April 10, 2018
March 7, 2018
Dinesh Allam (left) and Tim Gattie talk with a construction management class at Arizona State University.
One of our core values was on display during the spring semester at Arizona State University. Nine of our employee-owners served the community and industry by teaching their specialties to graduate students.
“I knew professors at ASU from when I graduated in 2015,” Project Engineer Dinesh Allam said. “We stayed in contact and that led to this opportunity.”
Southwest Building Division employees Jonathan Randall, Curtis Smith and Garren Echols taught construction management students about early stage project planning and conceptual estimating using D-Profiler. Kristen Bejarano, also from Southwest Building, and Jesse McDonald from our Industrial Division presented a lecture on Project Controls, including delay analysis, cost control and schedule management. Two employees from our Concrete Division, Michael Fyffe and Jeremy Jafferis, taught estimating covering the quantity takeoff process using 3D models and developing pricing using production rates.
Tim Gattie from our Transportation Group and Dinesh, a Concrete Division employee, talked about an upcoming trend, data analytics in construction. The lesson won’t be forgotten. The department chair wants to incorporate the topic into course curriculum.
Dinesh said he and his Sundt co-workers would be returning to ASU classes. There’s still much more knowledge to pass along.
“Sundt’s ASU alumni are very involved with the program,” he said.
February 15, 2018
Ernest E. Tschannen donated $9 million toward the former Science II Building at Sacramento State University.
Sacramento State’s Science II Building will have a new name before we even finish construction. The facility is now known as the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex, named after the Sacramento businessman and philanthropist who donated $9 million to the project.
The university held a celebration and made the announcement last month on the 93-year-old businessman’s birthday. Ernest is an immigrant from Sweden who came to California “poorer than a church mouse” as a young man. He built his fortune in Sacramento in real estate and has given back to the community in many ways, including a $38.5 million grant to UC Davis and several donations that have helped beautify cycling and hiking paths around Sacramento’s rivers and Lake Tahoe.
Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelson and Mayor Darrell Steinberg attended the event to honor Ernest.
“We were singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him when a cake modeled after the building was rolled out,” said Sundt Project Director Tim Blood. “It was a great event.”
The Design-Build project is a 96,000-square-foot, five-story facility that will centralize the College of Natural Sciences’ biology and chemistry departments. We have completed utilities, the building footprint and form work for cast-in-place concrete.
Structural steel should start going up as early as June. Work is expected to finish in June 2019 and the building is scheduled to open that fall.
February 2, 2018
A team from Sacramento State won our concrete problem competition.
It’s a competition that has enabled us to find some of the best young talent in construction. It’s important enough for us to sponsor for eight consecutive years and our Chief Operating Officer attends to meet with dozens of university students.
This past weekend, a team of Sundt employee-owners participated in the Associated Schools of Construction’s (ASC) Regions 6 & 7 competition. ASC is the professional association focused on the development and advancement of construction education, and we are one of only two contractors who sponsor the event at the Platinum Level. As part of our sponsorship, each year Sundt submits a concrete “problem” for the participating teams to solve. This year’s competition included teams from 13 universities.
Solving the Sundt-provided problem required teams to provide a complete execution plan – including scope, cost, schedule, logistics and safety recognition – for the structural concrete components of a high-rise hotel tower in the Southwest. We awarded bonus points for identifying and providing solutions for complexities within the project.
The students had 12 hours to produce a quantity take-off, budget and safety recognition plan, and drew numbers to determine the order in which they would present the rest of their plan (schedule, logistics, execution strategy and risk analysis) the next day. Teams could have six members working on the problem and three alternates. The final six had to be selected prior to the problem presentation meeting on the first morning.
Sacramento State won the competition with an all-around impressive performance and by creating a safety recognition plan that was detailed, affordable and effective.
“It was something we would implement on our own projects,” said Project Executive Chandra Reilly, one of Sundt’s representatives at the conference in Sparks/Reno, Nevada.
Five of the top six teams had scores within one point of each other, and only a tenth of a point separated our second- and third-place finishers, Arizona State and Virginia Tech.
The advantages of self-performing concrete, which include control of cost, quality and schedule, benefit every division of our company, and we wanted to make sure our panel reflected a diverse set of perspectives. To that end, our problem creation team and judging panel consisted of employee-owners from concrete, building and transportation.
“We have committed to giving detailed feedback to all the teams so they can grow and build off this experience for future competitions and their careers,” Chandra said.
Our Concrete Division has a long history of emphasizing safety on the jobsite. As a company, we have won the Associated General Contractors of America Grand Award twice, an achievement which left a strong impression on some of the more than 1,400 students who attended the competition from campuses across the nation.
“We had several students compliment us on the way we addressed safety at our company, to the point where they said that even though they already had several full-time job offers they’d still like to talk to us, because it struck such a strong chord with them,” Chandra said.
December 18, 2017
Sundt Concrete Operations Manager Shawn Blubaum.
Sundt Concrete Operations Manager Shawn Blubaum is getting ready to attend the Associated Schools of Construction Regions 6 & 7 Competition for the first time in his new role. He and a team from our company are traveling to Sparks, Nevada next week to meet and work with some of the most promising college students in the country.
It’s a great venue to find the next generation of construction professionals and for students to impress contractors that may one day hire them for their first jobs. There are 1,443 students from 49 universities registered for the event.
We are one of the few that sponsor a competition. Ours takes a real situation involving concrete construction and tasks the students with finding the best solution. Shawn and his team put the “problem” together and eagerly await solutions the students generate.
How much of a recruiting ground is this for Sundt?
The competition is huge for Sundt from a recruiting standpoint, as we are exposed to more than 1,300 students from schools across the country. Our concrete solutions problem is hosted in the Open Category, so we not only gain access to students from schools that we currently recruit, oftentimes we have schools participate from other regions that we are not actively recruiting. We have many Sundt employees who are former participants in the ASC Competition.
How did Sundt get involved with sponsoring the concrete problem?
In 2010, we made the decision to petition the competition to become a host. In 2011, we hosted our first concrete solutions problem in the open competition category.
The problems come from real scenarios. How often do students develop solutions similar to ones that worked in the field?
Students often develop solutions that are similar to the ones that worked in the field. However, whether they matched what our project team did or if they came up with their own solution, the real value comes in thinking through the process. It’s amazing what innovations the students are able to come up with in such a short period of time, and there are times the students come up with workable solutions that even us as professionals may not have considered.
What do the students get from this competition?
They get exposed to more than 1,200 industry professionals from across the country and from companies of varying sizes, structures and markets. The students have an opportunity to solve real-life scenarios and get a glimpse of specific skill sets the industry is looking for as they prepare to enter the workforce.
Besides the opportunity to meet the next generation of builders, what’s the motivation for Sundt to serve as a sponsor of this event?
It’s really about the Sundt brand and getting it out there to schools and our industry peers. Approximately 100 other contractors sponsor the event, including many of the most well respected names in our industry. Further, Sundt is one of only 12 Platinum Sponsors of the event, aligning us with other best-in-class contractors as far as support and development of the next generation of builders and the overall growth and health of our industry.
A welding student works on a project at Central Arizona College.
We’re cementing our relationship with Central Arizona College with donations that will expand training opportunities for construction and concrete technology program students.
To complement our workforce development partnership, we are covering costs to pour 320 cubic yards of concrete for a 142-foot-by-92-foot pad. Students in the heavy equipment operator program will begin leveling and grading the area this spring and construction technology students will build the concrete forms. The pad should be complete by fall 2018.
“This will provide students with valuable hands-on experience that will benefit them in their careers,” said Sundt Craft Instructor Darry Welker.
In another support of the partnership, we donated to the heavy equipment operator program for the purchase of GPS equipment. We also have given tools and supplies to the construction technology program.
“We appreciate all that Sundt is doing to help expand programming and training opportunities for CAC students,” Agriculture and Advanced Technology Division Chair Kristen Benedict said.
We are teaming with CAC and have established our own Center for Craft Excellence to help offset a lack of skilled craft workers needed to build our nation’s projects. An Associated General Contractors of America survey finds that construction companies will be short 2 million craft professionals by the year 2020.