image of Trevor RuddleCivil engineering student Trevor Ruddle (Virginia Tech, '19) is completing two terms as an Engineering Co-Op with Ulliman Schutte. Working in the field at the Rivanna Water & Treatment Authority plant upgrade project in Charlottesville, VA was a game-changer.

“I learned the ins-and-outs of construction, especially the communication styles needed to succeed on the job-site,” he said. "It definitely prepared me for what to expect in the workforce."

Having an opportunity to see how the design side interacted with the construction side gave Ruddle a sense for what engineering job he might want after graduation.  “In school, we learn the numbers; but out on the actual job site, we learn all aspects of these plants.” Whether he was detailing a pipe and ordering materials, renewing utility certificates, or interacting with foremen and superintendents, “I learned fast to make sure I was communicating the right information so I was producing quality work, “he said. “My supervisors at Ulliman Schutte spent a lot of time with me; this experience helped me figure out I want to be a project engineer or manager, just like them.”