April 18, 2017
February 3, 2017
Restore Education students are eight times more likely to earn college degrees than average GED graduates.
In Bexar County, more than 35,000 youth and 300,000 adults do not have a high school diploma or GED, the high school equivalence certificate. The impacts on the San Antonio region include demands on social services, strains on the justice system and the loss of good jobs to places such as Austin because of that region’s better-educated workforce.
“There’s quite a bit of economic disparity and big pockets of poverty (in San Antonio),” said Restore Education Executive Director Kelli Rhodes, whose organization helps area youth complete a high school equivalency credential and college degrees after dropping out of school.
Restore Education has spent the past nine years providing adult education, college preparation and workforce connection services to more than 4,500 residents from San Antonio and surrounding areas of Bexar County. It’s the only organization in the region that offers an integrated General Education Development (GED) and college prep program to dropouts and provides continued support to graduates as they complete college. Participants attend classes at Restore Education’s learning center in central Bexar County or at one of its satellite sites.
The results are clear: Restore students are eight times more likely to earn college degrees than average GED graduates. Restore Education even covers the $170 cost of its participants taking the GED exam. Proceeds from a $2,150 grant from the Sundt Foundation helped cover some of those expenses.
“We offer an individualized adult education program,” Kelli said. “Each person gets his or her own learning plan and is connected to one of our staff. We pay for their tests and can connect them to resources to pay for bus passes and childcare.”
Kelli said students who participate in adult education programs can increase their yearly income by as much as $10,000. Moreover, being in an adult education program has a direct impact on the literacy of the students’ children. These students are also the first in their families to attend college.
“What I’ve learned is that all students left high school for a reason,” Kelli said. “It wasn’t because they didn’t want to be there. But they all willingly choose to come here to improve their employment and change their lives.
This is the second in a series of stories about non-profit organizations that were supported by the Sundt Foundation in 2016. The articles will appear on our blog on Tuesdays through May 23.
January 9, 2017
San Antonio Area Manager Pat Beal.
Pat Beal recently joined Sundt as our San Antonio Area Manager for transportation work. He has more than 25 years of experience working in various construction roles, including field engineer, project engineer, superintendent and estimator.
He was previously a project manager on several major freeway projects across Texas. His experience includes the reconstruction of the US 75 North Central Expressway in Dallas and the Loop 410 in San Antonio. Most recently, Pat worked on a $900 million, design-build construction of State Highway 99 Grand Parkway in Houston.
What interested you about working at Sundt?
Sundt puts an emphasis on people. Everyone is an owner and you get the feeling that we are all working as a team for success of the company as a whole. Our goal is to all succeed together. I like that.
What have you been doing in your first few weeks with the company?
My first few weeks with the company involved taking care of required training. After that, I started getting involved in the San Pedro Creek Improvements project that we have under contract with the San Antonio River Authority and also began looking at upcoming bid opportunities with the Texas Department of Transportation in the San Antonio area.
How do you spend your time away from work?
I try to spend as much time with my family as I can. My daughter is on her tennis team in high school, so I try to catch her games on weekends. My son is attending Texas A&M University, so I’ve been able to make a couple of Aggie football games as well. There’s nothing like watching the Texas Aggie Band perform at Kyle Field on a Saturday afternoon. Most of my remaining weekend time is spent in my hometown of Shiner, Texas. I enjoy helping my dad on his farm. Whether it’s fixing fences, feeding the cows or shredding weeds, there is always something that needs to be done on the farm. Some people may call it work, but I call it fun.
Have you seen any interesting TV shows recently?
I got caught up in a Netflix series recently called “The Ranch.” A bunch of misfits trying to run a ranch in Colorado. It’s got several actors from “That ’70s Show.” If you enjoyed “That ’70s Show,” you’ll enjoy watching “The Ranch.”
December 30, 2016
Sundt Senior Vice President and Texas District Manager Eric Hedlund.
One of our employee-owners is about to become a Hall of Famer.
Sundt Senior Vice President and Texas District Manager Eric Hedlund has been named to the Arizona State University School of Sustainable Engineering and Built Environment Hall of Fame. He will be inducted Feb. 3.
Eric was selected by an awards committee based on his reputation in the construction industry, his leadership and support of the Del E. Webb School of Construction and his philanthropic efforts. Eric served as the Chair of the Executive Advisory Board for Del Webb School of Construction for eight years.
“All Phoenix-area industry stakeholders have worked hard to ensure the Del E. Webb School of Construction is a best-in-class experience for the students,” Eric said. “I am very honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame by this outstanding program.”
In addition to heading up our offices in Fort Worth and San Antonio, Eric is responsible for the overall performance of the district’s building projects, including acquiring and executing work. He has been with Sundt for 30 years, and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Arizona.
He is a past national chairperson of the Building Division and the Public Private Industry Advisory Council for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Eric has also served on the national AGC Board of Directors. Additionally, he has served on the Board of Directors for local AGC chapters in Arizona and Texas.
December 16, 2016
Sundt Senior Project Manager Chad Yount.
Senior Project Manager Chad Yount has been in the construction industry for 10 years. He started with Sundt in 2008 as a Field Engineer and worked his way to his current position, which he started this year.
Chad specializes in large-scale transportation work. His next assignment is bringing a world class linear park to the San Antonio community through the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project after serving as Project Manager on the $228 million Sellwood Bridge Replacement Project in Portland, Oregon.
How did the Portland community react to the finished product at Sellwood Bridge?
The community was very grateful and excited to have a new bridge connecting the Sellwood community to downtown Portland. The old Sellwood Bridge was failing structurally and was not safe for pedestrians and cyclists due to the narrow sidewalks. The new bridge will withstand a major earthquake and offers 12-foot sidewalks for the large bicycle community.
What did you learn from that work that can be applied to San Pedro Creek?
Bringing an iconic, complex project such as Sellwood Bridge through the heart of any city requires the community to modify its daily activities. We were able to engage the neighborhoods and all interest groups in efforts to minimize those disruptions. That will also be extremely important to the San Pedro project. We want all local businesses to thrive during construction. If they aren’t successful then we aren’t successful.
What are people in San Antonio identifying as the most important aspects of the project?
The project will improve flood control throughout the west side of downtown while bringing life back to the creek. San Antonio was founded on San Pedro Creek almost 300 years ago so remembering the heritage and culture of the area is top priority for the project.
What are some of the innovative approaches the team has planned?
The majority of the risk on the project is in what lies below ground. With any project through downtown the existing infrastructure is always a concern. To mitigate these risks, we have been using virtual design and construction to model all existing and new infrastructure. This helps us identify conflicts in the office during preconstruction instead of in the field when issues cost time and money.
How is the work progressing?
Because this is a CMAR project, we have been working with the design team and owner for the last six months. We’re excited to get started with horizontal directional drilling. After the New Year, the team will begin demolition and excavation on the north end of the project.
Senior Marketing/Proposal Specialist Dustin Hicks.
Dustin Hicks is a senior marketing/proposal specialist who has been with the company for two and a half years. He has more than eight years of industry experience in mining surveying, energy sector development and construction marketing.
Dustin handles proposals across all our disciplines (building, industrial and transportation), specializing in the Texas market, as well as a variety of marketing projects.
He recently took a few minutes to answer questions about his life at and away from work.
What does your job involve?
As a senior marketing/proposal specialist I am responsible for the preparation, creation, and composition of marketing packages, proposals and presentations and coordinating efforts with business development teams to create winning pursuits. I enjoy the challenge of designing and presenting new ways to market our company for our clients and an external audience.
How much of a team effort is it putting together a winning work proposal?
With the help of very knowledgeable and talented business developers, virtual design and construction engineers, estimators, and sometimes even additional proposal specialists, we have all collaborated to produce some very impressive work. I could not respond to these complex proposals effectively on my own. It takes a huge, collaborative effort from our people to develop winning proposals.
What’s your favorite sport and why?
There aren’t many sports I don’t like. To make it easy, I’ll list my favorite team from each major sport and see how many rivals I can stir up. In no particular order: Hockey – Chicago Blackhawks; Basketball – San Antonio Spurs; Baseball – Detroit Tigers; Football – Oakland Raiders.
I also like playing and watching golf. I was fortunate to see Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson play at the Valero Texas Open a few years ago. I also enjoy running, cycling, swimming and especially hiking.
What are your favorite things to do away from work?
I work hard so I can play hard. I live for the next great adventure. My wife, Sarah, and I love going on road trips, camping, hiking with our dog, going to concerts, trying new restaurants and getting the most out of what this life has to offer.
We also volunteer for a local non-profit organization called Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc., whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release native wildlife and to provide sanctuary, individualized care and a voice for other animals in need.
What’s the best trip you’ve taken?
Every road trip to far West Texas is unique. We’ve headed west from San Antonio in all four seasons and encountered something completely different each time. Whether it’s camping in Big Bend National Park or Big Bend Ranch State Park, there is more than a million acres of nature’s best playground. Dodging rattlesnakes, scorpions, tarantulas, roadrunners, jackrabbits, lizards, javelinas, bears and mountain lions is all par for the course. The scenery of deserts, mountains, rivers and big Texas skies day or night is pretty spectacular. My wife and I love it out there so much we got married at a historic ranch in the Chinati Mountains.