January 11, 2016
November 20, 2015
Sundt Project Superintendent Todd Gantter, Preconstruction Manager Jon McKelvain and Project Director Chandra Reilly have earned Top 20 Under 40 awards from Engineering News-Record, the industry’s principal trade magazine.
Chandra and Todd won in ENR’s Southwest region, which covers Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. Jon’s award came from the Texas and Louisiana region, which also includes Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
Todd has been in the construction industry since 1998, joining Sundt in 2001 as a Project Engineer. Promoted to Superintendent, he has profit/loss responsibility for small to medium-sized building projects for in the Southwest. Todd has worked on a variety construction projects including office, government, military, banks and schools totaling in value more than $344 million.
Two years ago, Sundt created a practice focused exclusively on hospitality on a nationwide scale and Chandra, who joined us in 2013, was offered the opportunity to build that practice as Hospitality Project Director. Chandra’s group is working on around $250 million in hospitality projects and expanding our company’s national footprint. She is strongly committed to being part of the next evolution of the construction business – where contractors are seen as valuable, collaborative partners and where innovations in construction technology and project delivery can really be put into practice.
Jon has more than 15 years of experience in multiple facets of the construction industry, joining Sundt in 2010. He has extensive experience in many types of commercial construction with a background including education, office, government, medical and multi-family projects. He has worked as a Project Manager, Superintendent, Field Engineer, Senior Estimator and a Preconstruction Project Manager. He is responsible for all aspects of the pricing for a project from conceptual design through final guaranteed maximum price and procurement.
ENR’s regional publications accept nominations for “young guns” in the construction and design industries. Candidates are judged on three primary criteria: industry experience and education; career and industry leadership; and community service and involvement.
July 17, 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.”
April 2, 2015
Sundt is pleased to announce that Kevin Brady has joined the San Josè office as a preconstruction project manager. In his initial assignment, Brady is responsible for providing oversight and leadership to the preconstruction team working on the new $17 million physical education building at San Jose City College. Prior to joining Sundt, Brady worked as an estimator for one of the largest commercial contractors in California. He brings with him more than 20 years of construction experience, working on many notable projects, including the $4 billion Transbay Transit Center facility in downtown San Francisco and the $690 million rebuild of San Francisco General Hospital.
What goals or areas of focus do you have as a Preconstruction Project Manager?
My goal is to manage risk for Sundt during the design and estimating phases of projects by preparing accurate estimates, identifying construction costs, providing clarifications and assumptions. My Focus is to lead preconstruction services with owners, architects, consultants and internal team members from the schematic design to the GMP.
Tell us about the project you are currently working on.
I am currently working on the Ohlone Academic Core Project GMP in Fremont California and the San Jose Physical Education & Wellness Center GMP. Ohlone Academic Core is 185,000 square feet of new construction, including a science building, an arts building, and a learning commons. San Jose Physical Education & Wellness Center is two buildings including a basketball Gymnasium a weight training area, a football locker room, and office space for the phys. Ed. Dept.
Most unusual project you ever worked on?
I have two projects I worked on with my last firm that were very unusual. The California Academy of Sciences and the Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco.
What’s your favorite book?
Lonesome Dove was a book I could not put down and is still today my favorite to date.
Where in the world would you most like to visit?
Norway & Ireland, is where my great Grandparents immigrated from. I would like to retrace my family line when I retire.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A carpenter! My Father was a carpenter and as a young boy that is all I ever wanted to do.
Best advice you ever received?
After an accident I had 19 years ago I was advised to: “Take all you have learned in construction, from 15 years in the field, go back to school and focus on Construction Management.”
What would you be doing if you weren’t working in construction?
I have no idea. My entire family has been in construction. At Christmas dinner I am surrounded by architects, engineers and builders.
What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
I like Asian food including Thai, Chinese and Japanese.
What’s the most interesting book you have read lately?
The only books I have read lately are specifications books and contracts!
February 17, 2015
We’re pleased to announce that Janet Terry has been promoted to Senior Marketing Specialist. Janet joined Sundt in 2011 and has more than 15 years of progressive experience in multiple marketing and communications roles and industries. She is well known for her excellent client service, as evidenced by the fact that she won two of our Going Beyond the Expected Awards for outstanding performance in the past year. We recently asked Janet a few questions to get to know her better.
What initially drew you to the company?
I had been working in the architecture and engineering market for a while and had an interest in the general contracting market. Although there were a number of general contractors in Arizona, Sundt’s reputation is what drew me.
What does a typical day workday involve for you?
As a senior marketing specialist, my primary daily duty is working on project pursuits with our business development team. A typical day involves finding or creating text, refining text, fact-checking, working in our project database, creating graphics, and lots and lots of reading!
What are the biggest rewards of your job?
The biggest reward is submitting a great proposal/statement of qualifications that ultimately wins the project for our company.
How about the biggest challenges?
In one word, the biggest challenge is TIME. When you work in this environment, you are constantly juggling and time is always a major factor.
Is there a winning proposal you worked on recently that you’re particularly proud of?
The Tucson International Airport Terminal Optimization project was a great win. This project adds to Sundt’s resume of work at the airport, as well as our stellar preconstruction and Construction Manager at Risk services.
What’s the most interesting movie you’ve seen recently?
“Lucy”– very intense!
Do you have a favorite type of cuisine?
I don’t have a favorite, but I tend to get fixated on a particular type of food. Right now I’m stuck on creating different types of juices.
Inspirational saying or role model?
“If you’re interested in something, you will do what is convenient. If you are committed to something, you will do whatever it takes.” – Murray Smith
Where would you most like to travel?
I would love to go to Scotland and Ireland, and definitely play a round of golf at St. Andrews.
We’re pleased to announce that Grant Larson has joined us as a preconstruction project manager in our Tempe office. He comes to Sundt with more than 16 years of experience managing high profile civil and transportation construction projects throughout Arizona, Nevada and Utah including complex freeways, bridges, roadways, concrete structures and asphalt pavement. He was on Engineering News-Record (ENR) Southwest’s 2012 “Top 20 Under 40” list of 20 individuals under the age of 40 who represent the “Best-of-the-Best” in their construction and design firms by giving back to their industry and communities. We recently asked Grant a few questions to get to know him better:
What brought you to Sundt?
I’m a native Arizonan and a fifth generation road builder, so I have always been well aware of Sundt’s reputation as a quality contractor. It is the quality of the people here, however, that has most impressed me. The opportunity to pursue larger and more complex projects combined with the benefits of an ESOP were the deciding factors.
Are you really a fifth generation road-builder? That’s an amazing legacy!
Mons Larson emigrated from Sweden to America in 1859, built a hand cart for his family’s belongings, and pulled it all the way to Salt Lake City. He eventually led a group of pioneers and blazed a trail through the treacherous Hole in the Rock near Lake Powell on his way to settle Snowflake, Arizona. Each subsequent generation has spent their professional careers improving the infrastructure and transportation systems throughout the state. Heavy-civil construction has treated my family very well and it is such a great feeling to be in a career that has such an obvious and permanent impact on the quality of life of our communities.
What are your responsibilities in your new position?
I help manage risk for the company during the design and estimate phase of projects by providing oversight and leadership to the preconstruction team.
Which project(s) are you currently working on?
I am currently assigned to the $1.8 billion ADOT Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway P3 project. This is the single largest project in the history of ADOT and will be a landmark project for Sundt. It consists of 22 miles of new freeway with 77 bridges.
What’s new in the world of roadway construction?
With public agencies struggling to come up with transportation funds, Public Private Partnerships (P3s) will take a more prominent role in procuring work.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I have four children with one more due in May, so any spare time I have is usually spent helping with homework, coaching basketball, going to soccer games and dance recitals. I do, however, really enjoy lifting weights about four times per week to blow off some stress and stay in shape.
What’s the best movie you saw recently?
I really enjoyed the movie “Unbroken.” I love World War II history and this movie shows the struggles and trials that our veterans had to endure to preserve our freedom. The main character’s resolve to forgive his captors even after incomprehensible suffering really impacted me.
Do you have a favorite quote or saying that motivates or inspires you?
“The home is the first and most effective place to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self control, the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life. Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home.” – David O. McKay
What would you be doing if you weren’t working in construction?
Honestly, I cannot imagine not being involved in construction. I started as an apprentice carpenter when I was 15 years old on the Loop 101/202 bridges and have been able to be a part of projects all over Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. All of my summers leading up to college were spent on either asphalt, dirt, or structures crews. There is no better feeling than being able to drive across the state and show your kids everything you’ve built. I think it’s pretty neat but I’m pretty sure my kids just roll their eyes and tune me out now.
Where would you most like to travel?
I would love to return to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I lived there for two years and would love to take my wife to meet many of the dear friends that I haven’t seen in nearly 20 years.