February 3, 2017
January 26, 2017
San Antonio Area Manager Pat Beal.
Pat Beal recently joined Sundt as our San Antonio Area Manager for transportation work. He has more than 25 years of experience working in various construction roles, including field engineer, project engineer, superintendent and estimator.
He was previously a project manager on several major freeway projects across Texas. His experience includes the reconstruction of the US 75 North Central Expressway in Dallas and the Loop 410 in San Antonio. Most recently, Pat worked on a $900 million, design-build construction of State Highway 99 Grand Parkway in Houston.
What interested you about working at Sundt?
Sundt puts an emphasis on people. Everyone is an owner and you get the feeling that we are all working as a team for success of the company as a whole. Our goal is to all succeed together. I like that.
What have you been doing in your first few weeks with the company?
My first few weeks with the company involved taking care of required training. After that, I started getting involved in the San Pedro Creek Improvements project that we have under contract with the San Antonio River Authority and also began looking at upcoming bid opportunities with the Texas Department of Transportation in the San Antonio area.
How do you spend your time away from work?
I try to spend as much time with my family as I can. My daughter is on her tennis team in high school, so I try to catch her games on weekends. My son is attending Texas A&M University, so I’ve been able to make a couple of Aggie football games as well. There’s nothing like watching the Texas Aggie Band perform at Kyle Field on a Saturday afternoon. Most of my remaining weekend time is spent in my hometown of Shiner, Texas. I enjoy helping my dad on his farm. Whether it’s fixing fences, feeding the cows or shredding weeds, there is always something that needs to be done on the farm. Some people may call it work, but I call it fun.
Have you seen any interesting TV shows recently?
I got caught up in a Netflix series recently called “The Ranch.” A bunch of misfits trying to run a ranch in Colorado. It’s got several actors from “That ’70s Show.” If you enjoyed “That ’70s Show,” you’ll enjoy watching “The Ranch.”
December 30, 2016
Sundt employee-owners accept the Construction Safety Excellence Award for the Highway Division from the Associated General Contractors San Diego Chapter.
For the second consecutive year, Sundt this week won the Associated General Contractors, San Diego Chapter, Construction Safety Excellence Award for the Highway Division. The award was presented at AGC’s San Diego Chapter Annual Board Installation and Awards Dinner on Jan. 16.
The award, given in the 2 million to 4 million hour category, was based on safety statistics for our entire company and qualifies us to win the division at the AGC of America National Judging and compete for the AGC Grand Award, given each year to the nation’s safest construction company. We are the only general contractor on record to win the award twice (2006 and 2016). Grand Award judging will take place in March at the 98th Annual AGC National Convention in Las Vegas.
“Winning the AGC Construction Safety Excellence Grand Award in 2016 was huge,” said Sundt Area Safety Manager Paul Sprecco, who works in San Diego. “To be recognized by your peers as being ‘the best of the best’ validates our safety culture. The real credit goes to folks who implement the workings of our safety program every day, on every project. We know that we are doing the right things because our safety measurement numbers continue to improve. We can’t rest on our laurels, though, so we are continually looking for ways to improve our systems.”
December 23, 2016
Sundt Senior Project Manager Chad Yount.
Senior Project Manager Chad Yount has been in the construction industry for 10 years. He started with Sundt in 2008 as a Field Engineer and worked his way to his current position, which he started this year.
Chad specializes in large-scale transportation work. His next assignment is bringing a world class linear park to the San Antonio community through the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project after serving as Project Manager on the $228 million Sellwood Bridge Replacement Project in Portland, Oregon.
How did the Portland community react to the finished product at Sellwood Bridge?
The community was very grateful and excited to have a new bridge connecting the Sellwood community to downtown Portland. The old Sellwood Bridge was failing structurally and was not safe for pedestrians and cyclists due to the narrow sidewalks. The new bridge will withstand a major earthquake and offers 12-foot sidewalks for the large bicycle community.
What did you learn from that work that can be applied to San Pedro Creek?
Bringing an iconic, complex project such as Sellwood Bridge through the heart of any city requires the community to modify its daily activities. We were able to engage the neighborhoods and all interest groups in efforts to minimize those disruptions. That will also be extremely important to the San Pedro project. We want all local businesses to thrive during construction. If they aren’t successful then we aren’t successful.
What are people in San Antonio identifying as the most important aspects of the project?
The project will improve flood control throughout the west side of downtown while bringing life back to the creek. San Antonio was founded on San Pedro Creek almost 300 years ago so remembering the heritage and culture of the area is top priority for the project.
What are some of the innovative approaches the team has planned?
The majority of the risk on the project is in what lies below ground. With any project through downtown the existing infrastructure is always a concern. To mitigate these risks, we have been using virtual design and construction to model all existing and new infrastructure. This helps us identify conflicts in the office during preconstruction instead of in the field when issues cost time and money.
How is the work progressing?
Because this is a CMAR project, we have been working with the design team and owner for the last six months. We’re excited to get started with horizontal directional drilling. After the New Year, the team will begin demolition and excavation on the north end of the project.
December 21, 2016
Sundt Area Manager Ted Aadland.
Sundt Area Manager Ted Aadland has more than 40 years of heavy highway experience. He has supervised more than 200 multifaceted transportation improvement projects, with experience including freight rail and highway bridges.
n 2010, Ted was elected by his peers to serve as president of the Associated General Contractors of America. His dedication to the industry is reflected in his continuous participation with the Associated General Contractors, both locally in Oregon and nationally. He has served as president of the Oregon-Columbia Chapter of the AGC and sat on numerous committees, including as co-chair for the group that developed the formal constructability review for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
As a Sundt employee-owner, he recently played a key role in the replacement of Sellwood Bridge, a 2,000-foot-long structure over the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.
What is it about bridge work that appeals to you?
The type of bridge that gets my juices flowing are ones that are over water or deep canyons. I like the challenge of building a structure that makes you think and plan and plan and plan.
How is it determined that a bridge needs to be replaced rather than repaired?
Bridges are evaluated by a department of transportation engineering team every two years. They are given a rating from one (the lowest) to 100. Sellwood Bridge had a rating of two. It was undersized for traffic loads, the sidewalk was only 3 feet wide, carrying both bike and pedestrian traffic. So it was dangerous. It needed to be replaced. The cost of repair up to today’s standards on a 92-year-old structure made no sense. Bridges have a lifespan that can be extended with good maintenance. However, agencies have to look at future needs and capacity when the decision is made to replace or repair. The biggest decision-breaker is infrastructure funding.
What’s the importance of having a healthy infrastructure?
If you travel anywhere in the world, you will see population centers are built around port cities. Here in the United States, because of our transportation system, we can manufacture hundreds of miles from our port cities and very economically transport those goods to transportation centers. Our highways allow commerce to move at pennies per mile and thus manufacturing can be done in small towns across the country. Our infrastructure is the reason we are the strongest nation in the world.
How badly does the industry need more skilled workers?
For a long time, we have known that when baby boomers retire, our industry would face a serious lack of skilled craft workers. The recession that we have gone through from 2007 until 2015 caused us to lose a generation of workers. Because of the scarcity of work, we were not able to bring in and train apprentices and many of our craft workers left the industry for jobs that provided steady income for their families. For years our public school counselors have guided students away from the crafts and steered them toward college. Today, we have the best educated baristas in the world. Everyone I talk to is looking for trained craft workers, both union and open shop.
How important is Sundt’s Center for Craft Excellence in the development of craft talent?
It is vital that we as a company and we as an industry put more time and money into craft training. There are Americans who need and want jobs. We know there is high unemployment among minorities plus there is an epidemic of homelessness. Individuals who want a job should have a great opportunity to be trained and move into well-paying jobs. Sundt’s future is tied to having the best craft workers available. We need to train and assure our craft workers that their future is with Sundt.
Sundt’s team weathered the storms in East Texas by working double shifts during its dirt-moving phase.
Seventy inches of rain in nine months is a deluge, even in East Texas. Factor in unusual drought conditions over the past few years and all that precipitation was potentially overwhelming for Sundt’s US 175 transportation project in Henderson.
“Far and away the biggest challenge has been the weather,” said Project Manager Chris Leintz. “With the project being about 4.5 miles of extensive dirt work and drainage improvements, this caused a lot of down time, and we spent a lot of time and money either preparing for or recovering from significant rain events.”
With the impacts caused by the excessive rain, our team realized it needed to take advantage of drier weather in the early fall to move the majority of the dirt. We decided to double-shift our mass dirt operations in order to get back on schedule.
That solution came with a few challenges. Our company and the Texas Department of Transportation had significant concerns about the safety of our employee-owners and the travelling public with more night work. There were also considerations about upsetting the local community with noise and light.
To overcome those issues, the team developed a plan to run back-to-back shifts from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., only working adjacent to homes during the day. A shift normally runs from around 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We have been able to keep from upsetting our neighbors and provide a safer atmosphere for our employees and the travelling public by reducing the number of hours we worked in the dark,” Chris said. “The unexpected bonus was most of our employees were as happy or happier with their shift times because they could either leave earlier or sleep in later.”
The project covers approximately 4.5 miles and involves widening an existing two-lane undivided highway to a four-lane divided highway. The work includes a 1.5 million cubic yard embankment, subbase, base and asphalt paving, four bridges and drainage improvements.
We are anticipating finishing the first phase, the majority of the project, in the spring. Final completion is scheduled for September, which would be 10 months ahead of schedule.