July 7, 2017
July 6, 2017
Sundt Estimator Vijetha Shetty.
Sundt Estimator Vijetha Shetty is a native of India, born in Anand, a small city in the western part of the country. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering from Gujarat Technological University and received her Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas, graduating with a 4.0 GPA.
She is interested in trenchless technologies and the pipeline industry. She has volunteered for the American Society of Construction Engineers Pipeline Conferences since starting work on her masters in January 2015.
What made you want to work for Sundt?
I was working as a Design Engineer with an engineering firm before joining Sundt. We collaborated with Sundt many times so I had an idea of Sundt’s reputation. I interviewed with Sundt on a Friday for the position of Estimator and the process was so quick that I was offered the job with an official offer letter the following Tuesday, which was really impressive. I met the whole team in Tempe and they were very welcoming and super friendly.
How do you spend a typical work day?
Lately, I am working on a project so we have a daily meeting early in the morning. I usually like to organize myself with the priority of work that I have to complete throughout the day and perform as needed. I usually like to complete my work and ask if anybody needs my help so that I can learn new things.
Where would you like your career to be in 10 years?
I would like to be in a successful managerial position.
Where’s your favorite place to travel?
I like going to theme parks. Sometimes, I just want to visit a pleasant place and read a book by the lake.
Do you have a hidden talent?
I do not have a hidden talent. I am just interested in playing badminton and doing crafts when I am free. I also like to volunteer in various places.
July 5, 2017
Jonathan Graham with his wife, Dana, and their 1-year-old daughter, Hadley, at a fireworks show in Heber, Arizona this week.
He’s known as “Unicorn” on Sundt’s University Square job site in Tempe, Arizona. The mythical name came about because Jonathan Graham’s safety badge features a photo of his 1-year-old daughter wearing a unicorn hat.
But the nickname could easily apply to Jonathan himself. Earlier this year, he made the unusual move of going from an office job, complete with air conditioning, to a construction site. He’s part of our concrete crew as a lead man form carpenter.
While he says he’s always been mechanically inclined, Jonathan’s career change was met with some skepticism. After all, it meant working outdoors in Tempe during the hottest time of year. Temperatures in June topped 120 degrees.
“The consensus was that I was crazy to do concrete work in the summer in Arizona,” said Jonathan, who has been married six years. “My family understood and they know the type of person I am.”
Jonathan’s path to Sundt started by working in sales for a social media and digital engagement company in Scottsdale. That’s where he met Jerrin Jaramillo, who’s now a Sundt recruiter. After leaving that company, Jerrin stayed in touch with Jonathan and encouraged him to apply at Sundt. Jonathan eventually did and started here this past February.
“(Jerrin) talked very highly about Sundt and the ESOP,” said Jonathan, who has a degree in business communications from Arizona State University. “I wanted to get back in the trades and use my degree in a different way.”
Jonathan’s father was a sheet metal worker in Michigan, so he grew up around the trades. When Jonathan moved to Arizona in 2007, he did facilities maintenance work for nine United Blood Systems buildings.
A move back to an office environment wasn’t what he wanted in the long run.
“When I got back in the office, I realized it wasn’t for me,” he said. “I didn’t want to sit in a cubicle and be attached to a phone.”
Getting back in the field has had its health advantages. Freed from cubicle life, Jonathan is feeling healthier than ever after “getting away from sodas and doughnuts.”
“Physically, it’s been kind of crazy,” he said. “I’ve lost 45 pounds. It’s good for me.”
He’s seen University Square, a residential and mixed-use development, go from the ground up. In late June, the crew was setting concrete on the sixth floor.
“Every day I come to work, something’s different, the site has changed, the building is growing,” Jonathan said.
Part of the draw of returning to craft work was a good change of pace: No sales calls, no boring meetings and plenty of pride in his work.
He also hopes to work his way up in the organization and there’s plenty of history of that at Sundt. Our two most recent President/CEOs started their careers as craft workers.
“I want to climb the ranks and become a foreman and supervisor,” he said. “I’m a totally different person than I was when I started.”
This blog is part of our series of posts about career-related subjects. For more information about opportunities with Sundt, please follow us on Twitter or visit our website.
June 30, 2017
The Sundt-Yates joint-venture team presents Matthew Sabetta with a miniature concrete truck at the Ak-Chin Casino site.
Many people just want construction projects to end. Whether the work is transportation, industrial, building or concrete, some part of the nearby community is ready to see heavy equipment pull away for the last time.
That’s not true at the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Resort and Casino Expansion near Maricopa, Arizona. Matthew Sabetta, 14, and his grandmother, Melanie Warthman, will be a little disappointed when our joint venture project with Yates Construction is complete.
Melanie, who takes care of Matthew during the week, lives 10 minutes from the resort. The two come to the site most days and have formed a bond with the on-site team. Matthew is one of the friendliest people around, waving to crew members and striking up conversations.
“Matthew has a social piece to his personality,” Melanie said. “He wants to greet everybody. From the first day we hit the job site, he was waving to people. It was the concrete guys who connected with him first.”
Matthew has a rare genetic condition called Williams Syndrome, which is characterized by medical problems including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning challenges. These often occur in concert with striking verbal abilities and highly social personalities.
Team members treat Matthew like an honorary crew member. They gave him the gear necessary for being around the site: a hard hat, safety glasses, a vest, gloves, and a security badge. They sometimes take Matthew and Melanie inside the fence for tours and conversation about concrete work.
“It shows a whole different side of construction,” Melanie said. “It speaks volumes about the kind of employees you have.”
To show their appreciation for the crew’s welcoming attitude, Matthew and Melanie brought sandwiches and chips to the crew one day in June.
“He was so excited to meet these people who are so kind to him,” Melanie said. “He said, ‘Grandma, I need to go celebrate my friends.’ ”
In acknowledgment, the crew wanted to give Matthew a surprise. Transportation Superintendent Chris Shea’s idea was to present Matthew with something to remember the project and team. Chris and Project Superintendent Todd Gantter knew Project Controls Manager Jesse McDonald kept a few trophies – miniature concrete trucks – from the annual Associated Schools of Construction Student Competition in Nevada. Jesse told them he had one left.
Concrete Area Manager Danny Gumm enthusiastically played the role of go-between, picking up the trophy from Jesse and driving it to the Ak-Chin site. When lunch was delivered, the crew created a diversion so the mini-truck and a long-sleeved concrete team T-shirt would be a surprise.
“It was totally unexpected,” Melanie said. “When someone told him there was a concrete truck coming, he was looking out the window. They put it at his place at the table. He was thrilled and talked about it for hours. It made Matthew’s day.”
Chris said: “We had the ultimate gift to present to our project’s biggest fan. Just getting to see the smile on his face when presented with the Sundt concrete truck made this project one of the best I have been on.”
June 28, 2017
Sundt Project Administrator Sara Allen.
Texas native Sara Allen was recently hired to work out of Sundt’s Fort Worth office as a Project Administrator.
After attending junior college, she enrolled in the pre-law program at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth and earned a bachelor’s in paralegal studies.
Away from work, Sara loves sports, outdoor activities, and home renovations and decorating.
What was it about Sundt that encouraged you to apply here?
I actually married into the Sundt family. My husband was a Sundt superintendent working in Edinburg, Texas. The next 10 years was a shocking new way of life for me, traveling coast-to-coast every 6 to 18 months while he was working in both remote and “big city” military towns. Three years into moving, I was approached by the Operations Manager about a position opening at Sundt. At that time, it was a huge benefit having husband and wife combos working together in a division that had high travel demands. When moving this much, your project teams become your friends and family, so I fit in seamlessly and never looked back. This sense of family is what drove me to accept the position at Sundt.
What does a Project Administrator do?
In short, almost everything. You wear multiple hats and usually take on more than what is in your job description. Each project is different, so your skills are stretched to other positions when needed. Whether it’s project filing, payroll, job cost, change management, quantity reporting or managing risk, Project Administrators can be involved in just about all aspects of a project. Just don’t ask us to go outside and use a hammer; that might not turn out too well.
How are things going in our recently opened Fort Worth office?
Our team in Texas is dedicated to making our presence known in Dallas-Fort Worth/North Texas. It was imperative to have an office located here, and where better than next to the city-defining 7th Street Bridge that Sundt built in Fort Worth. Thanks to different Sundt divisions working together, we have this hallmark project paving the way for our future work in North Texas. Selecting great joint venture partners has also been a significant strategy in breaking into certain markets here. Texas is becoming one of the hottest markets in the United States, and we intend on capitalizing on its growth for all of our employee-owners.
Where’s your favorite vacation spot?
Hands down, my favorite spot is Lake City, Colorado. It is a very small, remote town nestled in the middle of large mountains above 14,000-foot elevation. My grandparents owned a vacation cabin there and we spent every summer enjoying the outdoors in that beautiful place. My most precious memories are in that town and still to this day, I long to be there whenever possible.
What kind of movies do you enjoy?
Any sci-fi movie about outer space, or action films.
What’s the best career advice you’ve received?
The best career advice that I received was not spoken to me, but shown by example. Both of my parents have had a dedicated and truthful work ethic throughout their own careers. I was blessed to be exposed to values such as these while growing up, and it makes a lasting impression on my work ethic each day.
Concrete arches and beams were build offsite and transported to the bridge.
A documentary about Sundt’s work on an award-winning bridge in Texas is getting national air time.
“Arc of Innovation,” a short film that provides an inside look at construction on the West 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth, is showing in select PBS markets from Alaska to Michigan to Texas. The documentary showcases the transition between the demolition of the old bridge and opening of the new bridge. Built on the same spot, the transportation project had to be finished in a short timeframe to minimize impact to traffic. We completed the 980-foot-long bridge for the Texas Department of Transportation a month ahead of schedule and it opened to traffic October 2013, in time for the holidays.
The bridge is the first of its kind, built with precast, post-tensioned arches and floor beams. Each arch measures 24 feet tall by approximately 160 feet long and weighs more than 640,000 pounds. The 12 concrete arches were built off site by our crews and installed in pairs along either side of the bridge.
Interested in seeing the documentary on your local station? Please contact your PBS affiliate and ask for it to be added to the program schedule.
The official opening of the bridge was a real cattle call.