Riley Long holds a football in a field while looking away from the camera

NFL teams have been known to change hometowns. The Raiders more so than others. The team’s fourth move has them making the jump from Oakland to Las Vegas for the upcoming 2020 season; and a new team needs a new stadium. 

As a project engineer intern for PCI Construction, Riley Long got an up-close view of the Raiders’ new home turf, Allegiant Stadium, as it speeds to expected completion later this year. Construction broke ground in 2017 on the 1.75 million-square-foot stadium that is projected to house up to 72,000 seats.

During the summer of 2019, Long, a construction engineering management major at Oregon State University, assisted with the framing, drywall, and acoustical ceiling phase of construction. 

“Being on a construction job site allows you to go out and see the project and witness everything changing on a day to day basis,” he said. “That's one of the things I like about construction—no two days are the same.”

PCI’s internship program shepherds interns through multiple departments over their ten-week assignments. Interns are able to see how a branch operates from the administrative side in addition to spending time with estimators and construction managers. 

Sometimes Long would find himself writing change orders detailing updated cost estimates for additional drywall or overtime hours. Other times he’d be working with the foreman in the field to determine the specific framing needs for each floor, down to the screw count.

For the football enthusiast, it was a dream experience. Long grew up playing football, in addition to basketball and baseball. In his free time, he enjoys keeping up with the NFL and manages a fantasy football team. He’s found teamwork to be vital both in sports and on the construction site. 

“It definitely felt like a family down in Las Vegas,” he said. “Everyone knew everyone’s name. PCI had an open-door policy where you can ask questions and get help if you’re stuck or don’t understand something. At the end of the day it’s a lot of small teams working for a big team to get one thing done.”

Originally, Long figured he would pursue general contractor work, but his experience with PCI convinced him specialty contracting is more his speed. He likes to be involved with the day to day work of the construction site and engage hands on. 

The student chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America has connected Long to multiple internship opportunities within the industry. In addition to opportunities to tour local construction sites and access to scholarships, the chapter also hosts regular Speaker Nights with industry representatives and potential employers. Long discovered his first internship there, moving to Reno during the summer of 2016 to intern with Q&D Construction. 

“It was a steep learning curve,” Long said. “I didn’t know what a lot of the programs were, what a change order or a request for information (RFI) was or what they were for. I was basically learning a new career.” 

Long’s time with Q&D gave him the chance to learn industry jargon on the job and establish connections. While he was ready to get back to Corvallis, he also found himself excited to apply what he’d learned to future job sites. 

In the summers of 2017 and 2018, Long interned with Andersen Construction in Corvallis, another company he discovered through the AGC’s Speaker Nights. He had the opportunity to peek in on multiple sites and improve his understanding of the construction process from the ground up. Long also worked for Andersen part time through the school year as he provided assistance to local projects.

In a few months, Long will be back with PCI, this time as an intern out of their Portland branch. He’s looking forward to being back with the company but knows that topping the work he did on the new Raiders stadium will be hard. 

“I'm very lucky that at 25 I've already worked on a professional stadium,” Long said. “Not many people get to say they've worked on their dream project.” 

 

by Meriden Vitale

Photo by Johanna Carson

Published Date: 

Thursday, April 6, 2020