Nick Ritschard – Internship Experience

My name is Nick Ritschard and I am currently a senior in civil engineering. Over the past few summers I have had several internships. I worked for Climax-Molybdenum at the Henderson Mill, just outside of Kremmling, Colorado, and for Tim Shenk Land Surveying in Granby, Colorado. During my first summer with Climax Molybdenum, I was a temporary equipment operator, responsible for dust control of the 1,400-acre tailings storage facility (TSF).

Tailings Dam

MooseThe next summer, I was a field surveying intern at Tim Shenk Land Surveying. I worked on a variety of projects from boundary surveys to construction blue-top staking. The most exciting project I worked on was in Grand Lake surveying to construct a foundation near Columbine Lake. While surveying, a big bull moose decided to come check out our work; he was about 20 feet from us. What an amazing animal! 

The following summer, I was brought back to the Henderson Mill for a geotechnical engineering internship. My main project for the summer was a soils investigation study on the TSF. This included excavating and classifying about 80 samples using the USCS soils description method, performing laboratory analysis on the samples using ASTM standards, compiling the data, analyzing the results, and ultimately writing a closeout report.

My last summer, I was brought back again, but as a civil engineering intern. My main project was to design and implement two separate hydraulic structures that normalize the flow conditions to obtain accurate flowrate measurements. Utilizing the United States Bureau of Reclamation design standards, I designed two separate V-notch weirs for their respective locations. At one of the locations, I also installed instrumentation to provide continuous discharge measurements for the onsite operators.

Overall I was extremely happy with my three summers at the Henderson Mill and one summer with Time Shenk Land Surveying. I was able to make many new connections and learned lots of new skills that will help me both at school and in my future career.

Image Reference for Tailings dam picture.

Maggart, Lance. “Henderson Mill’s Plan to Haul 60K Tons of Material for Summer Project Could Cause Major Traffic Headaches.” Ski-Hi News, 4 May 2018,