January 24, 2018
October 18, 2017
We’re turning a former parking lot into 407 residences with numerous amenities in Tempe, Arizona.
It’s a unique project that had us transition from landowner to builder. Few things about Union Tempe Apartments, being built on the site of a former parking lot, will be commonplace for Arizona when the project is finished in July.
We owned the land, located not far from our headquarters in Tempe, for several years before selling it to the developer, The Opus Group. Opus is a family of commercial real estate development, construction and design companies headquartered in Minneapolis with offices and projects across the country.
The 407 residences will “expand the downtown Tempe community to be more walkable, bike-friendly and economically diverse,” said Ryan Abbott, our Southwest District Building Group Manager.
Residents will have top-of-the-line amenities including a shared fifth-floor deck with a resort-style swimming pool, grilling area and outdoor lounges with cabanas and fire pits. There will also be a fitness center, dog walk and storage for more than 450 bikes.
The project will cover a city block and feature two towers, one 20 stories and the other 12. The first will have primarily studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The second will have 22 walk-up city homes and flats wrapping the first four stories. The building includes more than 31,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
We self-performed the concrete work, which helped in numerous ways. It gave us better control over quality and schedule and further honed our capabilities of constructing quality high-rise buildings. The teams building both towers often held a friendly competition to see which side could complete its work faster.
“Any project of this size brings complexity and I have appreciated Sundt’s willingness to plan, execute and problem-solve along the way,” said Opus Group Senior Vice President Lawrence Pobuda. “Most importantly, we have developed a real rapport – based on open communication and shared vision. We look forward to delivering this project on time, and on budget, and we feel confident we will do that with Sundt by our side.”
September 29, 2017
The Sundt team at the new Caterpillar Surface Mining and Technology Building near Downtown Tucson is using advanced contracting and design principles to deliver this important project.
From the outset, meeting project timelines required by Caterpillar has been critical. The project team is using the Construction Manager at Risk delivery model to allow for phased guaranteed maximum prices (GMP). This phased approach has enabled the team to start the project earlier than a traditional approach.
“In a traditional delivery method, this project would never have met the aggressive timelines needed,” said Sundt Regional Director Ian McDowell. ”Using phased GMPs will allow us to finish seven months faster than conventional contracting would have allowed.”
The building has been designed with a narrow floor plate and high ceilings, which maximizes the amount of light that reaches the interior of the building. It has also been designed with flexibility in mind. Few walled offices exist in the building, allowing for a dynamic workspace that maximizes communication among team members.
The creation of collaboration spaces throughout the building is also key to the project concept. Conference rooms of varying sizes spaced throughout the building allow for spontaneous interaction among team members. This concept of collaborative spaces has been extended to dining and exterior spaces, as monitors are installed to allow for impromptu meetings almost anywhere employees might gather.
The building entry focuses on Caterpillar’s customers. The lobby is designed to celebrate work performed around the world using the company’s equipment. Design elements in the entry incorporate meeting spaces and equipment displays and use advanced display technology to show how customers are using Caterpillar equipment.
The building exterior incorporates numerous finishes that speak to traditional Tucson design and uses elements that reflect Caterpillar’s work. The exterior has been designed to allow employees to take advantage of the beautiful Tucson weather.
August 3, 2017
Sundt Senior Project Superintendent Bill Marconi.
Bill works out of our San Diego office for the California Building Division. He has a diverse resume with experience across many markets, including hospitality, retail, multi-family, public works, office buildings, parking structures and technology centers, with values up to $120 million.
What interested you most about working for Sundt?
Its culture and the great reputation it has in the construction industry.
What does a Senior Project Superintendent do?
I look at a project from a 15,000-foot level, identifying all major obstacles to ensure our team and the project continue moving forward. I’m responsible for managing all field operations on the project, assigned in order to achieve a timely and profitable completion. I supervise Superintendents, Foremen and the field labor force, including laborers and craft workers.
Which project are you working on?
I’m working at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California, where Sundt has been hired as a CM Multi-Prime to manage construction of a new math and science building.
What are your hobbies away from work?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I like to stand-up paddleboard, kayak, ride my carveboard and bike, hike and listen to live music.
What’s your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is the “The Godfather.” It was an epic movie with a great director and all-star cast. I still have the VHS box set of the series. It’s good to watch on a rainy day.
July 21, 2017
Sundt Building Group Safety Manager Paul Sprecco (far right) performs a Safety Task Force Inspection at the Southwestern Community College Higher Education Center in National City, California.
Paul Sprecco didn’t get into the construction industry to pursue a career in safety. By his own admission, safety chose him.
While running Sundt’s warehouse in San Diego in the 1990s, Paul and his staff purchased materials, equipment and tools for our job sites. There was a natural connection between the warehouse manager and sales people providing safety products. He eventually was assigned to the local safety task force, a group whose duties included performing safety audits on one job per month.
“I enjoyed the interaction with the job sites on safety issues and I was able to help with solutions to problems that they faced because, as the Warehouse Manager, I had vendors constantly showing off the latest products and services that were being developed for those issues,” Paul said. “The position developed into a full-time Area Safety Manager for Southern California.”
Paul has since been promoted to Safety Manager for our Building Group, making him responsible for safety activities at all our building projects. Most of that work is occurring in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.
“Through continued education in safety, and membership in peer groups such as the Associated General Contractors (AGC) San Diego Safety Committee, I was able to continue to develop my knowledge and skills as a safety professional,” he said.
Paul said career options in safety range from line-level safety technicians to corporate risk managers. His own path proves career changes can include a switch to safety.
“Safety is a catch-all title for anyone who keeps people from getting injured and property from getting damaged,” Paul said. “All industries have safety professionals and careers in safety that are very rewarding.”
Paul and the rest of our safety team have built a strong track record. Sundt is the only general contractor in the country to win the AGC Grand Award twice (2006 and 2016). Each year, the honor recognizes the safest construction company in America.
Much of that success can be attributed to our Safety By Choice approach that focuses on “why” we should remain safe, not just “how.”
“Nobody comes to work thinking they’re going to be injured, let alone planning to get injured,” Paul said. “But when accidents and injuries happen, we find that choices were made that put people or property in danger. Choices about processes, tools, systems or just trying to get it done faster. Safety By Choice is all about rewarding positive safety choices and recognizing unsafe choices, stopping the activity and adjusting the plan to eliminate the hazard.”
Paul has an interesting analogy when people ask about his career. In this case, safety starts with the most important meal of the day.
“When people ask me about a career in safety, I like to talk to them about breakfast, bacon and eggs in particular,” Paul said. “There are two animals involved in that breakfast: a chicken and a pig. The chicken contributes to the breakfast, but the pig, he’s all in! If you are interested in a career in safety, you have to be the pig … you have to be ‘all in.’ ”
For more information on careers with Sundt, please click here.
Sundt Lead Estimator Larry Diaz.
Sundt Lead Estimator Larry Diaz is a San Antonio local, growing up about 60 miles from the city in Karnes City. He works out of our office in the Alamo City reviewing project documentation to determine scope of work, constructability and associated cost of construction for building projects in Texas.
Larry has a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Texas A&M-Kingsville. He has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Texas-San Antonio.
He has almost two decades of experience in the construction industry, all in the Texas market.
What made you want to work for Sundt?
Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, my father worked for Sundt on an airport project in Austin, Texas and a highway project in Arizona. He always spoke fondly of the Sundt organization and its people. I have noticed that since establishing an office in San Antonio, Sundt has made substantial gains in establishing itself as a major player in the local market. An opportunity presented itself in San Antonio and I jumped on it.
What kind of skills does someone need to be an estimator?
Most important, an estimator needs math skills. Estimating by its nature is working with numbers. Estimating also requires organizational skills; the data extracted during the estimating process needs to be organized in a format that can be conveyed and analyzed. Time management is important. Often, there are bid dates associated with an estimate and/or you may be assigned to multiple projects simultaneously. It is during these times that an estimator must be proficient with his or her time. Though an estimator may be pressed for time, it is crucial to the success of a project that he or she is detail orientated to ensure accuracy. Failure to identify and capture costs could be detrimental to the success of a project. Effective communication is essential. Estimators are often required to communicate their findings with other stakeholders. Open dialogue and transparency are key to successful projects. Lastly, critical thinking skills and technical knowledge are important. Identifying means and methods can help an estimator better understand how a project can be efficiently constructed. Experienced estimators should be able to visualize the job as shown on the drawings and how they would be able to construct the project in the field, step-by-step, most efficiently.
You’re a volunteer with Engineers Without Borders. What have you done as part of the organization?
I was part of the initial travel team that went to Papachacra, Bolivia to close out an existing project that provided safe and reliable drinking water for the people of the village. Our team conducted a needs assessment on communities throughout Bolivia. Based on our assessment, recommendations were made to our chapter and other chapters seeking new projects or communities to help. It’s typically a five-year commitment to a community.
What do you like to do away from work?
I like to spend time with my sons and my family. My sons are in numerous sports and school activities so, as any parent knows, that keeps you on the go. We also like to go bike riding, fishing, camping, hiking and exploring new places in and around San Antonio. Once a year, we try to take a week-long vacation somewhere new.
Where are your favorite vacation spots?
To name just a few: Machu Picchu, Peru; Cozumel, Mexico; Puerto Rico; St. Croix; Destin, Florida; Santa Fe; New Orleans; Washington D.C. and the Grand Canyon. There are still so many more on my list that I look forward to visiting.