August 16, 2017
July 28, 2017
Our San Pedro Creek job site after 4 inches of rain hit the area, causing several feet of water to gather.
When it rains, it pours at Sundt’s San Pedro Creek job site in San Antonio. Good thing we have plans in place.
Our team knew going into the project that we would have to deal with rain on a regular basis since the west side of downtown San Antonio drains into San Pedro Creek. A small half-inch rain event causes 2 feet of water in the channel.
The same site two days later as our crews went back to work after the water drained.
There’s virtually no flexibility in the schedule. Our work has to be complete in time for the city’s 300th anniversary celebration next May 5.
“We don’t have the ability to ask for more time,” said Senior Project Manager Chad Yount. “So we developed a plan. “When our employee-owners are given a challenge they come up with great solutions that keep our projects moving forward,” Chad said.
Dealing with excessive rainfall was addressed during preconstruction. The last block of Phase 1 Segment 1 is 8 feet below the existing channel, creating a dam at the end of the project. To solve the problem, the team over-excavated the area by 1 foot and placed filter fabric and drain rock which creates a working surface during minor rain events.
A 6-inch perforated pipe was installed down the middle of the channel below the drain rock which conveys the water to a 6-foot diameter casing that sits 6 feet below the surface. Within this casing, a 6-inch submersible pump is set to turn on and off by a float system reducing the labor costs. As water enters the channel, it drains through the rock to the perforated pipe and into the 6-foot diameter casing. The floats then automatically trigger the 6-inch pump to turn on, sending water over the “dam” and downstream.
The system was tested Aug. 8 when 4 inches of rain fell in four hours. Part of the site ended up under 11 feet of water. With the system in place, the water was pumped out by the next morning and crews were back at work a day later. Without the system in place, work would have been shut down for almost a week.
July 6, 2017
Sundt Marketing Database Coordinator Alex Sylvester.
Sundt Marketing Database Coordinator Alex Sylvester is a recent Arizona State University graduate who earned a degree in business interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in marketing. Alex spent his college years gaining business experience through a marketing management internship, part-time employment and other project database management.
In his free time, Alex coaches a high-school baseball team and middle-school basketball team, stays active and suffers through being an Arizona sports fan.
What interested you most about working for Sundt?
My primary focus was on finding a company that was well-respected and would allow me the opportunity to grow as a young professional. The minute I stepped into Sundt’s headquarters and interviewed, I knew I wanted to be here.
What are the most important qualities you look for from an employer?
I wanted to work for a company that treated its employees with respect. Once I received an overview of all the benefits Sundt provides for its employee-owners as well as what it envisioned for my career short-term and long-term, that was icing on the cake.
What does a Marketing Database Coordinator do?
I am focusing on new-hire information, project updates, creating reports and statistical reference guides and more. With time, the goal is to have a helpful impact on our internal and external marketing.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years?
Since I’ll be 32 at that point, the obvious answer is to be advanced higher up in the company. More specifically, I would love to be using my writing, media or film skills.
Seen any good movies lately?
I’ve actually been a little disappointed in some of the films I’ve seen lately. If I had to choose one that I liked, it would be “Get Out.” That’s a movie that would almost be better to watch the second go-round.
Where do you like to travel?
The best travel I have been a part of has been to the East Coast and the two adventures I had in Europe (Switzerland and a Baltic Sea cruise). I’m already looking into more opportunities to travel. My top three desired destinations would have to be Italy, Australia and Spain.
June 23, 2017
Jonathan Graham with his wife, Dana, and their 1-year-old daughter, Hadley, at a fireworks show in Heber, Arizona this week.
He’s known as “Unicorn” on Sundt’s University Square job site in Tempe, Arizona. The mythical name came about because Jonathan Graham’s safety badge features a photo of his 1-year-old daughter wearing a unicorn hat.
But the nickname could easily apply to Jonathan himself. Earlier this year, he made the unusual move of going from an office job, complete with air conditioning, to a construction site. He’s part of our concrete crew as a lead man form carpenter.
While he says he’s always been mechanically inclined, Jonathan’s career change was met with some skepticism. After all, it meant working outdoors in Tempe during the hottest time of year. Temperatures in June topped 120 degrees.
“The consensus was that I was crazy to do concrete work in the summer in Arizona,” said Jonathan, who has been married six years. “My family understood and they know the type of person I am.”
Jonathan’s path to Sundt started by working in sales for a social media and digital engagement company in Scottsdale. That’s where he met Jerrin Jaramillo, who’s now a Sundt recruiter. After leaving that company, Jerrin stayed in touch with Jonathan and encouraged him to apply at Sundt. Jonathan eventually did and started here this past February.
“(Jerrin) talked very highly about Sundt and the ESOP,” said Jonathan, who has a degree in business communications from Arizona State University. “I wanted to get back in the trades and use my degree in a different way.”
Jonathan’s father was a sheet metal worker in Michigan, so he grew up around the trades. When Jonathan moved to Arizona in 2007, he did facilities maintenance work for nine United Blood Systems buildings.
A move back to an office environment wasn’t what he wanted in the long run.
“When I got back in the office, I realized it wasn’t for me,” he said. “I didn’t want to sit in a cubicle and be attached to a phone.”
Getting back in the field has had its health advantages. Freed from cubicle life, Jonathan is feeling healthier than ever after “getting away from sodas and doughnuts.”
“Physically, it’s been kind of crazy,” he said. “I’ve lost 45 pounds. It’s good for me.”
He’s seen University Square, a residential and mixed-use development, go from the ground up. In late June, the crew was setting concrete on the sixth floor.
“Every day I come to work, something’s different, the site has changed, the building is growing,” Jonathan said.
Part of the draw of returning to craft work was a good change of pace: No sales calls, no boring meetings and plenty of pride in his work.
He also hopes to work his way up in the organization and there’s plenty of history of that at Sundt. Our two most recent President/CEOs started their careers as craft workers.
“I want to climb the ranks and become a foreman and supervisor,” he said. “I’m a totally different person than I was when I started.”
This blog is part of our series of posts about career-related subjects. For more information about opportunities with Sundt, please follow us on Twitter or visit our website.
June 2, 2017
Sundt Craft Recruiter Jerrin Jaramillo.
Sundt Craft Recruiter Jerrin Jaramillo focuses on hiring craft and administrative workers for our Concrete Division, which performs work in the transportation, industrial and building markets.
A Phoenix native, Jerrin lives in the East Valley with his wife. The two are expecting their first child in October, a daughter.
What qualities do we look for in concrete employees?
The goal is to hire top talent and the best of the best. Obviously we look for people with a lot of skill and experience, and Sundt also does a great job in training and investing in new people who don’t have a ton of experience yet. I think, above all, we want individuals who are going to work hard, strive for excellence and come to work hungry to learn new things every day and improve their craft.
What are the best ways for craft workers to keep up with available jobs at Sundt?
Check our website regularly. We also advertise on indeed.com. Potential new hires can reach out to me and I’ll keep them in the loop with where we are in our need for people.
With craft workers in such demand, how does Sundt set itself apart from other companies?
There are a few things that make Sundt unique. The company provides our craft people with an immense opportunity for growth. We do a great job promoting from within and put effort into advancing deserving people who work hard and show growth. The second thing is the emphasis we put into training. Not only do they receive direction and guidance in the field, but we put an emphasis as a company on getting our people nationally certified through the National Center for Construction Education and Research curriculum. The person who oversees the program, (Craft Workforce Development Manager) Sean Ray, is a great guy and has a passion for people and teaching. Also, right now we are building relationships with high schools, community colleges and trade schools to help develop our future workforce.
Plus, our concrete workers get to build complex, award-winning projects like Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, West 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth and the San Diego International Airport Rental Car Center, which is the largest concrete building in the city.
The benefits are excellent, too.
Yes. Since Sundt is employee-owned, our craft workers get to share in the company’s success. We were the fifth-largest employee-owned construction company in the U.S. last year. We offer a comprehensive suite of benefits for our craft, including medical, dental, vision, life, disability and 401(k). We also provide employees with access to a medical plan without a monthly premium.
Work must be incredibly busy these days. What are your favorite things to do away from the office?
I am a family man. I come from a very unique dynamic with five brothers and one sister. We get together regularly and I like to consider them my best friends. I like to coach, too. I coach my nephew’s flag football team. Go, Titans! I like to travel with my wife as well. In the last year, we have visited Denver, Portland, San Francisco and New York. Outside of that, you will find me at home fulfilling my honey-do list to get ready for the arrival of my daughter in October.
Concrete Foreman Alex Martinez is a second-generation Sundt employee.
Alex Martinez’s story is one of persistence. After honing his skills in the field for several years, he recently was promoted and is playing a key role as a Concrete Foreman in our work at University Square in Tempe, a mixed-use project near the Arizona State University campus.
His father was a Sundt employee in the 1970s, even keeping his original hard hat years after leaving the company. After a little more than three years as an employee-owner, Alex was promoted to his current position last month.
What’s the most enjoyable project you’ve worked on and why?
I’m working at University Square, where they have asked us to participate in an amazing mentorship program. When I was out working in the field as craft I was invited into morning safety meetings. They brought me in and I was able to ask a lot of questions and was given more direction. It’s building me as a team leader.
What is Sundt doing to make this a better workplace for craft employees?
Our leadership instills that safety always comes first. That makes our people feel secure to come in and work and return home as safe as they came in.
Anyone on the jobsite has the ability to stop work if he or she believes safety could be an issue, right?
That’s always promoted. They instill it from laborers up the chain. We assess the situation and create a different plan if we have to for everyone to be safe. We also use a buddy system where we work in pairs and watch out for one another, take water breaks and get into shade when it’s hot.
How much of a role did the Employee Stock Ownership Plan play in your decision to work at Sundt?
When I went through orientation and they talked about the ESOP, it was really attractive. A lot of people jump companies for money. Sundt considers us employee-owners and has created a whole different atmosphere. We take more pride in the work. When you retire you can do so comfortably. The ESOP inspires people to do better.
What are some of the things craft workers do on jobsites to encourage teamwork and camaraderie?
When you come out in the field, you see the camaraderie. It’s more of a brotherhood. We look out for each other. At the end of the day, you see a lot of handshakes. There are people who give each other hugs. We look forward to working together the next day.