April 10, 2018
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.
August 18, 2017
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.”
July 12, 2017
Sundt Senior Estimator Rudy Barba.
Senior Estimator Rudy Barba recently joined Sundt in our El Paso office, bringing 27 years of experience in commercial estimating. He provides preconstruction support and builds relationships with clients, their design teams and subcontractors.
Rudy grew up following his dad, a superintendent, around jobsites, and began his career in trade roles including laborer, carpenter, ironworker and rod buster. He earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso.
He is a Certified Professional Estimator and president of El Paso Chapter 40, American Society of Professional Estimators.
What have you been doing in your first few weeks with Sundt?
My first few weeks have been spent in ongoing learning and training of Sundt procedures and systems. I have taken part in two hard bid proposals. In El Paso, I have been heavily involved helping finalize subcontract awards. For future opportunities, we are meeting with the City of El Paso on a soon-to-be-signed contract. There is also a private owner/developer we are meeting with on a future mixed-use project.
We have a lot of work going in El Paso. How busy has this been keeping you?
I am very busy and look to be that way for the next few years helping procure and maintain cost control on projects. It is very exciting and being so busy helps keep me out of trouble.
How much does your knowledge of the local market help you do your job?
Knowing the El Paso market is crucial to being able to generate accurate budgets and estimates. I believe it has and will continue to add to our preconstruction team’s ability to procure more work in this region. It is also very good that the local owners, subcontractors and suppliers know they have a good, trustworthy, in-town team that is readily available to speak on a face-to-face daily basis.
What was the most important thing you learned from your dad?
The most important lessons I learned from my dad are God-first, not only to always ask for his help but never forget to thank him for everything. Trials and success, all are a blessing. You love doing for others at work, in the family, for the church, for friends and the community. In everything he did, he gave a small blessing with the sign of the cross saying, “En el nombre de Dios,” which translates to “In the name of God.” He taught always to learn, to always be better than yourself the day before and to pass/teach your knowledge to others.
What are your favorite things to do away from work?
Be with family or friends making new memories and reminiscing. I enjoy being a band booster and roadie for my youngest son Gabriel’s Jefferson Silva High School Marching Band. I also enjoying working out at the gym and someday will make time for my favorite pastimes: playing golf and fishing.
May 17, 2017
Sundt’s GO 10 project involves improvements to Interstate 10 in El Paso.
A U.S. Census Study last year showed Texas is the fastest-growing state in the country, adding an average of 1,183 residents each day. The need to keep up with infrastructure demand has the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) managing and providing more than $7 billion a year in transportation projects.
Sundt is performing one of those projects, GO 10 on the west side of El Paso. It extends 5.75 miles of Interstate 10 and includes construction of collector-distributor lanes through the corridor, improvement of I-10’s direct connection with Paisano Drive/Border West Expressway, addition of lanes to the interstate in both directions and reconfiguration of ramps and overpasses at three exits.
The project team is working at the most complex portions of the job on the project’s critical path. This work is key to meeting the goal of completing the project in December 2018, six months ahead of schedule.
“Each of these critical locations represents all of our trades simultaneously erecting bridge interchanges, installing retaining walls, connecting underground utilities and performing roadway grading operations,” Project Director Jason Esparza said.
The project team plans on resuming concrete paving by the end of July in an effort to finish nearly 40,000 square yards of the new collector-distributor lanes. Work is also being installed by subcontractors, including electrical infrastructure, asphalt pavement and steel girders.
The team set the stage for success by performing value engineering during the construction phase on the concrete paving. Substituting 9-inch pavement and eliminating 12-inch pavement on the widening of the I-10 main lanes created significant savings for TxDOT and us. The team also helped prioritize right-of-way acquisitions to open more work earlier for our crews.
“This approach allowed us to work in areas ahead of schedule,” Jason said.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s new facility will measure more than 87,000 square feet.
Texas Tech University has had a health sciences presence in El Paso for more than 40 years. That pledge to the border city’s population is ratcheting up with construction of Medical Sciences Building II, a facility that will double the campus’ research capacity and add crucial instructional space.
Sundt is serving as the Construction Manager at Risk for the $83 million, 219,900-square-foot project being built for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. The university held a ceremonial groundbreaking this month and the facility is scheduled to open in approximately two years.
The facility will have more than 87,000 square feet dedicated to research, including laboratories, offices and research administration. The first floor will house the campus’ largest teaching auditorium – 9,200 square feet for up to 500 people. There will also be a dining and food services area, library, classrooms, study rooms and administration space.
Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso is the only health sciences center along the U.S.-Mexico border that provides opportunities on one campus for collaboration among nursing, medical and graduate research students.
Like other campus facilities, the exterior will mirror the architecture of the Spanish Renaissance, distinguished by ornate columns, red-tiled roofs and colossal archways.