July 2, 2019
December 21, 2018
Every morning for the past two weeks, patients at El Paso Children’s Hospital have looked out their windows to find some fun characters hanging around the construction site next door. Some with pink fur, some with tails of fire or lightning, and all with big, adorable eyes. Yes, Pokémon have taken over Sundt’s jobsite on the neighboring Texas Tech El Paso Medical Sciences Building II project. Early each morning, crew members place life-size cut-outs of characters in new positions around the site. The Pokémon characters can be seen mingling with workers or operating equipment (safely, of course), and kids next door can’t help but crack a smile as they search each morning for where the characters have moved.
A few months after Sundt’s spinoff of “Elf on the Shelf” in December, El Paso Children’s Hospital contacted Sundt Project Manager Larry Kurtz to brainstorm another interactive idea. “Their initial plan was ‘Where’s Waldo?’” said Larry, “but I had just seen the Detective Pikachu movie with my grandkids, and they loved it, so I suggested Pokémon instead.” In mid-June, Sundt team members including Larry paid the patients a visit, bringing Pokémon cards, coloring sheets and a Pokémon book which they read to the kids.
Sundt Project Manager Larry Kurtz and El Paso Children’s Hospital oncology patients display their freshly painted Charmander
Afterwards, life-size Pokémon cut-outs began popping up all over the project’s hospital-facing side. Each day, a new character was added, and existing ones changed locations, greeting kids with the morning sun. After a week, Sundt enlisted the kids’ help in painting and signing the new characters to go up next.
Some might wonder: why add this event to an already busy schedule? “We do this for the kids,” said Larry. “They’re tired and sick, and this gives them a reason to get up and be active. Reading, coloring, painting—it’s all a healing experience. It makes them forget about their ailments for a while.”
Both patients and staff at El Paso Children’s Hospital had a great time with the Pokémon takeover. “We’ve had the pleasure of a fruitful and rewarding relationship with Sundt for more than 18 months now,” said Taylor Moreno, Director of Institutional Development. “From donations to help with service line growth, to Elf on the Shelf and this event, we cannot be more grateful for the continued support.”
El Paso Children’s Hospital oncology patients pose with Pikachu, Jigglypuff and the Sundt team
Patients Axia and Hailee have been big fans of their colorful new neighbors. “It was fun. Every time I would wake up, I’d look out the window to see what new character popped up,” said Axia, 12 years old. Hailee, who is 10, said “I loved it, and it was very interactive. My friends and I would share pictures and compare.”
Sundt employee-owners who attended the reading or helped create the cut-outs (or did both) include Larry Kurtz, Mike Dominguez Jr., Matt Gomez, Larry Hulett, Joe Riccillo and Angie Rosales. Our subcontractor Diversified Interiors’ Justin Hernandez and his daughter also contributed.
September 28, 2018
“All you can take with you is that which you give away”—even if you haven’t seen the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life, these are still great words to live by. Throughout the year and especially around the holidays, Sundt employee-owners make a point to give back to the communities where they live and work. Here are just a few of the many holiday drives that our people have participated in across the country, spreading cheer and helping people in need. Thanks to all who contributed.
Sundt employee-owners in Sacramento and Monterey (incl. our project team at the Sac State Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex), participated in the Sacramento Sheriff’s Toy Drive for children across the region—and had loads of fun while they were at it!
Our San Antonio office, San Pedro Creek project team and I-10 Old Fred project team donated to a holiday toy drive for the Rainbow Room, an organization that serves children in Child Protective Services. Also, Sundt employee-owners in San Antonio held their annual coat drive this month. They doubled the number of coats donated this year to Haven for Hope.
Sundt’s Irvine office and area projects hosted a toy drive for CHiPs for Kids, which has been hosted by the California Highway Patrol for the past 30 years.
Our San Diego office partnered with Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), an organization that sponsors enlisted families in need during the holiday season, and we were able to sponsor a total of 10 families.
Sundt’s HACEP (Housing Authority of the City of El Paso) project team donated $1,000 to the 51st Annual Senior Citizen Holiday Event, benefiting over 400 senior citizens living in affordable housing. Employee-owners from our El Paso office also volunteered their time for two nights to prepare and serve turkey dinners.
Our Fort Worth office participated in a canned food drive for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Each month, TAFB and its partners provide groceries and/or meals to more than 53,000 households.
Sundt employee-owners in Tucson gathered toys and gifts for Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse and participated in a blood drive with the American Red Cross.
The Sundt Foundation donated $20,000 to St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix; our Tempe and Phoenix offices participated in the Arizona Builders Alliance Toy Drive, which helped over 1,200 children; and we “adopted” 25 children and four college students from Sunshine Acres and helped fulfill their personal wish lists.
August 9, 2018
Public parks play a huge role in shaping the social fabric of a community. The new Eastside Regional Park in El Paso, Texas is a case in point, and Sundt is proud to partner with the city to create public space that will enhance El Pasoans’ quality of life. Last month, Sundt broke ground on Phase 1 of the park amid much fanfare from the city and local community, who eagerly await the project’s completion in early 2020.
Phase 1′s natatorium will house a 50-Meter competition-ready pool with all the required amenities to host regional meets at this facility, including seating for up to 800 spectators and pool deck space for 400 competitors.
Much of the buzz surrounding this project comes from its sheer scope and the number of amenities offered to the public. The three-part complex will include an indoor natatorium with an Olympic-size, competition-ready pool and diving well; a multi-generational community center with a gymnasium and multipurpose classrooms; and an outdoor neighborhood waterpark with waterslides, cabana-style shade areas, a lazy river, a water play lot, a climbing wall pool, and El Paso’s first wave simulator. All of these facilities will be surrounded by a landscaped walking path and public art.
Main entry lobby and mezzanine level with access to natatorium spectator seating and the fitness center/running track on the gym side. Both the natatorium and community center have goals of LEED Silver certification.
Describing how much this project means to the community, Senior Estimator Rudy Barba explained how El Paso is divided into three distinct areas: the Franklin Mountains separate West El Paso and Downtown, and Fort Bliss divides Downtown from East El Paso. “There’s just nothing like this on the east side of town,” Rudy said. The city’s center has undergone several improvements, but historically the east side has been an under-served area and hasn’t received as much attention. “But things are changing. This new park is going to attract people from all over town,” Rudy said. “It’s not just a new space for the swimming community, it’s going to be a gathering place for families and people of all ages.”
An aerial view rendering showing the main entry and waterpark.
From the start of the bid process to the first phase of construction, Sundt has maintained a high degree of collaboration and attention to detail. “We take pride in our thoroughness, especially when it comes to delivering that ‘wow factor’ the owner wants while also staying within budget,” said Project Director Joe Riccillo. “As a trusted partner and advisor, we’re working hard to cultivate our relationship with the City of El Paso and other key clients in the region.”
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.
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.