June 7, 2019
April 29, 2019
Every year, Girls Inc., proud recipient of a Sundt Foundation grant, hosts the RockIt Into the Future Science Festival in San Antonio. The event celebrates and promotes careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It provides young girls, and their families, the opportunity to connect with experts within the different fields and participate in various STEM activities. “It’s not just technology. It’s not just computers. It’s not just engineering,” said Girls Inc., San Antonio president and CEO Leah Rosenhauer. “The scientific process of discovery, or disrupting things, of finding new solutions to things is all around us.”
This year, Sundt San Antonio women participated by hosting three “mind-on” activities: “Building Our Future” Lego table for children age 3-6 years old, a pulley system to teach how weight is distributed for children between 7 and 12 years old, and a video game, “Ant you Crazy about Safety,” to teach them about jobsite safety for ages 13 and up.
Sundt’s own Ryan Silbernagel built the pulley system, and Swapna Biju, one of Sundt’s virtual construction engineers, created the video game. Each participant within the video game would identify different jobsite hazards in order to become aware of the importance of jobsite safety.
Sundt’s Alexis Marshall, Traci Cadena, Swapna Biju, Terri Pasley, Meagan Garcia, and Amy Yount participate in the 13th Annual RockIt Into the Future STEM Festival.
Alexis Marshall and Amy Yount demonstrate the pulley system.
April 25, 2019
While she’s much more concerned with critical paths than a path towards critical acclaim, Hannah Schumacher earned some well-deserved industry fame earlier this month when she was named a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE).
Hannah visits multiple jobsites each week, such as the Canopy by Hilton Tempe (pictured here), to meet with project teams and review their schedule and status.
Hannah is a Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), meaning she plans, schedules and monitors construction projects. Essentially, her behind-the-scenes work plays a huge part in delivering projects on time and on budget. Also, Hannah’s status as an AACE Fellow is one of the most prestigious and selective honors in the industry. It involves nomination from at least five AACE peers, recommendation from the Fellow Admissions Committee, and approval from AACE International’s Board of Directors.
AACE Fellows are sought-after thought leaders and industry influencers. More importantly, as Hannah pointed out, the title isn’t just about being an expert: “It’s a recognition that you have this experience, but also that you’re sharing that with others.” Hannah has given presentations, authored papers and pioneered best practices, as well as conducted group and one-on-one trainings with Sundt employee-owners. “She’s helped elevate the skills we have across our staff, for both the Southwest District and the larger Building Group,” said Sundt Senior VP and Building Group Southwest District Manager, Ryan Abbott. “It’s incredible how much Hannah brings to our team; she’s a fantastic coach focused on enhancing the individual, not just the plan.”
Hannah on site meeting with fellow employee-owners Mike McGee, Adrianne Coffinger and Kelly Wyllie.
Since 2017, Hannah has served as Scheduling Manager for Sundt’s Building Group and has loved it. “What I love about Sundt is the people,” she said. “Other than the people, what I love about my job is providing frontline support, training and mentoring to the project teams, helping them build effective schedules that they can use to manage their projects. Every day is something different; each project is unique with its own challenges and issues. There’s nothing like seeing a project from start to finish.”
True to her nature to share, Hannah was quick to share the credit for her fellowship, starting with thanking her husband. “My industry involvement has demanded a lot from me, and my husband has been so supportive throughout the process,” said Hannah. “It was an unexpected surprise to be named as an AACE Fellow. I’m honored and grateful to be recognized by an organization whose volunteer members do so much to give back to the industry.”
The Canopy by Hilton Tempe’s south elevation panel installation is now complete, with windows installed up through level 10 and remaining windows on Levels 11 to 13 scheduled to complete next week.
April 9, 2019
National Welding Month is an opportunity to highlight the impact welding has on our daily lives. Through mentorship, education, and recognition, Sundt is working to promote an industry that needs more skilled tradesmen and women and offers rewarding careers. This month, we caught up with Craft Training Instructor Josué Ponce to get his perspective on building a strong welding workforce.
Why is welding an important skill in our society? If you look around at everything you touch or see, it was either welded or made by a machine that had to be welded. Welding is used to produce the cars we drive, the bridges and roads we drive on, the buildings we work in, and the homes where we live.
What’s the demand like for welders in our current economy, both nationally and locally? The American Welding Society is projecting that the shortage of skilled welders could be as high as 450,000 welders by 2022. The state of Arizona has an estimated shortage of around 2,000 welders. So, there’s definitely a high demand.
What is Sundt doing as a company to build its welding workforce? Sundt has partnered up with Central Arizona College to help curb the skills gap and craft shortage we’re facing as a nation. The students enrolled in this program are gaining a wealth of knowledge that will help them in their career. Currently there is 100% job placement after they graduate with a certificate or associate’s degree. If they choose to work for Sundt, we offer a bonus after 30 days of employment. Within Sundt we have various training opportunities going on, as well as a new Pipefitting Apprenticeship we are planning to start this summer.
Josué teaching welding students at Central Arizona College
What’s your role within that process? I work as a Craft Training Instructor where my primary focus is teaching Pipefitting/Welding and Front-Line Supervisor classes. Last year, we had our first after-hours Pipefitter class. It was a huge success. In my afternoons, I work at Central Arizona College with the Sundt/CAC program as an Adjunct Welding Professor. I currently have a Pipefitting/Welding class with eleven awesome students who, I’m hoping, will be future employee-owners of Sundt.
What would you say to young people looking to start in this field, or to others who are looking to make a career change? My message to them would be: Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Welding can be tough at times and very challenging, but the reward is great, and you’re getting into a career that’s going to last you a lifetime. With great work ethic will come great reward.
December 7, 2018
Constructech Magazine’s Women of the Year are an elite group of women who represent some of the industry’s largest, most innovative companies. Among them is Sundt’s own Cindy Van Marter, winner of the Heavy Equipment Operator Woman of the Year. We caught up with Cindy to discuss her career and recent award.
How long have you worked in construction, and how’d you get your start?
I operated heavy equipment for 26 years. When I started in the industry in 1983, there weren’t many women in the field. My dad, who worked for Sundt, told me, “If you like working outside, you can make some good money,” so I tried it and ended up loving it. I learned on the job—back then, they didn’t have the level of special training they do now. Working under experienced equipment operators, I learned the tricks and how to make the machine work for me. I worked on several different projects throughout Arizona. When Sundt asked me to be a recruiter in 2006, they knew I had extensive knowledge from the field and that I was a good people-person. So, I gave it a shot. I took over craft recruiting for the Transportation Group in 2008, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Sundt Craft Recruiter Cindy Van Marter, Constructech 2019 Heavy Equipment Operator Woman of the Year
During your career as a heavy equipment operator, what was your favorite equipment to work on?
I was known for my skill as a production operator, using an excavator or loader to load trucks. I loved doing this; the work is fun and moves fast, and you have to use the right technique to load the trucks properly. But I also did a lot of underground work digging basements and trenches to lay pipe, grading, working on canals, dams, and crushers, and even drilling and blasting throughout the years. Working with Concrete, Industrial and Transportation, you name it. I’ve worked on most of the freeways in Phoenix in some capacity.
Were there any obstacles you had to overcome as a woman working in the field?
I’ve always been very competitive, so I was always trying harder to show the guys that, even as a woman, I could do my job just as well or better than some of the men. Things got more comfortable as time went by. I built some great friendships and had a lot of fun along the way. I have stories to last me a lifetime, and I miss it sometimes. Today, things are changing. There’s a lot more acceptance of women working in this field. We have many more women working as welders, pipe fitters, truck drivers, etc. I’m trying to get more women interested in working as heavy equipment operators. The ones I have seen are very good, dependable and hard-working. They take pride in their work.
Who was your biggest mentor in this business, and what did they teach you?
Many people I’ve worked with here—Sundt is like my second family. But I would have to say my dad was always the one I looked up to. What he taught me still applies to this day: Never have the attitude that you know everything. You’re always learning, and the world is always changing. I’ve told young people who go through our apprenticeship program: You’re working alongside operators who have been doing this for 10, 15, 20 years, and you have to earn your way. Even if you’re good, you have to be willing to learn from people who have been doing this a while.
“Now that I look back on my career, and I look around the valley and all the projects I’ve worked on, it’s really rewarding to have been a part of all this. I just loved building stuff,” Cindy said.
Now that you’re later in your career and working on the administrative side, how has your role changed?
I’d say now I’m really helpful in making connections between the field and the office. I realize where breakdowns in communications are because I’ve been there and done that. I know the demands placed on people in the field, and I’m a little more flexible and better able to solve problems. Also, I’ve built up connections in the industry; I’ve earned people’s trust. The longer you work in this business, the more you realize how small of a world construction is.
What does it mean to win this award?
I’m really humbled. Now that I look back on my career, and I look around the valley and all the projects I’ve worked on, it’s really rewarding to have been a part of all this. I just loved building stuff. I talk to a lot of young people, and I say this is a great field to work in. The pay has gotten much better, and the demand for workers is here. There are so many ways you can use your mind and your skills, and you can have fun!
Sundt and Central Arizona College (CAC) recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 142-by-92-foot concrete pad Sundt donated earlier this year, which will expand training for students in CAC’s Construction and Concrete Technology programs. In 2017, Sundt and CAC formed a workforce development partnership, in which Sundt staff donate their time as adjunct instructors and funds are donated to purchase supplies for the program.
In honor of the celebration, students from CAC’s welding program built a new sign, surprising our Craft Workforce Development staff with it when they arrived on campus. Also in attendance (left of sign) were CAC President Dr. Jacquelyn Elliott and Sundt Chief Administrative Officer Dan Haag (far right), who both spoke to the crowd.
The partnership between Sundt and CAC continues to expand. Sundt brought on an Industrial Carpentry Instructor and now has three adjunct instructors at CAC. The college furnishes an on-site lab and instruction space and has hired an additional professor and a full-time recruiter. Since the start of the program, Sundt has donated the concrete pad, as well as a pipe wall, industrial concrete tools, GPS system, backpacks and hard hats. Activities are planned to continue alongside the development of the CAC training area. These include opportunities for real-world experience outside the college environment, such as visits to jobsites, vendor training facilities, and the Sundt Center for Craft Excellence, as well as participation in community outreach programs.
During the ceremony, the program’s training equipment and tools were placed on display across the concrete pad.
James Busch, CAC Skilled Trades and Technology Division Chair and Professor of Diesel Technology and Heavy Equipment Operation, said, “We’re very grateful for the support Sundt has provided and continues to provide. The advancements being made within our programs and division are possible because of this strong workforce partnership.” During the 2017-2018 academic year, 178 students enrolled in Industrial Carpentry, Welding, Pipe Fitting, and Heavy Equipment Operator program offerings at CAC. Sundt Director of Craft Workforce Development Sean Ray said, “Our partnership with CAC continues to grow and produce fantastic results. We have a great relationship with CAC and look forward to the next phases of the program.” The first cohort graduated in May 2018 with 100 percent of graduates receiving jobs in the industry. Students hired by Sundt received a $1,000 tuition reimbursement to help defray the cost of the program.