April 13, 2018
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.
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.
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.