May 18, 2016
April 6, 2016
For 17 years, Make Way for Books has provided early literacy programs that reach young children in some of the highest-need communities in Tucson and Southern Arizona.
Research shows that reading aloud to young children is the single most important activity for building the skills kids need for future learning. Yet, 2/3 of children in poverty do not have books and are not read to regularly.
“Literacy experiences in the early years are the building blocks of a child’s brain and impact all future learning,” said Make Way for Books Executive Director Jenny Volpe.
The Sundt Foundation’s $2,000 gift provides high-quality books for a preschool classroom collection as well as a lending library that allows children and families to check out books to share at home. As a result of the program last year, 94 percent of families said they increased the time they read together. Additionally, 96 percent of children gained pre-reading skills that ensure they will enter kindergarten ready to read and on-track for academic success.
More than half of children from low-income homes in our community enter school up to two years behind in language and pre-reading skills. With access to this program, children are able to develop the skills they need to read on level.
One father of a participating preschooler said, “I wasn’t a good reader and I’m not a good reader. We never had a program like this when I was growing up. But my daughter goes to get the books. This program taught her a lot. Now we are interacting with each other. Now we read together.”
Funding from the Sundt Foundation is being used to stock the program at El Rio Preschool and Infant-Toddler Center.
“The donation has an incredible impact,” Jenny said. “It’s another preschool we can say yes to. It’s another 100 children we can impact and start on the path to success.”
Make Way for Books’ goal is to reach 30,000 kids a year. That can only happen through private support.
“In the past four years, we have quadrupled our capacity but the need is still there,” Jenny said.
This article is part of a series of stories about the positive impacts of Sundt Foundation grants.
March 18, 2016
One of Sundt’s projects in Tucson will be a little over the top, in a good way.
Our joint venture team starts work in July reconstructing the Interstate 10 interchange at Ina Road. The most notable improvement is a bridge that will take traffic over Union Pacific Railroad tracks to break up delays on a heavily used four-lane road.
The tracks presently sit at grade, causing backups for the roughly 23,000 drivers who use that section of Ina Road every day. Having a bridge at the site will also increase safety as motorists will no longer have to deal with crossing the tracks when the project is complete in 2019.
Traffic will be partially diverted from the interstate during this complex heavy civil project, putting more cars on frontage roads that aren’t presently equipped to handle the load. The team’s first priorities include widening the frontage and relocating potable and reclaimed water lines.
“There’s a little bit of everything on this project,” said Sundt Area Manager Steve Schmitt. “Underground work, utilities, storm drains, bridges, collapsible soil conditions.”
Soil issues are adding another month or so to the work. The team needs to excavate the soil by about five extra feet in order to compact it because of the site’s proximity to the Santa Cruz River and its erosion and sediment. A new bridge will also be constructed over the Santa Cruz River on Ina Road.
The joint venture has experience working I-10 in Tucson, having completed a six-mile stretch through the downtown corridor south of the present work site. The project included many of the same components and was completed several months ahead of schedule. Many members of that team are coming back for this project.
“The team has proven its value to ADOT,” Steve said. “We’re looking forward to getting started on this project and improving mobility in the Tucson area.”
March 7, 2016
Aly Gartin, third from right, organizes all six MIke Gaines charity events Sundt puts on every year.
Today is the first Mike Gaines Charity Golf Tournament of the year, one of six events Sundt hosts in memory of a beloved former employee-owner. Mike died in 2002 from ALS complications and the company hosts five golf tournaments and a trap shooting event each year to raise money and awareness in the battle against the deadly disease.
Sundt Estimating Coordinator Aly Gartin plays a crucial role in organizing the events, which are held in Tucson, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio and San Diego. Her hard work and commitment to the cause are the result of her friendship with Mike, an employee-owner who served the company for more than two decades.
Aly, who has been with Sundt for 33 years, recently took time to talk about Mike and the importance of the events that keep his memory alive.
What kind of person was Mike?
Fun. He was very team-oriented. ‘Let’s have a happy hour, let’s have a family picnic, let’s celebrate.’ Something else that speaks to what kind of person Mike was: His original doctor from MDA is now the Executive VP and Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at MDA and still attends the Tucson tournament when she’s in town. She speaks fondly of Mike and his courage and drive to fight as long as he could.
How did you get involved in planning the events?
Mike wanted me to watch the $20,000 Hole-in-One hole. I stepped in to do the finances and paperwork at year two. (Former Sundt employee-owners) Monty Suttle, Corky Collins and I are the champions because of our longtime friendship with Mike, to keep it about his memory and raising money for ALS research.
How much have the events grown over the years?
Sundt’s been so great to let us spread to the different offices. Each office has had a connection to Mike and we’ve been able to carry his memory on to the next one. We’ve watched each tournament grow and become more popular. We want to be the charity event of choice when people can only spend ‘X’ amount of money out of their discretionary budget. They spend it on golf for ALS research.
What kind of reactions do you get from players after the events?
Everyone always has such a good time and seems to appreciate the opportunity to do a good deed. They know their money’s going to the cause. It’s a good time to network and catch up with friends; we have retirees golf, upper management comes out, our own former President and CEO J. Doug Pruitt even plays the Phoenix tournament each year.
What does it mean to you to carry Mike’s legacy forward?
Mike was a great guy, a hard worker, and a good friend. He deserves to be remembered. I’m proud to be part of that effort! I keep thinking and hoping it’ll be that next tournament’s donations that help pay to find the cure.
Mike Gaines golf tournaments are held in Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Sacramento and Tucson.
February 15, 2016
Ocotillo Village Health Club & Spa in Chandler won the retail category.
Last Thursday was a RED-letter night for Sundt. That’s when two of our projects won Real Estate and Development Awards, Arizona’s most comprehensive real estate honors.
The Pima County Public Service Center in Tucson and Ocotillo Village Health Club & Spa in Chandler were honored during the RED Awards ceremony at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix. The awards are presented by AZRE Magazine.
Pima County Public Service Center, which won in the public category, is a 290,000-square-foot criminal justice facility in Downtown Tucson. Original plans were for the City of Tucson to use 55 percent of the facility with Pima County using the remaining space. Eventually, Pima County occupied the entire facility, putting 14 courtrooms and the offices of the assessor, constables, recorder and treasurer in the building. We also built the adjoining parking lot that accommodates more than 700 vehicles.
Ocotillo Village, which took the retail category, is an 82,000-square-foot facility that features two pools and a children’s splash pad, seven tennis courts, a full-service spa, salon and med spa, café and outdoor patio, kid’s club and nursery, kid’s gym, men’s, women’s and family locker rooms, an indoor basketball court and running track, two racquetball and two squash courts, cardio, weight and functional training rooms, hot yoga studio and traditional yoga studio, and Pilates, indoor cycling and group fitness studios.
The state’s biggest, best and most notable commercial real estate projects and transactions for the previous year are honored each year. RED Awards are given to developers, general contractors, architects and brokers/teams. All award winners and honorable mentions are featured in a special awards section of AZRE Magazine.
Pima County Public Service Center in Tucson won the public category.
The first Mike Gaines event of the year tees it up at Arizona National Golf Club in Tucson on March 18.
Sundt keeps the spirit of a former employee-owner alive through golf tournaments and trap shoots that raise money for ALS research.
Mike Gaines died in 2002 after battling ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He spent his last years teaming with the Sundt Foundation to establish the Mike Gaines Charitable Fundraising Events. He wanted to ensure that a cure would be found for the progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. ALS usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and approximately 20,000 Americans have the disease at any given time.
The first golf event was held in Tucson in 2001 and tournaments were added in Phoenix, San Diego, Sacramento and San Antonio. A trap shoot was later added in Tucson. All the events raise money, almost $1.6 million to date, for research by the Muscular Dystrophy Association and ALS Association.
“He had no idea we would keep going,” said Sundt Employee-Owner Aly Gartin, a friend of Mike’s who plays a crucial role in organizing the events. “He probably thought the events would end when he passed.”
The first event of 2016 is a golf tournament in Tucson on March 18 at Arizona National Golf Club. Our company invites our many friends to join us as we raise money and awareness in the fight against ALS.
For a list of events, please click here.