Rising Auburn senior reflects on her summer internship experience


1. What did your internship comprise of?

“I worked the first three weeks with a flower crew installing and maintaining flowerbeds. After that, I accompanied Junior (Maintenance Division Manager), Jonathan (Installation Field Manager) and Robert (Hardscape Division Manager) to see what the day-to-day looks like in each division. A significant portion of my internship has been working with Kellee (Estimator) to estimate and bid projects.”


2. What have you enjoyed most about interning with Blackjack?

“I have most enjoyed putting real life application to what I learned in class. In the spring, I took a bidding class and after working with Kellee, I’ve seen what bidding actually looks like and everything that goes into it.”


3. How would you describe Blackjack in two or three words?

“Competitive and problem-solving (individually and corporately).”


4. Did your understanding of the industry change at all? If so, how?

“Yes! Companies make it look easy when they talk to us at Auburn. But there’s a lot more that goes into horticulture and landscaping than I thought. You make plans for the day, but then something goes wrong and you have to start over. It gives me great respect for the role each person plays. Everyone has their own special part, but they work together as a team. When something doesn’t go as planned, they know how to fix the problem and make it right.”


5. Is there a particularly memorable moment from the summer?

“I have really enjoyed seeing the clients’ homes that Blackjack has installed and maintains – they are so beautiful!”


6. Did anything embarrassing happen?

“Kellee and I were at a client’s house whose backyard has a steep downward slope toward a platform. On the edge of the platform is at 15-20 foot cliff. We needed to go down the slope to measure something, and since Kellee wasn’t wearing the right shoes, I offered to help. I thought, ‘I can do this. How hard can it be?’ Well. As soon as I took a few steps, I fell backwards and slid down the slope. Classic Julie. Fortunately, I stopped before reaching the cliff and Kellee was the only one who saw…”


7. What did you learn that you couldn’t have learned in the classroom?

“Working with the flower crews – I learned how hard they work and the time it takes to install flowerbeds! Talking about it in the classroom seems very doable, but then you actually do it and it’s very hard work. It gives you even more respect for them.”


8. Was there a really funny moment from your internship?

“Kellee’s corny jokes – those are fun! I call them: ‘Dad jokes with Kellee.”


9. Tell me about living in Birmingham for the summer.

“I’ve enjoyed it! I love Auburn, but this has been a good breather. I’m not from Birmingham, so it’s been fun checking out new things. My favorite way of exploring a city is to drive around for hours until I know how places connect. I really liked the Summit and Whole Foods. I could roam around there (Whole Foods) for hours! I also enjoyed the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and seeing the Vulcan at night.


10. What was your favorite restaurant you visited with the team?

“It’s hard because I like food…”