April 29, 2019
December 15, 2017
While she’s much more concerned with critical paths than a path towards critical acclaim, Hannah Schumacher earned some well-deserved industry fame earlier this month when she was named a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE).
Hannah visits multiple jobsites each week, such as the Canopy by Hilton Tempe (pictured here), to meet with project teams and review their schedule and status.
Hannah is a Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), meaning she plans, schedules and monitors construction projects. Essentially, her behind-the-scenes work plays a huge part in delivering projects on time and on budget. Also, Hannah’s status as an AACE Fellow is one of the most prestigious and selective honors in the industry. It involves nomination from at least five AACE peers, recommendation from the Fellow Admissions Committee, and approval from AACE International’s Board of Directors.
AACE Fellows are sought-after thought leaders and industry influencers. More importantly, as Hannah pointed out, the title isn’t just about being an expert: “It’s a recognition that you have this experience, but also that you’re sharing that with others.” Hannah has given presentations, authored papers and pioneered best practices, as well as conducted group and one-on-one trainings with Sundt employee-owners. “She’s helped elevate the skills we have across our staff, for both the Southwest District and the larger Building Group,” said Sundt Senior VP and Building Group Southwest District Manager, Ryan Abbott. “It’s incredible how much Hannah brings to our team; she’s a fantastic coach focused on enhancing the individual, not just the plan.”
Hannah on site meeting with fellow employee-owners Mike McGee, Adrianne Coffinger and Kelly Wyllie.
Since 2017, Hannah has served as Scheduling Manager for Sundt’s Building Group and has loved it. “What I love about Sundt is the people,” she said. “Other than the people, what I love about my job is providing frontline support, training and mentoring to the project teams, helping them build effective schedules that they can use to manage their projects. Every day is something different; each project is unique with its own challenges and issues. There’s nothing like seeing a project from start to finish.”
True to her nature to share, Hannah was quick to share the credit for her fellowship, starting with thanking her husband. “My industry involvement has demanded a lot from me, and my husband has been so supportive throughout the process,” said Hannah. “It was an unexpected surprise to be named as an AACE Fellow. I’m honored and grateful to be recognized by an organization whose volunteer members do so much to give back to the industry.”
The Canopy by Hilton Tempe’s south elevation panel installation is now complete, with windows installed up through level 10 and remaining windows on Levels 11 to 13 scheduled to complete next week.
November 24, 2017
Sundt Preconstruction Manager Cade Rowley.
Cade Rowley has spent all 20 of his years in the construction industry with Sundt. Cade, the Preconstruction Manager for our Transportation Group, is a registered civil engineer, member of the Board of Directors for the Arizona Chapter of Associated General Contractors of America and AGC’s Board of Governors.
Cade holds a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Early in my career, I was on a very difficult project. I had the opportunity to leave Sundt and pursue a less stressful and less time-consuming career with the US Forest Service. Fortunately, I had a strong Project Manager as a mentor who assured me not all projects were the same. I took the risk to stay with Sundt and it played out well for me and my family.
What does a Preconstruction Manager do?
Besides stress out on bid day, I manage all estimating and preconstruction work in our four Transportation Group offices (Tempe, Arizona; Irving, Texas; San Antonio and Salt Lake City). Manage the budgeting and buyout process for all transportation projects. Review and execute subcontract agreements and purchase-order agreements for all Transportation Group work. Collaborate with Preconstruction Managers from Industrial, Building and Concrete to enhance self-perform opportunities across all groups.
What’s unique about preconstruction for transportation work?
Every project we look at is unique due to site conditions and the environment we are working in. The cost of the work varies greatly due to the geology of the earthwork, site conditions such as working in traffic or in the open, existing underground utilities, weather, etc. We also do a lot of design-bid-build commonly referred to as hard-bid work. In many cases we only have three to four weeks to review hundreds of pages of plans and specifications and provide a price that we are financially committed to.
Dog person or cat person?
Definitely a dog person! My wife even had to leave her cat with her parents when we got married.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
No success can compensate for failure in the home. What we do at work is very important and gives us the ability to support our families and the ones we care about, but we have limited time with our children before they grow up. I encourage everyone who works with me to make time for their families. A happy home life usually leads to a more productive work life.
Seen any good movies lately?
I really enjoyed the movie “Only the Brave” about the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew.
September 6, 2017
Sundt Project Manager Tucker Macon has been in the construction industry for 33 years.
Project Manager Tucker Macon has been with Sundt since 2011 and has spent 33 years in the industry. The majority of his experience is in hospitality, residential and senior living. His projects are valued at more than $2 billion.
Tucker is responsible for day-to-day management of projects, coordination and communication with clients throughout design and construction. He works directly with the preconstruction and construction team, coordinating all facets of the project’s success.
What’s a typical day for you?
Working with my project teams. Making sure the ball is rolling in the right direction on all projects. Attending design meetings with clients and design professionals, and adding value by providing on-the-spot cost analysis, constructability and schedule advice.
What would be your advice to someone who wants to be a Preconstruction Project Manager?
You want to be an excellent estimator. Be willing to learn and be open-minded about new ways of doing things. Everything from understanding a new lean way of putting together an estimate, to learning a way of executing something in the field, can give you an advantage. Also, keeping a constant focus on exceeding expectations for your internal and external clients. You will hit roadblocks along the way. The thing that separates the good estimators from the rest of the pack is critical thinking around the roadblock … finding ways to provide successful options from all involved.
What’s been your favorite project while with Sundt?
I have had many. Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building was one. Not only because I was able to work alongside some very talented people but the project was to build labs for a number of different types of experiments. We had to learn from the scientists and professors what types of experiments they were doing then build a lab that would accommodate them. It was very challenging and rewarding.
What’s the best book you’ve read or movie you’ve seen recently?
“The Book of Joy” by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, written by Douglas Abrams. Many of the messages rang true to me. But what really stood out the most was that “it is only up to you” to fulfill your aspirations. For me it is to be happy, to be a better father, to be a better husband and so on. It is all up to me and I cherish this responsibility.
Who was your most influential mentor and why?
Sundt Preconstruction Manager Rich Gohl. I have known Rich for many years. Rich has a way of making you think outside the box and expand your thought process. He makes sure you know what your responsibility is and then he has your back and promotes his people to others.
August 16, 2017
Our work at the Wichita Falls Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education Center was similar to three projects we performed in San Antonio.
When officials cut the ribbon to open the Wichita Falls Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education Center last month, it marked the end of nearly two years of challenges faced and successes gained by the Sundt joint-venture team.
The 123,000-square-foot facility houses programs that prepare high school students for college or careers by offering advanced skills, certification, college credits and the ability to explore their futures from the comfort of high school. The building opened in time for the new school year.
Our team’s experience constructing similar facilities in San Antonio helped pave the way for a successful project. We previously improved Brackenridge, Burbank and Lanier high schools in the city by adding career and technical education (CTE) centers while the campuses were in use, just like Wichita Falls.
“(Project Engineer) Tyler Persyn and I worked together on the CTE centers in San Antonio,” said Project Manager David Musch. “We have a great working relationship based on trust and respect. As a whole, our onsite team, including my Superintendent, Project Engineer, Field Superintendent and our local JV partner, Trinity Hughes, were invaluable to our success.”
Owner savings on the $30 million project began during preconstruction.
“At GMP, we value-engineered $3 million out of the project and did not impact any of the programs slated for the Career Education Center,” David said. “We also came up with an AV package redesign that gave the district an LED wall that will be the focal point in the main corridor of the building.”
Wichita’s notoriously fickle weather affected the tight schedule, made more difficult when the district adopted a school calendar that cut 10 days off the end of the construction schedule. The team lost two months because of extreme weather and rain delays at the beginning of the work in late 2015.
“We drilled all our piers for the foundation of the building off of crane mats and established a temporary lime-stabilized access road in order to get the foundation started,” David said. “Our team worked seven days a week for 12-plus hours a day, plus night shifts for months, to overcome the challenges we faced.”
Our San Pedro Creek job site after 4 inches of rain hit the area, causing several feet of water to gather.
When it rains, it pours at Sundt’s San Pedro Creek job site in San Antonio. Good thing we have plans in place.
Our team knew going into the project that we would have to deal with rain on a regular basis since the west side of downtown San Antonio drains into San Pedro Creek. A small half-inch rain event causes 2 feet of water in the channel.
The same site two days later as our crews went back to work after the water drained.
There’s virtually no flexibility in the schedule. Our work has to be complete in time for the city’s 300th anniversary celebration next May 5.
“We don’t have the ability to ask for more time,” said Senior Project Manager Chad Yount. “So we developed a plan. “When our employee-owners are given a challenge they come up with great solutions that keep our projects moving forward,” Chad said.
Dealing with excessive rainfall was addressed during preconstruction. The last block of Phase 1 Segment 1 is 8 feet below the existing channel, creating a dam at the end of the project. To solve the problem, the team over-excavated the area by 1 foot and placed filter fabric and drain rock which creates a working surface during minor rain events.
A 6-inch perforated pipe was installed down the middle of the channel below the drain rock which conveys the water to a 6-foot diameter casing that sits 6 feet below the surface. Within this casing, a 6-inch submersible pump is set to turn on and off by a float system reducing the labor costs. As water enters the channel, it drains through the rock to the perforated pipe and into the 6-foot diameter casing. The floats then automatically trigger the 6-inch pump to turn on, sending water over the “dam” and downstream.
The system was tested Aug. 8 when 4 inches of rain fell in four hours. Part of the site ended up under 11 feet of water. With the system in place, the water was pumped out by the next morning and crews were back at work a day later. Without the system in place, work would have been shut down for almost a week.