest Operations Office Manager. “Whether it is building a bridge or ferry terminal, students get to observe first-hand the ingenuity, empowerment of safety, and cultivation of relationships it takes to build infrastructure and dredge national waterways,” Melanie says.

One of the Internship Program’s most rewarding takeaways is learning about Manson’s work, according to Seattle Intern Ifrah Khalif, a senior studying Civil Engineering at Seattle University “I worked with Estimator Matt Morford to learn about estimating, including familiarizing myself with upcoming projects and the terms and meanings used in marine construction,” Ifrah explains. “My internship with Manson taught me that a textbook can’t because I experienced real-time situations that engineers encounter.”

Shaelyn Chen, a graduate student studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington, joined the Seattle office to work with Project Engineer Brett Diener on the emerging offshore wind market. “I worked with Brett and Manson’s Team Wind to help conduct research and understand renewable energy,” Shaelyn says. “One of the rewarding things about my internship was the flexibility to work on my research and learning from Brett and people like Senior Vice President and Chief Engineer Jeff Arviso about the ‘Big Picture’ of Offshore Wind, which is a major difference between learning about offshore wind in school and in real-time.”

The knowledge, professionalism, skill, and integrity of Manson’s engineering workforce starts with its leadership and trickles down to the bright-eyed college students participating in the Internship Program. “Manson is on the ‘ground floor’ with students who could turn out to be fantastic engineers,” Melanie says. “We get to teach them about the organization’s legacy and core values, core services, and how Manson supports its engineers with various programs.”

A man standing behind a table with 3D printed derrick barges sitting on top of a map.
Jacksonville Intern Greg Howard stands with 3D models of various pieces of Manson equipment that he created as a tangible, cost-effective way for engineers to plan a job. Photo credit: Production Engineering Team, Jacksonville Office

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