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.
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.
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.
We have a long and successful history of criminal justice projects, including jails, prisons and courthouses. Our work on the San Bernardino Juvenile Detention and Assessment Facility in California earned the 2011 Design-Build Institute of America’s Western Pacific Region Design Build Award for Best Correctional Facility. Our John M. Roll Courthouse project in Yuma, Arizona won a Design-Build Institute National Merit Award.
One of our employee-owners is about to become a Hall of Famer.
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.
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.
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.
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.