We’re pleased to announce that Ryan Abbott, formerly Sundt’s science and technology group leader, has been promoted to Southwest business development manager. In his new role, Ryan is responsible for managing the company’s design-build, CM at Risk and public/private partnership pursuits of vertical building projects throughout the Southwest.
Ryan began his career at Sundt more than 13 years ago as a field engineer, working his way through every level of project management, from the design phase through completion. He has played a key role on many notable Sundt projects, including the $112 million Arizona State University (ASU) Interdisciplinary Science & Technology Building 4 in Tempe; the $87 million Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona; and the $109 million Biodesign Institute (Buildings A and B) at ASU in Tempe.
We recently asked Ryan a few questions to get to know him better.
What are your goals in your new position?
Sundt provides its customers with fantastically predictable building solutions they can build their businesses on. I want to provide that value at a much greater scale.
Tell us about a current trend in laboratory construction.
Team-based research: Modern science is a team sport. In order to have the built-in capacity to adopt new research approaches as soon as they become available, you need an array of specialized team members housed in an adaptive, connected, responsive laboratory.
Where do you see the most potential for growth in the Southwest’s construction economy?
The population will continue to grow at an increasing rate. Companies will continue to move to the Southwest for its low operating costs and low risk of natural disasters. Healthcare services and the bioscience industry are also pillars of growth. Since 2002 the job growth in these sectors in the Southwest has been three times the national average.
What might you be doing if you weren’t working in construction?
I decided long ago that I’d have a tangible product for my life’s work. You’d never find me too far from construction. I even went so far as to marry my favorite architect.
What’s the most interesting book you’ve read lately?
I’ve been reading Michael Lewis lately. The Big Short (about those who profited from the financial crises of ‘07-’10), Liar’s Poker (an autobiographical account of Lewis’s days selling bonds on Wall Street), Moneyball (how the Oakland Athletics, under manager Billy Beane, redefined the game of baseball by using analytics instead of the conventional wisdom of scouts). Each of these books is shocking, revolutionary and unexpectedly inspiring.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I’m a big fan of endurance sports: running, biking and hiking. You can find me most mornings running the greenbelt and most weekends on my bike. I have three sons whom I strive to keep up with.
Where would you most like to travel?
South America is next on the list: Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Machu Picchu.
Do you have a favorite inspirational saying or idea?
I’m a huge fan of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism: Follow reason, not whims or faith; Work hard to achieve a life of purpose and productiveness; Earn genuine self-esteem; Pursue your own happiness as your highest moral aim; Prosper by treating others as individuals; and trade value for value.
What’s your favorite sport, either to play or to watch?
Several years ago I’d have unequivocally answered baseball. Recently I’ve gotten into marathons, and in the future I see myself doing long course triathlons.
What’s your favorite app at the moment?
Definitely the Podcast App on which I subscribe to NPR’s Planet Money, Freakonomics Radio, This American Life, and Radiolab … to name a few.