A unique approach to senior living construction helped Sundt and owner Royal Oaks earn Medical Office Project of the Year from the North American Industrial Office Properties Association Arizona Chapter.
The honor, given for the Friendship House at Royal Oaks Memory Care Facility, was presented this past weekend at an awards ceremony and dinner at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.
Friendship House, located in Sun City, Arizona, is a 53,000-square-foot senior living facility located near the center of the 38-acre community. It provides memory care in a residential setting, moving away from the skilled-care model that has been the norm in retirement communities.
The new design concept allows for more efficient staffing and flexibility in a comfortable setting that supports individual needs of residents. Personalization is achieved through four “neighborhoods” of 14 residents each that have distinct interior design themes and create smaller-scale living environments.
This was the sixth project we have performed for Royal Oaks.
Kids Excel El Paso, one of the grant recipients in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2016, uses dance to teach students how to work hard, strive for their personal best and never give up.
Sundt’s employee-owners and company have a long-standing tradition of caring about their communities. It’s one of the reasons the Sundt Foundation was formed in 1999.
That tradition of giving back was going strong in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2016, when the Foundation awarded 47 grants totaling $111,921.88. The money was raised through donations by employee-owners and matching contributions by the company.
Over its lifetime, the Sundt Foundation has given more than $7 million in grants to non-profits that help disadvantaged adults and children. Most of that support went to organizations in Arizona, California and Texas.
The dedicated men and women of our armed forces bravely serve our country every day, often putting themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom.
When off-duty, military personnel have unique housing needs and Sundt has often been called upon to construct quarters at bases. Service members and their families often live on base for short periods of time before moving on. Our latest project provides 30 temporary housing units to support those temporarily stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona.
The facility is 42,000 square feet and is modeled after apartment complexes. The units have more room than a hotel and are perfect for either a single airman or one with a family.
“With the new F35 training contract, Luke has pilots coming in from around the world,” said Sundt Project Manager Chris Tinney. “While they are in transition (either in or out of the base) the new temporary lodging facility provides perfect accommodations for our military families until they are able to make more permanent arrangements.”
Work was substantially completed in September. Our teams performed similar federal construction projects at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Polk in Louisiana.
Our company is committed to the American military. We’re proud to build projects that improve the lives of service members who do so much to make our country great.
Athena McKee is a Business Development Representative in the Tempe office. Most of her work experience stems from her career in commercial real estate where she focused on sales, client services and marketing. Her brokerage teams concentrated on office, retail and industrial properties.
She also worked for a non-profit organization where she planned and facilitated outreach programs for First Things First, an organization created by Arizona voters to improve the quality of early childhood centers, education, healthcare and family support for children.
She’s a loyal Sun Devils fan and has an MBA from Grand Canyon University and an undergraduate degree from Arizona State University.
Get to know Athena a little better by reading the Q&A session we recently conducted with her.
What was it about Sundt that made you want to work here?
My brother starting working with Sundt right out of college. He graduated from Arizona State’s Del E. Webb School of Construction with an engineering degree. My brother speaks very highly of Sundt and he sold me on the overall culture, people and employee-ownership platform. I am happy I listened to his brotherly advice to join the Sundt team as I am happy to be here!
What has been the most exciting thing about your job?
It has been exciting for me to meet so many new people. I am enjoying getting to know my team. I have also had the opportunity to meet clients and partners at conferences in Las Vegas and New Orleans. I am also impressed by Building Information Modeling, which was an integral part of a recent pitch presentation. I appreciate how 3D modeling tools help our team anticipate and solve issues before the shovel hits the ground.
What have you learned about the construction industry that surprised you?
I am surprised by the synergy and teamwork involved at all levels for each and every project. From bidding and preconstruction to scheduling and estimating, planning and bidding. And that is just the beginning. There are so many experienced minds at work in construction even before breaking ground. And I especially respect the operations side of things and the builders who make it all happen.
What’s the most important characteristic of people in the business development field?
The ability to not only build quality buildings, but to build trust, integrity and purpose for clients. This involves the commitment to foresee and realize win-win situations. Go above and beyond. Create competitive advantages. Add value. Do what you say. Be organized with processes and consistent follow-up to build and foster relationships.
Who has been your most influential mentor and what did that person teach you?
I had the opportunity to work with a successful commercial real estate broker, Mike Marinovich, at CBRE. Mike became a mentor and taught me a lot about balancing career and family life. In fact, he favored prioritizing family over career, which was a new perspective for me. Yet this is an important viewpoint to have in a client services and sales career where your work and networking events frequently blend into your personal time. Mike also taught me how to be myself and let my personable nature shine while maintaining a professional demeanor. I think a lot of “business” people can end up coming across as cold and impersonal. I never wanted to be like that. Mike taught me to honor my friendly, amiable side along with my strong, assertive professional side.
What do you do for fun away from work?
I have the most fun running around with my two sons, Braeden (7) and Ben (4). We like to find new playgrounds and parks throughout the Phoenix Valley and play every sport you can think of. My boys have tons of energy. I get all the exercise I need just trying to keep up with them. We also like to visit different resort pools in the summer. Braeden and I play golf together year-round. I only play at rural courses where I know I will not run into anyone I know because I am a self-taught terrible golfer. Other than that, I like traveling to San Diego and Sedona on weekends.
Where do you like to travel?
I love going to San Diego as much as possible during the summer. My brother lives there and my boys and I are huge beach fans. I also like visiting my parents in Northern Arizona at least once a month. It’s a beautiful area with rolling green hills and vineyards. It has become a weekend retreat for me to get away from the hustle and bustle here in Phoenix.
Is there a quote or saying that summarizes your approach to life?
I like both of these quotes from author and lecturer Marianne Williamson. The first because it reminds me to be cognizant of my own thoughts and cognitive dissonance. It is easy to forget how important our thoughts are, especially self-talk. I am a proponent of examining one’s own negative beliefs and faulty assumptions to ensure nothing gets in the way of making ideal, rational decisions based on the information at hand. I like the second quote as well because it is empowering. I live by the philosophy that every individual is powerful and important.
“You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think.”
“In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.”