Nick Poland shares his story of becoming a leader at Ouellet Construction.
It is all too common for those interested in joining the construction field to be unsure about their next professional steps. That used to be Nick Poland, who is now one of our Project Superintendents.
What many don’t know about Nick’s journey at Ouellet Construction is that he didn’t have any construction experience when he started.
Before taking classes at The University of Maine, Nick became an intern at Ouellet. He quickly learned the highly detail-oriented nature of the company culture and received mentorship and financial support for his student loans. In 2020 he graduated with a degree in construction engineering and joined Ouellet Construction full-time. He is currently leading our projects in the field as a first-time Project Superintendent on a large project.
Here is his story!
“We were a great match from the beginning.
A family member told me about the Ouellet family business, and he spoke highly of their work at the old Brunswick Air Station. I appreciated learning from someone with experience or jumping in headfirst, so I decided to give the internship a shot!
I started as an intern with Ouellet when I was 18 years old. I split my time between being out in the field, working hands-on, and in the office. I was always encouraged to push myself outside of my comfort zone and try different things. So, I ended up doing a Habitat for Humanity project while in college. Because of my experience as an intern at Ouellet, I contributed a lot to the project’s construction.
I worked very closely with Luke Ouellet (Project Manager) and Mike Ouellet (President). They both made it clear that it was okay to say that I didn’t know the answer to everything. So, I got used to being questioned about projects or how things get done. Then, through repetition of tasks such as making phone calls to people (who, at the time, I was very intimidated by), I started to “get it.” With almost no experience, I gained a lot of confidence by putting myself out there.
Before working at Ouellet, I couldn’t determine the correct measurements on the fly. Now, it’s not a problem.
Knowing what I’m talking about and starting to work on-site gave me quite a bit of confidence. Mike Ouellet was very good at teaching me to visualize how something is built. Mike can take a set of plans and build them out in his head. For instance, a two-by-four is three and a half inches, and you have two layers of half-inch drywall on either side of that three and a half-inch two-by-four. So, if you’re building a door frame around those pieces, in my head, I could come up with dimensions that a door frame would need to be.
I’m the kind of person who likes to see what I do translate into something real – something tangible.
And, I’m proud to say that I’ve helped with the execution of a project or that I’ve been able to clarify specific details for a subcontractor’s questions. It feels rewarding to say these things with confidence.
A finished product done perfectly takes a lot of devotion and care – more time and energy than most people know.
Many construction companies are near-sighted and oversimplify how much goes into a project. Not at Ouellet, where I’ve learned to apply greater attention to detail in the office and the field than I ever could have imagined.
Ouellet has helped me grow into my construction career in countless ways.
The Ouellet team is very generous and friendly; if I have a question for them, they’ll answer it. They always make time for me. I wasn’t familiar with the financial aid system for my schooling, so the leadership team helped me navigate decisions that would be the most advantageous.
On top of that, they contributed to my student loan payments each month! They did this because they trusted me and knew that I’d put my best foot forward once I became a full-time employee.
I came into the company with zero experience, and Ouellet mentored me into the responsibility of my current Project Superintendent role.
To say the least, starting my career at Ouellet as an intern was a worthwhile experience. And because of the mentorship I received, I can now ask pointed questions so that I can get the answers I need. I’ve also learned a lot of project management and on-site skills, like keeping a job as clean and organized as possible and ensuring the crew has tasks for the day.
In less than four years at Ouellet Construction, I’ve grown from a student with no professional experience to a full-time employee and first-time Project Superintendent.
So, speaking from my own experience and my current role as Project Superintendent, if an Ouellet Construction career or internship is something you’re considering, know this:
As an Ouellet Construction team member, you will gain invaluable industry experience – the kind of experience that’ll grant you the confidence and skills to qualify you for leadership positions.”
– Nick Poland
Are you interested in working for a small and approachable construction company where there are attainable opportunities for growth?
Let us know!