September 16, 2016
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.
November 20, 2015
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.
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.”