February 2, 2018
January 24, 2018
Sundt Concrete Operations Manager Shawn Blubaum.
Sundt Concrete Operations Manager Shawn Blubaum is getting ready to attend the Associated Schools of Construction Regions 6 & 7 Competition for the first time in his new role. He and a team from our company are traveling to Sparks, Nevada next week to meet and work with some of the most promising college students in the country.
It’s a great venue to find the next generation of construction professionals and for students to impress contractors that may one day hire them for their first jobs. There are 1,443 students from 49 universities registered for the event.
We are one of the few that sponsor a competition. Ours takes a real situation involving concrete construction and tasks the students with finding the best solution. Shawn and his team put the “problem” together and eagerly await solutions the students generate.
How much of a recruiting ground is this for Sundt?
The competition is huge for Sundt from a recruiting standpoint, as we are exposed to more than 1,300 students from schools across the country. Our concrete solutions problem is hosted in the Open Category, so we not only gain access to students from schools that we currently recruit, oftentimes we have schools participate from other regions that we are not actively recruiting. We have many Sundt employees who are former participants in the ASC Competition.
How did Sundt get involved with sponsoring the concrete problem?
In 2010, we made the decision to petition the competition to become a host. In 2011, we hosted our first concrete solutions problem in the open competition category.
The problems come from real scenarios. How often do students develop solutions similar to ones that worked in the field?
Students often develop solutions that are similar to the ones that worked in the field. However, whether they matched what our project team did or if they came up with their own solution, the real value comes in thinking through the process. It’s amazing what innovations the students are able to come up with in such a short period of time, and there are times the students come up with workable solutions that even us as professionals may not have considered.
What do the students get from this competition?
They get exposed to more than 1,200 industry professionals from across the country and from companies of varying sizes, structures and markets. The students have an opportunity to solve real-life scenarios and get a glimpse of specific skill sets the industry is looking for as they prepare to enter the workforce.
Besides the opportunity to meet the next generation of builders, what’s the motivation for Sundt to serve as a sponsor of this event?
It’s really about the Sundt brand and getting it out there to schools and our industry peers. Approximately 100 other contractors sponsor the event, including many of the most well respected names in our industry. Further, Sundt is one of only 12 Platinum Sponsors of the event, aligning us with other best-in-class contractors as far as support and development of the next generation of builders and the overall growth and health of our industry.
December 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 6, 2017
A welding student works on a project at Central Arizona College.
We’re cementing our relationship with Central Arizona College with donations that will expand training opportunities for construction and concrete technology program students.
To complement our workforce development partnership, we are covering costs to pour 320 cubic yards of concrete for a 142-foot-by-92-foot pad. Students in the heavy equipment operator program will begin leveling and grading the area this spring and construction technology students will build the concrete forms. The pad should be complete by fall 2018.
“This will provide students with valuable hands-on experience that will benefit them in their careers,” said Sundt Craft Instructor Darry Welker.
In another support of the partnership, we donated to the heavy equipment operator program for the purchase of GPS equipment. We also have given tools and supplies to the construction technology program.
“We appreciate all that Sundt is doing to help expand programming and training opportunities for CAC students,” Agriculture and Advanced Technology Division Chair Kristen Benedict said.
We are teaming with CAC and have established our own Center for Craft Excellence to help offset a lack of skilled craft workers needed to build our nation’s projects. An Associated General Contractors of America survey finds that construction companies will be short 2 million craft professionals by the year 2020.
July 12, 2017
Our work at the Wichita Falls Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education Center was similar to three projects we performed in San Antonio.
When officials cut the ribbon to open the Wichita Falls Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education Center last month, it marked the end of nearly two years of challenges faced and successes gained by the Sundt joint-venture team.
The 123,000-square-foot facility houses programs that prepare high school students for college or careers by offering advanced skills, certification, college credits and the ability to explore their futures from the comfort of high school. The building opened in time for the new school year.
Our team’s experience constructing similar facilities in San Antonio helped pave the way for a successful project. We previously improved Brackenridge, Burbank and Lanier high schools in the city by adding career and technical education (CTE) centers while the campuses were in use, just like Wichita Falls.
“(Project Engineer) Tyler Persyn and I worked together on the CTE centers in San Antonio,” said Project Manager David Musch. “We have a great working relationship based on trust and respect. As a whole, our onsite team, including my Superintendent, Project Engineer, Field Superintendent and our local JV partner, Trinity Hughes, were invaluable to our success.”
Owner savings on the $30 million project began during preconstruction.
“At GMP, we value-engineered $3 million out of the project and did not impact any of the programs slated for the Career Education Center,” David said. “We also came up with an AV package redesign that gave the district an LED wall that will be the focal point in the main corridor of the building.”
Wichita’s notoriously fickle weather affected the tight schedule, made more difficult when the district adopted a school calendar that cut 10 days off the end of the construction schedule. The team lost two months because of extreme weather and rain delays at the beginning of the work in late 2015.
“We drilled all our piers for the foundation of the building off of crane mats and established a temporary lime-stabilized access road in order to get the foundation started,” David said. “Our team worked seven days a week for 12-plus hours a day, plus night shifts for months, to overcome the challenges we faced.”
Sundt’s GO 10 project involves improvements to Interstate 10 in El Paso.
A U.S. Census Study last year showed Texas is the fastest-growing state in the country, adding an average of 1,183 residents each day. The need to keep up with infrastructure demand has the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) managing and providing more than $7 billion a year in transportation projects.
Sundt is performing one of those projects, GO 10 on the west side of El Paso. It extends 5.75 miles of Interstate 10 and includes construction of collector-distributor lanes through the corridor, improvement of I-10’s direct connection with Paisano Drive/Border West Expressway, addition of lanes to the interstate in both directions and reconfiguration of ramps and overpasses at three exits.
The project team is working at the most complex portions of the job on the project’s critical path. This work is key to meeting the goal of completing the project in December 2018, six months ahead of schedule.
“Each of these critical locations represents all of our trades simultaneously erecting bridge interchanges, installing retaining walls, connecting underground utilities and performing roadway grading operations,” Project Director Jason Esparza said.
The project team plans on resuming concrete paving by the end of July in an effort to finish nearly 40,000 square yards of the new collector-distributor lanes. Work is also being installed by subcontractors, including electrical infrastructure, asphalt pavement and steel girders.
The team set the stage for success by performing value engineering during the construction phase on the concrete paving. Substituting 9-inch pavement and eliminating 12-inch pavement on the widening of the I-10 main lanes created significant savings for TxDOT and us. The team also helped prioritize right-of-way acquisitions to open more work earlier for our crews.
“This approach allowed us to work in areas ahead of schedule,” Jason said.