Michael J. Bilitz – 2020 Steel Intern Scholar
To say that this summer’s internship with Charter Steel was a little bit different is an understatement. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the internship got off to a slow start. Just a week before my scheduled start date, Charter made the decision to move as many employees to working remotely as possible and this included me. Although my supervisor and the rest of the melting division employees were not ready for this, they made quick work getting me the equipment I needed to work from home.
Although my start date was delayed and everything was a bit crazy trying to adapt to the situation, no time was wasted, and I was immediately given relevant projects. A large portion of my work involved smaller design projects using computer aided design (CAD) such as SolidWorks and occasionally AutoCad. Being comfortable with these programs is a requirement to being successful in the engineering field, so getting hours of practice was a great takeaway from my internship.
In addition to the engineers and operators, I was able to work with our maintenance department closely as well. Since the maintenance department handles a lot of our fabrication and installation, I was able to watch and learn how they worked. Using these observations, I was able to design in a way that made their job easier.
Most of the remaining portion of my projects dealt with project management. This gave me practice scheduling and organizing contractors as well as being able to work my way through the challenges and issues that may arise during a project.
Another great experience I was able to have was the installation of a new furnace as well as a scrap preheat conveyer system. It was incredible to be able to witness a project of such scale. There were many different contractors as well as Charter Steel employees themselves. Being able to see everything torn apart and then being put together allowed me to understand the steel making process much more in depth.
Despite being mostly online, it was still an extremely rewarding internship. I was still able to work on relevant projects that improved the steel making process as well as being able to work with many different talented people.