June 24, 2019
June 7, 2019
Earlier this month, Sundt welcomed Ken Kubacki as its new Vice President and Regional Manager of the Transportation Group’s Intermountain Region, including Utah and Colorado. He will oversee business development, preconstruction, operations and client management. For this week’s blog, Ken took some time to share a bit about himself.
How long have you been in construction, and what drew you to this industry? For 28 years, starting in college. What drew me to construction then and what draws me now is that it’s always changing; you’re never working on the same thing. Every day, it’s a new landscape and a new challenge. I also love the feeling you get when you finish a project, and you drive past it later and can say, “We built that.”
Ken arrives at Sundt with deep experience in large infrastructure projects and direct involvement in over $1.5 billion in Design-Build and CMGC contracts.
Is there a past project that stands out to you, one that you’re especially proud of? There are several. I’d say the US 60 Superstition Freeway Widening project, which my former company did as a JV with Sundt. It exposed me to Design-Build, and it was a large project at $196 million. We were fortunate enough to be involved with that project—to be responsible for its success, and to be part of a really fun and talented team.
What brought you to Sundt? Relationships. Including the US 60 job, I had prior experience working alongside Sundt, and I knew a lot about the firm and its people. My dad was a Teamster laborer here at one point too. I grew up in Tempe seeing Sundt around, and I knew they were a long-time, established firm. Overall, the longer I worked in the industry, whether chasing work together or through the AGC, the more I got to know some key people here. So, when the opportunity came up for me to lead the Intermountain Region, everything just came together.
What projects and opportunities in your region are you excited about? We’re excited for the opportunities that lie ahead in Utah’s strong economic market. There are several UDOT bid-build and Design-Build projects that fit our strengths, along with US Army Corps of Engineers and Union Pacific Railroad projects. In Portland, Oregon there’s the I-5 Rose Quarter CMGC project we’re pursuing which would capitalize on our previous experience in the area. We’re also looking forward to working with Sundt’s Industrial Group on a large infrastructure joint venture in Salt Lake City. This is a great chance to show Utah and the surrounding areas that Sundt is establishing a foothold in the Intermountain Region.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? Being outdoors—skiing, snowboarding, hiking, camping, mountain biking. I’ve actually coached mountain biking for high school teams for the past couple years. Watching the kids grow and develop is special. And they’ll kick your butt on the trails by the end of the season! You’re not on the sidelines watching; you’re out there riding with them. So, yeah, that’s something that I’ve loved doing.
Is there a book, movie, or quote that inspires you? One quote that has stuck with me is, “Never tell people what to do, tell them what you want, and you will be surprised by their ingenuity,” which is credited to General Patton. And I agree. You should let people come up with solutions on their own, while providing guidance and feedback. There are good ideas that come from the person who’s on the end of the shovel. Providing everyone the opportunity to be involved allows the team to become the best it can be; you just have to listen.
May 24, 2019
Every year, Girls Inc., proud recipient of a Sundt Foundation grant, hosts the RockIt Into the Future Science Festival in San Antonio. The event celebrates and promotes careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It provides young girls, and their families, the opportunity to connect with experts within the different fields and participate in various STEM activities. “It’s not just technology. It’s not just computers. It’s not just engineering,” said Girls Inc., San Antonio president and CEO Leah Rosenhauer. “The scientific process of discovery, or disrupting things, of finding new solutions to things is all around us.”
This year, Sundt San Antonio women participated by hosting three “mind-on” activities: “Building Our Future” Lego table for children age 3-6 years old, a pulley system to teach how weight is distributed for children between 7 and 12 years old, and a video game, “Ant you Crazy about Safety,” to teach them about jobsite safety for ages 13 and up.
Sundt’s own Ryan Silbernagel built the pulley system, and Swapna Biju, one of Sundt’s virtual construction engineers, created the video game. Each participant within the video game would identify different jobsite hazards in order to become aware of the importance of jobsite safety.
Sundt’s Alexis Marshall, Traci Cadena, Swapna Biju, Terri Pasley, Meagan Garcia, and Amy Yount participate in the 13th Annual RockIt Into the Future STEM Festival.
Alexis Marshall and Amy Yount demonstrate the pulley system.
May 10, 2019
Sundt employee-owners install one of two granite pedestals.
Last November, thanks to the Sundt Foundation and Arizona veterans, a bronze medallion that had adorned the 6-foot tall granite marker was restored to the World War I Memorial at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix, Arizona. This month, Sundt employee-owners provided additional support to restore another piece of the memorial.
Two brass plaques, one telling the story of WWI and the other, a poem written by John McCrae near a Belgian Battlefield, had been neglected and forgotten, until now. Volunteers from Sundt’s Industrial Group installed two granite pedestals that will house the two brass plaques.
The unveiling ceremony on May 18 was nothing short of magical, with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem and a presentation of the colors of the flag.
The completed monument now stands tall as a remembrance of the great sacrifice many men and women made for our country.
May 1, 2019
This week, over 70 national and global construction companies in the Construction Industry Safety (CISI) group and the Incident and Injury Free CEO (IIF) Forum have come together to celebrate Safety Week. Jobsites and offices near and far hosted safety briefings and safety shares, with topics ranging from fall protection to electrical safety to general health and well-being.
Together, we share a common goal that goes far beyond learning best practices. We have a responsibility to ourselves and our families to come home safe every day, and we owe it to our fellow builders—both colleagues and competitors—to build a safer industry. Here are just a few Safety Week snapshots of Sundt employee-owners and partners doing their part.
Sundt’s Sacramento State University Science Building team came together to learn about electrical safety from Bergelectric.
Brian Martinez, Corporate HS&E Trainer, led a discussion on electrical safety at Sundt’s headquarters in Tempe, Arizona.
Tony Bonilla from Jobsite Supply, holding a rescue ladder with anchor point, reminded the San Diego Air Support Facilities team about the importance of Rescue Planning
The team at Sundt’s HACEP Chelsea project in El Paso, Texas met to learn about trench excavating safety.
Today is Law Day, a national day to celebrate the rule of law and to learn how the legal process protects the freedoms we share as Americans. As such, it’s a great occasion to spotlight Ron Stuff, who shared with us his love for the law and his journey to become Sundt Senior Vice President and General Counsel.
Growing up the son of a carpenter, Ron always knew he wanted to be involved in building things. The law was also something that held his interest with its ever-changing, dynamic nature and its opportunities to make a difference. Following his passion for construction, Ron graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech. Ron worked as a civil engineer with a construction firm and worked on the front lines. According to Ron, he wouldn’t trade his experience spending each day on a construction site for anything in the world.
After four years as an engineer, Ron attended Harvard Law. Not many construction lawyers have the same combination of field experience and education. Ron saw both benefits and challenges being an engineer studying law. “On one hand, engineering is a lot like law,” he said. “Both require analytical skills. Both require breaking large, complex problems down into smaller pieces, and solving them one piece at a time.” On the other hand, law required a lot more writing skills than he had. Over the last 30 years, Ron said he has been privileged to bring together his two passions for building and the law.
In 2017, Ron was named Arizona Corporate Counsel of the Year in the Large Private Company category. Upon receiving the award, he said, “In circumstances like this, I’m reminded of the words of an early mentor who told me, ‘It’s easy to look good when one is surrounded by good people.’ The legal team and the entire Sundt organization are the ones who made this possible.” Those who know Ron will agree: he readily attributes his success to those around him.
Lawyers in construction can often be seen as the “department of No” or just another hurdle to overcome. Ron hopes that he and his team are useful business partners to everyone in the company. “If they’ve got a legal question or problem, we want to find a way to help them solve it or answer it. If we’re not, then we need to change what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.”
Looking back, there are many things Ron would count as his greatest accomplishment; from spending 37 wonderful years with his wife, to having three beautiful children, there is a lot to be proud of. Career-wise, Ron feels most accomplished with his current role. Of all his different jobs, Ron said, he has never had one that has felt more rewarding than his time with Sundt.