April 19, 2018
April 17, 2018
David Vasquez is a Project Engineer for our Industrial Group.
They are often the middle people on job sites. Their work is rarely routine. They spend many hours in heat and cold ensuring a project is going smoothly.
But Project Engineers, or PEs as they are usually called, enjoy their work no matter what it throws at them.
“The best part of the job is having the opportunity to work in the field with the craft workers, joining them with stretch and flex and also being able to work with owners, engineers and vendors,” said Carolina Silvas, a PE with our Concrete Division. “Every day is different. I’m learning something new. I’m never confined to just one place, doing the same thing over and over every day.”
Whatever their duties, customer service is at the top of their punch lists.
“Project Engineers are one of the key sources of information on the project,” said Tyler Peinado, a PE with our Building Group. “We are heavily involved in risk management, change management, Building Information Modeling, RFIs, submittals, digital record drawings and owner relations. We also make sure subcontractors have whatever information they need to complete their work. Our goal is to provide a quality product, completed safely, on time and under budget.”
Education requirements for the position vary. Many Project Engineers have college degrees – oftentimes in construction management – while a few have worked their way up from craft positions.
Continuing to learn on the job is key, according to David Vasquez, a PE with our Industrial Group.
“You need to be committed to learning construction processes and standards to be effective,” said David, who has a bachelor’s degree in business administration. “So whether the PE is a degreed engineer or craftsperson, there is a large amount of professional continuing education that is necessary to do the work.”
Ultimately, the best Project Engineers move on to become Senior Project Engineer or Project Superintendents. Some eventually get the chance to run the show on projects. It’s a challenge they’re eager to take on.
“I look forward to filling a Project Manager position once I have gained enough experience,” Carolina said.
For more information on careers with Sundt, please visit our website.
April 13, 2018
Since its founding, PAWS San Diego has expanded to serve thousands each year.
Studies have shown pet ownership reduces loneliness and depression and lowers blood pressure and stress. That’s especially pronounced when the pet owner is a senior living by him or herself.
But sometimes, those seniors can no longer afford to keep their pets. In San Diego, that’s where the Humane Society steps in with its PAWS In-Home Service.
“The San Diego Humane Society knows the best thing we can do for animals in our community is help people care for and keep their pets so they aren’t forced to relinquish their animals to a shelter,” said San Diego Humane Society Grants Officer Katie Woolsey. “Heartbroken, tearful pet owners surrendering their animal companions simply because they don’t have the resources to care for them is a common scene in our facilities.”
PAWS was founded in 1993 when a volunteer started helping friends who were living with HIV and AIDS. He began hand-delivering food for their pets so the people could keep their beloved companions at a time when they needed love and comfort. Since its founding, PAWS has expanded to serve thousands each year. PAWS and the San Diego Humane Society merged in September 2014 to become the largest safety net service for people and animals in San Diego.
The Sundt Foundation grant will help provide in-home pet food delivery and services to low-income seniors and those who are homebound, disabled or chronically ill.
“The generous gift made it possible for PAWS San Diego to offer vital resources and services that kept these deserving pet families together in the face of hardship,” Katie said. “This includes free pet food; vital pet care supplies such as flea medication, cat litter and toys; and dog walking and transportation services. Veterinary vouchers are also provided to assist with unforeseen medical expenses.”
One PAWS client, Nancy, is able to enjoy her independence and the life she loves because of her cat, Charlie. After Nancy fell and suffered injuries that kept her in the hospital for a month, she began to consider moving into an assisted-living facility. Friends suggested that she instead adopt a cat to give her the companionship she needed. Since Charlie has come into her life, Nancy’s perspective has turned around and she is relishing her regained independence. Nancy receives monthly in-home deliveries of food and litter for Charlie, as well as funding for veterinary care.
“By supporting the needs of our clients’ pets, we ensure that our human clients have a sense of purpose and a stable source of love in their lives, which in turn enables them to live independently longer and age with dignity,” Katie said.
This is part of a series of blogs about the positive impacts made by the Sundt Foundation.
April 10, 2018
Sundt Regional Vice President Todd Calder.
Sundt Regional Vice President Todd Calder is a lifelong Texan who is based at our San Antonio office. The son of a builder, Todd has been in construction 24 years, including the past three and a half with Sundt.
The Texas A&M graduate has worked on projects that have reached values as high as $750 million.
How busy is our Building Group in San Antonio?
It’s no lie, we are a bit on the busy side, but we are always looking for our next challenge. Our Texas Building Group team is wrapping up the VIA – Stone Oak Park and Ride, in full demolition phase of the CPS Energy Headquarters Project, completing shoring, retention and excavation on the Canopy Hilton River Walk and just beginning foundations on the Comal County Jail and Sheriff’s Office.
What is it about Sundt that’s helping us win so much work in the Alamo City?
The answer is always hard work, grit and having the best people, right? But in addition, Sundt’s Texas team has been headquartered in San Antonio for approximately eight years, and you have to give credit to the team that laid the foundation. Our recent success is due to Sundt’s culture and specifically, this office. There is a great synergy and enthusiasm throughout all aspects of our business development, preconstruction, administrative and operations teams, and I think our clients can feel it, too. We like what we do and the challenges that come with it, and we enjoy doing it together as a team. And last but not least, the people and capabilities of our Sundt Concrete partners has proved to be a real value added to our clients.
Could you tell us a little about your family’s foundation?
I am the president of The Judy Calder Foundation, a charitable foundation with a primary focus on benefiting animals and equine-related causes. My aunt Judy loved animals, and at her peak, had a herd of about 50 Arabian Horses. She and my uncle left a good portion of their estate to the remaining horses, seven of which we still care for on our ranch north of San Antonio. We just gave our first wave of grants out this last year, which included an endowed veterinary scholarship at Texas A&M University, a grant to assist in emergency veterinary services for events like Hurricane Harvey, and many other, local animal-related charities. The foundation is a wonderful reflection of my aunt’s love of animals and allows us to actively enhance local causes that she would have been passionate about.
What are your favorite things to do away from work?
There was a time when I would have said golf but I hardly play anymore. Most of my focus over the last few years has been around my family, especially my very active younger kids, and renovating our family ranch house where we live. It was constructed in 1835, which actually pre-dates The Republic of Texas (yes to all of you non-Texans, we still reference our life before statehood), and has been a bear of a project, but a very satisfying one just the same.
Where do you most enjoy traveling?
I love the mountains, and any chance to take the family skiing. We have been to Colorado, New Mexico and Utah over the last few years, and my kids are as hooked as I was when I was their age.
Which book or movie inspires you?
I do not do nearly enough reading, but the last author I read with any commitment was Dan Brown. As for TV/movies, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that may allow us to give up animated features and start enjoying movies again.
Dinesh Allam (left) and Tim Gattie talk with a construction management class at Arizona State University.
One of our core values was on display during the spring semester at Arizona State University. Nine of our employee-owners served the community and industry by teaching their specialties to graduate students.
“I knew professors at ASU from when I graduated in 2015,” Project Engineer Dinesh Allam said. “We stayed in contact and that led to this opportunity.”
Southwest Building Division employees Jonathan Randall, Curtis Smith and Garren Echols taught construction management students about early stage project planning and conceptual estimating using D-Profiler. Kristen Bejarano, also from Southwest Building, and Jesse McDonald from our Industrial Division presented a lecture on Project Controls, including delay analysis, cost control and schedule management. Two employees from our Concrete Division, Michael Fyffe and Jeremy Jafferis, taught estimating covering the quantity takeoff process using 3D models and developing pricing using production rates.
Tim Gattie from our Transportation Group and Dinesh, a Concrete Division employee, talked about an upcoming trend, data analytics in construction. The lesson won’t be forgotten. The department chair wants to incorporate the topic into course curriculum.
Dinesh said he and his Sundt co-workers would be returning to ASU classes. There’s still much more knowledge to pass along.
“Sundt’s ASU alumni are very involved with the program,” he said.
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.