“What’d you do this summer?” is a question every student answers as school starts across the country. Not only did Sundt interns work on real construction sites developing real skills, they can also boast that they built construction apps that will save real time and real money.
For the Sundt Office 365 App Competition, each of our interns was asked: how can you improve a process, not just do the process? By identifying ways to automate processes, each one left their respective projects better off than they found them. They had only one month to complete the task, but these students rose to the challenge.
Congrats, interns! Amid much fanfare at Sundt HQ, Continuous Improvement Manager Dominic Daughtrey presented overall winner Griffin Monfette-Baker with his $800 prize.
“These young people blew the judges away with their creativity, insights, use of technology, and adoption rates of their solutions,” said Sundt Continuous Improvement Manager Dominic Daughtrey, who helped facilitate the competition. “The 2019 intern class will inherit this industry one day, and starting them out with creative autonomy, an opportunity for mastery, and a purpose behind their work is one of the most powerful impacts we can have on construction. I’m humbled to be a part of it.”
We spoke with Ananya Chada, Sundt’s Building Group grand winner, about her solution to the weekly work plan. After sitting in on a few meetings, she realized how much information was discussed and documented, but sometimes didn’t translate to action. “I was trying to see where we could make the process better,” said Ananya, “and I thought this app would be a great way to make use of the technology for our daily activities and daily planning.” By utilizing a PowerBI dashboard, she was able to create a clearer picture of action items and responsibilities, while also streamlining the data-entry process.
The GRFN365 app was named after Griffin for his winning submission, which automates the tool commissioning process. Griffin and his colleagues’ apps showed that these digital tools were easy to create and applicable to every jobsite.
The overall winner was Griffin Monfette-Baker, who completed his internship with Sundt’s Industrial Group. Griffin’s app submission automates the tool commissioning process on site, which before was a paper/spreadsheet-based task that took several hours per week. Data on tools like hammer drills or band saws (checkout, damage, corrective actions, etc.) is now collected directly on the user’s mobile device, pushed through Forms/Flows to a SharePoint site, and then visualized on PowerBI. From start to finish, Griffin spent about 10 hours on the submission, most of which was mapping out the process and talking to the experts who have done it manually. Now, collecting the data digitally automates reporting and enables historic tracking to identify trending issues, while saving several hours of work each week.
When asked about the Sundt internship experience and the competition, Griffin said, “It was creative for Sundt to give us this opportunity. When I came down here to start my internship, I thought I would be doing just the regular, assigned tasks. This was a creative process that I was a part of, and I’m glad I got this opportunity.” Congrats to Griffin and all of our 2019 interns!
Each year at Sundt, we’re excited to bring on a new group of interns who are eager to gain firsthand experience in the construction industry. Our interns come from across the country and are placed on a project team in all of our groups and regions. Many of them go on to become full-time Sundt employee-owners after graduation. For this year’s National Intern Day, we picked a few interns from the Southwest District of our Building Group to find out how their experience is going.
Abe (Project: Banner – University Medical Center Tucson):
“This will be my third internship. The team was ready to answer all my questions and help me as a young professional.”
Erik (Canopy by Hilton Tempe)
“Last year, I interned with Sundt’s Transportation group in the preconstruction unit. This year, working with the Building group, I learned all about what happens on the project after the precon phase. It was nice to see both sides of construction: behind the scenes, then on the job. I liked being able to work hands-on. Plus, getting exposure to two different types of construction was interesting. The team was helpful and willing to answer any questions I had.”
At the close of their internship, the interns from our Building Group, Southwest District are given the opportunity to explore their creative side. Each intern is tasked with making a short, one-minute video that summarizes their experience as an intern. They are encouraged to be as creative as they want, with no boundaries. We spoke with a few interns about their experience making the video as well as their time with Sundt.
Andrea (University of Arizona Student Success District)
“This is my first internship. It has been an interesting journey and helped me grow as a young engineer. The team has been extremely supportive, and everyone has taught me a lot: how to process submittals, interact with the owner, and submit RFIs. We had so much fun making my video. It took a long time to edit, but everyone helped out.”
See Andrea’s video below.
If you’re interested in learning more about an internship at Sundt, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What started as a $100 bet turned into a $130,000 fundraiser for the Sundt Foundation. Shave It or Save It was born when Sundt CEO Mike Hoover (half) jokingly told recently-promoted Concrete Operations Manager Danny Gumm that he’d donate $100 an inch for Danny to shave his beard. Others countered, saying, “No, save it!” And soon it became a full-on competition and GoFundMe campaign. In less than two weeks, 265 people had raised nearly $65,000 to either shave or save Danny’s famous beard.
Between the event and Facebook Live stream on Monday, hundreds gathered to show their support and learn the fate of Danny’s beard. With an Airstream barbershop in tow, Mike revealed the final results: the “shave it” side donated almost $10,000 more than the “save it” side, and Danny said goodbye to the most coveted (and expensive) beard in Sundt history. However, the big surprise was when Mike announced the company would not only match the winning side, but both sides, bringing the total to an incredible $129,196 donated to the Sundt Foundation.
Hats off to the employee-owners, family, friends, subcontractors, sponsors, vendors and everybody else who gave to Shave It or Save It and made this effort a success.
Phoenix-based barbershop Nippers Clippers came in style with their fully custom Airstream trailer.
Danny Gumm raised a toast to the crowd as the final look was revealed.
Sundt CEO Mike Hoover and Danny Gumm hold the final check addressed to the Sundt Foundation.
Union Tempe was named Mixed-Use Project of the Year at the 2019 Real Estate and Development (RED) Awards this week, hosted by AZRE Magazine and AZ Big Media. Sundt Construction and Opus Development Group were proud to receive the award together, paying tribute to what was truly a collaborative effort from beginning to end.
(From left to right) Rich Gohl, Jim Drago, Kelly Wyllie, Larry Pobuda (Opus), Garren Echols, Brett Hopper (Opus) and Ryan Abbott accept the award for Mixed-Use Project of the Year for Union Tempe
“The reason these projects work,” said Ryan Abbott upon accepting the award, “is because of fantastic clients and partners. This team worked around the clock to make something amazing happen, and we’re very proud of them.” Representing our partner, Opus Development Group—who also won the Developer of the Year Award, Executive Vice President Larry Pobuda said, “I’d like to give a special thanks to Sundt Construction, for being an outstanding partner, and kudos to SmithGroup for their amazing design.”
Sundt Senior VP and Building Group Southwest District Manager Ryan Abbott addresses the crowd at the 2019 RED Awards
For the Union Tempe project, Sundt transformed a surface parking lot into a 407-unit residential and retail mixed-use development, covering an entire city block just north of Arizona State University’s campus. “Our work is embedded in the community. For a long time, Tempe has been a university town,” said Ryan Abbott, “and Union Tempe is one of those developments that allows the city to be more diverse, in that young professionals and families can now live, work, and play all within the very vibrant and walkable downtown of Tempe.”
Out of several award-winning projects, Union Tempe was selected as the cover for AZRE Magazine’s latest issue.
“We couldn’t have done this without our trade partners, including Wilson Electric and Walters and Wolf,” said Southwest Preconstruction Manager Rich Gohl. Rich, Ryan, and several fellow Sundt employee-owners and partners were on hand to celebrate this year’s event, joining a packed crowd of attendees from across the commercial real estate industry. The RED Awards highlight impressive projects completed in the past year, as well as the companies and people that make each project possible.
Other Sundt projects honored at the RED Awards included our work on Grandview Terrace, an independent living Sun Health Life Care community, as well as Harrah’s Ak-Chin Resort and Casino, which were named respectively as finalists for Healthcare and Hospitality.
It was a fall morning on the calendar last month, but outside it felt like the dead of summer. Sundt employee-owners walked from their field office and joined the crowd beneath a white-canopied event tent, dwarfed by neighboring high-rises and tower cranes. Guests started taking off their suit jackets, picking up the SWAG pocket fans, and hydrating as if a coach somewhere had called a timeout. Even with the heat, however, there was a feeling of anticipation that couldn’t be sapped. It was time to celebrate.
Attendees from Sundt Construction, Allen + Philp Architects, the Opus Group, Driftwood Acquisitions & Development (DAD), Hilton, and the City of Tempe all came together to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Canopy by Hilton in downtown Tempe.
Carlos J. Rodriguez Sr., CEO of Driftwood Acquisitions & Development (DAD), kicked off the festivities with a dad joke; he praised his son and COO Carlos Jr. for treating this project as his baby, so in business terms “[Carlos Sr. is] a grandfather now.” Family humor aside, it was clear that this project means a great deal to many stakeholders, especially the city of Tempe, and it will take a village to complete something this size on such a tight lot and timeline.
The 14-story, 198-room boutique hotel is scheduled to open January 2020. It will feature various amenities, including a café, gym, over 3,000 square feet of meeting space, and a rooftop pool with a terrace bar, cabanas and a fire pit. As part of the Canopy by Hilton lifestyle brand, the new hotel will focus on local design, food and drink, and culture. “Everything about this is going to scream Tempe,” said Gary Steffen, Global Head of Canopy by Hilton. Steffen also noted the “breakneck speed” of Sundt’s progress, among other speakers who pointed out the irony of holding a groundbreaking ceremony with the first floor of concrete columns already in place.
Tempe Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby commented on downtown’s need for quality hotel and conference space, for business and leisure travelers as well as visitors to ASU. Also, she said, “This project will create over 620 jobs in Tempe for the short term, and then hundreds more in the long term to staff and run the hotel.”
Sundt Senior Project Manager Jim Drago, among the “vested” crowd in the back wearing their PPE, said, “The most challenging part is it’s an extremely small site—less than a half-acre, including our entire laydown area—to build a 14-story building. And it’s less than 100 feet from the high-rise apartments we just finished. It’s all about logistics.” Sundt’s Building Group, Southwest District recently finished the Union Tempe mixed-use project in June, just in time for move-in of its current 500 residents who include ASU students and faculty, young professionals and families.
According to Jim Drago, collaboration has been a key ingredient in the project’s development: “It’s not very common for two different developers to work together hand-in-hand, but that’s what Opus and Driftwood had to do to make the Canopy happen, and they continue to work together.”
Several things stand out about this project, from both a development and a construction standpoint. “It’s unique to have finished Union Tempe for one client and then transform right into the next project, a similar one but for a different client on the same piece of land,” Jim said. Both he and Project Superintendent Justin Gillies pointed out that having the same team on Canopy is a unique advantage. “It’s great to be able to leverage our shared learning experience,” Justin said. “And we’re going to need that to meet our goal of completing a floor a week.”
“The team all know each other, and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and styles. The chemistry is already built, and it shows in the teamwork that goes on every day,” said Jim Drago.
While the Building Group, Southwest District looks to put Sundt’s signature on yet another piece of Tempe’s rising skyline, fellow employee-owners in Texas are doing the same on the Canopy by Hilton San Antonio. As we expand our presence in the hospitality and entertainment market, Sundt continues to deliver for our clients and for the communities where we work and live.