Sundt Field Superintendent Frank Islas delivers Sundt’s $25,000 check to the Houston Red Cross.
In response to destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey across eastern and southern Texas, Sundt Construction is donating $75,000 to be divided among Red Cross chapters in Corpus Christi, Houston and San Antonio.
The support will go toward shelter, food, water and clothing for those forced out of their homes by this epic storm. Sundt Field Superintendent Frank Islas made the $25,000 check presentation to the Houston Red Cross on Friday. The other two checks will be delivered next week.
Texas is home to hundreds of our employee-owners. We have offices in El Paso, Fort Worth, Irving and San Antonio.
Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25 near Rockport, Texas as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 mph. Impacted areas measured rainfall totals that ranged from 20 inches to 50 inches. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues. Seventy people in the U.S. were killed by the storm.
Project Manager Wes Hawkins, right, and the team take a flood victim to safety.
After Hurricane Harvey made a second landfall along the Texas coast this past Tuesday, three members of the Sundt team working on the State Highway 31 project in Corsicana, Texas knew it was time to take action.
“We were close to the storm but were only affected on the outside edge,” said Project Manager Josh Bunting. “We saw on the news that the local sheriffs were asking for help.”
Josh teamed with another Project Manager, Wes Hawkins, and Field Superintendent David Gallaway to represent the Corsicana team by making a nearly seven-hour drive to the Beaumont area to help those in need. They took Josh and David’s Ford trucks and David’s brother’s fishing boat.
The men were on their way to Houston but diverted farther northeast when they heard about flooding in Beaumont, near where the storm made landfall in Port Arthur.
“We tried to get in five different ways,” Josh said. “Every way we went there was water.”
Flood waters were running higher than 5 feet in some areas.
They ended up in the nearby community of Vidor, where they used the boat to rescue five people. They also saw devastation they could hardly imagine.
“You see it on TV and it doesn’t put it in perspective,” said Josh, who has worked in Texas for 7 years. “There was water halfway up the windows of houses, tons of flooded cars, churches and schools. People’s belongings were floating in the water.”
The water was so deep – Josh estimated 5 to 6 feet in many areas – that the three men drove the boat to the front door of the first person they helped.
“He had one plastic tub with his belongings in it,” Josh said. “The destruction was unbelievable. There’s just no fixing that.”
Everyone on our Corsicana crew wanted to go along but many had to stay behind to stay up to date on the project. The three who went were part of an armada of concerned people from across the region.
“There were a lot of people out there trying to get people out of their houses,” Josh said. “It was a big area. Even the couple of roads we went up and down was a small percentage of the people who needed help.”
One of the people the team rescued had a family member pick him up near Mauriceville, where the team dropped him off. The others went with volunteers to a church serving as a shelter in Buna. They all had one thing in common: gratitude for the Corsicana crew.
“They were pretty shocked,” Josh said. “One guy didn’t have a phone and didn’t know what had happened the past couple of days. He just knew his house was full of water. They were happy. They couldn’t believe it.”
There are many ways to help victims of the storm. Click here for a few suggestions.
Drones are being used more and more often on construction sites these days and Sundt’s projects are no exception. Much of our drone work is happening in California and Texas, including the CPS Energy Headquarters in San Antonio. In this video, Senior Virtual Construction Engineer Jonathan Ammon explains how the technology is being used to provide client value on the project.
A rendering of the future Comal County Jail in New Braunfels, Texas.
Sundt Preconstruction Manager Jon McKelvain isn’t afraid to go behind bars in the name of research and providing client value.
As we start preconstruction on the $62.3 million Comal County Jail in New Braunfels, Texas, Jon and his counterpart from our joint-venture partner recently toured the Smith County Jail in Tyler, Texas. Unlike most people there, he only stuck around for a few hours.
Sundt Preconstruction Manager Jon McKelvain.
The purpose was to explore the possibilities of replacing the current cell design with a prefabricated all-steel modular cell. Modular cells improve quality and schedule because they are a “plug-and-play” setup. All plumbing and fixtures are in the cell from the manufacturer and are stacked on top of each other to build the housing area for each pod. The only concrete masonry work that has to be done is the wall for the day room.
The Smith County visit included a walk-through of cell configuration, day room and recreation yard layouts and mechanical, electrical and plumbing requirements for the prefab cells.
“The tour assisted us in furthering our understanding of the requirements of the prefab cells, and we are conducting a cost and schedule impact analysis for the owner based on lessons learned,” Jon said.
The team is planning to tour the Lubbock County Jail in West Texas in July. Yates Construction, our JV partner on the Comal project, built the Lubbock facility. We’ve also met with a San Antonio manufacturer of locks and equipment.
“Being an expert in the detention market means being knowledgeable about all the latest design trends, detention equipment and security electronics hardware. This ensures we bring added value to our owner’s detention needs,” said Sundt Senior Vice President and Texas District Manager Eric Hedlund.
Sundt Senior Vice President and Texas District Manager Eric Hedlund has been named to the Arizona State University School of Sustainable Engineering and Built Environment Hall of Fame. He will be inducted Feb. 3.
Eric was selected by an awards committee based on his reputation in the construction industry, his leadership and support of the Del E. Webb School of Construction and his philanthropic efforts. Eric served as the Chair of the Executive Advisory Board for Del Webb School of Construction for eight years.
“All Phoenix-area industry stakeholders have worked hard to ensure the Del E. Webb School of Construction is a best-in-class experience for the students,” Eric said. “I am very honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame by this outstanding program.”
In addition to heading up our offices in Fort Worth and San Antonio, Eric is responsible for the overall performance of the district’s building projects, including acquiring and executing work. He has been with Sundt for 30 years, and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Arizona.
He is a past national chairperson of the Building Division and the Public Private Industry Advisory Council for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Eric has also served on the national AGC Board of Directors. Additionally, he has served on the Board of Directors for local AGC chapters in Arizona and Texas.