GUEST BLOG: Constructive Lessons

In my mid-30s married with two children; I am not a typical college student. I’m studying communications and marketing and have a summer internship with my hometown construction management firm. CMSWillowbrook is teaching me so much about marketing and construction management. There are more similarities than you might think.

The company hosts several trainings for interns. Recently Sam Johnson, Chief Estimator for CMSWillowbrook, demonstrated how to become an effective estimator, communicator and team player. Even though some of the engineering and estimating parts went over my head, it opened my eyes to see and appreciate this whole other world of construction.


Even as a communication major, there were several things I learned through this presentation about basic communication I hadn’t thought of before. Some of the topics Sam touched on were:


“You need to be well rounded,” Johnson said. He stated you have to communicate quickly with team members as well as clients to facilitate the most effective solutions. Communicate with empathy and authority, building those relationships.

Interactive Teamwork

One of the major things Sam stressed was to be a team player. Everyone must put in hard work and have integrity, respect and trust for a team to succeed. Attend and be active in everything you do.

Hard Work

“It’s all about getting your boots dirty,” Johnson said. He made it clear it doesn’t matter what you have learned in school, it’s about what you put into the job. Along with this, my dad has always told me to always put 110% effort into everything I do. I apply this philosophy to everything in life. You must work hard and put in the effort and go after your dreams. “Work smart, work hard” said Johnson.

Integrity, Respect and Trust

Do what is right and the rest comes easy. Johnson said reflecting integrity, respect and trust basically means, “Treat others how you want to be treated.” This is a must for building relationships with clients and team members.


In this discussion, Sam spoke about the basics of estimating. He briefed the class on the estimating software, understanding the construction management process, making a hard bid and business development. I realized I need to take this knowledge and apply to what I will be doing. Even in estimating, it’s important to have good communication skills and good relationships with others. Especially in business development, creating strategies, staying on your toes and getting things done quickly and effectively makes all the difference.

At the end of the class, we played Jeopardy! to test our general construction knowledge. I participated and even got one right on a wild guess. I surprised myself that is for sure!


I’ve been so impressed with CMSWillowbrook and everyone’s professionalism, I may not want to leave. I don’t know if I’ll ever work in construction again, but the lessons I learned at CMSWillowbrook will apply wherever I go.


Jessica Williams, marketing intern at CMSWillowbrook

Larisha Hunter