Most internships just last a summer.
But good internships leave a lasting impression.
When we scout colleges and trade schools for interns, we’re offering real-life, hands-on professional experience. It’s about more than data entry and paper pushing and all the grunt work no one really likes. It’s about nurturing future talent. And with any luck, our investment in the next generation makes us better both within and beyond The Korte Company.
This year’s group of interns included specializations in project management, safety, design and more.
We even had our first marketing intern: John Bartee, a business administration student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He grew up knowing the Korte name and held it in high esteem. His older brother raced stock cars at the Tri-City Speedway, where Randy Korte often raced. The SIUE soccer stadium is named after Ralph. And when he saw one of our internships pop up, he didn’t mind that it was marketing, which he didn’t know much about. He was just ready to learn.
And that’s what we like seeing in young people.
“When I first came into this internship, I didn’t really know what a real marketing job entailed. Honestly, you could have taken me out back and had me digging ditches and told me it was marketing.”
We had bigger plans for him than pushing dirt. John got exposure to corporate marketing, learning to balance brand voice, tone and messaging. He even got his boots muddy on job sites, where we sent him to take photos and speak to crews.
It was a busy summer.
These days, he’s compiling the lessons he learned from key mentors, colleagues and projects into a LinkedIn series called, “What I learned over the summer with The Korte Company.”
But he’s not the only Korte intern with lessons to impart. That’s why in his parting assignment for us, he interviewed and penned the following profiles about each intern in the Korte class of 2023.
Take it away, John. And great work.
How Sam Niemeyer reeled in a full-time position
Sam Niemeyer, a student in occupational safety and health at Murray State University, joined The Korte Company as a safety intern in June 2023. This internship marked the final step of his program. Upon completion, he earned his degree.
He also earned a full-time job in safety at The Korte Company.
But safety wasn’t Sam’s first love. It was fishing.
“I went to Murray State almost strictly to fish competitively there. When I went for summer orientation, the advisor was one of the heads of the safety program, and he asked me if I had thought about choosing safety as my major. As a freshman who had no clue what I wanted to do, I said ‘Yeah, I’ll try it’. Ever since, I’ve come to enjoy it a lot.”
As an avid fisherman, it’s no surprise that Sam wants to be outside and moving around. That’s exactly why he likes his role as safety intern. He didn’t enjoy prior internships that involved a lot of paperwork and data entry.
Sam grew up in Aviston, Illinois, a small town near our Highland office. He had known about The Korte Company growing up and was impressed by their reputation and projects. In March he met some of the Korte representatives at a career fair at Murray State, applied for an internship and was hired.
Growing up in Aviston, Illinois, a town near our Highland office, Sam had long known about our reputation and projects. That’s why our booth was his top pick at Murray State’s career fair.
“I wanted to stay local for this internship. And I’ve learned more here than I did in four years of schooling.”
Working in the field has taught Sam a lot. Just knowing the safety rules and regulations isn’t enough. You also have to understand their application in different situations on the job and communicate well with the workers and contractors on site.
“None of the safety classes I took in college could have prepared me to tell some guy up in a scissor lift, ‘Hey, you need fall protection on.’ No class is going to teach you how to have that kind of approach.”
But our supportive culture and atmosphere make skilling up easy. During his tenure, Sam wholeheartedly dedicated himself to enhancing safety protocols at two prominent locations: Scott Air Force Base and the Lidl Distribution Center in Covington, Georgia.
And he knocked it out the park — securing a full-time position with us as a Site Safety and Health Officer at the Lidl Distribution Center in Covington, Georgia.
Macy Morley mastered Design-Build through project management
Macy Morley worked as a project management intern while pursuing dual master’s degrees in architecture and construction management from Washington University in St. Louis.
It all started with an interest in architecture at the University of Missouri, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in architectural studies. But she wanted to learn more about the practical aspects of building design and construction. That’s why she decided to study both architecture and construction management in graduate school.
“Wash U makes it pretty easy to do a joint or a dual degree, so my construction management degree ended up fitting in nicely with my architecture degree.”
Macy was recommended for the internship by her construction management advisor, who put her in touch with Alex Ayres, the hiring manager for our project management interns. A week later, she got the job.
One of the things that Macy enjoyed most about working for The Korte Company is how our collaborative culture encourages learning and growth. She has benefited from the guidance and feedback provided by the design team, who often invited her to join meetings and taught her how to use software like Revit and Enscape.
“In other roles I was in, you were this specific intern. You never really did anything outside of the scope of your title, but here, everyone is willing to help and teach you new things. It’s very productive and supportive.”
At The Korte Company, Macy has had the opportunity to work on many different projects — and she enjoyed the diversity of the work and the challenge of adapting to different situations and clients.
“One of the projects that I found interesting was the Hurricane Sally rebuilding projects in Pensacola, Florida. You don’t think about disasters as being an opportunity, but they are. They allow you to create something new and better for the community.”
Macy also discovered some of the advantages of working in Design-Build, where architects and project managers collaborate on project details.
“In school, they always talk about how the joint degree will be so helpful because there are two different languages that architects and project managers speak. They’ve always talked about how that causes a huge communication gap, and that the reason that Design-Build firms are becoming more popular is because they try to bridge that gap.”
She learned how to ask questions whenever she felt unsure about something or needed something clarified.
“There’s never a dumb question when it comes to making sure you’re doing something right. Utilizing the internship role to its fullest potential is being comfortable asking any and all questions.”
She also admired the company’s work-life balance.
“Korte allows its employees to prioritize their personal life and their families. It is inspiring to see a larger corporate company that pushes a healthy work-life balance.”
Macy hopes to continue working in Design-Build after graduation and find a role where she can use both her architecture and construction management skills.
James Hoefer learned how to design his future
James Hoefer is an architectural engineering major who loves to create remarkable and cost-effective buildings. He joined Korte Company’s St. Louis office with only one semester left before receiving his bachelor’s degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology.
James initially felt undecided about his major after graduating high school, but a summer trip to Chicago with his family before starting college sparked his interest in design.
“We took this architecture boat tour through the Chicago River. They talked about the buildings, their history and also their engineering. I thought it was really cool how people were able to design buildings the way that they do.”
James got the job after a standard application process. He submitted his resume, passed the phone interview, performed well in the final interview and was offered the job. In his first week with us, he was impressed by how friendly and cooperative everyone was, and how much he could learn from them.
“It’s nice to be able to go next door if I need help with something and collaborate on projects.”
His work at The Korte Company went hand in hand with what he learned at Missouri S&T, where he is pursuing a major in architectural engineering. Here, he deepened his understanding of the construction process and different aspects of design.
“What I was taught in class appears to be a pretty watered-down version of what it’s actually supposed to be. In my schoolwork, we never went into much detail with Revit or construction drawings. Even with finishes and materials, we didn’t apply much of that to Revit either, so it’s great to be able to learn those skills here on the job.”
James worked on one major project during his internship: a warehouse for one of the most recognizable companies on earth.
“The Amazon WKY3-2 is an Amazon warehouse in Kentucky. I started on that about two weeks after I started and we’re just now finishing it up. I’ve gotten to see a lot of progress in that project throughout my summer here.”
He valued the work ethic and the team spirit of The Korte Company, where he felt challenged and supported.
“What I really like about it is that it’s very work oriented. Our focus is to get the work done, but we’ll delegate it and help each other out depending on what needs to be done or who can do what. For example, because the Amazon project is slower, I’ve been working on creating details that we can use for other projects.”
James also had some advice for future interns at The Korte Company:
“I’d say, stay interested. You need to ask a lot of questions because you need to understand how the company works, what our standards are and what we do for certain projects. You have to try to understand the way Korte does things and be able to implement them. I would always carry a notebook around as well because you’ll be given a lot of information and you won’t remember it all just by listening to it. Taking notes is a must.”
Working at The Korte Company was a great experience for James, and he gained a lot of valuable knowledge from our team. He’s also hopeful about what the future holds after earning his degree in the fall.
“If Korte were open to it, I would be open to working here a bit longer. It’s been a great learning experience for me, and I feel like I could learn a lot more from working here.”
Anthony Finley found purpose in project management
Anthony Finley always loved the idea of running his own business and initially wanted to pursue a business degree. But he ultimately changed course on the advice of a professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
“Growing up I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. My family since before I was born, they’ve owned businesses. During COVID, one of my professors that used to be an engineer said ‘Give engineering a try. If you don’t like it, then you can always go back to business.’”
After a quick detour in electrical engineering, Anthony finally landed on mechanical engineering.
“Ever since then, I’ve enjoyed every second of it.”
He gained valuable experience as a project management intern with The Korte Company. Anthony landed the job after hearing about it from his father’s friend, was impressed by the company’s culture and values, and decided to give it a shot.
“He mentioned to me an internship opportunity for construction. I told him I was a mechanical engineer, and he said that it really doesn’t matter as long as you have an interest in going into construction eventually. He ended up submitting my resume and then I got a call from them, interviewed and then took the offer. I’ve enjoyed every second. I don’t see it as going to work — I call it going to work at Korte.”
Anthony likes to exercise and sees a link between his hobby and his career in project management. He said that both activities need proper technique, guidance and feedback. He also thought that exercise has taught him the mental focus that he uses for work.
“Just like when I played football for 13 years of my life, I’d have that mental focus to be able to do the work and discipline to keep myself doing it.”
One of his favorite projects from the summer was for Knapheide , and he learned a lot from his mentors in the process.
“They were fun and intriguing. I think that’s a part of success: having fun but also learning.”
Anthony also has learned a lot from watching his mentors solve problems and collaborate with other departments on these projects.
“The fact that I have to show up on time just like I have to do for class and not being afraid to stay for a little longer if I have something that needs done — it’s just like when you have a big project due in school, but now you’re in the real world and people’s lives and money matter.”
Anthony loved doing meaningful work with The Korte Company and has big dreams for after he graduates.
“Doing this internship before I got my degree showed me what I could do once I got it. So now, I’m more motivated to get back to school, graduate and hopefully get back here and start a career.”