January 11, 2017
December 2, 2016
Our “secret city” in Los Alamos, New Mexico started construction almost 75 years ago.
Almost 75 years ago, Sundt embarked on a top-secret project that forever changed the world. It started with a handshake agreement, no formal contract and, for just about everyone working on site, no idea what the work was about.
The U.S. government contacted our company on Dec. 1, 1942 looking for a contractor that could essentially construct a community, sometimes referred to as a secret city, in northern New Mexico. The project was so confidential that it was labeled “Job 444” in company records.
We were given a year to build a lab technical area, test site, 332 apartments, 12 civilian dormitories, 12 military barracks, an administration building, warehouses, service and mess facilities, medical and veterinary hospitals and schools.
Government officials wanted 20 percent of housing ready for occupancy by the end of January 1943 and technical buildings done by the beginning of February. Working at an unimaginable pace, we had 96 percent of the project complete by April 1943.
The work was challenging, and the location was remote. Access to the site required construction of a primitive access road that wouldn’t attract curiosity from locals and travelers. The road took its toll on trucks making deliveries and was only improved when government authorities anticipated 40- to 60-ton loads traveling on it as the project progressed.
Our work was complete in 1943, including security fencing, guard towers and gates at what was formerly the Los Alamos Ranch School. The facility and surrounding land were purchased by the U.S. government in November 1942. The school awarded its final diplomas in January 1943, and the Army took control of the property the following month.
In 1945, Sundt officials learned that the site, Los Alamos, was part of the Manhattan Project, which developed science that helped end World War II.
We were invited back to Los Alamos in 2000 to build, among other things, a fast-track emergency flood control project to protect the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The work resulted in a Build America Award for our company. The honor is given by the Associated General Contractors of America to the members who build the nation’s most impressive construction projects.
October 7, 2016
Sundt California District Manager Dan Dumke.
Dan Dumke is Sundt’s new District Manager for California. He has more than 35 years of experience directing company operations, managing significant projects and leading high-performing teams in the construction industry. He brings a wealth of experience in the building and industrial markets as well as knowledge of large projects and public-private partnerships.
Dan is a member of the California Associated General Contractors Association and donates his time to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, whose mission is to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.
What made you want to work for Sundt?
The people. Sundt’s employee-owners have a genuine respect for the work they do and for their partners who do it. I have been fortunate over the past number of years to not only meet but work directly with many Sundt employees. It was clear from these experiences that they believe in the power of teamwork, are fully committed to do whatever it takes to get the job done and have a consistent habit of sharing credit.
What is on your immediate to-do list?
Getting to know our people is a high priority, so I will be visiting our projects and regional offices in California to do that. I am also looking forward to engaging with our safety personnel and site staff partners to make sure we continue to make every effort to remain the nation’s safest construction company.
What are our strengths in the California building market?
We will continue to leverage our strengths in the K-12, university and criminal justice markets and look for opportunities to further employ these strategically in other sectors, as well as with our transportation and industrial groups.
Where are we looking to start making in-roads?
Our successful growth is dependent upon our ability to develop and attract top talent in the market sectors where we work. The war for talent is real in construction, so our immediate focus is on finding more great employee-owners. Longer term, we will explore opportunities in new markets. If all industry and political indicators are even marginally correct, there will be tremendous need in the privatized infrastructure market – everything from transportation to water/wastewater to the expansion of alternative energy facilities. Schools, universities, hospitals, criminal justice facilities and community housing – essentially defined as social infrastructure projects – also lend themselves to alternative delivery types such as P3 and collaborative design-build.
What is Sundt known for in California?
The Sundt brand has and continues to be strong in California – on par with some of our most respected construction industry peers. We are recognized for being honest and following through on commitments.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from a mentor?
“First find the solution, then analyze its impact.” The message is simple: trust your mentors (and if you don’t have one, go find one). We are all surrounded by some pretty smart people. I am certain there is no puzzle we can’t solve when we work together.
September 28, 2016
Larry Luke, Sundt’s Area Manager for its new Salt Lake City office.
Larry Luke is serving as Area Manager for the new office and is responsible for forming partnerships with clients and subcontractors in the region. It’s an important market. Sixty percent of Utah’s population live in the Salt Lake Valley and the state’s population is estimated to increase 19 percent by 2020, from 2.77 million to 3.31 million.
Larry recently spent a few minutes talking about our expanded presence in Northern Utah and our many qualifications and innovative approaches to project delivery.
What are Utah’s strengths as a market?
Utah has a growing economy and population that has created a steady need for new infrastructure in the areas in which Sundt operates (Transportation, Industrial and Building). Utah has a healthy economy, balanced state budget and the ability to either self-fund projects or obtain either federal or private-market funding. The owners are not only programming and funding new construction projects but they also have a reputation for treating contractors fairly and believe in partnering. Public market owners, such as Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), Utah Transit Authority and counties and cities, and private markets have projects that are either in the planning phase, design phase or already scheduled to be advertised.
From a personnel perspective, Salt Lake City is an area where many people want to live due to the proximity to recreational opportunities, strong family atmosphere and relatively low cost of living.
Sundt participates in joint ventures on many of its projects. What kind of expertise would we bring to JVs in the Salt Lake market?
Sundt is known in our industry for being not only a long-standing reputable company with a strong balance sheet, but also one with excellent experience on a variety of different projects. Through our people, we are also known for being an innovator and leader in Construction Manager General Contractor (CMGC), and use of technology for 3D modeling, virtual design and construction, use of automated machine control, parametric estimating, and design-build value engineering. Owners like UDOT have been on the forefront of CMGC projects, design-build, accelerated bridge construction and intelligent design and construction (IDC). We believe Sundt’s strengths in these areas will make us stand out and be able to offer joint-venture partners and owners a value that is unique from other local contractors.
What are Sundt’s strategies for developing good subcontractor relationships there?
Like any other local market, it is important to have personal relationships with our subcontractors and suppliers and show them that Sundt will treat them fairly, pay timely, honor fair bidding and price-evaluation practices and include them as partners in the project planning.
What trends do you see in the Salt Lake market?
I think we will continue to see an emphasis on value-based selections such as CMGC and design-build, especially for projects greater than $75 million. UDOT is interested in developing its IDC process and evolving the design and contractors into utilizing 3D electronic design files to replace paper plan sheets as legal construction documents. I think we will also see more opportunities that involve a combination of Transportation, Industrial or Building. For example, the upcoming Salt Lake prison or Utah Transit Authority Mountain Accord project, development of ski resort expansion projects or local cities’ needs for water improvement projects.
June 1, 2016
The Maple Street Correctional Center earned a Structures Award from the Silicon Valley Business Journal in the Public/Civic Project category and LEED Gold certification.
September was an honorable month for the Maple Street Correctional Center, a California jail built to discourage inmates from coming back once they’re released.
The criminal justice project and joint venture with Layton Construction earned LEED Gold certification, the second highest of four classifications. LEED certification is based on points awarded for environmental impact including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design and regional priority credits.
The building, located in Redwood City, includes significant reductions in water use. Through the use of increased efficiency plumbing and recycled water, the facility reduced indoor water use by 54 percent and cut potable water use for landscaping to zero.
Day lighting and natural ventilation were leveraged when possible to help reduce energy loads. Coupled with significant performance improvements in heating and lighting performance, energy use was reduced by 34 percent over industry standards.
Being located in an area that prioritizes waste reduction, the design-build team diverted 97 percent of site-generated construction waste from landfill. More than 25 percent of building materials were manufactured using recycled products and the facility remains centrally located, making it accessible by mass transit or bike.
Visitation at the facility includes a children’s area that makes kids and families feel safe and welcome.
The building also earned a Structures Award from the Silicon Valley Business Journal in the Public/Civic Project category. The awards honor Northern California’s top players in several categories covering commercial real estate, development, construction and design. Winners were announced Sept. 22 at an awards dinner in San Jose.
The facility aims to reduce recidivism by employing a new approach called “Corrections with Compassion.” The center is an 832-bed facility that has a separate area for work-furlough prisoners. Those inmates are allowed to leave during the day for work, school or training.
Staff ensures inmates appear in court and complete jail sentences, are incarcerated in a manner that provides for their medical, nutritional, hygienic, legal and spiritual needs and receive services designed to provide opportunities to improve their lives, both during and after incarceration, in order to reduce recidivism.
Visitation at the facility includes video capabilities as well as a children’s area that makes kids and families feel safe and welcome.
Sacramento State’s Science II Building will have teaching and research labs, an observatory and planetarium.
Sundt’s first project at Sacramento State University is going to be unlike anything on campus.
The university’s Science II Building will be a modern five-story laboratory facility that will centralize the College of Natural Science’s Biology and Chemistry departments. In addition to providing state-of-the-art teaching and research labs, the 94,000-square-foot building will include an observatory and planetarium.
“These features will support a physics and astronomy curriculum, but also be open to the community for events,” said Project Director Tim Blood. “It’s a great way to involve the community in the science and research taking place at Sac State. I can’t wait to take my kids to a building our company built to learn more about the beauty and complexity of our universe.”
The total project cost is expected to be around $91 million. Construction is scheduled to start next summer and be complete by spring 2019.
“Sacramento State has historically used the design-bid-build delivery method for major projects on their campus,” Tim said. “The fact that they’ve trusted Sundt as a design-builder to deliver their most important project in decades speaks volumes to our company’s history, our relationship with CO Architects, our chosen architectural partner, and our local team.”
It’s our first work at Sacramento State and fifth collaborative design-build project for the California State University System.
“We’ve had a lot of success with CSU, and that speaks to us doing many things well,” Tim said. “First, we have a culture of integrity. No project is perfect, but we consistently work collaboratively, do the right thing, and focus on solutions not problems. We also know the CSU processes and procedures well, which enables us to help them navigate those waters predictably. Finally, I’ve heard variations of this statement a lot lately: ‘It appears that you actually care about the client and their project,’ which surprises me. Doesn’t everyone? But we do, and it’s nice that our clients recognize that fact.”
Sacramento State’s campus master plan for the next 20 years includes a new events center, renovating its existing Science Building, classroom buildings and Grand Central Quad, a centralized gathering place for students.
“I hope this will be the first of many projects to come at Sac State,” Tim said.