June 2, 2017
April 21, 2017
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.
April 14, 2017
Sundt Senior Corporate Counsel Matthew Meaker.
Matthew Meaker recently started work with Sundt as Senior Corporate Counsel at our Tempe, Arizona headquarters. Before joining the company, he practiced law as outside counsel for approximately 14 years with a focus on construction law.
Matthew was born in Mission Viejo, California and holds bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Arizona. He is Chair of the Construction Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona.
How much did you know about Sundt before you got your job?
Prior to joining Sundt, I had represented a number of general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers over my 14 years of legal practice. I knew Sundt as a company of high ethical standards that always got the job done. When I told my clients I was going in-house with Sundt, general and subcontractors alike acknowledged I was joining one of the “good guys.” I am proud that our peers and our subcontractors see Sundt that way.
What’s the most interesting part about being involved in the construction industry on the legal side?
The variety of issues that arise. I have had the chance to learn a little about a lot of things, as my clients over time have built single-family homes, skyscrapers, casinos, office buildings and military facilities, to name a few. I have had a chance to work with companies as large as Sundt to companies with just three employees. Depending on the day, I could be focusing on payment issues, employment issues, government advocacy and more
What advice would you give college students who want to enter the legal field?
The field is so much more than being a litigator in the courtroom. While I have handled my share of litigation, I have had the opportunity to do other things. I have testified to government leaders about the use of Public-Private Partnerships, been an adviser to my clients while they grappled with strategic company decisions and now I serve on a team supporting Sundt’s employee-owners. None are things I would have guessed I would have had a chance to do when I was in college.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you?
I saved a man from drowning 13 years ago after his car crashed into a manmade lake in Ahwatukee. I pulled over after watching him run a stop sign, hit a curb and have his SUV go airborne before landing in the lake. When I got out of the car, I heard him yelling that he could not swim. I swam approximately 30 yards to the SUV. He had gotten himself to the back bumper. He fought me the whole way back. Halfway back, I looked and the SUV was underwater. That was when I got nervous and for the first time realized what I had done. By the time we got onto the shore, police and fire had arrived.
Where do you like to travel?
I prefer places where I have the opportunity to slow down. I’ve been to Hawaii a few times and the pace there suits me just fine. A couple of years ago, my family and I went to Bar Harbor, Maine for part of the summer. When I arrived, I discovered I had no cell signal all week. That was a vacation! I like traveling to places where I feel like I have truly escaped from the day to day.
If you could only have one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This is an area where my Midwestern roots typically show. If all I could have was good, all-American food the rest of my life (hamburgers, French fries, steak, mashed potatoes, spaghetti), I would be a happy guy.
January 13, 2017
Sundt Senior Project Manager Brian DeMartino.
Senior Project Manager Brian DeMartino brings nearly 20 years of experience in the construction industry to his new position with Sundt. He has worked on retail, themed entertainment, dining, housing, offices, manufacturing, recreation, K-12 and higher education projects.
Brian, who is working in our Irvine, California office, has a degree in architectural engineering from the University of Texas and is LEED-Accredited by the U.S. Green Building Council.
What has been the most interesting thing about working for Sundt these first few weeks?
Its people. Construction companies are defined by a few things like values, leadership and technology. But one thing I have learned in my time in the construction industry is that the biggest factor in how a company feels and how it performs are its people. The people I met during the interview process were great – smart, professional, engaging. But I knew it was going to be hard to know how the company as a whole would be until I started to meet everyone on my first day at work. What I have found is a range of tenure – employee-owners who have been at Sundt for decades, some who are new just like me and everything in between, and all of them are driven, friendly and incredibly helpful.
How important was the employee-owner culture when you were considering whether to work at Sundt?
Moving to a company with a strong retirement plan was key. I started my career at an employee-owned company. I transitioned to another company after a few years with the hope that it would eventually offer some kind of retirement benefit but that never developed. So this move for me was targeted at a solid, well-run, well-respected construction company with an ESOP.
What’s your favorite movie?
“The Usual Suspects.” What drew me in when I saw it and what keeps me going back is the depth and variety of the characters. That cast is amazing. But then add in the plot with its twists and the writing and it’s hard to find a better film.
What do you do away from work?
I spend most of my time outside of work with my wife and kids. Having a 12 year old and a 5 year old means full-time playing, homework, sports and after-school events and parties. We like taking road trips as a family. Last year our trips were to Santa Cruz and Monterey on the California coast and Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in the Sierra Mountains. We are planning our next trip to Yellowstone.
December 23, 2016
Sundt Estimator Lindsey Bryan.
Lindsey Bryan recently started with Sundt as an Estimator working on Industrial projects. Before joining our company, she spent three years working as a project engineer at a copper smelter.
Lindsey is from Globe, Arizona, and has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Arizona State University. A true fan of the outdoors, she hopes to one day live somewhere big enough to accommodate a herd of pets and livestock.
What was it about Sundt that made you want to work here?
I was first exposed to Sundt when I was taking a class called Alternative Project Delivery Methods (APDM) at ASU. Sundt was identified as one of the leaders in using APDM in the industry and an employee-owner was brought in as a guest speaker and presented various projects that were completed using these methods. It was then that I realized how open Sundt was to new and innovative ways of doing things. When I was ready to leave my former company I reached out to one of my mentors, who happens to be working at Sundt. He had great things to say about the company and told me about the projects he had been involved with and it sounded like a really great fit for me.
What does your job entail?
It ranges from helping put together a bid for potential projects to estimating different approaches to projects to help clients make informed decisions.
How did you become interested in the construction field?
My major in school was civil engineering but my summer internships had me involved with projects and surveying and really got me interested in the construction side of things. My engineering background is useful but I really enjoy the real-world experience that the construction industry can give.
What’s the most useful advice you’ve been given?
My dad always reminded me while we were fishing to make sure my hook was sharp. This helped me land a lot of fish (and, in failure to do so, lose a lot). If you think about that it can apply to life in so many ways. To me it means not only being prepared for the next big opportunity but always making sure you’re giving your best effort.
What’s the best TV show you’ve seen recently?
I just finished binge-watching the series Narcos on Netflix.
Where do you enjoy traveling?
My favorite destinations are places I can go hiking, lie on the beach, go swimming, fishing, basically anywhere I can be outdoors.
Sundt Area Manager Ted Aadland.
Sundt Area Manager Ted Aadland has more than 40 years of heavy highway experience. He has supervised more than 200 multifaceted transportation improvement projects, with experience including freight rail and highway bridges.
n 2010, Ted was elected by his peers to serve as president of the Associated General Contractors of America. His dedication to the industry is reflected in his continuous participation with the Associated General Contractors, both locally in Oregon and nationally. He has served as president of the Oregon-Columbia Chapter of the AGC and sat on numerous committees, including as co-chair for the group that developed the formal constructability review for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
As a Sundt employee-owner, he recently played a key role in the replacement of Sellwood Bridge, a 2,000-foot-long structure over the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.
What is it about bridge work that appeals to you?
The type of bridge that gets my juices flowing are ones that are over water or deep canyons. I like the challenge of building a structure that makes you think and plan and plan and plan.
How is it determined that a bridge needs to be replaced rather than repaired?
Bridges are evaluated by a department of transportation engineering team every two years. They are given a rating from one (the lowest) to 100. Sellwood Bridge had a rating of two. It was undersized for traffic loads, the sidewalk was only 3 feet wide, carrying both bike and pedestrian traffic. So it was dangerous. It needed to be replaced. The cost of repair up to today’s standards on a 92-year-old structure made no sense. Bridges have a lifespan that can be extended with good maintenance. However, agencies have to look at future needs and capacity when the decision is made to replace or repair. The biggest decision-breaker is infrastructure funding.
What’s the importance of having a healthy infrastructure?
If you travel anywhere in the world, you will see population centers are built around port cities. Here in the United States, because of our transportation system, we can manufacture hundreds of miles from our port cities and very economically transport those goods to transportation centers. Our highways allow commerce to move at pennies per mile and thus manufacturing can be done in small towns across the country. Our infrastructure is the reason we are the strongest nation in the world.
How badly does the industry need more skilled workers?
For a long time, we have known that when baby boomers retire, our industry would face a serious lack of skilled craft workers. The recession that we have gone through from 2007 until 2015 caused us to lose a generation of workers. Because of the scarcity of work, we were not able to bring in and train apprentices and many of our craft workers left the industry for jobs that provided steady income for their families. For years our public school counselors have guided students away from the crafts and steered them toward college. Today, we have the best educated baristas in the world. Everyone I talk to is looking for trained craft workers, both union and open shop.
How important is Sundt’s Center for Craft Excellence in the development of craft talent?
It is vital that we as a company and we as an industry put more time and money into craft training. There are Americans who need and want jobs. We know there is high unemployment among minorities plus there is an epidemic of homelessness. Individuals who want a job should have a great opportunity to be trained and move into well-paying jobs. Sundt’s future is tied to having the best craft workers available. We need to train and assure our craft workers that their future is with Sundt.