What it’s like to intern for Rowe Professional Services

Rowe Professional Services is a partnering employer of Make Your Make in Flint & Genesee. The company helps to promote the region as a destination for innovative talent and actively seeks job candidates through the Make Your Move platform.

Engineering is big in Flint & Genesee, where there are a number of engineering firms and professionals.

Among those firms is Rowe Professional Services, which has a robust portfolio including everything from Kettering University’s GM Mobility Research Center to the Flint River Trail. The firm employs 230 team members at its eight locations. And each summer, for three months, that number increases by a dozen or two thanks to the company’s longstanding internship program.

For Alison Swanson (pictured above), this is her fourth summer interning for the company. Her goal is to become a landscape architect, which she describes as “designing basically everything outside the four walls of a building.”

As an intern at Rowe, the Michigan State University student has assisted on everything from pickleball and tennis courts to landscaping for a children’s hospital. And, from speaking with her peers, she notes that her internship experience stands out for multiple reasons. Among them:

You get real, hands-on experience. In Swanson’s case, there are projects where she’s involved with everything from the design to meeting with clients. And that’s not unusual at Rowe.

“This isn’t just stapling and filing and shredding,” said Lori Mudge, Chief Talent Officer at the firm. “Yes, there’s some of that, but they are also doing billable, productive work. They walk away with so much knowledge and exposure to the industry that they might not have gotten otherwise.”

It’s thorough. Rowe interns can be cross trained in various departments and disciplines, including surveying, construction, and design, providing an overall understanding of the work that goes into each project.

There’s a support system in place. Every intern or recent graduate is paired with a sponsor – a full-time Rowe employee – who checks in with them daily throughout orientation week. After that, they connect periodically through the rest of the summer to ensure things are going smoothly.

“I’ve had a different sponsor each year, but my direct supervisor, has been the same,” Swanson says. “It’s nice because you have like the consistency and stability of your supervisor but then you have the benefit of growing your network. They’re people that you can ask questions about anything – it’s great.”

There’s community. On the third Thursday of each month, interns and grad engineers from all sites gather at the Flint office for technical or professional development training. The goal is to build relationships and comradery between the interns so they can better collaborate and work together. What’s more, they’re also invited to the company’s monthly social events, which might include fowling or attending a baseball game.

“I’ve definitely made a lot of professional connections, but I’ve also made personal friendships,” says Swanson. “I’ve gotten really close with all of the people I sit with and even got invited to a wedding of one of my co-workers I met while working here.”

There are incentives aplenty. Not only do interns earn competitive wages, they also receive holiday pay, a cell phone stipend, and overtime. They also can take advantage of flex time as well as a progressive tuition reimbursement program that will reimburse students up to $1,500 a year for three years, depending on how long they’ve interned with the company.

For many, it’s the first step in their career path.  The firm consistently hires interns every summer – many who return year after year and often hire-in full-time. Of the current intern cohort, nine are returning. What’s more, the company has hired four, full-time employees from its former intern pool this year alone.

Swanson, for one, hopes to be among them one day.

“I absolutely would love to work for Rowe when I graduate,” she says. “They have shown me that they care about me not just as an intern but also on a personal level. And you don’t get that everywhere.”

To learn more about Rowe Professional Services’ career and internship opportunities, click here.