In Family Hands Again


Wilson Sundt (left) and Bob Sundt

AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF GROWTH AND STABILITY, there was another changing of the guard in 1978. Both Duane Anderson and Bill Naumann retired, and Wilson Sundt was named chairman of the board and also chief executive officer. His brother Bob moved up to replace Wilson as the president of Sundt. Once again, direct descendants of M.M. Sundt were in command of their namesake company. Under their leadership, the company would continue to grow and diversify.

Bob was very innovative. When he became the President of Sundt, he was also a community and industry leader. He was the Chairman of the Tucson Chamber of Commerce and served on the Arizona State Retirement Board, the Southwest Gas Board and the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. As an industry leader, he was very active with the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), both locally and nationally. Bob had a great understanding of marketing and business development practices.

Wilson Sundt had an adventuresome spirit, and was very active in the management of the Sundt subsidiaries and international activities. He also had a fondness for heavy civil work, especially the heavy equipment operations. He always talked about part of the company having to be “travelers.” His theory was that when work got scarce at home, the company needed to have the capability of generating work in other locations.

Wilson was a leader outside of the company as well. He was a longtime member of the Tucson Airport Authority board. He also had a long tenure on the Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) board. The utility recognized his lengthy service by renaming its Irvington Road Power Plant the “H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station” upon his retirement from the board in 2003. Wilson also served on the boards of Magma Copper, Western Savings and Loan, Schuff Steel, and The University of Arizona Foundation. He passed away in 2008 after a long battle with cancer.

Bob and Wilson Sundt’s tenure saw some of Sundt’s most valuable ventures, particularly in joint ventures, partnerships and outright purchases of other companies. But it was the expansion of work overseas, particularly in Saudi Arabia, that many see as their crowning achievement.