September 11, 2020

Internships offer great opportunities for businesses and students. Alberici, a diversified, global construction company, has a long history of tapping into new talent and sharing real-world expertise with interns. In past years, the group of interns met at the company’s headquarters in St. Louis, but COVID-19 restrictions made that impossible.

The company came up with a plan for an Intern Hackathon to enable interns to innovate together on an actual problem—construction practices in the world of COVID-19. Intern Adnan Malkoc, Alberici Global Automotive Constructors President Jose Garcia-Aranda and Flintco project manager Dan O’Hara spoke about the experience.

“We had several goals for the hackathon,” Garcia-Aranda said. “We wanted to promote innovation within teams, leverage the interns’ talent and expertise and solve a real problem in the industry.”

Eight teams competed to deliver a practical and innovative way to “hack the new norm.” O’Hara and Garcia-Aranda were both inspired and in awe of all the great ideas. They and other executives and industry leaders judged the presentations.

Malkoc’s team was the winner with the TRACE contact tracking idea to monitor employee activity accurately.

“We wanted to come up with the idea that hit all points. We came up with the TRACE solution; it works with a phone app and an embedded chip sticker for hard hats,” Malkoc said. “It tracks the daily activity of workers and other data.”

How much is something like this needed on a construction site?

“We’ve had a few employees contract COVID. Attempting to trace that person’s interactions was impossible. The TRACE system immediately tells you this. It saves time in notifying others. It’s a useful idea that can make an immediate impact,” O’Hara said.

Its impact was so great that a customer serving as a judge requested it be implemented at their largest construction site.

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