November 14, 2018
November 8, 2018
Sundt Construction’s Jon McKelvain presented at Texan by Nature‘s (TxN’s) first annual Conservation Wrangler Summit and Celebration last month in Dallas, Texas at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The summit brought together more than 200 Texas leaders to discuss the beneficial connections between business and conservation, and to highlight the best Texan-led conservation projects in the state. Topics ranged from addressing light pollution, to oil drilling with a smaller footprint, to using man-made wetlands to treat reclaimed water while serving as a habitat for wildlife. With all of the ideas presented, it was evident that Texans, by nature, are creative and community-minded people, and when they come together amazing things can happen.
Jon McKelvain, Vice President and Preconstruction Manager for Sundt’s Building Group, Texas District, spoke on engaging employees and the community, covering a broad range of Sundt projects and initiatives that exemplified industry best practices. “As a company, we empower our people to get out in the community and work with causes they believe in,” Jon said. “Also, we try to select projects that will have wide-reaching positive impacts on the surrounding area. There’s a lot of work out there to be won, but we’re passionate about pursuing the right projects.” Among many such projects, Jon covered a few high-profile examples.
Jon speaking on the Ocotillo Water Reclamation Facility, where technological innovation allows for smaller footprint and reduced sludge production. Sundt’s work increased service capacity to allow for community growth, and the water was made available for aquifer recharge, industrial use and irrigation.
In San Antonio, Texas, Sundt created a world-class linear park and public gathering space for an underserved community at San Pedro Creek, which became the focal point of the city’s 300-year anniversary celebration. “Think about it,” Jon said. “Before, that was basically just a concrete drainage ditch. Now, it’s a new park that’s improving flood control and serving as wildlife habitat and recreational space, with an anticipated $1-billion impact on the area.” Additionally, Sundt’s work on APS Four Corners in Farmington, New Mexico allowed for significant reduction in the power plant’s emission of greenhouse gasses, while also providing jobs and long-term economic benefits for the local Navajo Nation.
Other key projects were discussed, as well as the impact of the Sundt Foundation, which has given more than $8.6 million in grants to local charities and nonprofits since 1999, nearly half of which has come directly from Sundt employee-owners. Speaking on Sundt’s behalf about who we are and who we want to be as a company, Jon shared several instances of best practices with a focus on community and sustainability.
TxN founder, former first lady Laura W. Bush, addresses the crowd. The nonprofit brings conservation and business together, supporting efforts that are Texan-led, community-organized and data-based.
TxN’s goal is to amplify conservation projects and to activate new investment in research and conservation, which returns real benefits for people, prosperity and natural resources. “The whole premise behind Texan by Nature is that conservation is just good business, and it improves everyone’s quality of life,” Jon said. And true prosperity, as Jon pointed out, goes well beyond material wealth. For Sundt, a company whose purpose centers around creating prosperity for the communities where we live and work, this is an effort in which we’re proud to take part.
November 2, 2018
“People who are both highly capable and humble are great hires. Humble people share the credit for their successes and emphasize teamwork instead of drawing attention to themselves,” said Dan Haag in his recent interview with the Phoenix Business Journal. Those who know Dan will agree: he is both a highly capable and humble leader. Even in the spotlight, he is quick to give credit to his team and the mentors in his past who helped him get to where he is today. This is a big part of why Dan won the Chief Human Resources Officer of the Year award last week at the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2018 C-Suite Awards.
Click here to view the video highlighting Dan’s award.
Currently in his fifth year as Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Sundt Construction and his 40th year in his field, Dan knows a thing or two about helping individuals and organizations grow successfully. Dan has helped Sundt make huge strides in its mission to be the most skilled builder in America. Since his start here in 2010, the company has doubled in size, and still nearly 20 percent of our workforce has been with the company for at least 10 years. Sundt is consistently ranked one of the best places to work across our offices throughout the Southwest. All of this is a testament to our company’s culture, which Dan and his team have worked hard to facilitate. By investing in the right people, especially our highly skilled craft workforce, Dan has contributed to huge wins for our clients and employee-owners.
Dan with Sundt’s Craft Workforce Development Leadership
What makes Dan deserving of this award, however, isn’t just his singular work as CAO. It’s that he realizes the bigger impact of his profession, and he plays several roles in the industry and community. Dan works with schools, businesses, government, and nonprofits to help people become career-ready and career-literate. He’s leading a countrywide effort alongside 30 of the largest contractors, the AGC, and NCCER to address the craft labor shortage (projected to reach 2 million+ vacancies by 2020). And Sundt is becoming a national model for workforce development in its partnership with Central Arizona College, in which Dan has been instrumental. On top of that, Dan is a board member and former executive director of the Sundt Foundation, and he has continued Sundt’s legacy of giving back to the community.
Reflecting on his win and the things he’s learned over the course of his career, Dan said, “The best word that I can think of, in looking back, is that I’ve been very blessed.” Dan has paid his blessings forward in his tenure with Sundt, and many people have been impacted by his leadership. Congratulations, Dan!
May 18, 2018
Chandeliers, clinking glasses, vegan options, people dressed to the nines—this doesn’t sound like the world of construction. But make no mistake: when it comes to corporate philanthropy and giving back to our community, Sundt definitely has a seat at the table.
Nearly 300 people attended the Phoenix Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy Awards ceremony at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, where several local businesses were honored for their charitable efforts.
Sundt was named as a finalist for the Community Impact Large Award along with Phoenix Children’s Hospital and winner Alliance Bank of Arizona. Sundt Foundation Chair, Marian Enriquez, was honored by our selection. “The heart of our corporate philanthropy is embedded in Sundt’s culture,” she said. “The real differentiator for us is how we empower our employee-owners to actively make a difference in the communities where they live and work. We’re looking forward to another big milestone in 2019, as the Sundt Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary.”
Clearly, the Phoenix business community has a big heart. Sundt was one of many companies honored at the Phoenix Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy Awards for the amazing things their employees are doing in our city. Some firms give directly to various causes while others operate charitable foundations; some donate equipment or in-kind services, and others serve as volunteers.
Sundt employee-owners from left to right: Lisa White, Cathie Gabriel, Nicole Calamaio, Clay Mullenax, Marian Enriquez, Randy Rusing, Melissa Cheney, and Sarah Philippe
Beyond the numbers—the millions of dollars donated and hundreds of thousands of hours served—what stood out most was the stories people shared about caring for others: a community diaper bank for young parents in need; an initiative for creating affordable housing; STEM programs for girls in Namibia; grants for local public school teachers. The list goes on. When told altogether, these stories reveal the character of our city, where getting involved is just good business practice. CEO Marc Schmittlein of CopperPoint Insurance, who won the Community Impact Medium Award, said it best: “Phoenix is the sixth largest city in the country, but it may be the number-one city when it comes to giving back.”
Visit the Phoenix Business Journal to read more about Sundt’s impact.
May 3, 2018
As Phoenix’s summer temperatures hit triple digits, many homeless and disadvantaged people suffer from thirst and heat-related illness. Today, Sundt employee-owners and industry partners donated 296,252 bottles of water to assist the Phoenix-area’s homeless during our annual Thirst-Aid drive.
The water was loaded onto a semi-truck and delivered to St. Joseph the Worker, a nonprofit that has aided the homeless and underserved population for almost 30 years in Greater Phoenix. St. Joseph partners with the Human Services Campus, a collaboration of 12 homeless service providers, to distribute the water.
If you would like to contribute, visit St. Joseph the Worker’s website to make a donation.
Project Linus blankets go to sick children or those facing hardship.
Named after the beloved, blanket-carrying character from the “Peanuts” comic strip, Project Linus does real-life work that improves the lives of children facing hardship.
Tucson Chapter Coordinator Rene Lassise said her group has a database of around 300 volunteers who make blankets and drop them off or pick them up and quality check them at collection sites around the city. One of those locations is Sundt’s Tucson office; the company lends space to the organization once a month.
Project Linus gives blankets to facilities and nonprofits that distribute them based on need.
“Our blankets are delivered once a month to hospitals, clinics, the DCS/foster care facilities, Ronald McDonald House, Emerge!, Blake Foundation/Easter Seals, etc.,” Rene said. “We try to fill the needs at the hospitals and clinics first, getting blankets to the neediest children.”
Project Linus’ national organization estimates purchasing the material to make a blanket costs $20. The Tucson chapter also accepts donations of new, clean yarn and fabric. By mixing donations with new materials, Rene is able to make kits available to groups and individuals to turn into blankets.
Volunteers from the Tucson chapter made 6,800 blankets last year. A $2,000 grant from the Sundt Foundation is helping the organization supplement what it has and keeps volunteers from having to dig as deep in their pockets to pay for supplies. In a sign of gratitude, the organization made a blanket with Sundt’s logo on it that hangs in the Tucson office’s lobby.
“Our organization needs these blankets for the children all the time, 365 days of the year. It isn’t a one-time event,” Rene said. “The grant from the Sundt Foundation enables me to have the materials available for the volunteers to make the blankets.”
Rene said her chapter receives numerous cards and letters from blanket recipients. She has almost five scrapbooks filled with thank-you notes.
“I have one story from a young lady I met at the University of Arizona during one of our events on campus,” Rene said. “She was a senior and getting ready to graduate that spring. When she was 15, she attempted suicide. While in the hospital, she was given a Linus blanket. She said she realized the world is full of caring people and she still had her blanket in the dorm room with her.”
This is part of a series of blogs about the positive impacts made by the Sundt Foundation.