The VIA Stone Oak Park & Ride team stands in front of its safe project.
This is the best kind of perfect score.
Sundt’s work at the Stone Oak Park & Ride for VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio recently earned a perfect safety score. Every month, our local safety task forces perform peer-to-peer inspections on projects. The inspections are long checklists of safety issues that are reviewed and scored. Noncompliance problems or hazards count against the score.
Each project is rated against a standard criteria each month. There also is a safety task force meeting each month where the photos taken during safety walks are reviewed by all task force members to make sure we capture the lessons learned.
“VIA’s perfect score was a first for the project and it is not real common on these inspections,” said Texas District Manager Eric Hedlund.
In keeping with our Safety By Choice culture, we celebrate this success and thank our employee-owners for their commitment to safety excellence.
Drones are being used more and more often on construction sites these days and Sundt’s projects are no exception. Much of our drone work is happening in California and Texas, including the CPS Energy Headquarters in San Antonio. In this video, Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Jonathan Ammon explains how the technology is being used to provide client value on the project.
Senior Estimator Rudy Barba recently joined Sundt in our El Paso office, bringing 27 years of experience in commercial estimating. He provides preconstruction support and builds relationships with clients, their design teams and subcontractors.
Rudy grew up following his dad, a superintendent, around jobsites, and began his career in trade roles including laborer, carpenter, ironworker and rod buster. He earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso.
He is a Certified Professional Estimator and president of El Paso Chapter 40, American Society of Professional Estimators.
What have you been doing in your first few weeks with Sundt?
My first few weeks have been spent in ongoing learning and training of Sundt procedures and systems. I have taken part in two hard bid proposals. In El Paso, I have been heavily involved helping finalize subcontract awards. For future opportunities, we are meeting with the City of El Paso on a soon-to-be-signed contract. There is also a private owner/developer we are meeting with on a future mixed-use project.
We have a lot of work going in El Paso. How busy has this been keeping you?
I am very busy and look to be that way for the next few years helping procure and maintain cost control on projects. It is very exciting and being so busy helps keep me out of trouble.
How much does your knowledge of the local market help you do your job?
Knowing the El Paso market is crucial to being able to generate accurate budgets and estimates. I believe it has and will continue to add to our preconstruction team’s ability to procure more work in this region. It is also very good that the local owners, subcontractors and suppliers know they have a good, trustworthy, in-town team that is readily available to speak on a face-to-face daily basis.
What was the most important thing you learned from your dad?
The most important lessons I learned from my dad are God-first, not only to always ask for his help but never forget to thank him for everything. Trials and success, all are a blessing. You love doing for others at work, in the family, for the church, for friends and the community. In everything he did, he gave a small blessing with the sign of the cross saying, “En el nombre de Dios,” which translates to “In the name of God.” He taught always to learn, to always be better than yourself the day before and to pass/teach your knowledge to others.
What are your favorite things to do away from work?
Be with family or friends making new memories and reminiscing. I enjoy being a band booster and roadie for my youngest son Gabriel’s Jefferson Silva High School Marching Band. I also enjoying working out at the gym and someday will make time for my favorite pastimes: playing golf and fishing.
Every once in a while I have a client or colleague ask questions along the lines of, “So … are you the business development person over there … or a project person … or …. ?” Whenever this happens, my response is always, “Both.”
The reality is, the way the construction industry captures new and continuing business has evolved significantly over the past 20 years. Back then, someone would win the project and someone else would execute the work, occasionally creating a lack of continuity that frustrated clients. Now, we are living in a time and place when the “doer-seller” model is making a big comeback. Why is that?
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when qualifications-based selection became available as an option for delivering publicly funded construction projects, the industry responded by creating positions that were dedicated to creating and implementing strategies for winning that work. Fast forward to today and an entire generation of experienced project personnel has come up through the business with a deep understanding that their ability to provide a high level of service to clients has a direct impact on where and when the next project will come. Organically, we have demystified the business of getting new work and spread the responsibilities among our ranks.
So, how does this change manifest itself? The mantra, “We are ALL in business development,” gets repeated within our walls regularly. We have all but eliminated the position of Business Development Manager, relying instead on a legion of Project Directors, Project Executives and Regional Directors to form the core leadership of our business development efforts. Our dedicated BD staff is able to focus heavily on creating opportunities for our front-line people to engage with future clients.
The results all benefit our customers:
Our customers develop relationships with people who have the ability to deliver personally on the commitments they make, and the authority to effect change when it’s needed.
Our front-line project leadership has firsthand knowledge of our customers’ priorities, concerns, goals and overall conditions of success over the lifecycle of a project.
Every person at Sundt is motivated to seek out the projects that create the best builder-customer fit because we are the ones who will be called upon to execute those projects with excellence and tenacity.
I love this evolution and I love seeing my peers embrace it. There is nothing more satisfying than watching a project grow from a dream to an idea to a design to a plan to a building that I can drive by and be proud of.
For more information on a career with Sundt, please click here.
Our San Pedro Creek job site after 4 inches of rain hit the area, causing several feet of water to gather.
When it rains, it pours at Sundt’s San Pedro Creek job site in San Antonio. Good thing we have plans in place.
Our team knew going into the project that we would have to deal with rain on a regular basis since the west side of downtown San Antonio drains into San Pedro Creek. A small half-inch rain event causes 2 feet of water in the channel.
The same site two days later as our crews went back to work after the water drained.
There’s virtually no flexibility in the schedule. Our work has to be complete in time for the city’s 300th anniversary celebration next May 5.
“We don’t have the ability to ask for more time,” said Senior Project Manager Chad Yount. “So we developed a plan. “When our employee-owners are given a challenge they come up with great solutions that keep our projects moving forward,” Chad said.
Dealing with excessive rainfall was addressed during preconstruction. The last block of Phase 1 Segment 1 is 8 feet below the existing channel, creating a dam at the end of the project. To solve the problem, the team over-excavated the area by 1 foot and placed filter fabric and drain rock which creates a working surface during minor rain events.
A 6-inch perforated pipe was installed down the middle of the channel below the drain rock which conveys the water to a 6-foot diameter casing that sits 6 feet below the surface. Within this casing, a 6-inch submersible pump is set to turn on and off by a float system reducing the labor costs. As water enters the channel, it drains through the rock to the perforated pipe and into the 6-foot diameter casing. The floats then automatically trigger the 6-inch pump to turn on, sending water over the “dam” and downstream.
The system was tested Aug. 8 when 4 inches of rain fell in four hours. Part of the site ended up under 11 feet of water. With the system in place, the water was pumped out by the next morning and crews were back at work a day later. Without the system in place, work would have been shut down for almost a week.