December 23, 2016
December 2, 2016
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.
November 28, 2016
Sundt California District Manager Dan Dumke.
Dan Dumke is Sundt’s new District Manager for California. He has more than 35 years of experience directing company operations, managing significant projects and leading high-performing teams in the construction industry. He brings a wealth of experience in the building and industrial markets as well as knowledge of large projects and public-private partnerships.
Dan is a member of the California Associated General Contractors Association and donates his time to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, whose mission is to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.
What made you want to work for Sundt?
The people. Sundt’s employee-owners have a genuine respect for the work they do and for their partners who do it. I have been fortunate over the past number of years to not only meet but work directly with many Sundt employees. It was clear from these experiences that they believe in the power of teamwork, are fully committed to do whatever it takes to get the job done and have a consistent habit of sharing credit.
What is on your immediate to-do list?
Getting to know our people is a high priority, so I will be visiting our projects and regional offices in California to do that. I am also looking forward to engaging with our safety personnel and site staff partners to make sure we continue to make every effort to remain the nation’s safest construction company.
What are our strengths in the California building market?
We will continue to leverage our strengths in the K-12, university and criminal justice markets and look for opportunities to further employ these strategically in other sectors, as well as with our transportation and industrial groups.
Where are we looking to start making in-roads?
Our successful growth is dependent upon our ability to develop and attract top talent in the market sectors where we work. The war for talent is real in construction, so our immediate focus is on finding more great employee-owners. Longer term, we will explore opportunities in new markets. If all industry and political indicators are even marginally correct, there will be tremendous need in the privatized infrastructure market – everything from transportation to water/wastewater to the expansion of alternative energy facilities. Schools, universities, hospitals, criminal justice facilities and community housing – essentially defined as social infrastructure projects – also lend themselves to alternative delivery types such as P3 and collaborative design-build.
What is Sundt known for in California?
The Sundt brand has and continues to be strong in California – on par with some of our most respected construction industry peers. We are recognized for being honest and following through on commitments.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from a mentor?
“First find the solution, then analyze its impact.” The message is simple: trust your mentors (and if you don’t have one, go find one). We are all surrounded by some pretty smart people. I am certain there is no puzzle we can’t solve when we work together.
December 4, 2015
Improving the places where we do business involves much more than the built environments we create. It also includes a longstanding commitment to helping the less fortunate through employee-owner and company support of the Sundt Foundation.
Earlier this month, we made top philanthropic company lists in Arizona released by Arizona Business Magazine and the Phoenix Business Journal. This past fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, employee-owner and matching company donations in the state added up to $317,300. The previous fiscal year’s total was $310,800.
Created in 1999, the Sundt Foundation has made more than $7.2 million in grants to community organizations and programs across the country that benefit disadvantaged children and adults.
November 20, 2015
Neely Smith is a new proposal specialist in the Tempe, Arizona office. Although her roots are in the Midwest, she has lived in the Phoenix area on and off since 1988, when her family moved there as part of her father’s job with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.
Neely graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in History. After graduating, she moved to Tennessee for a graphics internship with the Memphis Redbirds, a minor-league baseball affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. She then briefly worked for a publishing company in St. Louis until she found her way into the proposal and architecture, engineering and construction world. She worked for an architecture firm in St. Louis for 2 years and spent the past 7.5 years with an environmental planning and landscape architecture firm.
What are the most important qualities a good proposal specialist must have?
Persistence, pleasantness, calmness, a good eye for detail and a good sense of humor.
What was it about Sundt that made you want to work here?
Initially, I was looking for new challenges. After working on design proposals for nearly 10 years, I was excited about the chance to bring my skills to a new company in a related industry. After doing my research on Sundt and hearing what good things everyone had to say, I was beyond excited. Coming from smaller firms, I’m blown away by the amount of resources Sundt has to help prepare winning proposals. Everyone I’ve met has been so kind and helpful and truly seems to love working for the company. The culture is great and it’s wonderful to know that Sundt is doing great things for the community through the Sundt Foundation. Not to mention the Employee Stock Ownership Plan and excellent health benefits for my family and me. I feel very fortunate to have found this opportunity.
What do you like doing when you’re not at work?
Spending time with my family and friends, enjoying the Arizona sunshine and trying to catch a nap when I can. I’m a big St. Louis Cardinals baseball and Arizona Cardinals football fan. I am also a podcast junkie. I love learning things and listening to interesting stories, so shows like “This American Life,” “Radiolab” and “Stuff You Should Know” are some of my favorite ways to pass time during my commutes. I’m also a big supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association (I lost my mother to the disease in 2013) and like to help raise funds and awareness through the local Phoenix chapter.
Read any good books lately?
Most of my reading these days involve children’s books (my girls, who are 3 and almost 2, are big Dr. Seuss fans!), but I enjoy biographies, satire and anything by David Sedaris or Michael Chabon.
Where do you like to travel?
I don’t travel as much as I’d like to. We often use our vacation time to visit our families in the Midwest. I would love to travel to Western Europe or New Zealand, but there is also so much I’d like to see domestically, namely Glacier National Park in Montana. It’s No. 1 on my list!
What inspired you to move back to Arizona after going back to your native Midwest?
I grew tired of dealing with ice storms and snow. In Arizona, I don’t have to scrape ice off my windshield with credit cards and wear heavy coats. I love the desert climate.
Athena McKee is a Business Development Representative in the Tempe office. Most of her work experience stems from her career in commercial real estate where she focused on sales, client services and marketing. Her brokerage teams concentrated on office, retail and industrial properties.
She also worked for a non-profit organization where she planned and facilitated outreach programs for First Things First, an organization created by Arizona voters to improve the quality of early childhood centers, education, healthcare and family support for children.
She’s a loyal Sun Devils fan and has an MBA from Grand Canyon University and an undergraduate degree from Arizona State University.
Get to know Athena a little better by reading the Q&A session we recently conducted with her.
What was it about Sundt that made you want to work here?
My brother starting working with Sundt right out of college. He graduated from Arizona State’s Del E. Webb School of Construction with an engineering degree. My brother speaks very highly of Sundt and he sold me on the overall culture, people and employee-ownership platform. I am happy I listened to his brotherly advice to join the Sundt team as I am happy to be here!
What has been the most exciting thing about your job?
It has been exciting for me to meet so many new people. I am enjoying getting to know my team. I have also had the opportunity to meet clients and partners at conferences in Las Vegas and New Orleans. I am also impressed by Building Information Modeling, which was an integral part of a recent pitch presentation. I appreciate how 3D modeling tools help our team anticipate and solve issues before the shovel hits the ground.
What have you learned about the construction industry that surprised you?
I am surprised by the synergy and teamwork involved at all levels for each and every project. From bidding and preconstruction to scheduling and estimating, planning and bidding. And that is just the beginning. There are so many experienced minds at work in construction even before breaking ground. And I especially respect the operations side of things and the builders who make it all happen.
What’s the most important characteristic of people in the business development field?
The ability to not only build quality buildings, but to build trust, integrity and purpose for clients. This involves the commitment to foresee and realize win-win situations. Go above and beyond. Create competitive advantages. Add value. Do what you say. Be organized with processes and consistent follow-up to build and foster relationships.
Who has been your most influential mentor and what did that person teach you?
I had the opportunity to work with a successful commercial real estate broker, Mike Marinovich, at CBRE. Mike became a mentor and taught me a lot about balancing career and family life. In fact, he favored prioritizing family over career, which was a new perspective for me. Yet this is an important viewpoint to have in a client services and sales career where your work and networking events frequently blend into your personal time. Mike also taught me how to be myself and let my personable nature shine while maintaining a professional demeanor. I think a lot of “business” people can end up coming across as cold and impersonal. I never wanted to be like that. Mike taught me to honor my friendly, amiable side along with my strong, assertive professional side.
What do you do for fun away from work?
I have the most fun running around with my two sons, Braeden (7) and Ben (4). We like to find new playgrounds and parks throughout the Phoenix Valley and play every sport you can think of. My boys have tons of energy. I get all the exercise I need just trying to keep up with them. We also like to visit different resort pools in the summer. Braeden and I play golf together year-round. I only play at rural courses where I know I will not run into anyone I know because I am a self-taught terrible golfer. Other than that, I like traveling to San Diego and Sedona on weekends.
Where do you like to travel?
I love going to San Diego as much as possible during the summer. My brother lives there and my boys and I are huge beach fans. I also like visiting my parents in Northern Arizona at least once a month. It’s a beautiful area with rolling green hills and vineyards. It has become a weekend retreat for me to get away from the hustle and bustle here in Phoenix.
Is there a quote or saying that summarizes your approach to life?
I like both of these quotes from author and lecturer Marianne Williamson. The first because it reminds me to be cognizant of my own thoughts and cognitive dissonance. It is easy to forget how important our thoughts are, especially self-talk. I am a proponent of examining one’s own negative beliefs and faulty assumptions to ensure nothing gets in the way of making ideal, rational decisions based on the information at hand. I like the second quote as well because it is empowering. I live by the philosophy that every individual is powerful and important.
“You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think.”
“In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.”