January 25, 2018
December 30, 2016
Sundt Project Superintendent Ryan Silbernagel.
Ryan Silbernagel serves as Project Superintendent on our San Pedro Creek work in San Antonio. He recently took a little time to discuss what people in his position do to help project teams succeed.
What does a Project Superintendent do?
Primarily, he or she oversees the execution of work associated with a project. This includes ensuring safety is at the forefront every day for every task, the quality of work meets/exceeds contract specifications, and managing the resources needed to complete a project. We also help the Project Manager and Project Engineer develop and maintain the project schedule and ensure it is being met. Project Superintendents will regularly interact with clients and design teams, and help develop and maintain those relationships.
What type of education is needed?
A college degree is beneficial, but not necessary. I started as a laborer and worked my way up through the trades. I worked during the day and took a combination of vocational, math and engineering classes at night. Vocationally, I took welding courses. Along with becoming a Certified Welder, I gained technical knowledge that I still use frequently. Academically, higher-level math courses and engineering courses help with communicating ideas, concepts and issues to the design teams and clients.
What kind of experience is beneficial?
Having a thorough understanding of the work and being able to accurately schedule and plan it is crucial. I advise new engineers to spend time with the crews in the field and get their boots dirty. Learning the jargon and how things are built is one of the best ways to gain experience.
On how many projects have you been Superintendent?
Over the past 10 years, I have been responsible for seven projects as Project Superintendent.
What was your favorite project?
I enjoy technical and complex projects where there is an opportunity to employ unique construction methods. In my career, I’ve worked on three separate arch bridges, and the Sellwood Bridge project was my favorite. It was the most challenging, technical and diverse in scope.
What kind of qualities does a Project Superintendent need?
Effective communication (both listening and talking), confidence, time management, integrity and mastery of logistics.
What do you hope is next in your career?
I look forward to being challenged with difficult projects and learning new roles.
Click here for more information on a career with Sundt.
December 23, 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.
September 21, 2016
Sundt Area Manager Ted Aadland.
Sundt Area Manager Ted Aadland has more than 40 years of heavy highway experience. He has supervised more than 200 multifaceted transportation improvement projects, with experience including freight rail and highway bridges.
n 2010, Ted was elected by his peers to serve as president of the Associated General Contractors of America. His dedication to the industry is reflected in his continuous participation with the Associated General Contractors, both locally in Oregon and nationally. He has served as president of the Oregon-Columbia Chapter of the AGC and sat on numerous committees, including as co-chair for the group that developed the formal constructability review for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
As a Sundt employee-owner, he recently played a key role in the replacement of Sellwood Bridge, a 2,000-foot-long structure over the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.
What is it about bridge work that appeals to you?
The type of bridge that gets my juices flowing are ones that are over water or deep canyons. I like the challenge of building a structure that makes you think and plan and plan and plan.
How is it determined that a bridge needs to be replaced rather than repaired?
Bridges are evaluated by a department of transportation engineering team every two years. They are given a rating from one (the lowest) to 100. Sellwood Bridge had a rating of two. It was undersized for traffic loads, the sidewalk was only 3 feet wide, carrying both bike and pedestrian traffic. So it was dangerous. It needed to be replaced. The cost of repair up to today’s standards on a 92-year-old structure made no sense. Bridges have a lifespan that can be extended with good maintenance. However, agencies have to look at future needs and capacity when the decision is made to replace or repair. The biggest decision-breaker is infrastructure funding.
What’s the importance of having a healthy infrastructure?
If you travel anywhere in the world, you will see population centers are built around port cities. Here in the United States, because of our transportation system, we can manufacture hundreds of miles from our port cities and very economically transport those goods to transportation centers. Our highways allow commerce to move at pennies per mile and thus manufacturing can be done in small towns across the country. Our infrastructure is the reason we are the strongest nation in the world.
How badly does the industry need more skilled workers?
For a long time, we have known that when baby boomers retire, our industry would face a serious lack of skilled craft workers. The recession that we have gone through from 2007 until 2015 caused us to lose a generation of workers. Because of the scarcity of work, we were not able to bring in and train apprentices and many of our craft workers left the industry for jobs that provided steady income for their families. For years our public school counselors have guided students away from the crafts and steered them toward college. Today, we have the best educated baristas in the world. Everyone I talk to is looking for trained craft workers, both union and open shop.
How important is Sundt’s Center for Craft Excellence in the development of craft talent?
It is vital that we as a company and we as an industry put more time and money into craft training. There are Americans who need and want jobs. We know there is high unemployment among minorities plus there is an epidemic of homelessness. Individuals who want a job should have a great opportunity to be trained and move into well-paying jobs. Sundt’s future is tied to having the best craft workers available. We need to train and assure our craft workers that their future is with Sundt.
June 15, 2016
Sixty goats were on the grounds at the Sellwood Bridge project in Portland, Oregon.
Some of our subcontractors at the Sellwood Bridge project have horns, hooves and a healthy appetite for brush. They prefer night work, take daily power naps together and never request time off.
That’s because they’re goats. No kidding.
The goats were tasked with removing brush from the site and they will come back in the spring for more work.
The Slayden/Sundt Joint Venture transportation project in Portland, Oregon, has had a commitment to green measures from the beginning. Having 60 goats working together to get rid of brush eliminated waste that would be generated by humans thinning the thicket by hand. The City of Portland asked the team to clear the trail on the east side of the Willamette River on the $228 million project.
The lively livestock spent a couple of weeks onsite this month and are returning in the spring to eat blackberry vines.
The animals are owned by Goat Power, a husband and wife who travel the Willamette Valley with their four-legged friends in a refurbished bus. The goats go from one job to the next, working months at a time.
But the bearded wonders won’t completely replace humans on the Sellwood cleanup crew: People will still remove old vines and trim trees.
Parts of the old Sellwood Bridge are being recycled at a Portland steel plant.
Pieces of Portland, Oregon history are being shipped down the Willamette River to find new life. The Slayden/Sundt Joint Venture has started removing massive steel truss spans from the old Sellwood Bridge, which opened in 1925, and transporting them via barge 10 miles downriver to a plant for recycling.
The joint venture team has been working with its subcontractor, an independent design firm and the owner’s design team for more than six months planning the “shoofly” removal. Before the removal could start the team had to add strengthening to the temporary piers and truss section at specific locations to counter the forces applied to the remaining sections during lowering.
The truss will be taken down in a total of nine pieces. The four main sections, measuring 200 feet apiece, will be lowered onto a barge using four 250-ton strand jacks. Each will take approximately a week to remove.
The remaining five smaller sections above each temporary bent will be hoisted onto a barge using a derrick crane. Once the shoofly truss and substructure are dismantled, a marine subcontractor will remove the 80-pipe pile from the river.
“The riveted-steel truss will be processed and sold on the open market as a scrap commodity to a steel mill or foundry for use in the production of new steel,” said Senior Project Engineer Matt Fisher. “Recycling the old bridge contributes significantly to the sustainability characteristics of this important infrastructure project.”