January 19, 2018
January 12, 2018
One of the recipients of coats from Sundt employee-owner Kenny Smith shows off his new winter wear.
Bitterly cold temperatures and a lot of time to think on an airport runway inspired Sundt employee-owner Kenny Smith to help San Antonio’s homeless.
Kenny, a Concrete Project Manager on our Canopy Hilton project, left the downtown San Antonio jobsite one day earlier this month for the airport and a trip to Phoenix. On the way to his truck, he saw homeless people without proper clothing for a rare blast of winter temperatures coming to town.
“I went to the airport and got stuck on the runway for three hours due to snow on the plane,” he said. “I had time to think while waiting on the plane.”
When he returned to San Antonio, Kenny went through his and his girlfriend’s closets collecting coats to hand out. He asked co-workers to do the same and he soon had a nice amount of winter wear. When taking one of the coats back to the job site, Kenny said he saw a man sitting at a gas station asking for money.
“I told him I had something better and gave him the new coat,” Kenny said.
Kenny’s generosity and organizational skills earned him an internal company award. But he was never in it for recognition. The reaction he receives from the men and women he helps is more than enough when he pulls over to the side of the road to hand out jackets and coats.
“It wasn’t really hard to do or took much time out of my schedule. It was just the right thing to do to give back to people that need it more than we do,” Kenny said. “I learned that from my mother and grandmother.”
January 9, 2018
Sundt Heavy Machinery Operator Jesse De Haro.
Heavy Machinery Operator Jesse De Haro has been with Sundt for more than 10 years, working on projects across the Southwest.
Last year, Jesse became one of dozens of Sundt craft professionals to earn NCCER-Plus Certification. The assessment is broken into two parts. Knowledge verification is a written test that assesses the employee’s knowledge of a subject matter within an area of expertise, such as pipefitting, industrial concrete or ironworking. The second part is the performance verification, a hands-on demonstration that measures the employee’s ability to perform skills in a particular area of expertise. Craft professionals carry the certification throughout their careers.
A Tucson native, Jesse is working at home on the Banner-UMC project. Previously, he was across town on our Ina/I-10 improvements.
What made you want to work for Sundt?
My dad connected me with the company and I really got close to a lot of guys. I felt like they were family. I still feel that way.
What has been your favorite project?
I’m kind of biased on that. My first job was the Fourth Avenue underpass. It couldn’t have been a better job as a 21-year-old. I got to work at home.
What’s the best part about your job?
Besides building cool things and saying I was a part of it, I like meeting good people when I go out of town. People who see this as a career. I’m open to teaching green guys who are willing to pick it up. I like to see people prosper and become part of the Sundt culture.
What are your hobbies?
I love to spend time with my young daughter. I collect DVDs and Blu-rays and try to work out when I’m not too tired.
Where do you get your best advice?
I turn to a lot of my superintendents … people I’ve worked for over time and built relationships with. They help me with work and personal things.
If you weren’t in the construction industry, what would you be doing?
Maybe a mechanic. It’s become more of a hobby. I really like what I do.
January 5, 2018
Our prep work at the site of the future Caterpillar Tucson Mining Center recently revealed buried treasure.
The team was excavating and removing trash about 20 feet deep when Project Superintendent Aaron Bond noticed paper blowing around on the ground outside the work area. He took a closer look and saw the Sundt logo. To his surprise, it was an employee check stub dated 1943.
“We looked around a little bit and found about 15 additional check stubs,” Aaron said. “The checks still had the ‘Safety First’ motto printed at the top.”
Some of the check stubs were for workers who were born in the late 1800s. We have performed work in the Tucson region for almost 90 years.
“It certainly gives a tangible reminder to our longevity working in Southern Arizona,” said Regional Vice President Ian McDowell.
While these checks from the 1940s were for small amounts, craft professionals these days make careers out of their work. For more on a job with Sundt, please visit our website.
January 3, 2018
Robby Brown is never far from his trusty camera.
Staff photographer/videographer Robby Brown comes to the company with a wide variety of experience.
He took his first video production class in high school because he heard it would be an easy A. After his first project, he immediately fell in love with the field and knew it was what he wanted to do the rest of his life.
After high school, he attended community college in Tulsa, learning as much about production and design as he could to get his foot in the door in the real world. The work included joining a documentary crew filming in Africa, which led to an internship at a local news station where he was offered a job after his first week. That work eventually led him into photography, motion and graphic design, and running his own production company for the past four years before joining Sundt.
What will you be doing for Sundt?
I get to visit jobsites to capture the action in photo and video. Document the projects and really bring out the artistry in these builds. There are also a lot of internal projects to take on.
How did your first visit to a Sundt jobsite go?
It went great. It was exciting. I really enjoyed being able to view the process up close with an artistic eye and capture the drama and excitement. I think I actually yelled, “NO WAAAAY!” the first time I saw the massive drill in action. Luckily the sound drowned me out … I hope.
How has the adjustment been going from running your own business to working for Sundt?
It’s definitely different but great. Everybody has been wonderful, inviting and extremely helpful. I’m getting used to the multitude of e-mails, joining meetings and the general flow of a new environment. Not only is working with such a great team for such a historic company a new and welcomed experience, but I’m thrilled that I get to travel to the sites and see our work up close. Although I do miss having my dog around while I edit.
Did you think early in your career that eventually you would be using your skills working for a construction company?
Never even considered it. I’m the opposite of handy, and the thought of me being involved at any capacity with a construction company was laughable. But I am glad to be in this industry.
Besides photography, what’s your favorite hobby?
I’ve recently gotten into wood carving and burning. While I’m still in the beginner stages, cutting, carving, burning and etching the wood is all really relaxing and the end product is satisfying.
Beztak Properties’ senior living community in Oro Valley, Arizona is scheduled for completion in 2019.
Before starting work on a new senior living community in Oro Valley, Arizona, a few of our employee-owners made a side trip to Michigan.
We went there to tour communities owned by Beztak Properties, which specializes in development and management of multi-family residential and senior living communities. The visit showed why the Michigan-based company has been a leader in its industry for more than half a century.
“What struck me was how happy the residents were in these communities,” said Sundt Regional Vice President Ian McDowell. “They were proud of living there.”
Construction is under way on site work for Beztak’s All Seasons Oro Valley community. All Seasons will include 147 one- and two-bedroom apartments that provide independent and assisted living as well as memory care options. There will be 20 casitas that provide additional living options. The project includes a three-story, 184,000-square-foot main facility with an additional 22,000 square feet in the casitas.
Sundt is collaborating with Tofel Construction on the project. While each firm has substantial experience in this sector, combining our expertise will make us a formidable team and help us ensure Beztak’s success.
Meeting deadlines on a project like this is dependent on establishing the right workflow.
“When you have this many units, getting the crew sizes right and moving efficiently from unit to unit is the key,” Ian said.
This is a great opportunity for our team to work with Beztak, which has developed more than 15,000 living units over six decades of operation. It has three operating communities in Michigan (Rochester Hills, West Bloomfield and Birmingham) as well as a location in Naples, Florida.
The project is expected to be completed in summer 2019.