December 7, 2018
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.
November 20, 2018
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 email@example.com.
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.
November 14, 2018
Michael Gallegos hasn’t followed most people’s idea of a typical career path. After more than 20 years working for Proctor and Gamble, Michael decided to become a pipefitter and joined Sundt just two years ago. Hearing his story brings some questions to mind: why the switch to construction, and why now? And what kind of career do the trades offer today? Michael’s answers—like the man himself—are surprising, and they challenge some common notions of who a craft professional can be and what they can do.
The Sundt Center for Craft Excellence, where craft training courses are held
When he retired from his former company, Michael was still looking to work a bit longer, but he wanted to gain practical skills and engage his mind. A brief stint running his own landscaping business became tiresome. Then he tried web design, but it “bored [him] to death.” Finally, a friend recommended he try pipefitting, and Michael said he’d give it a shot. “Now, I wasn’t the craftiest guy at home, as far as doing repair work,” Michael said, “but I feel more and more confident that I can do things now—this job puts you in the position where you have to figure it out.” Pipefitting checked both boxes of being practical and interesting, and it was exactly the career change that Michael needed.
The Pipe Wall training station at the Center for Craft Excellence
Some friends and family were puzzled by his decision, but Michael found that the job was the right fit for him, and Sundt supported his desire to learn with opportunities to develop his skills. Now attending the Pipefitter course, taught by Josue Ponce at the Center for Craft Excellence, Michael is starting to see the benefits in his day-to-day job. By building on students’ initial field experience and combining hands-on practice with classroom instruction, Josue is helping Michael and other students take their skills to the next level. “Josue’s mentality is that everyone is going to pass this class, no matter how many rounds of review you have to do,” said Michael. “He’s here late and has a passion to make this thing work. I sense that and think ‘You’re committed? Okay, I’ll be committed too.’” Whether students come in as “greenhorns” or journeyman pipefitters, there’s always more to learn, especially from each other. “We learn from shared experience; people are always bringing up things they’ve encountered on the job, and the class pays attention when they share.”
Craft professional Michael Gallegos, performing pipefitting work on the jobsite
As Michael’s job with Sundt has given him several benefits, some expected and some unexpected—like his improved health from being more active—he has a lot to say to people considering working in the trades, especially the younger generation. “I would just try to express to them: life isn’t easy. You have to sacrifice and suck it up sometimes, […] but this job will allow you to get the upper hand on your finances, and also give you options 10, 20 years down the road.” Being among the older members of his crew, Michael has found himself giving “testimonials” to incoming craft workers about investing in themselves and considering things like savings and retirement, along with work-life balance. Altogether, Sundt has gained a valuable asset through Michael’s presence in the class and on the jobsite, and for his part, Michael is glad he joined Sundt. “I look back and I think, with the different paths I’ve taken, I have no regrets,” Michael said. “For the most part, I just feel I’ve gained valuable information—wisdom if you want to call it that. More importantly, I’ve gotten to know people.” And that knowledge, at the end of the day, may be the most valuable of all.
November 12, 2018
Sundt Construction’s Jon McKelvain presented at Texan by Nature‘s (TxN’s) first annual Conservation Wrangler Summit and Celebration last month in Dallas, Texas at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The summit brought together more than 200 Texas leaders to discuss the beneficial connections between business and conservation, and to highlight the best Texan-led conservation projects in the state. Topics ranged from addressing light pollution, to oil drilling with a smaller footprint, to using man-made wetlands to treat reclaimed water while serving as a habitat for wildlife. With all of the ideas presented, it was evident that Texans, by nature, are creative and community-minded people, and when they come together amazing things can happen.
Jon McKelvain, Vice President and Preconstruction Manager for Sundt’s Building Group, Texas District, spoke on engaging employees and the community, covering a broad range of Sundt projects and initiatives that exemplified industry best practices. “As a company, we empower our people to get out in the community and work with causes they believe in,” Jon said. “Also, we try to select projects that will have wide-reaching positive impacts on the surrounding area. There’s a lot of work out there to be won, but we’re passionate about pursuing the right projects.” Among many such projects, Jon covered a few high-profile examples.
Jon speaking on the Ocotillo Water Reclamation Facility, where technological innovation allows for smaller footprint and reduced sludge production. Sundt’s work increased service capacity to allow for community growth, and the water was made available for aquifer recharge, industrial use and irrigation.
In San Antonio, Texas, Sundt created a world-class linear park and public gathering space for an underserved community at San Pedro Creek, which became the focal point of the city’s 300-year anniversary celebration. “Think about it,” Jon said. “Before, that was basically just a concrete drainage ditch. Now, it’s a new park that’s improving flood control and serving as wildlife habitat and recreational space, with an anticipated $1-billion impact on the area.” Additionally, Sundt’s work on APS Four Corners in Farmington, New Mexico allowed for significant reduction in the power plant’s emission of greenhouse gasses, while also providing jobs and long-term economic benefits for the local Navajo Nation.
Other key projects were discussed, as well as the impact of the Sundt Foundation, which has given more than $8.6 million in grants to local charities and nonprofits since 1999, nearly half of which has come directly from Sundt employee-owners. Speaking on Sundt’s behalf about who we are and who we want to be as a company, Jon shared several instances of best practices with a focus on community and sustainability.
TxN founder, former first lady Laura W. Bush, addresses the crowd. The nonprofit brings conservation and business together, supporting efforts that are Texan-led, community-organized and data-based.
TxN’s goal is to amplify conservation projects and to activate new investment in research and conservation, which returns real benefits for people, prosperity and natural resources. “The whole premise behind Texan by Nature is that conservation is just good business, and it improves everyone’s quality of life,” Jon said. And true prosperity, as Jon pointed out, goes well beyond material wealth. For Sundt, a company whose purpose centers around creating prosperity for the communities where we live and work, this is an effort in which we’re proud to take part.
Sundt is a proud employer of our nation’s military veterans and their spouses, and we value our partnerships with veteran-owned businesses. For the third year in a row, we have earned the Military Friendly Employer designation by VIQTORY Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs and Military Spouse magazines. This week, in honor of Veterans Day, we asked a few of our employee-owners to reflect on their service. Here’s what they shared.
Cesar Garcia, Field Coordinator, Industrial Group
What branch did you serve in and when? U.S. Army, 2003-2009, 101st Airborne Division.
What was your proudest moment or accomplishment in the service? Making it home alive after losing a limb, serving our beautiful nation, and fighting alongside brothers. Three Purple Hearts: it’s the award everyone loves and no one wants to get. Also: air assault, airborne, ranger tabbed, rappel master, expert infantryman, and combat infantryman.
Cesar alongside his family, coworkers, and former NFL Player Jared Allen and his Homes for Wounded Warriors Foundation
Jared and his wife Sarah
Jared Wagoner, Project Controls Manager, Industrial Group
What branch did you serve in and when? Army National Guard, 2005-2015. I deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 as a company commander for a Route Clearance Company.
What was your proudest moment or accomplishment in the service? I was proud every single time we finished a mission and everyone made it back safe. Not a single mission was routine, and the soldiers I had the pleasure of leading were consummate professionals.
Curtis Smith, Project Controls Manager, Building Group, Southwest District
What branch did you serve in and when? Army National Guard, 2002-present. I am currently serving as the Platoon Sergeant of 3rd Platoon, 258th Engineer Company.
What was your proudest moment or accomplishment in the service? I cannot sum this up into one event, so here are three:
- I deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004 to 2005. During this tour of duty, two amazing things happened to me: a) I met my wife Danielle whom I’ve now been married to for 14 years and have been blessed with two amazing children, and b) my company, the 258th Engineers, completed 80 miles of asphalt paved road that was used as a main supply route for the military and for the local populace. We were able to accomplish this due to the efforts of all by working with the local Iraqis who produced and placed all of the asphalt.
- I deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 2012 to 2013. During this tour of duty, I was the squad leader to 10 amazing soldiers and with their support completed over 20 combat engineer missions to support the Army and the Afghan National Army.
- In January 2018, I was awarded the prestigious Engineer Regiment De Fleury Medal (Steel). I was one of two individuals selected from a battalion of approximately 500 soldiers. The “Steel” level De Fleury Medal is presented to an individual whose service assured mobility, enhanced protection, enabled expeditionary logistics, and built capacity to give commanders the freedom of action needed to win full spectrum operations in an era of persistent conflict.
Curtis and his squad in Afghanistan
Thank you to these employee-owners and our other veterans for their service to our country!