December 16, 2016
May 13, 2016
Senior Marketing/Proposal Specialist Dustin Hicks.
Dustin Hicks is a senior marketing/proposal specialist who has been with the company for two and a half years. He has more than eight years of industry experience in mining surveying, energy sector development and construction marketing.
Dustin handles proposals across all our disciplines (building, industrial and transportation), specializing in the Texas market, as well as a variety of marketing projects.
He recently took a few minutes to answer questions about his life at and away from work.
What does your job involve?
As a senior marketing/proposal specialist I am responsible for the preparation, creation, and composition of marketing packages, proposals and presentations and coordinating efforts with business development teams to create winning pursuits. I enjoy the challenge of designing and presenting new ways to market our company for our clients and an external audience.
How much of a team effort is it putting together a winning work proposal?
With the help of very knowledgeable and talented business developers, virtual design and construction engineers, estimators, and sometimes even additional proposal specialists, we have all collaborated to produce some very impressive work. I could not respond to these complex proposals effectively on my own. It takes a huge, collaborative effort from our people to develop winning proposals.
What’s your favorite sport and why?
There aren’t many sports I don’t like. To make it easy, I’ll list my favorite team from each major sport and see how many rivals I can stir up. In no particular order: Hockey – Chicago Blackhawks; Basketball – San Antonio Spurs; Baseball – Detroit Tigers; Football – Oakland Raiders.
I also like playing and watching golf. I was fortunate to see Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson play at the Valero Texas Open a few years ago. I also enjoy running, cycling, swimming and especially hiking.
What are your favorite things to do away from work?
I work hard so I can play hard. I live for the next great adventure. My wife, Sarah, and I love going on road trips, camping, hiking with our dog, going to concerts, trying new restaurants and getting the most out of what this life has to offer.
We also volunteer for a local non-profit organization called Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc., whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release native wildlife and to provide sanctuary, individualized care and a voice for other animals in need.
What’s the best trip you’ve taken?
Every road trip to far West Texas is unique. We’ve headed west from San Antonio in all four seasons and encountered something completely different each time. Whether it’s camping in Big Bend National Park or Big Bend Ranch State Park, there is more than a million acres of nature’s best playground. Dodging rattlesnakes, scorpions, tarantulas, roadrunners, jackrabbits, lizards, javelinas, bears and mountain lions is all par for the course. The scenery of deserts, mountains, rivers and big Texas skies day or night is pretty spectacular. My wife and I love it out there so much we got married at a historic ranch in the Chinati Mountains.
April 22, 2016
Arun Verma was recently hired as a Projects Control Manager. Arun has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the K.K. Wagh Institute of Engineering Education & Research in India and a master’s degree in Construction Engineering and Management from Texas A&M University.
He has experience with theoretical and hands-on knowledge base, encompassing the entire spectrum of project controls and management for federal/Army Corps of Engineers, light rail, highway, commercial, industrial and energy projects. Arun has more than nine years of experience in scheduling, cost control, risk management, forecasting and optimization for projects ranging from $26 million to $2.7 billion. Much of that work has occurred in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, including the development and maintenance of lane construction schedules for the Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway, a 17-mile partial loop between I-35 East and US-75.
Arun recently took a few minutes to answer questions about his new job and homeland of India.
What made you want to work at Sundt?
Sundt has a history of more than 125 years and has a very good reputation in the construction industry. The core values are not just on paper but are actually followed by the employee-owners. When presented an opportunity, it was a no-brainer to come work at Sundt.
What is the most important quality someone in your job must have?
Communication and problem-solving.
What are the similarities and differences between living in India and the U.S.?
Other than the metric system, there are two major differences that I notice. First is the traffic system. Drivers in U.S. follow traffic laws while in India it can get a little crazy. Second is the crowd. People in U.S. may not realize that places here are not as crowded. India has a population of 1.3 billion and every day feels like Black Friday. The similarity is in the people. It has been very easy for me to adjust to a new culture and society because the people are welcoming and friendly, same as in India.
Who has been your best professional mentor and what advice did he or she give you that has contributed to your success?
I have been fortunate to work with some of the best people in the industry. Daniel Kruger, Public Works Director for the City of Houston, has been my best mentor. His advice, “Learning never stops. Everything you learn is an investment in your future,” has helped me along my personal and professional life.
Where do you like to travel?
Seattle, Austin and the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon definitely tops the list.
April 15, 2016
Liz Harvey recently joined Sundt’s Fort Worth Office as Business Development Representative. Liz is responsible for supporting the company’s growth in its building sector.
She comes to Sundt from a Dallas-area structural and civil engineering firm where she worked for more than seven and a half years, most recently as Director of Business Development, Industrial & Infrastructure. She has more than 10 years of experience in the industry.
Liz graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a degree in Communications and Public Relations. She serves on the Tarrant County American Council of Engineering Companies Education Committee and the Greater Dallas Planning Council’s Water, Energy and Natural Task Force Committee.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling, attending the theatre and opera, reading and spending time with family and friends. She is a huge movie buff and loves stand-up comics.
What interested you about working for Sundt?
It was a combination of things. Coming from an engineering/infrastructure background, I wanted to learn the construction/building side of our industry. I am also in the process, a quite laborious, painful process, of trying to buy my first home. (Darn sellers’ market.) I live in Dallas and want to move to the mid-cities, close to Fort Worth. So it’s the opportunity to move as well as learn and grow in a new side of our industry with a stellar company such as Sundt.
What have you been doing in your first few weeks with the company?
I am rounding out my first month. It’s been fast-paced, non-stop greatness. Tactical planning, making and attending client meetings, helping track and research leads, digging into our customer relationship management database and more.
How deep are your North Texas roots?
Sort of deep! My family is from South Dakota and Colorado, but my immediate family has been here for roughly 30 years. I still say soda, but I have my Texas slang, too.
Dog person or cat person?
Ha, ha! Both. I grew up with dogs, but I worked too many hours to have one. I inherited my older brother’s two small dogs two and half years ago after he passed away. They are just now tolerating each other. It’s taken some adjusting, but my fur babies are all spoiled rotten and happy.
Where’s your favorite place to travel?
I love going to Washington D.C. The history and scenery … you just can’t go wrong. I do have a trip planned this August to the Dominican Republic. I’m pretty sure it will top D.C.
Read any good books or seen a good movie lately?
A must read is Peter Hedges’ “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.” Such a great book. Two recent documentaries that are well worth watching are Ken Burns’ “Jackie Robinson” and “The Roosevelts.” So good.
If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?
It would probably be Agatha Christie because she was a great author and lived an interesting life. It would be interesting to hear how she came up with her stories and characters and how they evolved. I would need to ask her about the 1925 Harrogate scandal. The other possibility would be Susan B. Anthony. Without the efforts of her, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and many others women’s rights wouldn’t be what they are today. I would want to hear all the trials, tribulations and triumphs they went through.
March 25, 2016
Sundt employee-owners help kids build toolboxes during Arizona Construction Career Days last year.
The country’s lack of skilled trade workers is a hot topic, even reaching the editorial pages of the hallowed New York Times.
It’s a challenge that all contractors face as lost jobs begin coming back after the Great Recession. Fortunately, Sundt is making efforts and building projects to get more young people into the trades.
We opened the Center for Craft Excellence in Phoenix last year for those who are just getting started or are a little further along in their careers. The Center offers training and certification in a number of disciplines, from equipment operator and mechanic to industrial carpentry, pipefitting, ironworking, electrical, welding and millwright.
Our company’s recent donation to the East Valley Institute of Technology in Arizona and sponsorship of Arizona Construction Career Days has enabled our employee-owners to connect with high-school students who are considering construction careers. Getting recent graduates into the business is critical; the average trade worker is in his or her late 40s.
We work in partnership with school districts to construct career and technical education centers that offer high schoolers the chance to get a head start on a trades career. We have one under way in Wichita Falls and have completed three in San Antonio.
Speaking of Texas, one of our employee-owners there regularly makes presentations to elementary school children about the profession. You’re never too young to start dreaming about a career.
For more information about a career with Sundt, please visit our website or Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages. We’re always on the lookout for great talent to fill positions both on jobsites and off.
Sundt’s John Carlson speaks to a class of fourth graders at Blattman Elementary in San Antonio.
Sundt employee-owners believe in the importance of being engaged in our communities. We are committed to improving and inspiring the cities and towns where we work.
Some of that outreach is made to younger generations who will eventually be community leaders. For example, Corporate Strategic Business Officer John Carlson recently spoke to four classes of fourth graders at Blattman Elementary in San Antonio. John is based out of our San Antonio office, where he will assist with strategic projects for building, heavy civil and industrial work throughout Texas and nationwide. Additionally, he will continue to educate and advocate for the use of alternate project delivery methods as a national leader in this area, including public-private partnerships, design-build and construction manager at risk. He will also focus his efforts on national industry organizational involvement.
John Carlson and his daughter, a student at Blattman Elementary.
During John’s classroom visit he explained the positive impacts the construction industry has on everyone’s lives and how rewarding it is to be in a line of work that improves our communities. He also showed the kids a video on Sundt’s 125-year history and the global impacts the company has made. He gave them a quiz about the company’s history and correct answers were rewarded with Sundt solar powered calculators and beanie hats. The prizes were great motivators, encouraging the kids to ask more questions about Sundt and its many positive impacts.
John took a few minutes to tell us about his experience and the importance of getting children interested in the construction industry or any career.
How did this opportunity arise?
My daughter approached me about the opportunity to present to four fourth-grade classes on Career Day at her school.
What did you tell the kids in your presentation?
I talked about what construction is and how the schools, houses, roads, bridges, water and electricity they use every day came as a result of a general contractor constructing those facilities. I told them it is an engineering-based field for the management in construction and that there are architects and engineers who design facilities we build. We also discussed the skilled trades, including carpenters, laborers and equipment operators who are the people who actually to build these facilities.
What was the biggest piece of advice you wanted to get across to the classes?
I told them the most important skill to have in any profession is good communication. In construction, we’re always reading contracts and plans, writing letters and proposals, speaking and listening to people inside and outside the organization. It’s extremely important if you want to be a leader for people to follow and understand what you are trying to get across.
How important is it to get youngsters interested in the construction industry?
Extremely important. We have a craft and engineering shortage in our industry and these are our future employees. If we don’t get them interested in our industry early, others will.
How much did you enjoy speaking to the classes?
I love having a chance to interact with kids at all levels. They are future leaders in our communities and difference-makers. Kids need opportunities to be exposed to different careers so they can find their passions and be the best people they can be in life. I love to tell kids there are several reasons I am passionate about the construction industry: the chance to make tangible, lasting improvements our communities that change people’s lives for the better.