August 3, 2017
July 26, 2017
Sundt Building Group Safety Manager Paul Sprecco (far right) performs a Safety Task Force Inspection at the Southwestern Community College Higher Education Center in National City, California.
Paul Sprecco didn’t get into the construction industry to pursue a career in safety. By his own admission, safety chose him.
While running Sundt’s warehouse in San Diego in the 1990s, Paul and his staff purchased materials, equipment and tools for our job sites. There was a natural connection between the warehouse manager and sales people providing safety products. He eventually was assigned to the local safety task force, a group whose duties included performing safety audits on one job per month.
“I enjoyed the interaction with the job sites on safety issues and I was able to help with solutions to problems that they faced because, as the Warehouse Manager, I had vendors constantly showing off the latest products and services that were being developed for those issues,” Paul said. “The position developed into a full-time Area Safety Manager for Southern California.”
Paul has since been promoted to Safety Manager for our Building Group, making him responsible for safety activities at all our building projects. Most of that work is occurring in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.
“Through continued education in safety, and membership in peer groups such as the Associated General Contractors (AGC) San Diego Safety Committee, I was able to continue to develop my knowledge and skills as a safety professional,” he said.
Paul said career options in safety range from line-level safety technicians to corporate risk managers. His own path proves career changes can include a switch to safety.
“Safety is a catch-all title for anyone who keeps people from getting injured and property from getting damaged,” Paul said. “All industries have safety professionals and careers in safety that are very rewarding.”
Paul and the rest of our safety team have built a strong track record. Sundt is the only general contractor in the country to win the AGC Grand Award twice (2006 and 2016). Each year, the honor recognizes the safest construction company in America.
Much of that success can be attributed to our Safety By Choice approach that focuses on “why” we should remain safe, not just “how.”
“Nobody comes to work thinking they’re going to be injured, let alone planning to get injured,” Paul said. “But when accidents and injuries happen, we find that choices were made that put people or property in danger. Choices about processes, tools, systems or just trying to get it done faster. Safety By Choice is all about rewarding positive safety choices and recognizing unsafe choices, stopping the activity and adjusting the plan to eliminate the hazard.”
Paul has an interesting analogy when people ask about his career. In this case, safety starts with the most important meal of the day.
“When people ask me about a career in safety, I like to talk to them about breakfast, bacon and eggs in particular,” Paul said. “There are two animals involved in that breakfast: a chicken and a pig. The chicken contributes to the breakfast, but the pig, he’s all in! If you are interested in a career in safety, you have to be the pig … you have to be ‘all in.’ ”
For more information on careers with Sundt, please click here.
March 22, 2017
Sundt has brought home another Associated General Contractors of America Construction Safety Excellence honor by finishing second in the Highway Division among contractors with more than a million work hours.
Last year, we won the Highway Division on our way to earning our second AGC Grand Award denoting the safest construction company in the nation. We are the only general contractor on record to win the award twice (2006 and 2016).
Safety is the first priority on all our jobsites. Our Safety By Choice program also emphasizes the “why” of safety. In addition to providing thorough training to our craft employees, we focus on the many reasons why they want and need to stay safe: their families, friends, health, livelihood and ability to enjoy their favorite activities.
“Nobody comes to work thinking they’re going to be injured, let alone planning to get injured,” said Building Group Manager Paul Sprecco, who submitted the AGC award materials. “But when accidents and injuries happen, we find that choices were made that put people or property in danger. Choices about processes, tools, systems or just trying to get it done faster. Safety By Choice is all about rewarding positive safety choices and recognizing unsafe choices, stopping the activity and adjusting the plan to eliminate the hazard.”
May 19, 2016
One of the buildings under construction at Las Cruces High is the new cafeteria.
Construction is often a juggling act. Nowhere is that more evident than Sundt’s second round of work at Las Cruces High in New Mexico, a $40 million K-12 construction project that impacts most every corner of the school’s campus.
Between May and July, we’re completing a remodel of the fine arts classrooms, ROTC facility, nursing area and fieldhouse. New construction on the cafeteria and auxiliary gym will also be finished. The secondary gym is being added to accommodate the many sports that share space in the primary facility.
A second stage, which will be completed next spring, includes a remodel of the main gym, existing science wing, music building and vocational building. Crews will be constructing outdoor basketball and tennis courts, a greenhouse, site utilities and site work/hardscape and taking down the old fieldhouse and arts building.
“Every building we’re working on will get flipped to another building,” said Project Director Joe Riccillo.
The second stage gets started this summer when fewer students and faculty are around.
“Everything is phased around spring break, summer and Christmas for delivery dates,” Joe said. “It doesn’t do much good to turn over a building in February. You have to wait until spring break for people to move in.”
Working on an occupied campus raises potential safety hazards that took time and thought to overcome. Joe credits Project Manager Brian Higgins and Project Superintendents Mike Dominguez and Henry Espalin with developing solutions.
“The most important thing is keeping kids safe while doing all this phased work,” Joe said. “We’ve created pathways for students to get to and from buildings and a signage system that shows them where to go.”
It’s our second project at the school, making the site familiar ground.
“Doing Phase 1 gives the school district the confidence that we can finish Phase 2 on or ahead of time,” Mike said.
Students were so happy with Phase 1 that they posted a video in late 2015 showing off their school spirit and new-look campus.
“There’s no greater reward than seeing the benefit of the project and what kind of pride the students take in their new building and their school,” Joe said. “It’s like having a virtual tour of the building.”
May 6, 2016
Project: GO 10 in El Paso
Year: Graduate Student
Major: Construction Management
School: Wayne State University
Anticipated Graduation Date: December 2016
Why did you decide on Sundt for your summer internship?
Sundt is known for its safety standards and ethics. I got to know about Sundt through my brother who admired a lot about it. The company’s reputation in the industry and Employee Stock Ownership Plan drew my interest.
What is a typical day for you?
I create virtual models of bridges and collaborate those with the schedule to create a 4D simulation for tracking the project. I extract quantities from the model to estimate the amount of material required to complete construction activities at specified time of the project.
What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
I love Chinese food.
Which book you have read recently?
“Cristiano Ronaldo: The Rise of a Winner” by Michael Part.
What’s your favorite quote or inspirational saying?
“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.” Arthur C. Clarke.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I play soccer, surf YouTube and watch movies.
Sundt Corporate Director of Safety & Quality Paul Levin.
Sundt’s celebration of Safety Week is especially poignant this year. This past March, our company won the Associated General Contractors of America Grand Award, handed out annually to the safest construction company in the country.
The award is given to a deserving contractor each year by its peers (AGC has more than 26,000 members). This was the second time our company earned the honor; the first came in 2006. The award evaluation compares a member’s safety record and program with other AGC members according to member size and construction type.
The Grand Award was one of two honors we earned during the AGC’s National Conference in San Antonio. We also took first place in the Highway Division among contractors with more than a million man hours. Winning the division award enabled us to compete for the Grand Award. We also won the national highway division in 2006, 2010 and 2013.
Corporate Director of Safety & Quality Paul Levin recently took time to answer a few questions about what the award means and what it says about our unwavering commitment to safety.
What does the AGC Grand Award mean to our clients?
Of the more than 26,000 contractors available to apply for the award, Sundt was recognized by its peers as being a leader in construction safety. It demonstrates to clients we are committed to improving our safety efforts every single day. Our clients want validation we are dedicated and committed to safety the way they are.
How did Sundt earn the award?
Fifty-two companies made it to San Antonio to present about their company safety program. Our crew of five employee-owners demonstrated our safety program’s passion, commitment and focus on continuous improvement by safety role-playing. We personalized what we do every day by recreating real-life safety challenges at the jobsite so the judges understood safety is more than just words on paper or a PowerPoint on a screen. We believe in Safety by Choice so at the end of each day, our employees are able to walk out of the jobsite gate talking about their families, their kids playing baseball, etc.
Why is safety such an important value for our company?
It goes way beyond rules and regulations. It’s not worth coming into work if we can’t go home safely. We want all employees, subcontractor employees and anyone associated with our projects to go home safely every day.
What does Sundt do to encourage safety on jobsites?
We encourage and recognize employee-owners for making good safety choices. We want people modeling and coaching safe behavior. If people are making high-risk decisions, we coach them to make safer choices. And it always comes down to recognition. You have to model the behavior you want. People always respond better with positive reinforcement versus constant feedback on what they are doing wrong.
What’s an example of something we do to make our workplaces safe?
Most contractors complete a task hazard analysis at the beginning of a task. We focus on revising our THA anytime something changes: If we add a person to a crew, if we’re using a crane instead of a forklift. We realized during review meetings many of our incidents were happening because we didn’t properly assess new equipment, mechanical or employee changes. We hadn’t gone over all the hazards. We realized the plan changed, however we didn’t call a safety timeout to reevaluate and reassess.Anyone on a jobsite can call a safety timeout any time he or she sees something that needs to be addressed. It empowers our employees and makes our jobsites safer.