#019 – Blessings of Overtime


Sunday, 17 June 2007, 7:53pm


This week has been amazing.  I worked about 80 hours this week and should be well compensated for the hours that I put in.  On top of working a ton of hours I was given the opportunity to work with many engineers and just expand my knowledge on countless engineering principles.


Starting Wednesday morning at 4 am when I arrived at work, I was assigned to work with Berkel and Company to monitor and observe what is called a load test.  We are testing the foundation of this massive complex that is being built.  We installed what are know as Auger Cast Piles which are 24” inches in diameter and go about 85’ feet into the ground.  What we want to know is if the piles can support the load that will be placed on it.


To perform the test we will load the pile and monitor how it responds.  We tested it with many different loads.  We started with no load and went all the way up to 1200 Tons, 2400 Kips or 2.4 million pounds.  It might not sound that impressive, but we broke a record.  We held 2400 Kips for over 12 hours.  I was there for each (or every) minute of that record.  I actually worked 37 hours that day. (or two days)


On top of breaking this record, the Regional Manager for the testing company came to the project and monitored the test.  After getting to know each other, he told me that he wanted me to work for him and his company.   He offered me a job working in San Francisco and making much more than I am making now.  Since I am currently working for PSI, I told him that I would give him a call for next summer.  On top of offering me job, they wrote me a check for a few hundred dollars thanking me for the help that I provided.


Aside from working countless hours I have managed to fill my few minutes of free time with healthy and productive activities.  I got a Gold’s Gym membership and have started to get super  buff and you can’t get buff without eating healthy.  My weekend has been filled with working out and eating some great food like marinated chicken grilled on a barbeque and homemade salads with vegetables right out of the garden.


Here are some new pictures:


Cubes – These are my babies.  Whenever there is concrete or grout used, I have to take a sample.  I have these molds that I use to make these perfect cubes.  These cubes are taken to our lab where we get to smash them with cool machines to make sure the concrete is strong.  These are designed to support over 4000 psi.




Garden – This is the garden where all my healthy food is grown.  There are tomatoes, lettuce, onions, peppers, spices, beans and anything else you could imagine.  Cooking is so much more enjoyable when you know your ingredients come right out of your garden. 



Load Test – I should have stood in the picture, but the bottom of the beam is about 6 feet above the ground.  The big machine at the bottom is a hydraulic pump that was designed for a nuclear power plant.  Above the hydraulic pump you can see a smaller cylinder with a wire coming out of it.  This is the load cell.  It weighs about 350 pounds and can measure a load up to 3 million pounds or 3000 Kips.  So if any of you need to check your weight, this might do the job… Unfortunately it only measures to the nearest kip which is a 1000 pounds.  I could spend hours telling you about all the physics and engineering that are going on in this picture, but I will have to save that for another time.  Yeah… (I want to say more… But you probably wouldn’t understand me very well.)


Load Test


Work – This is probably one of the BEST pictures I have ever taken.  And I didn’t even take it… The concrete wall took it for me, lol.  This is my ATV or a Yamaha Rhino.  In the picture I was using a 10 foot trailer to move some things.  This is me with my fancy greenish yellow vest and hardhat.  I have also resumed growing my beard.  I spend all day in the sun and have a fantastic “farmers” tan.




So that is a brief update on what is going on.  I am very excited to be an engineer and work on projects like this all over the world.  The people and companies that I am meeting are definitely going places that I would like to go.


Have a fantastic week and hopefully we will be able to talk soon.



#018 – City Creek Center


Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 10:47 pm


I just wanted to send a quick email with some more pictures of what I am doing in Salt Lake.  I found a way nice condo and moved in some time last week and managed to find some cheap furniture on Craig’s List.  I have been working like crazy and learning everything I can about engineering, construction and inspection.


The pictures and their descriptions: 


Chris – Chris and I have been friends since we were way young, like in kindergarten and did scouting together and everything.  We last saw each other after high school graduation four years ago.  He went to the Air Force Academy and just graduated.  He stopped in Provo on his way home to California.




Condo – This is my bedroom.  The big dresser is hidden in the closet and that is my room.  I was going to send pictures of the rest of the place but will have to do that another time.  We have marble counter tops and all new appliances.  My roommate is from Washington DC and is doing his medical residency here in Utah.  The condo is only two years old and my roommate owns it.  I also have my own private bathroom!  I have NEVER had my own private bathroom.  Since Richard and I are never home, the place stays ridiculously clean.



Demolition – This is a picture taken from the 18th floor of the Key Bank Tower looking down at the south side of Block 76 and the demolition of what was know as the Crossroads Mall.  The two buildings in the upper left corner will NOT be demolished.




Desk – My company just bought an brand new office and laboratory a block away from the construction site.  The desk to the left is mine.  This is before we moved all our things into the office but it very nice.  We also have another table (not shown) that we keep all our blueprints on.



Key Bank Tower – This is the Key Bank Tower and I took many pictures from the 18th floor where I have been doing some work.  This building will be imploded on August 18th.  Rooms at the Marriott Hotel next door are going fast!  It should be spectacular to watch this building come down.


Key Bank Tower 

Plan – In our office on the 8th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, we have a huge model of the future City Creek Center.  To the left you can see the existing temple square.  The tall tower to the right will be 32 stories tall and you can’t really see the majority of what is going to be built, and because this model is not yet complete.



Raining – Today it was raining really hard in Salt Lake and I had to be in the rain for four hours observing and inspecting the installation of some micro-piles.  A little before noon we finished and I made my way back to our Regent Street Office. You can see my nice and new ATV with my yellow rain suit.  It snowed in the mountains today… It was cold.  I was wearing two shirts, two coats, my yellow rain suit and then my safety vest.



Temple – This is a view looking north at Temple Square.  Down below is the first wall I got to observe and watch be installed.  You cannot really tell, but that is a 16 foot drop down to the current level.  We still have to go down about another 60 feet.




Tunnel – Did I tell you we were also building an underground tunnel?  This is connecting the Church’s underground parking system to the ZCMI underground parking.  Once again, you would never know that we were building this huge tunnel under temple square right underneath South Temple and Main Street, but we are!  I have to observe the reinforcement and also test to make sure the concrete used in the tunnel is to the specifications on the plans.




Construction – This was taken today.  You can see that they are getting ready to build a diaphragm wall.  I would love to explain how we are going to make that wall.  Off to the left they are using some really cool saws to cut away at part of the foundation of that building.




I am really sorry about this long email.  If you made it this far, and are still interested, I have hundreds of pictures and have been learning a ton about all the different things that are going on in this project.  This internship is amazing.  I am really liking engineering and cannot wait until I get my degree.  


I better be getting to bed, but have a great night and hopefully I will get to talk to you guys some time soon.