October 7, 2016
May 24, 2016
Larry Luke, Sundt’s Area Manager for its new Salt Lake City office.
Larry Luke is serving as Area Manager for the new office and is responsible for forming partnerships with clients and subcontractors in the region. It’s an important market. Sixty percent of Utah’s population live in the Salt Lake Valley and the state’s population is estimated to increase 19 percent by 2020, from 2.77 million to 3.31 million.
Larry recently spent a few minutes talking about our expanded presence in Northern Utah and our many qualifications and innovative approaches to project delivery.
What are Utah’s strengths as a market?
Utah has a growing economy and population that has created a steady need for new infrastructure in the areas in which Sundt operates (Transportation, Industrial and Building). Utah has a healthy economy, balanced state budget and the ability to either self-fund projects or obtain either federal or private-market funding. The owners are not only programming and funding new construction projects but they also have a reputation for treating contractors fairly and believe in partnering. Public market owners, such as Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), Utah Transit Authority and counties and cities, and private markets have projects that are either in the planning phase, design phase or already scheduled to be advertised.
From a personnel perspective, Salt Lake City is an area where many people want to live due to the proximity to recreational opportunities, strong family atmosphere and relatively low cost of living.
Sundt participates in joint ventures on many of its projects. What kind of expertise would we bring to JVs in the Salt Lake market?
Sundt is known in our industry for being not only a long-standing reputable company with a strong balance sheet, but also one with excellent experience on a variety of different projects. Through our people, we are also known for being an innovator and leader in Construction Manager General Contractor (CMGC), and use of technology for 3D modeling, virtual design and construction, use of automated machine control, parametric estimating, and design-build value engineering. Owners like UDOT have been on the forefront of CMGC projects, design-build, accelerated bridge construction and intelligent design and construction (IDC). We believe Sundt’s strengths in these areas will make us stand out and be able to offer joint-venture partners and owners a value that is unique from other local contractors.
What are Sundt’s strategies for developing good subcontractor relationships there?
Like any other local market, it is important to have personal relationships with our subcontractors and suppliers and show them that Sundt will treat them fairly, pay timely, honor fair bidding and price-evaluation practices and include them as partners in the project planning.
What trends do you see in the Salt Lake market?
I think we will continue to see an emphasis on value-based selections such as CMGC and design-build, especially for projects greater than $75 million. UDOT is interested in developing its IDC process and evolving the design and contractors into utilizing 3D electronic design files to replace paper plan sheets as legal construction documents. I think we will also see more opportunities that involve a combination of Transportation, Industrial or Building. For example, the upcoming Salt Lake prison or Utah Transit Authority Mountain Accord project, development of ski resort expansion projects or local cities’ needs for water improvement projects.
January 29, 2016
Sundt Senior Vice President and Southwest District Manager Ryan Abbott.
Sundt Senior Vice President and Southwest District Manager Ryan Abbott recently sat down to talk with GlobeSt.com, an industry-leading website dedicated to providing original and timely commercial real estate news. During the interview, Ryan discussed the economy, construction best practices, major university construction projects and other exciting Sundt work going on throughout the Southwest.
GlobeSt.com: Where do you see the most potential growth in Phoenix’s construction economy?
Ryan Abbott: We’re following the demographics toward a greater healthcare infrastructure, biosciences research, diagnostic laboratories, technical education centers, digital record storing and retention. Phoenix has a diverse manufacturing base with emphasis on aerospace and electronics, supported by a growing higher education sector.
GlobeSt.com: You are a firm believer in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach in solving society’s biggest challenges. In your experience, have you seen more organizations/cities/schools in Phoenix adopt this approach in construction?
Abbott: Having just stepped beyond the threshold of what has been dubbed The Great Recession, I can tell you that I am truly amazed at the fragmentation that has occurred in the construction marketplace. Just like economic markets tend to travel with inertia – in a self-reinforcing trajectory until something overheats or overcools, then rapidly changes direction – we’re finding the same occurs with our client base, building owners. Given too much predictability, contract terms seem to revert from those that support collaboration to what I’ll call bunker-building or risk-coercing.
The inverse applies, as well. We’ve got some fantastic customers who have said, ‘You know I want long-lasting value, I want a predictable outcome, I want an experience that mimics the culture of my company,’ and throughout the last several years we have created unbelievable value with these customers.
GlobeSt.com: When does collaboration work best?
Abbott: It works best when all parties can put the endeavor first. It takes a customer who has the courage to tell their design and construction professionals what they want and where they’re headed. Collaboration works best when the stakes are high, the challenge grand and the objective transformational.
GlobeSt.com: Sundt has completed and is working on several major university construction projects in Arizona. Is there a trend you’re seeing in university construction?
Abbott: Threaded urban context where each building is supported by and reinforces the next. University construction requires teams to engage in, understand and dynamically respond to the ecology of the project. They have to be durable and long-lasting, and they have to take significant abuse yet remain completely flexible. They have to be easily maintained and industrial, yet be inspirational and inviting. They have to be inviting, yet safe and secure. They have to be adaptive, quickly reacting to large changes in occupants, yet elegantly simple.
A university is often a collection of independent fiefdoms tied together with a chilled water system. They are a decentralized model that requires a centralized vision. Getting to the best project requires diplomacy, understanding, transparency and communication, through every single medium possible. When we work with schools and universities, we work with some of the world’s greatest scientific minds that might be ill-equipped to translate two-dimensional discussions into three-dimensional spaces. We are working with pedagogical advancement that might likely change more quickly than we can build the space to house it. In fact, in some cases the curriculum to be taught in some of our projects hasn’t even been determined when we put the first shovel in the ground.
A modern campus bookstore doesn’t just contain books … it contains tablets and 3D printers and a coffee bar. Some modern classrooms don’t have a front or a back. They are designed to have team modules, where learning occurs side-by-side. It’s not rare to have a classroom technologically linked to another one somewhere else and the students of each collaborating on a project.
We are currently working on several public-private partnership projects where the university provides the land, a private developer provides the funding and then the university pays the developer over time for the use and ultimate ownership of the result. In some cases our team is even operating and maintaining the educational facility, leaving the school to do what it does best: teach. On the construction side of the equation, the buildings we are providing today are more cost-effective to own and operate than ever. We focus on the total cost of ownership in decision-making across the board.
Today it’s about proximity, about attracting creative people and creating the universities that keep them there. It’s no longer good enough to simply have spaces that support pedagogical advancement; modern universities need a world-class fitness center to play in, exceptional multi-family buildings to live in and state-of-the-art facilities to work in. Modern universities are landlords to fantastic restaurants, creators of walkways that connect and amenities that inspire.
GlobeSt.com: What other projects is Sundt working on throughout Arizona and the rest of the Southwest region?
Abbott: We’re building a laboratory and classroom building for what has been coined the ‘Harvard of the Sky,’ a hospital for an organization that is transforming sick-care into health-care, a 10-story biomedical science research building poised to turn first-generation doctors into disease curers, a 57,000-seat football stadium, an international airport, a 911-call center, a skilled nursing center, a cleanroom and an office tower.
March 24, 2015
Sundt is committed to hiring a diverse workforce and we are constantly looking for chances to employ the industry’s best people and introduce others to exciting opportunities within construction. As we start 2016, we are proud to introduce a series in our blog and on social media that will provide insights into accomplishments made by our company’s veterans and women while highlighting successful careers and opportunities available in our industry. We’re proud of our diverse culture and thankful for each employee-owner’s contributions. Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as we celebrate the things that make Sundt an employer of choice where people thrive in a culture of diversity.
Sundt Employee-Owner Justin Foster was in the Marine Corps from November 2000 until December 2008. He was a mortar man in an Infantry Battalion and did two tours in Iraq. He started with Sundt as a Laborer not long after leaving the Corps before being promoted to Foreman. After taking night school classes for two years using the GI Bill, he qualified to become a Field Engineer.
What did you do when you were with the Marine Corps?
My main job in the infantry was forward observer. The job consists of patrolling in a small group to a hidden area and locating targets. After my last deployment, I was a Marine Combat Instructor teaching everything about infantry to Marines who were fresh out of boot camp.
How does your Marine Corps service help you in your day-to-day activities with Sundt?
The Marines definitely made me organized. I constantly walk around the jobsite getting things organized and making sure the site is maintained at all times. My Marine skills don’t really cross over to being a Field Engineer but there are many traits I use daily that I used while in the service that help me at Sundt.
Why should veterans consider careers in construction?
I didn’t want to do construction when I got out of the military but am glad today that I made the choice. It’s fast-paced and very interesting and I learn something new every day. I could never be behind a desk all day. It’s such an awesome thing to see something start out as a dirt lot and, a few years later, it’s a fully functioning water treatment plant. Pretty amazing stuff happens to get to the end of a job.
What are some unique qualities that veterans bring to the workforce?
A very important quality that veterans bring is responsibility. Veterans were put into situations that require responsible decisions in pressure situations. Most of the veterans I’ve worked with while at Sundt are natural leaders. Veterans are very good at learning new skills in stressful situations, which is a plus when working in a fast-paced career like construction.
How often do you meet other veterans on jobsites?
I’ve been with Sundt for over seven years and have met or known of several veterans at jobsites. I don’t have to talk to a person to know he or she is a veteran. You can usually tell by how they carry themselves and their work ethic.
How much of a commitment do you see Sundt making to hiring veterans?
I believe Sundt is very committed to hiring veterans and I think that is amazing. Veterans have really put a lot on the line in their military career and it’s awesome that Sundt is committed to hiring vets. Though not all the skills veterans have taken from the military align with construction, I believe Sundt understands veterans are hard-working, motivated, responsible and willing to learn the skills to help Sundt be successful.
No one will ever say he or she is a former member of the Marine Corps. Do you feel like it’s a bond for life, even after your service has been completed?
It’s very true that “Once a Marine Always a Marine” is engraved in my life forever. I don’t flaunt myself as a Marine but I carry myself as one. It’s a huge bond and will make a man or woman out of you in a real hurry. I communicate and sometimes meet up with my brothers and would give them the world if needed. It was a huge relief while doing my tours in Iraq that the guys next to me were watching my back as I was watching theirs. It’s kind of weird to say but while over there they felt more like my family than my family members back home. Ooh Rah.
March 5, 2015
Sundt won the Build America Award in the Highway and Transportation Renovation category for its work on the West 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth, Texas.
An innovative water treatment facility and an iconic bridge had something in common last week when they both won prestigious Alliant Build America Awards from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) at the AGC’s 96th Annual Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sundt won the Environmental Enhancement category for its work on the Ocotillo Brine Reduction Facility renovation construction project in Chandler, Arizona, and the Highway and Transportation Renovation category for the West 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth, Texas.
Ryan Abbott, business development manager for Sundt’s projects in the Southwest, holds the award for the Ocotillo Brine Reduction Facility. To the right of Ryan is Tom Case, Sundt’s senior vice president for civil construction.
The $75 million Ocotillo Brine Reduction Facility project was completed in April of 2014. A global semiconductor manufacturer selected Sundt and Carollo Engineers, Inc. as the design-build team to reconstruct the water treatment plant, which supports the City of Chandler’s Reverse Osmosis Facility (CHRO) as it treats additional waste streams brought on by the manufacturer’s recently built Ocotillo Campus fabrication facility. The water treatment construction project included modifications to the existing CHRO influent pump station, a modified finished water pump station, a repurposed brine concentrator, sludge storage, a sludge dewatering facility with belt filter presses, repurposed brine evaporation ponds, chemical feed systems, electrical buildings and instrumentation, and supervisory control and data acquisition programming and upgrades.
Cade Reddig, Sundt project superintendent, holds the Build America Award for the West 7th Street Bridge. Standing to the right is John Carlson, Sundt’s Texas district manager. To the left of Cade is Chris Leintz, Sundt project engineer.
The West 7th Street Bridge connects downtown Fort Worth with the city’s thriving cultural district, and is the first structure of its kind in Texas. Its 12 precast, post-tensioned arches were built offsite and moved into place on either side of the existing bridge before it was demolished and reconstructed – in just 150 calendar days. The bridge construction project was completed a month ahead of schedule.
Build America Awards honor the builders of the nation’s most impressive construction projects. They recognize excellence in state-of-the-art advancement, project management, innovation, sustainability, client services, community contributions, safety and meeting the challenges of a difficult job.
This innovative water treatment construction project won AZRE’s RED Award in the industrial construction category last week.
How often do you think about the technology that powers your smartphone or tablet? Probably rarely, if ever. That’s why we’re especially pleased to announce that the often-invisible microchip – and those that make them – got some well-deserved recognition last week at the annual AZRE magazine RED Awards banquet in Phoenix. The RED (Real Estate Development) Awards recognize the best commercial real estate projects each year throughout Arizona.
The winning project in the industrial category was a global semiconductor manufacturer that has a large fabrication facility in Chandler. Sundt upgraded the facility last year with design-build partner Carollo Engineers. The $75 million industrial construction project involved completely reconstructing the facility’s water treatment plant and outfitting it with new treatment processes to treat and reuse the waste stream that is generated as part of the manufacturing process. The innovative solution (based on a combination of pretreatment, desalination and thermal concentration technologies) enables approximately 97 percent of the water that comes into the plant to be reused or reinjected rather than going to waste.
Making the most of our water resources is important everywhere, but especially in dry climates like Arizona’s. Hats off to our project partners for this well-deserved RED Award!