When employee-owners begin their careers with us, their professional development doesn’t end; in fact, we look to accelerate our leaders at all levels through our internship, START and Leadership Excellence Accelerates Performance (LEAP) programs.
We have an intentional process to continue developing leaders, which starts as early as our internships. START is for our early career professionals who are preparing to lead teams, while management-level employee-owners who are preparing to step into senior-level roles participate in LEAP. All development programs focus on individual awareness and development but also have a large element of team collaboration, networking and peer accountability.
LEAP participants make their way up to the ropes course.
“Think of it like a farm system in baseball,” said Director of Administrative Workforce Development Trevor Gelder. “We begin with people in our intern program (rookie ball), who we then hire and work to develop through our START program (minor leagues). As these individuals and others progress into manager-level positions, we put them through an extensive LEAP program (major leagues) as their career progresses. It’s our concept of having leaders at all levels of the organization.”
Our START program begins with individual assessments, so participants gain a deep understanding of their strengths and development opportunities. Those in the program build their development through individual plans and business challenge projects, and create extended relationships with peers through powerful networking opportunities. There’s a robust four-day learning session along with ongoing webinars that focus on development and skill-building. Participants choose a real business challenge and see it through completion, using what they learned in the program.
“It was a really great opportunity to network with people from other areas of the company,” said Marketing Proposal Manager Dustin Hicks. “The cross-divisional collaboration resulted in some intriguing thought processes. I saw the group generating ideas by having other perspectives in the room.”
LEAP participants start by focusing on learning about each other and getting introduced to their Action Learning Projects, which focus on enterprise-wide initiatives.
“These projects are very important and have the potential to make a big difference for Sundt,” Trevor said.
LEAP sessions involve individual feedback, development planning, manager alignment and ongoing developmental coaching sessions. Five three-day development sessions over the 12-month program provide focus and sustainability as participants reinforce their skills. The class also participates in team-building activities, including a ropes course that challenges them and brings out leadership qualities.
“Our goal with START and LEAP is to accelerate and develop leaders so we are ready to move employees through the organization and into key leadership positions as we grow and diversify our work and opportunities,” Trevor said.
Senior Project Manager Jason Hughes is a LEAP participant who has been with us since 2008. He has almost 20 years of experience in the construction industry and is thankful the company allows employee-owners to determine their career paths.
“The experience has been meaningful on a personal level as well as a professional front, and is a reminder that the future is in the hands of all employee-owners and not simply high-level leadership,” Jason said.
For more information on careers with Sundt, please visit our website.
Our team added and pressure-welded rails at the Gilbert Road project earlier this year.
Things are picking up at our Gilbert Road Light Rail project in Mesa, Arizona. These next few months are important to ensuring everything is up and running by spring 2019.
Our team has completed most of its underground utility work. We have finished about half of the new curb gutter and sidewalk and started work on the overhead catenary system foundation. Our first concrete pour around the tracks is scheduled for April 9.
Construction started in October 2016. Most major construction activities will be complete by the end of the year. We have a strong track record for Valley Metro, completing half of the 26 miles of the light-rail system operating in Greater Phoenix.
“Light rail revitalizes areas,” Transportation Group Manager Jeff Williamson said. “It’s important to communities.”
The 1.9-mile extension in Mesa will extend light rail on Main Street from Mesa Drive to Gilbert Road. The $184 million transportation project consists of two stations and a park-and-ride on the west side of Gilbert Road. The project will provide the ability to draw more light-rail passengers from the East Valley and bring greater development opportunities to central Mesa.
A New Leaf is a 46-year-old nonprofit organization that provides services to people and families in crisis in Arizona.
With 33 programs across the Phoenix metro area, A New Leaf provides many necessary resources to underserved families in Arizona.
The 46-year-old nonprofit organization provides a broad spectrum of services to help people and families in crisis in Arizona. The La Mesita program in Mesa, which received a $3,500 grant from the Sundt Foundation last year, offers an emergency shelter and supportive housing for families with children. The program provides case management and skill development and has a computer lab, after-school center and Head Start program.
The Sundt Foundation’s grant helps A New Leaf’s La Mesita After School & Summer Program, which is attended by more than 70 kids.
“The program relies completely on funding from community corporations and foundations like the Sundt Foundation,” said Laura Bode, the Director of Community Engagement at the Mesa campus. “The impact of Sundt’s support goes far beyond the program’s day-to-day activities. The real impact is realized 20 years from now when the course of lives is changed and generational poverty is overcome.”
The after-school program helps lay a foundation for students of varying backgrounds, ages and experiences as they deal with some of life’s toughest challenges.
“There are a lot of outcomes that we measure for the La Mesita After School & Summer Program related to academic performance, behavioral challenges and life skills,” Laura said. “But perhaps the most powerful outcome is one that cannot be measured. It is the chance for kids to just be kids, free from the trauma and stress they have carried from experiencing homelessness, violence and instability.”
The next step for A New Leaf is to expand its after-school program, attract more volunteers and potentially build a new facility for its expanding programs. Last year, A New Leaf served 24,275 people.
This is part of a series of blogs about the positive impacts made by the Sundt Foundation.
Chris Morales joined Sundt’s San Diego office late last year as a Safety Representative. He has been in the construction industry since 2007 and holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Resource Management from California State University, Bakersfield.
What interested you most about working for Sundt?
The diversity of work the company performs. The fact that Sundt is an employee-owned company added to my interest.
What do you do in average day?
Every project has its own unique challenges. I ensure all safety and health policies are being followed in the field. I work with everyone on-site and act as a resource for all matters health and safety.
Who gives you the best advice?
Some of my best advice comes from people working in the field. If I feel something should be done differently or propose a change to a process, I ask the employees for their input. I use this advice (if it’s good) to further my success and strengthen my value as a safety professional.
What is the one thing anyone who visits San Diego must see?
Balboa Park is a large, beautiful public space with some great museums, San Diego Zoo and spectacular sites.
Where do you like to travel?
I love to travel and see different areas of the United States. I want to visit Asia soon.
Carolina Olivas has worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for 11 years.
One of Carolina Olivas’ favorite quotes is from Mahatma Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Carolina, an Administrative Assistant in our Tempe, Arizona office, lives up to those values. She spends much of her free time working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, helping children at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Make-A-Wish is a non-profit organization that arranges experiences, “wishes,” for children with life-threatening medical conditions.
“I’m a Wish Granter,” she said. “I help the Mission Delivery staff in meeting with wish families, collecting detailed information about the child’s wish and family, and planning the wish from beginning to end. I also get to represent the organization at special events for the Spanish-speaking community.”
Carolina has worked with Make-A-Wish for 11 years.
“My friend and I wanted to volunteer for a non-profit that would impact children’s lives, and we found that the Make-A-Wish Foundation was the perfect fit for us,” she said.
She’s a translator on the Phoenix Children’s Hospital pre-op floor, helping Spanish speakers with medical paperwork and facilitating communication among parents, doctors and medical staff.
“While visiting one of my Wish Kids at the hospital, one of the nurses approached me and asked if I’d be interested in volunteering for the hospital as a translator for Spanish-speaking parents,” Carolina said. “I looked into it and I’ve been doing it for five years.”
Thanks to her volunteer work, Carolina was nominated by the Sundt Foundation for Luke Air Force Base’s Hometown Hero Award. Carolina reached the finals of the competition; voting to determine the winner took place on Facebook.
“It was a great privilege for me to make it to the final five and represent Sundt,” she said.
The satisfaction she receives from helping others was enough of a prize. Inspired by Gandhi, she lives a life of service.
“It’s a great way to connect with your community and give back a little,” Carolina said. “You certainly return to society some of the benefits that society gives you. It brings people together.”