December 23, 2016
September 22, 2016
Sundt Area Manager Ted Aadland.
Sundt Area Manager Ted Aadland has more than 40 years of heavy highway experience. He has supervised more than 200 multifaceted transportation improvement projects, with experience including freight rail and highway bridges.
n 2010, Ted was elected by his peers to serve as president of the Associated General Contractors of America. His dedication to the industry is reflected in his continuous participation with the Associated General Contractors, both locally in Oregon and nationally. He has served as president of the Oregon-Columbia Chapter of the AGC and sat on numerous committees, including as co-chair for the group that developed the formal constructability review for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
As a Sundt employee-owner, he recently played a key role in the replacement of Sellwood Bridge, a 2,000-foot-long structure over the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.
What is it about bridge work that appeals to you?
The type of bridge that gets my juices flowing are ones that are over water or deep canyons. I like the challenge of building a structure that makes you think and plan and plan and plan.
How is it determined that a bridge needs to be replaced rather than repaired?
Bridges are evaluated by a department of transportation engineering team every two years. They are given a rating from one (the lowest) to 100. Sellwood Bridge had a rating of two. It was undersized for traffic loads, the sidewalk was only 3 feet wide, carrying both bike and pedestrian traffic. So it was dangerous. It needed to be replaced. The cost of repair up to today’s standards on a 92-year-old structure made no sense. Bridges have a lifespan that can be extended with good maintenance. However, agencies have to look at future needs and capacity when the decision is made to replace or repair. The biggest decision-breaker is infrastructure funding.
What’s the importance of having a healthy infrastructure?
If you travel anywhere in the world, you will see population centers are built around port cities. Here in the United States, because of our transportation system, we can manufacture hundreds of miles from our port cities and very economically transport those goods to transportation centers. Our highways allow commerce to move at pennies per mile and thus manufacturing can be done in small towns across the country. Our infrastructure is the reason we are the strongest nation in the world.
How badly does the industry need more skilled workers?
For a long time, we have known that when baby boomers retire, our industry would face a serious lack of skilled craft workers. The recession that we have gone through from 2007 until 2015 caused us to lose a generation of workers. Because of the scarcity of work, we were not able to bring in and train apprentices and many of our craft workers left the industry for jobs that provided steady income for their families. For years our public school counselors have guided students away from the crafts and steered them toward college. Today, we have the best educated baristas in the world. Everyone I talk to is looking for trained craft workers, both union and open shop.
How important is Sundt’s Center for Craft Excellence in the development of craft talent?
It is vital that we as a company and we as an industry put more time and money into craft training. There are Americans who need and want jobs. We know there is high unemployment among minorities plus there is an epidemic of homelessness. Individuals who want a job should have a great opportunity to be trained and move into well-paying jobs. Sundt’s future is tied to having the best craft workers available. We need to train and assure our craft workers that their future is with Sundt.
May 25, 2016
Sundt Concrete Division Manager Stew Grauer accepts the W. Burr Bennett Safety Excellence Award.
Here’s another solid example of Sundt’s commitment to safety: Last week, we brought home the W. Burr Bennett Safety Excellence Award from the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) annual conference in Minneapolis.
The award is presented each year to one general contractor and one specialty contractor that place the highest priority on safety. The ASCC has approximately 600 member companies worldwide.
Our concrete team put in more than 3.5 million hours in 2015 and had just 21 recordable injury/illness cases.
Earlier this year, Sundt also won the Associated General Contractors of America Grand Award, which is given annually to the safest construction company in the country. Combined with our 2006 award, we’re the only company on record to win the honor twice.
May 6, 2016
Rob Foster (left) and Brad Kirsch (right) have been recognized as up-and-coming professionals in the San Diego area.
Two of Sundt’s employee-owners have been named winners of 40 Under 40 awards from The Daily Transcript in San Diego.
Rob Foster and Brad Kirsch earned the honors as rising stars in the community. Rob is a Lead Estimator who has been in the field for 10 years. Brad is Vice President for Preconstruction in our California District and has been in the industry for 15 years.
Rob has been a key team member at our largest projects in San Diego. He was a Project Building information Modeling Manager and the lead for Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Systems for the $272 million San Diego International Airport (SDIA) Terminal 2 Landside Expansion. He held a primary role in reaching a Guaranteed Maximum Price Agreement, preconstruction planning and subcontractor procurement for SDIA’s $232 million Rental Car Center.
He has shown that he is a results-oriented, focused team leader as well as an active member of the community through the Sundt Foundation and volunteer activities. He has worked with Embrace’s Helping Our Heroes’ Homes, which restores the houses of low-income, disabled veteran homeowners.
Brad has assembled an impressive resume of successful, well-executed projects valued at more than $742 million, including key work in the San Diego community including Cathedral Catholic High School, Mater Dei High School, Sony Electronics Corporate Headquarters, the SDIA Terminal 2 Landside Improvements and the SDIA Rental Car Center.
He is involved in the construction industry through the Associated General Contractors of America, San Diego Chapter. Brad has given to the Sundt Foundation for 15 years and is active on the San Diego committee selecting charities to receive grants. He also has been involved in numerous volunteer efforts and events.
Awardees came from real estate, construction, law, financial services and government. Some were individual business owners and operators.
May 2, 2016
Sundt Corporate Director of Safety & Quality Paul Levin.
Sundt’s celebration of Safety Week is especially poignant this year. This past March, our company won the Associated General Contractors of America Grand Award, handed out annually to the safest construction company in the country.
The award is given to a deserving contractor each year by its peers (AGC has more than 26,000 members). This was the second time our company earned the honor; the first came in 2006. The award evaluation compares a member’s safety record and program with other AGC members according to member size and construction type.
The Grand Award was one of two honors we earned during the AGC’s National Conference in San Antonio. We also took first place in the Highway Division among contractors with more than a million man hours. Winning the division award enabled us to compete for the Grand Award. We also won the national highway division in 2006, 2010 and 2013.
Corporate Director of Safety & Quality Paul Levin recently took time to answer a few questions about what the award means and what it says about our unwavering commitment to safety.
What does the AGC Grand Award mean to our clients?
Of the more than 26,000 contractors available to apply for the award, Sundt was recognized by its peers as being a leader in construction safety. It demonstrates to clients we are committed to improving our safety efforts every single day. Our clients want validation we are dedicated and committed to safety the way they are.
How did Sundt earn the award?
Fifty-two companies made it to San Antonio to present about their company safety program. Our crew of five employee-owners demonstrated our safety program’s passion, commitment and focus on continuous improvement by safety role-playing. We personalized what we do every day by recreating real-life safety challenges at the jobsite so the judges understood safety is more than just words on paper or a PowerPoint on a screen. We believe in Safety by Choice so at the end of each day, our employees are able to walk out of the jobsite gate talking about their families, their kids playing baseball, etc.
Why is safety such an important value for our company?
It goes way beyond rules and regulations. It’s not worth coming into work if we can’t go home safely. We want all employees, subcontractor employees and anyone associated with our projects to go home safely every day.
What does Sundt do to encourage safety on jobsites?
We encourage and recognize employee-owners for making good safety choices. We want people modeling and coaching safe behavior. If people are making high-risk decisions, we coach them to make safer choices. And it always comes down to recognition. You have to model the behavior you want. People always respond better with positive reinforcement versus constant feedback on what they are doing wrong.
What’s an example of something we do to make our workplaces safe?
Most contractors complete a task hazard analysis at the beginning of a task. We focus on revising our THA anytime something changes: If we add a person to a crew, if we’re using a crane instead of a forklift. We realized during review meetings many of our incidents were happening because we didn’t properly assess new equipment, mechanical or employee changes. We hadn’t gone over all the hazards. We realized the plan changed, however we didn’t call a safety timeout to reevaluate and reassess.Anyone on a jobsite can call a safety timeout any time he or she sees something that needs to be addressed. It empowers our employees and makes our jobsites safer.
National Safety Week begins today and Sundt is celebrating by hosting seminars and workshops that increase our company’s concentration on topics such as ladder safety, excavation requirements, eye protection and glove use.
Every year, more than 80,000 workers suffer an injury on construction jobsites across the U.S. Fall prevention continues to be a focus. Failure of those safety standards was among the top 10 most frequently cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration during fiscal year 2014.
Sundt’s Safety by Choice program focuses on both how and why we need to be safe. We encourage our employee-owners to make good safety choices every day so they can go home every evening to enjoy time with family and friends.
The industry is rallying around safety initiatives. National and global construction firms comprising the Construction Industry Safety Council and the Incident and Injury Free Forum have joined forces with a single aim: to inspire everyone in the industry to be leaders in safety.
Sundt’s track record is strong: This past March, we were named the safest construction company in the country for the second time by the Associated General Contractors of America. We also won the award in 2006. Our goal remains to support and maintain a positive safety culture while continually improving our overall record and advancing safety in our industry.
Please come back to our blog all week as we report on company activities, wrapping up with a Q&A on Friday with Paul Levin, our Corporate Director of Safety and Quality.