June 24, 2019
April 29, 2019
Earlier this month, Sundt welcomed Ken Kubacki as its new Vice President and Regional Manager of the Transportation Group’s Intermountain Region, including Utah and Colorado. He will oversee business development, preconstruction, operations and client management. For this week’s blog, Ken took some time to share a bit about himself.
How long have you been in construction, and what drew you to this industry? For 28 years, starting in college. What drew me to construction then and what draws me now is that it’s always changing; you’re never working on the same thing. Every day, it’s a new landscape and a new challenge. I also love the feeling you get when you finish a project, and you drive past it later and can say, “We built that.”
Ken arrives at Sundt with deep experience in large infrastructure projects and direct involvement in over $1.5 billion in Design-Build and CMGC contracts.
Is there a past project that stands out to you, one that you’re especially proud of? There are several. I’d say the US 60 Superstition Freeway Widening project, which my former company did as a JV with Sundt. It exposed me to Design-Build, and it was a large project at $196 million. We were fortunate enough to be involved with that project—to be responsible for its success, and to be part of a really fun and talented team.
What brought you to Sundt? Relationships. Including the US 60 job, I had prior experience working alongside Sundt, and I knew a lot about the firm and its people. My dad was a Teamster laborer here at one point too. I grew up in Tempe seeing Sundt around, and I knew they were a long-time, established firm. Overall, the longer I worked in the industry, whether chasing work together or through the AGC, the more I got to know some key people here. So, when the opportunity came up for me to lead the Intermountain Region, everything just came together.
What projects and opportunities in your region are you excited about? We’re excited for the opportunities that lie ahead in Utah’s strong economic market. There are several UDOT bid-build and Design-Build projects that fit our strengths, along with US Army Corps of Engineers and Union Pacific Railroad projects. In Portland, Oregon there’s the I-5 Rose Quarter CMGC project we’re pursuing which would capitalize on our previous experience in the area. We’re also looking forward to working with Sundt’s Industrial Group on a large infrastructure joint venture in Salt Lake City. This is a great chance to show Utah and the surrounding areas that Sundt is establishing a foothold in the Intermountain Region.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? Being outdoors—skiing, snowboarding, hiking, camping, mountain biking. I’ve actually coached mountain biking for high school teams for the past couple years. Watching the kids grow and develop is special. And they’ll kick your butt on the trails by the end of the season! You’re not on the sidelines watching; you’re out there riding with them. So, yeah, that’s something that I’ve loved doing.
Is there a book, movie, or quote that inspires you? One quote that has stuck with me is, “Never tell people what to do, tell them what you want, and you will be surprised by their ingenuity,” which is credited to General Patton. And I agree. You should let people come up with solutions on their own, while providing guidance and feedback. There are good ideas that come from the person who’s on the end of the shovel. Providing everyone the opportunity to be involved allows the team to become the best it can be; you just have to listen.
August 24, 2018
While she’s much more concerned with critical paths than a path towards critical acclaim, Hannah Schumacher earned some well-deserved industry fame earlier this month when she was named a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE).
Hannah visits multiple jobsites each week, such as the Canopy by Hilton Tempe (pictured here), to meet with project teams and review their schedule and status.
Hannah is a Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), meaning she plans, schedules and monitors construction projects. Essentially, her behind-the-scenes work plays a huge part in delivering projects on time and on budget. Also, Hannah’s status as an AACE Fellow is one of the most prestigious and selective honors in the industry. It involves nomination from at least five AACE peers, recommendation from the Fellow Admissions Committee, and approval from AACE International’s Board of Directors.
AACE Fellows are sought-after thought leaders and industry influencers. More importantly, as Hannah pointed out, the title isn’t just about being an expert: “It’s a recognition that you have this experience, but also that you’re sharing that with others.” Hannah has given presentations, authored papers and pioneered best practices, as well as conducted group and one-on-one trainings with Sundt employee-owners. “She’s helped elevate the skills we have across our staff, for both the Southwest District and the larger Building Group,” said Sundt Senior VP and Building Group Southwest District Manager, Ryan Abbott. “It’s incredible how much Hannah brings to our team; she’s a fantastic coach focused on enhancing the individual, not just the plan.”
Hannah on site meeting with fellow employee-owners Mike McGee, Adrianne Coffinger and Kelly Wyllie.
Since 2017, Hannah has served as Scheduling Manager for Sundt’s Building Group and has loved it. “What I love about Sundt is the people,” she said. “Other than the people, what I love about my job is providing frontline support, training and mentoring to the project teams, helping them build effective schedules that they can use to manage their projects. Every day is something different; each project is unique with its own challenges and issues. There’s nothing like seeing a project from start to finish.”
True to her nature to share, Hannah was quick to share the credit for her fellowship, starting with thanking her husband. “My industry involvement has demanded a lot from me, and my husband has been so supportive throughout the process,” said Hannah. “It was an unexpected surprise to be named as an AACE Fellow. I’m honored and grateful to be recognized by an organization whose volunteer members do so much to give back to the industry.”
The Canopy by Hilton Tempe’s south elevation panel installation is now complete, with windows installed up through level 10 and remaining windows on Levels 11 to 13 scheduled to complete next week.
March 5, 2018
Starting nearly a decade ago, Sundt has been performing work at San Diego International Airport (SDIA), in joint ventures alongside Kiewit Construction and Austin Commercial. Both the Terminal 2 Landside Improvements and Rental Car Center were highly successful projects, winning industry acclaim and adding tremendous value to air travelers’ customer experience.
Now the Airport Authority has chosen Sundt again, to perform two more projects at SDIA that together will be worth approximately $200 million. The Airport Support Facilities project, an approximately $130 million design-build project, is currently in design with construction slated to begin by the end of this year. Shortly thereafter, Sundt will begin construction on the Air Cargo project, as a member of a public-private partnership selected to build a new facility for FedEx, UPS and DHL.
Describing our continued relationship with the Airport Authority, Sundt Project Director Brad Kirsch said, “It’s a reflection of the confidence we’ve built with SDIA from our past two projects. This time, however, Sundt is the sole contractor, and we are absolutely prepared to deliver.” Brad also mentioned his pride in the fact that Sundt is, above all else, a builder—and that we have unique capability to self-perform much of our work. “When we’re asked to take on challenges, like building a 3-million-gallon underground storm water capture and reuse facility, our concrete and transportation groups are up for the job.” Top Gun references aside, there’s a reason Sundt is consistently a builder that airports trust.
April 12, 2017
Sellwood Bridge won a Build America Award.
Two of our joint venture projects earned big awards during last month’s Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Convention in New Orleans.
The Sundt/Slayden Joint Venture’s work on Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Oregon received the AGC’s Construction Risk Partners Build America Award for best new highway and transportation project.
The Sundt-Rummel Joint Venture earned the Marvin M. Black Excellence in Partnering Award for its collaboration on the White Tanks Flood Retarding Structure (FRS) for the Flood Control District of Maricopa County.
The Sundt/Slayden team replaced the 1925 Sellwood Bridge with a 2,000-foot-long structure across the Willamette River. The project required leaving the existing bridge open, building a replacement next to the old bridge and then moving the new bridge into place. The shoofly method minimized bridge closures to avoid negatively affecting the thousands of drivers who use the bridge each day. It cut roadway closures to less than the 30 days called for in the contract, saved $5 million and took a year off the project schedule.
The new bridge has an open steel deck arch structure, 6-foot bicycle lanes and two 12-foot sidewalks. It also meets the latest seismic standards.
White Tanks FRS earned the Marvin M. Black Award.
White Tanks FRS is a 1.3-mile-long, 20-foot high structure that provides flood protection to about 1,000 residential and commercial properties and agricultural land. The project was built using the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) method.
The Marvin M. Black Award is presented to construction projects that epitomize the principles of partnering. Contractors honored with the award stand out for their ability in signing a formal partnering charter, achieving a common goal, honoring all stakeholders, resolving conflict, improving communication on the project with all audiences and incorporating team-building activities.
We maintained the budget and avoided costly change orders by bringing in the joint venture during design and by partnering with outside agencies, including the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the National Resources Conservation Service, to write project specifications and work plans.
The White Tanks project was once a massive area of dirt and mud.
Choosing a new project delivery method kept the Maricopa County Flood Control District from seeing its budget wash away during work on the White Tanks Flood Structure in Buckeye, Arizona.
In the past, the District constructed similar projects using Design-Bid-Build and sometimes faced change orders that nearly doubled initial bid values because of outside agency inspections during construction.
It’s now a flood control project that is coming in on time and on budget.
On White Tanks, the District decided to try Construction Manager at Risk and selected Sundt. Our Transportation Group partnered with agencies including the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the National Resources Conservation Service to write specifications exactly as the District expected, lowering the chances of costly change orders.
“It worked well,” said Preconstruction Manager Jeffrey Hamilton. “The only change order relating to additional cost was because of a flood event, and the District had a contingency to cover that.”
The joint venture with Rummel Construction consists of widening and extending an existing flood structure and adding upgrades, including an architecturally enhanced auxiliary spillway, drop inlet structures and principal outlet structures. While the initial contract value was $25.3 million, the team is looking to bring the cost down by about $1 million.
We’re delivering client value in many other ways, too, including using drone technology to provide required survey information to verify completed work for our payment purposes.
“This would be a difficult and costly task with a survey crew,” Project Manager Ryan Vlach said. “We found a drone company that was able to fly the site and provide the necessary information at a fraction of the time and cost.”
Preconstruction ended in January 2016 and construction began the next month. Even with a small change order extending the contract until August, the team intends to finish work by June.