Continuous Improvement Program Manager Dominic Daughtrey continues to push himself, Sundt, and our industry forward. Winner of the 2019 Industry Innovator Award at this year’s Bluebeam Extreme Conference (XCON), Dominic took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about his experience. The conference is an immersive three-day event that features Revu training, AEC panels and roundtables, and networking functions. Above all, it’s a great vantage point to see the future of the construction industry.
This award “honors thinkers and doers who don’t back down from a technical challenge,” which is essentially the kind of work you do every day. But what does it mean to you to be named “Industry Innovator”? It means a lot, especially at this conference with the people who attended. It’s an assurance that I’m making a difference and that we’re making progress together. You know, it’s hard to change an entire industry. Sometimes it feels like you’re going against the tide. But this allowed me to take a step back and realize that all the continuous improvement work Sundt is doing, and the work that our partners are doing, is moving us in the right direction. This work is benefiting a lot of people in the field and helping them to do their jobs better. So yeah, it really does mean a lot.
Sundt’s Continuous Improvement Program Manager Dominic Daughtrey poses with Bluebeam CEO Jon Elliot upon receiving the Industry Innovator award at the 2019 Bluebeam Extreme Conference (XCON)
How was this year’s Bluebeam Extreme Conference? It was great! This year it was in Washington D.C., which was a cool venue to witness all this new technology coming out. Bluebeam does a great job of bringing everyone together: competitors, companies with complementary technologies, and just a variety of industry professionals at the forefront of construction tech. There were several Sundt partners represented there, including Pype, Drone Deploy, and Raken, and it was great to connect with them. Also, last year I presented twice, but this year I was able to just go as an attendee and focus solely on learning. I didn’t have to get up at 3:00 am Arizona time to prepare. It was kind of nice! But overall, it’s a great conference, and it just has a different feel. People who attend really do want to make a difference. They care about the construction industry and want to make it better for everyone.
What were some topics that stood out to you this year? The one thing that stood out to me, which I think will be huge going forward, is a new platform Bluebeam acquired called Project Atlas. It’s geospatial storage; this sounds weird, but think of it kind of like Google Maps for your project. Say there’s an incident on your site. Instead of it being tagged on a set of plans somewhere that you have to track down, you can literally walk over to the area, open the app on your device, and just by being in that location you’ll have access to all the relevant documents and data. RFI’s, submittals, 3D models, 2D drawings—all relevant to that exact element or zone. You can access this immediately out in the field, and soon we’ll be able to implement drone data as well with Drone Deploy already integrated into the platform. It’s going to change the way we look at things.
Obviously, there’s a “wow-factor” with new technology, but why make innovation a larger focus as a company? For Sundt, if we say we’re the most skilled builder, that means we have the best tools in the hands of the best employees in the industry, and they’re supported better than anyone in the industry. And that means working smarter not harder. Do we still have grit? Yes, absolutely. And grit gets us across the finish line in tough situations. But a lot of times, coming up with smarter solutions to complex problems is the real key to our company’s success, and it’s how we’ll stay at the forefront of the industry.
Big things are happening in Utah these days. As new development surges along the Wasatch Front, multiple infrastructure projects have been under way to support the area’s growing population. These include the I-215 and Redwood Road Interchange in North Salt Lake, which Sundt has completely rebuilt for the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). Project Manager Thiago Bezerra, who operates out of Sundt’s Salt Lake City office, gave us a recap of the project.
In terms of scope, what has this project accomplished? The project had four major components: first, the resurfacing of Redwood Road from 500 S to Center Street and Recreation Way to County line; second, the I-215 roadway; third, the full widening and reconstruction of Redwood Road; and fourth and finally, the new bridge and Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI).
The DDI is relatively new and unfamiliar to many drivers in the U.S. How does it work, and how was it introduced to the surrounding community? The DDI temporarily routes vehicles to the left side of the road—which seems counter-intuitive; however, this allows for higher volumes of traffic to cross, enter, or exit the freeway. Drivers have less wait time and fewer opportunities for collisions. UDOT’s Public Involvement team did a great job of understanding and then explaining the DDI to the public and updating them as the project progressed. This helped to create a smoother transition with the final changeover this past Sunday.
The rebuilt Redwood Road Interchange in North Salt Lake features a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) for easier access, egress and crossing of I-215.
What were some challenges we had to overcome? We built a brand-new interchange alongside live traffic, so the work phasing had to be detailed out, literally down to the inch. For the resurfacing along I-215, there was only one foot of “extra” space to build five miles of new PCCP highway. Also, the project sits on top of what once was the prehistoric Bonneville Lake, which makes for very soft sub-grade to build on—that and we’re coming off of Utah’s second wettest spring on record.
How did you do it? What were some keys to the project’s success? Our partnership with UDOT was second-to-none, and our level of communication allowed for some pretty intense problem-solving. As a project team, we took it upon ourselves to demonstrate the “Sundt Way”—to prove ourselves as partner, from our safety program to our company culture, to our collaborative approach. Also, our team really gave us their best, including our general superintendent Tim Kelly, structures superintendent Celso Holguin, their team of skilled builders, and inspector Mac Estrada.
The DDI features fewer conflict points than traditional interchanges, higher capacity for left-turning vehicles, and calmer traffic due to the curved design.
Any final thoughts on the project? I could not be more proud of the project we’re giving our client, and the employee-owners who helped build it. This project has given us an opportunity to showcase Sundt’s culture to a new owner and market, and we’ve shown UDOT and other future clients why Sundt is a contractor of choice.
“What’d you do this summer?” is a question every student answers as school starts across the country. Not only did Sundt interns work on real construction sites developing real skills, they can also boast that they built construction apps that will save real time and real money.
For the Sundt Office 365 App Competition, each of our interns was asked: how can you improve a process, not just do the process? By identifying ways to automate processes, each one left their respective projects better off than they found them. They had only one month to complete the task, but these students rose to the challenge.
Congrats, interns! Amid much fanfare at Sundt HQ, Continuous Improvement Manager Dominic Daughtrey presented overall winner Griffin Monfette-Baker with his $800 prize.
“These young people blew the judges away with their creativity, insights, use of technology, and adoption rates of their solutions,” said Sundt Continuous Improvement Manager Dominic Daughtrey, who helped facilitate the competition. “The 2019 intern class will inherit this industry one day, and starting them out with creative autonomy, an opportunity for mastery, and a purpose behind their work is one of the most powerful impacts we can have on construction. I’m humbled to be a part of it.”
We spoke with Ananya Chada, Sundt’s Building Group grand winner, about her solution to the weekly work plan. After sitting in on a few meetings, she realized how much information was discussed and documented, but sometimes didn’t translate to action. “I was trying to see where we could make the process better,” said Ananya, “and I thought this app would be a great way to make use of the technology for our daily activities and daily planning.” By utilizing a PowerBI dashboard, she was able to create a clearer picture of action items and responsibilities, while also streamlining the data-entry process.
The GRFN365 app was named after Griffin for his winning submission, which automates the tool commissioning process. Griffin and his colleagues’ apps showed that these digital tools were easy to create and applicable to every jobsite.
The overall winner was Griffin Monfette-Baker, who completed his internship with Sundt’s Industrial Group. Griffin’s app submission automates the tool commissioning process on site, which before was a paper/spreadsheet-based task that took several hours per week. Data on tools like hammer drills or band saws (checkout, damage, corrective actions, etc.) is now collected directly on the user’s mobile device, pushed through Forms/Flows to a SharePoint site, and then visualized on PowerBI. From start to finish, Griffin spent about 10 hours on the submission, most of which was mapping out the process and talking to the experts who have done it manually. Now, collecting the data digitally automates reporting and enables historic tracking to identify trending issues, while saving several hours of work each week.
When asked about the Sundt internship experience and the competition, Griffin said, “It was creative for Sundt to give us this opportunity. When I came down here to start my internship, I thought I would be doing just the regular, assigned tasks. This was a creative process that I was a part of, and I’m glad I got this opportunity.” Congrats to Griffin and all of our 2019 interns!
Sundt Construction recently hired Danielle Intorf as Business Development Representative in its Transportation Group. In this week’s blog, we caught up with Danielle to learn more about her as well as her new role.
How long have you been in construction, and what drew you to this industry? Since I graduated from NAU in 2013, and before coming on with Sundt, I worked for another general contractor and then a large geotechnical engineering and consulting firm. I’ve always worked in a marketing role, internal and external, and I’ve always loved the business development side of construction as well. My new role with Sundt is the perfect bridge between those two areas.
What brought you to Sundt? I mean, Sundt did! I’d heard only good things about the company from several people I trust, and the role they offered me was the right fit. It gave me the opportunity to use both my business development skills and my marketing abilities to help win jobs on a more personal level. I love working in a client-facing capacity and putting myself in the client’s shoes. I was also drawn to the charity aspect of what Sundt does through the Sundt Foundation. Overall, there were so many signs that this was the right fit.
What transportation projects or opportunities are you excited about? Broadway Curve here in Phoenix and SR 189 in Nogales would be really cool projects to win and get to build. I’m excited to not only be involved in those pursuits but to live that process—to take pursuits from SOQ to interview to final, and really understand the whole storyline. So yes, we have a lot of big projects in our future to get excited about.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? Well, I have a one-year-old, and she’s pretty much my life. I really enjoy being a mom. My husband and I love to travel. I swam competitively in college, and I still enjoy doing that. I’m a foodie—I love visiting new restaurants, trying new things. Also, I’m from a big family, and we do a lot of stuff together. Lastly, I love event planning.
Is there a book, movie, or quote that inspires you? I’ve always liked the saying, “Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, and how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.” That’s something I try to live by in my career. Also, I love the Avenger’s movies. I can quote all of them. Every single word. Challenge me. I dare you.
Each year at Sundt, we’re excited to bring on a new group of interns who are eager to gain firsthand experience in the construction industry. Our interns come from across the country and are placed on a project team in all of our groups and regions. Many of them go on to become full-time Sundt employee-owners after graduation. For this year’s National Intern Day, we picked a few interns from the Southwest District of our Building Group to find out how their experience is going.
Abe (Project: Banner – University Medical Center Tucson):
“This will be my third internship. The team was ready to answer all my questions and help me as a young professional.”
Erik (Canopy by Hilton Tempe)
“Last year, I interned with Sundt’s Transportation group in the preconstruction unit. This year, working with the Building group, I learned all about what happens on the project after the precon phase. It was nice to see both sides of construction: behind the scenes, then on the job. I liked being able to work hands-on. Plus, getting exposure to two different types of construction was interesting. The team was helpful and willing to answer any questions I had.”
At the close of their internship, the interns from our Building Group, Southwest District are given the opportunity to explore their creative side. Each intern is tasked with making a short, one-minute video that summarizes their experience as an intern. They are encouraged to be as creative as they want, with no boundaries. We spoke with a few interns about their experience making the video as well as their time with Sundt.
Andrea (University of Arizona Student Success District)
“This is my first internship. It has been an interesting journey and helped me grow as a young engineer. The team has been extremely supportive, and everyone has taught me a lot: how to process submittals, interact with the owner, and submit RFIs. We had so much fun making my video. It took a long time to edit, but everyone helped out.”
See Andrea’s video below.
If you’re interested in learning more about an internship at Sundt, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.