York College Mechanical Engineering major lands co-op at Ravens’ training facility
It’s not every day you pass a famous football player in the hallway at work.
Well, OK, if you’re Jonathan Marin it is.
The York College of Pennsylvania junior’s co-op with Whiting-Turner Contracting Company last summer landed him in Owings Mills, Maryland, where the company was renovating the Baltimore Ravens’ training facility.
More than a few of Jonathan’s friends were jealous of his proximity to the NFL superstars. And although he didn’t talk to them, he’d see them in the halls or the training room — these absolutely massive guys at the peak of their careers.
The irony, and what probably irked his friends the most, is that Jonathan doesn’t follow football. He knew those massive guys were popular, but he couldn’t name a single one of them.
Still, he says, it was a great experience.
A huge project
Students in York College’s Mechanical Engineering program complete three co-ops as part of their curriculum. This was Jonathan’s first, and he started big.
The facility had two or three football fields outside, another turf field in a dome, classrooms, a kitchen, hot tubs, and training rooms. The best example he can give for the scope of the project was the day they brought in a small crane just to build an even bigger crane.
“They made it seem like no big deal,” he says, but I was like, ‘This is crazy. This is a huge project.’”
He spent his days supervising, meeting with foremen from subcontracting companies, working around the Ravens’ schedule, and managing everything to make sure everyone was happy and stayed on schedule.
It didn’t always work that way.
“I learned a lot,” he says. “One of the biggest things — what you plan out on paper definitely does not go over so easy in the actual world.”
Little hiccups in the schedule could have a domino effect delaying everything after it. So, he learned to pitch in, solve problems, and keep the ball rolling.
“It doesn’t matter who messed up or why they messed up,” he says, “but how can we fix it.”
Communication is key
Jonathan’s experience on the job site was not what he expected. He was used to school where he did hand calculations, designs, and worked with modeling software. This internship was none of that. But, he learned a lot about what working in the real world looks like.
“I learned a lot of life skills,” he says. “How to talk to people, how to manage people, how to respect people.”
Often, issues on the site were just a result of miscommunication. So, he learned to react calmly when there were bumps in the road, find the problem, and create a solution.
At school, he could work in his own bubble, off on his own doing calculations. But he’s realized that doesn’t fly in the real world.
“It doesn’t really matter what job you get, you’re going to have to talk to people,” he says.
Jonathan is doing his second co-op now, working at Graham Packaging. It’s a totally different experience than he had with Whiting-Turner, and that’s the point.
“This is the perfect time to figure out what you want to do when you graduate,” he says.
He really enjoyed working with Whiting-Turner, and he forged friendships and connections in his time there. But he’s making the most of his three co-ops, trying out different companies and different jobs.
“We have basically a year of working with potentially three different companies before we graduate,” he says. “I think that’s pretty valuable.”