image of Trevor RuddleCivil Engineer Trevor Ruddle (Virginia Tech, '19) completed four 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 and at the PRS CMAR project in Virginia Beach, VA, was a game-changer, and gave him a significant head start when he started as a full-time Project Engineer with US after graduation.

“I learned the ins-and-outs of construction, especially the communication styles needed to succeed on the jobsite,” 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.”

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