San Rafael Airport

By: Ben Pearson (Class of 2018)

This year I am interning at the San Rafael Airport. It has been quite an exciting position so far, filled with interesting tasks and challenges for me to overcome. I have met with quite a few interesting individuals and worked on plenty of unique projects so far.

My overarching task, and most certainly the most challenging one, has been working with the solar panels at the San Rafael Airport’s property in Richmond. Their property happens to be in close proximity to the gun range, and unluckily for them (and me), sometimes debris from the gun range is shot out and causes breakages in the solar panels. Because these breakages have gone undetected for quite a while, it was (and still is, sadly) my job to find the time when these panels were broken. This has been quite a difficult task and, despite my experience with excel and data analysis from previous internships, I have not yet found a definitive date. Every time it feels like I am about to make a breakthrough, something falls through, where I may be looking at the wrong data or I may be misinterpreting it. I have been working on this project for two to three weeks and hopefully I complete it soon.

I recently finished up two smaller tasks, the first of which being a full-page ad for the Sustainable Enterprise Conference (SEC). The San Rafael is a sponsor of the SEC and is being given a full-page ad, and it was my job to assemble the info, and pictures to use for the ad and then make it. This tested my research skills as well as my design skills. Although I was a little bit rusty, I found that I was able to use my existing experience with photoshop to complete it swiftly.

My second task was a little smaller: the website has had some troubles recently linking to the wrong webpages. The website had just been redone by last year’s intern Nick Slanec, and was experiencing these difficulties despite no new changes. I had to learn how to use all the tools that Nick had become accustomed to with the website development, and once I had done so, the website was an easy fix.

For my internship, and as described above, I am developing and acquiring many new skills. My skill that is being the most tested currently is my data analysis. With the programs provided to me at my workplace, there are many new and developing functions to explore. The raw data can be troubling, and finding the right filters is currently the number one mission.

So far, I would describe my experience as enlightening, although certainly frustrating. While my employer, Bob, understands that it is difficult to pinpoint the exact dates, I still feel somewhat pressured, though that might not be the right word, to complete this task at a faster rate. I really enjoy what I have been doing so far and especially the real-world impact it is having.