An early foot in the door |

An early foot in the door

Sara Thompson

Sara Thompson / Tahoe Daily TribuneTyler Harris, Josh Merkow, Tim Denney and Mikey Suglian take a quick construction break at the South Tahoe High School site. Harris, Denney and Suglian are interns with SMC Contracting.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – Among the bustling construction area at South Tahoe High School, passers by might recognize a few students on the job site.

Three STHS students are working through an internship program on the Career Technical Education building and the portable replacement building – the first construction projects from the $64.5 million school bond approved by voters in November.

Josh Merkow of SMC Contracting said six students applied, and the company had only planned to accept two. But three candidates stood out so much, they decided to add another intern position, he added.

STHS seniors Tyler Harris and TIm Denney, along with STHS junior Mikey Suglian, have been spending their summer absorbing trade knowledge through their internships.

Merkow graduated with a degree in architecture from University of Colorado in Boulder, and said construction is a hard industry to break into. Now these interns have a leg up on their competition because of this experience.

Suglian applied for the internship because he said it sounded interesting, and wanted to explore the field before going to college. He also needed a summer job, he added.

Recommended Stories For You

The interns work from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and they get paid $12.

Instead of performing the typical filing and coffee fetching duties, Merkow said he’s making sure the students take away skills they can use later on.

One of the skills Suglian’s picked up is using Microsoft Excel proficiently. Whatever profession he decides to pursue, he can use that software to organize data.

Another important tool is applying what is originally anticipated from the architectural drawings to what actually happens on the job site. For example, Merkow told the interns to check out how much concrete was estimated to be poured at the site, then measure what really was poured.

Since SMC is a general contractor, the interns are learning about many different trades. So far Harris said they’ve put caps on rebar, shoveled and drawn up plans for the next phases of construction.

Suglian said he would rather work in areas that doesn’t require manual labor. Harris enjoys the architectural drawings and Denney said he’s looking into the professions where he can make the most money.

All the students agreed that they’ve enjoyed the experience and that it will help them pursue their professions.