April 10, 2018
April 6, 2018
Project Vida’s Microenterprise Technical Assistance Program is helping small businesses succeed in El Paso County.
Owning a small business is a challenge. From developing a business plan to money management to marketing products and services, there are pitfalls around every corner.
Some of those problems can be even more pronounced in rural areas. Thanks to assistance from public and private grants, Project Vida’s Microenterprise Technical Assistance Program (MTAP) is helping small businesses succeed in El Paso County. Project Vida’s mission is to identify the comprehensive vision of the community for its future and develop community-based structures and programs to implement that vision in light of the needs and direction of the wider society.
“MTAP uses a model of outreach and trust-building. Economic Development Specialists call on potential clients, build trust, get to know the owner and business, and encourage income-qualified owners to enroll,” said Project Vida Co-Director Bill Schlesinger.
Over the past two years, grants totaling $4,667 from the Sundt Foundation have helped Project Vida provide financial and business literacy, and management and operational skill-building to low- and moderate-income business owners, creating a stronger business sector along the border. During that time, MTAP reached out to 354 low-income microenterprise owners, enrolled 69 in the complete program of technical assistance, and helped owners develop 53 business plans, retain 56 jobs and create another 40.
“MTAP offers one-on-one and group technical assistance in business start-up, licensing and permitting, business plan development, accounting and recordkeeping, marketing, use of technology in the workplace, accessing and using credit, customer service, preparing for and packaging a loan application, mentoring, networking with other microenterprise owners and presentations by knowledgeable professionals on business-related topics,” Bill said.
A flower shop owner heard about the program through word of mouth last year and requested help opening her business. MTAP helped her develop a business plan and create short- and long-term goals, obtain permits and licenses for her start-up business, and register as an LLC with the State of Texas. She has received training in accounting and bookkeeping and said the technical assistance in accounting and recordkeeping has been helpful in creating and keeping her records and payroll in order. She attends MTAP’s business seminars and workshops, and offers feedback to others who need assistance.
“One of the greatest accomplishments of the program is when MTAP clients build on the business knowledge and skills they’ve gained, their businesses grow and increase in profitability, and they volunteer to serve as mentors to new participants,” Bill said.
This is part of a series of blogs about the positive impacts made by the Sundt Foundation.
April 4, 2018
Project Engineer Ashleigh Eubank was raised in Albert, New Mexico.
Project Engineer Ashleigh Eubank has been with our Industrial Group for the past year and a half. She grew up on a cattle ranch in Albert, New Mexico and graduated from New Mexico Tech with a degree in mineral engineering.
What made you want to work with Sundt?
As an engineer at my previous job, I was doing a lot of design work and wasn’t getting as much out of it as I hoped. I was interested in switching things up and wanted something more hands-on. I started looking into construction and found that Sundt is a family-oriented company that takes great care of its employee-owners. The ESOP was a big plus and helped solidify my decision to apply.
What does a Project Engineer do?
It can vary from project to project, but we are primarily responsible for ensuring that the project design and scope are executed in accordance with the overall project plan and specifications. We are also the technical point of contact for up-to-date project information and data and assist the Project Manager as needed.
How do you like working in remote areas, where many of our Industrial projects are located?
I love it! I was raised on a cattle ranch near a village with a population of 70 people so I’m a small-town girl by association and prefer living a remote life. I’m a firm believer that fun can be had anywhere – all you have to do is find it and/or make it!
If you could only have one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I can’t live without my protein and vegetables. I can’t even think of a type of food that I don’t like. I love to try them all!
Where is your favorite place to travel?
So far my favorite out-of-country locations have been Turkey and Greece – I highly recommend visiting there! Other than that, my favorite place to travel is back home to my family’s ranch.
If you weren’t a Project Engineer, what would you be?
It’s a toss-up between two of my favorite things: water and books. So either a marine biologist or librarian.
April 3, 2018
Continuous Improvement Program Manager Dominic Daughtrey (center) shows Project Engineer Tyler Persyn (left) and Intern Meagan Garcia how to use the DJI Phantom Pro 4 Obsidian drone.
Members of our team working on the Canopy Hilton along San Antonio’s historic River Walk recently took to the skies to avoid problems on the ground.
Continuous Improvement Program Manager Dominic Daughtrey held a training session with newly licensed drone pilots Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Mark Epstein and Engineering Interns Meagan Garcia and Matt Huffine for about 90 minutes using our DJI Phantom Pro 4 Obsidian.
The Canopy Hilton River Walk will be 22 stories with 195 rooms and a restaurant with an outdoor terrace.
Flights will take place before concrete is poured for the post-tension decks. The drone will be used to spot-check slab penetrations and sleeve locations, ensuring utilities are in the correct places and slab box-outs are the proper size before concrete is poured. Each time a clash is found in a post-tension slab, it costs the project between $10,000 and $50,000 to repair or resolve.
“With an incredibly complex project, it is one of our major goals to discover these clashes before they are constructed in the field,” Mark said. “Flights will also be performed following the concrete pour to monitor project progress, inspection and quality control.”
The craft will capture dozens of photographs and combine them using a program called Pix4D to create a jobsite orthomosaic, an aerial photograph geometrically corrected so the scale is uniform. Think Google satellite image (plan view) with 4K resolution. These plan views can also be geo-located with the use of precise ground control points. Aerial photographs are used to create a point cloud of the existing conditions and surrounding structures. A point cloud is a three-dimensional image and model that is created from the photographs based on the distance of the existing element from the drone. The model can be imported into the architect’s model to verify existing conditions and locations.
“On the Canopy project, we have a neighboring structure with a wall that is about 150 years old,” Mark said. “We’ve fully documented the existing conditions of that wall for any future questions, claims or otherwise. We’ve also created a point cloud model of it which accurately illustrates the location and will be used to proactively investigate constructability concerns.”
The hotel is one of the most high-profile projects going on in San Antonio. The 22-story facility will feature more than 3,000 square feet of meeting space, 195 guest rooms and a restaurant with an outdoor terrace overlooking the River Walk.
The Master Plan Project Overlay shows the complexity and tight confines on site.
April 2, 2018
In the Sierra Forever Families’ Wonder Mentoring Program, children in foster care are matched one-to-one with caring adults who are committed to enriching their lives.
For many children in foster care, a forever family means the difference between a life of support and one of tragedy. Fifty percent of foster children who age out of the system upon turning 18 will be homeless, victimized, incarcerated or dead within 2 years and 65 percent of unwed females will be pregnant by age 20, according to data presented before the California State Assembly Judiciary Committee in 2016.
“Children who become part of a forever family go on to enroll in and graduate from college at higher rates than their peers who age out of the system, earn higher incomes as young adults and have lower incidences of drug and alcohol use,” said Sierra Forever Families Director of Development & Public Relations Christie Shorrock. “Everyone benefits when foster children find their forever families.”
A $2,500 grant by the Sundt Foundation helped the Sierra Forever Families’ Wonder Mentoring Program. In the program, kids in foster care are matched one-to-one with caring adults who are committed to enriching their young lives through a year-long journey filled with activities in the arts, nature, sports, volunteer service and more. In many cases, these events are the child’s “firsts,” filled with adventure, excitement and self-discovery. In all instances, the consistent, supportive presence of a Wonder mentor lets kids know someone cares.
“There is an enormous need for Wonder in the Greater Sacramento Region,” said Christie, whose organization serves 12 Northern California counties. “Each of these children would benefit from the consistent, caring presence of a Wonder mentor in their lives, to be there for them, to engage the world with them, to let them know that they are not alone and that someone cares. Because Wonder receives virtually no public funding, it relies predominantly on community partners like the Sundt Foundation for financial support.”
Wonder children often are inspirations to their mentors. Some insist on giving back to those less fortunate.
“(One of the Wonder children) and I were out running errands on a Saturday. When he found out we were going to buy things for people who are homeless this winter, he asked me to turn the car around,” the child’s mentor said. “He wanted to get the money he had been given for Christmas and use it to buy gloves for people without homes. ‘It must get very cold out there on the streets,’ he said.
“That someone so young, who had already endured so much trauma, would think of others brought tears to my eyes. Together, we bought 20 pairs of warm gloves and gave them to Clothing and Food for Everyone (CAFFE). While we were leaving the CAFFE office, he reached in his pocket and offered the director all the change he had left over from our purchases. This beautiful moment will be forever etched in my soul.”
This is part of a series of blogs about the positive impacts made by the Sundt Foundation.
Sellwood Bridge has been named the top major span in the National Steel Bridge Alliance competition.
One of our most decorated projects has earned another national honor.
Sellwood Bridge in Portland, Oregon has been named the top major span in the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) 2018 Prize Bridge Awards competition. The bridge, which was originally built in 1925, has a steel deck arch design with three arches supporting the deck of the main river spans. Sellwood is 1,976 feet long, including the main river spans and east and west approaches.
“Sundt has always had a great reputation as a bridge builder,” said Transportation Group Manager Jeff Williamson. “I think Sellwood takes us to a different level as a national contractor with structures and bridges over active waterways.”
Among its many honors, Sellwood recently earned the prestigious Associated General Contractors Construction Risk Partners Build America Award for best new highway and transportation project.
NSBA awards were presented to winners in nine categories: major span, long span, medium span, short span, movable span, reconstructed bridge, special purpose, integrated project delivery and technological advancement. Winning projects were selected based on innovation, aesthetics, economy, and design and engineering solutions by a jury of engineering and construction professionals.
Winning bridges and their project team members will be recognized at the NASCC: The Steel Conference/World Steel Bridge Symposium from April 11-13 in Baltimore. T.Y. Lin International Group was the designer and Slayden Constructors was our JV partner.