July 21, 2017
July 17, 2017
Sundt Lead Estimator Larry Diaz.
Sundt Lead Estimator Larry Diaz is a San Antonio local, growing up about 60 miles from the city in Karnes City. He works out of our office in the Alamo City reviewing project documentation to determine scope of work, constructability and associated cost of construction for building projects in Texas.
Larry has a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Texas A&M-Kingsville. He has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Texas-San Antonio.
He has almost two decades of experience in the construction industry, all in the Texas market.
What made you want to work for Sundt?
Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, my father worked for Sundt on an airport project in Austin, Texas and a highway project in Arizona. He always spoke fondly of the Sundt organization and its people. I have noticed that since establishing an office in San Antonio, Sundt has made substantial gains in establishing itself as a major player in the local market. An opportunity presented itself in San Antonio and I jumped on it.
What kind of skills does someone need to be an estimator?
Most important, an estimator needs math skills. Estimating by its nature is working with numbers. Estimating also requires organizational skills; the data extracted during the estimating process needs to be organized in a format that can be conveyed and analyzed. Time management is important. Often, there are bid dates associated with an estimate and/or you may be assigned to multiple projects simultaneously. It is during these times that an estimator must be proficient with his or her time. Though an estimator may be pressed for time, it is crucial to the success of a project that he or she is detail orientated to ensure accuracy. Failure to identify and capture costs could be detrimental to the success of a project. Effective communication is essential. Estimators are often required to communicate their findings with other stakeholders. Open dialogue and transparency are key to successful projects. Lastly, critical thinking skills and technical knowledge are important. Identifying means and methods can help an estimator better understand how a project can be efficiently constructed. Experienced estimators should be able to visualize the job as shown on the drawings and how they would be able to construct the project in the field, step-by-step, most efficiently.
You’re a volunteer with Engineers Without Borders. What have you done as part of the organization?
I was part of the initial travel team that went to Papachacra, Bolivia to close out an existing project that provided safe and reliable drinking water for the people of the village. Our team conducted a needs assessment on communities throughout Bolivia. Based on our assessment, recommendations were made to our chapter and other chapters seeking new projects or communities to help. It’s typically a five-year commitment to a community.
What do you like to do away from work?
I like to spend time with my sons and my family. My sons are in numerous sports and school activities so, as any parent knows, that keeps you on the go. We also like to go bike riding, fishing, camping, hiking and exploring new places in and around San Antonio. Once a year, we try to take a week-long vacation somewhere new.
Where are your favorite vacation spots?
To name just a few: Machu Picchu, Peru; Cozumel, Mexico; Puerto Rico; St. Croix; Destin, Florida; Santa Fe; New Orleans; Washington D.C. and the Grand Canyon. There are still so many more on my list that I look forward to visiting.
July 14, 2017
The Sundt Training Wall will give Central Arizona College students hands-on experience in real-world situations.
An innovative partnership between Sundt and Central Arizona College (CAC) will soon begin training the next generation of construction professionals.
In conjunction with Sundt, CAC will offer five pre-employment one-year certificates and one three-year academic apprenticeship program that will lead to certifications, certificates and degrees that prepare students for workforce needs including heavy equipment operator, structural welding, pipefitting, industrial construction and concrete construction technology.
The construction industry offers excellent pay. According to buildyourcareer.com, heavy equipment operators and pipefitters nationally make almost $30 an hour and welders earn $33 per hour.
“The construction industry presents many opportunities for exciting, rewarding careers,” said Sundt Craft Workforce Development Manager Sean Ray. “There is growing demand for skilled workers in many areas. Our partnership with CAC will help develop a curriculum that meets today’s construction industry needs and standards, setting students up for successful careers.”
The courses meet National Center for Construction Education and Research standards, American Welding Society requirements and Occupational Safety and Health Administration 30-hour requirements. Students who complete the Associate of Applied Science can pursue a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Industrial Technology Management at Northern Arizona University or a related degree at universities throughout Arizona.
Programs matching the public and private sectors are important. The Associated General Contractors reported that 73 percent of construction companies surveyed expect to have trouble finding qualified help this year even as the industry’s needs are increasing.
To mark the partnership, the College on July 13 dedicated the Sundt Training Wall, which was built by two of our craft workers. The wall will provide real-life construction situations for CAC’s Welding Department students.
“The concrete training wall provides great possibilities,” said CAC Welding Professor Brent Couch. “Our AutoCAD students will be able to create fabrication, structural and construction drawings for creating structural connections. So many of our students are visual learners and this wall will allow them to visualize their work while replicating construction conditions.”
July 12, 2017
Sundt Craft Recruiter Lou Mantrom.
Sundt Craft Recruiter Lou Mantrom has been part of the construction industry for 17 years, working in the human resources and recruiting fields. He has worked from coast to coast, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina and Texas.
All of his experience has been in industrial construction.
What interested you about working for Sundt?
The opportunity to work for a smaller construction company that’s employee-owned, to work with (Sundt Industrial Group Operations Manager) Ken Dean again and to return to Arizona.
What are craft workers looking for in an employer?
An employer that will keep them working, treat them with dignity and respect and show appreciation for their efforts and sacrifices. The traveling craft workforce is traveling to make a living. They’ll stick around a lot longer if you don’t treat them like numbers or herds of cattle. Money will get them here; genuinely caring for and about them will keep them here.
Skilled craft workers are in high demand these days. How challenging is it to find good craft workers?
With the labor crunch we’re experiencing, the loss of experience as the Baby Boomers retire and the disproportionate number of new people entering the craft workforce, finding qualified craft workers is more challenging now than it has ever been.
What are the best ways for craft workers to get in touch with you to discuss job openings?
First, check the Sundt careers page. That’s the most accurate and up to date information on openings. If we have openings, they’ll be posted there. I can be reached at 480-293-3258 or via Facebook as HR Lou.
July 11, 2017
Sundt’s GO 10 project involves improvements to Interstate 10 in El Paso.
A U.S. Census Study last year showed Texas is the fastest-growing state in the country, adding an average of 1,183 residents each day. The need to keep up with infrastructure demand has the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) managing and providing more than $7 billion a year in transportation projects.
Sundt is performing one of those projects, GO 10 on the west side of El Paso. It extends 5.75 miles of Interstate 10 and includes construction of collector-distributor lanes through the corridor, improvement of I-10’s direct connection with Paisano Drive/Border West Expressway, addition of lanes to the interstate in both directions and reconfiguration of ramps and overpasses at three exits.
The project team is working at the most complex portions of the job on the project’s critical path. This work is key to meeting the goal of completing the project in December 2018, six months ahead of schedule.
“Each of these critical locations represents all of our trades simultaneously erecting bridge interchanges, installing retaining walls, connecting underground utilities and performing roadway grading operations,” Project Director Jason Esparza said.
The project team plans on resuming concrete paving by the end of July in an effort to finish nearly 40,000 square yards of the new collector-distributor lanes. Work is also being installed by subcontractors, including electrical infrastructure, asphalt pavement and steel girders.
The team set the stage for success by performing value engineering during the construction phase on the concrete paving. Substituting 9-inch pavement and eliminating 12-inch pavement on the widening of the I-10 main lanes created significant savings for TxDOT and us. The team also helped prioritize right-of-way acquisitions to open more work earlier for our crews.
“This approach allowed us to work in areas ahead of schedule,” Jason said.
Jennifer has undergone two double-lung transplants while living at the Ronald McDonald House in Tucson.
Jennifer is 19 and was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 6 months old. Her condition, a life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system, has caused her to undergo two double-lung transplants.
“She was doing better and hoping to start college but her lungs failed again,” Ronald McDonald House Tucson Chapter President & CEO Kate Jensen said of what brought about Jennifer’s second transplant.
Thanks to support from organizations such as the Sundt Foundation, which made a $2,500 grant to the Ronald McDonald House last year, Jennifer’s situation is getting better. The House used some of the money to help Jennifer’s father, who was driving back and forth to Tucson from the family home in Yuma, fix the air conditioning in his car.
Jennifer’s mother has been staying at the Ronald McDonald House with her daughter. Since officials at the Tucson Ronald McDonald House started keeping records in 2006, Jennifer has stayed there for 639 nights. Her longest stretch was 151 nights.
“She has literally grown up here,” Kate said.
The Ronald McDonald House also used the grant from Sundt to help a family after a bad car accident. Their car was totaled on a planned trip from California to Texas, their sons were taken to Banner-Diamond Children’s Medical Center and the mother and father hitched a ride to Tucson from someone they had never met.
Once they arrived in Tucson, they had little more than the clothing on their backs.
“We keep supplies of toothbrushes, soap and shampoo,” Kate said. “We used some of the money to help them buy clothes. Having that emergency fund available helps us meet families’ needs in ways we normally couldn’t.”
More of the Sundt Foundation grant was used to assist a high-school senior from Douglas, Arizona who had a premature baby. While the baby was hospitalized, the young woman stayed at the Ronald McDonald House to finish her senior year at Douglas High School. She was even asked to be the inspirational speaker at graduation this spring.
“We used the emergency fund to buy her a new dress for graduation,” Kate said.
Ronald McDonald House Charities provides resources and care to children and their families being served by leading hospitals worldwide. The Sundt Foundation is funded by employee-owner contributions that are matched by the company. Its mission is to assist underserved children and adults in the places we do business. Since it was formed in 1999, the foundation has made almost $8 million in grants.