Sundt is committed to hiring a diverse workforce and we are constantly looking for chances to employ the industry’s best people and introduce others to exciting opportunities within construction. As we start 2016, we are proud to introduce a series in our blog and on social media that will provide insights into accomplishments made by our company’s veterans and women while highlighting successful careers and opportunities available in our industry. We’re proud of our diverse culture and thankful for each employee-owner’s contributions. Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as we celebrate the things that make Sundt an employer of choice where people thrive in a culture of diversity.
Sundt Employee-Owner Justin Foster was in the Marine Corps from November 2000 until December 2008. He was a mortar man in an Infantry Battalion and did two tours in Iraq. He started with Sundt as a Laborer not long after leaving the Corps before being promoted to Foreman. After taking night school classes for two years using the GI Bill, he qualified to become a Field Engineer.
What did you do when you were with the Marine Corps?
My main job in the infantry was forward observer. The job consists of patrolling in a small group to a hidden area and locating targets. After my last deployment, I was a Marine Combat Instructor teaching everything about infantry to Marines who were fresh out of boot camp.
How does your Marine Corps service help you in your day-to-day activities with Sundt?
The Marines definitely made me organized. I constantly walk around the jobsite getting things organized and making sure the site is maintained at all times. My Marine skills don’t really cross over to being a Field Engineer but there are many traits I use daily that I used while in the service that help me at Sundt.
Why should veterans consider careers in construction?
I didn’t want to do construction when I got out of the military but am glad today that I made the choice. It’s fast-paced and very interesting and I learn something new every day. I could never be behind a desk all day. It’s such an awesome thing to see something start out as a dirt lot and, a few years later, it’s a fully functioning water treatment plant. Pretty amazing stuff happens to get to the end of a job.
What are some unique qualities that veterans bring to the workforce?
A very important quality that veterans bring is responsibility. Veterans were put into situations that require responsible decisions in pressure situations. Most of the veterans I’ve worked with while at Sundt are natural leaders. Veterans are very good at learning new skills in stressful situations, which is a plus when working in a fast-paced career like construction.
How often do you meet other veterans on jobsites?
I’ve been with Sundt for over seven years and have met or known of several veterans at jobsites. I don’t have to talk to a person to know he or she is a veteran. You can usually tell by how they carry themselves and their work ethic.
How much of a commitment do you see Sundt making to hiring veterans?
I believe Sundt is very committed to hiring veterans and I think that is amazing. Veterans have really put a lot on the line in their military career and it’s awesome that Sundt is committed to hiring vets. Though not all the skills veterans have taken from the military align with construction, I believe Sundt understands veterans are hard-working, motivated, responsible and willing to learn the skills to help Sundt be successful.
No one will ever say he or she is a former member of the Marine Corps. Do you feel like it’s a bond for life, even after your service has been completed?
It’s very true that “Once a Marine Always a Marine” is engraved in my life forever. I don’t flaunt myself as a Marine but I carry myself as one. It’s a huge bond and will make a man or woman out of you in a real hurry. I communicate and sometimes meet up with my brothers and would give them the world if needed. It was a huge relief while doing my tours in Iraq that the guys next to me were watching my back as I was watching theirs. It’s kind of weird to say but while over there they felt more like my family than my family members back home. Ooh Rah.