November 22, 2017
November 17, 2017
Sundt’s Transportation Group is turning the two-lane roadway into a four-lane divided highway in Central Arizona.
It’s a smart way to build a road.
Sundt is using Intelligent Compaction (IC) for the first time on our Thousand Trails Road improvements for the Arizona Department of Transportation. IC is the compaction of road materials such as soils, aggregate bases or asphalt pavement materials, using vibratory rollers equipped with an integrated measurement system, an onboard computer reporting system and global positioning system-based mapping.
Compaction is necessary to attain high quality and uniformity of pavement materials, ensuring longer-lasting performance.
“Using IC on the project gives us the ability to monitor compaction efforts in real time and let us know when it has obtained the required compaction on the aggregate base course (what’s under the surface layer) as well as the asphalt,” said Senior Project Manager Eric Weston.
Our Transportation Group is turning the two-lane roadway into a four-lane divided highway in Central Arizona between Camp Verde and Cottonwood. The job site is about 20 miles from the award-winning Cordes Junction project we completed in 2013.
The project team will replace the barrier on an existing bridge for future westbound lanes, construct a new bridge for future eastbound lanes and build a new multi-modal pathway. The work consists of seven roundabouts, earthwork, aggregate base, asphaltic concrete pavement, bridge construction, drainage improvements, curb and gutter, sidewalk and other related work.
“The biggest challenge so far has been dealing with traffic on State Road 260,” Eric said. “During the day, SR260 is very busy with local as well as vacation traffic to Cottonwood and Sedona.”
November 16, 2017
Sundt Vice President and Regional Director Ian McDowell.
Sundt Vice President and Regional Director Ian McDowell, who runs our Tucson office, has served many roles in preconstruction and operations during his 22-year career with the company. He has been involved in projects across the country ranging from $100,000 to more than $300 million.
In addition to his work duties, Ian has also worked extensively in the construction industry, serving in leadership roles for the Arizona Builders’ Alliance, American Subcontractors Association and the Associated General Contractors of America.
He earned his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from New Mexico State University and his MBA from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.
How did you get involved in the construction industry?
When I was getting close to graduating with my Civil Engineering degree, I was contemplating my career path. A family friend referred me to Sundt. I had several offers, but the one that appealed to me the most was Sundt’s. I liked the idea of getting to work outdoors, and that I could be a part of changing the skyline in various cities during my career. My grandfather also worked as a bridge builder, and my father worked for him in the summers, so you can say that construction is in my genes.
The idea of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, while abstract, also appealed. I honestly underestimated the importance of the ESOP when I signed on. Now, when I am visiting colleges, mentoring students or teaching classes, one of the messages I deliver is how impactful an ESOP program can be.
What was your reaction when you found out you would be running Sundt’s Tucson office?
I cannot overstate how excited I was. I was ready for a change at Sundt and this was a great opportunity. My parents live in Tucson, my wife’s mother lives in Tucson. My kids were even born here. The company also has a tremendous history in town. Sundt moved to Tucson when the population was 32,000. To put that in perspective, the undergraduate enrollment at the University of Arizona is currently 34,000. It is a lot of responsibility to live up to that legacy, walking in the shoes of a lot of people I admired over the years who are tremendously respected in the community.
Tucson has always been an important place for Sundt. How many projects does the company have going on and coming up there?
I have never seen Tucson busier. On the building side we continue our work on Banner UMC-Tucson, the work for the Tucson Airport Authority, the Pima County Animal Care Center and the Caterpillar project, which also incorporates work for the City of Tucson. In the planning process we have several other projects, including work on the Student Success District at the University of Arizona. Next month we will kick off a senior living project in Oro Valley for the Beztak Companies. We also have two projects in the works for private companies in Southern Arizona that will start this year. We have a really nice balance of public and private work. All this and our Transportation Group has a prominent project at Ina Road and I-10. There are a lot of red and black trucks (Sundt’s colors) running around Tucson right now.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
If you want to be a hero, bring dinner home. If you bring home flowers, people sometimes think you have done something wrong. But you are always (always) a hero when you bring home dinner.
November 13, 2017
Sundt Marketing Database Coordinator Alex Sylvester and Senior Marketing Proposal Specialist Shannon Kopp check out one of the company’s software programs.
By Alex Sylvester
Having a limited construction background and being new to the work world has not hurt the start of my career with Sundt.
Millennials in the workplace function differently. From multi-tasking to networking to a strong desire for work-life balance, the younger generation has a unique way of approaching the professional world. Forbes Magazine reported last year that Millennials will make up 40 percent of the workforce by 2020, so our opinions are meaningful.
For many people, getting a specific degree or attending the right school is essential to starting their career path. That was not my approach. The main motivation I had in obtaining a degree in business information systems was to maintain flexibility. When the opportunity came to interview for a database coordinator position with Sundt, I knew keeping my options open was a good plan.
When you do not come from a construction background, picking up on phrases and learning the industry takes time. When called on to maintain the database, it’s essential that I know the process. It took several months for things to start clicking. Fortunately, I have been able to rely on the help of co-workers and mentors who were in the same situation as me at some point: starting a new job and learning the ropes. The balance of mentoring from your colleagues to the trust your boss has in you to accomplish your work makes this an enjoyable work environment.
While this is a construction company, there are positions in human resources, finance, talent acquisition, administrative support, marketing … many career paths that don’t involve working on or managing a construction project.
There is a conscious effort by employee-owners to make each other comfortable and confident in the workplace. Even if construction is not in your plans, the experience as well as the mentorship here will prepare you for a career you might not have expected.
Alex Sylvester is a recent Arizona State University graduate and marketing database coordinator for Sundt. For more information about a career with us, please visit http://www.sundt.com/careers.
November 10, 2017
An installed bat box sits under the new Ina Road bridge waiting for its occupants.
At our Interstate 10/Ina Road project near Tucson, some of Sundt’s constituents have wings and enjoy nestling under an old bridge. They wedge themselves into one-inch crevices to roost between the bridge’s beams. When they leave their homes in the evenings to hunt, they draw people from across the region to watch their night flight.
Our work to widen the interstate involves taking down and replacing the Ina Road bridge where Mexican free-tailed bats spend much of the year. It’s their hangout.
Each box has a one-inch crevice the bats use to enter their homes.
Arizona Game and Fish officials estimate about 1,000 bats spend the winter there instead of relocating to Mexico and 25,000 stick around Southern Arizona in the summer. Fortunately, the project team and Arizona Game and Fish Department have devised a plan to make sure the bats aren’t homeless.
The new bridge, which sits next to the old one, has seven bat boxes that replicate the conditions under which the mammals have been living. Each of the boxes has one-inch openings for the bats to crawl into. The boxes provide cooler conditions in the summer and warmer in the winter that bats like.
The old bridge will be coming down early next year and the team is spending time now making sure the bats find their new home. When the winged creatures take off at night, crews are sealing the areas where they have been resting. The construction team has been spraying bat urine on the boxes to draw the residents to their new homes.
Now that’s dedication, proving we’ll do whatever it takes to make clients happy, including those whose nightly foraging has become an enjoyable ritual for Tucson-area spectators.
Sundt employee-owners and their families came out to support the Purple Run, put on by Cesar Salazar and his wife, Anastacia (far right) to support their Kristine Meza Foundation.
Six years ago, Sundt Field Supervisor Cesar Salazar’s wife, Anastacia, started the Kristine Meza Foundation in honor of a close friend who died as a result of domestic violence.
The foundation’s mission is to raise awareness about the impact of domestic violence. The organization is committed to strengthening individuals through education, compassion and courage. It serves as a resource to those associated with domestic violence’s physical, emotional and mental harm. Its biggest fundraiser is an annual Purple Race 5K, which drew 800 runners this year, including several Sundt employee-owners.
Anastacia took a few minutes to answer questions about where the foundation is and where she and Cesar would like to see it go. Cesar is working on our San Pedro Creek project in San Antonio.
How did the foundation come about?
The foundation came about in 2011 when we lost our friend Kristine Meza to domestic violence. In the last two years of life, Kristine endured a tough relationship with her former boyfriend. She went from being happy to feeling insecure, depressed and later fearing him. In no time, Kristine had unwillingly found herself in a domestic violence relationship. She took all necessary steps to legally protect herself but on Feb. 11, 2011, she was ambushed in her driveway on her way to work. Kristine’s passing left a huge hole in all those who knew her well. After her passing, family and friends embarked on a mission in hopes of making a difference for those who feel locked in silence. The Kristine Meza Foundation started Sept. 14, 2011.
Where are you getting your funding?
We get our funding from our Annual Purple Run and those who sponsor the event.
How did the Purple Run get started?
Left with mixed emotions about Kristine’s passing, I wanted to channel all my anger and hurt into something positive. I had participated in 5Ks and knew the crowd and energy one could form so I asked Kristine’s mom if we could host a 5K in her honor. On Feb. 18, 2012 we hosted the first domestic violence awareness 5K, “STOP the Silence, END the Violence 5K Run/Walk.” We had more than 440 people register and about 650 there. It was cold and pouring rain and people just kept on coming. We had our opening ceremonies and once we started our prayer, the rain stopped and the sun started shining. Once the race was over, the rain started again. It was a very powerful moment, a true you-had-to-be-there experience. After hosting two STOP the Silence, END the Violence 5Ks, the Battered Women & Children’s Shelter approached us and asked us to partner with them. We hosted the first Purple Run in October 2013.
Where would you like to see your foundation go in the future?
I would like our foundation to be known nationwide. I want sports teams to wear a purple awareness ribbon as well as a pink one (for breast cancer awareness) in October. I want to surpass 2,000 registrants in the Purple Run.