College Road Trip All About Finding Interns

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Sundt University Relations Recruiter Michael Morales spent time working as an intern earlier this year to better understand what students do on jobsites.

As Sundt’s University Relations Recruiter, Michael Morales spends several weeks each fall on the road talking with college students who could someday end up working for the company.

Mike Morales photoMichael’s first task is to identify which students would be the good fits for the company as interns. He will visit several campuses between now and November to find students who will work for us at one of our jobsites or offices next summer.

Michael took a few minutes off from packing his bags for the big trip to answer questions about our internship program.

What does Sundt do to recruit college interns?

Sundt targets campuses across the nation that produce students with high potential. My role as the University Relations Recruiter is to attend job fairs, present information sessions on the company, host Q&As and have our college alumni building working relationships with students. Sundt has a great reputation, which is why we average 30-plus interviews at each campus we visit.

How long are the internships?

They typically last 10 to 12 weeks. However, some students have co-ops that last much longer, and we have the ability to keep interns on part time throughout the school year.

What are the most common majors for our interns?

The most common major we see is Construction Management. We have employed interns with all different majors, though, including Civil, Mechanical, Engineering Technology, Mining and even Software Engineering.

What kind of work do interns perform?

It varies. They assist superintendents, work job specifications and drawings, process requests for information/submittals, attend safety inspections, work with Building Information Modeling, etc.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy seeing our interns become full-time employee-owners. Our internship program is a great way to train, mentor and filter our top performers into full-time positions upon graduation. I also enjoy traveling to schools across the U.S. and showing students why Sundt is the company to work for.

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Teamwork Keeps Cal Baptist Tradition Flowing

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Cal Baptist University’s Kugel Fountain is an important part of the student experience at the school.

College campuses thrive on landmarks and traditions. A Sundt team recently helped keep one going at California Baptist University in Riverside.

Already on campus for an events center, we were asked by the university to replace the Kugel Fountain, a floating granite globe sculpture located in the Ronald L. and Jane Dowden Ellis Great Commission Plaza.

The fountain was out of commission and a new globe was being manufactured in Germany. University administration needed a reliable contractor to make sure the fountain remained an important part of student life and we were more than happy to help.

Work included replacement of the globe, colored concrete around the base, the water storage tank and all piping, pumps and filters. Our crews also added the capability to monitor the Kugel remotely.

“Cal Baptist University is an excellent client,” said Project Manager Lars Fredrickson. “They look to Sundt as their trusted advisor.”

Tradition calls for newly enrolled students to touch the Kugel as they begin their studies and again on commencement day. The Kugel plays a similar role for participants in other activities such as International Service Projects. The tradition symbolizes each student’s commitment to live a life of purpose in accordance with his or her spiritual beliefs.

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Sun Devil Stadium Crew Answers Call for Better Wi-Fi

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Arizona State University’s football stadium is going from no wireless access points to 785 after next year.

When Arizona State University football fans enter Sun Devil Stadium for the team’s opening game Saturday night, many things will be clear, including their wireless signals.

A Sundt joint venture team has spent the past several months working on improving the fan experience at the 58-year-old stadium. Better seating, larger concourses and improved bathrooms and concession areas are easy to notice. But when fans check the bars on their phones, they will be pleasantly surprised.

“This will be the most technologically advanced stadium in college football,” said Sundt Project Superintendent Todd Gantter. “People who are streaming won’t mess with people trying to make phone calls.”

Before the university construction project started last year, there were no wireless access points, networking hardware devices that allow Wi-Fi compliant devices to connect to a wired network. When work finishes next August, there will be 785. The stadium will also go from 130 cellular antennas to 273. Antennas improve cell-phone reception.

Todd estimates the team has installed close to 70 percent of the infrastructure for the stadium’s wireless network. That includes reworking media truck connectivity, which will make life better for those watching games on TV.

“We’re building for the future,” he said. “There are numerous additional pathways for future use as technology changes.”

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Three Sundt Projects Bring Home Regional Awards

Sierra Hall

Sierra Hall is located on the California State University Channel Islands campus.

Three Sundt projects recently earned Engineering News-Record (ENR) Regional Best Projects Awards, including two that were named the best in their divisions.

California State University Channel Islands Sierra Hall (Southern California Higher Education/Research) and Valley Metro Northwest Extension (Southwest Airport/Transit) received top honors. Cal State East Bay Warren Hall earned the Award of Merit for Northern California Higher Education/Research.

Sierra Hall started as a major remodel/renovation and became a complete tear-down and rebuild when the team demonstrated that the school could have all the contemporary features it wanted with a coveted historic look without increasing the budget. The university construction project ended up including demolition of the original West Hall, courtyard walls and a small out building.

The main project included construction of the three-story, 66,500-square-foot classroom and laboratory building, which houses state-of-the-art labs, offices, lecture halls and related support spaces to accommodate growth in the departments of anthropology, archaeology, computer science, environmental science, geography, geology, psychology and physics.

The Northwest Extension is a 3.2-mile addition to the Valley Metro Rail system, an effort to deliver transportation options to Greater Phoenix. It included roadway widening and installation of embedded double track for the entire alignment with associated overhead catenary system, train signals, three traction power substations and traffic signals. The project added three stations and a park-and-ride, and 6.4 miles of sidewalks, curb and gutter and pavement.

The team removed and replaced more than 50 miles of water, sewer, storm, gas, electric and communications utilities. Design and constructability of this work were key points the team focused on during pre-construction. The team used Building Information Modeling to help with design and clash detection of the work. At peak, there were 22 self-performed, subcontracted and private utility crews working concurrently.

In Northern California, the original Warren Hall, a 13-story administration building that opened in 1971, was imploded and replaced with the new structure. The project also included demolition of a two-story bridge that spanned an adjacent roadway and connected the original building to the campus’ main library. Sundt also closed the opening in the library created by the bridge removal, adding a window to capture a panoramic view of the San Francisco/Oakland Bay.

The new five-story, 67,000-square-foot building contains faculty offices and other administrative support space. Designed to be an attractive focal point on the busy campus, it features metal ceilings, stainless steel wall panels and terrazzo flooring. The building was designed to include energy-efficient, environmentally friendly features and is expected to earn LEED Gold certification. The new building improves working and learning conditions for faculty, staff and students and provides a safer, seismically sound environment. The original Warren Hall was the most seismically vulnerable building on campus.

ENR awards honor the best construction projects and companies that designed and built them in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Projects compete in 20 specialized categories, ranging from airports to sports/entertainment. ENR has 10 regional editions.

ENR highlights our industry by providing news and features about projects, products and people in construction, architecture and engineering.

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Our ASPE Membership Has Its Awards

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Senior Estimator Paul Chang.

Paul is a member of the American Society of Professional Estimators San Diego Chapter No. 4, which recently named Sundt as its Member Firm of the Year. The organization provides education, fellowship and opportunities for professional development for estimators.

Paul recently took a few minutes to talk about the important role the society plays and why Sundt should be involved.

What does winning the ASPE Member Firm of the Year Award say about Sundt?

Although ASPE is an organization represented by individual members rather than corporate entities, the local chapter initiated the Member Firm of the Year Award several years ago to recognize companies that have supported the society in a number of ways.

The Austin/Sundt joint venture hosted an excellent site tour at the San Diego International Airport Rental Car Center in 2014 for the chapter and the Hoover High School ACE Mentor Program students. That activity is one of the criteria used to evaluate potential candidates for the annual award.

What does the organization do to further the industry?

The Board of Trustees and the Society Business Office maintain relationships with other construction organizations and attend some of their meetings. Our certification program is accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Boards. Our Education Committee’s efforts concentrate on continuing educational training for our members and opportunities to enhance their professional development. At the local chapter level, we participate in the Blue Book General Contractors Showcase and career job fairs at high schools and colleges.

We hold education seminars and provide instructors for other construction organizations and education institutions. Several members are active on boards of other associations and schools to further explain the benefits of estimating as a career path. Estimating is a long-term career, much like engineering and architecture. It requires in-depth training, a lengthy tenure and hands-on experience.

Why is it so important for Sundt to be involved with ASPE?

The ASPE San Diego Chapter No. 4 has many similarities to the company’s mission and vision. The core values reflect concepts that we endorse and subscribe to in serving our members and the construction field.

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Interns Head Back to Class After a Summer of Sundt

Intern BusSundt’s Class of 2016 has clocked out for the last time. The 64 interns who came to the company for a summer of construction experience have completed their work and headed back to school.

This group of interns came from 25 colleges and universities across the country: Alabama to Cal Poly. They worked on projects in Arizona, Arkansas, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas.

We appreciate all their hard work and look forward to seeing many of them as employee-owners in the future.

Want to get on the intern bus next year? Get in touch with Talent Acquisition & University Relations Specialist Michael Morales at (480) 293-3012.

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Renderings are a Big Draw at Tucson International Airport

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Want to know what the terminals at Tucson International Airport are going to look like when Sundt’s work is finished? The writing is on the wall.

Earlier this month, the construction team put up four large wraps covering walls at the airport showing renderings of the completed work. The renderings will be hard to miss: the largest one, showing the new security checkpoint, measures 14.75 feet by 6.5 feet.

The aviation construction project includes relocating two existing checkpoints to an expanded configuration that will upgrade the terminal’s passenger level of service, enhance concession and revenue opportunities and upgrade critical building systems. Construction is scheduled to be finished by November 2017, in time for the holiday season.

Interior demolition at the new checkpoint on the west side is mostly complete, with structural deck infill soon to follow. Also at the west checkpoint, removal and replacement of existing windows looking onto the airside will start in the next 4 to 6 weeks, as will removal of ceilings in Concourse B.

We are also improving the central concessions kitchen and performing behind-the-scenes work on mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire sprinklers. We are also starting work on remodeling police offices and locker rooms that are to become Transportation Security Administration spaces.

The work, being performed for the Tucson Airport Authority (TAA), is called “A Brighter TUS.” When finished, the project will bring down walls and put up windows to allow more light into terminals. TAA is using TUS to promote its airport code and Twitter page, where the public can visit to keep updated on project progress.

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Her Goal is Clear: Benefitting Women in Construction

Melanie HealeySundt Benefits Administrator Melanie Healey is the Vice President of the Greater Phoenix Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction, and the incoming President for the 2016-2017 membership year. She has been in human resources and administration for more than 15 years and finds her work in benefits to be one of the most rewarding experiences in her career. Melanie is a graduate of The Art Institute of Phoenix (1998) and Grand Canyon University (2015), and considers herself a lifelong learner. Her work history spans many different industries including aerospace, chemical plating, tattoo and behavioral health, just to name a few. A mother of two, wife and avid mental health and Autism awareness advocate, Melanie is passionate about people and helping individuals make wise, creative, and chaos-free decisions that will help them live the best lives they can.

How did you become involved with the National Association of Women in Construction?

When I was hired at Sundt four years ago, I was new to construction. I grew up in aerospace manufacturing and worked in a number of different industries prior, so construction was a whole new world for me. My supervisor at the time encouraged me to get involved in industry organizations that would help build my knowledge of construction as a whole. NAWIC was the first place I found with a well-rounded group of individuals, from operations and support, to vendors and contractors, who I believed would offer me the best opportunity to learn from others in the construction industry.

What does the organization do?

NAWIC’s core purpose is to enhance the success of women in the construction industry by providing education and a network of likeminded individuals for support. In the Greater Phoenix Chapter, we offer multiple opportunities to meet throughout the year, including a monthly educational meeting. We also do events in the community, including our annual Block Kids, which encourages kids to get into the spirit of building. Among other things, we provide scholarships to women pursuing construction-related certificates and degrees in higher education in Arizona, jobsite tours of local and national projects, as well as volunteer building inspections with the Phoenix Fire Department. And we have a little fun while doing it all, too!

How much of a positive impact can organizations like this have on young women who have an interest in the construction field?

As with any organization or opportunity, the impact the organization will have on a member is dependent upon what the member puts in. When I joined, I stayed back to observe and figure out the culture. But when I realized the great things NAWIC was doing in our community and the mutual opportunity for success, I jumped in and started volunteering. I began as a member of a planning committee and continued on to join our board as secretary in my second year. It has made a world of difference in my confidence, my understanding of the industry, awareness of what our folks in the field encounter day to day, and most importantly, perspective and knowledge to be successful in my role in our industry. I think NAWIC brings a level of camaraderie to our members and provides young women entering our industry with role models, great support and opportunities to expand their knowledge.

How important is it to have an organization that offers networking and mentoring programs for women in the industry?

It’s 2016 – support for women should just be support for workers. But we still have a ways to go, particularly in the construction industry. An organization that invests in showing women the opportunity and impact they can make and invests in the future of young women in STEM as well as the trades will be instrumental in bringing the construction industry light-years ahead of what we’ll see from other sectors. We have more than 9 million people working in construction in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but only 9.3 percent are women. It’s vital for leaders in our industry, like Sundt, to continue to seek diversity in our workforce. Women bring to the table different perspectives and ideas that create a thinking environment. Encouraging a mentorship mentality and networking opportunities will help bring the best talent to our work and continue to encourage the great talent we have.

How well represented are women in Sundt’s workforce?

I think Sundt has recognized that we have a lot of room to grow in this area. Our female craft population is roughly 1.5 percent of our entire workforce, operations and pre-construction rests around 7.5 percent and our support staff is about 4.5 percent. Sundt’s population is less than 20 percent female, yet the workforce in the U.S. is much closer to 50/50 than it ever has been. Sundt is making great strides to connect with organizations like NAWIC, in Greater Phoenix and in other regions, as well as reaching out to college groups like Advancing Women in Construction, to bring smart and talented new minds into the construction field. Our involvement with the East Valley Institute of Technology and Metro Tech High School, as well as local apprenticeship programs at community colleges are changing the shortage of women in the field as well, and will help us stay relevant and informed. As a leader in our industry, Sundt recognizes that this ratio needs to change and the need to be prepared for the challenges women face in the workforce. Recognizing these needs, acknowledging possibilities for improvement and making a plan to grow is just one way we remain a great place to work.

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Intern’s First Project as Employee-Owner is a Home Game

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Improvements at Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium are being made over three offseasons.

Former Sundt intern Oswaldo Robledo went back to familiar turf after being hired full-time.


Oswaldo Robledo serves as a Field Engineer on the Sun Devil Stadium project.

An Arizona State University graduate, Oswaldo is serving as a field engineer on our joint-venture project making improvements at Sun Devil Stadium, where the school’s football team plays. This is the second offseason we have worked on the stadium with one more phase to come next year.

“I think that being part of a team that gets to build the football stadium for the university that I graduated from is pretty awesome,” Oswaldo said. “I feel like it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Oswaldo, a Phoenix native, was as an intern at Sundt while earning his degree in construction management. He was hired by our company after graduation and immediately went into the field on the Sun Devil Stadium project.

Oswaldo’s story isn’t unique. We have gained national recognition for our efforts to hire recent college graduates.

“Sundt gave me the opportunity to grow as an individual by allowing me to experience real-world issues and providing enough knowledge and tools to figure out those issues on my own,” Oswaldo said.

For more information on internships with Sundt, please contact Mike Morales at

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Big Room Brings Big Value to Banner-UMC Tucson Project


The Big Room includes representatives from Sundt, DPR Construction, Banner, the architect, engineers and key trade contractors.

Communication is vital to the success of any project. Our joint venture with DPR Construction working on the Banner-University Medical Center Tucson expansion is using a “Big Room” concept that brings together project partners on site to facilitate a collaborative environment and deliver quicker solutions to issues.

An effective Big Room supports collaborative behavior. It’s flexible, practical and has visual information. It adds value and lowers the overall project cost because everyone is working together.

The JV team is joined in the Big Room, which is located in the main hospital building with windows facing the construction site, by representatives from Banner, the architect, engineers and key trade contractors. Most of the week, the room has several dozen people and the crowd is growing as work picks up.

“The biggest advantage is the design team gets instantaneous construction feedback as we work through the preliminary design-build set,” said Sundt Project Manager Jeremy Kwapich. “We’re trying to identify smart engineering concepts to reduce costs.”

For example, the team uses large-format paper hanging on the wall to document milestone decisions on a timeline, including cost savings and potential challenges to the budget.

“It allows us to look at one document,” Jeremy said. “It provides an explanation of options and gives the owner a history of why we made decisions on the job at key milestones.”

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