February 8, 2018
February 6, 2018
It didn’t take long for John Carlson to decide what he wanted to do for a living. It all happened around age 2.
That’s when John’s father, John Sr., took him to a construction site for the first time. The big equipment, huge piles of dirt and non-stop action fascinated the youngster. That love of construction has never waned.
Sundt Corporate Strategic Business Officer John Carlson.
“I was exposed early on. I remember building little dams in the stream at 3 or 4 years old,” said John, who’s now our Corporate Strategic Business Officer. “Dad worked on dams, and friends and relatives used to tell me, ‘you’re going to be just like your dad.’ It was in my blood.”
John’s father had a huge influence on his son’s life. John Sr. worked for Sundt for 40 years. John still has the three-page typed recruitment letter his dad received in 1956 from Thor Sundt, a member of the company’s founding family, while he was with the Army Corps of Engineers building dams. The two had met as West Point classmates and served in the Korean War together.
John Sr. held many roles during his decades with our company, including positions in the field, estimating, as a board member and executive, and a contract negotiator for projects we performed in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s and ’80s. He worked on our London Bridge relocation project in Arizona, served on the Associated General Contractors of America Board and did national lobbying for the industry for a number of years. He retired as Vice President for Special Projects and Public Affairs in 1997, and passed away in 2014.
The younger John has been with us for 35 years, starting as a Laborer. He has worked his way through the ranks as a Laborer, Foreman, Surveyor, Quality Control Technician, Mechanic’s Helper, Field and Project Engineer, Project Manager, Estimator, Business Development Manager and Division Manager.
John Carlson, Sr. spent 40 years working for Sundt.
John graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Construction Management. Tedd Jones, Sundt’s President at the time, told him he should leave Sundt upon graduation and get different experiences with another contractor. John took the advice and eventually worked his way back to Sundt, and has worked in eight states and on one overseas assignment.
John and his father never worked on a project together; John said the closest they came was when he turned down an opportunity to work on the U.S. Embassy project in Moscow. But his dad’s influence was always there.
“My dad was well-liked and respected nationally,” John said. “It opened a lot of doors.”
John still had to keep those doors open himself.
“As a “boss’ kid,“ some people would look at you as if you don’t work hard,” John said of having a well-known dad in the industry. “I always felt I had to prove myself.”
John once moved 11 times in 13 years with the company, going most anywhere we asked. He’s found a home in Texas, where he’s been for the past eight years. John finds strategic business opportunities for all our operating groups with an emphasis on alternative delivery methods.
He also works on industry advocacy to influence policy and help shape legislation, the same as his dad years ago.
“Sundt is like a family,” John said. “We all have to pull our own weight.”
Interested in pursuing a career with Sundt? Please click here for more information.
December 29, 2017
Attendees at the first Sundt Devils session listen to a panel of experts talk about women in construction.
We have a longstanding, valued partnership with Arizona State University. Along with our current work modernizing Sun Devil Stadium, we have performed numerous projects that are improving the campus experience.
Our “Sundt Devils” discussion series, which kicked off last week, is taking the commitment directly to ASU construction management and engineering students.
The first event on the Tempe campus focused on women in construction. Our employee-owners on the panel were experts, including Senior Vice President and Building Group Manager Teri Jones, Senior Vice President and Southwest Building Group Manager Ryan Abbott, Project Executive Chandra Reilly, Project Manager Janene Thomas and Project Engineer Ashleigh Eubank.
Arizona State University students chat with Sundt employee-owners.
“This event really engaged the students in our Construction Management program,” said Kristen Parrish, Assistant Professor at ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. “Multiple students approached me following the event to say they had learned something and were even more excited to pursue their own construction careers.”
Attendee questions included what advice the panelists would offer a woman entering the industry and how job seekers could stand out from the crowd. While the audience was mostly female, several male students came to learn more about the topic. After the panel discussion, attendees stayed around to network with their peers and our team.
“It’s exciting that our first Sundt Devils event was well received by the attendees and great conversation was sparked,” said Sundt Talent Acquisition Specialist Sarah Clapper. “I attribute the majority of our success to our five panelists. They took time out of their busy schedules to chat and network with the crowd. At the end of the event, I received positive feedback and excitement toward the next Sundt Devils event.”
Future Sundt Devils events will focus on other industry topics and trends. ASU students and faculty should follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for information as subjects and dates are announced. Students from any college or university can visit our website to learn more about internship and career opportunities.
November 16, 2017
Sundt Field Superintendent Andres Herrera.
Andres and his wife, Silvia, moved to Tucson in 2011 from Phoenix. He worked in Sierra Vista, Arizona on the Fort Huachuca Barracks shortly before joining the team in Tucson and briefly working on the Las Cruces High School project overseeing demolition work to prepare for the second phase.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in construction management from the Del E. Webb School of Construction at Arizona State University with a minor in business from the W.P. Carey School of Business. Andres and Sylvia have three children.
What does a Field Superintendent do?
A Field Superintendent assists the Project Superintendent with managing the field activities associated with the construction of the project, developing and maintaining the project schedule and coordinating inspections to assure the execution of a safe and quality project that is delivered on time and on budget.
What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on while with the company?
My favorite would have to be construction of the 13-acre Northwest Fire Training Facility campus for several reasons. One being it was the project that relocated me from Phoenix to Tucson and although I bleed maroon and gold, I enjoy living in Tucson more than Phoenix. Also, like many kids, when I was younger, I wanted to become a firefighter and this project allowed me the opportunity to not only drive a fire truck and go through the training obstacle course while wearing the full turnout gear but also enter the live fire burn building we constructed. It was an experience I will never forget. I developed a greater respect for the men and women who fight fires, especially during the hot summer months.
Who has had the biggest positive impact on your career?
My close friend and mentor Josh Geis whom I worked with at the Northwest Fire Training Facility gave me the inspiration to become a superintendent.
Have any hobbies?
My 1-year-old son keeps me busy chasing him around! I definitely enjoy spending time with my family and running/hiking with my wife.
Dog person or cat person?
Growing up as a child, I had a German Shepherd as well as a Rottweiler. Now with a family of my own and being outnumbered by my wife and two daughters, we have a poodle. I would definitely say I am a dog person.
October 6, 2017
Sundt Marketing Database Coordinator Alex Sylvester and Senior Marketing Proposal Specialist Shannon Kopp check out one of the company’s software programs.
By Alex Sylvester
Having a limited construction background and being new to the work world has not hurt the start of my career with Sundt.
Millennials in the workplace function differently. From multi-tasking to networking to a strong desire for work-life balance, the younger generation has a unique way of approaching the professional world. Forbes Magazine reported last year that Millennials will make up 40 percent of the workforce by 2020, so our opinions are meaningful.
For many people, getting a specific degree or attending the right school is essential to starting their career path. That was not my approach. The main motivation I had in obtaining a degree in business information systems was to maintain flexibility. When the opportunity came to interview for a database coordinator position with Sundt, I knew keeping my options open was a good plan.
When you do not come from a construction background, picking up on phrases and learning the industry takes time. When called on to maintain the database, it’s essential that I know the process. It took several months for things to start clicking. Fortunately, I have been able to rely on the help of co-workers and mentors who were in the same situation as me at some point: starting a new job and learning the ropes. The balance of mentoring from your colleagues to the trust your boss has in you to accomplish your work makes this an enjoyable work environment.
While this is a construction company, there are positions in human resources, finance, talent acquisition, administrative support, marketing … many career paths that don’t involve working on or managing a construction project.
There is a conscious effort by employee-owners to make each other comfortable and confident in the workplace. Even if construction is not in your plans, the experience as well as the mentorship here will prepare you for a career you might not have expected.
Alex Sylvester is a recent Arizona State University graduate and marketing database coordinator for Sundt. For more information about a career with us, please visit http://www.sundt.com/careers.
Sundt Senior Project Engineer Michael Miller.
Sundt Senior Project Engineer Michael Miller is a Tucson native who graduated from Arizona State University’s Del E. Webb School of Construction. He then moved to Las Vegas to work for his family doing retail and theater work at resorts.
He wanted to get into high rise construction and was hired as a Sundt employee-owner in 2014. Michael worked on the Tercero Phase III and Campus Village 2 projects in California before coming to Tucson to work on the Banner-UMC expansion.
What does a Project Engineer do?
A project engineer is the main person responsible for information as it passes from the design team to the field. This includes all RFIs, submittals, architectural supplemental information, document control and coordination efforts for their respective trades. A typical day includes tracking materials and equipment in time for install in the field, troubleshooting with the design team any items that may need clarification to the field, and coordinating among various subcontractors for upcoming areas of work to ensure questions are asked (as well as answered) prior to the start of work.
How are things going at the Banner-UMC Tucson project?
Things are going well. We are beginning to do start-up on major equipment. This month, we crossed a major milestone and got power on inside our building. The building is in multiple stages of construction including framing, mechanical, electrical and plumbing rough-in, and drywall. The project is on track to accommodate patients early- to mid-2019.
You’re from Tucson. It must be nice to work on a project at home.
I love being home and being able to see my family without a 12-hour drive from California.
What are your favorite things to do away from work?
When I am away from work, I enjoy random adventures with my friends and family, golfing, and hiking.
Where do you most want to travel?
I would most like to travel to Asia. I am always interested in seeing places with a lot of history. Boston and Rome are my favorite places.
Cat person or dog person?
I am definitely a dog person. My fiancée and I have three dogs: A mini schnauzer, boxer/black lab, and the boss (at least she thinks so), a teacup Pomeranian.