Sundt is committed to hiring a diverse workforce and is constantly looking for chances to employ the industry’s best people and introduce others to exciting opportunities within construction. We are proud to introduce a series in our blog and on social media that provides 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 andTwitter as we celebrate the things that make Sundt an employer of choice where people thrive in a culture of diversity.
Teri Jones is a Vice President for Sundt and is responsible for Business Development for the California District. She earned her degree in Civil Engineering – Building Design from the University of Southern California and is in her 37th year in the construction industry.
She has held many positions in the industry including Estimator, Project Manager, Project Executive, Owner’s Representative, Inspector, District Manager and CEO of her own construction company.
Teri is a LEED accredited professional, Certified Professional Constructor, certified instructor, guest lecturer at UC Davis, is past president of the Sundt Foundation and currently sits on the Construction Management Advisory Board at UC Berkeley. She has been with Sundt for 16 years.
How did you get involved in construction?
In high school, I registered for some drafting classes and soon realized I had a passion for the built environment. I loved reading 2D blueprints and visualizing 3D buildings that could be constructed from the drawings. So, after receiving my degree in Civil Engineering from USC, I was hired as an estimator at a general contracting firm. After a short stint in estimating, I became a project engineer and then project manager.
What is it about the industry that motivates you every day?
Every day poses different challenges and opportunities to be part of the solution to that challenge. This is a very fast-paced industry and there is never a dull moment. But mostly, it’s the people that motivate me every day. Construction people are very hard-working and I thoroughly enjoy working alongside them every day. Assembling teams made up of clients, designers, engineers and construction personnel to execute projects and work together is a very rewarding part of our business. Interfacing with so many different people from diverse backgrounds with sometimes different goals and personalities can be daunting, but also satisfying when the entire team can point to a completed project and say ‘I helped make that happen!’ Even today, when I drive by a project that I was involved with 20 or 30 years ago, I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.
Is it getting more common to see women on jobsites?
Yes, it is much more common today than when I started in the industry in 1979. You rarely saw females on the jobsites back then and some companies even had policies against allowing females to work on site. Today, you seldom see a jobsite without females. They are present in roles such as Owner Representative, Inspector, Project Engineer, Project Manager and Project Superintendent.
Why work at Sundt?
Sundt offers so many advantages as an employer, not found at many of our competitors. Since we are an ESOP, you become an owner of the company. We are diverse in our sectors: Industrial, Transportation and Building, which gives you the opportunity to cross-train and experience different facets of the industry. We also have an excellent training program that will assist you in continuing your education and developing skills that will allow you to advance your career.
You and others have proven that women can move up in the construction industry. How much room for advancement is there for Sundt’s female employees?
The opportunities for advancement at Sundt for all employees is unlimited. First and foremost, employees need to focus on doing an excellent job at whatever their current assignment is. Secondly, learn as much as you can about the business of construction, network, cross-train, develop diverse skills and fine-tune those people skills. You never know when an opportunity for advancement will present itself and you need to be ready to act. Most technical skills can be learned, but people skills is the key to success in this business if you want to advance.
How much of a priority do you see Sundt placing on hiring women?
Sundt is very focused on hiring women and it’s a key part of the Strategic Plan going forward. At Sundt, it’s not just about achieving a specific number or percentage. It’s more about doing the right thing and hiring qualified candidates to fill positions and develop a more diversified workforce.
What would you say to female college students who are considering futures in construction and why should they consider Sundt?
I would say ‘Go for it!’ if you like to work hard, have fun and have a passion for the industry.