Kiewit Building Group summer interns lead Pearl City Elementary amphitheater construction


As Pearl City Elementary School students returned to the classroom last Friday after the summer break, they were pleasantly surprised to find a brand new outdoor amphitheater that will allow them an opportunity to attend outdoor classes and story time sessions throughout the school year.

The project was led by summer interns from Kiewit Building Group, Inc. along with volunteers, friends and families who installed a stage and stadium benches on campus adjacent to the school administration building. The group put in 700 hours on the project which was completed on Saturday, July 26, 2014.

Thirteen KBG summer interns participated in the Pearl City Elementary School amphitheater construction project which included responsibilities in coordinating and executing the project from start to finish.

“We ask for interns to find, develop, plan, and execute for the good of the community somewhere in Honolulu,” said Sharon Thom, senior vice president and Hawaii area manager of Kiewit Building Group. “We do this every year.  Kiewit supports them with volunteering and also with any finances that are necessary for the project. “

The Kiewit Building Group summer intern program engages students of civil engineering, construction management, construction engineering, mechanical engineering and business management. Students go through a highly competitive and large selection process to be accepted into the program.

“We go through a large selection process and have probably a little over a hundred people apply for our internship program,” Thom said. “And what’s unique about our program is you come in and we actually have you do real work, you become part of a project team, and we also have you do this project.  So you get hands on experience of all the different aspects of building work and what that takes.  What that ends up doing is they go back to school, and what they’re learning they now understand how to apply it to real life. It’s a great experience for them.”

Giving back to the community is the driving force behind Kiewit’s mission to support the communities that they touch and come in direct contact with while working on projects designed to benefit our island residents.  A group of between 65-70 individuals came out to help in the Pearl City Elementary amphitheater construction project.

“Between our salary staff and our craft employees and family members that come and help out, we have roughly about 65 to 70 people here today,” Thom said. “We all look forward to doing this. It’s a great opportunity for us to have fun and actually build and not get shooed away by the craft people.  Also, we love to give back and it’s one of our core values, stewardship. Here in Hawaii we take that an extra step because we really want to make Hawaii a better place for future generations. We were all given the gift of being able to live here in this beautiful place and we want to make sure it stays and that we continue to improve.”

The Kiewit Building Group is proud to provide a positive impact in our community and especially with our keiki. The KBG Scholarship program for high school seniors helps fuel the process that leads to the next level of internship and ultimately to the "giving back to the community" element with projects like the Pearl City Elementary amphitheater design and construction.

“The satisfaction is for the 65 people who are doing this to know that we are doing something great for the community and for the children, for Pearl City, especially when we know that we’re also having some negative impacts in the area for the short term,” Thom said. “It’s really for each person individually. As a company this is just something that we try and instill in our young engineers is giving back, and taking that time. We have great stories of young engineers that have been through our scholarship program which is for high school seniors and then they come back and intern with us, and then ultimately they get hired by us.  That’s a great Kiewit story.”

A big mahalo goes out to the following corporate sponsors for their generous donations in support of the project: Hardware Hawaii, Honsador Lumber, LLC., Rainbow State Paint, Pacific Building Materials, White Cap Construction Supply and City Mill.

Photo courtesy of Kiewit Building Group / iq360inc.

2014 Kiewit Building Group Summer Interns


Christian Brown, University of Arizona

Colin Chikamoto, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Dade Apao, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo

David McCleary, University of San Francisco

Jordan Takahashi, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Kienen Koga, University of Washington

Matthew Guzman, Oregon State University

Marc Pineda, University of California at Davis

Mark Kelsom, Portland State University

Nick Bautista, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Naki Sabas, Oregon State University

Ryder Ueki, Gonzaga University

Shelly Matsuda, University of Minnesota


Shelly Matsuda, PCHS '10

2014 Summer Intern, Kiewit Building Group Hawaii

Shelly Matsuda is a proud Pearl City High School graduate from the class of 2010. She is currently studying civil engineering at the University of Minnesota and returned home this summer to participate in the Kiewit Building Group's Summer Intern Program and being accepted into the summer program in December, 2013.

"I go to school at the University of Minnesota and wanted to come back home and to get the experience for my field which is civil engineering, said Matsuda," "I looked online and found Kiewit Building Group Hawaii’s Internship so I just applied in late December and got it. I’m so ecstatic about it. This is my first project of actually planning and being a big part of it. First time construction experience and seeing it really up close. I love the experience and opportunity I’ve gained here at Kiewit. I definitely see the value and I’m learning so much. There’s always more to learn and I feel like there’s no stopping it because I’m two months now into the internship and I keep learning more and keep getting the experience. I can definitely apply the real world things and I know how things are built now. Now I can apply it to the theoretical stuff."

Matsuda is also excited to see how the students are enjoying their new amphitheater and how it performed for them during the school year.

"I would love to see the after pictures of how it’s being used, Matsuda said. "Maybe visit in a year from now and see how it performed and how the kids react to it. I would love to see their reaction and how much they’ve used it and what kind of purposes that they’ve used it for."

Matsuda is planning on returning to school on the mainland soon with bragging rights to what she has accomplished during her summer break in Hawaii. She is also grateful for the opportunity of being selected to take part in the Pearl City Elementary School amphitheater construction project as a Kiewit building Group intern.

"I’m definitely going to brag about what I’ve did here, no doubt about it," Matsuda said with a gleam in her eye. "I’m going to tell the other students and my friends about what I’ve done here.  I would like to thank everyone that’s helped me out at the internship at the Kiewit Building Group. Kiewit in general has definitely provided for me and given me the best opportunity I’ve ever had."

Photo by Barry Villamil | [email protected]

Congratulations Shelly!


Photo by Barry Villamil | [email protected]

Pearl City Elementary School Principal Dr. Susan Hirokane, and PCES maintenance staff member

Mr. Wade are all smiles during the final phase of the school's new amphitheater construction.


Completed Project

Photo by Barry Villamil | [email protected]

Photo by Barry Villamil | [email protected]

Photo by Barry Villamil | [email protected]