Building a good reputation is important, says Griffith Co. Chairman and CEO Tom Foss. And Foss should know. He started at Griffith as a laborer four decades ago, and rose through the ranks, transitioning to foreman, estimator, chief coordinator, then Orange County vice president and district manager.
Established in 1902, Griffith is a midsized heavy civil construction company that employs about 1,000. “We try to do things that give us a family feel,” said Foss, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council and a fundraiser for the Beaver’s Endowed Chair in Heavy Civil Engineering. “We want to make employees feel like part of the team.”
Foss and several employees, including Long Beach State alumni Abdul Altemeny, Anthony Flores, and James Walsh, were on campus Tuesday to talk to civil engineering and construction management students about opportunities at Griffith.
Altememy ’17, has been a Griffith project engineer for eight months, working on the Port of Long Beach Pier E Project. Anthony Flores, a 2016 civil engineering grad, has worked for Griffith for two years, and is currently working with the landscaping division. Project engineer James Walsh ‘09 has worked for Griffith for nearly a decade. He is assigned to the $25 million project to replace underground utilities and regrade and repave roads at Belmont Shores Mobile Estates.
Walsh advised students to be adaptable and makes themselves useful to their employers. “Be useful in as many areas as possible,” he said. “Don’t approach this industry as a paycheck. If you just show up for a paycheck, you’re not going to last very long.”
Griffith offers summer internships in Bakersfield, Brea, and Santa Fe Springs. Interns typically work on a variety of tasks, from coordinating subcontractors to tracking submittals. Summer interns work closely with estimators, project t engineers, and project managers.