We’re pleased to announce that David Ollanik is our newest Project Director in Tucson. He has 30 years of experience in the construction industry, including two decades running his own business.
After growing up in Missouri, David moved to Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, including a minor in management information systems.
He recently answered a few questions about himself and Sundt’s priorities in Southern Arizona.
How did you get started in the construction industry?
I started painting houses my first summer back home from college as a freshman and then started a company with a high school friend doing painting and roofing. We built the business during my remaining three years of college and evolved into home remodeling and additions. When I graduated, I decided to go to work for a Tucson builder to see how a “real company” worked. Within 2½ years, I started my own construction company in Tucson that I managed for 20 years.
What was it about Sundt that interested you in working here?
The history and reputation of the company were the driving forces in my search for the next phase of my career. I was searching for a company with stability, industry best practices and solid integrity standards. I have found all three here at Sundt.
You know the Tucson market well. What makes it unique?
Tucson is a big small town. It is resistant to change, which makes it both unique and a challenge for growing a business. The key to Tucson is understanding that it will probably never be a Phoenix or Denver. The interesting thing is the potential for growth is tremendous.
What are some of the Tucson office’s priorities over the next several years?
The top priorities are maintaining our existing client base, which is extremely strong, while expanding our presence in the private sector market.
Sundt put down roots in Tucson almost 90 years ago. How much has our history and proven track record worked to our advantage in forming strong working relationships with clients such as the University of Arizona?
The fact that Sundt is one of the oldest firms in Tucson is paramount to our success. We can sell local representation along with a 125-year history and a national as well as global resume. No other local firm can match that combination.
What’s your philosophy about building good client partnerships?
I have always found that people do business with people they like and trust. Sundt has built a foundation based on these same principles of being a trusted advisor and client advocate. By assuring customer success, we assure our mutual success as we become the builder of choice for our client. Learning about what makes our client successful as well as educating the client about how we can be successful as a team becomes the task most necessary in building the relationship. It needs to be a two-way street.
Where do you like to travel?
Our preferred travel location is anywhere with a nice beach! We tend to go to Mexico and have been lucky enough to have visited Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Zihautanejo, Rocky Point, San Carlos, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz as well as a little fishing village named Buena Vista where my wife and I got married.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from work?
My No. 1 activity is spending time with my family. As an empty nester (a son in college and two out and off the payroll), this does not happen as often as I like. I also enjoy golf, hiking, camping, fishing and playing pool and ping pong.
Concrete crews forming the new cooling tower foundation.
Not all of our more than 50 completed projects for the University of Arizona are featured on a campus tour.
High-profile facilities that our company worked on, such as the Student Recreation Center expansion and award-winning renovation of Old Main, are must-sees for students, faculty and visitors. Just as important is the infrastructure that a growing campus needs, such as the project we’re carrying out on the north end of campus near Banner-University Medical Center.
The scope includes renovating an existing central heating and refrigeration plant to house new equipment, installing two 2,500-ton chillers along with chilled water pumps/piping, a cooling tower, steam piping, utility tunnel modifications and supporting utilities.
Substantial completion is scheduled for May 2016.
“This project will help provide heating and cooling throughout campus,” said Project Manager Mike Schlabach. “The public will never see some of our best work.”
Sounds like a cool project. Maybe it’s time to expand that tour.
Our work involves much more than construction. It’s also about building relationships with clients that last long after the project is done.
In Downtown Phoenix, our joint venture with DPR Construction has already completed the Health Sciences Education Building and is making steady progress on the neighboring Biosciences Partnership Building. Both are University of Arizona projects and shining examples of preparing today’s medical students for careers filled with discoveries that benefit humankind.
Sundt and DPR have also been sponsors of the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix Golf Tournament for the past four years. The event has raised more than $103,000 for scholarships to assist medical students over that time.
Sundt President & CEO Dave Crawford accepts an award for the company’s support of the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix Golf Tournament.
During this year’s event at Legacy Golf Club on Sept. 11, the College honored Sundt President & CEO Dave Crawford and DPR Southwest Regional Leader Dave Elrod for their dedication to the future of medicine. The College’s mission is to inspire and train exemplary physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and healthcare in Arizona and beyond.
“The golf tournament is a great way of giving back and celebrating a good project,” Crawford said. “It’s nice to think we’re all involved in developing young people and turning them into medical experts who will go back into the community.”
Elrod said: “If (supporting the event) helps get these under-resourced kids into a program and helps them become great doctors or clinical staff, it’s amazing.”
Both executives are ensuring that their companies stay involved in the project both on and off the construction site. They have made personal connections with the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix and those bonds are here to stay.
“They are friends of this college and unbelievable citizens of the Valley and the state,” said UA College of Medicine-Phoenix Dean Stuart Flynn.
Todd Photographic Services
Sundt and our joint venture partner, DPR Construction, are helping make Downtown Phoenix a home for vital university-related healthcare facilities.
Work is steadily progressing on the $136 million University of Arizona Biosciences Partnership Building along 7th Street with a new floor being poured every month. When it’s complete next year, the 10-story facility will unite scientists and researchers from across disciplines to work collaboratively in fighting diseases.
It’s the latest addition to a growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus, a city initiative bringing bioresearch and education downtown. BPB is our fourth project under contract on the campus, including the neighboring Health Sciences Education Building, which houses health education for the UA and Northern Arizona University.
Sundt and DPR’s healthcare construction work in Phoenix carries a strong reputation down Interstate 10 into Tucson. Our joint venture team was recently chosen to construct a $260 million, 11-story hospital tower at Banner Health’s University Medical Center on the UA campus. The project includes a renovation of Banner’s Diamond Children’s Medical Center.
Who doesn’t love looking at a beautiful building? Getting a tour and talking with the people who created it is even better. You can do all of that and more at the Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB) at Phoenix Biomedical Campus on October 8. That’s when the University of Arizona Medical School – Phoenix is throwing a viewing party to celebrate the iconic, copper-clad structure, which was constructed by Sundt and recently featured on PBS’s “Cool Spaces! The Best New Architecture” television show. Click on the image on the left to learn more and register.