By: Cayden Welch
On his very first day at the University of Florida, Dylan Siegel (BSSBE ’19) remembers the intimidation he felt when he would start searching for internship and job opportunities. Even though he is currently an assistant project manager at Moss & Associates, he still recalls that feeling of uncertainty.
“I wish I had known that employers are looking to hire students just as much as students are looking for employment,” Siegel said. “I was always pretty intimidated when searching for internships and full-time employment as a student.”
It was challenging for Siegel to not know what his future would look like upon his graduation in Spring 2019. However, he maintained confidence in himself and stayed patient while he searched for a job that was the right fit for him.
“It took me seven months after graduation to land an internship,” Siegel explained. “The patience was worth the wait as it has turned into a dream job for me.”
The job at Moss started out as an internship in which Siegel built a solar field in Live Oak, Florida, which is about an hour north of UF’s campus. He says that he mostly focused on project management work and spent a lot of time in the field performing erosion and stormwater BMP (Best Management Practices) inspections. Even from that very first day at the internship, Siegel knew that he had found a job that was worth the wait.
“I fell in love with the lifestyle of traveling to new places around the United States and developing solar plants on beautiful sites, all while keeping environmental impacts to a minimum,” Siegel said. “After the project in Live Oak was complete, I was hired as a project engineer and spent a year in South Georgia before moving to Colorado where I am currently stationed on a project.”
Every day in his job looks different for Siegel, which requires many different skills and knowledge. Since he manages the construction of solar plants from start to finish, his day-to-day could include any combination of the following activities: permitting, engineering coordination, contracts, subcontractor management, scheduling, reporting, cost analysis, budgeting, owner relations and safety engagement.
Siegel credits the Sustainability and the Built Environment program (SBE) and his professors at UF for helping him prepare for his career as an assistant project manager. He says the program helped him most with his approach to problem solving, and how to look at the bigger picture. His favorite memory during his time at the College of Design, Construction and Planning (DCP) was the feeling of successfully completing all his undergraduate coursework.
Completing those courses wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the professors that guided him along the way. Siegel attributes his success to DCP Sustainability and the Built Environment Program Director Bahar Armaghani and Instructional Assistant Professor and Change Agent Hal Knowles for their advice, guidance and mentorship during his years in Gainesville. The Gator also says that they were instrumental in his journey to finding a career.
Siegel’s story is one of perseverance and confidence. While he didn’t know what the future would bring, he trusted the knowledge and skills that DCP and the SBE program provided.
“Our goals and aspirations can only be achieved when we fully commit ourselves to them,” Siegel finished with as a message to past, current, and future Gators. “It is great to be a Florida Gator, and Gainesville is the best city on Earth.”