Internship leads to career at Bechtel for EMS, liberal arts alumnus

Jesse M. Westbrook
October 15, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — After completing a summer internship following his junior year, a student from Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and the College of the Liberal Arts received a full-time job offer that has since translated into a career at Bechtel. Bechtel is an engineering, construction and project management company that operates all over the world, managing the installation of large-scale projects such as solar sites and airports.

Albert Emhof, who received bachelor’s degrees in energy business and finance and economics in May 2015, has been working as a project controls engineer at Bechtel’s offices in Columbia, Maryland.

A successful internship

During his summer internship at Bechtel in King of Prussia, he managed budgets and expenses with large-scale construction projects.

At the internship’s conclusion, Emhof received a phone call from Bechtel offering him a full-time job following graduation from Penn State.

Emhof’s decision to accept the offer was not difficult.

“I liked the people I was working with, and I liked the positive spirit of the company," he said. "I was hoping they had enjoyed my time working with them and would follow up with a job offer, and I was excited when they contacted me before I even had to apply.”

Now working full time as a project controls engineer, Emhof focuses on the financial and planning aspects of large-scale construction projects. Right now, Emhof is working with AT&T to construct cell towers in markets across the country, including Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

“The interesting part about the job is that the activities change every single day, whether I’m analyzing files and information from our clients, working on invoices and cash flows, or providing support for clients,” he said.

Generally, Emhof said, project controls engineers are active in the field to oversee a large range of activities and ensure things are proceeding as expected. In his current project with AT&T, he isn’t always able to do that because of the sheer number of sites; however, he hopes to do so in the future.

“I enjoy my position right now, but I am looking forward to being on what we call a ‘fenced in’ project where I can oversee construction from start to finish in the future,” said Emhof.

Emhof said there is always more to companies than people can see from the outside.

“Bechtel has such a large range of opportunities," he said. "From Australia, to the United Kingdom, to the United States, to all across the world, there’s enough for anyone to make the most out of their experience."

Penn State provided a foundation

Emhof first became interested in the economics of a company like Bechtel after taking an energy business and finance course, EBF 301: Global Finance for the Earth, Energy and Materials Industries.

“In the class, we did the same types of activities I do in my job now. We chose sites and equipment and took a look at the economic side of the construction, which sparked an interest in me,” he said.

But the foundation wasn’t just built in the classroom. Emhof also appreciates the professional preparation the University provided.

“From THON, to working with professors, to working as a teaching assistant, I learned how to communicate and work in a professional atmosphere," said Emhof. "I was prepared for my internship and job because of what I did during my time at Penn State.”

  • Albert Emhof

    Albert Emhof graduated with degrees in energy business and finance and economics and is now working as a project controls engineer for Bechtel.

    IMAGE: Albert Emhof

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Last Updated October 16, 2015