February 20, 2019
January 25, 2019
Since 1951, National Engineers Week has been educating and inspiring young people on the importance of engineering within society. This week, we spoke with employee-owner Eden Roth about her journey to become a Field Engineer with Sundt’s Concrete Division. Eden graduated in 2017 from Arizona State University with a degree in Construction Management. While attending ASU, she was involved in various activities including Advancing Women in Construction, Design-Build Institute of America, and the Associated Schools of Construction. Eden started with Sundt in April of 2018 and has worked both in the office and out in the field.
What attracted you to become an engineer? Was this something you always knew you wanted to pursue?
The funny thing is I actually didn’t know I wanted to become an engineer. I saw the students around me getting jobs as engineers, both project and field engineers, and actually applying what they learned in school to their job, and I just thought that was great.
There are a lot of different paths a person can take with a Construction Management degree; how did you decide on becoming a Field Engineer in the Concrete Division?
So, when I started going to school for construction, I didn’t know that I wanted to go into concrete; I just knew I wanted to build things. I met my mentor Chandra in Advancing Women in Construction at ASU, and she started talking about how important concrete is and how it’s the foundation of the structure. So, I started looking into it, and I realized how much I could learn from it, and here we are today. I can honestly say I love concrete!
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced while being an engineer, I’d have to say, is changing groups or project teams that I’m working with. Everyone works together and communicates differently, so you really have to take the time up front to get to know one another if you’re going to be successful. But once you do take the time, it’s worth it.
What’s your favorite part about being an engineer? Least favorite?
My favorite part about being an engineer is probably that you have to be collaborative and you have to work as a team. I enjoy being around other people, and there’s no other way to succeed except to work with your team and your coworkers. My least favorite part about being an engineer is probably that you work day or night, rain or shine; it might be midnight, maybe the middle of a hot day, but you’re out there. I guess that makes it the most fun too.
Knowing what you know now, and being where you are in the industry, what advice would you give your younger self just starting to find your way in the construction world?
Knowing what I know now, I would say not to be scared, and to go for it. I think it’s really easy to limit yourself and let fear dictate where you’re going, but this is the most supportive industry I think I could have found myself in. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in construction, do it.
How does it feel being a woman in a predominantly male industry? Is it different when you’re in the field compared to in an office setting?
For the most part, it’s a lot different than what I thought it was going to be. The men all seem to be really supportive, and I haven’t had any issues with clashing or not feeling accepted. I’ve learned that if I ask questions, then I get support, because this is the most supportive industry that I’ve ever come across. There are actually a lot of women out in the field, and in the office. I find it fun to come to big events with the whole company, because even though I might be the only woman in my jobsite trailer, I get together with the Sundt family and I realize that there’s a lot of us and that I’m not just one.
January 11, 2019
Project Engineer II Dinesh Allam has been selected as one of the top 20 under 40 construction professionals by Engineering News Record (ENR) Southwest. Dinesh leads efforts to automate preconstruction processes for Sundt’s Concrete Division, and his work has resulted in substantial time savings and added value for the company. Starting as an intern with various design and construction firms on civil projects, he went on to earn a master’s in construction engineering from Arizona State University. Dinesh joined Sundt in 2016 as an Estimator, and now as a Project Engineer he is developing cost management dashboards with the company’s project management group. This week, Dinesh took some time amid his busy schedule to share about his recent award.
At 26, how does it feel to be the youngest (and the only twenty-something) selected in ENR Southwest’s Top Young Professionals?
I just thought “Wow!” I expected there to be more [people in their 20s]! (Laughing). But it’s a huge honor for me. When I heard the news, I knew I’d get some stick from everyone, like, “Oh, here comes that top-rated guy!” It’s been nice though; at the different jobsites, people have been recognizing me. So yeah, it’s been a good ride.
Your ENR profile describes you as an innovator. What’s the most innovative thing you’ve done with Sundt?
Innovation, for me, is more about our culture. But one specific thing I did was take apart 2-D take-offs and turn them into 3-D take-offs. This resulted in time savings across the board, which led to a big culture change in our division: how we hire, how we estimate, everything. I give credit to my group too because they adopted that. It’s hard sometimes to change the way people do things. I was 23 when I joined Sundt and brought up this idea, and they said, “Do it.” They trusted me, and that was a huge deal. Based on our survey, we were able to achieve 82% time savings across all major [precon] processes. And, from last year to this year, we have the same amount of people and twice the amount of revenue. That’s something I really take pride in.
You come across as someone who is very driven and invested in this industry. What motivates you?
When I see inefficiencies, I see opportunities. If I can make a difference in my circle—within ACI (American Concrete Institute) for example, then it can impact the whole industry. And if we can drive that innovation from within Sundt, it benefits us but also everyone else too. That’s one of our core values—industry and community service—and sometimes those commitments cost money and work hours. But Sundt realizes the benefits are real and gives me those opportunities, and for me that’s also motivating.
So you’re working on your MBA, guest lecturing at ASU, giving your time to different industry and community efforts—how do you keep everything balanced?
My number-one rule is that once I go home, I shut off my work phone. I also run every day, which helps me shed off all the stress. And I just do a bunch of active things like mountain biking. The other side is spending quality time with friends, having a social life.
Looking toward the future, what are some big-picture trends you see affecting the industry in the next few years? And where do you see yourself within that process?
Everyone is trying to cut costs for construction services, and we see this trend happening in every market; people are trying to pay builders less and less. I think if we can pursue certain niche markets and establish ourselves as a leader, and perform really innovative and skilled work, we can differentiate ourselves and rise above that trend.
December 21, 2018
Companies and teams often brag about an “all-star recruit” who has committed to their side, but it’s not as common that we get to celebrate bringing on an “all-star recruiter.” Luckily for Sundt, that’s exactly who Madison Williams is. This week, Maddy joined Sundt as a full-time employee-owner after completing her internship with the Workforce Development Group.
Maddy grew up in Denver, Colorado, where she lived in the same home her whole life, before moving to Tempe to attend Arizona State. She has held different jobs in the service sector, but working for Sundt is her first “real, adult job” she said. Maddy graduated in December with a Bachelor of Arts in Business with an emphasis in Spanish Language and Culture. Since joining Talent Acquisition in March of last year, Maddy has been a valuable asset in recruiting top talent and helping Sundt maintain its sustainable growth as a company. When asked to share a bit about herself, she gladly obliged.
How much did you know about Sundt before you started your internship?
Honestly, not much. I was researching HR-related internships back in March, and an offer at Sundt came up in my search. I applied without really knowing what Sundt does as a company, but once I started researching, I was intrigued by the large scope of projects that Sundt is a part of. I didn’t know much about the construction industry before starting my internship, but I’ve learned so much in the short time I’ve been here.
What’s the most interesting part about being involved in the construction industry on the Talent Acquisition/Recruiting side?
The most interesting part of being in college recruiting specifically is that I get to work with people from all four groups/divisions at Sundt. Sometimes it’s difficult to stay up-to-date on all the projects going on throughout the company as a whole, but it’s been interesting to work with people from all the various disciplines and markets.
What advice would you give college students who want to work for Sundt?
I would tell them not to pigeonhole themselves into one specific type of work. A lot of college students studying construction or engineering will have an idea about the type of project they want to be on, so they don’t open themselves up to other possibilities within construction. An internship is the perfect time to explore the many different aspects of work that construction, and Sundt specifically, has to offer.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
Running a marathon in under 4 hours last February. I had trained for the race, but it was my first marathon, and I was not expecting to do very well. My one goal was to finish. Once I reached the 13-mile mark, my body almost went into auto-pilot until mile 20, and then it started to get tough. But I finished in 3 hours and 46 minutes, and I realized how insanely powerful the human body is—sometimes you just have to convince your mind that it’s okay!
November 8, 2018
“All you can take with you is that which you give away”—even if you haven’t seen the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life, these are still great words to live by. Throughout the year and especially around the holidays, Sundt employee-owners make a point to give back to the communities where they live and work. Here are just a few of the many holiday drives that our people have participated in across the country, spreading cheer and helping people in need. Thanks to all who contributed.
Sundt employee-owners in Sacramento and Monterey (incl. our project team at the Sac State Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex), participated in the Sacramento Sheriff’s Toy Drive for children across the region—and had loads of fun while they were at it!
Our San Antonio office, San Pedro Creek project team and I-10 Old Fred project team donated to a holiday toy drive for the Rainbow Room, an organization that serves children in Child Protective Services. Also, Sundt employee-owners in San Antonio held their annual coat drive this month. They doubled the number of coats donated this year to Haven for Hope.
Sundt’s Irvine office and area projects hosted a toy drive for CHiPs for Kids, which has been hosted by the California Highway Patrol for the past 30 years.
Our San Diego office partnered with Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), an organization that sponsors enlisted families in need during the holiday season, and we were able to sponsor a total of 10 families.
Sundt’s HACEP (Housing Authority of the City of El Paso) project team donated $1,000 to the 51st Annual Senior Citizen Holiday Event, benefiting over 400 senior citizens living in affordable housing. Employee-owners from our El Paso office also volunteered their time for two nights to prepare and serve turkey dinners.
Our Fort Worth office participated in a canned food drive for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Each month, TAFB and its partners provide groceries and/or meals to more than 53,000 households.
Sundt employee-owners in Tucson gathered toys and gifts for Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse and participated in a blood drive with the American Red Cross.
The Sundt Foundation donated $20,000 to St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix; our Tempe and Phoenix offices participated in the Arizona Builders Alliance Toy Drive, which helped over 1,200 children; and we “adopted” 25 children and four college students from Sunshine Acres and helped fulfill their personal wish lists.
“People who are both highly capable and humble are great hires. Humble people share the credit for their successes and emphasize teamwork instead of drawing attention to themselves,” said Dan Haag in his recent interview with the Phoenix Business Journal. Those who know Dan will agree: he is both a highly capable and humble leader. Even in the spotlight, he is quick to give credit to his team and the mentors in his past who helped him get to where he is today. This is a big part of why Dan won the Chief Human Resources Officer of the Year award last week at the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2018 C-Suite Awards.
Click here to view the video highlighting Dan’s award.
Currently in his fifth year as Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Sundt Construction and his 40th year in his field, Dan knows a thing or two about helping individuals and organizations grow successfully. Dan has helped Sundt make huge strides in its mission to be the most skilled builder in America. Since his start here in 2010, the company has doubled in size, and still nearly 20 percent of our workforce has been with the company for at least 10 years. Sundt is consistently ranked one of the best places to work across our offices throughout the Southwest. All of this is a testament to our company’s culture, which Dan and his team have worked hard to facilitate. By investing in the right people, especially our highly skilled craft workforce, Dan has contributed to huge wins for our clients and employee-owners.
Dan with Sundt’s Craft Workforce Development Leadership
What makes Dan deserving of this award, however, isn’t just his singular work as CAO. It’s that he realizes the bigger impact of his profession, and he plays several roles in the industry and community. Dan works with schools, businesses, government, and nonprofits to help people become career-ready and career-literate. He’s leading a countrywide effort alongside 30 of the largest contractors, the AGC, and NCCER to address the craft labor shortage (projected to reach 2 million+ vacancies by 2020). And Sundt is becoming a national model for workforce development in its partnership with Central Arizona College, in which Dan has been instrumental. On top of that, Dan is a board member and former executive director of the Sundt Foundation, and he has continued Sundt’s legacy of giving back to the community.
Reflecting on his win and the things he’s learned over the course of his career, Dan said, “The best word that I can think of, in looking back, is that I’ve been very blessed.” Dan has paid his blessings forward in his tenure with Sundt, and many people have been impacted by his leadership. Congratulations, Dan!