College Works Painting
FOLLOW US | YouTube College Works Follow Me on Pinterest Facebook College Works
Justin Kurp

Justin Kurp



Personal Information

< Back to Our Alumni

School: Carnegie Mellon University

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Years at College Works: 2008

Career Information

Company You Work For Now: Bechtel

Title: Engineer

Industry: Energy

Brief Description of Duties / Responsibilities

Provide project management and technical support to US navy power plants.

What Has Been Your Proudest Accomplishment Post-CWP?

Graduating from CMU with honors.

CWP Career Impact

In one sentence, what has CWP meant to you?

CWP meant stretching myself way out of my comfort zone so that I could grow into the successful person I want to be.

How did your CWP experience impact your career? Immediately after graduation? Now?

CWP was probably the most impressive thing on my resume that distinguished me from everyone else. CWP taught me ownership of my work, and how to be proactive to solve my own problems. The ability to solve problems is big in engineering.

What do you want to tell your clients about what it meant to work with them and how it has helped you get to where you are today?

Kurt Pawlak - he was a tough sell, but when we got to paint his house, he was very appreciative. Doing a good job on his house and doing it within budget made me feel like I was doing something good with my business, and it showed me the importance of having great employees.

What was the greatest lesson you learned from your CWP experience?

Trust in your employees, give them responsibility, and allow them to show you what they can do. Do not be a micro manager. Learning to let go is the only way you can run a big business.

How has the friendships and networks you built during CWP affected you?

My CWP relationships benefitted me mostly in the days of the internship - we were tight, giving each other advice and moral support. Since my profession is quite different than many of the other interns, we mostly just keep in touch as friends now. I keep in touch with two fellow interns a lot, and they are two of my best friends.

If you had to come up with an one line slogan for CWP, what would it be? :)

CWP: The prep work before painting your future. CWP: Work hard. Play hard. PAINT HARD!!!


What advice do you have for potential CWP participants? Current CWP participants?

Potential CWP participants: Do you deal with failure well? Can you perservere when you've lost? If not, find another internship. Current participants: Build great relationships with your fellow interns - it will benefit you in tough times in the internship, and you will have a better professional network afterward. The relationships you build with the other interns who share your struggles are all you need and all that will matter to you when its all said and done.

What's your best advice for someone interested in entering your career field?

For engineers: If you want to analyze stresses in beams or run engineering simulations without ever interacting with another human being in the process, CWP may not be for you. If you want to prevent yourself from being pigeon holed in one technical role your whole life and you want to be a leader and/or manager someday, do this internship. I recommend expanding your skill set and doing CWP, because the successful engineer of the future can't just have technical expertise - they need soft skills, project management/business skills, and the willingness to constantly learn new things. You will get this in CWP.

What's your favorite memory from CWP?

Eating ostrich liver for being late to a district meeting.

Last words of wisdom

The best lessons (and funny stories) come from failing. Screw your stupid cubicle internship where you learn to use Microsoft Excel and fetch coffee. Use CWP to learn all the lessons you cannot learn reading a textbook (ownership, being proactive, perseverance, self mastery, business management), struggle for a few months, make some money, then live to tell it years later. [Disclaimer - my business wasn't a failure but I sure messed up a few times and learned from it!]

Justin Kurp