August 3, 2017
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.
April 14, 2017
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.
February 15, 2017
Sundt Senior Project Manager Brian DeMartino.
Senior Project Manager Brian DeMartino brings nearly 20 years of experience in the construction industry to his new position with Sundt. He has worked on retail, themed entertainment, dining, housing, offices, manufacturing, recreation, K-12 and higher education projects.
Brian, who is working in our Irvine, California office, has a degree in architectural engineering from the University of Texas and is LEED-Accredited by the U.S. Green Building Council.
What has been the most interesting thing about working for Sundt these first few weeks?
Its people. Construction companies are defined by a few things like values, leadership and technology. But one thing I have learned in my time in the construction industry is that the biggest factor in how a company feels and how it performs are its people. The people I met during the interview process were great – smart, professional, engaging. But I knew it was going to be hard to know how the company as a whole would be until I started to meet everyone on my first day at work. What I have found is a range of tenure – employee-owners who have been at Sundt for decades, some who are new just like me and everything in between, and all of them are driven, friendly and incredibly helpful.
How important was the employee-owner culture when you were considering whether to work at Sundt?
Moving to a company with a strong retirement plan was key. I started my career at an employee-owned company. I transitioned to another company after a few years with the hope that it would eventually offer some kind of retirement benefit but that never developed. So this move for me was targeted at a solid, well-run, well-respected construction company with an ESOP.
What’s your favorite movie?
“The Usual Suspects.” What drew me in when I saw it and what keeps me going back is the depth and variety of the characters. That cast is amazing. But then add in the plot with its twists and the writing and it’s hard to find a better film.
What do you do away from work?
I spend most of my time outside of work with my wife and kids. Having a 12 year old and a 5 year old means full-time playing, homework, sports and after-school events and parties. We like taking road trips as a family. Last year our trips were to Santa Cruz and Monterey on the California coast and Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in the Sierra Mountains. We are planning our next trip to Yellowstone.
January 16, 2017
Formerly known as University Square, the project will include a 12- and 20-story tower.
Sundt is transforming a parking lot into a 407-unit residential and retail mixed-use development in Tempe, Arizona. The project will cover a city block near the Arizona State University campus.
“This project will add a vibrant community within walking distance of Tempe’s thriving downtown,” Sundt Vice President and Regional Director Marty Hedlund said. “This is an exciting new development for our city.”
The yet-to-be-named project, previously known as University Square, will feature a cascading design with shorter portions of the building facing University Drive and 7th Street and taller elements located mid-block. The first tower will be 20 stories and the second will be 12 with primarily studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The second tower will face 7th Street with 22 walk-up city homes and flats wrapping the first four stories. The project also includes more than 31,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
Residents will enjoy top-of-the-line amenities including a shared fifth-floor deck with resort-style swimming pool, barbecue grilling area and outdoor lounges with cabanas and fire pits. There will also be a state-of-the-art fitness center, dog walk and a bike workroom with storage for more than 450 bikes.
Sundt Project Manager Tylor Middlestadt.
Sundt Project Manager Tylor Middlestadt has been named a Top Young Professional by Engineering News-Record-California. The awards are given to architecture, engineering and construction professionals who are younger than 40. Engineering News-Record (ENR) is considered the leading publication covering the construction industry.
Tylor has helped lead eight ground-up and renovation projects totaling more than $630 million. He has been program manager for three large K-12 bond programs worth more than $1.5 billion. He’s presently serving as Project Controls Manager at the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort Expansion near Phoenix.
Last year, he received Sundt’s “Going Beyond the Expected” award for his successful resolution of a series of challenging issues affecting a major project. With a large team of experienced professionals, Tylor was able to instill a refreshing culture of leadership, teamwork, accountability and shared commitments to common goals, which led to successful completion of the project.
Tylor graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2007 with a degree in Architectural Engineering. He serves as Treasurer and Director of the Foundation for Interdisciplinary Studies, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Students there experience a “Learn by Doing” education through hands-on, profession-connected, interdisciplinary teaching and learning opportunities.
Greg Ayres and Chad Buck, two of our Industrial professionals, recently earned Top Young Professional honors from ENR Southwest.