The typical internship involves a lot of busy work of filing paper, making copies, running errands, and essentially taking on mindless tasks. Flyhouse has never subscribed to the typical model of anything and internships are no different. Katherine came to us from the University at Buffalo on the recommendation of one of our Associate Trainers and from day one she became a member of Flyhouse by being thrown into challenging projects right away. Before she left, we had her answer a few questions about her experience.
What peaked your interest in taking an internship with Flyhouse?
The videos that Flyhouse put out peaked my interest primarily. The initial recommendation came from a teacher who also works with the company, but I was really sold that this would be a good place to spend the summer because of the educational videos that help to make the knowledge on how to rig safely more widely known. They showed me that the company has a real interest in improving the field overall.
Do you remember the first item you were tasked with doing?
The first thing I can remember doing was going out to the Shirley Ryan Abilitylab to help provide support on an issue that had come up with the controller to their system.
"The culture at Chicago Flyhouse was great. As it was described to me by my teacher - 'Nobody there thinks they're too good to unload a truck.'"
What types of things did you get to do while at Flyhouse?
I got to work on a lot of different projects; even over the short time that I was there. I helped Project Managers in researching hardware, putting together drafting packets, and issuing purchase orders, to name a few. I worked in the Electric Shop helping to wire motor control boxes and then also working on a solo project to help with quality control for a new product. I also got to go out in the field to help with inspections, repairs, and new projects.
There was a lot of traveling involved in different project sites – is there any experience that stands out? Any good story come from it?
I did go out to a lot of project sites, and they all had really unique challenges (which is one of my favorite parts of working in this field.) One site that I was on the longest was the Fertitta Center in Houston, Texas where we were installing acoustic baffling which was a totally new experience for me. The one that will really stick with me is the fact that even though space may be air-conditioned if you are working in a 125' boom lift well above all the HVAC vents, the heat rises quickly to the top of those arenas.
[Katherine hard at work in the shop]
Talk about your favorite project with Flyhouse.
My favorite project with Flyhouse was getting to work with David (Project Manager) on the fire curtain for Highland Park High School. I learned so many things both about how this job works and about fire curtains themselves. It was a really cool project that took things that I knew how to do from my college experience and pushed them one step further to ensure that we were satisfying the theater consultants' plans as well as fire code.
What were some of the new things you learned you didn’t know before the internship?
I learned so many things over the summer! I got to use a ton of new tools and software. I got to see how many different people might approach similar jobs. I even learned how many spaces, like museums, arenas, and physical therapy labs, which aren't theaters, still utilize this same skill set, for very different results.
Was the culture of Flyhouse what you expected?
The culture at Chicago Flyhouse was great, as it was described to me by my teacher: "Nobody there thinks they're too good to unload a truck." The company has an awesome collaborative atmosphere which I knew a little bit about ahead of time but grew to really appreciate over the course of my time there.
"...even though a space may be air conditioned, if you are working in a 125' boom lift well above all the HVAC vents, the heat rises quickly to the top of those arenas."
You got to spend a full summer in Chicago. What are you going to remember most about the city?
Outside of my job I got to do quite a few cool things in Chicago. The Museum of Science and Industry was my favorite; I love a good museum and it's got a lot of very cool exhibits there right now.
Compared to some of your friends in the same field, how do you think a Flyhouse internship is different?
A lot of my friends took jobs at summer stocks, which give you a lot of experience in the specific department that you are a part of. I feel like a got a really diverse experience. Also, I got to use technical theater skills in a lot of non-theater settings, whereas that isn't the case with many other peers.