How it Started vs. How it’s Going: Joseph Rodriguez

Joseph Rodriguez former intern spotlightIn this employee spotlight series, we hear from former interns who have completed their 12-week summer internship program and have since accepted a full-time position at Ruppert Landscape.

Joseph Rodriguez started his Ruppert career with an internship in the summer of 2022 and is now an Assistant Project Manager in our Texas landscape construction branch.

How It Started:

How did you first hear about the internship opportunity? What motivated you to apply for/accept the internship?

I was a college student at the time and I applied to every internship I saw hiring on Indeed. I was fortunate enough to have Melanie email me back and the rest is history. I accepted the internship soon after my interview with Branch Manager Jack Jones. I felt we had a very engaging conversation with each other that played a large influence on my decision.

Can you share your experience during the internship? What were some highlights or memorable moments?

During the internship, for the most part I worked directly with my former project manager Josh Guarisco. He was a man of few words, but a very cool character that I got along with very well. Working alongside him was one of the best parts of the internship. The biggest memories and highlights come from the week I worked out on the field. I learned a lot from the Field Manager, Jonathan Branco. It was an experience that I will never forget.

How did the internship contribute to your personal and professional growth? What skills or knowledge did you gain during your internship that have been valuable in your current role?

The internship helped me realize skills I was missing and needed to develop for my professional career that would also help me personally. In particular, I learned the value of communication and organization. I am still developing these skills now, but every day I am seeing how much they help.

When/how were you offered a full-time position at Ruppert, and at what point did you realize that Ruppert was a company where you wanted to establish a platform for your career?

I was offered a full-time position shortly before my internship ended. Speaking with my project manager, Josh, he was fully on board with having me join the team and explained I would be a great addition.

How It’s Going:

Can you share some differences between your role as an intern and your role now as a full-time employee?

As an intern, my interactions with the customer were very limited. Once I became a full-time employee, this is where my development truly began.

How has your perception of the company or industry changed since becoming a full-time employee?

Working actively in the industry, I have realized how many challenges take place throughout the duration of a project. No amount of school could have prepared me for it.

What advice would you give to current or future interns who aspire to become full-time employees in the same company or industry?

I would advise them to focus on developing their communication and organization skills. I would also explain to them the importance of giving honest and direct answers. Explaining to the customer you do not have the answer they are looking for at this exact time and assuring them you will get them a response in a timely manner is important. Saying the correct thing later is better than the wrong thing now.

How do you see your career trajectory evolving within the company or industry in the future?

I see myself continuing to develop my skills in project management.

Is there a Ruppert manager or coworker that you would consider as a mentor, and if so, why?

I would consider my previous project manager, Josh Guarisco a mentor. Although Josh and I would not always have the longest conversations, he always made time to help me and was able to trust me in my role. Being an assistant project manager requires a lot of direct management over purchases and other important scope items. Knowing that Josh trusted me in my position and knew that I would get the job done was reassuring. He never had to outright direct me to handle my normal day-to-day activities and I knew if he asked me for something specific to get done it was crucial that I make it a priority. Him and I being so close in age also had a great impact on our relationship; being able to have frequent relatable conversations on a personal level was a great help to our development as a team.