February 20, 2019
January 15, 2019
Since 1951, National Engineers Week has been educating and inspiring young people on the importance of engineering within society. This week, we spoke with employee-owner Eden Roth about her journey to become a Field Engineer with Sundt’s Concrete Division. Eden graduated in 2017 from Arizona State University with a degree in Construction Management. While attending ASU, she was involved in various activities including Advancing Women in Construction, Design-Build Institute of America, and the Associated Schools of Construction. Eden started with Sundt in April of 2018 and has worked both in the office and out in the field.
What attracted you to become an engineer? Was this something you always knew you wanted to pursue?
The funny thing is I actually didn’t know I wanted to become an engineer. I saw the students around me getting jobs as engineers, both project and field engineers, and actually applying what they learned in school to their job, and I just thought that was great.
There are a lot of different paths a person can take with a Construction Management degree; how did you decide on becoming a Field Engineer in the Concrete Division?
So, when I started going to school for construction, I didn’t know that I wanted to go into concrete; I just knew I wanted to build things. I met my mentor Chandra in Advancing Women in Construction at ASU, and she started talking about how important concrete is and how it’s the foundation of the structure. So, I started looking into it, and I realized how much I could learn from it, and here we are today. I can honestly say I love concrete!
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced while being an engineer, I’d have to say, is changing groups or project teams that I’m working with. Everyone works together and communicates differently, so you really have to take the time up front to get to know one another if you’re going to be successful. But once you do take the time, it’s worth it.
What’s your favorite part about being an engineer? Least favorite?
My favorite part about being an engineer is probably that you have to be collaborative and you have to work as a team. I enjoy being around other people, and there’s no other way to succeed except to work with your team and your coworkers. My least favorite part about being an engineer is probably that you work day or night, rain or shine; it might be midnight, maybe the middle of a hot day, but you’re out there. I guess that makes it the most fun too.
Knowing what you know now, and being where you are in the industry, what advice would you give your younger self just starting to find your way in the construction world?
Knowing what I know now, I would say not to be scared, and to go for it. I think it’s really easy to limit yourself and let fear dictate where you’re going, but this is the most supportive industry I think I could have found myself in. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in construction, do it.
How does it feel being a woman in a predominantly male industry? Is it different when you’re in the field compared to in an office setting?
For the most part, it’s a lot different than what I thought it was going to be. The men all seem to be really supportive, and I haven’t had any issues with clashing or not feeling accepted. I’ve learned that if I ask questions, then I get support, because this is the most supportive industry that I’ve ever come across. There are actually a lot of women out in the field, and in the office. I find it fun to come to big events with the whole company, because even though I might be the only woman in my jobsite trailer, I get together with the Sundt family and I realize that there’s a lot of us and that I’m not just one.
January 11, 2019
Over 50 years ago, while working to put himself through his final year of college, Guy Weinzapfel was awarded a Sundt Scholarship. At the time, Sundt presented a one-year full-tuition scholarship to a fifth-year student at the University of Arizona CAPLA (College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture) who was self-supporting. For Guy, the scholarship made a huge impact. “It might have been around $250,” he said, “but back then that was a lot of money, and it let me concentrate on what was essentially my capstone.”
As a student, Guy was spending countless hours a week in a Safeway—not bagging groceries, but learning to plan, design and construct buildings. A lesser known fact of Tucson history is that from 1958 to 1965 the CAPLA’s design studios were located in a former Safeway grocery store on Park Avenue, a block southwest of the college’s current location.
Between the long hours, demanding coursework and close quarters of the repurposed building, students in the “Safeway Studios” became close friends and remained so, long after graduating.
The “Safeway Group” eventually came together as a tight-knit network of alumni. Having reaped many benefits from their careers in architecture, they wanted to pay it forward to future students. In 2010, the alumni came together under Guy’s leadership to create the Safeway Studios Alumni Scholarship—though Guy credits the idea to his wife, Jane, who herself is an architecture alumna of CAPLA and was part of the first class to graduate women in 1966. Modeled on the Sundt Scholarship of years past, the Alumni scholarship is awarded to a fifth-year student working to put him or herself through the most challenging year of an already very challenging program.
With their endowment close to reaching its target of $250,000, and the 2018 fall semester approaching, Guy reached out to Sundt Project Director Dave Ollanik for a donation. “When Guy approached me,” said Dave, “and I heard his story about the legacy of Sundt’s scholarship activities at the U of A and how it had impacted him over his 50-year career, we were excited to become the capstone of the newly formed Safeway Studios Alumni Scholarship.” Sundt contributed the last portion of the endowment, allowing the group to reach their goal and award a scholarship for the 2018-19 academic year.
The “Safeway Studios” Class of 1965, with Guy Weinzapfel on the far left.
The first recipient of the Alumni scholarship is CAPLA fifth-year student Ben Stewart, who just began his final semester in the program. “The scholarship has changed the course of my last year,” Ben said, “by increasing the time I have available to focus on my capstone, to more thoughtfully consider all that I learned during my internship this past summer and incorporate this into my final project, and time to mentor and support younger students, all without having to work an outside job. I’m extremely grateful to be the recipient of this scholarship.”
Reflecting on the team effort behind the scholarship, Guy was proud of his group: “To know the impact this will have on current and future students, it just really puffs up everyone’s chest. All of the Safeway Studios alumni gave, every single one of us. And it just further cements the bond that we’ve had since the beginning.” For Sundt’s part, we’re glad to contribute and continue the tradition of giving back to our industry and our community.
December 21, 2018
Companies and teams often brag about an “all-star recruit” who has committed to their side, but it’s not as common that we get to celebrate bringing on an “all-star recruiter.” Luckily for Sundt, that’s exactly who Madison Williams is. This week, Maddy joined Sundt as a full-time employee-owner after completing her internship with the Workforce Development Group.
Maddy grew up in Denver, Colorado, where she lived in the same home her whole life, before moving to Tempe to attend Arizona State. She has held different jobs in the service sector, but working for Sundt is her first “real, adult job” she said. Maddy graduated in December with a Bachelor of Arts in Business with an emphasis in Spanish Language and Culture. Since joining Talent Acquisition in March of last year, Maddy has been a valuable asset in recruiting top talent and helping Sundt maintain its sustainable growth as a company. When asked to share a bit about herself, she gladly obliged.
How much did you know about Sundt before you started your internship?
Honestly, not much. I was researching HR-related internships back in March, and an offer at Sundt came up in my search. I applied without really knowing what Sundt does as a company, but once I started researching, I was intrigued by the large scope of projects that Sundt is a part of. I didn’t know much about the construction industry before starting my internship, but I’ve learned so much in the short time I’ve been here.
What’s the most interesting part about being involved in the construction industry on the Talent Acquisition/Recruiting side?
The most interesting part of being in college recruiting specifically is that I get to work with people from all four groups/divisions at Sundt. Sometimes it’s difficult to stay up-to-date on all the projects going on throughout the company as a whole, but it’s been interesting to work with people from all the various disciplines and markets.
What advice would you give college students who want to work for Sundt?
I would tell them not to pigeonhole themselves into one specific type of work. A lot of college students studying construction or engineering will have an idea about the type of project they want to be on, so they don’t open themselves up to other possibilities within construction. An internship is the perfect time to explore the many different aspects of work that construction, and Sundt specifically, has to offer.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
Running a marathon in under 4 hours last February. I had trained for the race, but it was my first marathon, and I was not expecting to do very well. My one goal was to finish. Once I reached the 13-mile mark, my body almost went into auto-pilot until mile 20, and then it started to get tough. But I finished in 3 hours and 46 minutes, and I realized how insanely powerful the human body is—sometimes you just have to convince your mind that it’s okay!
November 2, 2018
“All you can take with you is that which you give away”—even if you haven’t seen the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life, these are still great words to live by. Throughout the year and especially around the holidays, Sundt employee-owners make a point to give back to the communities where they live and work. Here are just a few of the many holiday drives that our people have participated in across the country, spreading cheer and helping people in need. Thanks to all who contributed.
Sundt employee-owners in Sacramento and Monterey (incl. our project team at the Sac State Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex), participated in the Sacramento Sheriff’s Toy Drive for children across the region—and had loads of fun while they were at it!
Our San Antonio office, San Pedro Creek project team and I-10 Old Fred project team donated to a holiday toy drive for the Rainbow Room, an organization that serves children in Child Protective Services. Also, Sundt employee-owners in San Antonio held their annual coat drive this month. They doubled the number of coats donated this year to Haven for Hope.
Sundt’s Irvine office and area projects hosted a toy drive for CHiPs for Kids, which has been hosted by the California Highway Patrol for the past 30 years.
Our San Diego office partnered with Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), an organization that sponsors enlisted families in need during the holiday season, and we were able to sponsor a total of 10 families.
Sundt’s HACEP (Housing Authority of the City of El Paso) project team donated $1,000 to the 51st Annual Senior Citizen Holiday Event, benefiting over 400 senior citizens living in affordable housing. Employee-owners from our El Paso office also volunteered their time for two nights to prepare and serve turkey dinners.
Our Fort Worth office participated in a canned food drive for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Each month, TAFB and its partners provide groceries and/or meals to more than 53,000 households.
Sundt employee-owners in Tucson gathered toys and gifts for Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse and participated in a blood drive with the American Red Cross.
The Sundt Foundation donated $20,000 to St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix; our Tempe and Phoenix offices participated in the Arizona Builders Alliance Toy Drive, which helped over 1,200 children; and we “adopted” 25 children and four college students from Sunshine Acres and helped fulfill their personal wish lists.
Chandeliers, clinking glasses, vegan options, people dressed to the nines—this doesn’t sound like the world of construction. But make no mistake: when it comes to corporate philanthropy and giving back to our community, Sundt definitely has a seat at the table.
Nearly 300 people attended the Phoenix Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy Awards ceremony at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, where several local businesses were honored for their charitable efforts.
Sundt was named as a finalist for the Community Impact Large Award along with Phoenix Children’s Hospital and winner Alliance Bank of Arizona. Sundt Foundation Chair, Marian Enriquez, was honored by our selection. “The heart of our corporate philanthropy is embedded in Sundt’s culture,” she said. “The real differentiator for us is how we empower our employee-owners to actively make a difference in the communities where they live and work. We’re looking forward to another big milestone in 2019, as the Sundt Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary.”
Clearly, the Phoenix business community has a big heart. Sundt was one of many companies honored at the Phoenix Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy Awards for the amazing things their employees are doing in our city. Some firms give directly to various causes while others operate charitable foundations; some donate equipment or in-kind services, and others serve as volunteers.
Sundt employee-owners from left to right: Lisa White, Cathie Gabriel, Nicole Calamaio, Clay Mullenax, Marian Enriquez, Randy Rusing, Melissa Cheney, and Sarah Philippe
Beyond the numbers—the millions of dollars donated and hundreds of thousands of hours served—what stood out most was the stories people shared about caring for others: a community diaper bank for young parents in need; an initiative for creating affordable housing; STEM programs for girls in Namibia; grants for local public school teachers. The list goes on. When told altogether, these stories reveal the character of our city, where getting involved is just good business practice. CEO Marc Schmittlein of CopperPoint Insurance, who won the Community Impact Medium Award, said it best: “Phoenix is the sixth largest city in the country, but it may be the number-one city when it comes to giving back.”
Visit the Phoenix Business Journal to read more about Sundt’s impact.