November 17, 2017
November 13, 2017
Sundt Vice President and Regional Director Ian McDowell.
Sundt Vice President and Regional Director Ian McDowell, who runs our Tucson office, has served many roles in preconstruction and operations during his 22-year career with the company. He has been involved in projects across the country ranging from $100,000 to more than $300 million.
In addition to his work duties, Ian has also worked extensively in the construction industry, serving in leadership roles for the Arizona Builders’ Alliance, American Subcontractors Association and the Associated General Contractors of America.
He earned his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from New Mexico State University and his MBA from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.
How did you get involved in the construction industry?
When I was getting close to graduating with my Civil Engineering degree, I was contemplating my career path. A family friend referred me to Sundt. I had several offers, but the one that appealed to me the most was Sundt’s. I liked the idea of getting to work outdoors, and that I could be a part of changing the skyline in various cities during my career. My grandfather also worked as a bridge builder, and my father worked for him in the summers, so you can say that construction is in my genes.
The idea of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, while abstract, also appealed. I honestly underestimated the importance of the ESOP when I signed on. Now, when I am visiting colleges, mentoring students or teaching classes, one of the messages I deliver is how impactful an ESOP program can be.
What was your reaction when you found out you would be running Sundt’s Tucson office?
I cannot overstate how excited I was. I was ready for a change at Sundt and this was a great opportunity. My parents live in Tucson, my wife’s mother lives in Tucson. My kids were even born here. The company also has a tremendous history in town. Sundt moved to Tucson when the population was 32,000. To put that in perspective, the undergraduate enrollment at the University of Arizona is currently 34,000. It is a lot of responsibility to live up to that legacy, walking in the shoes of a lot of people I admired over the years who are tremendously respected in the community.
Tucson has always been an important place for Sundt. How many projects does the company have going on and coming up there?
I have never seen Tucson busier. On the building side we continue our work on Banner UMC-Tucson, the work for the Tucson Airport Authority, the Pima County Animal Care Center and the Caterpillar project, which also incorporates work for the City of Tucson. In the planning process we have several other projects, including work on the Student Success District at the University of Arizona. Next month we will kick off a senior living project in Oro Valley for the Beztak Companies. We also have two projects in the works for private companies in Southern Arizona that will start this year. We have a really nice balance of public and private work. All this and our Transportation Group has a prominent project at Ina Road and I-10. There are a lot of red and black trucks (Sundt’s colors) running around Tucson right now.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
If you want to be a hero, bring dinner home. If you bring home flowers, people sometimes think you have done something wrong. But you are always (always) a hero when you bring home dinner.
May 2, 2017
An installed bat box sits under the new Ina Road bridge waiting for its occupants.
At our Interstate 10/Ina Road project near Tucson, some of Sundt’s constituents have wings and enjoy nestling under an old bridge. They wedge themselves into one-inch crevices to roost between the bridge’s beams. When they leave their homes in the evenings to hunt, they draw people from across the region to watch their night flight.
Our work to widen the interstate involves taking down and replacing the Ina Road bridge where Mexican free-tailed bats spend much of the year. It’s their hangout.
Each box has a one-inch crevice the bats use to enter their homes.
Arizona Game and Fish officials estimate about 1,000 bats spend the winter there instead of relocating to Mexico and 25,000 stick around Southern Arizona in the summer. Fortunately, the project team and Arizona Game and Fish Department have devised a plan to make sure the bats aren’t homeless.
The new bridge, which sits next to the old one, has seven bat boxes that replicate the conditions under which the mammals have been living. Each of the boxes has one-inch openings for the bats to crawl into. The boxes provide cooler conditions in the summer and warmer in the winter that bats like.
The old bridge will be coming down early next year and the team is spending time now making sure the bats find their new home. When the winged creatures take off at night, crews are sealing the areas where they have been resting. The construction team has been spraying bat urine on the boxes to draw the residents to their new homes.
Now that’s dedication, proving we’ll do whatever it takes to make clients happy, including those whose nightly foraging has become an enjoyable ritual for Tucson-area spectators.
March 23, 2017
Emerge served nearly 5,800 participants and answered 5,700 calls to its 24-hour hotline last fiscal year.
Safety for survivors of domestic abuse can mean the difference between life and death. Over the past decade, Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse has made lasting impacts as Southern Arizona’s largest provider of domestic abuse prevention services.
Emerge started in April 2008 when Brewster Center Domestic Violence Services, which began offering domestic violence services in 1982, and Tucson Centers for Women and Children, established in 1975, came together. Emerge served nearly 5,800 participants and answered 5,700 calls to its 24-hour hotline last fiscal year. Emerge also provided 18,216 safe nights at its shelter or hotels and helped 49 families transition into new homes.
In 2015, there were 107 domestic violence fatalities in Arizona, including 25 in Pima County. In the past two years, Emerge has seen a 31 percent increase in participants requiring domestic abuse services.
“We assume, and hope, that some of it is due to our outreach efforts,” Emerge Director of Development Lauryn Bianco said.
While Tucson-area non-profits often work together to help the community, the need for services can seem overwhelming.
“Even with the strength of the nonprofit network, resources are limited – and therein lies the difficulty,” Lauryn said. “The need in our community far outweighs the resources available and we rely heavily on the spirit of foundations like Sundt and individual donors to continue investing in our work to ensure that people who need domestic abuse services can have access to them.”
While 69 percent of Emerge’s budget comes from government grants, those dollars are often earmarked for specific purposes. Unrestricted dollars, including those from individuals and foundations, allow the organization to be flexible and quick in responding to immediate issues in the community. The Sundt Foundation gave a $1,500 grant to Emerge in 2016.
“The funding we receive allows Emerge to provide all of the other necessary services in Pima County that most government grants do not support, like our men’s education programming and prevention services,” Lauryn said.
This is the fourth in a series of stories about non-profit organizations that were supported by the Sundt Foundation in 2016. The articles will appear on our blog on Tuesdays through May 23.
April 11: Project Healing Waters
April 18: Restore Education
April 25: Reynolds Home
September 26, 2016
Our team from the Banner-University Medical Center Tucson project won the Mike Gaines golf event.
Sundt employee-owners, subcontractors and partners showed their generosity once again by supporting the Mike Gaines Golf Tournament in Tucson.
The event, held March 10 at Arizona National Golf Club, raised $18,500 to assist the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s research into ALS. Mike was a longtime Sundt employee-owner who died in 2002 from ALS complications. The golf tournaments, held in several locations across the country where Sundt does business, started in Tucson in 2001 and have brought in more than $1.7 million.
Members of the joint venture team working at Banner-University Medical Center in Tucson won the event. The team included Mason Mellema, Mike Miller, Kevin Moore and Mark Ostrand. Mike took the long-drive competition and Kevin won more than $500 in the 50-50 raffle and donated his share to the MDA.
The next Mike Gaines event is March 31 at The Legacy Golf Club in Phoenix. Click here for more information.
The Sundt Foundation, in partnership with Payless ShoeSource in Tucson, helped kids take a step in the right direction by providing them with free footwear and socks last week.
The Foundation, which is funded by Sundt employee-owners and the company, made a $2,000 grant to the Educational Enrichment Foundation to hold a shoe-shopping party for Tucson Unified School District students. Eight volunteers from Sundt helped more than 100 in-need kids select and try on shoes. Payless offered the shoes at a discounted price and opened the store an hour early just for the children.
“There really is no other experience quite like it,” said Sundt Foundation Board Member Randy Rusing.
The Sundt Foundation helps underserved children and adults in places where our company does business. The organization has made more than $7.2 million in grants since it was formed in 1999.