April 9, 2019
October 5, 2018
Constructech Magazine’s Women of the Year are an elite group of women who represent some of the industry’s largest, most innovative companies. Among them is Sundt’s own Cindy Van Marter, winner of the Heavy Equipment Operator Woman of the Year. We caught up with Cindy to discuss her career and recent award.
How long have you worked in construction, and how’d you get your start?
I operated heavy equipment for 26 years. When I started in the industry in 1983, there weren’t many women in the field. My dad, who worked for Sundt, told me, “If you like working outside, you can make some good money,” so I tried it and ended up loving it. I learned on the job—back then, they didn’t have the level of special training they do now. Working under experienced equipment operators, I learned the tricks and how to make the machine work for me. I worked on several different projects throughout Arizona. When Sundt asked me to be a recruiter in 2006, they knew I had extensive knowledge from the field and that I was a good people-person. So, I gave it a shot. I took over craft recruiting for the Transportation Group in 2008, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Sundt Craft Recruiter Cindy Van Marter, Constructech 2019 Heavy Equipment Operator Woman of the Year
During your career as a heavy equipment operator, what was your favorite equipment to work on?
I was known for my skill as a production operator, using an excavator or loader to load trucks. I loved doing this; the work is fun and moves fast, and you have to use the right technique to load the trucks properly. But I also did a lot of underground work digging basements and trenches to lay pipe, grading, working on canals, dams, and crushers, and even drilling and blasting throughout the years. Working with Concrete, Industrial and Transportation, you name it. I’ve worked on most of the freeways in Phoenix in some capacity.
Were there any obstacles you had to overcome as a woman working in the field?
I’ve always been very competitive, so I was always trying harder to show the guys that, even as a woman, I could do my job just as well or better than some of the men. Things got more comfortable as time went by. I built some great friendships and had a lot of fun along the way. I have stories to last me a lifetime, and I miss it sometimes. Today, things are changing. There’s a lot more acceptance of women working in this field. We have many more women working as welders, pipe fitters, truck drivers, etc. I’m trying to get more women interested in working as heavy equipment operators. The ones I have seen are very good, dependable and hard-working. They take pride in their work.
Who was your biggest mentor in this business, and what did they teach you?
Many people I’ve worked with here—Sundt is like my second family. But I would have to say my dad was always the one I looked up to. What he taught me still applies to this day: Never have the attitude that you know everything. You’re always learning, and the world is always changing. I’ve told young people who go through our apprenticeship program: You’re working alongside operators who have been doing this for 10, 15, 20 years, and you have to earn your way. Even if you’re good, you have to be willing to learn from people who have been doing this a while.
“Now that I look back on my career, and I look around the valley and all the projects I’ve worked on, it’s really rewarding to have been a part of all this. I just loved building stuff,” Cindy said.
Now that you’re later in your career and working on the administrative side, how has your role changed?
I’d say now I’m really helpful in making connections between the field and the office. I realize where breakdowns in communications are because I’ve been there and done that. I know the demands placed on people in the field, and I’m a little more flexible and better able to solve problems. Also, I’ve built up connections in the industry; I’ve earned people’s trust. The longer you work in this business, the more you realize how small of a world construction is.
What does it mean to win this award?
I’m really humbled. Now that I look back on my career, and I look around the valley and all the projects I’ve worked on, it’s really rewarding to have been a part of all this. I just loved building stuff. I talk to a lot of young people, and I say this is a great field to work in. The pay has gotten much better, and the demand for workers is here. There are so many ways you can use your mind and your skills, and you can have fun!
February 10, 2016
Like many innovators who came before them, Eric Cylwik and Ryan Haines were never seeking recognition. They just wanted to do their jobs better—and save people’s time and money in the process. The two saw a problem in the construction industry, and they set out to fix it. Eric and Ryan’s selection as finalists for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Autodesk Innovation Award was a nice bonus, but the real success is what the industry at large stands to gain from their new technology. Its name? The civil Construction Toolkit, or “CTK.”
Virtual Construction App Developer Ryan Haines (center) and Sr. Virtual Construction Engineer Eric Cylwik (right) accept the AGC Innovation 3rd-place Award
CTK technology began as a response to larger issues in the civil sector causing huge inefficiencies. A nationwide trend toward 3D modeling in the preconstruction process has generated loads of data. But by itself, this data isn’t actionable information. Also, most of it is siloed off between designers, contractors, and engineers, instead of flowing into a single stream of information for a project. Estimators in particular spend hours counting the “what” of a project (volumes, areas, lengths, counts, and weights)—6.4 million hours in the past year to be exact, the equivalent of 70 full-length careers. Instead of counting the “what,” Eric and Ryan thought, these professionals could spend more time on the “how” and, in the process, become more of an asset to their companies.
CTK user quickly quantifies the entire project model, by phase, in Autodesk Civil 3D
Enter: the CTK, a technology that supports parametric modeling. In the absence of a 3D design model, a CTK user can take lots of numbers from construction documents and convert them into 3D models, with a few mouse clicks. These models can then be quantified to cover all construction estimating needs, including sequencing and phasing of a project, and provide visualization for design all in a matter of hours instead of weeks. The same models can even be used for automated machine guidance (AMG) by heavy equipment operators in the field. “This technology shifts the focus from construction being a reactionary industry to an industry that proactively adds value,” Eric said. “Proper planning ensures efficient construction, and by removing mundane tasks from a construction service provider it enables them to focus on predictable services.”
Sundt uses the CTK on a daily basis and has seen immense added value across projects for both our employee-owners and our clients
In presenting the CTK to various industry groups, including the AGC, Eric and Ryan were often asked: How did you convince your company to invest in this? “The funny thing is,” Ryan said, “this was already part of our jobs and company culture. The return on investment had been established, just in the huge amounts of time we were saving in our own jobs, across multiple projects.” Eric pointed out that he and Ryan were also recognized for the CTK by Sundt a year ago, with the Going Beyond the Expected Award. “It’s just part of what we do at Sundt. We’re builders. And by virtue of that fact, we’re innovators.” Overall, CTK is a means of delivering better infrastructure. “When we design, estimate, and build from the same information,” Ryan said, “everyone wins with better quality and efficiency.” For a company whose mission is to be the most skilled builder in America, having innovative people on our team is a win indeed.
January 13, 2016
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow could stop the Sundt team from completing the US Highway 84 and bridge reconstruction project ahead of time.
Despite weather issues on the site near Abilene, including rain totals that once measured eight inches in 48 hours, we reached substantial completion on the heavy civil project in late December, 33 working days ahead of schedule.
Work included demolition and reconstruction of a 530-foot bridge over Union Pacific Railroad tracks, reconstruction of US 84 and new lighting and roadway barrier improvements. The US 84 project included around half a mile of roadway that was fully reconstructed and installation of 40,000 cubic yards of embankment used to bring the grade up to match the finish slab elevation of the new bridge, which was built by Sundt’s Concrete Division.
“This project was successful due to hard-working and talented Sundt superintendents and craft employees who helped construct the new bridge and roadways,” said Project Manager Cade Reddig. “Having their experience and outstanding team communication set us up for exceptional coordinated efforts with the owner to get the work done safely and ahead of schedule.”
As a result, the team received 100 percent of the Texas Department of Transportation’s No Excuse Incentive built into the contract for early substantial completion and the community had a new bridge and roadway finished more than a month ahead of expectations.
October 29, 2014
Not everything is bigger in Texas. The town of Corsicana has around 24,000 residents and an idyllic downtown lined with shops, restaurants and stop lights.
Oh, yes, and 18-wheelers passing through town hauling goods through North Texas. Lots of them stopping and going through a congested passage every day.
Fortunately, relief is on its way. Sundt has been selected to construct a Texas Department of Transportation relief route for State Highway 31, the main route through downtown. Work on the $106 million heavy civil project begins this summer.
The 12-mile four-lane road will improve mobility by allowing motorists to bypass Corsicana to the south, helping enhance safety and traffic flow. Big rigs using State Highway 31 every day have no other option than to travel through downtown Corsicana.
The project also includes 2 miles of reconstruction on Interstate 45. The relief route goes under the interstate at one point.
“The project strengthens our position in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which we consider to be one of the strongest and most stable local markets for heavy construction in the United States,” said Sundt Area Manager Abel Ortiz.
Sundt has more than 45 years and nearly $2 billion of project work throughout Texas.
Minot AFB is home to one of the only two squadrons of B-52s in the nation, making the swift completion of the project all the more improtant.
B-52 bombers are once again landing at Minot Air Force Base in Minot, North Dakota, thanks to the recent completion of a new, $33 million runway. Sundt performed the heavy civil construction project in just six months while the base remained operational – a feat that was crucial in maintaining national security, as the base is a strategic part of the Air Force Global Strike Command and home to one of only two squadrons of B-52 Bomber aircrafts in the U.S.
Requiring approximately 42,000 cubic yards of concrete and 36,000 tons of asphalt, the newly replaced section of airfield, designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, stretches 8,900 feet long and includes new lighting and storm drain systems on both sides of the runway.
For more details about the project, click here.