Current Sundt estimator and former Project Superintendent Andres Herrera has almost 20 years in the industry, 17 of those with Sundt Construction. Although he originally intended to become an architect, Andres’ journey landed him out in the field, where he quickly found his niche. He has field and office experience on some of Sundt’s largest projects such as ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Banner- University Medical Center in Tucson and the University of Arizona’s Student Success District. As he continues to work in his new role in preconstruction, Andres is placing more focus on recruiting and how the industry can better involve a younger generation. Part of his passion for recruitment comes from sharing his story and expressing how our career journey does not always take the path we expect it to.
It’s A Journey
“There’s a certain stigma we’re up against when recruiting in construction, right?” Andres comments. “As we recruit a younger generation, we have to get in front of a wider audience and open their eyes to the many career paths in the industry, whether their goal is to earn a college degree or not.”
Andres is involved in JTED, a joint technological education district, and the ACE program, which motivates underrepresented students to complete high school and continue their education. He also participates in Construction Career days, which exposes high school and middle school students to the industry. “It’s programs like these that enable students to see what a career in construction can look like, on or off the field. Part of my recruiting goal is to share my unique journey with students. I stress to them that your career journey might not be linear, and it’s okay to change paths.”
His introduction to the industry was in high school, where Andres attended Metro Tech in Phoenix and enrolled in their vocational program for architecture. He split his time between his core classes and architecture, eventually earning an internship. “The key to this piece of my journey was that I was exposed to the industry early on and was offered a unique opportunity because of my skills. We should place our efforts here when it comes to recruitment.”
Once he graduated high school, Andres attended Arizona State University on a full ride scholarship for architecture but learned that his strengths didn’t align with the program, and instead enrolled in ASU’s Del E. Webb School of Construction. After receiving an internship actively framing homes, he went on board with that company as a full-time assistant superintendent. “I was making a great wage, and supporting my two young children, so I transitioned to attending school part-time to develop my skills in the field.”
Eventually, Andres returned to ASU full-time to finish his degree, applied for an internship with Sundt, and has been with the company ever since. He’s held the roles of Field and Project Engineer, Field Superintendent, Project Superintendent and recently joined the preconstruction department as an estimator. All of these experiences have led him to where he is today.
“I started in the field framing homes, and now I’m in the office working in preconstruction as an estimator. Filling these diverse roles gives me a broader perspective on what it takes to be a builder.”
—Andres Herrera, Project Superintendent
Lead By Example
“Recruiting in construction begins with knowing your audiences,” said Andres. “When training young interns or engineers, they deserve the same respect that you give to anyone else on site. I stress to my interns that no matter your role, maintaining professionalism is key. We need to welcome young workers to the profession. This incoming generation requires a different communication style, and we’re adjusting to that.”
Through his time spent contributing to organizations like JTED and Arizona Construction Career Days, Andres has witnessed how hands-on experience with construction equipment and exposing students to construction at a younger age can influence the industry’s growth in a positive way. “I think it’s especially important for us to realize that college isn’t the desired path for everyone. Many students thrive in work that is hands-on, whether it’s welding or framing, we have the responsibility to send a message that those skills can become a career.”
Andres credits his leadership style to his parents and upbringing. He was a first-generation college graduate and says staying true to his roots keeps him grounded. “My parents instilled values in me that I now share and pass on to those I work with, especially those who are new to the industry. Be honest, respectful and lead by example.”
Learn more about opportunities with Sundt on our careers page.