July 11, 2019
July 2, 2019
Sundt and joint-venture partner Trinity Hughes Construction are nearing the finish of a $34.3 million project at Midwestern State University (MSU). The new 88,000-square-foot building will house several programs in the Gunn College of Health Sciences and Human Services, with updated facilities and space for Dental Hygiene, Social Work, Radiologic Sciences, Respiratory Care and the Wilson School of Nursing. Substantial completion is slated for the end of this month, and classes start August 26. In other words, it’s crunch time. The team is kicking things into whatever-it-takes gear to complete what will be a huge addition to the university and its student body.
Skilled craft professionals work diligently to complete the the building’s complex interior.
“There are lots of moving parts and pieces to the inner workings of this building, with all of the different things it will be able to do,” said Sundt Project Executive Bob Aniol. New hospital equipment, dental equipment, and simulators will assist Midwestern State faculty in providing hands-on instruction, which is part of MSU’s larger goal to be a premier education provider for healthcare and human services fields. “The challenge is to coordinate all the consultants and installers of the different equipment, to make sure everyone’s on the same page,” said Bob.
Crews work on the exterior of the building to prepare for students arriving in late August.
Another factor behind our progress has been consistent performances from skilled craft, many of whom worked with Sundt’s Building Group in North Texas on the successful Wichita Falls Regional Airport Terminal project. “We’ve had great showings from key trades, including MEP, drywall, and masonry,” said Bob. “They’ve given us a consistent level of service and skill to drive this project forward.” Sundt worked hard to hire from the local workforce in Wichita Falls, bringing in outside work for niche scopes when absolutely necessary. According to Bob, “Sundt really maximized participation from the local workforce to the best of our ability.”
Similar architectural features seamlessly connect the building to the existing campus.
On the subject of creating jobs, the impact of this project will extend far beyond its completion. “For Midwestern State’s programs like nursing and dental, this provides a huge upgrade in how they train and equip their graduates, as well as how they attract new students,” said Bob. As the finish line approaches, the Trinity Hughes | Sundt joint venture has worked some long hours, had hard conversations and made tough decisions. Turning the vision behind this project into a reality, however, has been well worth the sacrifice. “It’s a small team, and I’m extremely proud of them,” said Bob. “Nobody has given up. Nobody has complained. We’re all bought in here—it’s whatever it takes to make it happen.”
June 7, 2019
Every morning for the past two weeks, patients at El Paso Children’s Hospital have looked out their windows to find some fun characters hanging around the construction site next door. Some with pink fur, some with tails of fire or lightning, and all with big, adorable eyes. Yes, Pokémon have taken over Sundt’s jobsite on the neighboring Texas Tech El Paso Medical Sciences Building II project. Early each morning, crew members place life-size cut-outs of characters in new positions around the site. The Pokémon characters can be seen mingling with workers or operating equipment (safely, of course), and kids next door can’t help but crack a smile as they search each morning for where the characters have moved.
A few months after Sundt’s spinoff of “Elf on the Shelf” in December, El Paso Children’s Hospital contacted Sundt Project Manager Larry Kurtz to brainstorm another interactive idea. “Their initial plan was ‘Where’s Waldo?’” said Larry, “but I had just seen the Detective Pikachu movie with my grandkids, and they loved it, so I suggested Pokémon instead.” In mid-June, Sundt team members including Larry paid the patients a visit, bringing Pokémon cards, coloring sheets and a Pokémon book which they read to the kids.
Sundt Project Manager Larry Kurtz and El Paso Children’s Hospital oncology patients display their freshly painted Charmander
Afterwards, life-size Pokémon cut-outs began popping up all over the project’s hospital-facing side. Each day, a new character was added, and existing ones changed locations, greeting kids with the morning sun. After a week, Sundt enlisted the kids’ help in painting and signing the new characters to go up next.
Some might wonder: why add this event to an already busy schedule? “We do this for the kids,” said Larry. “They’re tired and sick, and this gives them a reason to get up and be active. Reading, coloring, painting—it’s all a healing experience. It makes them forget about their ailments for a while.”
Both patients and staff at El Paso Children’s Hospital had a great time with the Pokémon takeover. “We’ve had the pleasure of a fruitful and rewarding relationship with Sundt for more than 18 months now,” said Taylor Moreno, Director of Institutional Development. “From donations to help with service line growth, to Elf on the Shelf and this event, we cannot be more grateful for the continued support.”
El Paso Children’s Hospital oncology patients pose with Pikachu, Jigglypuff and the Sundt team
Patients Axia and Hailee have been big fans of their colorful new neighbors. “It was fun. Every time I would wake up, I’d look out the window to see what new character popped up,” said Axia, 12 years old. Hailee, who is 10, said “I loved it, and it was very interactive. My friends and I would share pictures and compare.”
Sundt employee-owners who attended the reading or helped create the cut-outs (or did both) include Larry Kurtz, Mike Dominguez Jr., Matt Gomez, Larry Hulett, Joe Riccillo and Angie Rosales. Our subcontractor Diversified Interiors’ Justin Hernandez and his daughter also contributed.
May 10, 2019
Every year, Girls Inc., proud recipient of a Sundt Foundation grant, hosts the RockIt Into the Future Science Festival in San Antonio. The event celebrates and promotes careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It provides young girls, and their families, the opportunity to connect with experts within the different fields and participate in various STEM activities. “It’s not just technology. It’s not just computers. It’s not just engineering,” said Girls Inc., San Antonio president and CEO Leah Rosenhauer. “The scientific process of discovery, or disrupting things, of finding new solutions to things is all around us.”
This year, Sundt San Antonio women participated by hosting three “mind-on” activities: “Building Our Future” Lego table for children age 3-6 years old, a pulley system to teach how weight is distributed for children between 7 and 12 years old, and a video game, “Ant you Crazy about Safety,” to teach them about jobsite safety for ages 13 and up.
Sundt’s own Ryan Silbernagel built the pulley system, and Swapna Biju, one of Sundt’s virtual construction engineers, created the video game. Each participant within the video game would identify different jobsite hazards in order to become aware of the importance of jobsite safety.
Sundt’s Alexis Marshall, Traci Cadena, Swapna Biju, Terri Pasley, Meagan Garcia, and Amy Yount participate in the 13th Annual RockIt Into the Future STEM Festival.
Alexis Marshall and Amy Yount demonstrate the pulley system.
February 15, 2019
This week, over 70 national and global construction companies in the Construction Industry Safety (CISI) group and the Incident and Injury Free CEO (IIF) Forum have come together to celebrate Safety Week. Jobsites and offices near and far hosted safety briefings and safety shares, with topics ranging from fall protection to electrical safety to general health and well-being.
Together, we share a common goal that goes far beyond learning best practices. We have a responsibility to ourselves and our families to come home safe every day, and we owe it to our fellow builders—both colleagues and competitors—to build a safer industry. Here are just a few Safety Week snapshots of Sundt employee-owners and partners doing their part.
Sundt’s Sacramento State University Science Building team came together to learn about electrical safety from Bergelectric.
Brian Martinez, Corporate HS&E Trainer, led a discussion on electrical safety at Sundt’s headquarters in Tempe, Arizona.
Tony Bonilla from Jobsite Supply, holding a rescue ladder with anchor point, reminded the San Diego Air Support Facilities team about the importance of Rescue Planning
The team at Sundt’s HACEP Chelsea project in El Paso, Texas met to learn about trench excavating safety.
Senior Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) Manager Mark Epstein was recently named among ENR Texas & Louisiana’s 2019 Top Young Professionals. After completing two concurrent master’s degrees in architecture and construction management at Washington University in St. Louis in 2010, Mark accepted his first position as a project engineer with a construction management firm. He later moved into an architecture role with Gensler in Austin, Texas, where he spent three years learning to produce high-quality construction documents and eventually became a project manager. Soon after, a friend introduced Mark to Sundt Construction in San Antonio, where he now leads our BIM and VDC strategies. Mark is advancing Sundt’s technology capabilities with a full immersion of the Texas Building Group into BIM and VDC processes. Part of his goal is to strengthen communication between the office and field, and better transform concept into reality. But there’s a lot more to Mark and to his work than meets the eye.
With your unique background in both construction and architecture, what drew you to Sundt, and how is it being back in construction?
The transition back to construction has been really refreshing. It’s been good to get on the jobsite and touch and feel the work—not just in the digital form or detail form on paper, but to be out around the work, the people performing it, and then to learn from their expertise. Some of these guys have been doing this longer than I’ve been alive. I have a huge amount to learn, and I appreciate that. On the contractor side, there’s that ability to learn and people’s willingness to teach and take you under their wing, and in architecture I’d say it’s just much more limited in that regard. So, yeah, it’s been a great transition.
Speaking of that dynamic, how has the team in San Antonio taken you in and supported you in your role?
The leadership down here is incredible. Eric Hedlund and Todd Calder have really high aspirations for what they want us to do, but at the same time they provide us with the resources that we need to do it. That, to me, shows that they’re serious about accomplishing these goals. When I came to San Antonio, they knew I had an architecture background; I was working with “backbone” technologies like Revit and Navisworks, which are cross-disciplinary for the architecture and contractor side. So, they’re leveraging that experience to build upon what they want to achieve with technology here, and they’ve been extremely supportive.
What are some innovative things you’ve been working on recently, things that you get excited about?
Well, I give credit again to the leadership and resources that Sundt has provided. Dominic Daughtrey with the Continuous Improvement Department has gotten me up and running with a drone fleet here, so that’s been a great way to explore technology and implementation. You’ve got the hardware aspect, but then you also have the data and deliverables to manage and distribute. That’s been a real game-changer to experience how that data can affect how we do work on site, you know, bridging that gap from computer to the field. That’s not necessarily the most innovative thing in the world, but it’s just been eye-opening to see where else it can go, for example, taking that jump from basic drone flights to importing footage into augmented reality applications and 4D scheduling.
But, you know, the innovation isn’t the tech itself; the innovation is how we’re deploying the hardware and software packages with our project teams. It’s helping project engineers, managers, and superintendents understand how technology can help them do their job, to be safer and more efficient, to have less rework. I mean, you can hire a “tech person” or a few “tech people” in this role. But that’s not what we’re doing here; we’re infiltrating the jobsite with this tech, having superintendents and project engineers know it, and having people at the project level buy into technology as a comprehensive approach. We’ve actually got a guy here, age 60, who’s really excited about using 4D scheduling—not to sound ageist, but across the industry, you have a lot of construction veterans who typically don’t want to learn that stuff. But when we have people here buying in, that’s a big deal. To me, that’s innovation. That’s success.