Hear from our Kitchell interns on National Intern Day

What’s a Kitchell internship like?


For most students, it begins in the summer with an on-campus immersion at either our Phoenix or Sacramento offices. There, the students hear from our Kitchell employee-owners from a wide range of areas and learn about the many facets of our work, including project estimating, virtual design/construction, project management, engineering studies, facilities conditions assessments and close-out processes. Our interns are then assigned to project teams, jobsites and offices where they apply their educational experience in a practical, real-world environment.

And the unprecedented heat in our Arizona, California and Texas markets hasn’t deterred them.

“The single most important thing I’ve learned since I’ve been with Kitchell is to be proactive and not reactive. Make sure you are looking ahead at the next sequence of construction or task and be planning how to get to that next activity successfully!” – Audey Yarbrough, Northern Arizona University

“It’s nice to find certain spots that are now unrecognizable because of how they’ve developed since I’ve gotten here. I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how involved the process to building parts of a project are and how amazing it is when everything connects, even if it’s just for a few walls or columns.” – Ronaldo Mendoza, UC Davis

“I am extremely blessed to be part this team. With the million questions I’ve had they are always more than happy to help me with anything. I have been able to witness what true teamwork is. Here I have learned how important it is to be honest, communicate and how to take responsibility. Before this I questioned if I were truly able to be in this business and now my confidence has boosted to a whole different level, and I give all the credit to this Austin Kitchell Team. They are super helpful and knowledgeable.” – Antonio Ponce, Texas State University

“Highlights throughout my internship would have to be watching the first/last structural beam placed on my project, seeing the pour of a concrete slab and conducting a tour for my fellow interns. Although it was just a simple tour, I surprised myself with the amount of knowledge I learned throughout the summer, and it gave me more confidence and reassurance that I will do great in this field even though I didn’t grow up in construction.” – Jessica Roth, Northern Arizona University

“I have learned so much about the nuances of construction that I could never have received in school. Construction is an interdisciplinary field – a project can only be completed through all its internal roles functioning as a composite unit.” – Jacob Risko, University of Arizona

“The highlight has been working on-site and seeing pre-development sites I’ve been working on. I’ve learned how in-depth and coordinated facilities conditions assessments are and how a project schedule is laid out.” – Jack Evans, Cal Poly SLO

“I’ve enjoyed being able to work on various jobsites and earning about the process and discussions that happen at the various stages of construction.” – Kyle Lee,  CSU Sacramento

“One of the biggest highlights of my internship is the trust I have received from my team, building my confidence and specifically how to professionally interact with client and trade partners in the field and office” – Morgan Donnelly, Northern Arizona University

The highlight that stands out the most for me is testing the controlled burn features at the Hayward Fire Training Center. Purposely setting things on fire – in a safe way – is always a blast. I’ve also learned that this is about managing people as well.” – Daniel Cervantes, San Jose State University

These are just a few of the 40 interns spending time at Kitchell jobsites and offices this summer. Some of our students are with us year-round, but the majority soak up as much as they can during their two- to three-month assignment. We are fortunate to have several former Kitchell interns among our corps of employee-owners today, including many in leadership roles!

Careers in Construction Month: Rob Previte preferred construction to carats, but his wife may have disagreed

When KCI Project Manager II Rob Previte attended ASU, he changed majors a few times and settled on housing & urban development, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in 2008. Like many who come out of college (especially during a recession), Rob wasn’t exactly sure where his degree would take him. He had worked in retail through college and continued down this road, first at Skechers, then at Kenneth Cole and finally at Capri Jewelers in Chandler Mall, where he was store manager for about four years.

“The transition from jewelry to construction was definitely harder for my wife, Emma, than for me,” he said.

Rob learned about a Kitchell project engineer position from longtime friends Mike Hancock and Aron Kirch (whose wife had gone to school with Emma). He figured he had the capabilities – organization, assisting with project schedule, document controls, meeting coordination – not to mention the people skills to convey nicely into a construction career. He interviewed with Scott Root, Brent Moszeter and others, and was offered a PE role in 2015.

His first project was the Banner Healthcare Corporate Office. From there he went to healthcare projects – a medical office building adjacent to the Banner University Medical Campus, then to multiple projects over the course of four years on the SJHMC campus, including the Barrow Neurological Institute Medical Office Building, and now he’s at the Valleywise Healthcare Medical Center.

“If you asked me when I was working on it, I would have said I hated it, but in retrospect, the Barrow project is probably the one I’m most proud of,” he said. “The functionality, what Barrow does for people with so many coming from out of state and out of the country to be treated – it was a complicated project, but very satisfying.”

In school, Rob was exposed to some aspects of construction when he was bouncing around between majors. But he feels his background in retail was most applicable to what he does today.

“There are a lot of abilities that transition nicely – people skills, communications skills and dealing with people with varying backgrounds – it’s all helped with what I do today. The ability to communicate effectively between design teams, owner’s reps and trade partners is extremely important. These skills translate from many different backgrounds, there is no reason to think you won’t be successful without a construction background.”

Rob Previte is a natural at the job. Who do you know who would be a good fit at Kitchell?