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.
Some of the Wounded Warriors Sundt hosted at the Mike Gaines golf event in San Antonio.
Sundt employee-owners and industry partners don’t let a little rough weather get in the way of supporting a good cause.
A sold-out field of players braved cool weather and wind gusts of nearly 40 mph in San Antonio last month to play in our Mike Gaines golf event at the Silverhorn Golf Club of Texas. Included in the group were 15 Wounded Warriors who we hosted and presented with golf shirts.
The players and other sponsors combined to contribute $31,200 to support ALS research conducted by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Our company and industry partners support the fight against ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, by holding five golf tournaments and a trap-shooting event at locations across the Southwest.
The events honor the memory of Mike Gaines, a longtime Sundt employee-owner who died in 2002 from ALS complications. The events, which started with a golf tournament in Tucson in 2001, have raised almost $2 million.
CPS Energy’s headquarters buildings are getting a major makeover by our Sund team.
There’s more than one way to skin a building. In the case of CPS Energy’s Headquarters in San Antonio, Sundt is taking the safest approach.
Our work involves removing the exteriors of two buildings, one 11 stories and the other 14. The 1979 brick structures cover about 460,000 square feet and are located adjacent to the iconic San Antonio River Walk. CPS is the nation’s largest municipally owned energy company.
“This is a high-traffic pedestrian and riverboat area that begins the southern portion of the Riverwalk known as the Museum Reach. It’s the location of many of San Antonio’s popular museums, which are just north of our site,” said Regional Director Todd Calder.
The River Walk is the city’s biggest attraction. An estimated 11.5 million visitors visit the maze of restaurants, shops and attractions each year, creating an annual economic impact of $3 billion, according to a San Antonio Center City Development and Convention & Visitors Bureau study.
With safety as our top priority, we will be using a contained scaffold system to CPS; it will function as a cocoon-like barrier to ensure that debris doesn’t escape the jobsite or have adverse effects on the River Walk or downtown neighbors.
“This solution, coupled with our safety culture and commitment, was a huge factor in CPS selecting Sundt,” Todd said.
Our Transportation Group’s efforts on another San Antonio project, the nearby San Pedro Creek, was another factor in securing the CPS work. We are working closely with the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) on both projects, as SARA governs the primary rivers and creeks in Bexar County.
“The ongoing success of San Pedro Creek showed CPS that our team was capable of being a great partner in working with a large group to positively portray the project and to assist in informing the public of the upcoming and ongoing changes,” Todd said.
Drones are being used more and more often on construction sites these days and Sundt’s projects are no exception. Much of our drone work is happening in California and Texas, including the CPS Energy Headquarters in San Antonio. In this video, Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Jonathan Ammon explains how the technology is being used to provide client value on the project.