July 15, 2019
July 11, 2019
Longtime Sundt employee William (Bill) Allin passed away last month, leaving behind a legacy of service, hard work and humor. Bill worked for Sundt for over 37 years, including his first position as a timekeeper on our then-top-secret project in Los Alamos, New Mexico during WWII. Though given a draft deferment for his job, Bill willingly gave this up to volunteer for the U.S. Army Air Corps and graduated with his pilot wings in 1944.
William (Bill) Allin, 1923-2019
Following the war and his honorable discharge in 1946, Bill returned to work for Sundt in Tucson, where his career and family would continue to grow. He held positions ranging from accounting clerk to chief estimator to manager of the Tucson Building Division, (first) manager of building operations in Saudi Arabia from 1975–1977, and ultimately Secretary of Sundt Corp, the position from which he retired in 1983.
It was people like Bill who built Sundt’s reputation into what it is today, not only in Arizona but nationally and internationally. Former Sundt CEO J. Doug Pruitt said, “Bill was an excellent leader during some very critical years. He was known as a great mentor of young people and really focused his energy on developing great builders.” A family man who led by example, a veteran and die-hard Arizona Wildcats fan, Bill will be dearly missed by everyone he leaves behind.
July 2, 2019
Sundt and joint-venture partner Trinity Hughes Construction are nearing the finish of a $34.3 million project at Midwestern State University (MSU). The new 88,000-square-foot building will house several programs in the Gunn College of Health Sciences and Human Services, with updated facilities and space for Dental Hygiene, Social Work, Radiologic Sciences, Respiratory Care and the Wilson School of Nursing. Substantial completion is slated for the end of this month, and classes start August 26. In other words, it’s crunch time. The team is kicking things into whatever-it-takes gear to complete what will be a huge addition to the university and its student body.
Skilled craft professionals work diligently to complete the the building’s complex interior.
“There are lots of moving parts and pieces to the inner workings of this building, with all of the different things it will be able to do,” said Sundt Project Executive Bob Aniol. New hospital equipment, dental equipment, and simulators will assist Midwestern State faculty in providing hands-on instruction, which is part of MSU’s larger goal to be a premier education provider for healthcare and human services fields. “The challenge is to coordinate all the consultants and installers of the different equipment, to make sure everyone’s on the same page,” said Bob.
Crews work on the exterior of the building to prepare for students arriving in late August.
Another factor behind our progress has been consistent performances from skilled craft, many of whom worked with Sundt’s Building Group in North Texas on the successful Wichita Falls Regional Airport Terminal project. “We’ve had great showings from key trades, including MEP, drywall, and masonry,” said Bob. “They’ve given us a consistent level of service and skill to drive this project forward.” Sundt worked hard to hire from the local workforce in Wichita Falls, bringing in outside work for niche scopes when absolutely necessary. According to Bob, “Sundt really maximized participation from the local workforce to the best of our ability.”
Similar architectural features seamlessly connect the building to the existing campus.
On the subject of creating jobs, the impact of this project will extend far beyond its completion. “For Midwestern State’s programs like nursing and dental, this provides a huge upgrade in how they train and equip their graduates, as well as how they attract new students,” said Bob. As the finish line approaches, the Trinity Hughes | Sundt joint venture has worked some long hours, had hard conversations and made tough decisions. Turning the vision behind this project into a reality, however, has been well worth the sacrifice. “It’s a small team, and I’m extremely proud of them,” said Bob. “Nobody has given up. Nobody has complained. We’re all bought in here—it’s whatever it takes to make it happen.”
June 24, 2019
Every morning for the past two weeks, patients at El Paso Children’s Hospital have looked out their windows to find some fun characters hanging around the construction site next door. Some with pink fur, some with tails of fire or lightning, and all with big, adorable eyes. Yes, Pokémon have taken over Sundt’s jobsite on the neighboring Texas Tech El Paso Medical Sciences Building II project. Early each morning, crew members place life-size cut-outs of characters in new positions around the site. The Pokémon characters can be seen mingling with workers or operating equipment (safely, of course), and kids next door can’t help but crack a smile as they search each morning for where the characters have moved.
A few months after Sundt’s spinoff of “Elf on the Shelf” in December, El Paso Children’s Hospital contacted Sundt Project Manager Larry Kurtz to brainstorm another interactive idea. “Their initial plan was ‘Where’s Waldo?’” said Larry, “but I had just seen the Detective Pikachu movie with my grandkids, and they loved it, so I suggested Pokémon instead.” In mid-June, Sundt team members including Larry paid the patients a visit, bringing Pokémon cards, coloring sheets and a Pokémon book which they read to the kids.
Sundt Project Manager Larry Kurtz and El Paso Children’s Hospital oncology patients display their freshly painted Charmander
Afterwards, life-size Pokémon cut-outs began popping up all over the project’s hospital-facing side. Each day, a new character was added, and existing ones changed locations, greeting kids with the morning sun. After a week, Sundt enlisted the kids’ help in painting and signing the new characters to go up next.
Some might wonder: why add this event to an already busy schedule? “We do this for the kids,” said Larry. “They’re tired and sick, and this gives them a reason to get up and be active. Reading, coloring, painting—it’s all a healing experience. It makes them forget about their ailments for a while.”
Both patients and staff at El Paso Children’s Hospital had a great time with the Pokémon takeover. “We’ve had the pleasure of a fruitful and rewarding relationship with Sundt for more than 18 months now,” said Taylor Moreno, Director of Institutional Development. “From donations to help with service line growth, to Elf on the Shelf and this event, we cannot be more grateful for the continued support.”
El Paso Children’s Hospital oncology patients pose with Pikachu, Jigglypuff and the Sundt team
Patients Axia and Hailee have been big fans of their colorful new neighbors. “It was fun. Every time I would wake up, I’d look out the window to see what new character popped up,” said Axia, 12 years old. Hailee, who is 10, said “I loved it, and it was very interactive. My friends and I would share pictures and compare.”
Sundt employee-owners who attended the reading or helped create the cut-outs (or did both) include Larry Kurtz, Mike Dominguez Jr., Matt Gomez, Larry Hulett, Joe Riccillo and Angie Rosales. Our subcontractor Diversified Interiors’ Justin Hernandez and his daughter also contributed.
June 20, 2019
Earlier this month, Sundt welcomed Ken Kubacki as its new Vice President and Regional Manager of the Transportation Group’s Intermountain Region, including Utah and Colorado. He will oversee business development, preconstruction, operations and client management. For this week’s blog, Ken took some time to share a bit about himself.
How long have you been in construction, and what drew you to this industry? For 28 years, starting in college. What drew me to construction then and what draws me now is that it’s always changing; you’re never working on the same thing. Every day, it’s a new landscape and a new challenge. I also love the feeling you get when you finish a project, and you drive past it later and can say, “We built that.”
Ken arrives at Sundt with deep experience in large infrastructure projects and direct involvement in over $1.5 billion in Design-Build and CMGC contracts.
Is there a past project that stands out to you, one that you’re especially proud of? There are several. I’d say the US 60 Superstition Freeway Widening project, which my former company did as a JV with Sundt. It exposed me to Design-Build, and it was a large project at $196 million. We were fortunate enough to be involved with that project—to be responsible for its success, and to be part of a really fun and talented team.
What brought you to Sundt? Relationships. Including the US 60 job, I had prior experience working alongside Sundt, and I knew a lot about the firm and its people. My dad was a Teamster laborer here at one point too. I grew up in Tempe seeing Sundt around, and I knew they were a long-time, established firm. Overall, the longer I worked in the industry, whether chasing work together or through the AGC, the more I got to know some key people here. So, when the opportunity came up for me to lead the Intermountain Region, everything just came together.
What projects and opportunities in your region are you excited about? We’re excited for the opportunities that lie ahead in Utah’s strong economic market. There are several UDOT bid-build and Design-Build projects that fit our strengths, along with US Army Corps of Engineers and Union Pacific Railroad projects. In Portland, Oregon there’s the I-5 Rose Quarter CMGC project we’re pursuing which would capitalize on our previous experience in the area. We’re also looking forward to working with Sundt’s Industrial Group on a large infrastructure joint venture in Salt Lake City. This is a great chance to show Utah and the surrounding areas that Sundt is establishing a foothold in the Intermountain Region.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? Being outdoors—skiing, snowboarding, hiking, camping, mountain biking. I’ve actually coached mountain biking for high school teams for the past couple years. Watching the kids grow and develop is special. And they’ll kick your butt on the trails by the end of the season! You’re not on the sidelines watching; you’re out there riding with them. So, yeah, that’s something that I’ve loved doing.
Is there a book, movie, or quote that inspires you? One quote that has stuck with me is, “Never tell people what to do, tell them what you want, and you will be surprised by their ingenuity,” which is credited to General Patton. And I agree. You should let people come up with solutions on their own, while providing guidance and feedback. There are good ideas that come from the person who’s on the end of the shovel. Providing everyone the opportunity to be involved allows the team to become the best it can be; you just have to listen.
What once housed hundreds of baseball fans will now house thousands of students as Sundt breaks ground on a new 365,000-square-foot student housing complex. The $150 million Hornet Commons Complex will consist of six four-story buildings with a total of 284 apartments, a swimming pool, café, fitness center and community room.
The ceremonial groundbreaking earlier this month marked the start of Sundt’s second project on the Sacramento State campus, with the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex finishing up within the next month. “We’re honored to be a part of this incredible project,” said Jim Larrieu, Vice President and Northern California Regional Director. “Our team is looking forward to creating a new and exciting place for students to relax and enjoy life on campus.”
This is not just another project for Sacramento State; it has been in the works for many years. Alexander Gonzalez, Sacramento State’s president for 11 years before retiring in 2015, always had a vision of turning the Dan McAuliffe Memorial Ballparks into a place to house students. Watching from the crowd as Sundt broke ground, he saw his vision come to life.
“The long-awaited Student Housing Project is transformative for the Sacramento State student community, and Sundt is thrilled to be part of the team making that happen,” said Teri Jones, Building Group President.
Sundt Preconstruction Manager Dave Downey, Sr. Project Manager Sean Falvey, Building Group President Teri Jones, Sacramento State Mascot Herky, Sundt Project Executive Mike Mielcarek, Sundt CEO Mike Hoover, and Sr. Project Superintendent Rob Petrakovitz
Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen and crowd put their “stingers up.”
Sean Falvey, project manager for the new housing development and for the Science Complex project, shared his thoughts on starting a second project on campus.
With the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex finishing soon, what about that project do you think made us the builder of choice for Hornet Commons?
We are able to think outside the box when faced with challenges. We started off on the right foot with the preconstruction phase: our precon team was able to deliver more than the campus’s RFP requirements and really give them more for their budget. Secondly, we proved that we were not only a good contractor, but an innovative one. When we had to dig a trench that would stretch in front of the campus bookstore and impede foot traffic, our team came up with a unique solution: build a “drawbridge” to keep students and pedestrians safe while walking in and out of the bookstore. Our client appreciated us going beyond what was expected of us and keeping the students’ safety and campus operations in mind during construction.
Were there any lessons learned from the Science Complex that the team can apply to the housing project? On the Science Complex, the state fire marshal required significant changes during construction due to the many rating conditions (wall terminations, pipe penetrations, etc.). On the housing project, we’ll be constructing a mockup to demonstrate all our typical conditions, which will give us the opportunity to head off any concerns and avoid scheduling conflicts. With over 30,000 students, many of them commuters, the campus is very sensitive to traffic disturbances. Going into housing, we are paying close attention to how our work may impact traffic and have already accounted for “summer work.” The purpose of the new housing development is to, hopefully, eliminate the amount of travel students currently face.
The Science Complex is an incredible building with 27 teaching labs, research labs, a planetarium, and an observatory; will there be any similarities with the housing complex? The two buildings will be like night and day: not only is the building type different (wood vs. steel), but the client and delivery method are different as well. Even though they will be different structurally, the end goal is the same: to enrich the campus community with better facilities. The CSU students are the ones who will truly benefit from each of these projects.