Nate Eaton: Virginia Tech Intern Turned Full-Time Hire
Nate Eaton | Assistant Superintendent
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Charlottesville. I got my associate degree at PVCC and then went straight into the Building Construction program at Virginia Tech. I’ve always had an interest in construction, whether it be the more engineering side or being in the field. I come from a long line of construction in my family. My grandfather was a mason, and his father was a mason, and so on. So, it was a natural fit since I’ve been around it my whole life.
How did you get your first internship with Martin Horn?
I met Martin Horn’s team formally at the Virginia Tech Career Fair. Growing up in Charlottesville, I was familiar with the company and had seen their signs and projects all over town. When I saw that they were attending the career fair, I made it a point to go out of my way to talk to them. It ended up working out and I interned for two summers and came back for my winter breaks as well.
Tell us about your experience in the Virginia Tech Building Construction program.
I really enjoyed the Virginia Tech Building and Construction program because it didn’t just give us the theory of construction but actually went into detail on applicable things like why specific materials work together, best practices for structures, HVAC, plumbing, etc. I was able to get a really good feel for the industry, not only from a design side, but also looking at plans from real world projects. They would have professionals come talk to us about the plans and discuss what we saw as potential issues, what issues they had, and how best to solve them.
How did being a part of that program prepare you for this job?
We were able to really do things. We went to a steel plant and saw how steel was made. We went to the Hokie Stone quarry at Virginia Tech and to saw the materials they were using, how they interacted with the environment, and how to stop efflorescence when installing it. It was just helpful to have real–world application and see how things actually work in the real world on-site.
What do you do at Martin Horn now?
I am an Assistant Superintendent. My job entails anything from setting up walls, demolition, etc. but it also extends to helping out the subcontractors with any questions or issues they might have and getting assistance for RFIs to our architect and engineering firms. A big part of my job is being able to find problems before they become a problem and get a solution that is manageable for everybody.
What have you found to be most interesting about a job site you’ve worked on?
It was pretty exciting working at The Quirk [Hotel]. When I came on, they hadn’t even poured any of the concrete for the slabs. So, it was essentially just a hole in the ground when I started, and I was able to follow the project and watch it grow. I was able to see the different structural systems they used. It was a lot of fun looking through those drawings and see the interesting design work that went into it, with the arch entryways and the rooftop bar. Being able to see all the little intricacies that went into that project was just really cool to be a part of.