December 23, 2016
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.
December 16, 2016
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.
November 23, 2016
Senior Marketing/Proposal Specialist Dustin Hicks.
Dustin Hicks is a senior marketing/proposal specialist who has been with the company for two and a half years. He has more than eight years of industry experience in mining surveying, energy sector development and construction marketing.
Dustin handles proposals across all our disciplines (building, industrial and transportation), specializing in the Texas market, as well as a variety of marketing projects.
He recently took a few minutes to answer questions about his life at and away from work.
What does your job involve?
As a senior marketing/proposal specialist I am responsible for the preparation, creation, and composition of marketing packages, proposals and presentations and coordinating efforts with business development teams to create winning pursuits. I enjoy the challenge of designing and presenting new ways to market our company for our clients and an external audience.
How much of a team effort is it putting together a winning work proposal?
With the help of very knowledgeable and talented business developers, virtual design and construction engineers, estimators, and sometimes even additional proposal specialists, we have all collaborated to produce some very impressive work. I could not respond to these complex proposals effectively on my own. It takes a huge, collaborative effort from our people to develop winning proposals.
What’s your favorite sport and why?
There aren’t many sports I don’t like. To make it easy, I’ll list my favorite team from each major sport and see how many rivals I can stir up. In no particular order: Hockey – Chicago Blackhawks; Basketball – San Antonio Spurs; Baseball – Detroit Tigers; Football – Oakland Raiders.
I also like playing and watching golf. I was fortunate to see Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson play at the Valero Texas Open a few years ago. I also enjoy running, cycling, swimming and especially hiking.
What are your favorite things to do away from work?
I work hard so I can play hard. I live for the next great adventure. My wife, Sarah, and I love going on road trips, camping, hiking with our dog, going to concerts, trying new restaurants and getting the most out of what this life has to offer.
We also volunteer for a local non-profit organization called Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc., whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release native wildlife and to provide sanctuary, individualized care and a voice for other animals in need.
What’s the best trip you’ve taken?
Every road trip to far West Texas is unique. We’ve headed west from San Antonio in all four seasons and encountered something completely different each time. Whether it’s camping in Big Bend National Park or Big Bend Ranch State Park, there is more than a million acres of nature’s best playground. Dodging rattlesnakes, scorpions, tarantulas, roadrunners, jackrabbits, lizards, javelinas, bears and mountain lions is all par for the course. The scenery of deserts, mountains, rivers and big Texas skies day or night is pretty spectacular. My wife and I love it out there so much we got married at a historic ranch in the Chinati Mountains.
November 9, 2016
Sundt’s John Carlson (far left) and local officials cut the ribbon on Hausman Road, the City of San Antonio’s first design-build transportation project.
The City of San Antonio won’t soon forget its first time using design-build on a transportation project. What it received was a $68.3 million four-lane roadway that will help traffic flow in a busy part of the community.
Hausman Road, which officially opened with a ribbon-cutting last week, was a two-lane roadway that connected Loop 1604 and Interstate 10. A Sundt team widened the 3.4-mile stretch between the highways to four lanes, plus a center turn lane, and constructed five new bridges.
The city chose design-build because it provides a single point of responsibility for designing and constructing the project, offering significant cost and time savings, innovative solutions, improved communications and outstanding quality.
“It’s a pioneering project for a local government,” Sundt Area Manager Abel Ortiz-Monasterio said.
We incorporated two Bexar County road projects on Hausman Road at two different stages of design and all public utilities work along the roadway under a single design-build contract. Instead of several construction schedules, phasing, detours and inconvenience, there was one seamless approach by Sundt’s design-build team.
“This was a great decision by these public owners that created success for stakeholders living along the corridor and traveling Hausman Road each day,” said Sundt Corporate Strategic Business Officer John Carlson.
The city’s original plans included a 94-foot-wide typical roadway section with each of the travel lanes measuring 12 feet in width. Sundt and its design team recommended reducing the roadway width to 86 feet by narrowing the lanes to 11 feet.
The design-build team also suggested combining the two, five-foot-wide bicycle lanes originally planned for either side of the reconstructed roadway into one, 10-foot-wide shared use bicycle/pedestrian path along one side of the road that will be separated from vehicles. In addition to being safer, the new configuration allows the path to connect more easily to an established network of the city’s hiking and biking trails. Together, the proposed changes significantly reduced the amount of right-of-way property the city had to acquire and, along with other innovative approaches, yielded nearly $3 million in savings.
The 12-mile four-lane road will improve mobility by allowing motorists to bypass Corsicana, helping enhance safety and traffic flow.
A few turns of dirt during a groundbreaking last month marked the ceremonial beginning of Sundt’s construction work on the State Highway 31 bypass in North Texas.
The $105.9-million transportation project is taking place in and around Corsicana, located 60 miles southeast of Dallas.
The 12-mile four-lane road will improve mobility by allowing motorists to bypass Corsicana to the south, helping enhance safety and traffic flow. Big rigs using State Highway 31 have no other option than to travel through Corsicana’s small downtown and its traffic lights and storefronts. The town’s population is approximately 24,000.
The project also includes 2 miles of reconstruction on Interstate 45. The relief route goes under the interstate at one point.
Work will take place over three phases and is scheduled to be complete in 2019.