Meet BAFF Professional Internship Program alumnus Linas Medelis, who recently returned from his internship at a construction company SKANSKA as a VDC engineer and innovation specialist.
Linas is sharing his thoughts and memories from the year spent in the U.S.:
“I got off the plane at Boston Logan International late September evening of 2019. Interestingly enough, I didn’t feel out of place. It didn’t feel that I am about to get a culture shock. After all, it was just another western city. I remembered some friends talking that Boston is a very European city (probably because of all the universities in the area). Later, of course, I found that there are a lot of differences between Lithuania and the U.S., but nothing that was hard to handle: people were more politically divisive, but they seemed friendlier and easier to talk to, they also showed more appreciation for the food and many tiny things more!
After living in a hostel for five nights, I managed to find a permanent place with three other American housemates. It was an old house in a quiet neighbourhood with a lot of animals outside: squirrels, bunnies, wild turkeys… – I loved it!
Having found a place to live in, I was ready to get to work. It turned out that my flat-mate was working at the same building as me, only in a different company. My office was in a recently built part of the city, near the city center. The company I was about to work in, was called Skanska.
Skanska is a huge multinational company. It originated in Sweden, but now its biggest market is in the US. In fact, the building that me and my housemate were working in, was built by Skanska.
I immediately noticed how qualified my team members were. All of them had great management skills and were eager to help me out with everything I needed. I worked with the innovation team, which was part of the virtual design and construction (VDC) department. We basically were searching for new ways to help our preconstruction and VDC engineers with BIM related issues. We looked at tools like AI, AR, VR, different reality capture technologies. Our team provided services like laser scanning or enhanced turnover – this was something that we did for the project owners. Essentially it meant that we systematized some of the aspects of the finished building so they can be easily found by the owner in a BIM environment.
Being part of Skanska provided me with opportunities to participate in some amazing conferences like Autodesk University (AU). Thousands of people came to Las Vegas to see incredible presentations about the future of the industry and to share their know-how. I also got a chance to see how it feels talking to people, when I have a Skanska badge pinned on me – people were much more eager to get my attention. Being a part of a big and influential company definitely comes with its perks!
And then, around March 2020, the Covid crisis hit.
Skanska is known to take the safety of its employees seriously – so everybody was sent home before it was required officially. Working from home in the U.S. had its demands – just like everywhere else. But the amazing part was to see my team take on the challenges and the opportunities of the crisis. One of the things I got to work with, was to create a model of the airflow, produced by a sick person in a hospital bed. It was a little internal science project, to check how the ventilation systems in buildings could spread the virus.
All in all, my year in the U.S,. was a remarkable experience. I got to witness some extraordinary leadership, met some incredible people, and saw breath-taking landscapes that I have never seen before in my life. Grand Canyon is truly grand!