Larry Luke is an Area Manager in Texas. He has more than 25 years of experience in the construction industry, primarily working on large highway and bridge construction projects. He also has served as a Project Engineer, Paving Superintendent, Estimator, Project Manager and Large Project Executive/Area Manager.
His career has taken him to California, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Colorado and Utah. His recent experience as a Large Project Executive/Area Manager has him pursuing alternative delivery design-build and CMGC projects and overseeing those projects through construction. He graduated with a Civil Engineering Degree from Colorado School of Mines.
Larry recently took a little time to answer questions for our “Getting to Know …” series.
What was it about Sundt that attracted you to work here?
Sundt has a long rich history and an excellent reputation in our industry. I think all employees, like myself, want to work for a healthy company, a company that honors their people, is growing but financially stable, competitive winning new work, and is a leader in the industry. Aside from the basic fundamentals of a strong company, I was attracted by the leadership, employee-ownership model, and plans to grow the heavy civil business.
What has been your impression of the company so far?
Very positive. I have seen a company focused on growth, a clear strategy for moving forward, and employee-owners who are engaged in making every project successful. I’ve met a lot of long-term Sundt employees who help pass on Sundt’s culture and history. I have also met a lot of new employees who are bringing new ideas and energy. I see great opportunities for the company and employee-owners, which is great for everyone.
What does your job entail?
My job as an Area Manager involves identifying good projects to pursue, working to obtain new work, building high-performing project teams and overseeing the management of projects through execution.
Which project are you most involved in right now?
I am currently involved in the $158 million I-10 project in El Paso. My initial focus is to ensure the project start-up and construction are on track. My role is to ensure the project is staffed correctly, establish good relationships with the bonding company and Texas Department of Transportation, and ensure our project management team has all the resources and assistance it needs to be successful. In the future, I will be helping grow the Heavy Civil Division, strengthening our presence in Salt Lake City and pursuing work in Utah and Colorado.
What’s the most exciting thing about the I-10 project?
The start-up of all large heavy civil projects is exciting in that you are facing many new challenges and success is very dependent on the efforts and decisions made early in the project. The excitement for me comes from putting together a team from diverse backgrounds and experience, and drawing from their individual strengths to accomplish building a complex project. While the scope of work has unique attributes, the real challenge and reward is seeing a team of people working together as a unit, and being part of building a lasting infrastructure.
What do you do for fun away from work?
I live in the mountains of Park City, Utah, and love all the many things to do in the outdoors. I particularly enjoy hiking, skiing, mountain biking and hunting. I am an avid road cyclist, racing in the Masters Category 3 criterium and road races. Lately, I’ve also gotten into competitive shooting events with my son.
Cat person or dog person?
Definitely a dog person. Our family includes two border collies, Coco and Raisin. They were born from working cattle dogs on my parents’ family ranch. Although, where we currently live, we have to keep them busy hiking and playing fetch.
Where do you like to travel?
After living in the mountains with winter six months a year, I enjoy a spring getaway to any beach with sun, sand and a lounge chair.
Read any good books lately?
I’m reading “The Heart of Everything That Is,” which is the story of Red Cloud, a Sioux warrior-statesman. The depiction of his brutal life, but also his cunning strategy and political awareness in the mid-1800s is interesting. I’m also a fan of Jon Krakauer, and his books “Into Thin Air” and “Where Men Win Glory.”
Performing challenging roadway construction projects amidst live trafffic is one of Sundt’s specialties. The Cordes Junction Traffic Interhchange Improvements Project, shown above, was completed last year by Sundt and a joint venture partner near the juncture of Interstate10 and State Route 69 in Arizona.
Sundt is pleased to be performing another transportation construction project for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The Interstate 10 Enhancements Project includes $7.6 million in improvements to a busy, 1.3-mile stretch of I-10 in El Paso. Sundt’s scope of work includes aesthetic enhancements to bridges, walls, and concrete barriers, plus upgrades to lighting, landscape and irrigation, and hardscape. The work began last month and is scheduled to be complete in October of this year.
“This project’s biggest challenge will be working right in the middle of interstate traffic, and the tight 180-day schedule,” says Sundt Area Manager Fred Stone. “We have to be very careful in our planning, especially with the long-lead items. TxDOT pushed the start date back to allow us to gather information that will make the work go more smoothly, and right away we discovered that some of the alignments weren’t correct. Finding that out ahead of time is a huge help.”
To see some of Sundt’s other transportation construction projects, both in Texas and in other states, click here.
Sundt is constructing the second phase of the $400 million Strauss Rail Yard project in Santa Teresa, N.M.
Sundt is constructing a significant portion of a $400 million service and intermodal facility for Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) that will play a significant role in the distribution of goods across the Southwest. The Strauss Rail Yard – located in the New Mexico desert about 20 miles outside of El Paso – is the first such facility developed by UPRR in nearly a century.
Want to know more about the 12-mile transportation construction project that is being described as a small city because of its size and scope? ENR has a great article about it here.
An aerial view of the project’s direct connector bridges from Loop 375 west to I-10 east and I-10 west to Loop 375 east.
Sundt is beginning the final stages of a $68 million project to improve a segment of Loop 375 Transmountain Road near El Paso, Texas. The team is finalizing the grooving of the bridge decks and putting the final finishes on the stamped concrete under the new bridges. Overhead sign structures are in place and landscaping is about 70 percent complete. What’s left before the project is complete in mid-May? Traffic signalization, electrical work below some of the bridges, and asphalt paving.
The heavy civil construction project includes widening the 3.5-mile stretch of roadway from two to four lanes (with frontage roads), building four grade-separated intersections, hiking and biking trails, and exit and entrance ramps. The project also includes direct connectors from Loop 375 west to Interstate 10 east and I-10 west to Loop 375 east.
Sundt created a 3D model of the new sewer line to identify potential conflicts with other utilities.
Don’t like conflict? If it’s utilities you’re talking about, 3D modeling might be the answer. That’s how Sundt identified potential problems – and showed our client how to solve them – on a roadway reconstruction project in El Paso, Texas.
“After evaluating the planned sewer line corridor and comparing it to the existing utilities, we found several potential conflicts,” said Rob Manning, Sundt Project Manager for the $14 million Country Club Road widening project. “We collected data by uncovering the actual utilities through potholing, then took GPS survey shots of each utility and created a 3D model that includes the planned sewer line placement. We presented our findings and suggestions to the city and its engineer, and they used the information to redesign that portion of the project.”
Two CAT 345 machines installing the 18-foot-deep, 18-inch sewer line along Country Club Road
The heavy civil construction project involves reconstructing two miles of Country Club Road in a well-established area of the city. Lined with prominent, high-value homes and many businesses, the roadway is badly congested and sits atop several aging utilities that need to be replaced (and whose exact location wasn’t known until Sundt began investigating). Sundt’s scope includes widening and reconstructing the roadway with continuously reinforced concrete paving, replacing the water and sanitary sewer lines, and installing sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and a traffic roundabout.