Lorenzo Harper Onsite at his Summer Internship on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. August 2017.
At a very young age, Lorenzo Harper '18 loved to build things with his own hands. On the island of St. Kitts, where he grew up, he raised animals and would construct small sheds to house them. “I’ve always wanted to be the person that people could turn to when they needed some type of renovation or remodel,” he explains.
This summer, while on an internship at the Rose Kennedy Greenway, he and the maintenance team completely took apart The Ring Water Fountain in the park and put the granite stones back together like a big puzzle. The fountain had been leaking from underneath and Lorenzo had to use the knowledge from his Construction Management courses at BFIT to repair and reconstruct the fountain according to the engineering plan.
Before attending college, Lorenzo knew he wanted practical work experience in the field of construction. He wanted to network with others in the field. He also wanted to learn about building materials so he worked at several home improvement stores and took side jobs where he installed floors and carpeting, did wall framing, and plumbing.
Once Lorenzo enrolled at BFIT in 2016, he had the opportunity to further explore his interest in construction and to develop his professional skills in the field. As part of the Construction Mentor Program (CMP) - he shadowed the Walsh Brothers construction management company as they broke ground on Klarman Hall at Harvard Business School. CMP is part of The Compliance Mentor Group (TCMG), a firm that helps to improve the number of city residents, minorities, and female workforce compliance efforts and goals on construction project sites. Every Friday, he would visit the Klarman construction site. Lorenzo says, “I have never been exposed to such a large scale construction project. I was able to get on the inside of the fence. I got to speak to everyone involved in the project from the superintendent to the designer to the person pouring the concrete. Each professional gave me more insight into what they do day by day. It showed me exactly who was responsible for what on a construction project and how the team works together.”
Nicole Richer, Founder of TCMG notes, “Lorenzo caught the attention of mentors and program administrators when he did CMP. Everyone was impressed. We noticed his confidence. He was always asking questions. He was always the first student onsite. He had good workforce readiness skills and we could see that the Greenway would give him a better understanding of where he wanted to go in the field of construction.”
Because of the ongoing hands on experience in the field of construction, Lorenzo is more engaged in his classes and has a better understanding of the subject matter. He says that the work that he does in the field connects directly to what he is learning in class.
When Lorenzo graduates next year, he’ll be looking at assistant superintendent positions. Although he admits his transition from St. Kitts to the U.S. was hectic and there were times when he felt limited, his advice to others is, “if you know what you want and you are determined, there can be nothing that can stop you. Surround yourself with good people. Let people know your intentions. And never give up.”