BYU CEEN Alumni: Jarell Han/ Nicholson Construction

Jarell Han, former BYU Civil and Environmental Engineering student, currently works as an employee for Nicholson Construction. Nicholson is a contractor that specializes in geotechnical work. They work on building foundations, deepening excavations, building tunnels, and stabilizing dams. Nicholson is part of a larger international company called Vinci that employs over 179,000 people worldwide. Vinci encourages the use of local resources and local labors, forms partners with local trusts to create chances for young people to get into the industry, and supports employees who wish to volunteer in the community. Nicholson is a nationwide company and their corporate headquarters are located in Pittsburgh, PA. They also have 8 regional offices throughout the U.S with the Salt Lake City office located closest to BYU.

At Nicholson Construction there are many opportunities in existing offices and in future offices for people that are self-motivated, team players, and prepared to learn and grow throughout their careers. When looking for new hires, integrity is very important to Nicholson. One of the first questions they ask potential employees during the phone interview is about their views on honesty and integrity at work. They find this important because the work they do will positively impact the lives of many people if done properly. BYU students are taught a high standard of curricula. The important moral values that BYU students are taught make them strong contributors to society. For these reasons, Nicholson is interested in hiring BYU students. In talking about his BYU experience, Jarell said, “Among many things, BYU helped me develop personal responsibility and maturity. Through the college's curricular program and by working on campus, I learned that I am not only responsible for myself, but I am also responsible to the people around me including my professors in class and my managers at work. When you graduate and start working, you will realize that you won't always be told what to do. Therefore, it is important that you often take the initiative to go above and beyond so your managers and clients will be impressed with your work. That way, the trust is developed and you will find more accomplishment at work.”

Nicholson Construction had the incredible opportunity to play a major role in the construction of the Provo City Center Temple. The Provo Tabernacle, constructed from 1883-1886, served as a tabernacle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until it was severely damaged by a fire in 2010. The damaged tabernacle was rebuilt as a temple. Nicholson Construction developed a plan to support the historic masonry façade on 140 braced micropiles to enable an open excavation 35’ below the building’s existing foundation. The tabernacle structure’s masonry façade was supported on the interior by reinforced shotcrete. Dead loads and wind loads from the masonry structure were transferred onto steel needle beams spanning the exterior building walls.

The steel beams were attached to vertical and battered micropiles extending 90’ below existing grade. Upon completion of the micropiles and installation of the needle beams, the building façade was preloaded onto the underpinning system with hydraulic jacks. The structure’s existing rubble foundation was then removed, and excavation commenced.

Two tiers of horizontal and cross-bracing were attached to the piles as the excavation proceeded down to the new structure’s designed subgrade 35’ below the tabernacle’s previous foundation. The loads at each needle beam were monitored in real-time during footing removal and excavation with a SolDATA strain monitoring system. Following the completion of the excavation, cross-bracing, and the temple’s permanent micropile foundation, the CIP concrete foundation walls were constructed beneath the underpinned structure.

To give some advice to current BYU students, Jarell said, “There are some people that can go through college doing it all by themselves. But for most of us, the people around us can greatly benefit us: our classmates, our study group, our professor, our friends. Therefore, be involved while you are in school. Help others when you can because others will help you along your way to success.”