September 30, 2016
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.
September 9, 2016
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.
August 12, 2016
Sundt University Relations Recruiter Michael Morales spent time working as an intern earlier this year to better understand what students do on jobsites.
As Sundt’s University Relations Recruiter, Michael Morales spends several weeks each fall on the road talking with college students who could someday end up working for the company.
Michael’s first task is to identify which students would be the good fits for the company as interns. He will visit several campuses between now and November to find students who will work for us at one of our jobsites or offices next summer.
Michael took a few minutes off from packing his bags for the big trip to answer questions about our internship program.
What does Sundt do to recruit college interns?
Sundt targets campuses across the nation that produce students with high potential. My role as the University Relations Recruiter is to attend job fairs, present information sessions on the company, host Q&As and have our college alumni building working relationships with students. Sundt has a great reputation, which is why we average 30-plus interviews at each campus we visit.
How long are the internships?
They typically last 10 to 12 weeks. However, some students have co-ops that last much longer, and we have the ability to keep interns on part time throughout the school year.
What are the most common majors for our interns?
The most common major we see is Construction Management. We have employed interns with all different majors, though, including Civil, Mechanical, Engineering Technology, Mining and even Software Engineering.
What kind of work do interns perform?
It varies. They assist superintendents, work job specifications and drawings, process requests for information/submittals, attend safety inspections, work with Building Information Modeling, etc.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy seeing our interns become full-time employee-owners. Our internship program is a great way to train, mentor and filter our top performers into full-time positions upon graduation. I also enjoy traveling to schools across the U.S. and showing students why Sundt is the company to work for.
April 1, 2016
A member of the Sundt team works on the Olympic rings in the Canstruction display backdrop.
Sundt and industry partners promoted Olympic spirit while helping the less fortunate in Arizona during Phoenix Canstruction last week.
For the past 10 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. Canstruction is an international community service event where design teams compete to build structures out of canned food. The event offers the design community the opportunity to exhibit its imagination and creativity while helping the less fortunate in our state.
Our structure used 2,580 cans and is on display at the Phoenix Convention Center until Aug. 19. We teamed with structural designers/engineers Meyer Borgman Johnson, architects HDR and Coreslab Structures on the project. The team used building information modeling to work out the design, get an accurate can count and make sure the display fit the physical constraints of the competition.
Since its inception, Phoenix Canstruction has provided close to 400,000 pounds of canned food for those in need across Arizona.
Our team also received support from Sprouts Farmers Market and packaging company Smurfit Kappa.
Sangsoo Bae recently joined Sundt as a Senior Virtual Construction Engineer. He has been in the construction industry in San Diego for 16 years and holds a bachelor’s degree in construction management from Colorado State University.
The South Korea native recently took a few minutes to talk about his life at and away from work.
What was it about working at Sundt that interested you?
The employee-ownership plan. I’m finally an owner.
If you had to describe your job in just a few sentences, what would you say?
I develop site logistics and material take-off during preconstruction, develop project Building Information Modeling execution plans as they relate to procedures, operations and procurement, am responsible for virtual coordination (all MEP trades, structure and architecture) for construction phase and research, test and integrate new technologies related to BIM into business workflow.
What do you do away from work?
I follow my son’s hockey practice and games, and play golf.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled?
Mongolia and the United Arab Emirates. Mongolia was very different in culture, weather, people and religion from where I am from. When I went there for a project at Ulaanbaatar International Airport during winter 2012, it was between minus-22 and minus-40 degrees. I came to understand why they enjoy vodka a lot.
I went the United Arab Emirates for a lecture regarding BIM for the one of universities in 2013. I met many students and professors who were very good and kind people. It was very impressive and memorable. The food was very tasty.
Read any good books lately?
“Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. I borrowed it from my son. Even though I am not from the same generation as they are in the book, the book made me look back to when I was a kid. It reminded me of people I met when I was a kid. The family in the book faced a lot of hardships, circumstances and environments.