The prospect of an internship with the city’s Building Department motivated Madison Dalton to get her high school diploma, has landed her a job with the city and now has her dreaming of owning …
The prospect of an internship with the city’s Building Department motivated Madison Dalton to get her high school diploma, has landed her a job with the city and now has her dreaming of owning her own business some day.
Dalton was enrolled in the architecture and engineering program at the Warwick Area Career & Technical Center. At one point she seriously considered dropping out of the program but her teacher, Michael Kugler, convinced her to not give up.
“It was the conversation I had with him that made me realize that I belonged in this field,” she said in a recent interview.
She faced many obstacles her senior year that almost prevented her from graduating but once she was offered an internship with the city Building Department after winning a gold medal in the Skill USA competition everything changed. However, In order to accept the internship, she needed to finish high school so Dalton did what she had to do. She completed summer school in three days and received her high school diploma.
The internship has now turned into a full time job as a plan reviewer.
Her passion for working in construction stems from her father's work in the industry. She grew up visiting construction sites and instantly felt at home. Then while she was in middle school her mother began working on interior design and it exposed her to a whole other side of the industry.
“It’s the idea of making something come to life from just a piece of paper,” said Dalton, that concept is what motivates her to work in the field.
Dalton's role in the building department requires her to assist in reviewing construction documents in order to issue building permits as well as answer building permit questions. On a daily basis, she reviews three to five plans. Depending on the size of the project some plans like a new deck can take 1 to 2 weeks to review while a brand new house might take a month or more. She reviews the plans carefully in order to make sure they are up to code. Dalton is currently studying for her ICC Certification which will not only provide her more knowledge on building codes but serve as an endorsement from the International Code Council that she is qualified to inspect a certain type of construction or building. After that, she plans to get her B1 and B2 Building Inspector Certificates. The B1 exam is for residential buildings and the B2 exam is for commercial buildings. Dalton believes she may attend college one day but for now, she is happy learning where she is.
“I don’t know everything and I don’t plan on pretending I know everything but I will try to learn as much as I can,” she said.
Her ultimate goal is to own her own business that would act as a one-time stop for all construction-related needs from architecture to building inspectors to interior designers. As well as having their own construction team. As in any job, every day is not great. Dalton is often one of the youngest if not the youngest person on most construction sites and is constantly having to prove herself to others. But she has met people like her teacher Mr. Kugler and her co-workers at the Warwick Building Department who encourage and support her passion for the industry.
“The good days far out way the bad,” she said with a smile on her face.
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