Matthew Meaker recently started work with Sundt as Senior Corporate Counsel at our Tempe, Arizona headquarters. Before joining the company, he practiced law as outside counsel for approximately 14 years with a focus on construction law.
Matthew was born in Mission Viejo, California and holds bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Arizona. He is Chair of the Construction Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona.
How much did you know about Sundt before you got your job?
Prior to joining Sundt, I had represented a number of general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers over my 14 years of legal practice. I knew Sundt as a company of high ethical standards that always got the job done. When I told my clients I was going in-house with Sundt, general and subcontractors alike acknowledged I was joining one of the “good guys.” I am proud that our peers and our subcontractors see Sundt that way.
What’s the most interesting part about being involved in the construction industry on the legal side?
The variety of issues that arise. I have had the chance to learn a little about a lot of things, as my clients over time have built single-family homes, skyscrapers, casinos, office buildings and military facilities, to name a few. I have had a chance to work with companies as large as Sundt to companies with just three employees. Depending on the day, I could be focusing on payment issues, employment issues, government advocacy and more
What advice would you give college students who want to enter the legal field?
The field is so much more than being a litigator in the courtroom. While I have handled my share of litigation, I have had the opportunity to do other things. I have testified to government leaders about the use of Public-Private Partnerships, been an adviser to my clients while they grappled with strategic company decisions and now I serve on a team supporting Sundt’s employee-owners. None are things I would have guessed I would have had a chance to do when I was in college.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you?
I saved a man from drowning 13 years ago after his car crashed into a manmade lake in Ahwatukee. I pulled over after watching him run a stop sign, hit a curb and have his SUV go airborne before landing in the lake. When I got out of the car, I heard him yelling that he could not swim. I swam approximately 30 yards to the SUV. He had gotten himself to the back bumper. He fought me the whole way back. Halfway back, I looked and the SUV was underwater. That was when I got nervous and for the first time realized what I had done. By the time we got onto the shore, police and fire had arrived.
Where do you like to travel?
I prefer places where I have the opportunity to slow down. I’ve been to Hawaii a few times and the pace there suits me just fine. A couple of years ago, my family and I went to Bar Harbor, Maine for part of the summer. When I arrived, I discovered I had no cell signal all week. That was a vacation! I like traveling to places where I feel like I have truly escaped from the day to day.
If you could only have one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This is an area where my Midwestern roots typically show. If all I could have was good, all-American food the rest of my life (hamburgers, French fries, steak, mashed potatoes, spaghetti), I would be a happy guy.