January 15, 2019
January 11, 2019
Over 50 years ago, while working to put himself through his final year of college, Guy Weinzapfel was awarded a Sundt Scholarship. At the time, Sundt presented a one-year full-tuition scholarship to a fifth-year student at the University of Arizona CAPLA (College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture) who was self-supporting. For Guy, the scholarship made a huge impact. “It might have been around $250,” he said, “but back then that was a lot of money, and it let me concentrate on what was essentially my capstone.”
As a student, Guy was spending countless hours a week in a Safeway—not bagging groceries, but learning to plan, design and construct buildings. A lesser known fact of Tucson history is that from 1958 to 1965 the CAPLA’s design studios were located in a former Safeway grocery store on Park Avenue, a block southwest of the college’s current location.
Between the long hours, demanding coursework and close quarters of the repurposed building, students in the “Safeway Studios” became close friends and remained so, long after graduating.
The “Safeway Group” eventually came together as a tight-knit network of alumni. Having reaped many benefits from their careers in architecture, they wanted to pay it forward to future students. In 2010, the alumni came together under Guy’s leadership to create the Safeway Studios Alumni Scholarship—though Guy credits the idea to his wife, Jane, who herself is an architecture alumna of CAPLA and was part of the first class to graduate women in 1966. Modeled on the Sundt Scholarship of years past, the Alumni scholarship is awarded to a fifth-year student working to put him or herself through the most challenging year of an already very challenging program.
With their endowment close to reaching its target of $250,000, and the 2018 fall semester approaching, Guy reached out to Sundt Project Director Dave Ollanik for a donation. “When Guy approached me,” said Dave, “and I heard his story about the legacy of Sundt’s scholarship activities at the U of A and how it had impacted him over his 50-year career, we were excited to become the capstone of the newly formed Safeway Studios Alumni Scholarship.” Sundt contributed the last portion of the endowment, allowing the group to reach their goal and award a scholarship for the 2018-19 academic year.
The “Safeway Studios” Class of 1965, with Guy Weinzapfel on the far left.
The first recipient of the Alumni scholarship is CAPLA fifth-year student Ben Stewart, who just began his final semester in the program. “The scholarship has changed the course of my last year,” Ben said, “by increasing the time I have available to focus on my capstone, to more thoughtfully consider all that I learned during my internship this past summer and incorporate this into my final project, and time to mentor and support younger students, all without having to work an outside job. I’m extremely grateful to be the recipient of this scholarship.”
Reflecting on the team effort behind the scholarship, Guy was proud of his group: “To know the impact this will have on current and future students, it just really puffs up everyone’s chest. All of the Safeway Studios alumni gave, every single one of us. And it just further cements the bond that we’ve had since the beginning.” For Sundt’s part, we’re glad to contribute and continue the tradition of giving back to our industry and our community.
December 21, 2018
Companies and teams often brag about an “all-star recruit” who has committed to their side, but it’s not as common that we get to celebrate bringing on an “all-star recruiter.” Luckily for Sundt, that’s exactly who Madison Williams is. This week, Maddy joined Sundt as a full-time employee-owner after completing her internship with the Workforce Development Group.
Maddy grew up in Denver, Colorado, where she lived in the same home her whole life, before moving to Tempe to attend Arizona State. She has held different jobs in the service sector, but working for Sundt is her first “real, adult job” she said. Maddy graduated in December with a Bachelor of Arts in Business with an emphasis in Spanish Language and Culture. Since joining Talent Acquisition in March of last year, Maddy has been a valuable asset in recruiting top talent and helping Sundt maintain its sustainable growth as a company. When asked to share a bit about herself, she gladly obliged.
How much did you know about Sundt before you started your internship?
Honestly, not much. I was researching HR-related internships back in March, and an offer at Sundt came up in my search. I applied without really knowing what Sundt does as a company, but once I started researching, I was intrigued by the large scope of projects that Sundt is a part of. I didn’t know much about the construction industry before starting my internship, but I’ve learned so much in the short time I’ve been here.
What’s the most interesting part about being involved in the construction industry on the Talent Acquisition/Recruiting side?
The most interesting part of being in college recruiting specifically is that I get to work with people from all four groups/divisions at Sundt. Sometimes it’s difficult to stay up-to-date on all the projects going on throughout the company as a whole, but it’s been interesting to work with people from all the various disciplines and markets.
What advice would you give college students who want to work for Sundt?
I would tell them not to pigeonhole themselves into one specific type of work. A lot of college students studying construction or engineering will have an idea about the type of project they want to be on, so they don’t open themselves up to other possibilities within construction. An internship is the perfect time to explore the many different aspects of work that construction, and Sundt specifically, has to offer.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
Running a marathon in under 4 hours last February. I had trained for the race, but it was my first marathon, and I was not expecting to do very well. My one goal was to finish. Once I reached the 13-mile mark, my body almost went into auto-pilot until mile 20, and then it started to get tough. But I finished in 3 hours and 46 minutes, and I realized how insanely powerful the human body is—sometimes you just have to convince your mind that it’s okay!
December 7, 2018
“All you can take with you is that which you give away”—even if you haven’t seen the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life, these are still great words to live by. Throughout the year and especially around the holidays, Sundt employee-owners make a point to give back to the communities where they live and work. Here are just a few of the many holiday drives that our people have participated in across the country, spreading cheer and helping people in need. Thanks to all who contributed.
Sundt employee-owners in Sacramento and Monterey (incl. our project team at the Sac State Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex), participated in the Sacramento Sheriff’s Toy Drive for children across the region—and had loads of fun while they were at it!
Our San Antonio office, San Pedro Creek project team and I-10 Old Fred project team donated to a holiday toy drive for the Rainbow Room, an organization that serves children in Child Protective Services. Also, Sundt employee-owners in San Antonio held their annual coat drive this month. They doubled the number of coats donated this year to Haven for Hope.
Sundt’s Irvine office and area projects hosted a toy drive for CHiPs for Kids, which has been hosted by the California Highway Patrol for the past 30 years.
Our San Diego office partnered with Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), an organization that sponsors enlisted families in need during the holiday season, and we were able to sponsor a total of 10 families.
Sundt’s HACEP (Housing Authority of the City of El Paso) project team donated $1,000 to the 51st Annual Senior Citizen Holiday Event, benefiting over 400 senior citizens living in affordable housing. Employee-owners from our El Paso office also volunteered their time for two nights to prepare and serve turkey dinners.
Our Fort Worth office participated in a canned food drive for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Each month, TAFB and its partners provide groceries and/or meals to more than 53,000 households.
Sundt employee-owners in Tucson gathered toys and gifts for Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse and participated in a blood drive with the American Red Cross.
The Sundt Foundation donated $20,000 to St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix; our Tempe and Phoenix offices participated in the Arizona Builders Alliance Toy Drive, which helped over 1,200 children; and we “adopted” 25 children and four college students from Sunshine Acres and helped fulfill their personal wish lists.
November 30, 2018
Sundt and Central Arizona College (CAC) recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 142-by-92-foot concrete pad Sundt donated earlier this year, which will expand training for students in CAC’s Construction and Concrete Technology programs. In 2017, Sundt and CAC formed a workforce development partnership, in which Sundt staff donate their time as adjunct instructors and funds are donated to purchase supplies for the program.
In honor of the celebration, students from CAC’s welding program built a new sign, surprising our Craft Workforce Development staff with it when they arrived on campus. Also in attendance (left of sign) were CAC President Dr. Jacquelyn Elliott and Sundt Chief Administrative Officer Dan Haag (far right), who both spoke to the crowd.
The partnership between Sundt and CAC continues to expand. Sundt brought on an Industrial Carpentry Instructor and now has three adjunct instructors at CAC. The college furnishes an on-site lab and instruction space and has hired an additional professor and a full-time recruiter. Since the start of the program, Sundt has donated the concrete pad, as well as a pipe wall, industrial concrete tools, GPS system, backpacks and hard hats. Activities are planned to continue alongside the development of the CAC training area. These include opportunities for real-world experience outside the college environment, such as visits to jobsites, vendor training facilities, and the Sundt Center for Craft Excellence, as well as participation in community outreach programs.
During the ceremony, the program’s training equipment and tools were placed on display across the concrete pad.
James Busch, CAC Skilled Trades and Technology Division Chair and Professor of Diesel Technology and Heavy Equipment Operation, said, “We’re very grateful for the support Sundt has provided and continues to provide. The advancements being made within our programs and division are possible because of this strong workforce partnership.” During the 2017-2018 academic year, 178 students enrolled in Industrial Carpentry, Welding, Pipe Fitting, and Heavy Equipment Operator program offerings at CAC. Sundt Director of Craft Workforce Development Sean Ray said, “Our partnership with CAC continues to grow and produce fantastic results. We have a great relationship with CAC and look forward to the next phases of the program.” The first cohort graduated in May 2018 with 100 percent of graduates receiving jobs in the industry. Students hired by Sundt received a $1,000 tuition reimbursement to help defray the cost of the program.
For the second time, Sundt has been recognized by Vault.com for having one of the top internship programs in the nation. Based on responses from over 13,000 interns across the country, the 50 Best Internships were announced earlier this month, and Sundt was one of only two general contractors selected, and the only one from the Southwest. Other companies who made the list included AT&T, Capital One, Home Depot and KPMG. Vault’s rankings were based on independent surveys on compensation and benefits, quality of life, career development, the interview process and full-time prospects. To give a firsthand look at what our program is like, some of our 2018 intern class shared about their experiences.
José Gamez Garcia, Transportation Group
Growing as Professionals and as People
When asked about what he’s learned in the past year, intern José Gamez Garcia in the Transportation Group said, “I now see every project with the true purpose of why it’s being built as opposed to just the how. I think this mindset allows me to work hard while staying aware of the purpose of what I’m doing.” From the Industrial Group, intern Kate Kneip responded to the same question, saying, “The past few years, I’ve been able to grow as an individual and gain industry experience far beyond what I could’ve imagined. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone, and I was able to learn the importance of asking questions and paying attention to details.”
Dalton Holly, Concrete Division
Giving Credit to their Mentors
Emily Tucker, who interned with the Building Group on the University Square project, said, “I was fortunate enough to work closely with both a PE and Superintendent, Kelly Wyllie and Bryan Terry, which provided a diverse learning experience.” Intern Dalton Holly, who is with the Concrete Division, said “When it comes to my mentors working side-by-side with me every day, there’s been plenty. Anthony Pallini was my mentor for two summers now and has taught me more about the concrete industry than I could’ve ever imagined. Now I’m a part-time intern on [a project for a confidential client] where Neil Kerkhof is my mentor, and he continues to help my development as a field engineer in countless ways. I can’t thank them enough.”
Maddy Williams, Workforce Development
Getting Excited About Being Full-Time Employee-Owners
“Everyone here treats me as if I have an important voice and the ability to make important decisions, which has really driven me to be confident in what I do as a recruiter,” said Maddy Williams, who will join Sundt full-time in January. “I’ve learned a lot from every single person I’ve met at Sundt so far, and I’m excited to continue meeting our amazing people.” The difference with Sundt’s internship program is really the difference with the rest of the company; true leaders attract other leaders, and it shows in all aspects of our business. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special thanks to José Gamez Garcia, Kate Kneip, Emily Tucker, Dalton Holly, and Maddy Williams, as well as Mike Morales, Manager of Sundt’s College Recruiting Program, for contributing to this piece.