Estimating and Preconstruction

Becoming An Estimator—Melissa Love

By July 14, 2022 No Comments

Estimating is a career full of wildly different experiences, backgrounds, and stories. Some people spend their whole lives in preconstruction, while others arrive at it from the field. Some might have originally gotten a four-year degree, while others may have graduated high school and then worked their way up through internships and trade schools. Each of these paths brings a different and necessary perspective to preconstruction. But in order to celebrate the value that each experience brings, we have to start sharing these stories, like the one we captured with Johnny Rhea of Frank Dale Construction, and our most recent interview with Melissa Love, Project Controls Manager at Sundt. Here’s a glimpse of her journey.

How did you come to be in this role at Sundt?

woman in orange blouse smiling against office background

Melissa Love at Sundt Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona.

My father has been in construction ever since I was a child, so at a very early age I was already getting exposed to the industry. Then I went to the Georgia Institute of Technology where I got my degree in Building Construction. I’ve always had a passion for design and originally wanted a degree in architecture, but it would have required a lot more time to complete, so I chose to stick with Building Construction.

During college, I interned for a general contractor’s field operations as well as their preconstruction department, and once I graduated I was out in the field pretty much right away. My time in the field gave me a better understanding of some of the gaps in the handoff between field operations and preconstruction, and steps that could be taken to mitigate those gaps. So, when a senior estimator role became available at Sundt, I knew I had to take it.

Since that time, I’ve now entered into the role I’m currently in as Project Controls Manager, where I support Sundt’s California office and Southwest district by ensuring that there is consistency and innovation throughout our work with a focus on preconstruction.

You’ve been with Sundt for almost twelve years now—what about Sundt has kept you here so long?

screenshot of a 3D building model from old Beck Tech software DESTINI Profiler

DESTINI Profiler was the first software Beck Technology developed, and Sundt was an early user!

Sundt’s diversity in our portfolio was one of the first things that drew me to the company and is something that I still love about Sundt today. We work on a huge variety of projects across almost every sector. Not only that, we’re also a company that has constantly been on the forefront of exciting new innovations within construction. When I first joined Sundt, we had just started using DProfiler (DESTINI Profiler), and we would later play a major part in the creation of DESTINI Estimator, which we still use today. Since that time, we’ve become so passionate about innovation that it’s actually one of our core values.

I sit next to Sundt’s Director of Innovation, so between that and my own role, I’m constantly hearing about amazing new ideas and initiatives. That frame of mind—how we’re going to build better or estimate better, the new things we’re going to create—is something that’s always intrigued me about Sundt.

What would you say to someone considering preconstruction as a career?

Make sure that you’re taking a holistic view of preconstruction, and understand how field operations and preconstruction need to come together in order to create a seamless flow of data. I would also encourage them to see the way that preconstruction touches every department, from the field to design.

What’s Your Journey Been Like?

Every estimator’s path to preconstruction is going to look different, and it’s important to embrace a variety of different backgrounds. If you’re interested in hearing more, hit play on the video below—then let us know in the comments what your experience has been like!