September 18, 2017
August 9, 2017
Sundt Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Eric Cylwik speaks to a class at Arizona State University’s Del E. Webb School of Construction.
Sundt Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Eric Cylwik recently went back to school to share some of the many ways technology can improve the way general contractors serve their clients.
Eric spoke to an upper-level class at Arizona State University’s Del E. Webb School of Construction about the many advantages Building Information Modeling (BIM) can provide on a project. BIM involves generating and modeling both the physical and logistical characteristics of a building.
“I am convinced that the best way to learn a subject is to teach it,” Eric said. “The complicated subject of how BIM interfaces with every individual on a project is a difficult story to tell in under an hour, so it really forces me to refine how I approach technology. Engaging with the students is also an excellent opportunity to meet new people entering the industry. Ultimately, they’re the ones who will be using all of this technology.”
The fundamental idea Eric teaches the upcoming generation of builders is that technology will inevitably be the backbone of the construction industry.
“My background is in digital visualization, so I love being able to dive in to the technical details of how 3D models are created from photogrammetry and the puzzle of building complicated geometry in 3D,” Eric said. “Constructors take on significant risk with the selected means and methods for any project, so it is always a challenge to select the correct modeling tool to visualize that risk.”
Eric is quickly becoming popular on the college speaking circuit. He will be presenting to a class at the University of Arizona in November.
March 17, 2017
Our entry in the Phoenix Canstruction competition includes more than 600 cans of food that will be distributed to Phoenix’s under-served community.
Working with industry partners DWL Architects and Schafer Engineers, a Sundt team participated in the Phoenix Canstruction competition, which runs through Thursday at the Phoenix Convention Center.
The team’s entry is a phoenix comprised of more than 6,000 cans of food. The structure, which measures more than 8 feet tall, was planned using building information modeling to work out the design, get an accurate can count and ensure the display fit the physical constraints of the competition.
Canstruction is an international community service event where design teams compete to build structures out of canned food. For the past 11 years, Canstruction, in conjunction with the Arizona Chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, has invited architects, engineers, contractors, design firms and schools of design to participate in this effort to help St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. The event offers the design community the opportunity to exhibit its imagination and creativity while helping the less fortunate in our state. Since its inception, Phoenix Canstruction has provided more than 400,000 pounds of canned food for those in need across Arizona.
The Sundt team included Ryan Abbott, Doris Baker, Melissa Love, Rich Gohl, Deni Liechty, Matt Vandenberg and Randy Zastrow. Our sponsors were E&K of Phoenix, Dow Diversified, Bell Steel, JFK Electric and Century Sign Builders.
To see the entries, please visit the Phoenix Canstruction Facebook page.
September 30, 2016
Sundt Help Desk Representative Robert Ayres.
Robert Ayres was recently hired by Sundt as a Help Desk Representative. He brings to the position more than 10 years of experience in information technology, five of which were spent as a Help Desk Technician for Intel.
He’s an Arizona native who has spent his life in the Phoenix area.
What made you want to work at Sundt?
I found out about the position from the current Help Desk Lead Erica Miller. She was the one who hired me at my previous position. I didn’t know anything about Sundt until I started speaking with her about the position. The information I got made me really excited, especially with the ESOP and other great programs like tuition reimbursement.
How interesting have your first few weeks been?
My first few weeks on the job were extremely hectic. There is a lot of stuff to learn coming into a new environment, but especially in IT. Sundt uses a lot of different software for accounting, Building Information Modeling and handling projects. I was new to all of it having never worked in a construction environment so my head was spinning with all the information.
What do you do in a typical day?
My typical day starts like most people’s. I go through my email and get caught up on anything that I wasn’t able to finish the day before. I then log in to my phone and start fielding any IT requests that come in through the helpdesk line or through the email system. There are some walk-ups that happen from time to time, but the majority of our work comes in through the other methods. My tickets mainly consist of helping people install software on their computer or helping people gain access to their projects.
What’s your favorite thing to do away from work?
I love to go to movies when I get a chance. Science fiction or action style movies are usually my favorite so you can normally find me at a premiere of one of the new Marvel movies or Star Wars/Star Trek. I am a fan of manga/anime. I love watching sports. I’m a rare Arizona native, so I root for all of our local teams. I also enjoy playing video games. The new Zelda game just came out, so that will probably be taking up the majority of my free time for now.
Where do you like to travel?
My favorite place so far has to be Alaska. I went there on a cruise last summer. It’s a completely different world especially after living in Phoenix all my life. You know things are different when the high temperature is 63 in the middle of June. The scenery was amazing, and I got to see wildlife I’ve never seen like Bald Eagles swooping around and Beluga Whales breaching the ocean. Just an overall amazing experience.
September 16, 2016
Eric Cylwik is the virtual construction engineer for Sundt’s Transportation projects. Before focusing exclusively on transportation, Eric worked on adapting Building Information Modeling (BIM) from the office to the field for Sundt’s general contracting and concrete projects. He creates Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) models that highlight technology’s capability to enhance the way work is performed in the field for horizontal construction.
He has used parametric modeling to create construction-quality bridge, road and trench models that are part of survey surfaces, machine control, quantity take-offs, utility coordination, constructability reviews and visualizations. During his time at Sundt, Eric has helped the company procure more than $1 billion in alternative delivery method projects.
Eric graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in design studies with an emphasis in digital visualization. He is a certified professional in several vertical and horizontal BIM and VDC software packages.
How does Building Information Modeling help Sundt better serve its clients?
BIM helps Sundt support proper planning and coordination. As project complexity has increased, pen, paper and even 2D computer-aided design don’t allow a contractor to identify all risks and construct-ability issues on a project. Serving our clients means delivering a project that meets the identified needs and making the process painless. BIM enables Sundt and our subcontractors to do just that.
What’s a good recent example of BIM working to a client’s advantage?
On the San Pedro Creek project in San Antonio, Sundt was able to create a 3D model of the design with only 70 percent of construction documents. This meant prices were accurate and the team understood a complex, several-mile-long linear park with more than 100 block and concrete walls. Without being able to understand the final dimensions and locations of the design in 3D, Sundt would have been unable to provide a detailed breakdown of what material needed to be excavated in order to build the project. As a result, Sundt and the project’s owner were able to have a conversation to discuss scope and design implications while there was time for the design team to respond, optimizing the owner’s value, reducing risk and ensuring an accurate schedule.
How much training does it take to become well-versed in BIM’s many applications?
Becoming an expert in BIM software can take months. Most of the learning curve comes from details about construction that most project engineers don’t dive into. If one doesn’t have a solid understanding of something and how it looks in 3D it is impossible to create a 3D model. Sundt’s sweet spots are complex projects, so a virtual construction engineer at Sundt usually masters three or more software packages to properly model and support a project.
Where does Sundt stand in the industry in its use of modeling software?
Sundt began using BIM software in early 2007 and hasn’t looked back. This lead time compared to most in the industry has allowed Sundt to share technology innovation among the building, industrial and transportation groups. As a result, the combined lessons learned and seasoned experience with technology enables Sundt to stay on the cutting edge while having a firm grasp on what brings value to clients and mitigates our risk.
What’s coming next in the evolution of virtual construction?
Right now the portion of the project team that sits in an office or trailer has easy access to a BIM through a computer, but the crews in the field that actually do the installation, move dirt and build buildings do not have easy access. As technology becomes more mobile Sundt looks forward to equipping everyone on the project with pertinent information on design, construction and safety.
In her job as Project Executive for Sundt in our Irvine, California office, Betty Lynn Senes leads project pursuits, provides oversight of the design and construction process and ensures that teams have the resources they need to meet the daily demands of the project, achieve interim milestones and successfully complete their work.
With 28 years in the construction industry, Betty Lynn brings a diverse skill set in collaborative deliveries, team-building and problem-solving. As a past Vice President of Operations and former Project Director, Project Manager, Estimator and Business Developer, she understands the critical combination of technical competency and relationship skills that drive reliable commitments and outstanding performance.
Betty Lynn took some time to answer a few questions not long after starting with Sundt.
What interested you about working for Sundt?
The firm I came from and Sundt have both worked in the California State University System. I keep in touch with a few folks in the CSU Chancellor’s office, and they always spoke highly of (Regional Director) Robert Stokes and of Sundt. I also had interaction on some Cal Poly Pomona projects. Sundt was awarded the student housing project there, and a second, adjacent project came up. Sundt was not proposing and my firm was. As we’d be sharing a “party wall” and joint laydown area, I asked Robert and (Project Manager) Mary Homan to meet with us to discuss how we’d be good neighbors. They did and I was impressed with their approach to their student housing project. We also did a joint Building Information Modeling/Virtual Design and Construction program for the Chancellor’s Office with Sundt, during which time I got a chance to see (Senior Virtual Construction Engineer) Howdy Atkinson and (Director of Construction Technology) Dan Russell in their element … impressive. The other factors were Sundt’s commitment to continual learning, and the fact that I had met women from Sundt, such as (Senior Vice President and Building Group Manager) Teri Jones and Mary Homan, who were clearly making a difference in our industry.
What are the company’s priorities in Southern California?
We are very fortunate to have built many higher-education construction projects, both public and private, in Southern California. Our newly expanded Los Angeles/Orange County office is poised to grow, and expand our markets with the experience of our people. Our priorities are to be very focused in our pursuits, to take on profitable work with good owners and to exceed their expectations. With this, we’ll expand Sundt’s great name throughout LA/OC. We hope to build the same reputation in our area that Sundt has earned in Arizona: a quality firm built by trustworthy, competent people who excel in their field.
What does Sundt do to set itself apart from the competition in the Los Angeles area?
Sundt has a reputation for top-quality people working collaboratively and keeping our commitments. These factors, along with the consistent, positive experience of working with Sundt, and the tools that enhance our ability to communicate and manage, such as our conditions of success meetings and parametric estimating, are elements that set us apart.
How does the future look for success in the region?
The Southern California market is still very active. We see a number of schools and community college districts with successful bond measures that provide funding for facilities projects. The California State University and University of California systems are planning work for the future, and private institutions continue their expansion plans. The UC system has an initiative under way to expand student housing on multiple campuses. In addition, many other civic, healthcare and hospitality clients have projects in the pipeline.
The company has had a lot of success with the university housing market in Southern California. What projects do we have going on there at the moment?
We are working on four student housing projects in Southern California: one at San Diego State University, one just completing at CSU Channel Islands, one at Pepperdine University, and our fourth, in preconstruction, at Cal Poly Pomona (CPP). All are being delivered collaboratively, under CM at Risk or Design-Build. The largest one, at CPP, has grown to about $150 million. It includes a 35,000-square-foot dining commons and two eight-story student residence towers to house 980 students. Student housing is a very active market.
How exciting is it to come to work every day in such a dynamic area?
Knowing the potential we have to expand our client and subcontractor relationships, and after meeting so many professional and talented Sundt employee-owners, I’m “all in.” I look forward to contributing by developing great client partners and relentlessly executing our plan to exceed their expectations.