careers blog medium
In an effort to assist all job applicants, even those not immediately applying to Sundt, we regularly post information on such topics as "How to Write a Resume," "Interviewing Skills," "The Value of LinkedIn," etc. Please check out our blog, and if you like what you see, feel free to subscribe so that you receive regular updates.

Sundt Named Among Best Destinations for Entry-Level Employees

College Grad logoFor the fourth consecutive year, Sundt has been named one of the country’s Top Entry Level Employers for 2018 by The website surveyed hundreds of the top employers across the country to compile its list.

“We rely on the many talents and enthusiasm that interns bring to Sundt,” said Talent Acquisition & University Relations Specialist Mike Morales. “We also have a strong track record of hiring them as employee-owners when their internships are completed.” is the No. 1 entry level job site on the Internet and the leader in the field of entry-level job searches since 1995.

We are is always in search of the best talent regardless of experience. Check here for more information on starting a career with us.

Six Project Managers Share Their Secrets to Success

SR Martin Work 3

Sundt Project Managers are often responsible for the work performed by dozens of employee-owners and subcontractors.

Project managers are in charge of Sundt’s transportation, industrial and building work during the construction phase. They put in long hours and are responsible for making sure projects stay on track and on budget all while overseeing the work of dozens of employee-owners and subcontractors. It’s a challenging job.

We are proud to have some of the best project managers in the business working on our projects across the Southwest. A few recently offered their thoughts on what attributes people in their field should have to be successful.

“A good project manager needs to be a good listener. PMs need to know the pulse of their staff, subcontractors and the client. If there are issues, investigate (listen) and make a plan.

A good PM needs to be good at accounting and needs to understand contracts.”

Jim Drago, Senior Project Manager, University Square, Tempe, Arizona

“A good project manager has to be able to navigate different personalities, have difficult discussions with clients and gain their trust. It’s important to demonstrate to owners that you have a “project-first” mentality.”

Jeff Hamilton, Preconstruction Project Manager, Valley Metro Rail Gilbert Road Extension, Mesa, Arizona

“It’s important to respect our contracts as the memorial of our agreements and responsibilities. It is also important to understand that at Sundt we value relationships with clients and our subs and that we treat each other fairly and respectfully. A good project manager has the finesse to manage and maintain both.”

Pam Hermosillo, Preconstruction Project Manager, Golden West College Student Services Center, Huntington Beach, California

“I have always said, “If it weren’t for people, our jobs would be easy.” The point is that people are our most precious resource and if we don’t take care of them properly, we will spend a lot of time and money training new people. We as project managers need to understand what motivates our team. Everyone is different and to assume that everyone is motivated the same way is a leadership mistake. Some look for praise one-on-one, others appreciate it in front of others. Some like more responsibility and not everyone is motivated by money. Having a well-run machine is first understanding the individuals on your team and intentionally managing their motivation and engagement.”

Mike Hill, Senior Project Manager, Tucson International Airport Security Checkpoints

“They need to be organized. It really comes into play on bigger projects, but having solid control over paperwork, personnel, schedule/calendar and all other components of the project reduces issues and instills more trust in the PM from subordinates as well as the client.

“They need to communicate well. There are a lot of good builders and a lot of good engineers/superintendents. Making the move to PM utilizes hard skills learned throughout, but one must focus on soft skills and communication to be effective in managing the project team and client. Most engineers tend to be Type A introverts. It takes some effort or discomfort to be proactive and openly communicate to the project team.”

Ryan Vlach, Project Manager, White Tanks Flood Structure, Buckeye, Arizona

“A good manager in general should have open and honest communication with the client (good or bad) as soon as possible, lead his/her team members by showing them how to do the task instead of just telling them and have his/her team’s back even when they make a mistake.”

Chad Yount, Senior Project Manager, San Pedro Creek, San Antonio

For more information on careers with Sundt, please click here.

Sundt Interns Start Building Their Careers


Interns Isaiah and Dalton at the Signal Butte site in the Phoenix area.

Sundt’s Intern Class of 2017 is settling in at job sites across the Southwest, the result of many months spent recruiting top college students.

We send Talent Acquisition/University Relations Specialist Mike Morales to more than a dozen campuses during the fall and winter to participate in job fairs and conduct interviews with potential interns.


Ana shows her heavy equipment skills on the Ina Road-I-10 project in Tucson.

While our recruitment efforts mainly focus on the Southwest – we have a combined 29 interns from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona – there are four students in this class from the relatively small University of Wisconsin-Stout. Part of the Wisconsin state system, the school has 9,600 students.

We also have four students from the University of Texas-El Paso and three apiece from Chico State University in California, Northern Arizona University and Texas A&M University.

About 75 percent of our interns are Construction Management and Civil Engineering students. Other fields of study include Mechanical, Industrial or Electrical Engineering and Architecture.

Our summer interns work until August, when many return to school. Several past interns have been hired at Sundt as employee-owners after graduation.

We’re already recruiting next year’s intern class to ensure we get the best candidates.

“A few weeks ago, (Operations Manager) Jim Pullen and I met a student from Arizona State University who came highly recommended,” Mike said. “We’re looking forward to having her on the team in 2018.”


Interns Amy and Wesley at the Banner-UMC site in Tucson.


Internships Set Groundwork for Successful Careers

By Michael Morales

Sundt Talent Acquisition & University Relations Specialist

Thousands of construction management students are getting ready for summer internships. Preparing for the summer can bring on nerves, but it can also bring opportunities to showcase your talents and leave a lasting impression that will pay dividends starting your career.

Here are a few thoughts on what could ensure that you have a successful internship whether at Sundt or another general contractor.

Intern photoQuestions, Questions, Questions!

Mentors and supervisors agree that it’s important for interns to ask questions. This is encouraged from Day 1. How else can you continue to learn and grow in the industry? Don’t be afraid to ask. We are there to help, guide, and train you to prepare for a career after graduation.

Character Matters

It’s been said you hire on character and train skill. This could not be more true with our internship program. Maintain a high level of professionalism and respect for your co-workers. Help others and remember safety is our No. 1 priority. Don’t be afraid to speak up!

Little Things Can Be Big

The little things … showing up on time, listening to understand, being positive, being consistent, etc. They create the “big picture.” Don’t be the intern who is unreliable, shows up late, and has a “don’t care” attitude. Practice makes permanent, so if you are not doing these things, now is a great time to start.

I wish everyone a great summer internship. Enjoy the experience, have fun and ask questions.

Students Can Double Down for Jobs, Internships at Nevada Conference


Oregon State University students at last year’s Associated Schools of Construction Conference.

Students, if you haven’t secured your summer internship or full-time offer, it’s time to hustle. With so many construction companies securing talent in the fall, the spring recruiting session is your last opportunity to stand out and land a great internship. Luckily, one of the premier student construction competitions in the U.S., the Associated Schools of Construction Region 6 & 7 student competition, in taking place in Sparks, Nevada from Feb. 8-11.

Here are a few tips to land an internship and keep your networking circle open after graduation courtesy of our University Relations Specialist Michael Morales.

Start Early

Now would be a great time to start reaching out to your company contacts (and no, not a random LinkedIn invite to the COO or VP). This list should include former interviewers, company recruiters, class presenters, etc. Start with these contacts and find out who will be attending and if you can snag some time with them to discuss your resume after the competition. Find out the companies’ hiring trends and if they are attending the competition to recruit interns, full-time employees or both.

Present with Confidence

Most company representatives will have evaluations for each team member who is presenting. Now even though a few minutes can’t decipher a future construction all-star, it can definitely help companies see who is confident, knowledgeable and excited to be there. Let’s be honest, all students starting their first internship don’t have the technical training/knowledge that you can only obtain from a jobsite. That’s ok; we’re not looking for that yet. We are looking for students who are able to communicate, interact well with teams, listen and have a passion for the industry.

Attend the Job Fair

Your internship is already secured? That’s awesome! But still come to the job fair on Feb. 11 (don’t forget Sundt sponsors the breakfast). This is a great time to network for future internships and/or full time employment with multiple companies. No student has ever had too many networking contacts. Try to make each conversation engaging and time well spent. Set a goal for yourself. It could be to speak with five or 10 companies for 15 minutes each, and meet 10 new contacts. As big as the industry is, we all are only a few connections away.

Plus, you get a lot of cool swag for your trip back to campus.

Good luck to all teams and we’re looking forward to meeting everyone at the competition.

Sundt Vaults into Internship Rankings

Sundt’s college internship program has been named one of the best in the nation by the students themselves.

This year’s rankings place us 32nd in the Best Internships category. Other companies in the rankings include Aetna, AFLAC, Boeing, Capital One, ConAgra Foods, Home Depot and Kohl’s.

“An internship is essential to college students looking to advance their careers in a chosen industry,” said Vice President of Marketing Tara McCaffrey. “Companies are looking to recruit top talent before they graduate college and are using internships as the best way to assess potential employees. At the same time, college students view internships as the best way to test drive their chosen career path. These rankings offer students an opportunity to determine which companies are the best fit for their career goals.”

VaultSeal_2017Vault surveyed more than 11,000 interns from 600 companies to establish its rankings. Students were asked to visit and answer a few questions about their experience as interns. On a scale of 1-10, we finished with a 9.123 average from 31 interns who completed our program. This was the first year we participated in the program.

“This recognition is a testament to the quality of our program and our ability to bring the best construction talent to Sundt,” said Sundt University Relations Specialist Michael Morales. “Our employee-owners recognize that these students are the future leaders of our company. We take great pride in developing essential skills they need in order to work in the industry.”

Vault is the most comprehensive resource for employer, university and internship program rankings, ratings and insight. Its rankings and reviews are sourced from directed surveys of professionals and students, and evaluate companies, schools, and internships in terms of prestige, best place to work, diversity, quality of life, compensation and other categories.

Click here for more information on internships with Sundt.

Ownership Culture Inspires Sundt Employees

Employee photo

As one of the largest employee-owned general contractors in the country, Sundt has a workforce with more incentive for the company to succeed.

All our employees are also owners of the company, thanks to our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). A large portion of our profits go into the ESOP, forming a solid foundation for employee-owners to enjoy in retirement. Our employee-owners have a feeling of greater control over their futures knowing that decisions they make have a direct impact on their retirement savings.

Our clients benefit from our employee-ownership culture as well. When everyone thinks and acts like an owner, people feel a greater sense of pride and responsibility, providing better service and results to clients. Our company has operated under an employee ownership structure since 1984.

Sundt is the fifth-largest employee-owned construction company in the U.S. this year, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership’s list of 100 largest employee-owned companies in the country. For the second consecutive year, we finished as Arizona’s largest employee-owned company of any type.

To be on the list, companies must be at least 50 percent owned by an ESOP or other qualified plan or by one or more other kinds of plans in which at least 50 percent of full-time employees are eligible to participate. In 2016, the nation’s top 100 employee-owned companies employ more than 619,000 people.

College Road Trip All About Finding Interns

BPBEmbedCheck (002)

Sundt University Relations Recruiter Michael Morales spent time working as an intern earlier this year to better understand what students do on jobsites.

As Sundt’s University Relations Recruiter, Michael Morales spends several weeks each fall on the road talking with college students who could someday end up working for the company.

Mike Morales photoMichael’s first task is to identify which students would be the good fits for the company as interns. He will visit several campuses between now and November to find students who will work for us at one of our jobsites or offices next summer.

Michael took a few minutes off from packing his bags for the big trip to answer questions about our internship program.

What does Sundt do to recruit college interns?

Sundt targets campuses across the nation that produce students with high potential. My role as the University Relations Recruiter is to attend job fairs, present information sessions on the company, host Q&As and have our college alumni building working relationships with students. Sundt has a great reputation, which is why we average 30-plus interviews at each campus we visit.

How long are the internships?

They typically last 10 to 12 weeks. However, some students have co-ops that last much longer, and we have the ability to keep interns on part time throughout the school year.

What are the most common majors for our interns?

The most common major we see is Construction Management. We have employed interns with all different majors, though, including Civil, Mechanical, Engineering Technology, Mining and even Software Engineering.

What kind of work do interns perform?

It varies. They assist superintendents, work job specifications and drawings, process requests for information/submittals, attend safety inspections, work with Building Information Modeling, etc.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy seeing our interns become full-time employee-owners. Our internship program is a great way to train, mentor and filter our top performers into full-time positions upon graduation. I also enjoy traveling to schools across the U.S. and showing students why Sundt is the company to work for.

Interns Head Back to Class After a Summer of Sundt

Intern BusSundt’s Class of 2016 has clocked out for the last time. The 64 interns who came to the company for a summer of construction experience have completed their work and headed back to school.

This group of interns came from 25 colleges and universities across the country: Alabama to Cal Poly. They worked on projects in Arizona, Arkansas, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas.

We appreciate all their hard work and look forward to seeing many of them as employee-owners in the future.

Want to get on the intern bus next year? Get in touch with Talent Acquisition & University Relations Specialist Michael Morales at (480) 293-3012.

Intern Spotlight: Alyssa Hom

Hom_Alyssa_118092_webviewWORKSITE: Ocotillo Wastewater Reclamation Facility (Chandler, Arizona)

MAJOR: Mining Engineering

SCHOOL: University of Arizona


What drew you to Sundt?

A classmate and good friend referred me after she had a very positive and rewarding summer internship. After hearing how highly she regarded the company and her co-workers, I decided to pursue an internship with Sundt for the summer.

What does a typical day at Sundt look like for you?

The benefit of working for Sundt is that there is no “typical day.” The work that goes on is very diverse and my internship has afforded me the opportunity to obtain experience and learn about many different aspects of the work that goes on at a water treatment plant. Some days I start by going out into the field to help stake out points with the layout team while other days I begin in the office where I have the opportunity to learn new and exciting programs that are used by project engineers. Each work day is different from the last, but the one thing that has become “typical” of my work days at Sundt is that I know that each day I am going to learn something useful and new.

What have you learned about the real world of construction that surprised you?

The biggest benefit has been exposure to the real work being done. Prior to my internship, I imagined construction as a predictable and mundane building process. But that could not have been further from the truth! There is so much more going on in the construction field than I had ever realized. During my internship I have gained exposure to the important individual segments of what goes on in construction from day to day, from using surveying equipment to staking out points with the surveyors, coordinating with subcontractors, to being able to help develop recirculation plans in a program I had never even heard of three months prior. Each process is vital to the overall success of any project.

How have you benefited by working with a mentor every day?

My mentors on site were thoughtful and considerate with how they introduced me to the active components of the day-to-day work. Their guidance and instruction have been invaluable to my growth and development, and their constructive support is esteem-building and motivating. My mentors encourage communication and are open and responsive to questions, whether the questions are simple or complex. Their availability and responsiveness enhanced the learning process. The freedom to ask questions created a tremendous and unlimited learning environment.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

“Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg

What’s an app you couldn’t live without?

Google Calendar

What’s your favorite quote or inspirational saying?

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” – Sheryl Sandberg

The quote sums up the attitude that I adopted during my internship with Sundt. I have had to step out of my comfort zone from time to time. This quote produces a mindset to always be eager to try new things, and most importantly, to learn and grow as a result!

What advice would you give for future interns at Sundt?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your internship is what you make it, so forge ahead and embrace every opportunity; watch, listen and ask questions. Learning never ends, even when you think you should know it all.

Intern Spotlight: Getting to Know Joel Holcomb

Holcomb_Joel_115604_mediumMajor: Construction Management

School: University of Texas at Tyler

Anticipated graduation date: May 2017

What drew you to Sundt?

The employees. Everyone who works here wants to be here. The atmosphere makes me want to strive for greatness. There are also great benefits. The ESOP alone is a great benefit. It’s good knowing that everyone, including myself, is an owner of this company and contributes to making it great.

What have you learned about the real world of construction that surprised you?

The number of requirements that must be met that are stated within a contract. I was aware of some basic requirements that must be met but I was introduced to many others. This summer has taught me that one of the most important parts of a job is the contract you sign for it. Each team member should know that contract from start to end.

How have you benefited by working with a mentor every day?

There are two areas where I have improved the most. The first is communication. This internship has taught me how to communicate properly and efficiently in this industry. The last but not least is time management. This internship has taught me how to manage and prioritize my time. Overall, this internship has helped prepare me for my future endeavors.

What’s the best book you’ve recently read?

Start With Why” by Simon Sinek.

What’s an app you couldn’t live without?


Do you have a favorite quote or inspirational saying?

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure.” – Abraham Lincoln.

Everyone fails at some point. This quote reminds me to always grow from my mistakes. If you make a mistake, don’t sweat it. Analyze where you went wrong so you get it right the next time.

What advice would you give for the future interns of Sundt?

The first is to ask questions. You can’t teach yourself everything. If you aren’t sure about something, ask your mentors. They are there to help you learn and grow. Lastly, take initiative. Walk around the office or jobsite and ask if anyone needs help. The more exposure the better.

Survey Gives Applicants a Voice

161462_161462_FMI_Morenci_55K_Moly_Pl_webviewHave you ever applied to become a Sundt employee-owner? If so, we want to hear from you.

Our Talent Acquisition team has collaborated with The Talent Board to put together a survey that gathers feedback on the application process. The responses will be used in competition for the annual Candidate Experience Awards. Last year’s winners included AT&T, Comcast, Delta Air Lines, General Electric, JetBlue Airways, T-Mobile and Wells Fargo.

The survey, which is also open to current and past employee-owners, is available until Aug. 15. The Talent Board is the first non-profit organization to give companies access to data about job candidates’ experiences. It assists talent acquisition with benchmarks and best practices that support recruiting innovation.

As an employee-owned company, we want to add the best and brightest to our team. We work on projects across California, Arizona, Texas and the vicinity and are continually hiring great people to fill craft and administrative roles.

Intern Spotlight: Getting to Know Nathan R. Klass

Nathan Klass

Year: Senior

Major: Civil Engineering

School: University of Colorado

Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2017

Why did you decide on Sundt for your summer internship?

Not only did Sundt allow me to have a new internship experience, it also made sure I was taken care of throughout the process. Sundt has made it possible for me to learn as much as possible without feeling the burden of living and travel expenses.

What does a typical day look like for you?

So far a typical day at the Air Force base consists of completing submittals and making sure all of the tasks needed to meet the environmental requirements of the project are met for the day. I have many meetings to attend during the week that allow me to see what is going on around the project. If there isn’t much office paperwork to do, I will jump in someone’s truck and spend the day with them to see what their job is like.

What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

Pasta in all forms. Working in Arkansas this summer I have started to develop a taste for southern barbeque.

What’s a book you have read recently?

I am in the middle of reading “2 Second Lean,” which I got from my Sundt 101 training course.

What’s your Favorite quote/inspirational saying?

One quote I find myself falling back on while working this summer is this: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” All projects can get difficult, but even in the hard times everyone keeps it together and works even harder to get the job done.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to go to the gun range or watch movies. When I am back in Colorado, I like to spend time at my girlfriend’s parents’ farm riding horses and playing with their dogs and cats.

Getting to Know Ana Rapalo-Padilla

Rapalo-PadillaProject: I-10/Ina Road Traffic Interchange in Tucson

Year: Senior

Major: Civil Engineering

School: University of Arizona

Anticipated Graduation Date: Fall 2017

Why did you decide on Sundt for your summer internship?

Sundt stood out to me from all the other companies I was interviewing with because it put an emphasis on high standards. I knew that being able to work for a company like this would be both a challenge and a reward. A challenge because I strive to better myself every day to produce the quality of work that is generated at Sundt and a reward because after this internship, I knew I would learn invaluable experience from on-site field and office work in my area of interest. This experience would truly help me become among the best in the industry upon graduation.

Another reason I chose Sundt is the impact it is making in my community. It has done several projects around and at the University of Arizona, and has donated a lot of the safety equipment I use on a daily basis for my classes. The impact that Sundt has on my life has inspired me to want to become a part of something that helps the community where I live. It has set the bar high and with the help of my mentors and Sundt team I know I will be adequately prepared to better my community for myself and future generations.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Although I have only been interning for a couple of weeks at Sundt, I already feel a part of the team. I am working on the Ina Road project which is set to begin construction in Tucson in early July. While my team and I are in the Tempe office, I am helping tie up last-minute loose ends before we make the move to Tucson. I am involved in obtaining permits, editing and finishing written documents for the owner and other general paperwork needed for completion. When I go into the field in July, I will be in charge of safety and quality control as well as assisting the Project Manager and Field Engineer.

What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

Honduran food. My family is from Honduras, and even though they live in Phoenix, I don’t get to see them that often. So anytime I get the chance to visit my parents and get a home-cooked meal, my mom prepares a traditional Honduran dish. My favorite is called yucca con chicharron. It has yucca root, chayote squash, ripe plantain, carrots, cilantro and seasoning.

What is a book you have read recently?

“The Great Gatsby” By F. Scott Fitzgerald. He is a terrific author. I wanted to read this after I saw the 2013 film so I could compare the two.

What is your favorite quote or inspirational saying?

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist. Without imperfection neither you nor I would exist.” – Stephen Hawking

What do you like to do in your free time?

Whenever I have free time I like to spend it with my family and friends. Building quality relationships is very important to me. Whenever I’m not with them I also enjoy painting/drawing with oil pastel, colored pencil and charcoal; playing the piano; and learning to golf.

Getting to Know Dilip Reddy Allam

Dilip Allam

Project: GO 10 in El Paso

Year: Graduate Student

Major: Construction Management

School: Wayne State University

Anticipated Graduation Date: December 2016

Why did you decide on Sundt for your summer internship?

Sundt is known for its safety standards and ethics. I got to know about Sundt through my brother who admired a lot about it. The company’s reputation in the industry and Employee Stock Ownership Plan drew my interest.

What is a typical day for you?

I create virtual models of bridges and collaborate those with the schedule to create a 4D simulation for tracking the project. I extract quantities from the model to estimate the amount of material required to complete construction activities at specified time of the project.

What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

I love Chinese food.

Which book you have read recently?

“Cristiano Ronaldo: The Rise of a Winner” by Michael Part.

What’s your favorite quote or inspirational saying?

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.” Arthur C. Clarke.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I play soccer, surf YouTube and watch movies.

Recent Grads are Glad to Start Careers at Sundt


Sundt is a great place to start a career and a recent national award proves it.

This week, our company was named one of the country’s Top Entry Level Employers for 2016 by The list includes more than 125,000 entry-level jobs for the Class of 2016. The website details 2016 hiring plans for more than 400 employers and includes links to entry-level and internship job postings for each employer.

“We have seen a steady increase in our entry level hiring over the past few years,” said Sundt Talent Acquisition Specialist Michael Morales, who specializes in recruiting recent college graduates. “As we continue to build our pipeline for targeted succession planning, hiring the best entry-level talent is the foundation to our success.”

This is the second consecutive year our company has won the award. We plan to hire 35 entry-level employee-owners and 60 interns this year. is the No. 1 entry level job site on the Internet and the leader in the field of entry-level job searches since 1995.

Our company is always in search of the best talent regardless of experience. Check here for more information on starting or continuing your career at Sundt.

Sundt Makes Best Places to Work Lists in Phoenix, San Diego

Sundt people

Employee-owner engagement continues to thrive at Sundt. Two prominent business publications have placed us on their best places to work lists.

Sundt was ranked 13th in the Phoenix Valley in the large companies category (250 to 1,000-plus employees) by the Phoenix Business Journal and 10th among large companies (250-1,999 employees) in San Diego by the San Diego Business Journal.

“Being the recipient of Best Places highlights Sundt as an employer of choice and as a leader in employee engagement,” said Sundt Corporate Director of Employee-Owner Experience and & Diversity Marian Enriquez. “Most importantly, it reaffirms how the Sundt employee-owner experience is a vital part of our success.”

On behalf of the Phoenix Business Journal, Quantum Workplace each year conducts a survey that measures employee engagement based on 10 core areas: teamwork, retention, alignment with goals, trust with co-workers, individual contribution, manager effectiveness and trust in senior leaders, feeling valued, job satisfaction and benefits.

Best Companies Group conducts company assessments for the San Diego Business Journal. The study is a two-part process designed to gather detailed data about each participating company. In part one, the employer completes a questionnaire and in part two, employees of the company complete a survey.

Getting Schooled On a Jobsite


Michael K. Morales, a Sundt Talent Acquisition and University Relations Specialist, recently traded in his desk job for a few weeks in the field as an intern on our Biosciences Partnership Building in Downtown Phoenix. Michael put on his work gear, attended meetings, performed quality control walks, helped clean up the site and did most everything an intern would do on a jobsite.

An internship is a valuable step into the work world. Looking back on the experience, Michael has words of wisdom for college students who are interested in the construction industry and preparing for a first internship.

My only real “hands-on” experience in construction came by building a deck with my dad when I was about 10 (I’m sure I was extremely helpful). I have a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications from Northern Illinois University. I’m not your typical construction worker, nor am I a handyman.

But I like to win at whatever I do. In my job as Talent Acquisition and University Relations Specialist, I sometimes need a little on-the-job training to get a better idea of what our people do in the field so I can help recruit the best interns and employees. That was my inspiration for spending a few weeks as an intern at a Sundt joint venture project with DPR, the Biosciences Partnership Building.

The opportunity to go through an internship and better understand a Field Engineer’s work/responsibilities is absolutely priceless as a “corporate” guy. I could discuss the sites, daily responsibilities and hours with students but the question I couldn’t answer was “What is it like being a Sundt intern?” That was the idea behind my entire experience this winter. Boots on the ground, in the weeds, hard hat and PPE. Getting it done!

In my few weeks at the BPB, I learned a tremendous amount about the industry. I attended a concrete pour on the eighth floor, learned and processed RFIs/submittals, attended safety training, checked embed layout for accuracy, conducted quality control walks, safety walks, wrote minutes for meetings (Owner/Architect/Contractor, Engineer, Safety, Joint Venture, Daily Huddles and Structural Coordination) and gained the experience and knowledge to help future interns create careers at Sundt.

During my experience, I had the opportunity to see Sundt from a college student’s perspective. And with that, I have these recommendations for future interns.

Get to know your mentor BEFORE your first day

Reach out to him or her before he or she contacts you. This is a key relationship for your success at Sundt. Your mentor, usually the Project Engineer or Field Engineer, will be working with you on a daily basis vs. a Project Manager or Project Superintendent who might work with you as needs arise. Ultimately, your mentor will be giving recommendations for full-time employment (along with input from other team members). So do the little things right: show up on time, seek advice, engage with employees and ask questions.

Have a good understanding of how to read drawings (it will take some time)

An important skill that is often overlooked is the science of understanding blueprints. Make sure to have a general understanding of construction documents (drawings, RFIs, submittals and meeting minutes) before you show up for your internship. If a Project Engineer/Field Engineer is sending you RFIs/submittals to process, send the correct drawings back and check that the question you are asking has not already been answered somewhere else (first-day mistake on my part). Don’t be a paper pusher, don’t just copy and paste questions. Read the questions, understand them and if you don’t comprehend something, ask your mentor. You’ll need to get to a point during your internship where you understand and complete these accurately or you will struggle. Everything you will do in your career revolves around these documents.

BPBEmbedCheck (002)

Get out of your comfort zone

Everyone on a jobsite is extremely busy. You need to continuously seek opportunities to learn. Don’t wait to be tasked with a job! Ask a Project Engineer how you can assist, shadow a Superintendent, shovel concrete, help with dust control or participate in a quality control walk. Don’t be afraid to ask to help the team. You didn’t seek an internship so you could sit at a computer and surf TMZ, did you? This is your opportunity to show that you want and deserve to be here! It’s up to you to do it!

Get out on the actual jobsite as much as you can

You asked to be in the field, right? So get out there! While I was onsite at BPB, I made a point to go out at least once a day. You can always conduct a safety walk, check for layout accuracy, verify subcontractors’ daily activity checklist, clean up debris, etc. Yes, you can go out there without an escort. Make sure to attend the proper site safety training before you are cleared to go on your own.

Pay attention in meetings

There are a lot of meetings (for interns, sometimes five a day) but unless you are fully engaged at all of them you will be missing out on the experience. I learned a TON just by listening and taking meeting notes (which may be required for you so you might as well start Day 1). These notes were as simple as learning what a spider box to understanding weekly work plan scheduling, how to tell thickness of rebar, general site safety, OSHA (guidelines and when its representatives were visiting), fire protection, door installations, waterproofing, etc.


Attend a concrete pour (even if you have to go to a different site for a day)

Yes, it’s probably during an odd hour (my pour started at 11 p.m.). Make sure you try and get some sleep the few hours beforehand. Otherwise it makes for a long day/night. Seeing this pour helped me understand concrete formwork, how shoring works and how concrete gets finished after the pour. It truly is an art form, from scheduling to the equipment needed. Make sure you see one during your internship.

The past few weeks were a terrific experience for me. I appreciate everyone who allowed me to see firsthand what it’s like to be an intern. Sundt is a great place to work, learn and advance. I’m extremely confident that we will continue to attract the best students possible.

Let’s get to work!

Building Tomorrow’s Construction Professionals

Career Days

Sundt’s Doreen Wicks helps students build toolboxes during the annual Arizona Construction Career Days last week in Phoenix. Photo courtesy of the Arizona Builders Alliance.

Students from more than 70 high schools gathered in Phoenix last week for Arizona Construction Career Days, an event Sundt has sponsored for more than a decade.

During the two-day event, approximately 1,800 students learned about the construction industry. Many built and took home Sundt-branded toolboxes. Arizona Construction Career Days is the state’s largest construction event that offers hands-on experience for high-school students.

The event was hosted by the Association of Construction Career Development and held at the Arizona Army National Guard Papago Site. Sundt had more than a dozen volunteers at the event assisting with sign in and helping students build their toolboxes.

An event preview video can be seen here.

Getting to Know Intern Matthew Altamirano


Name: Matthew Altamirano

Project: San Diego International Airport Rental Car Center

Year: Summer 2015

Major: Civil Engineering Technology

School: New Mexico State University

Anticipated Graduation Date: Spring 2015


Why did you decide on Sundt for your summer internship?
Truthfully, I’d never heard of Sundt before but a coworker of mind from my work-study job knew an engineer from Sundt and told me to send in my résumé. Later, I interviewed with the engineer and as he was talking to me about Sundt and its values, vision, and plans, I knew that I wanted to be a part of Sundt’s global vision. I’ve had internships with other companies and they were great, but I knew that I couldn’t pass up an opportunity such as this one.

What does a typical day look like for you?
The job will be completed soon on October 31, 2015 and my job is to be in charge of closeout. That involves calling all the subs and making sure they turn in all warranties, O&M’s, submittals, etc. that the contract asks for. Furthermore, when the sub-contractors send in their paperwork I organize it by placing it on the drive and placing the hard copies in binders. Other than closeout, I post RFI’s, make submittal packages, submittal transmittals and I’ll go out with the PE’s and inspect the jobsite.

What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
Mexican food, seafood, and good old classic American food (hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza).

What is a book you have read recently?
“INSTINCT” by T.D Jakes

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?
“I’m more terrified of 100 sheep led by a lion, then 100 lions led by a sheep” –Unknown

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to play sports, with basketball being my number one sport to play! I love almost anything that involves the outdoors. I love to go hiking, camping, fishing, bike riding, running, you name it. Plus, I love hanging out with friends and meeting new people. My family is also a big part of my life, so spending time with them is a top priority for me

Getting to Know Intern Mike Barbero


NAME: Mike Barbero

WORKSITE: Bagdad Filter Project – Bagdad, AZ

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering

SCHOOL: University of Wyoming

YEAR: Senior

What drew you to Sundt?
I first discovered Sundt when I was a sophomore at a university career fair.  When I was talking with the recruiter I noticed all of the industrial projects we were talking about were large, which in turn meant large equipment. That is what really caught my interest. I grew up in the construction industry, but I have never been on a job of such great magnitude until Sundt.  Being able to work on projects in the industrial world has been really rewarding.

What does a typical day at Sundt look like for you?
A typical day for me could consist of RFI’s, instrument tracking, miscellaneous work in prolog, and quantity auditing.

What have you learned through your Sundt internship about the real world of construction that surprised you?
The thing that surprised me the most was how much work and time actually goes into the engineering/management side of construction.

How have you benefited by working with a mentor every day?
Being able to work with other engineers has really helped with learning the software used by Sundt and how they are all integrated. I have been able to learn the basics of Prolog and Heavyjob, along with understanding the important roles that these, JDE, and P6 scheduling play in the success of the project.

Best book read recently:
A Walk In The Woods

App you couldn’t live without?
Probably Pandora. I like being able to listen to music when I am sitting at the computer.

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.” Robert Collier

What advice would you give for the future interns of Sundt?
Make a point to meet everybody.

Getting To Know Intern Simon Shuster


Name: Simon Shuster

Work site: : U of A Bioscience Partnership Building

Year: Junior

Major: Bachelors of Civil Engineering, Minor in Sustainability

School: Arizona State University

Anticipated Graduation: December 2016

Why did you decide on Sundt for your summer internship?
I gladly accepted Sundt’s internship offer because I am excited to be working with a large scale construction company.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I have been assigned the task of reviewing shop drawings for the reinforcing in the concrete for the Biosciences Partnership Building (BPB) in downtown Phoenix.

What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
I am open minded on food, I will try new types of food but nothing tops a homemade pot roast with potatoes and carrots.

What is a book you have read recently?
Currently I am reading a series called The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks.

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?
“All that I know, is that I know nothing.” -Socrates

What do you like to do in your free time?
I go hiking as much as I can to burn of all the food I have eaten in restaurants. Hanging out with my sister, her boyfriend and my friends is also a top priority of mine. Lastly, I am trying to master – who am I kidding, more like attempt – to play the great sport of golf.


Getting to Know Intern Joel Holcomb


Name: Joel D. Holcomb

Work site: Lanier High School (San Antonio, TX)

Year: Sophomore

Major: Construction Management

School: University of Texas at Tyler

Anticipated Graduation: 2017

What drew you to Sundt?
I have heard from others that Sundt is a great company to work for. I like how Sundt focuses so much on their core values. Another big thing that drew me to Sundt was the ESOP. Even though I do not have access to this benefit it seems like it would be very beneficial.

What does a typical day at Sundt look like for you?
The first thing I do every morning is walk the jobsite with the Superintendent and coordinate with Subcontractors on what tasks are scheduled to be worked on or completed by the end of the day. After that, I assist the Project Engineer in scheduling and coordinating between subcontractors. Along with assisting both the Superintendent and Project Engineer I help write documents such as meeting minutes, submittals, and RFI’s.

What have you learned about the real world of construction that surprised you?
I learned that construction in the real world is not just telling people what to do. You have to build a relationship with your subcontractors. The better the relationship the more respect you will earn from others and the smoother your project will be able to run.

How have you benefited by working with a mentor every day?
By working with a mentor every day I have been able to experience and discuss parts of construction that I was not familiar with. One thing I really noticed I have gained from this internship already is my bettering communication/problem solving skills. Having daily discussions with my mentor about how to approach these situations has greatly benefited me.

What is the best book you’ve read recently?
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.

What is an app you couldn’t live without?
I’m into fitness so I couldn’t live without MyFitnessPal because I like to keep track of what foods I consumed during a given day, and then break that down into categories such as “protein” and “carbohydrates.”

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

What advice would you give for the future interns of Sundt?
The most important advice that I can give future interns is to ask questions. If you do not ask questions then people assume that you know what they are talking about. There is nothing wrong with asking questions.

Getting to Know Intern Richard Mendoza

Mendoza_Richard_115526_webviewName: Richard Mendoza

Area: Preconstruction – Heavy Civil

Year: Junior

Major: Construction Management

School: Arizona State University

Anticipated Graduation Date: Dec. 2016

Why did you decide on Sundt for your summer internship?
After having worked with Sundt Construction in the past as a subcontractor with my family-owned construction company in Tucson, the opportunity to move to the next level in terms of magnitude and scope could not be passed up.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I am currently working on an update of historical cost data for past projects as well as lending a hand for various takeoffs as needed.

What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
Truly enjoy the offerings from my wife’s hometown of Hermosillo, Mexico. There is a bone-in prime rib there that is so good I will not eat prime rib anywhere else.

Is there a book you read recently that made an impact on you?
I’m rereading “Battlefield Earth” by Ron L. Hubbard and “Samurai Cat Goes to Hell” by Mark Rogers.

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?
“Semper Fidelis” – United States Marine Corps Motto

What do you like to do in your free time?
Spend time with my family and train/instruct/compete in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Our Project Will Help Transform Healthcare

Banner UMCT rendering 06 05 15-resizedSundt employee-owners will have the amazing opportunity to support the transformation of sick care into healthcare with one of our newest projects: the construction of the new Banner – University Medical Center Tucson project. The new, 11-story tower that will replace the 40-year-old portion of the hospital at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. (More details about the project here.)

Click here to find out about current Sundt career opportunities.

Getting to Know Intern Glenn Quezada

GlennQName: Glenn M. Quezada

Project: Biosciences Partnership Building in Phoenix, Arizona

Year: Senior

Major: BS in Construction Management

School: Arizona State University…No pity for the kitty!

Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2016

Why did you decide on Sundt for your summer internship?
Integrity and responsibility are some of the most important values my father instilled in me; they have gotten me where I am today. After doing some research and asking several friends and colleagues, I realized that with Sundt, I would not be asked to violate these values for a profit.

What does a typical day look like for you?
The day always starts with a daily huddle where everyone shares the day’s work plan to see if there are any conflicts between the trades. After the meeting, I assist the project engineers and project manager with RFIs, submittals, and daily logs. Also, sometime during the day, while the trades are out working on the site, I will go out and do a safety walk to evaluate our work practices.

What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
Mexican food is the cuisine of the gods! I can eat tacos and seafood all day, every day!

Tell us about a book you read recently that made an impact on you?
“The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company.”

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy playing indoor soccer, the occasional video game, and hanging out with friends.

Getting to Know Intern Cole Ficklin

Ficklin_Cole_115467_webviewName: Cole Ficklin

Project: Compiling historical cost data for concrete construction projects – Tempe Headquarters

Year: Junior   

Major: Construction Management

School: Brigham Young University – Idaho

Anticipated Graduation Date: December 2017

Why did you decide on Sundt for your summer internship? I had heard from a several people that it was a great company to work for, and the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) really interested me also.

What does a typical day look like for you? I find bid information from different jobs and put it into a spreadsheet that will give estimators and reviewers a reference for what a similar job cost in the past.

What’s your favorite type of cuisine? I am a big fan of classic American food: steak and potatoes.

What is a book you have read recently?  “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara. It’s a fantastic historical novel about the battle of Gettysburg. It was written using the letters and communications of people who were actually there. 

Favorite quote/inspirational saying? “We’re burnin’ daylight.” – John Wayne

What do you like to do in your free time? I like to hang out with my wife. She’s pretty awesome. Also, I like to go off-roading/shooting.


Sundt Wins Top Entry Level Employer Award



We’re pleased to announce that Sundt has been named a Top Entry Level Employer for 2015 by, the number one entry level job site!  (More details here.) The award recognizes Sundt’s strong history and commitment to hiring college graduates and providing opportunity from the ground up!  Stay tuned for more as we continue to invest in developing our future leaders and strive to be the EMPLOYER OF CHOICE!

Students: Keep Professors in Your Court!


Mike Morales

Construction Management. Mechanical Engineering. Marketing. Accounting. No matter what your major is, your professors will absolutely be a catalyst to your success!

In this month’s blog, I’d like to discuss the relationship (or lack thereof) between students and their professors, discussing the do’s and don’ts and the importance of branding yourself on campus.


  • Sit where they can see you.
    Whether you’re in the front row or in their field of vision, make sure you are noticed while in class. Answer a question, ask a question, and be engaged and attentive.
  • Attend office hours.
    Professors are there to help you succeed! They want to see you outside of scheduled class time. How can your professor truly know you, your goals, etc. when you see them with 100 other students?
  •  Ask them for advice.
    They know the school, the major companies, and the best jobs available for their students upon graduation. The career center is a great resource, but a recommendation letter from a professor who sees the student regularly cannot be beat!


  • Miss class.
    Missing classes will take you off the radar completely. Are the “A” students missing class with you? Highly unlikely. If for some reason you do have to miss class, make sure to send an email with your reasoning and ask what you can do to make up for it.
  • Text or Daydream.
    If you are going to go to class, be 100 percent engaged in the conversation/lesson. Have you ever been called on to answer a question and had no idea what was said previously? Sure, all of us have had that moment … it’s embarrassing and it sits with the professor. Don’t make it a regular occurrence!
  • Expect your professors to find you a job.
    Effort and drive will go a long way in your search. Don’t rely solely on your professor to shop your resume around. Have him or her be a champion for you, not your salesman!

Go to class, ask questions, get to know your professors, and perform well academically. These are four basic but critical factors to your ultimate success upon graduation. Continue to build strong foundations with your professors and keep them in your court!

Have a great year!

Michael K. Morales
University Relations Specialist

New Graduates and Employment Offers: Look Toward the Future

MikeMoralesIt’s the time of the year when December graduates are traveling around the U.S. for interviews, companies are giving their best pitches, and students are considering multiple employment offers. With some hand in the game, I wanted to take this month’s blog to discuss why students should be looking at entire packages and not just one of the major determining factors, salary.

Compensation should play a role in your final decision, however too many students use this number as a final determination. While it’s understandable that students want to pay off student loans, car loans, etc., a tad quicker, this decision could change/alter your life and future. Keep in mind that salary is a small component of your future success and happiness.

401k/Profit Sharing/ESOP:
Take a good look at the company’s 401k/profit sharing/ESOP opportunities. Look at vesting schedules, as well as distributions that are 100 percent paid by your employer from day one. With Sundt being an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company, your year-end earnings could easily increase 10-15 percent (or more). Sundt has seen numerous employees compound hundreds of thousands of dollars (even millions) over a 20-30 year career. Believe me, in the long run it’s worth 2-3,000/year less in base salary to jump into an ESOP/profit sharing company.

Other Benefits:
Most companies offer other great benefits or perks, so take a good look at these as well. Many include: car issuance and/or stipend, yearly or bi-annual bonuses, onsite gyms, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), insurance discounts, home buying discounts, etc. Most students tend to find out about these “other” benefits after employment has begun. Talk to your recruiter and/or hiring manager to discover these before making your final decision. One or all of these additional benefits might slide the scale to one direction or the other.


The bottom line is to make sure you are making an informed, strategic decision about your future. Don’t make salary your ONLY determining factor. A great package should include a strong salary, great benefits, great culture, and best-in-class employees!

Thanks and all the best in your decisions,

Michael K. Morales

College Career Fairs 2.0 – The fall edition


Mike Morales

It’s time once again to bring out the pens, key chains, water bottles and business cards … fall career fair season is upon us!

With that in mind, I wanted to focus this month’s blog on additional career fair tips for students and job seekers alike, keeping my previous blog in mind which can be found here.

1.     Be punctual and prepared.
2.     What’s your WOW?

Be Punctual and Prepared
Arrive at the fair early … 15-20 minutes early. There may be an opportunity (depending on your school) to get a head start with recruiters in the booths. There is generally a 20-30 minute downtime for us after we set up our booths to get a cup of coffee, observe the attendee list, check the lunch menu, etc. Don’t be afraid to use this to your advantage! However, if your school is strict about not opening the doors until the official start time, use this time to really focus and hone in on the top five companies you will want to see, and in that order go see them.

Personal observations:

  • Come see me after my booth is set up – 10 minutes before the “official” start time of the fair is excellent.
  • I generally see the most promising students at the fairs in the first two hours. These students are dressed to impress, arrive on time (or early), and have the greatest interest in Sundt and learning about our opportunities. 
  • Fairs get busy, really busy! There are lines for hours at a time with no break in students. Make sure you prepare for a long wait.

What’s your WOW?
When I arrive at a college career fair, I have one goal. To find the BEST STUDENTS the school has to offer and recruit them to Sundt. Our culture here at Sundt is to create and retain leaders at all levels. One strong indicator of your leadership potential is how well you create the WOW factor during your brief time with me at the fair. How can you stand out? Many ways! Take initiative to speak with me BEFORE the fair. If you have researched Sundt and visited our website, you’d see my blog, Sundt’s career fair calendar, job openings, etc. Take that information and call me on the phone (don’t email) and let me know you want to see me at the fair.

Other ideas could be: personalized business cards, letters of recommendation from professors and past internship supervisors, performance reports, school activities, etc. The important thing is to personalize your WOW factor and remember to tailor it to your audience.

Personal Observation:

  • For every 50 students I see at a career fair, one student has reached out to me before the fair to discuss Sundt. Be part of that two percent.
  • I make notes on your resume regarding your WOW factor.
  • After a fair, I immediately review all resumes and write down everything I can remember about our conversation. If I write a lot, chances are you will be interviewed.

All the best this upcoming semester,

Michael Morales

Getting to Know Jordan DeGraaf

113356_DeGraaf_Jordan_1-resizedNAME: Jordan K. DeGraaf
WORKSITE: Tempe, Arizona – Preconstruction Department
MAJOR: Engineering Sciences, Bioengineering: Mechanical Track
SCHOOL: Harvard University
YEAR: Class of 2016

What drew you to Sundt?
When I was little, my dad built us a house. The construction process enthralled me; I tried “helping” him… first with the blueprints and designs and later with the concrete pouring and hammering. I was ten, so I probably wasn’t exactly an integral member of the construction team, but ever since then, I have wanted see what real construction was like. When I heard about Sundt’s outstanding reputation in the Southwest, its ESOP program, and the friendly employees, I knew I had found the perfect summer internship.

What does a typical day at Sundt look like for you?
I help create bid abstracts, communicate with subcontractors, and assist with various takeoffs.

What have you learned about the real world of construction that surprised you?
I had no concept of how much buildings cost, or how quickly the little things add up. I was shocked when I started working on projects with price tags in the millions, and I was responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How have you benefited by working with a mentor every day?
I have discovered that success in construction is highly dependent on experience mostly gained through trial and error. My mentors have answered an unbelievable number of questions for me, which have made my trials more productive and have prevented me from learning solely through errors.

Best book read recently:
Construction for Dummies

App you couldn’t live without?

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?
Live with no regrets. It is so simple I don’t even know who to attribute it to, but it says so much. On one hand, it challenges me to live each day to the fullest. On the other hand, it reminds me that everyone makes mistakes, and dwelling on them is useless.

What advice would you give for the future interns of Sundt?
Be curious. Take advantage of your coworkers’ experiences and ask many questions. The more you know about the company, your coworkers, and your job, the more interesting and formative your summer will be.

Getting to Know William Savage

NAME: William Savage113369_Savage_Will_1_webview
WORKSITE: Corporate headquarters, Tempe, Arizona
MAJOR: Construction Engineering
SCHOOL: Iowa State University
YEAR: Senior

What drew you to Sundt?
I was interested in the opportunity to work on a variety of projects. I felt it was important for me to work for a multi-faceted construction firm where I could ultimately gain the most knowledge in the shortest amount of time.

What does a typical day at Sundt look like for you?
Although most days aren’t the same, I typically help out the estimators in the office by doing take-offs. I’ve also gotten to do some research on potential projects, spent a week working in the field for the Metro Light Rail Northwest Extension project, and have also gotten to help out with bid reviews.

What have you learned about the real world of construction that surprised you?
The competition amongst contractors is fierce, and the importance of reputation in this industry can’t be overstated.

How have you benefited by working with a mentor every day?
It’s definitely been helpful to have people answer my questions, whether they are small or large. The learning process is ongoing, and it’s good to know that there are many people here who are willing to share their knowledge with me as I continue to develop.

Best book read recently:
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

App you couldn’t live without?
Clash of Clans

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?
“What are these barriers that keep people from reaching anywhere near their real potential? The answer to that can be found in another question, and that’s this: Which is the most universal human characteristic – fear or laziness?” – Louis Mackey

What advice would you give for the future interns of Sundt?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and ask as many questions as possible.

Getting to Know Reed Hubbell

113359_Hubbell_Reed_1_webviewNAME: Reed Hubbell

WORKSITE: Las Cruces High School Additions, Las Cruces, New Mexico

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering

SCHOOL: University of Arizona

YEAR: 2016

What drew you to Sundt?

The people. Even though Sundt is by far the largest company I’ve ever worked for, I felt very welcomed by Sundt, from my first contact onward. Everyone is friendly and encouraging, and the company as a whole is very receptive to its interns. I’ve been impressed with how Sundt runs as a corporation, but it feels like I’m working at a small, hometown business.

What does a typical day at Sundt look like for you?

I typically start by processing the paperwork that came in during the previous afternoon – subcontractor daily reports (SDRs), safety checklists, etc. Beyond that, my days are pretty varied! I spend a lot of time checking incoming inventory (lots of steel beams so far), working through takeoffs, reviewing structural plans, and taking part in meetings and site walks to “learn the ropes” of the project and large-scale construction in general. Occasionally, when there’s a slow day, I’ll pick up a broom and start sweeping.

What have you learned about the real world of construction that surprised you?

With this project, I’ve started to truly realize how intricate the planning for a project like this is, and it was surprising how the slightest design change can have a serious ripple effect once steel and concrete are in place. I’m learning how important it is to have everything planned as immaculately as possible before starting any work, and to always be ready for unexpected changes. The project I’m on has encountered some of these challenges, but our team has always handled them quite well.

How have you benefited by working with a mentor every day?

I actually have a handful of mentors at my site, and it’s been fascinating to work with all of them. They each have different specialties, viewpoints, and experience, and it’s been really useful to apply the knowledge I’m gaining from each of them. It also helps keep me busy. If I run out of work from one mentor, I just turn to the next.

Best book read recently:

I didn’t technically read it, but I’ve been listening to the audiobook series of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, as I drove all over Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado at the start of this summer. I got drawn into it by the “Game of Thrones” TV series, and while it’s definitely mainstream now, I really enjoy the nontraditional plot style and the incredible breadth and depth of the books’ settings and characters. Martin really has an imagination! Just don’t get too attached to your favorite character.

App you couldn’t live without?

Just to avoid saying “Facebook,” I’ll go with Imgur. It’s a good time burner (a funny pictures app), and I spend way too much time on it when I get home from work. Warning: the humor can be a bit edgy.

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Mead

What advice would you give for the future interns of Sundt?

Invest in some sunscreen and a good water bottle or three. The Southwest isn’t known for its temperate summers. However, you’ll likely spend plenty of time in a nice air-conditioned office, too.

Getting to Know Garhett Jurgens

113360_Jurgens_Garhett_1_webviewNAME: Garhett Jurgens

WORKSITE: Sellwood Bridge – Portland, Oregon

MAJOR: Construction Management

SCHOOL: Colorado State University

YEAR: Senior


What drew you to Sundt?

I saw an opportunity to get away from western Colorado and experience the atmosphere of a successful employee-owned company.

What does a typical day at Sundt look like for you?

It starts out every morning with a superintendent meeting, where everyone discusses what their game plan is for the day. After that, I usually get assigned work by one of the project engineers where I’ve helped with RFIs, quantity take-offs, surveying, and other areas where I can throw in a hand.

What have you learned through your Sundt internship about the real world of construction that surprised you?

I’ve never been involved with a project as intricate as the Sellwood Bridge. The amount of coordination that is required because of the complexity of the job baffles me.

How have you benefited by working with a mentor every day?

Not only have I gained a basic understanding of how a structure like the Sellwood Bridge is constructed, but I’ve learned a lot about how to make life enjoyable on a construction project. Yes, things can get stressful for the team, but they all seem like they embrace the pressure, and roll with the punches when things get hard. It is inspirational in a sense.

Best book read recently:

Black Hawk Down

App you couldn’t live without?

Probably my Fox News App. I’m always keeping up with what is going on in the world.

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?

“The only easy day was yesterday.” – The Navy SEALS

What advice would you give for the future interns of Sundt?

Ask questions.

Getting to Know Chris Thomas

113370_Thomas_Chris_1_webviewNAME:  Chris Thomas

WORKSITE: Ocotillo Village Health Club, Chandler, Arizona

MAJOR: Construction Management

SCHOOL: Arizona State University

YEAR: 2014

 What drew you to Sundt? 

The great reputation of the company and a great opportunity to work with the best drew me in.

What does a typical day at Sundt look like for you? 

I do a mix of inside and outside work including a lot of learning from my project manager and the superintendents.

What have you learned about the real world of construction that surprised you? 

The importance of marketing, business development and bidding jobs.

How have you benefited by working with a mentor every day? 

The pace at which you learn on the job far exceeds classroom training.

Best book read recently?

Twelve Mighty Orphans by Jim Dent. This is a book about a real Texas orphanage football team from the 1930s. They end up beating most of the larger high school teams of their era and come very close to winning multiple state titles. They end up having a sizeable national following.  Their coach was one of the originators of the spread offense because of the players’ small size. Their teams never had more than 15 players. The perseverance and toughness of the orphans in the face of seemingly unbeatable odds and tragic beginnings is very inspiring.

App you couldn’t live without? 

The coolest app I’ve heard of lately is ‘Cycloramic’ for iPhone.

Favorite quote/ inspirational saying? 

“Persistence guarantees results.”

What advice would you give for the future interns of Sundt? 

Listen, follow advice and pay attention in meetings.

Getting to Know John Radich, Intern

John RadichNAME:  John Radich
WORKSITE: San Diego County Detention Center in Otay Mesa, California
MAJOR: Construction Management – B.S.
SCHOOL: California State University, Chico
YEAR: Class of 2015

What drew you to Sundt?

The one key component that drew me to Sundt was the professionalism of each project. The vision statement “Inspiring People to Go Beyond the Expected” really stood out to me when viewing the numerous projects during a pre-session given to my university. I was able to see how multifaceted Sundt is and felt like the core values really reflected many of my own.

What is your typical day at Sundt consisting of?

A typical day at Sundt is very diverse. There is always something new going on in the construction phase of the correctional facility being built here in Otay Mesa. I am in the onsite job trailer most of the time working mainly on RFI’s for now. I enjoy getting to go onsite as much as possible and helping out whenever given the chance. It is really fascinating to see how much work is all being done simultaneously. The execution of all the planning is extremely synchronized and only validated my original impression I had during the pre-session. There are ample meetings throughout the work week that I get to sit in on and view. One is a six-week scheduling meeting during which all of major subcontractors, foreman and superintendents will collaborate to keep up-to-date on how the schedule is coming together. There are also weekly “look ahead” meetings in which the same group of people reviews what is planned for them and what to expect. I am continuously learning new things every day, and look forward to the rest of my summer internship here with Sundt.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation I hope to get a full time position working in construction. I really want to come out of the gate running and get my career off to a great start. My future goals are to have a stable and comfortable job. I want to progress and continue to learn throughout my career. I enjoy challenges and want a career that can satisfy that craving. Also, my dad and I are in the planning stages of building five homes on 10 acres. There is a new high school that is scheduled to open in 2018 right near our property, so there will be a lot of new development in my hometown which is always exciting to me.

What is your favorite food?

That’s tough, but I would have to say anything you can throw on a grill! I have a freezer filled with elk meat so I enjoy marinating it and having a big BBQ with my good friends.

Best book read recently:

The most recent would be The Primal Connection by Mark Sisson. It is about all the factors that go into our lives and how to incorporate more of our ancestral roots to create not just a healthier physical existence but also a more balanced life.

App you couldn’t live without?

Spotify. I love music and being able to access every album of every artist from beginning to end is awesome. They always stay current with new songs, so this app is running every chance I get!

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”- Charles R. Swindoll

What do you like to do in your free time?

I am really big into being outdoors in nature. My favorite things are motocross, snowboarding, wakeboarding, surfing, running/hiking, golfing, bow hunting and fishing. I always enjoy having new experiences so when there is an opportunity, I take it!

Getting to Know Sydney Chong, Intern

113354_Chong_Sydney_1-resizedWorking at Sundt’s corporate headquarters in Tempe, Arizona
Marketing Major, University of Arizona, sophomore

What drew you to Sundt?
I thought this would be a very unique opportunity to work in a marketing department instead of working specifically in a marketing firm. It is giving me the chance to get real world experience learning how to create proposals.

What does a typical day look like for you?
My day starts out with going through my emails, handling invoices, and continuing to work on marketing projects to help support the team.

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I’d like to join a large marketing firm and work upward through the ranks to become a leader in the company.

What is your favorite food?
Asian food! I could eat it all day long, plus there are healthy options available.

Best book read recently:
“Divergent.” I liked the author’s unique spin on a utopian society.

Apps you couldn’t live without?
Instagram and Pinterest.

Favorite quote/inspirational saying?
Not all those who wander are lost – J.R.R. Tolkien

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to watch movies, read, and bake desserts.

Put it in writing!

MikeMoralesBy Mike Morales
Talent Acquisition Specialist

As I have been working on the development and implementation of Sundt’s college recruiting plan for the upcoming fiscal year, I have realized that this is a topic most anyone can relate to. The following tips are helpful not just with the development of recruiting plans, but also  with the creation of individual goals (whether personal or professional), company goals, and mission/vision statements. Take these ideas and tailor them to fit your needs!


Before you get things formalized on paper, make sure to take a good amount of time to brainstorm and put all your thoughts/ideas into one place. You don’t want to hurry through this stage! For me, this was a huge whiteboard in our Phoenix office. For two days, I wrote out every idea/thought that came into my mind. Whether it was outside the box or inside, it went on this whiteboard. By doing this, you can take a look at all your ideas in one place and begin to organize them and collaborate with your team.


After I filled the whiteboard with recruiting processes and strategies, Trevor Gelder, Sundt’ s Director of Talent Acquisition, worked with me to identify ideas we should implement and ideas that shouldn’t make it into my final plan. When you start to have open dialogue about your brainstorming session, typically more ideas will emerge that were even better than your initial ones. This is all thanks to collaboration with your teammates and really zoning in on where you want to take your organization.


Now you need to formalize your hard work. Write it down! Edit your strategies/goals as new ideas arise and timetables change. Again, whether you’re working on your goals for the year, a recruiting plan/strategy, or even a daily “to do” list, make sure you write it down so you can SEE it. Don’t make the common mistake of having great ideas but no execution!

Interview Mishaps: Never Again!

MikeMoralesBy Mike Morales
Talent Acquisition Specialist

Over the last few months, I’ve observed and conducted many interviews with college students, recent graduates, and tenured professionals. In this month’s blog, I’d like to discuss interview mishaps and how to avoid them.

Bring your resume!  And bring 2-3 copies

Believe it or not, I’ve had candidates that show up to interview with no resume in hand. That’s right, NO RESUME! Some of these candidates assume I already have their information on file (which I do), but this is a common courtesy and interviewing standard. If you don’t take the time to print out a resume, how are you going to be dependable when a report needs processing or timely approval? This is a no brainer and will dismiss you from moving forward in the process.

Bottom line: Bring multiple copies of your resume to an interview.

Arrive early

Now, I’m not saying arrive at your 10:00 AM interview at 8:30, but 10-15 minutes early is a very smart idea. For one, you have time to look through your resume, make notes, and read through the questions you have for the company. This is also a good time to interact with the front office personnel (yes, I follow up with the front desk to see how their first impression was as well).

Bottom Line: Arrive 10-15 minutes early for your interview. Plan for traffic and anything else that could set you back!

Research the company

I will typically ask a candidate, “What do you know about Sundt?” during an interview, so be prepared to answer accordingly. I am looking for signs that you did some digging, which shows me you care about the opportunity and are truly interested in Sundt, not just a job. Some common answers I have received include “not too much” or “honestly, I haven’t really looked.” If you want to really impress when this question is asked, research Sundt’s values, mission statement, current openings, projects, and recent news. This will definitely set you apart from the competition!

Bottom Line: Take 30-60 minutes to do some in depth research on the company before your interview. Jot these notes down and reference them at the interview.

Have 3-5 questions prepared

It’s common for an interview to end with, “Do you have any questions for me?” And the answer should always be YES! Most of the time, candidates will say, “Nope, you’ve covered everything.” And I’ll be honest, with my 30-60 minute interviews there is no chance I can cover everything (shocking, but true). Be prepared with questions regarding our culture, organizational structure, employee tenure, career path, etc. Not only does this continue to engage the interviewer, it also shows your preparedness for the interview.

Bottom Line:  Have 3-5 questions prepared to ask the company you are interviewing with. These can be pertaining to culture, career path, etc. 

And last but not least – if you think this is the job for you, ASK FOR IT!

Happy hunting.



Build Your Career With Sundt


Sundt Project Engineers Josh Gray and Michael Miller (from left to right) connected with high schoolers, college students and tradespeople at a recent career event in California.

Are you looking for an internship? Interested in working for Sundt after graduation? Then come see us at an event near you. We’re looking for talented students, graduates and other construction professionals to join our growing team. Please check out our upcoming career events to see which cities and schools we will be visiting throughout the year. We look forward to seeing you and demonstrating that with your career and our company, we can build success together!

LinkedIn: Strategies and Tips





by Michael Morales
Talent Acquisition Specialist

LinkedIn has consistently been a great tool for recruiting, networking, and connecting with our communities. I thought this month we’d discuss strategies for networking and finding your next dream job.


When job searching

  1. Have a professional photograph
    You don’t need to hire a professional photographer, but make sure your picture portrays you in a professional manner. Remember, you are trying to land a job. There’s no need to show off the “five-pound” rainbow trout you caught at Lee’s Ferry, or your best profile pic. Save your extracurricular hobbies and family pictures for other social networks.
  2. Join groups and community job networks
    You can search for jobs in your city, state, county, etc. by zoning in on local groups. If possible, try and join open groups so you can start to engage immediately.
    Join in the discussions, post a question/comment, and link in with other group members also seeking employment. These connections will be helpful once you or another member land a new position. (Referrals, referrals, referrals!)
  3. Use your summary section for good
    Many people on LinkedIn don’t have their summary section filled out. When job searching, it is imperative to have this detailed along with your background. For instance, when I’m searching for quality candidates on LinkedIn, I look for a detailed summary that explains what you are looking for in your next job. Be as specific as you can be, so that when you do receive calls they’ll most likely be for a job that fits with your work history.

Building your network

  1. Create a group
    Whether it’s for job opportunities, getting back in touch, recreation, etc. create an open group. Once created you can send out invites, and members of LinkedIn can also search and join. As the owner of the group, you can send out emails to members, send them invites to your network, and initiate a discussion board. Pretty quickly the group catches momentum and more people will join. Now you have a strong networking circle!
  2. Include a profile link on your email signature
    This is extremely helpful for networking with clients/candidates, and potential employers. After a conversation, send a follow up email that includes a link to your profile. Your connections will continue to grow and once again expand your circle.

Happy hunting!

Job/Career Fairs – Don’t just show up…Engage!









by Michael Morales
Talent Acquisition Specialist

I can remember my first career fair as a job seeker.  All the booths, companies, suits, free pens, etc.  For any job seeker this can be a bit much to take in at first.  Make it easier on yourself with these thoughts/ideas…

  1. Dress to Impress
  2. Engage, Engage, Engage
  3. Standout with your follow up

Dress To Impress

This is probably the easiest to handle out of this list, but yet the quickest to get you disqualified from consideration.  Companies that attend fairs literally see hundreds of job seekers a day, and could tell you with precise accuracy the select few who decided not to dress for the occasion.  Don’t be the job seeker with the graphic tee and skinny jeans!  Dress professionally.  If you don’t own a suit, at the very least wear a nice button down w/ tie and khakis.  Another great professional look would be a sweater vest over your button down shirt and tie.  Keep your shoes shined and a bright smile!  With your professional dress, you’ll increase confidence as well!

Engage, Engage, Engage

Remember why you are at the fair, to engage, network, and to land a position!  It is imperative to research what companies YOU will be targeting at the fair, and plan your attack accordingly.  Do you have time to meet all the companies?  Do you NEED to meet all the companies?  Which companies fit with your goals?  Once you have this list, take time to do your research (What representative is at the fair? What jobs are posted on their website?  What are the recent news events that happened with the company?) and make sure to engage appropriately.  It always stands out who has done their homework, and who is “winging” it.  Don’t be the latter.

Standout with your follow up

Ok.  You did it.  You dressed up, you engaged, and now it’s time to follow up.  However you are not sending a traditional email that reads something like “Mike, thank you again for taking the time to meet with me at XYZ fair.  I hope to hear from you soon.”  Put some thought into this follow up!  What will I remember about you at the fair?  What did we discuss that stood out to both of us?  Was it your love of fly fishing?  That you’re a fellow alumni of Northern Illinois?  You have a relative that works for Sundt?  Whatever it may have been, remember to include that in your call or email.  This will help continue to build our rapport and hopefully land you a new position!

Thanks and good luck in your search!

College Job Seekers – New Grads


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

Don’t wait until after graduation to start your job search.  Being on campus means you have many opportunities to learn about and get in front of potential employers. Internships are the most obvious way you can get involved with various companies, but there are other ways to help you network in your industry, as well:

  • Associations
  • Clubs
  • Competitions
  • Volunteering

Watch for events that companies of interest are sponsoring or even just attending.  Many larger companies provide sponsorships to help the university and further programs relating to their industry – and most important to you as a job-seeker – they do this to find out who the top performers and potential hires are.  Often, associations or clubs have special events for the industry, and attending these functions helps you to be seen and get to know people.  Volunteer opportunities can also put you side by side with people who can have an impact on hiring.

Competition for both internships and entry-level positions are fierce, and hiring managers are deluged with applicants with very similar knowledge and resumes.  A word from a colleague about their experience working or interacting with you will differentiate you and give you the leg up needed to land the job.

The Importance of Integrity: The Story of a Desperate Job-Seeker


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

I have a friend who has been trying to find permanent work for a couple of years now. He came to me and asked for my help, and we worked together to come up with a plan. We set up a LinkedIn account and started him down the networking path. To make a long story short, he connected with a great recruiter who connected him with a fabulous opportunity. It was actually the highest salary he had ever made and was a great position. Unfortunately, he made a few errors of integrity that ultimately got him fired after only a few weeks.

While there were a few problems, the root of them was dishonesty that caused his employer to question his integrity very early on.  In the interview, the company asked if he had dependable transportation. He didn’t, but he was so desperate for a job that he said yes. In his mind, he justified the answer because he planned on using his first check as a down payment on a car, so it would only be a few weeks before he really did have dependable transportation. He also said he lived within an easily commutable distance. The fact of the matter was he was staying with me almost an hour away from the office, but again, he planned on moving to a new place as soon as he had a few checks under his belt. So he felt like his answer was “almost” true.

And so it went. He didn’t see any of these issues as long-term problems – and they probably wouldn’t have been issues at all. However, because he wasn’t honest about his transportation and living situations – which were short-term and temporary – he put himself in a bad position. Instead of him being the one to explain his situations in a positive light, his manager uncovered the truth when he saw my friend’s address and realized how far it was and noticed him out in the company parking lot working on the junker he was driving. This caused the manager to question my friend’s integrity; and the first time something went wrong on the job, the manager offered no second chances.

Had my friend been honest from the start, he could have turned most of those things into pluses for his new employer. Here are some responses that would have allowed my friend to maintain his integrity without compromising his position with the employer:

“I just moved to town and don’t have a permanent place yet.  I wanted to wait on securing a permanent address until I found a job so I could locate nearby to offer the most flexibility.”

“The car I have right now is not much, but I wanted to wait and see what position I take so the vehicle I end up with works well for my needs. I will be putting a down payment on one with my first paycheck.”

A straightforward approach would have demonstrated flexibility, let the potential manager know my friend had a plan and would not have called into question his integrity.

More links on Lying:

Interviewing Tips: Are You Coming Across as High Maintenance?


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

When considering a job move and looking at salary and benefits packages, are your motivations aligned with the company?  What is most important to you? Are you focused on finding a job where you will be challenged and successful or is the primary motivator the size of the base salary? The questions you ask in the interviewing process can often reveal your true motivations.

We hire a number of engineers in the construction industry, and we often utilize spreadsheets to help present information in a manner that will be most comfortable to their eye and sensibilities. In some cases, we have received thoughtful questions and responses focused on the contents of the spreadsheet, but we occasionally receive questions and critique about the format, formulas employed, highlighting presented, and many other tangential items. Is it better to be right or happily employed? Maybe waiting on those critiques until after the new job begins is a better strategy.

Here’s a video that touches on interviewing basics:

How to Maximize Your Opportunities

by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

In order to maximize your potential to secure a job, you have to consider just three things: Location, Location and Location!

Relocation: Employees who open themselves up to go where a company needs them most can typically increase their odds of being hired and growing more quickly within the company. If you look at the resumes of a company’s senior management staff, more often than not you will see they have moved around the country – and sometimes around the world – for their employer.  If you do need to relocate, there are a number of great tools online to help you in the process; here is just one of the many available:

Travel:  In the construction industry, having the ability to travel and work on projects in large geographic areas can give you a leg up on your competition. From an employer’s perspective that makes you more versatile and valuable. If all other things are equal, that could be the one thing that moves you into the lead.

Flexibility: Do you possess a “Can Do” spirit? When employees show they will do what it takes to take care of their customers and make things work for their employers, they set themselves apart. Are you flexible? Do you work things around your job or your job around your personal life? A good work/life balance is important, but if your personal requirements start to become a problem, your manager has to find a solution; you may be tipping that balance too far and in the wrong direction. In that case, if you are unable to be available when it counts and refuse to work with the company’s needs, you may find yourself passed over in favor of someone who doesn’t have those issues.

Social Networking and the Job Search: Problems & Opportunities


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

As with anything, there are pros and cons to using social networking in your search for a new job. Here’s a closer look at some of the problems and opportunities posted by these venues.

Problem: While social networking is growing as a sourcing tool for many companies, there are dangers to using them in your job search. The obvious one is your buddies posting those embarrassing pictures of that college party you went to when you were 20. Those fun memories can paint a picture of you that is not at all reflective of the “professional” you. While you have control what you place on your page, you have little control of what pops up in the tagging process and privacy settings of others – which leaves you vulnerable.

Problem: A second drawback to relying too heavily on social networks is that, while companies are more accepting now than ever before, the majority of employers still have sites like Facebook blocked in the workplace. That means there’s no advantage to linking your resume to your closely-manicured and well-maintained Facebook profile; therefore, I would recommend that you not place your social networking links into your resume.

Opportunity: Networking is an asset for any job search, and Facebook offers a great way to maintain relationships and stay in contact. The site makes it easy to reach out to your friends and ask for assistance without putting them on the spot.

Opportunity: As a job seeker you have to explore every route you can. While Facebook has its drawbacks, any source that lends well to networking has the potential to be valuable in your job search. That being said, professional networking sites like LinkedIn or job boards are preferable to Facebook because they are specifically designed for professional networking, minimize risk, and allow you greater access and control over your job search.

If you jump on the social marketing bandwagon, please feel free to check us out:

Sundt on Facebook –

Sundt on Twitter –!/sundt

Let us know what you think!

Research & Preparation: Essential Ingredients for a Successful Job Search


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

You don’t have to become an expert on a company before you interview with them, but you do want to do some research ahead of time. One of my first questions in interviewing candidates is, “Tell me what you already know about the company and what general questions you have about our business.”

It is really surprising to me when I talk to people who have applied for a position with us, but haven’t even bothered to read the information we included in our job posting, let alone take a look at our website. If you apply for a position, you should at least know who the company is and what business they are in. If you are called in for an interview, then you want to do enough research to understand what the company does, a little about the culture and what accomplishments the company is proud about – all fairly easy to find on a company’s website.

If you have done that research it will come across in an interview. Coming to an interview without any knowledge of the company signals that you are not serious about or committed to building a career with this company.

Joining a new company is a long term relationship, and frequent job changes hurt your future prospects. So be sure to take time to find out if the company you’re considering is one you could spend your career with.

The Truth Matters: Why Lying on Your Resume Doesn’t Pay Off in the Long Run


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

Everybody exaggerates on their resumes, don’t they? According to Steven D. Levitt, coauthor of Freakonomics and a renowned economics professor at the University of Chicago, research estimates that 50 percent of resumes include inflated job titles, fabricated dates or companies on employment histories, degrees not actually obtained, experience not gained, and more. Most companies conduct background checks and verify degrees and previous employment dates and titles.

If you are up for taking the risk, though, lying might help you get the job initially; and if you’re desperate for work, it is tempting to say you can do anything you are asked about. But when it’s discovered you really don’t have the experience you said you did, do you really want to be out of work again in a few months and back in this desperate situation again, only now with a damaged reputation and one more short tenure on your resume? In life, just as in baseball, you only get so many strikes and you just used most of yours before you even started your job.

Instead, be honest and show that, while you may not have specific experience, you have related and transferrable experience. Also, show how you have demonstrated the ability to learn new things quickly and cite specific instances when you have done so.

If you don’t get the job, keep in mind that you don’t really want a job you aren’t qualified for, as it will just bring you and your employer trouble.

More links on Lying:

Resume Writing: Is it Worth Hiring a Professional?


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

Having your resume professionally done can be a great benefit. I believe that many construction superintendents can particularly benefit from a professional resume. In my years in recruitment, I have seen more very talented superintendents under-represented by weak resumes than any other group.  I believe this is because many superintendents have been educated in the field. The ability to write papers, good spelling and grammar are not critical skills for a superintendent the way they are in most office jobs. Unfortunately, writing a good resume that really represents you well is challenging, even for people with good writing skills. As more superintendents become better educated the competition in this field – and the importance of an impressive resume – will continue to increase. These issues aren’t unique to superintendents, as I have seen many resumes from high-level executives with typos and errors.

Your resume is your main marketing tool in your job search. Therefore, it is a very good idea to have your resume professionally done if your writing skills are not as strong as those you are competing against for the job. Everyone should try to find someone who has decent writing skills to proof their resume and run it through a spell checker.

A poor resume can cost you a job, and even if you get the job it may affect how much your offer is.  One quick caveat, however: Make sure your professional resume writer knows your industry, writes in a voice that is genuine to you, and does truly know how to write a good resume.


Differentiating Your Most Important Qualities


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

When presenting yourself through a resume, you always need to keep asking, “What’s really important and what’s fluff?” Recruiters already know, as they see thousands of resumes. You want your resume to tell us why you are a fit and then offer evidence to back it up.  I could tell you that I am a true leader and I am exceptionally productive, but that’s all fluff; it means nothing without support. Tell us what you’ve done in previous jobs to demonstrate or prove your leadership qualities, and you’ll be getting closer to what we look for. If you are seeking to advance your construction career, one good way to show what you have done is to provide your project list, listing the job titles and responsibilities you held for each of them.

Additionally, I recommend you:


Resume Do’s and Dont’s


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

When it comes to your resume, there are a few things to bear in mind: Keep it simple, and ask yourself, are you getting a return on the investment on your resume space?

  • Objective:  Why? Is it really valuable? If you applied for a construction superintendent spot and your objective says your objective is to find a job as a construction superintendent, your objective doesn’t add any value to the resume. Worse yet, if it says something other than what you applied for, it could hurt your chances of securing an interview. If it doesn’t add value, leave it off.
  • References available on request:  Why? Do you think the employer would assume you would not have references? Again this is an old tradition that adds no value to your resume. Leave it off. If you are asked in for an interview, then bring a separate page of references with you at that stage.
  • Readability: Is it easy to read? I can’t tell you how many resumes I have received that I have to decipher. The harder it is to read, the greater the chance you will be overlooked. The really hard-to-read resumes often get set aside and are only examined if we don’t find a great candidate in the easy-to-read resume pile.


  1. Don’t use all caps.
  2. Don’t bold everything.
  3. Don’t try to fill every inch of white space.
  4. Don’t use a tiny font just to make it fit on fewer pages.
  5. Don’t use fanciful fonts.
  6. Don’t cut and paste the same responsibilities into each company.
  7. Don’t use a ton of acronyms. Even if the acronyms are widely used in your industry, your resume may go through the hands of people who aren’t “in the field” and won’t recognize them. Worse yet, they may think they mean something else. We recently filled an IT Director position, as I read through the resumes for potential candidates I kept reading on how the implemented ERP. In IT that means  “Enterprise Resource Planning,” but in HR that means an Employee Retention Plan. Keep in mind acronyms can also be departmental, company- specific or regional.
  8. Don’t rely on the import function on a job board to make sure your resume looks correct. Check and clean it up as necessary.
  9. Don’t get overly technical or detailed when describing your position, especially if the duties are fairly typical of the position.
  10. Definitely DO NOT include: age, marital status, race, height, weight (yes, people do this), number of children, church affiliation, photo.

Another great article that may help is here:

After the Interview


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

You’ve made it through the interview… Now what? How to follow-up? It is always good form to send a quick thank-you e-mail, as it offers a great opportunity to add details about something you discussed or make a comment about something you learned in the interview. Make your note quick and simple, but also show that you were paying attention.

Next, how long do you wait before you check back with the employer? This is a great question best asked at the end of your interview. If you ask when they expect to make a decision or when the next step would be, you will generally get a good time frame for your call and it will help you to get through the waiting anxiety. If they say it will be two weeks, then wait two weeks. If you haven’t heard back by then, it would be appropriate to call or e-mail and check on the status. But do not go overboard.

What does going overboard look like? I had one candidate I interviewed by phone. At the end of the call, I told him that the manager who would be interviewing him next was out of the office until the following Tuesday and I would contact him after that. Regardless, this candidate called me several times before the manager was back, and was not willing to leave a message, so he would call every 10 minutes until I answered. He also called several other people in the office and told them he was following up, making it sound as if I wasn’t keeping him informed. By the time the manager got back, the candidate had changed my recommendation 100 percent. Initially, I thought he was a great fit for the job, but now I could see he was high maintenance before we even got him on board – not to mention that he created problems among my coworkers. He had a great shot at the job, but he blew it.

Bring it! The Interview is a two-way street:


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

Every interview is a stressful event. Candidates want to make the best possible impression and potentially get a foot in the door of a great company and launch a lasting career. Nervous energy abounds, tongues tie, palms sweat. But most candidates don’t consider that it’s also stressful for the interviewer. Not all hiring managers interview on a daily or weekly basis. They study resumes, prepare the perfect questions and take deep breaths just like you. They have the pressure to find the absolute best candidate while not asking the wrong questions, not talking too much, not making the wrong assumptions, etc.

The best thing a candidate can do is have some questions ready so the interview becomes a conversation. Don’t just wait until the end when you are asked if you have questions. Instead, consider the entire interview an opportunity to let the interviewer know that you keep up with news and current events, are aware of the company’s important markets and have researched industry trends and happenings.

What’s the best way to interject? One way would be to say, “I understand from your company’s website that you plan to move further into healthcare markets. Do you anticipate the new federal legislation on healthcare initiatives will affect that effort?” Or, “I hear you are at the forefront of sustainability efforts, can you describe some of the specific green initiatives the company has embraced?”

Posing questions to the interviewer will allow him or her to share information about what they know best – their company and their expertise – which relaxes the interviewer, takes the pressure off of you and also helps you gauge if this is a person you can relate to – and could work with – on a daily basis.

When Do We Talk About Money?


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

Money is one of the toughest issues to deal with both as a job-seeker and as an employer.  As an employer, we have a specific wage range allotted for the position in question that we need to abide by. If a candidate’s salary requirements significantly exceed that, it is better to know that up front and not waste everyone’s time.  The catch here is that a candidate needs to be careful to not put too much emphasis on money early in the process. A ballpark range is great; both sides will then know there is potential and moving forward is worthwhile.

The danger: Some candidates actually lose the job for themselves during the ballpark range discussion. In the beginning of the interview process, an employer wants to know you’re interested in the company, the cultural fit, the benefits, the retirement program, the opportunity for learning and development – things interesting to a person who wants to make a long-term home with the company.  If money is your main concern, the company is going to assume that you’re someone who will jump ship if and when another organization offers you a few more dollars.

So, when do you talk about money? After the ballpark discussion, money should be tabled until the employer brings it up again. Normally the company won’t bring up salary again unless they think you would be a good fit for their needs. Having gotten to know you better through the interviewing process, the company can better assess your value. In turn, you now have a better idea of what the job entails and requires, so you will also have a better idea of what you would need to make it work, based on the entire package, from compensation to working environment.

When you do address money, take as many factors into account as you can – some jobs have a lower base but a great 401(K) match or more bonus potential. Companies that have employee ownership programs have long-term income potential that should also be considered. What is supplied by the company? A company vehicle can save you a tremendous amount of money over supplying your own. We generally value that at around $10,000 per year when you consider gas, maintenance, insurance, etc. If the company supplies a cell phone, a laptop, etc., such amenities can add to the value of your position. Vacation time counts as well, as does the amount of time you need to wait before your benefits kick in, and whether your family can participate in the available benefits programs. All of these play into the overall value of the offer. On the flip side, don’t get lost in the value of a benefit either.

Money will always be a challenge because it affects so many things, but be honest about what you make and what you think you would need to move. Make sure the move is worth making for many more reasons than just money. Your job is too big a part of your life and your overall happiness to waste it just chasing dollars.

What should I wear to an interview?


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

The easiest way to figure out how to dress is to ask about the standard office attire when you are contacted for an interview. Keep in mind, too, that the term “business casual” can mean different things at different offices. At some companies is may mean no jeans or flip flops but everything else is OK. To other companies it could mean that you don’t have to wear a tie with your dress slacks and dress shirt. Play it safe and ask questions while setting up the interview.

I suggest dressing just a step above the norm for the office. If people typically wear slacks and a dress shirt, then add a tie for your interview. You want to look sharp and also make sure nothing you are wearing stands out so much that it shifts the interviewers’ attention away from you being a fit for the position. In short, be conservative. Women should avoid short skirts and extremely high heels, as an interview isn’t the time to be trendy. While you may rock out the piercings and sleeve tattoos on the weekends, don’t let them define you during the interview. Opt for long sleeves and definitely keep the sneakers in the closet. You want the interviewers to be able to see the value you can bring to the company, not the value of your clothes or personal style.

Are you a Serial Applier?


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

Have you sent more than three resumes to the same company for multiple job openings in the course of one month? Have you submitted even more applications than that to the same company? If so, you may be a serial applier.

You may have done your homework and feel this company is a great fit for you. You may even have friends or relatives working there who encourage you to do the same. Unfortunately, however, the “if at first you don’t succeed, apply again…and again” tactic wears very thin on recruiters – it’s almost the corporate equivalent of stalking.

Sometimes companies help interested candidates stay informed about new job openings through automated email alerts. Upon receiving an alert, you may feel the need to submit your resume in case the recruiters didn’t fully consider your qualifications and experience last week (when you applied for two other positions). A word of advice: Please practice restraint. Recruiters do look closely at your resume, and they often flag candidates with the potential to fill a future position. Recruiters don’t always know what’s on the horizon for hiring needs, but most have a general idea of where the company is heading and what the needs will be, so they often work proactively and anticipate. If you truly want to work for a company and are a good fit, it’s better for you to trust that process than wear out your welcome.

I have all the qualifications listed, why am I not being interviewed?


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

From what you can tell, you’re perfect for the position. But you haven’t been called for an interview and you’re wondering why. Truth is, there are several possible explanations – and typically they don’t have anything to do with the qualifications listed in the job description.

Most companies try to minimize turnover. Let’s face it – hiring a new employee is expensive. By the time you add up the recruiting costs, personnel costs, training costs and the lost productivity, the dollar amount can easily exceed an employee’s annual salary.

As recruiters, it is our job to screen for signs that a candidate may be seeking a change for the wrong reasons, has a track record of excessive job changes or just doesn’t seem to be able to make it past the “honeymoon” phase.

What do we look for? There is no better prediction of the future than history, so we review each resume and try to see what it is really saying. If a candidate has left every job they have ever had after two years, we can predict they will likely stay with us for two years. On the flip side, if a candidate has stayed with one company for 20 years and then has several short jobs, we can predict that while the person has shown the capacity to stay for the long haul, he or she may have trouble adjusting to a new culture. If we see a candidate who has worked at a number of companies for a year or two at a time, then working for him/herself for a long stint, then back to corporate positions for more short stays, chances are good that the candidate wants/needs to be the boss and may have some issues working with teams.

Sometimes, all of this history makes us dig deeper, and sometimes, unfortunately, it eliminates you.

What can you do? Honesty is the best policy, so don’t doctor your resume. Like your credit history, there is no quick fix for your work history. You need to work hard to make good decisions when going to work for a company. Is the culture right for you? Is the company stable? Does the position really fit your personality?

Once you do get a job, don’t be tempted by that green grass on the other side of the fence. Rather, keep a positive attitude, treat people with respect and concentrate on being a great asset to your employer.  Hang in there when times get tough, and you can reduce any perceived risks that could be associated with hiring you in the future.

Cool Resume Tool – there’s an app for that!


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

LinkedIn Profile Resume Builder is a really cool application that uses your LinkedIn Profile to build a resume.

This tool helps ensure that your online profile and resume are sending a consistent message. Why does this matter? Occasionally I will find a profile on LinkedIn that I really like, only to get a completely different picture of the candidate when the resume rolls in.

Your job search is about marketing yourself. In short, you are selling you. If there is a discrepancy about what is true about you, it can be tough to recover. That’s why it’s important to make sure you aren’t telling different stories in different places.

How to Research Potential Employers


by Trevor Gelder, Corporate Director
Talent Acquisition and Deployment

As you look for a new job, it’s important that you do your due diligence. It’s extremely important that you know if the company – including its values, culture and expertise – is a good fit for you and vice versa.

- Check out the company website. Explore the type of work they do, try to learn what is important to them. What is the culture? What are the ethical standards? You want to make sure the company meets your expectations in terms of working environment and values – and that you can meet the company’s expectations in turn. If ethics are very important to the company, you’re going to want to give an example of how you have demonstrated ethical behavior in the past. If the company builds health care facilities and you have worked on hospital construction projects, be sure to let them know. All that’s to say, doing this research helps you figure out whether a company is a good fit and how you can best position yourself as a good hire.

- Don’t rely on the company website as your only source of information. Remember the company controls its messaging 100 percent and only shares what it wants. Spend some time online researching the company – taking time to check out industry-related rankings, media write-ups and more to get a sense of what it is known for.

Ask around! People are your biggest resources, so find out what your industry colleagues, friends and social networking connections have to say about this company. For more information on researching a potential employer, visit