August 9, 2018
May 9, 2018
Last month, when an 18-wheeler crashed into a utility bridge on the I-10, damaging utilities and halting freeway traffic through downtown El Paso, the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) called upon the Sundt Go 10 project team for help. While the incident did not occur within our project limits, it was close enough for TXDOT to request Sundt’s assistance. Our crews mobilized within hours and worked from 4:00 pm on Thursday afternoon, July 12th, until 3:30 am on Saturday morning, July 14th, to re-open the I-10 and restore a critical part of the city’s infrastructure.
The semi-truck lost control and drove up the embankment, crashed into the bridge, and caught fire immediately.
“It was a great team effort,” said Senior Project Manager Rudy Elias. “When TXDOT called, we were in our weekly cost meeting, and within hours we had people at the crash site inspecting the damage.” Having secured a crane and other necessary equipment, Sundt crews set about cleaning up the accident, shoring the bridge and shifting traffic around the site until more permanent fixes were put in place. “We had crews working around the clock, some guys more than 20 hours in a row,” Rudy said. “There was even one, Thomas Edmonds, who canceled his flight to San Diego for the weekend and stayed to finish the job.”
Fortunately, the driver walked away from the accident only suffering burns to his feet and an injury to his shoulder, according to El Paso’s Channel 9 KTSM.
Staying true to Sundt’s core value of Customer Focus, the Go 10 project team worked tirelessly to exceed owner expectations. As our Transportation Group continues to grow its presence in Texas, their willingness to go the extra mile—to help in times of crisis and solve difficult challenges—is going a long way towards earning clients’ trust.
May 4, 2018
A bolt strikes a hard hat during a presentation about the dangers of falling objects.
Everyone who walks on to one of our active job sites must wear personal protective equipment. That gear is, of course, topped off by a hard hat.
Our crew at the GO 10 project in El Paso got a first-hand look this week at why they always wear protective gear on their heads. As part of National Safety Week, they took part in demonstrations on site that showed the damage falling objects can cause.
Bolts and a 2×4 piece of wood were dropped through a tube from 20 feet high on to a hard hat. While the hat was damaged during the process, it fared much better than a watermelon that wasn’t covered in a separate drop. When the bolt landed on the melon, the plant split open, simulating what could happen if someone wasn’t wearing a hard hat.
According to OSHA statistics, falling objects caused 9.4 percent of deaths on job sites in 2016. While hard hats are necessary and helpful, we also employ a number of other methods to keep craft professionals safe. Our workers tie off when working at heights and their tools are protected from falling by using tethers or lanyards. We raise guardrail heights when work occurs above a standard height and set up barricades under areas where overhead work is being done in case something falls. Barricades are also established in areas where crane lifting operations take place. We ensure loads being lifting are secured and we maintain clean work areas to keep items from falling to a lower level.
Here’s a look at some of the other activities that have occurred at our job sites this week.
Ina/I-10: Eight employees took part in a demonstration to show how quickly they could perform everyday tasks with one hand. They were asked to put on a shirt, tie a shoe, open a bag of chips and a cup of yogurt only using their non-dominant hand. The exhibition was designed to show how tough the easiest activities are to complete when you have a hand injury.
Signal Butte: The team welcomed a 3M representative to discuss respiratory protection, including respirator selection and proper use and maintenance of the equipment.
Sacramento State Science II: Acme Safety Supply and Dewalt Tools made presentations on silica prevention and awareness and fall prevention. Demonstrations and giveaways were followed by small group discussions and questions.
Truckee High School and Truckee Elementary: The team focused on slips, trips and falls and fall protection equipment training. In 2016, 39 percent of construction deaths were caused by falls.
April 10, 2018
Sundy Project Engineer Dilip Allam.
Soon after graduating, he moved to Detroit and attended Wayne State University to earn his master’s in Civil Engineering. When he graduated in fall 2016, he moved to Tempe to work for Sundt. He and his brother, Dinesh, work for our Concrete Division. Dilip is in El Paso and Dinesh is in Tempe.
How did you learn about Sundt?
I joined Sundt as an Engineering Intern in summer 2016 and continued to work as a student while I was in my last semester in the fall. I was working from home in Detroit. Then I was offered to join full-time after school and took the offer.
What’s the most challenging thing a Project Engineer has to do?
What’s it like having a brother who essentially has the same job as you?
It is great to work together. We talk a lot about process development and how to lean our processes. One major process development we did together was creating a BIM process for estimating. In this project, Dinesh created a process that we call model-based estimating, which we are using for estimating in concrete and I created how-to videos for the whole process. I learned a lot of things from him throughout that process. Regarding personal life, I think it is always good to stay closer to your family members.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
I would have the power of super speed like The Flash. It would help me be unstoppable while playing soccer or field hockey.
What’s your favorite movie?
“The Shawshank Redemption.”
What’s one thing someone should do or visit when in the El Paso area?
The Scenic Drive is interesting in the evening.
August 23, 2017
Project Vida’s Microenterprise Technical Assistance Program is helping small businesses succeed in El Paso County.
Owning a small business is a challenge. From developing a business plan to money management to marketing products and services, there are pitfalls around every corner.
Some of those problems can be even more pronounced in rural areas. Thanks to assistance from public and private grants, Project Vida’s Microenterprise Technical Assistance Program (MTAP) is helping small businesses succeed in El Paso County. Project Vida’s mission is to identify the comprehensive vision of the community for its future and develop community-based structures and programs to implement that vision in light of the needs and direction of the wider society.
“MTAP uses a model of outreach and trust-building. Economic Development Specialists call on potential clients, build trust, get to know the owner and business, and encourage income-qualified owners to enroll,” said Project Vida Co-Director Bill Schlesinger.
Over the past two years, grants totaling $4,667 from the Sundt Foundation have helped Project Vida provide financial and business literacy, and management and operational skill-building to low- and moderate-income business owners, creating a stronger business sector along the border. During that time, MTAP reached out to 354 low-income microenterprise owners, enrolled 69 in the complete program of technical assistance, and helped owners develop 53 business plans, retain 56 jobs and create another 40.
“MTAP offers one-on-one and group technical assistance in business start-up, licensing and permitting, business plan development, accounting and recordkeeping, marketing, use of technology in the workplace, accessing and using credit, customer service, preparing for and packaging a loan application, mentoring, networking with other microenterprise owners and presentations by knowledgeable professionals on business-related topics,” Bill said.
A flower shop owner heard about the program through word of mouth last year and requested help opening her business. MTAP helped her develop a business plan and create short- and long-term goals, obtain permits and licenses for her start-up business, and register as an LLC with the State of Texas. She has received training in accounting and bookkeeping and said the technical assistance in accounting and recordkeeping has been helpful in creating and keeping her records and payroll in order. She attends MTAP’s business seminars and workshops, and offers feedback to others who need assistance.
“One of the greatest accomplishments of the program is when MTAP clients build on the business knowledge and skills they’ve gained, their businesses grow and increase in profitability, and they volunteer to serve as mentors to new participants,” Bill said.
This is part of a series of blogs about the positive impacts made by the Sundt Foundation.
Sundt Project Director Joe Riccillo, HACEP Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Burt Blacksher, HACEP CEO Gerald Cichon and HUD Regional Administrator Beth Van Duyne tour our affordable housing work site in El Paso.
In an arrangement that could be the future of the industry, the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) is making renovations to units it owns and manages. Typically, HUD owns affordable housing units and local authorities run them.
Using the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, HACEP is moving forward on its own schedule in making renovations and reconstruction on all 6,400 residential units throughout its portfolio. HACEP is able to leverage the property and its guaranteed occupancy rates with private money, financing and tax credits to run an enterprise that stays out of debt.
Some of the work is being performed by Sundt Construction. We are renovating or constructing 1,200 combined high-rise and low-rise apartments.
“There’s a lot of interest nationally about what’s going on in El Paso because HACEP made a full conversion and they’re in the black (financially),” said Project Director Joe Riccillo.
HACEP officials are meeting with their counterparts in Baltimore and Chicago to help improve affordable housing there. Our development in El Paso also received a visit from HUD Regional Administrator Beth Van Duyne last month.
“She wanted to see first-hand what was going on … what the issues were with regulations and what could be done to help affordable housing programs across the country,” Joe said.
HACEP’s use of tax credits requires that work must be complete in two years, from design to completion. If deadlines are not met, the organization faces HUD penalties for every resident who is late moving back into his or her home.
“We’ve made a commitment to HACEP that we will complete this development according to schedule,” said Project Manager Fred Briscoe. “We’ll do everything we have to do to keep that promise.”