While she’s much more concerned with critical paths than a path towards critical acclaim, Hannah Schumacher earned some well-deserved industry fame earlier this month when she was named a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE).
Hannah visits multiple jobsites each week, such as the Canopy by Hilton Tempe (pictured here), to meet with project teams and review their schedule and status.
Hannah is a Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), meaning she plans, schedules and monitors construction projects. Essentially, her behind-the-scenes work plays a huge part in delivering projects on time and on budget. Also, Hannah’s status as an AACE Fellow is one of the most prestigious and selective honors in the industry. It involves nomination from at least five AACE peers, recommendation from the Fellow Admissions Committee, and approval from AACE International’s Board of Directors.
AACE Fellows are sought-after thought leaders and industry influencers. More importantly, as Hannah pointed out, the title isn’t just about being an expert: “It’s a recognition that you have this experience, but also that you’re sharing that with others.” Hannah has given presentations, authored papers and pioneered best practices, as well as conducted group and one-on-one trainings with Sundt employee-owners. “She’s helped elevate the skills we have across our staff, for both the Southwest District and the larger Building Group,” said Sundt Senior VP and Building Group Southwest District Manager, Ryan Abbott. “It’s incredible how much Hannah brings to our team; she’s a fantastic coach focused on enhancing the individual, not just the plan.”
Hannah on site meeting with fellow employee-owners Mike McGee, Adrianne Coffinger and Kelly Wyllie.
Since 2017, Hannah has served as Scheduling Manager for Sundt’s Building Group and has loved it. “What I love about Sundt is the people,” she said. “Other than the people, what I love about my job is providing frontline support, training and mentoring to the project teams, helping them build effective schedules that they can use to manage their projects. Every day is something different; each project is unique with its own challenges and issues. There’s nothing like seeing a project from start to finish.”
True to her nature to share, Hannah was quick to share the credit for her fellowship, starting with thanking her husband. “My industry involvement has demanded a lot from me, and my husband has been so supportive throughout the process,” said Hannah. “It was an unexpected surprise to be named as an AACE Fellow. I’m honored and grateful to be recognized by an organization whose volunteer members do so much to give back to the industry.”
The Canopy by Hilton Tempe’s south elevation panel installation is now complete, with windows installed up through level 10 and remaining windows on Levels 11 to 13 scheduled to complete next week.
It was a fall morning on the calendar last month, but outside it felt like the dead of summer. Sundt employee-owners walked from their field office and joined the crowd beneath a white-canopied event tent, dwarfed by neighboring high-rises and tower cranes. Guests started taking off their suit jackets, picking up the SWAG pocket fans, and hydrating as if a coach somewhere had called a timeout. Even with the heat, however, there was a feeling of anticipation that couldn’t be sapped. It was time to celebrate.
Attendees from Sundt Construction, Allen + Philp Architects, the Opus Group, Driftwood Acquisitions & Development (DAD), Hilton, and the City of Tempe all came together to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Canopy by Hilton in downtown Tempe.
Carlos J. Rodriguez Sr., CEO of Driftwood Acquisitions & Development (DAD), kicked off the festivities with a dad joke; he praised his son and COO Carlos Jr. for treating this project as his baby, so in business terms “[Carlos Sr. is] a grandfather now.” Family humor aside, it was clear that this project means a great deal to many stakeholders, especially the city of Tempe, and it will take a village to complete something this size on such a tight lot and timeline.
The 14-story, 198-room boutique hotel is scheduled to open January 2020. It will feature various amenities, including a café, gym, over 3,000 square feet of meeting space, and a rooftop pool with a terrace bar, cabanas and a fire pit. As part of the Canopy by Hilton lifestyle brand, the new hotel will focus on local design, food and drink, and culture. “Everything about this is going to scream Tempe,” said Gary Steffen, Global Head of Canopy by Hilton. Steffen also noted the “breakneck speed” of Sundt’s progress, among other speakers who pointed out the irony of holding a groundbreaking ceremony with the first floor of concrete columns already in place.
Tempe Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby commented on downtown’s need for quality hotel and conference space, for business and leisure travelers as well as visitors to ASU. Also, she said, “This project will create over 620 jobs in Tempe for the short term, and then hundreds more in the long term to staff and run the hotel.”
Sundt Senior Project Manager Jim Drago, among the “vested” crowd in the back wearing their PPE, said, “The most challenging part is it’s an extremely small site—less than a half-acre, including our entire laydown area—to build a 14-story building. And it’s less than 100 feet from the high-rise apartments we just finished. It’s all about logistics.” Sundt’s Building Group, Southwest District recently finished the Union Tempe mixed-use project in June, just in time for move-in of its current 500 residents who include ASU students and faculty, young professionals and families.
According to Jim Drago, collaboration has been a key ingredient in the project’s development: “It’s not very common for two different developers to work together hand-in-hand, but that’s what Opus and Driftwood had to do to make the Canopy happen, and they continue to work together.”
Several things stand out about this project, from both a development and a construction standpoint. “It’s unique to have finished Union Tempe for one client and then transform right into the next project, a similar one but for a different client on the same piece of land,” Jim said. Both he and Project Superintendent Justin Gillies pointed out that having the same team on Canopy is a unique advantage. “It’s great to be able to leverage our shared learning experience,” Justin said. “And we’re going to need that to meet our goal of completing a floor a week.”
“The team all know each other, and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and styles. The chemistry is already built, and it shows in the teamwork that goes on every day,” said Jim Drago.
While the Building Group, Southwest District looks to put Sundt’s signature on yet another piece of Tempe’s rising skyline, fellow employee-owners in Texas are doing the same on the Canopy by Hilton San Antonio. As we expand our presence in the hospitality and entertainment market, Sundt continues to deliver for our clients and for the communities where we work and live.