May 10, 2019
April 29, 2019
This week, over 70 national and global construction companies in the Construction Industry Safety (CISI) group and the Incident and Injury Free CEO (IIF) Forum have come together to celebrate Safety Week. Jobsites and offices near and far hosted safety briefings and safety shares, with topics ranging from fall protection to electrical safety to general health and well-being.
Together, we share a common goal that goes far beyond learning best practices. We have a responsibility to ourselves and our families to come home safe every day, and we owe it to our fellow builders—both colleagues and competitors—to build a safer industry. Here are just a few Safety Week snapshots of Sundt employee-owners and partners doing their part.
Sundt’s Sacramento State University Science Building team came together to learn about electrical safety from Bergelectric.
Brian Martinez, Corporate HS&E Trainer, led a discussion on electrical safety at Sundt’s headquarters in Tempe, Arizona.
Tony Bonilla from Jobsite Supply, holding a rescue ladder with anchor point, reminded the San Diego Air Support Facilities team about the importance of Rescue Planning
The team at Sundt’s HACEP Chelsea project in El Paso, Texas met to learn about trench excavating safety.
April 17, 2019
While she’s much more concerned with critical paths than a path towards critical acclaim, Hannah Schumacher earned some well-deserved industry fame earlier this month when she was named a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE).
Hannah visits multiple jobsites each week, such as the Canopy by Hilton Tempe (pictured here), to meet with project teams and review their schedule and status.
Hannah is a Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), meaning she plans, schedules and monitors construction projects. Essentially, her behind-the-scenes work plays a huge part in delivering projects on time and on budget. Also, Hannah’s status as an AACE Fellow is one of the most prestigious and selective honors in the industry. It involves nomination from at least five AACE peers, recommendation from the Fellow Admissions Committee, and approval from AACE International’s Board of Directors.
AACE Fellows are sought-after thought leaders and industry influencers. More importantly, as Hannah pointed out, the title isn’t just about being an expert: “It’s a recognition that you have this experience, but also that you’re sharing that with others.” Hannah has given presentations, authored papers and pioneered best practices, as well as conducted group and one-on-one trainings with Sundt employee-owners. “She’s helped elevate the skills we have across our staff, for both the Southwest District and the larger Building Group,” said Sundt Senior VP and Building Group Southwest District Manager, Ryan Abbott. “It’s incredible how much Hannah brings to our team; she’s a fantastic coach focused on enhancing the individual, not just the plan.”
Hannah on site meeting with fellow employee-owners Mike McGee, Adrianne Coffinger and Kelly Wyllie.
Since 2017, Hannah has served as Scheduling Manager for Sundt’s Building Group and has loved it. “What I love about Sundt is the people,” she said. “Other than the people, what I love about my job is providing frontline support, training and mentoring to the project teams, helping them build effective schedules that they can use to manage their projects. Every day is something different; each project is unique with its own challenges and issues. There’s nothing like seeing a project from start to finish.”
True to her nature to share, Hannah was quick to share the credit for her fellowship, starting with thanking her husband. “My industry involvement has demanded a lot from me, and my husband has been so supportive throughout the process,” said Hannah. “It was an unexpected surprise to be named as an AACE Fellow. I’m honored and grateful to be recognized by an organization whose volunteer members do so much to give back to the industry.”
The Canopy by Hilton Tempe’s south elevation panel installation is now complete, with windows installed up through level 10 and remaining windows on Levels 11 to 13 scheduled to complete next week.
March 18, 2019
At the 100th Annual AGC Convention in Denver earlier this month, Sundt received the Environmental Enhancement Project of The Year for our work on the Arizona Public Service (APS) Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington, New Mexico. The project included major upgrades that will reduce emissions by 80 percent, allowing the 1570-megawatt plant to meet environmental standards and continue operating.
Sundt performed over 2 million man-hours at Four Corners with a peak craft staff of over 400, making this our largest single project in company history.
Over the course of the project, Sundt completed:
- 56,000 linear feet of piping
- 8,000 tons of structural steel
- 6,800 tons of duct
- 130,000 linear feet of weld
- 6,000 cubic yards of concrete
- 10,000 linear feet of drilled caisson
Also, at 60 feet in diameter, the new selective catalytic reactors we installed are the tallest in North America and the second-largest air pre-heaters in the world. “This project had several highlights,” said Sundt Senior Project Manager Steve Roberts, “but I’m most proud of how we addressed safety. Performing work at elevation in harsh weather including high winds, much of which was on structural steel, it was a huge accomplishment to finish with a 0.7 TRIR.”
Sundt’s Industrial Group self-performed much of the work on site with its own skilled craft workforce. Specialized trades included precision millwrighting, boiler-making, structural ironworking, piping, concrete and electrical.
The project was also a win for the surrounding area, providing work for the local skilled workforce, helping maintain continued economic viability of the plant for years to come, and improving air quality in the region. With the plant located on Navajo Nation land, Sundt ensured that its project workforce was at least 80% Native American, and the upgrade work is expected to provide more than $6.3 billion in economic value to the region over the next 30 years. Sundt also supported local youth and community initiatives throughout the project.
To ensure adequate staffing of skilled craft professionals, Sundt partnered with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) to develop on-site craft training, as well as mentoring and an Apprenticeship and Development program to develop new workers’ skills.
APS Senior Project Manager Dewayne Keegel (third from left) joins Sundt employee-owners Ken Dean, Steve Roberts and Derek Neill in accepting the 2019 JLT Build America Award.
“We matured a lot over the course of this project, both on an individual and corporate level,” said Steve. “We even had a few people who started at Four Corners in craft roles, and by the time it was done they were working in management positions. For Sundt as a whole, the project is a huge achievement. It shows what we can do—the size and difficulty of projects we can take on.”
With over 20 AGC Build America awards spanning the past five decades, Sundt has won more Build Americas than any other contractor in history. These include projects across building, highway and transportation, utility infrastructure, and federal and heavy civil sectors. Alongside our partners and fellow AGC members, we are proud to build structures that benefit Americans every single day.
March 13, 2019
Selected as one of the top 20 under 40 construction professionals by Engineering News Record (ENR) Southwest, Sundt Project Executive Garren Echols is certainly not new to the field. Garren started his career early, working for his father’s construction company 22 years ago. After serving as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army, he founded and operated two small construction companies and also traveled the globe for nearly a decade working for Parsons (technology-focused defense, security, and infrastructure firm). Not one for seeking the spotlight, Garren said he was surprised and honored to win the award, and he was glad to share some of his story.
With such a broad background in construction, what led you to your current role at Sundt?
I worked for Parsons basically traveling nonstop for ten years. My family was living overseas, and I wanted my daughter to be able to attend high school in the U.S. So, in many ways, I was ready to come home. When Sundt was beginning a high-rise project, some people reached out to me since I’d been building several towers with my previous company. So, I came back to Phoenix and joined Sundt doing similar work as a project executive, and it’s been an awesome fit.
Of all the projects you’ve worked on in your career, which one is the most memorable?
The Union Tempe project has been my most enjoyable project in 20 years, just because it felt like a family; it was never an adversarial relationship with owner, architect, engineer, and contractor. I made a lot of lifetime relationships and friendships. The most unique project I’ve worked on, though, was a giant desalination plant in Iraq; it was extremely difficult. I had consultants and engineers across nine different countries. Language and the time schedule were tough—I was working 20-hour days sometimes just to be on nine different time zones. On top of that, the client was demanding, and the area was challenging. So, those two projects were the most notable for me.
On a similar note, what kind of work gives you the most pride?
Overall, I’d say the building projects, just for the image they leave behind. But I’ve also taken pride in the environmental clean-up projects I’ve done because those have had the most impact on the local community. Those aren’t as sexy—they’re very behind-the-scenes work, but they’re definitely fun and challenging. Buildings are kind of the opposite; they’re this cool thing you can drive past for decades and say, “I built that.” They signify the effort you put in, and they have an impact on the community as well.
What’s it like serving on the Sundt Ethics Committee, and how does that impact our operations?
I’m a member of the committee charged with making ethics more of a focal point for everyone, making it more than just an annual mandatory online class but really something that’s recognized in our day-to-day operations. This year, we’re rolling out monthly videos with “ethics shares”—like safety shares. Similar to our focus on safety, we want to keep ethics at the forefront of everything we do. I’m excited to be a part of it. Ethics are a big thing for me, coming from the Army and with my upbringing, and having worked internationally I’ve witnessed firsthand how important it is to have those standards in place. It’s kind of a fun fit; I’m able to leverage that past experience to educate people on things they might not consider.
One of Sundt’s core values is Community and Industry Service: what does it look like to live out that value?
In the Southwest District, we live and breathe our work, so we’re already very involved in the industry. But what impresses me about Sundt is how much our leadership supports us in our community efforts. As a Tempe Diablo with 40 other guys, we raise over $1 million a year for teachers, students and other community programs here in Tempe, and Sundt’s been a huge supporter. Anytime I put something on, they’ve been right behind us. And I like that—I think the people here are what really makes a difference, and what makes this feel like more than just a job.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
When the Brichta Early Learning Center needed a new playground, parents came together to help raise the necessary funds. They were able to purchase new equipment but didn’t have enough left in their budget to cover installation. Luckily, one of these parents was former employee-owner David Vasquez, who called Sundt’s Tucson office to ask for help.
“When David called, I told him we’d be more than happy to build the playground,” said Sundt Regional Director Ian McDowell. “At Sundt, when we talk about creating prosperity for communities, we mean it, whether that’s building structures that allow communities to flourish or volunteering our time for smaller projects that improve kids’ quality of life.”
Left to right: Wesley Skelley, Gary Thompson, Brian Pos, David Ollanik, Bonnie Demorotski, Courtney Hoyt, Andres Herrera, Edgar Maya, Max Hoyt
A group of 12 Sundt employee-owner volunteers, along with a few spouses, gave up their weekend to build the new playground. The work included drilling and filling 23 concrete footings to anchor the equipment to the ground. “They were just like worker ants,” said Brichta Center Director Bonnie Demorotski, describing Sundt’s volunteers. “It came together beautifully, and we’re so grateful that our kids now have a safe and age-appropriate space to play.”
Open since July 2014, the Brichta Early Learning Center provides infant care, early learning and childcare in newly remodeled and refurnished rooms in the former Brichta Elementary School located on Tucson’s west side. Owned and operated by Tucson Unified School District, the center offers family-friendly hours, affordable tuition, meals, and research-based curriculum.