February 2, 2018
February 1, 2018
Sundt Concrete Operations Manager Shawn Blubaum.
Sundt Concrete Operations Manager Shawn Blubaum is getting ready to attend the Associated Schools of Construction Regions 6 & 7 Competition for the first time in his new role. He and a team from our company are traveling to Sparks, Nevada next week to meet and work with some of the most promising college students in the country.
It’s a great venue to find the next generation of construction professionals and for students to impress contractors that may one day hire them for their first jobs. There are 1,443 students from 49 universities registered for the event.
We are one of the few that sponsor a competition. Ours takes a real situation involving concrete construction and tasks the students with finding the best solution. Shawn and his team put the “problem” together and eagerly await solutions the students generate.
How much of a recruiting ground is this for Sundt?
The competition is huge for Sundt from a recruiting standpoint, as we are exposed to more than 1,300 students from schools across the country. Our concrete solutions problem is hosted in the Open Category, so we not only gain access to students from schools that we currently recruit, oftentimes we have schools participate from other regions that we are not actively recruiting. We have many Sundt employees who are former participants in the ASC Competition.
How did Sundt get involved with sponsoring the concrete problem?
In 2010, we made the decision to petition the competition to become a host. In 2011, we hosted our first concrete solutions problem in the open competition category.
The problems come from real scenarios. How often do students develop solutions similar to ones that worked in the field?
Students often develop solutions that are similar to the ones that worked in the field. However, whether they matched what our project team did or if they came up with their own solution, the real value comes in thinking through the process. It’s amazing what innovations the students are able to come up with in such a short period of time, and there are times the students come up with workable solutions that even us as professionals may not have considered.
What do the students get from this competition?
They get exposed to more than 1,200 industry professionals from across the country and from companies of varying sizes, structures and markets. The students have an opportunity to solve real-life scenarios and get a glimpse of specific skill sets the industry is looking for as they prepare to enter the workforce.
Besides the opportunity to meet the next generation of builders, what’s the motivation for Sundt to serve as a sponsor of this event?
It’s really about the Sundt brand and getting it out there to schools and our industry peers. Approximately 100 other contractors sponsor the event, including many of the most well respected names in our industry. Further, Sundt is one of only 12 Platinum Sponsors of the event, aligning us with other best-in-class contractors as far as support and development of the next generation of builders and the overall growth and health of our industry.
January 30, 2018
Sundt Field Superintendent Brent Lewis presents to fifth- and sixth-graders at Salk Elementary School.
As a favor to friend and co-worker Eric Cavalieri, Sundt Field Superintendent Brent Lewis was recently a big hit talking with fifth- and sixth-graders at Salk Elementary School’s Career Day. Eric’s girlfriend works at the school in Mesa, Arizona.
Brent talked with the students about his background and potential careers in the field. He also shared photos, videos and models from his projects.
Some of the questions the children asked included whether there was work for girls in construction, what schooling or training is required for various careers, does construction pay well, what are challenges Brent faces, why he chose to work in construction and what he wish he knew when he started his career.
“Overall, it was a lot of fun,” Brent said. “The kids asked a lot of questions.”
Brent offered the students a little incentive to hold their attention. He kept it by being interesting and informative.
“It helped that I threw candy to kids who could guess the type of project or event I was showing,” Brent said. “I had a couple of kids from each class approach me after to ask follow-up questions and express further interest.”
January 26, 2018
The University of Arizona Biomedical Sciences Partnership won in ENR’s Higher Education/Research Project category.
Our work on the Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building in Downtown Phoenix is among the Best of the Best from 2017, according to judging by Engineering News-Record.
The 10-story building for the University of Arizona won in the Higher Education/Research Project category. The facility is home to collaborative research in neurosciences, healthcare outcomes, cancer and medicine. Research performed in the building is expected to lead to groundbreaking discoveries with a direct impact on public health.
“It’s an urban medical research facility built on the principle of interdisciplinary work,” Ryan Abbott, who leads the Southwest District of our Building Group. “It’s in exactly the right location. We’re a knowledge economy based on life science.”
This announcement comes as the culmination of a nearly year-long effort by dozens of industry judges and the ENR editorial team to identify the pinnacle of design and construction achievement in the U.S. among projects completed between May 2016 and May 2017.
The competition began last March with a call for entries, which resulted in approximately 700 industry project teams submitting their work to the regional Best Projects competitions. In each of the 10 regions, editors assembled panels of judges to select the regional winners in 20 categories.
Once regional winners were chosen, they moved to the national competition. A new set of judges from across the country and all walks of the industry examined each project in an effort to distinguish the best from the best in teamwork, safety, overcoming challenges, innovation and quality.
The projects and judges will be featured in more depth in the March 5 issue of ENR. Also in that issue, the editors of ENR, in collaboration with the judges, will select one project from the Best of the Best group as the Project of the Year, which will be revealed in the issue.
January 25, 2018
Sundt Business Development Representative Sarah Philippe.
Business Development Representative Sarah Philippe comes to Sundt with a unique background in event planning and nonprofit development. She graduated from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management and lives in Phoenix.
Sarah will be responsible for supporting the Southwest District’s Building Group by creating opportunities for Project Executives, Project Directors and Regional Directors to engage with potential clients.
What inspired you to work for Sundt?
Two years ago, I was working for the American Cancer Society and had the privilege of meeting Dave Crawford, the Sundt CEO at the time. Dave was a member of the CEOs Against Cancer Group and was the driver behind the Big Dig in the Desert, an event where pediatric cancer patients, their families and the community could forget about cancer for a day and operate heavy construction equipment. We had monthly committee meetings at the Sundt office and I met amazing people in that time. One thing led to another and here I am! It was truly the amazing people I met along the way who inspired me to work for Sundt.
Did you ever think you would join the construction industry?
Plain and simple: No. I knew my dream job was out there. The key for me has always been working in an environment where the people were inspiring. I can already sense that culture here at Sundt. So maybe it was always meant to be.
What have you learned in these first few weeks?
Wow, where do I begin? I’ve learned what a “bidget” is … not a real word but a commonly used term in our Building Group meetings. I’ve been keeping a journal of all the abbreviations and acronyms I need to master. I have a lot to learn coming from a non-construction background, and this team is overwhelmingly supportive and willing to help. I am very grateful.
Where are your favorite places to travel?
I’ve been blessed to travel around the world quite a bit. Some of my favorite places were Jerusalem, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam.
If you could only have one kind of cuisine the rest of your life, what would it be?
Grilled cheese sandwich and French fries.
What’s your favorite movie?
Favorite movie is “You’ve Got Mail” or just about any movie with Julia Roberts in it.
Sundt Project Superintendent Ryan Silbernagel.
Ryan Silbernagel serves as Project Superintendent on our San Pedro Creek work in San Antonio. He recently took a little time to discuss what people in his position do to help project teams succeed.
What does a Project Superintendent do?
Primarily, he or she oversees the execution of work associated with a project. This includes ensuring safety is at the forefront every day for every task, the quality of work meets/exceeds contract specifications, and managing the resources needed to complete a project. We also help the Project Manager and Project Engineer develop and maintain the project schedule and ensure it is being met. Project Superintendents will regularly interact with clients and design teams, and help develop and maintain those relationships.
What type of education is needed?
A college degree is beneficial, but not necessary. I started as a laborer and worked my way up through the trades. I worked during the day and took a combination of vocational, math and engineering classes at night. Vocationally, I took welding courses. Along with becoming a Certified Welder, I gained technical knowledge that I still use frequently. Academically, higher-level math courses and engineering courses help with communicating ideas, concepts and issues to the design teams and clients.
What kind of experience is beneficial?
Having a thorough understanding of the work and being able to accurately schedule and plan it is crucial. I advise new engineers to spend time with the crews in the field and get their boots dirty. Learning the jargon and how things are built is one of the best ways to gain experience.
On how many projects have you been Superintendent?
Over the past 10 years, I have been responsible for seven projects as Project Superintendent.
What was your favorite project?
I enjoy technical and complex projects where there is an opportunity to employ unique construction methods. In my career, I’ve worked on three separate arch bridges, and the Sellwood Bridge project was my favorite. It was the most challenging, technical and diverse in scope.
What kind of qualities does a Project Superintendent need?
Effective communication (both listening and talking), confidence, time management, integrity and mastery of logistics.
What do you hope is next in your career?
I look forward to being challenged with difficult projects and learning new roles.
Click here for more information on a career with Sundt.