January 13, 2017
December 7, 2016
Sundt Estimator Lindsey Bryan.
Lindsey Bryan recently started with Sundt as an Estimator working on Industrial projects. Before joining our company, she spent three years working as a project engineer at a copper smelter.
Lindsey is from Globe, Arizona, and has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Arizona State University. A true fan of the outdoors, she hopes to one day live somewhere big enough to accommodate a herd of pets and livestock.
What was it about Sundt that made you want to work here?
I was first exposed to Sundt when I was taking a class called Alternative Project Delivery Methods (APDM) at ASU. Sundt was identified as one of the leaders in using APDM in the industry and an employee-owner was brought in as a guest speaker and presented various projects that were completed using these methods. It was then that I realized how open Sundt was to new and innovative ways of doing things. When I was ready to leave my former company I reached out to one of my mentors, who happens to be working at Sundt. He had great things to say about the company and told me about the projects he had been involved with and it sounded like a really great fit for me.
What does your job entail?
It ranges from helping put together a bid for potential projects to estimating different approaches to projects to help clients make informed decisions.
How did you become interested in the construction field?
My major in school was civil engineering but my summer internships had me involved with projects and surveying and really got me interested in the construction side of things. My engineering background is useful but I really enjoy the real-world experience that the construction industry can give.
What’s the most useful advice you’ve been given?
My dad always reminded me while we were fishing to make sure my hook was sharp. This helped me land a lot of fish (and, in failure to do so, lose a lot). If you think about that it can apply to life in so many ways. To me it means not only being prepared for the next big opportunity but always making sure you’re giving your best effort.
What’s the best TV show you’ve seen recently?
I just finished binge-watching the series Narcos on Netflix.
Where do you enjoy traveling?
My favorite destinations are places I can go hiking, lie on the beach, go swimming, fishing, basically anywhere I can be outdoors.
December 2, 2016
Officials break ground on a new student housing project at the University of the Pacific.
Sundt’s work on a new student housing complex for the University of the Pacific is being performed using a unique funding method that brings together the public and private sectors.
The project is being developed by Capstone Development Partners, a private developer known for partnering with colleges and universities to develop student housing. Public-private partnerships (P3) are the type of work general contractors are increasingly pursuing.
P3 is a long-term partnership between a public agency and private entity. Through the arrangement, the private entity typically finances, designs, builds, operates and/or maintains a fee-producing public project. In exchange, the private entity is repaid over an extended period of time through fees generated by the project or as otherwise permitted. This can involve the private entity’s lease or ownership of the project for an extended period during repayment.
The recent emergence and high-profile successes of P3 delivery will continue to stimulate tremendous opportunities for the design and construction industry. In a landscape of intense budget constraints and fiscal austerity, P3s offer government agencies an alternative mechanism for financing vital infrastructure projects.
Expected to be complete by early 2018, the project in Stockton, California, includes development of two four-story buildings totaling 158,000 square feet and 381 beds. The residences will provide contemporary apartment-style housing with gathering spaces and other indoor and outdoor student amenities, including a large shared kitchen, community spaces and study areas to support students’ academic needs.
October 14, 2016
Sundt California District Manager Dan Dumke.
Dan Dumke is Sundt’s new District Manager for California. He has more than 35 years of experience directing company operations, managing significant projects and leading high-performing teams in the construction industry. He brings a wealth of experience in the building and industrial markets as well as knowledge of large projects and public-private partnerships.
Dan is a member of the California Associated General Contractors Association and donates his time to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, whose mission is to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.
What made you want to work for Sundt?
The people. Sundt’s employee-owners have a genuine respect for the work they do and for their partners who do it. I have been fortunate over the past number of years to not only meet but work directly with many Sundt employees. It was clear from these experiences that they believe in the power of teamwork, are fully committed to do whatever it takes to get the job done and have a consistent habit of sharing credit.
What is on your immediate to-do list?
Getting to know our people is a high priority, so I will be visiting our projects and regional offices in California to do that. I am also looking forward to engaging with our safety personnel and site staff partners to make sure we continue to make every effort to remain the nation’s safest construction company.
What are our strengths in the California building market?
We will continue to leverage our strengths in the K-12, university and criminal justice markets and look for opportunities to further employ these strategically in other sectors, as well as with our transportation and industrial groups.
Where are we looking to start making in-roads?
Our successful growth is dependent upon our ability to develop and attract top talent in the market sectors where we work. The war for talent is real in construction, so our immediate focus is on finding more great employee-owners. Longer term, we will explore opportunities in new markets. If all industry and political indicators are even marginally correct, there will be tremendous need in the privatized infrastructure market – everything from transportation to water/wastewater to the expansion of alternative energy facilities. Schools, universities, hospitals, criminal justice facilities and community housing – essentially defined as social infrastructure projects – also lend themselves to alternative delivery types such as P3 and collaborative design-build.
What is Sundt known for in California?
The Sundt brand has and continues to be strong in California – on par with some of our most respected construction industry peers. We are recognized for being honest and following through on commitments.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from a mentor?
“First find the solution, then analyze its impact.” The message is simple: trust your mentors (and if you don’t have one, go find one). We are all surrounded by some pretty smart people. I am certain there is no puzzle we can’t solve when we work together.
September 30, 2016
Sundt Project Engineer Tim Warnes.
Project Engineer Tim Warnes recently earned his Certificate of Management in Lean Construction from the Associated General Contractors, giving Sundt an impressive 26 employee-owners who hold the certification. As of Sept. 27, only 240 construction industry professionals in the country had the designation.
Tim has been with Sundt for more than three years, working as a Field and Project Engineer and earning a reputation as a Lean champion and passionate teacher. Along with being involved in Lean Project Delivery and implementation of Last Planner System, he is part of Sundt’s Continuous Improvement efforts, helping the company become more efficient and productive.
What is Lean Construction all about?
Lean Construction is the catchphrase that gets attention. In reality, what we’re doing is Lean in Construction or Lean for Construction. While many of the ideas central to Lean thinking have been applied to construction, the fundamentals have been most comprehensively and successfully applied in the manufacturing, service and software engineering industries. Similar to construction, these industries have traditionally had a very clear customer-performer interface based on transactions where the customer pays the performer for a particular product or service and the performer provides the customer a particular product or service. Unfortunately in our industry, the products and services paid for by the customer often aren’t equal to those provided by the performer in the eyes of one or both of the parties. Lean is essentially about improving our ability to successfully request and provide products and services that our internal and external customers want.
The customer-performer relationship is established by a conversation. The initiative to do so may be taken by either party. Especially in the construction industry, this means that our list of customers is quite large (and ever-growing) and cuts against typical contractual lines, requiring builders and designers to behave as customers, designers and owners to behave as performers, and all parties to respect the significance of other project participants and their requests/offers.
How important is it to Sundt’s clients?
There are many things that interest our clients in Lean Construction. For instance, all of our clients would like to have the most up to date and reliable information regarding the schedule of our projects. The use of Last Planner System and other lean management strategies helps us confidently provide that information in the complex and often fluid environment of a construction project. Many of our clients are also interested in developing long-term relationships with their contractors for the development of future projects; leadership in Lean management by their general contractor goes a long way toward helping them narrow down future short lists. Lastly, since Lean is about delivering value to the customer, many of our clients require some form of Lean management to ensure that end users are getting the desired value out of the project.
What’s an example of a Lean process helping a client save time or money?
A recent project schedule was threatened by the late delivery of structural design information for four exterior walls. The situation worsened when the subcontractor responsible for procuring and installing the additional steel wasn’t able to meet its committed fabrication schedule. While there was shared responsibility for the issue and some may have predicted an ensuing dispute about entitlement for a potential delay claim, our team recognized the issue early and together developed a plan to complete adjacent construction and finish the wall assemblies in an expedited fashion when the material arrived. By soliciting reliable commitments for small chunks of work from our trade partners during our weekly work planning process, we were able to meet the dates on our short interval schedule. Doing so reduced the size of the issue, eliminated typical trade stacking complaints, got rid of the need for a delay claim once estimated at approximately 25 working days and ultimately won us great relationships with our trade partners and our client. Everyone on the project recognized this as a win-win scenario when it initially seemed to be headed in the other direction.
What does a Sundt employee-owner need to do to earn Certificate of Management in Lean Construction?
An employee-owner needs to register for and complete all seven units of the Associated General Contractors’ Lean Construction Education program. I did so at a boot camp at the San Diego AGC chapter. Sundt also offers these trainings in house. Following completion of these courses, a candidate must pass a 150-question multiple choice exam before using the CM-LC designation.
What does that designation mean for you and the company?
For me it means that I value continuous learning and that I’m passionate about the implementation of Lean on our projects and throughout our business. As the number of employee-owners in our company who have attained the certification continues to creep up, our pitch to owners that we understand and are passionate about delivering customer value and continuously improving the experience of building gains even more depth.
Eric Cylwik is the virtual construction engineer for Sundt’s Transportation projects. Before focusing exclusively on transportation, Eric worked on adapting Building Information Modeling (BIM) from the office to the field for Sundt’s general contracting and concrete projects. He creates Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) models that highlight technology’s capability to enhance the way work is performed in the field for horizontal construction.
He has used parametric modeling to create construction-quality bridge, road and trench models that are part of survey surfaces, machine control, quantity take-offs, utility coordination, constructability reviews and visualizations. During his time at Sundt, Eric has helped the company procure more than $1 billion in alternative delivery method projects.
Eric graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in design studies with an emphasis in digital visualization. He is a certified professional in several vertical and horizontal BIM and VDC software packages.
How does Building Information Modeling help Sundt better serve its clients?
BIM helps Sundt support proper planning and coordination. As project complexity has increased, pen, paper and even 2D computer-aided design don’t allow a contractor to identify all risks and construct-ability issues on a project. Serving our clients means delivering a project that meets the identified needs and making the process painless. BIM enables Sundt and our subcontractors to do just that.
What’s a good recent example of BIM working to a client’s advantage?
On the San Pedro Creek project in San Antonio, Sundt was able to create a 3D model of the design with only 70 percent of construction documents. This meant prices were accurate and the team understood a complex, several-mile-long linear park with more than 100 block and concrete walls. Without being able to understand the final dimensions and locations of the design in 3D, Sundt would have been unable to provide a detailed breakdown of what material needed to be excavated in order to build the project. As a result, Sundt and the project’s owner were able to have a conversation to discuss scope and design implications while there was time for the design team to respond, optimizing the owner’s value, reducing risk and ensuring an accurate schedule.
How much training does it take to become well-versed in BIM’s many applications?
Becoming an expert in BIM software can take months. Most of the learning curve comes from details about construction that most project engineers don’t dive into. If one doesn’t have a solid understanding of something and how it looks in 3D it is impossible to create a 3D model. Sundt’s sweet spots are complex projects, so a virtual construction engineer at Sundt usually masters three or more software packages to properly model and support a project.
Where does Sundt stand in the industry in its use of modeling software?
Sundt began using BIM software in early 2007 and hasn’t looked back. This lead time compared to most in the industry has allowed Sundt to share technology innovation among the building, industrial and transportation groups. As a result, the combined lessons learned and seasoned experience with technology enables Sundt to stay on the cutting edge while having a firm grasp on what brings value to clients and mitigates our risk.
What’s coming next in the evolution of virtual construction?
Right now the portion of the project team that sits in an office or trailer has easy access to a BIM through a computer, but the crews in the field that actually do the installation, move dirt and build buildings do not have easy access. As technology becomes more mobile Sundt looks forward to equipping everyone on the project with pertinent information on design, construction and safety.