Dave Fleming, Sundt’s Vice President and Corporate Director of Dispute Resolution and Corporate Director of Ethics and Compliance, recently earned the American Institute of Constructors Stephen P. Byrne Award. The honor is given annually to an individual who supports the advancement of constructor certification.
Dave’s primary responsibilities at Sundt are contract oversight and strategic support for the company’s operating divisions. Prior to his current position, he served as Operations Manager for the company’s Texas and Federal projects. He has worked at Sundt since 2003 and prior to that spent eight years consulting for the company. Before joining Sundt, Dave was Executive Vice President of Operations for a Texas-based contractor.
Dave has spent 40 years in the industry and holds a bachelor’s degree in Building Construction from Texas A&M University.
How surprised were you to win the award?
This award was a total surprise to me when I was informed by AIC. I never expected the award because I was just doing what was right and helpful to the industry and for student-level certification of construction graduates.
What do you believe were your best qualifications to be considered for the award?
I had been working very hard on transforming the student AIC testing, called the AC or Associate Certification, which is given twice annually at more than 75 colleges and universities within the U.S. and in the past was given internationally at universities with Construction Education programs. The testing helps universities obtain their certification requirements for higher education.
You knew Stephen Byrne. How much more meaningful does that make this honor?
Steve and I were classmates at Texas A&M in the mid-’70s. We knew each other a long, long time. Steve was a very big advocate of AIC and the certification of construction programs. He sat on certification reviews for many colleges in his years of service. He understood clearly that students in construction were the first level on making our industry a professional level of membership. He taught at A&M for many years after a successful business career in the Austin area. Steve talked me into becoming involved with AIC at a national level and I am a better person for his leadership in this area. We lost Steve suddenly three years ago and AIC and I lost a great friend. To have been named to receive this award given in Steve’s name is a great honor, and I hope to live up to helping more construction students and professionals achieve their personal goals as a result.
While this is an individual award, it also says something about the team with which you work. How much did having great co-workers assist you in winning?
It starts, as it should, at the top. CEO Dave Crawford and former CEO Doug Pruitt promoted professionalism in the company. They have encouraged all employees to advance their careers by obtaining more education and professional certifications. Sundt has led the nation in numbers of people who have obtained their AIC Certified Professional Constructor designation. If you’re a builder, you should want to achieve the CPC, just like Engineers want to be Professional Engineers or Architects want to be Registered Architects. Many Sundt employees have obtained this level of designation, and many of them started in field operations and are now superintendents. The CPC is for any industry person willing to study and pass a CPC exam. I am very proud of the professional builders at Sundt who elected to obtain CPCs and have taken the time to obtain those personal credentials they will carry for their entire careers.
How much does winning an award like this inspire you to keep doing what you’re doing?
Being nationally recognized as a leader in our industry is a rare event and makes me want to leave this place better than when I came. I will continue to work to improve the industry and Sundt in this area until I am done and sit down to toast a drink and look back at all the years of trying to help improve the program, the industry and Sundt as a company.
How much pride do you take in representing Sundt as the Stephen P. Byrne Industry Achievement Award winner?
I am just the representative of all Sundt CPCs who have been on this journey. I thank Doug and Dave for the motivation for every Sundt person who has obtained certification and look forward to our current President, Mike Hoover, and others continuing the effort in education and personal excellence in the future. Sundt is a great place to be. Having helped Sundt since 1991, it shows that my 20-plus years of consulting and as an employee has been a great journey. Learning from good people is a lifelong adventure at Sundt.