(Aug. 4) Giving back to Skyline


Through an internship with Hansel Phelps, former Skyline student Mike Trim has been helping with the building projects ()

While most students at Skyline College are busy building their educations, former Skyline student Mike Trim is actually helping to build the school.

The 22-year-old Chico State construction management major has been aiding campus construction projects at Skyline by interning and assisting an office engineer for Hensel Phelps, the company building Skyline’s new student union building and science annex.

Chico State’s large construction program attracts a lot of recruiters, and Trim landed his internship through an interview with Hensel Phelps. The specific job site, however, hadn’t been set yet.

“I didn’t even know they were doing this job,” Trim said in regard to the ongoing construction at Skyline. “When they found out that I went to school here and I live down the hill, they just sent me over.”

Trim, who has been working at Skyline for just over a month, says that before coming back to Skyline to take on the internship, he expected to be working outside with the physical component of the construction. Instead, he has been doing more desk work–dealing with planning and legal issues as well as reviewing a lot of submittals from subcontractors. He doesn’t mind though, as it is such an important part of the construction process.

“It’s good to learn this side of it too, because a lot of construction is paperwork,” Trim said. “I mean, a lot of it’s paperwork.”

Trim, whose father also works in construction, has been interested in building things since his childhood, making things like go-carts. When asked about what it is about construction that he enjoys so much he replied, “I think it’s the uniqueness.”

“When you start a new project, it’s always different from anything you’ve ever done before. I mean, there are a lot of similarities, but it’s a different location, hopefully. It’s a different style and you get to complete a project. You see the whole life of it, you complete it, and then you move on to a different one. I just like that there’s not a lot of repetition.”

Within his work at Skyline too, there are different jobs for him to do. Recently, he has been doing more field work, such as layout, as opposed to paperwork, and for Trim this is a nice change of pace.

In general though, he says construction can have its downfalls.

“You can’t build something, you know, check it once and build it like you used to be able to. Due to all the legalities, politics and paperwork, a lot of stuff has to be regulated.”

According to Trim, there can be a lot of “middlemen” involved in a project, and, in part, that is why construction managers even have a job in the first place.

“We’re trying to step in there and have a more broad understanding and make it more efficient,” Trim said ” Inefficiency and redundant paperwork aren’t good.”

At Chico, Trim is taking various classes in construction and business. He enjoys being there, and he has his own ideas about the buildings on campus.

“They’re structurally sound, but they’re pretty ugly,” he said. “There are a lot of older ones that need some renovations. But I like it; it gives it a little bit of flavor.

Trim is also enjoying his internship at Skyline. While he definitely plans to stay with construction, he’s not sure if he would like to work with a company such as Hensel Phelps or go off and start his own business somewhere in the Bay Area.

“I’m just happy for the opportunity,” Trim said in regard to his internship. ” Skyline was a good place to go to school for a little while, but I’m glad I’m moving on as well.”