March 13, 2019
January 15, 2019
When the Brichta Early Learning Center needed a new playground, parents came together to help raise the necessary funds. They were able to purchase new equipment but didn’t have enough left in their budget to cover installation. Luckily, one of these parents was former employee-owner David Vasquez, who called Sundt’s Tucson office to ask for help.
“When David called, I told him we’d be more than happy to build the playground,” said Sundt Regional Director Ian McDowell. “At Sundt, when we talk about creating prosperity for communities, we mean it, whether that’s building structures that allow communities to flourish or volunteering our time for smaller projects that improve kids’ quality of life.”
Left to right: Wesley Skelley, Gary Thompson, Brian Pos, David Ollanik, Bonnie Demorotski, Courtney Hoyt, Andres Herrera, Edgar Maya, Max Hoyt
A group of 12 Sundt employee-owner volunteers, along with a few spouses, gave up their weekend to build the new playground. The work included drilling and filling 23 concrete footings to anchor the equipment to the ground. “They were just like worker ants,” said Brichta Center Director Bonnie Demorotski, describing Sundt’s volunteers. “It came together beautifully, and we’re so grateful that our kids now have a safe and age-appropriate space to play.”
Open since July 2014, the Brichta Early Learning Center provides infant care, early learning and childcare in newly remodeled and refurnished rooms in the former Brichta Elementary School located on Tucson’s west side. Owned and operated by Tucson Unified School District, the center offers family-friendly hours, affordable tuition, meals, and research-based curriculum.
December 21, 2018
Over 50 years ago, while working to put himself through his final year of college, Guy Weinzapfel was awarded a Sundt Scholarship. At the time, Sundt presented a one-year full-tuition scholarship to a fifth-year student at the University of Arizona CAPLA (College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture) who was self-supporting. For Guy, the scholarship made a huge impact. “It might have been around $250,” he said, “but back then that was a lot of money, and it let me concentrate on what was essentially my capstone.”
As a student, Guy was spending countless hours a week in a Safeway—not bagging groceries, but learning to plan, design and construct buildings. A lesser known fact of Tucson history is that from 1958 to 1965 the CAPLA’s design studios were located in a former Safeway grocery store on Park Avenue, a block southwest of the college’s current location.
Between the long hours, demanding coursework and close quarters of the repurposed building, students in the “Safeway Studios” became close friends and remained so, long after graduating.
The “Safeway Group” eventually came together as a tight-knit network of alumni. Having reaped many benefits from their careers in architecture, they wanted to pay it forward to future students. In 2010, the alumni came together under Guy’s leadership to create the Safeway Studios Alumni Scholarship—though Guy credits the idea to his wife, Jane, who herself is an architecture alumna of CAPLA and was part of the first class to graduate women in 1966. Modeled on the Sundt Scholarship of years past, the Alumni scholarship is awarded to a fifth-year student working to put him or herself through the most challenging year of an already very challenging program.
With their endowment close to reaching its target of $250,000, and the 2018 fall semester approaching, Guy reached out to Sundt Project Director Dave Ollanik for a donation. “When Guy approached me,” said Dave, “and I heard his story about the legacy of Sundt’s scholarship activities at the U of A and how it had impacted him over his 50-year career, we were excited to become the capstone of the newly formed Safeway Studios Alumni Scholarship.” Sundt contributed the last portion of the endowment, allowing the group to reach their goal and award a scholarship for the 2018-19 academic year.
The “Safeway Studios” Class of 1965, with Guy Weinzapfel on the far left.
The first recipient of the Alumni scholarship is CAPLA fifth-year student Ben Stewart, who just began his final semester in the program. “The scholarship has changed the course of my last year,” Ben said, “by increasing the time I have available to focus on my capstone, to more thoughtfully consider all that I learned during my internship this past summer and incorporate this into my final project, and time to mentor and support younger students, all without having to work an outside job. I’m extremely grateful to be the recipient of this scholarship.”
Reflecting on the team effort behind the scholarship, Guy was proud of his group: “To know the impact this will have on current and future students, it just really puffs up everyone’s chest. All of the Safeway Studios alumni gave, every single one of us. And it just further cements the bond that we’ve had since the beginning.” For Sundt’s part, we’re glad to contribute and continue the tradition of giving back to our industry and our community.
March 8, 2018
“All you can take with you is that which you give away”—even if you haven’t seen the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life, these are still great words to live by. Throughout the year and especially around the holidays, Sundt employee-owners make a point to give back to the communities where they live and work. Here are just a few of the many holiday drives that our people have participated in across the country, spreading cheer and helping people in need. Thanks to all who contributed.
Sundt employee-owners in Sacramento and Monterey (incl. our project team at the Sac State Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex), participated in the Sacramento Sheriff’s Toy Drive for children across the region—and had loads of fun while they were at it!
Our San Antonio office, San Pedro Creek project team and I-10 Old Fred project team donated to a holiday toy drive for the Rainbow Room, an organization that serves children in Child Protective Services. Also, Sundt employee-owners in San Antonio held their annual coat drive this month. They doubled the number of coats donated this year to Haven for Hope.
Sundt’s Irvine office and area projects hosted a toy drive for CHiPs for Kids, which has been hosted by the California Highway Patrol for the past 30 years.
Our San Diego office partnered with Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), an organization that sponsors enlisted families in need during the holiday season, and we were able to sponsor a total of 10 families.
Sundt’s HACEP (Housing Authority of the City of El Paso) project team donated $1,000 to the 51st Annual Senior Citizen Holiday Event, benefiting over 400 senior citizens living in affordable housing. Employee-owners from our El Paso office also volunteered their time for two nights to prepare and serve turkey dinners.
Our Fort Worth office participated in a canned food drive for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Each month, TAFB and its partners provide groceries and/or meals to more than 53,000 households.
Sundt employee-owners in Tucson gathered toys and gifts for Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse and participated in a blood drive with the American Red Cross.
The Sundt Foundation donated $20,000 to St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix; our Tempe and Phoenix offices participated in the Arizona Builders Alliance Toy Drive, which helped over 1,200 children; and we “adopted” 25 children and four college students from Sunshine Acres and helped fulfill their personal wish lists.
February 23, 2018
Anne Hatfield has operated heavy equipment for Sundt for the past 7.5 years.
When Anne Hatfield takes a vacation this fall, she is going with people who are in her line of work. It’s a tight-knit group that gets together every year to discuss their profession and enjoy each other’s company.
The group is meeting in the tiny, scenic community of Tofino on Vancouver Island this September. It’s the perfect spot for the International Sisterhood of Equipment Operators – a small group of female construction professionals who usually stand out on the job site.
“We mostly get together to get away and be around other women who have the same life experiences,” said Anne, who has been with Sundt for 7.5 years. “It’s kind of nice.”
Anne and her friends are accustomed to being the only female construction professionals on their projects. Their expertise working heavy equipment earns quick respect from their co-workers.
“I never had a problem fitting in,” she said. “Once I proved to them I could do what they were doing, they were always very accepting of me. I guess I was a novelty.”
Anne has worked on transportation projects in Arkansas, Arizona, California, New Mexico, North Dakota and Texas. Most of her work involves using equipment such as scrapers, loaders, bulldozers and backhoe, making her a valuable person to have around.
“I don’t remember having any down time,” Anne said.
Anne is working on our Ina Road/I-10 improvements in Tucson. She has been on the project for the past year, allowing her to spend time at her home in nearby Oracle.
“It’s been really nice to be home,” she said. “It’s good to be around family.”
Anne was a late bloomer in construction, getting started in her 30s. She was working nights at a rehab hospital when she decided it was time to make a radical career change. She was hired by a residential construction company in Phoenix as the housing boom sparked up.
“The company was training anyone who wanted to learn, because it was so short-handed,” Anne said.
Anne made her way to Sundt a few years later. While women on the site are still rare, they are getting more company all the time.
“I am seeing more female engineer interns during the summer,” Anne said. “It seems like more and more women are getting into the field.”
Anne is one of hundreds of women who work for Sundt Construction. This article is part of a series celebrating Women in Construction Week.
Interested in pursuing a career with Sundt? Please click here for more information.
A Mike Gaines event player tees off on the scenic 18th hole at Arizona National in Tucson.
We’re teeing it up for a great cause in Tucson next Friday and everyone is invited to join.
Our company and industry partners support the fight against ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, by holding five golf tournaments and a trap-shooting event at locations across the Southwest. They honor the memory of Mike Gaines, a longtime Sundt employee-owner who died in 2002 from ALS complications. The events, which started with a golf tournament in Tucson in 2001, have raised almost $2 million.
The golf tournament in Tucson is being held at Arizona National Golf Club on March 2. Individual golfers pay $200 and foursomes cost $800. Registration covers golf, range balls and lunch and all proceeds benefit ALS research. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. and the tournament begins at 7:30 a.m.
For more information on the event, please visit the Sundt Foundation page or contact Aly Gartin at (520) 750-4702. The next Mike Gaines event is March 30 at the Legacy Golf Resort in Phoenix.