April 13, 2018
April 4, 2018
Sundt Regional Vice President Todd Calder.
Sundt Regional Vice President Todd Calder is a lifelong Texan who is based at our San Antonio office. The son of a builder, Todd has been in construction 24 years, including the past three and a half with Sundt.
The Texas A&M graduate has worked on projects that have reached values as high as $750 million.
How busy is our Building Group in San Antonio?
It’s no lie, we are a bit on the busy side, but we are always looking for our next challenge. Our Texas Building Group team is wrapping up the VIA – Stone Oak Park and Ride, in full demolition phase of the CPS Energy Headquarters Project, completing shoring, retention and excavation on the Canopy Hilton River Walk and just beginning foundations on the Comal County Jail and Sheriff’s Office.
What is it about Sundt that’s helping us win so much work in the Alamo City?
The answer is always hard work, grit and having the best people, right? But in addition, Sundt’s Texas team has been headquartered in San Antonio for approximately eight years, and you have to give credit to the team that laid the foundation. Our recent success is due to Sundt’s culture and specifically, this office. There is a great synergy and enthusiasm throughout all aspects of our business development, preconstruction, administrative and operations teams, and I think our clients can feel it, too. We like what we do and the challenges that come with it, and we enjoy doing it together as a team. And last but not least, the people and capabilities of our Sundt Concrete partners has proved to be a real value added to our clients.
Could you tell us a little about your family’s foundation?
I am the president of The Judy Calder Foundation, a charitable foundation with a primary focus on benefiting animals and equine-related causes. My aunt Judy loved animals, and at her peak, had a herd of about 50 Arabian Horses. She and my uncle left a good portion of their estate to the remaining horses, seven of which we still care for on our ranch north of San Antonio. We just gave our first wave of grants out this last year, which included an endowed veterinary scholarship at Texas A&M University, a grant to assist in emergency veterinary services for events like Hurricane Harvey, and many other, local animal-related charities. The foundation is a wonderful reflection of my aunt’s love of animals and allows us to actively enhance local causes that she would have been passionate about.
What are your favorite things to do away from work?
There was a time when I would have said golf but I hardly play anymore. Most of my focus over the last few years has been around my family, especially my very active younger kids, and renovating our family ranch house where we live. It was constructed in 1835, which actually pre-dates The Republic of Texas (yes to all of you non-Texans, we still reference our life before statehood), and has been a bear of a project, but a very satisfying one just the same.
Where do you most enjoy traveling?
I love the mountains, and any chance to take the family skiing. We have been to Colorado, New Mexico and Utah over the last few years, and my kids are as hooked as I was when I was their age.
Which book or movie inspires you?
I do not do nearly enough reading, but the last author I read with any commitment was Dan Brown. As for TV/movies, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that may allow us to give up animated features and start enjoying movies again.
March 27, 2018
Continuous Improvement Program Manager Dominic Daughtrey (center) shows Project Engineer Tyler Persyn (left) and Intern Meagan Garcia how to use the DJI Phantom Pro 4 Obsidian drone.
Members of our team working on the Canopy Hilton along San Antonio’s historic River Walk recently took to the skies to avoid problems on the ground.
Continuous Improvement Program Manager Dominic Daughtrey held a training session with newly licensed drone pilots Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Mark Epstein and Engineering Interns Meagan Garcia and Matt Huffine for about 90 minutes using our DJI Phantom Pro 4 Obsidian.
The Canopy Hilton River Walk will be 22 stories with 195 rooms and a restaurant with an outdoor terrace.
Flights will take place before concrete is poured for the post-tension decks. The drone will be used to spot-check slab penetrations and sleeve locations, ensuring utilities are in the correct places and slab box-outs are the proper size before concrete is poured. Each time a clash is found in a post-tension slab, it costs the project between $10,000 and $50,000 to repair or resolve.
“With an incredibly complex project, it is one of our major goals to discover these clashes before they are constructed in the field,” Mark said. “Flights will also be performed following the concrete pour to monitor project progress, inspection and quality control.”
The craft will capture dozens of photographs and combine them using a program called Pix4D to create a jobsite orthomosaic, an aerial photograph geometrically corrected so the scale is uniform. Think Google satellite image (plan view) with 4K resolution. These plan views can also be geo-located with the use of precise ground control points. Aerial photographs are used to create a point cloud of the existing conditions and surrounding structures. A point cloud is a three-dimensional image and model that is created from the photographs based on the distance of the existing element from the drone. The model can be imported into the architect’s model to verify existing conditions and locations.
“On the Canopy project, we have a neighboring structure with a wall that is about 150 years old,” Mark said. “We’ve fully documented the existing conditions of that wall for any future questions, claims or otherwise. We’ve also created a point cloud model of it which accurately illustrates the location and will be used to proactively investigate constructability concerns.”
The hotel is one of the most high-profile projects going on in San Antonio. The 22-story facility will feature more than 3,000 square feet of meeting space, 195 guest rooms and a restaurant with an outdoor terrace overlooking the River Walk.
The Master Plan Project Overlay shows the complexity and tight confines on site.
January 19, 2018
Most people registered in Lifetime Recovery’s programs are medically and financially underserved.
About every 20 minutes, someone in Texas is hurt or killed in a vehicle crash involving alcohol. According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data, Texas led the nation in 2016 with 1,438 drunk-driving deaths.
San Antonio tops the state in DWI traffic accidents and deaths. Bexar County’s Health Department estimates that of the 1.7 million people living in the county, more than 200,000 suffer from substance use disorders. Of those, only 10,000 seek treatment each year.
“Experience has shown that the sooner people with substance use disorders are connected to services, the shorter their substance use tends to be, the shorter-lived the negative consequences of those patterns, and the better their chances at long-term recovery tend to become,” said Lifetime Recovery Director of Development Denise Powers. “Inpatient or outpatient treatment remains a most effective method to combat these alarming trends.”
Most people registered in Lifetime Recovery’s programs are medically and financially underserved. Lifetime received a $4,000 grant from the Sundt Foundation last year to expand the work it does in Texas’ largest city and the surrounding area.
“This gift enabled us to provide someone 26.66 days of treatment programming and services for substance use disorders,” Denise said.
Lifetime has numerous success stories. “Mike” entered treatment for alcohol abuse and turned his life around.
“Lifetime saved my life,” he said. “I am now working a full-time job and have returned to San Antonio College to study for a degree in counseling. And best of all, I was able to participate in my daughter’s wedding. I love attending Lifetime Recovery’s family event. I am truly happy being clean and sober today.”
This is part of a series of blogs about the positive impacts made by the Sundt Foundation.
November 10, 2017
One of the recipients of coats from Sundt employee-owner Kenny Smith shows off his new winter wear.
Bitterly cold temperatures and a lot of time to think on an airport runway inspired Sundt employee-owner Kenny Smith to help San Antonio’s homeless.
Kenny, a Concrete Project Manager on our Canopy Hilton project, left the downtown San Antonio jobsite one day earlier this month for the airport and a trip to Phoenix. On the way to his truck, he saw homeless people without proper clothing for a rare blast of winter temperatures coming to town.
“I went to the airport and got stuck on the runway for three hours due to snow on the plane,” he said. “I had time to think while waiting on the plane.”
When he returned to San Antonio, Kenny went through his and his girlfriend’s closets collecting coats to hand out. He asked co-workers to do the same and he soon had a nice amount of winter wear. When taking one of the coats back to the job site, Kenny said he saw a man sitting at a gas station asking for money.
“I told him I had something better and gave him the new coat,” Kenny said.
Kenny’s generosity and organizational skills earned him an internal company award. But he was never in it for recognition. The reaction he receives from the men and women he helps is more than enough when he pulls over to the side of the road to hand out jackets and coats.
“It wasn’t really hard to do or took much time out of my schedule. It was just the right thing to do to give back to people that need it more than we do,” Kenny said. “I learned that from my mother and grandmother.”
Sundt employee-owners and their families came out to support the Purple Run, put on by Cesar Salazar and his wife, Anastacia (far right) to support their Kristine Meza Foundation.
Six years ago, Sundt Field Supervisor Cesar Salazar’s wife, Anastacia, started the Kristine Meza Foundation in honor of a close friend who died as a result of domestic violence.
The foundation’s mission is to raise awareness about the impact of domestic violence. The organization is committed to strengthening individuals through education, compassion and courage. It serves as a resource to those associated with domestic violence’s physical, emotional and mental harm. Its biggest fundraiser is an annual Purple Race 5K, which drew 800 runners this year, including several Sundt employee-owners.
Anastacia took a few minutes to answer questions about where the foundation is and where she and Cesar would like to see it go. Cesar is working on our San Pedro Creek project in San Antonio.
How did the foundation come about?
The foundation came about in 2011 when we lost our friend Kristine Meza to domestic violence. In the last two years of life, Kristine endured a tough relationship with her former boyfriend. She went from being happy to feeling insecure, depressed and later fearing him. In no time, Kristine had unwillingly found herself in a domestic violence relationship. She took all necessary steps to legally protect herself but on Feb. 11, 2011, she was ambushed in her driveway on her way to work. Kristine’s passing left a huge hole in all those who knew her well. After her passing, family and friends embarked on a mission in hopes of making a difference for those who feel locked in silence. The Kristine Meza Foundation started Sept. 14, 2011.
Where are you getting your funding?
We get our funding from our Annual Purple Run and those who sponsor the event.
How did the Purple Run get started?
Left with mixed emotions about Kristine’s passing, I wanted to channel all my anger and hurt into something positive. I had participated in 5Ks and knew the crowd and energy one could form so I asked Kristine’s mom if we could host a 5K in her honor. On Feb. 18, 2012 we hosted the first domestic violence awareness 5K, “STOP the Silence, END the Violence 5K Run/Walk.” We had more than 440 people register and about 650 there. It was cold and pouring rain and people just kept on coming. We had our opening ceremonies and once we started our prayer, the rain stopped and the sun started shining. Once the race was over, the rain started again. It was a very powerful moment, a true you-had-to-be-there experience. After hosting two STOP the Silence, END the Violence 5Ks, the Battered Women & Children’s Shelter approached us and asked us to partner with them. We hosted the first Purple Run in October 2013.
Where would you like to see your foundation go in the future?
I would like our foundation to be known nationwide. I want sports teams to wear a purple awareness ribbon as well as a pink one (for breast cancer awareness) in October. I want to surpass 2,000 registrants in the Purple Run.