November 20, 2015
November 10, 2015
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.”
September 24, 2015
Sundt’s Doreen Wicks helps students build toolboxes during the annual Arizona Construction Career Days last week in Phoenix. Photo courtesy of the Arizona Builders Alliance.
Students from more than 70 high schools gathered in Phoenix last week for Arizona Construction Career Days, an event Sundt has sponsored for more than a decade.
During the two-day event, approximately 1,800 students learned about the construction industry. Many built and took home Sundt-branded toolboxes. Arizona Construction Career Days is the state’s largest construction event that offers hands-on experience for high-school students.
The event was hosted by the Association of Construction Career Development and held at the Arizona Army National Guard Papago Site. Sundt had more than a dozen volunteers at the event assisting with sign in and helping students build their toolboxes.
An event preview video can be seen here.
September 23, 2015
Our work involves much more than construction. It’s also about building relationships with clients that last long after the project is done.
In Downtown Phoenix, our joint venture with DPR Construction has already completed the Health Sciences Education Building and is making steady progress on the neighboring Biosciences Partnership Building. Both are University of Arizona projects and shining examples of preparing today’s medical students for careers filled with discoveries that benefit humankind.
Sundt and DPR have also been sponsors of the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix Golf Tournament for the past four years. The event has raised more than $103,000 for scholarships to assist medical students over that time.
Sundt President & CEO Dave Crawford accepts an award for the company’s support of the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix Golf Tournament.
During this year’s event at Legacy Golf Club on Sept. 11, the College honored Sundt President & CEO Dave Crawford and DPR Southwest Regional Leader Dave Elrod for their dedication to the future of medicine. The College’s mission is to inspire and train exemplary physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and healthcare in Arizona and beyond.
“The golf tournament is a great way of giving back and celebrating a good project,” Crawford said. “It’s nice to think we’re all involved in developing young people and turning them into medical experts who will go back into the community.”
Elrod said: “If (supporting the event) helps get these under-resourced kids into a program and helps them become great doctors or clinical staff, it’s amazing.”
Both executives are ensuring that their companies stay involved in the project both on and off the construction site. They have made personal connections with the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix and those bonds are here to stay.
“They are friends of this college and unbelievable citizens of the Valley and the state,” said UA College of Medicine-Phoenix Dean Stuart Flynn.
August 10, 2015
More than three miles of new track will soon be open on the Valley Metro Light Rail system in the Greater Phoenix area thanks to a spirit of cooperation by our Heavy Civil Division and project partners.
The 3.2-mile, $162-million extension of existing light rail facilities performed with our joint venture partner Stacy and Witbeck is scheduled to open next April. The work includes three new stations that will serve around 5,000 riders each day and will take the line north along 19th Avenue to Dunlap, where the project team is constructing a park and ride lot.
The project broke ground in January 2013. Major milestones achieved have included the groundbreaking and first track placement. The last track pour was completed in August after roadway widening that in some areas reached 40 feet.
Valley Metro, the project owner, is planning to celebrate completion of the Dunlap Station with a ribbon-cutting in October or November followed by integrated testing just before the end of the year. The electrical subcontractor is finishing work on the overhead catenary system that controls the train’s power.
On Saturday, August 8 Sundt and industry partners HDR Inc., Meyer Borgman Johnson, and Coreslab Structures teamed up to participate in the 9th annual Phoenix Canstruction competition. The event benefits St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and helps fight hunger across Arizona.
Every year teams design and build sculptures made entirely out of canned food that are then judged on criteria such as creativity and use of labels. This year, our team put their engineering expertise to use with 3D modeling tools to design what they hope will be an award winning sculpture.
Special thanks to Sprouts Farmers Market for donating the cans our team used, which numbered 2,165 in total!
Preparations and design work began months ago, and the entire sculpture was built offsite before the event to practice. When Saturday arrived the team got to work creating a life-size statuette titled, “Live From The Red Carpet”!
“Our goal was to represent a highly recognized figure to promote our mission – taking a winning stance against hunger by combining imagination and ingenuity, while spreading the dream of feeding all those in need,” said Sundt Lead Estimator and Canstruction participant Melissa Love.
The Canstruction event has become one of the single largest canned food drives for St. Mary’s Food Bank in Arizona. Since 2007, Phoenix Canstruction has donated close to 350,000 pounds of canned food. All the cans used for the “canstruction” will be donated to St. Mary’s Food Bank, and the exhibit will remain open through August 22nd for public viewing at the Phoenix Convention Center – West Building.
If you have a Facebook account and want to help our team win the Phoenix Canstruction People’s Choice Award, you can do so by voting for “Live from the Red Carpet”! All you have to do is “like” the picture, which can be found on Facebook by clicking here.