July 6, 2017
June 2, 2017
Jonathan Graham with his wife, Dana, and their 1-year-old daughter, Hadley, at a fireworks show in Heber, Arizona this week.
He’s known as “Unicorn” on Sundt’s University Square job site in Tempe, Arizona. The mythical name came about because Jonathan Graham’s safety badge features a photo of his 1-year-old daughter wearing a unicorn hat.
But the nickname could easily apply to Jonathan himself. Earlier this year, he made the unusual move of going from an office job, complete with air conditioning, to a construction site. He’s part of our concrete crew as a lead man form carpenter.
While he says he’s always been mechanically inclined, Jonathan’s career change was met with some skepticism. After all, it meant working outdoors in Tempe during the hottest time of year. Temperatures in June topped 120 degrees.
“The consensus was that I was crazy to do concrete work in the summer in Arizona,” said Jonathan, who has been married six years. “My family understood and they know the type of person I am.”
Jonathan’s path to Sundt started by working in sales for a social media and digital engagement company in Scottsdale. That’s where he met Jerrin Jaramillo, who’s now a Sundt recruiter. After leaving that company, Jerrin stayed in touch with Jonathan and encouraged him to apply at Sundt. Jonathan eventually did and started here this past February.
“(Jerrin) talked very highly about Sundt and the ESOP,” said Jonathan, who has a degree in business communications from Arizona State University. “I wanted to get back in the trades and use my degree in a different way.”
Jonathan’s father was a sheet metal worker in Michigan, so he grew up around the trades. When Jonathan moved to Arizona in 2007, he did facilities maintenance work for nine United Blood Systems buildings.
A move back to an office environment wasn’t what he wanted in the long run.
“When I got back in the office, I realized it wasn’t for me,” he said. “I didn’t want to sit in a cubicle and be attached to a phone.”
Getting back in the field has had its health advantages. Freed from cubicle life, Jonathan is feeling healthier than ever after “getting away from sodas and doughnuts.”
“Physically, it’s been kind of crazy,” he said. “I’ve lost 45 pounds. It’s good for me.”
He’s seen University Square, a residential and mixed-use development, go from the ground up. In late June, the crew was setting concrete on the sixth floor.
“Every day I come to work, something’s different, the site has changed, the building is growing,” Jonathan said.
Part of the draw of returning to craft work was a good change of pace: No sales calls, no boring meetings and plenty of pride in his work.
He also hopes to work his way up in the organization and there’s plenty of history of that at Sundt. Our two most recent President/CEOs started their careers as craft workers.
“I want to climb the ranks and become a foreman and supervisor,” he said. “I’m a totally different person than I was when I started.”
This blog is part of our series of posts about career-related subjects. For more information about opportunities with Sundt, please follow us on Twitter or visit our website.
February 15, 2017
Concrete Foreman Alex Martinez is a second-generation Sundt employee.
Alex Martinez’s story is one of persistence. After honing his skills in the field for several years, he recently was promoted and is playing a key role as a Concrete Foreman in our work at University Square in Tempe, a mixed-use project near the Arizona State University campus.
His father was a Sundt employee in the 1970s, even keeping his original hard hat years after leaving the company. After a little more than three years as an employee-owner, Alex was promoted to his current position last month.
What’s the most enjoyable project you’ve worked on and why?
I’m working at University Square, where they have asked us to participate in an amazing mentorship program. When I was out working in the field as craft I was invited into morning safety meetings. They brought me in and I was able to ask a lot of questions and was given more direction. It’s building me as a team leader.
What is Sundt doing to make this a better workplace for craft employees?
Our leadership instills that safety always comes first. That makes our people feel secure to come in and work and return home as safe as they came in.
Anyone on the jobsite has the ability to stop work if he or she believes safety could be an issue, right?
That’s always promoted. They instill it from laborers up the chain. We assess the situation and create a different plan if we have to for everyone to be safe. We also use a buddy system where we work in pairs and watch out for one another, take water breaks and get into shade when it’s hot.
How much of a role did the Employee Stock Ownership Plan play in your decision to work at Sundt?
When I went through orientation and they talked about the ESOP, it was really attractive. A lot of people jump companies for money. Sundt considers us employee-owners and has created a whole different atmosphere. We take more pride in the work. When you retire you can do so comfortably. The ESOP inspires people to do better.
What are some of the things craft workers do on jobsites to encourage teamwork and camaraderie?
When you come out in the field, you see the camaraderie. It’s more of a brotherhood. We look out for each other. At the end of the day, you see a lot of handshakes. There are people who give each other hugs. We look forward to working together the next day.
December 28, 2016
Formerly known as University Square, the project will include a 12- and 20-story tower.
Sundt is transforming a parking lot into a 407-unit residential and retail mixed-use development in Tempe, Arizona. The project will cover a city block near the Arizona State University campus.
“This project will add a vibrant community within walking distance of Tempe’s thriving downtown,” Sundt Vice President and Regional Director Marty Hedlund said. “This is an exciting new development for our city.”
The yet-to-be-named project, previously known as University Square, will feature a cascading design with shorter portions of the building facing University Drive and 7th Street and taller elements located mid-block. The first tower will be 20 stories and the second will be 12 with primarily studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The second tower will face 7th Street with 22 walk-up city homes and flats wrapping the first four stories. The project also includes more than 31,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
Residents will enjoy top-of-the-line amenities including a shared fifth-floor deck with resort-style swimming pool, barbecue grilling area and outdoor lounges with cabanas and fire pits. There will also be a state-of-the-art fitness center, dog walk and a bike workroom with storage for more than 450 bikes.
July 11, 2016
The buildings will be within walking distance of Downtown Tempe.
A Sundt team is turning a parking lot into two high-rises filled with places to live, work and play in Tempe, Arizona. The project, a 407-unit residential and retail mixed-use development, covers a block in the state’s eighth-largest city.
“This project will add a vibrant community within walking distance of Tempe’s thriving downtown,” said Sundt Vice President and Regional Director Marty Hedlund. “This is an exciting new development for our city.”
The first tower will be 20 stories, and the second will be 12 with primarily studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The second tower will feature 22 walk-up city homes and flats wrapping the first four stories. The project also includes more than 31,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
Residents will enjoy top-of-the-line amenities including a shared fifth-floor deck with a resort-style swimming pool, barbecue grilling area and outdoor lounges with cabanas and fire pits. There will also be a state-of-the-art fitness center, dog walk and workroom with storage for more than 450 bicycles.
Many of Sundt’s clients want sustainable elements included in their projects. Arizona State’s commitment to green practices earned the university an award for sustainability before its facility was even finished.
The overhaul of Sun Devil Stadium, in the second year of its three-year duration, has scored the university the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Sustainability Award. The honor, sponsored by the USG Corporation, will be presented during ASU’s football game against Utah on Nov. 10 in Tempe.
ASU was chosen from three finalists by a seven-member committee consisting of athletics directors and NACDA/USG representatives. The award honors universities for incorporating sustainable practices and materials into their athletics facilities.
Our joint venture team with Hunt Construction is including several sustainable elements in the project:
*Low-flow plumbing fixtures for higher savings in water consumption.
*Water-efficient landscaping using local drought-resistant vegetation to reduce irrigation demand by at least 50 percent.
Building Materials and Construction Waste
*Use of recycled and regional materials for at least 20 percent of the cost of construction materials.
*Sustainably sourced FSC-certified wood.
*Commitment to diversion of at least 75 percent of construction waste from landfill.
Indoor Environmental Quality
*Use of low-volatile organic compound interior materials.
*Enhanced thermal comfort controls for at least 50 percent of the regular occupants.
The project will be completed in time to start the 2017 football season.