Hilliard City Schools alumnus Abdallah Aljacksy completed an internship at the middle school under construction in his home district.
Abdallah Aljacksy looks forward to three or four decades from now, hoping one day to show family and friends what he did during the summer of 2017.
As an intern for Elford Inc., the 2012 graduate of Hilliard Davidson High School has been immersed in the day-to-day activity of the construction of the new Memorial Middle School, adjacent to Hilliard Bradley High School at 2800 Walker Road.
"It feels great to give back to the community and the school district that helped raised me," said Aljacksy, who attended Sunrise Academy, a chartered Islamic school on Scioto Darby Road in Hilliard, through the eighth grade.
Aljacksy, 23, worked this summer as a project-manager intern alongside Wende Morgan-Elliott, a senior project manager for Elford.
Hilliard City Schools hired the firm to manage the work of 17 general contractors building Memorial Middle School. The contract with the firm stipulates that the cost will not exceed $2.1 million, which is budgeted into the total construction estimate of $38 million, according district spokeswoman Stacie Raterman.
She said the sum could be lower, depending on labor costs.
Elford is tasked with several duties, such as ensuring materials are delivered on time and that the scheduling of the contractor's projects is sequenced efficiently.
"We make sure everyone plays well in the same sandbox," Morgan-Elliott said.
She said although issues among the general contractors seldom occur, making sure that the construction remains on schedule and performed to specifications and requirements is no small chore.
The pair -- along with the project superintendent Rick Slocum -- work from a sparsely furnished, nondescript trailer with air conditioning, Wi-Fi and a coffee maker to ensure everything is seamless at the construction site.
Aljacksy will be a senior in the Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering when he returns to classes Aug. 22. He said he enrolled at Ohio State planning to major in civil engineering.
"But I began not liking the curriculum so much and then talked to an adviser," Aljacksy said.
That led to his desire to work as a senior project manager on construction jobs similar to the 140,000-square-foot Memorial Middle School that is scheduled to open for the 2018-19 school year. It will replace the current Memorial Middle School at 5600 Scioto Darby Road, which will be repurposed as a sixth-grade school.
"There is a little something different each day," Aljacksy said.
He said he enjoys the challenge of finding solutions for even small hitches.
"Finding a different solution for different problem every day is an adventure and I think (Elford) does a great job of that," he said. "I'm part of a wonderful team."
His internship with Elford will conclude when he returns to Ohio State for the fall semester, but he will continue to work part-time while attending school, he said. He said he is on track to graduate after the 2018 fall semester.
"I'm so thankful for this opportunity and to be provided a chance to work on a project this size ... to experience (what I've studied) in real life and have it all add up is a great feeling," Aljacksy said.
Morgan-Elliott said the company preferred a Hilliard alumnus for the internship and selected Aljacksy from a pool of applicants at a job fair.
"We found him to be motivated, personable and inquisitive ... all essential characteristics to being a good project manager," she said. "People skills are half the battle."
"I'm having a great time and gaining great experience ... and it's especially meaningful to do this in Hilliard," Aljacksy said.