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Fall Ideal Time to Prepare Structures for Winter From Roof to Foundation

in News

Routine inspections in the fall can prevent costly repairs in the future

Winter is right around the corner. With the changing seasons comes freeze and thaw cycles, falling pine needles and leaves, organic growth and harsh weather conditions that can wreak havoc on a building or structure’s exterior if not maintained properly. Conducting an annual fall building inspection will help to identify potential maintenance issues before they become problematic and lead to costly repairs for the owner.

“Maintenance of buildings or structures, whether it be the interior or exterior, horizontal or vertical construction, or a hi-rise or single-story, is a necessity across the country,” said Bob Gender, Branch Manager, Western Specialty Contractors. “Many times a quick check today on your properties can help save building owners and managers headaches during the harsh winter months ahead when getting repairs done can be complicated by low temperatures.”

Facility managers can protect their buildings and structures throughout the winter by identifying a few red flags early in the fall and addressing those problem areas quickly and effectively before the winter sets in, says Gender.

Repairing and Protecting Concrete

In the winter, freeze and thaw cycles can cause big problems with concrete structures. When water infiltrates concrete, it can freeze, causing the water to occupy nine percent more volume than in its liquid state. This expansion causes distress on the concrete, which can lead to fractures that will continue to grow exponentially as saturation of the material increases.

A wide range of restoration, repair and reinforcing services are offered by certified specialty contractors, such as Western Specialty Contractors, who can repair cracks, spalls, rust spots, deterioration, pot-holes and heaves in concrete and masonry. More often than not, concrete repairs are made before they become a more serious or costly issue, but there are measures that facility managers can take to actually prevent future damage. Applying hot-applied or below-grade waterproofing and urethane or acrylic protective coatings to traffic decks, pedestrian areas or exterior facades will extend the life of the repair, protect adjacent areas that are currently in good condition and significantly improve the aesthetics of the area treated.

For facilities with a concrete parking structure, the fall is an ideal time to survey for damage. Vehicles regularly entering parking garages leave water, oil and muck behind. Not to mention salt and de-icers tracked in during the winter months that can corrode the structure’s concrete and steel support system.

An ineffective maintenance routine on a parking structure can quickly lead to costly repairs and restorations that can be disruptive to tenants and cause unexpected costs and safety concerns.

All types of parking structures are subject to deterioration. Western’s experts have identified five key indicators that a parking garage is in need of preventative maintenance: water leakage; ponding water; expansion joint failure; exposed rebar; and delaminated, spalled or horizontally/vertically cracked concrete.

An experienced concrete maintenance and restoration specialist can identify specific problem areas and recommend a repair plan and maintenance schedule for the structure.

Preventing Unwanted Water Leakage

The exterior walls of a building can be a significant source of unwanted water leakage. It’s easy to forget how many openings are required in commercial building walls – from plumbing and irrigation connections to lighting, HVAC system elements, exhaust vents, air intakes, joints around windows and doors, and fire alarms, to name a few.

There are also unplanned holes caused by aging brick joints that need re-pointing, vanishing sealants, damage from acid rain and settling cracks. All wall penetrations provide easy access for water, bugs, field mice, birds or other unwanted pests to enter a building and cause damage.

Checking for changes in a building since last year is also recommended. Do you have abandoned pipe penetrations from a tenant upgrade? A new tenant demo? Or maybe just a deteriorated building joint which can make the building joint vulnerable to the elements and unwanted pests?

If a building is seriously damaged, specialists may be needed to bring a wall system back up to its expected performance level. Regular inspections by the property manager or a trained professional will help identify these potential problems early and save the owner money.

Protecting the Roof

The fall often brings falling leaves, pine needles and organic growth on building roof tops. A commitment to good roof maintenance practices can help facility managers avoid overflowing gutters, clogged downspouts and excessive ponding water which can lead to costly roof, facade and foundation damage. A weekly routine roof inspection is recommended during this time of the year.

Decaying leaves, pine needles and dirt run-off can all contribute to ponding water and clogged gutters and downspouts, which is why it is essential that all roof drains remain clear of obstructions. In addition to the risk of water pouring into the tenant spaces should a breach in the roof occur, the freezing and thawing of ponding water during the fall and winter months can cause extensive roof damage.

Make sure that all organic debris is completely removed from gutters, downspouts and drains before the winter arrives.

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit

Wiegmann Associates completes work at new American Outdoor Brands Corporation distribution center in Columbia, MO

in Companies/News

Wiegmann Associates has completed HVAC and Building Automation System work for the new American Outdoor Brands Corporation distribution center in Columbia, MO. Wiegmann was the design/build mechanical contractor for the project. The general contractor was Ryan Companies. The architect was Heitman Architects. The new facility is expected to be in full operation this December and is estimated to create 300 jobs over the next several years.

Wiegmann engineered a new energy-efficient and cost-effective HVAC system that serves the warehouse, offices, cafeteria, employee fitness center, conference rooms and boardrooms. Multi-zone variable air volume (VAV) packaged rooftop units were designed for the office areas to minimize fan speed and fan energy consumption, when possible. Natural gas makeup air units were used to heat the warehouse.

Wiegmann also provided and installed their own Direct Digital Control (DDC) system using Delta Controls. The Building Automation System controls all HVAC equipment in the facility and will allow the owner to monitor and schedule the HVAC system remotely and maximize energy savings.

The 576,214-square-foot, single-story distribution center will house outdoor sports recreation products and firearms manufactured by American Outdoor Brands Corporation. The facility was designed to improve logistics and supply chain efficiencies and to accommodate future expansion of up to 400,000 square feet.

Founded in 1852, American Outdoor Brands Corporation, formerly Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation, creates a range of products for shooting, hunting and rugged outdoor enthusiasts. The company owns 18 brands, including well-known Smith & Wesson firearms.

Wiegmann Associates is a St. Louis-based mechanical contractor and a national leader in design/build HVAC projects. Since 1995, Wiegmann Associates has engineered and installed innovative, energy saving and cost-efficient HVAC solutions, refrigeration systems and automation controls for clients. For more information, visit or call (636) 940-1056.

Geotechnology Expresses Gratitude for Veterans’ Sacrifices, Honored to be Part of Soldiers Memorial Renovation Team

in Companies/News

After being closed for two years for a major $30 million renovation, the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum and Court of Honor in downtown St. Louis reopened in time for Veteran’s Day 2018, which was also the 100th anniversary of the armistice of World War 1.

The vast renovation included more than doubling the Memorial’s exhibit space, with workers digging 18 inches from the basement floor and turning the lower-level space into galleries. Geotechnology, Inc., was part of the team that renovated this grand monument, having performed construction materials testing and inspections throughout the project.

“We are grateful for all U.S. service members who protect our country and our freedoms, and proud to be part of this renovation,” said Geotechnology Central Region Manager Joel Weinhold. “This memorial pays tribute to them, and the enhancements will help to educate more people about their sacrifices.”

Working with BSI Constructors and Mackey Mitchell Architects, Geotechnology performed hazardous materials surveys to identify potential hazards such as asbestos, lead, and mold, and also conducted special inspections, construction observation and materials testing services related to soil, concrete, masonry, footings, reinforcing steel, and sprayed insulation thickness.

Built to honor 1,075 St. Louis-area soldiers who died in World War I, the memorial was originally financed by a 1923 bond issue that provided $6 million to clear seven city blocks for the plaza and structure. The memorial was completed as a works project of the Great Depression and dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. It opened to the public on Memorial Day 1938. The Court of Honor was established across the street from Soldiers Memorial in the 1940s to memorialize the St. Louisans who lost their lives during World War II.

The Missouri Historical Society assumed operation of Soldiers Memorial in 2015, paving the way for this multimillion-dollar renovation that not only doubled the exhibit space, but also improved accessibility, and aided artifact preservation by adding a museum-quality HVAC system and interior storm windows. The Court of Honor was updated to include a reflecting pool and fountains that represent the five branches of the military. New monuments extend along the walkway between the Court of Honor and Soldiers Memorial to memorialize local service members who have fallen in the conflicts since World War II.

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum offers both long-term continuing exhibits as well as short-term special exhibits. The exhibits reflect a commitment to exploring the stories of local military service members, veterans, and their families. Admission to Soldiers Memorial and its continuing and special exhibits is free.

Established more than 30 years ago, Geotechnology, Inc. is a professional corporation offering a comprehensive range of consulting services in applied earth and environmental sciences, including geophysics, water resource management, geotechnical and environmental engineering, materials testing and drilling. Geotechnology has provided expertise on thousands of major construction projects in the Midwest and Mid-South regions. Geotechnology is ranked #406 in ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms in 2018. Geotechnology, Inc. is based in St. Louis, Mo., and has 10 offices in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. For more information, visit


OSHA Renews Strategic Electrical Partnership to Heighten High-Voltage Lineworker Safety

in Associations/News


The St. Louis and Missouri Valley Chapters of NECA – the National Electrical Contractors Association – applaud OSHA’s decision to renew a national partnership with industry stakeholders to support best practices to underscore safety for electrical workers who build and repair high-voltage electrical lines.

On Oct. 30, OSHA officially renewed the Electrical Transmission & Distribution Partnership, which began in 2004 with a few stakeholder organizations and today includes 17 major electrical industry players from the private sector. It is the only national partnership between employers and OSHA, according to the agency.

Mitch Marquardt, a Sachs Electric retiree and industry consultant who represents NECA in the partnership, says that before the consortium launched 14 years ago, OSHA conducted a survey of lineman from across the U.S. to identify areas where updated training was most needed. OSHA also held live discussions with lineman from coast to coast, ascertaining specific areas of their jobs where they found themselves most at risk for serious injury or fatality.

“Over the years, the partnership and OSHA have worked in tandem to tweak best practices and stay current with the best training possible,” Marquardt said. “And in partnership with OSHA, we’ve developed additional lineman safety training courses such as the 10-hour and 20-hour programs on safety in line construction. The 20-hour includes emphasis on supervisory and leadership skills.”

The partnership has also developed an app that lineman can easily access from their smartphones, one that outlines a procedural safety checklist and reminders for those working to restore electrical power in emergency and non-emergency scenarios.

“One of the practical resources the app provided during Hurricane Michael in October were safety-related push notices,” Marquardt said.

Asplundh Tree Expert LLC Chairman and CEO Scott Asplundh, who is serving as chairman of the partnership’s executive committee, says the entity has made great strides in improving safety in the industry. “The renewal of this partnership for another five years is an opportunity to continue making improvements to our practices to keep people safe,” he said. “This collaboration among industry stakeholders is making a real impact for lineworkers across the country. Due to the best practices and training materials developed under our agreement, millions of workers have benefitted.”

In addition to OSHA, NECA and Asplundh Tree Expert, members of the ET&D Partnership include: Aldridge Electric, Davis H. Elliot Co., Edison Electric Institute, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, The Goldfield Corp., Henkels & McCoy Group, MasTec, MDU Construction Services Group, Michels Corp., MYR Group, PLH Group, Pike Electric and Quanta Services. For more information about the partnership, visit

KAI Design & Build, HBD Construction, Inc. to Build New 136-room Fairfield Inn & Suites in Downtown St. Louis

in Companies/News

The KAI Design & Build/HBD Construction, Inc. team has been selected to build one of the first new hotels in downtown St. Louis in years – Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new hotel was held on Oct. 18 at the corner of 22nd and Market streets, the former site of iconic Harry’s Restaurant & Bar.

“We are truly excited to be a part of this dynamic project and the revitalization of such a landmark site in the Downtown-West area of St. Louis City,” said KAI President Michael Kennedy, Jr.

St. Louis-based Equis Hotels is the developer on the $20 million hotel and parking garage project, with Chiodini Architects of St. Louis providing its design and Peak Construction Group serving as the construction manager. KAI Design & Build/HBD Construction is the general contractor.

“HBD is very excited to be starting its third project for Equis and its second project with joint venture partner KAI and team. The project will be an important amenity to the downtown St. Louis area, which continues positive growth,” said Michael Perry, President of HBD Construction.

The new hotel will feature 136 rooms and suites, 2,000 square feet of meeting rooms, a lobby lounge and bar, complimentary Wi-Fi, free breakfast, fitness center, outdoor patio, business center and shuttle service within a 2-mile radius of the property. With easy access to downtown St. Louis businesses and attractions, the modern Marriott-branded hotel will be suitable for business and leisure travelers and is expected to open in early 2020.

The Fairfield by Marriott hotel will revitalize a highly-visible lot in the western portion of downtown St. Louis and create an important addition to the region’s hospitality offerings.

“Equis’ new Fairfield by Marriott hotel is unique as it truly is the first, ground up Marriott select service hotel to be built in the City of St. Louis’ downtown market in decades,” said Equis Hotels Chief Executive Officer and Founder Michael Mullenix. “This hotel will now capture the traditional Marriott hotel customer seeking a true, ground-up Marriott select service hotel brand downtown. It will provide a quality offering so that guests do not have to travel outside of downtown to satisfy their lodging needs. Our new Fairfield by Marriott hotel will not only serve the existing hotel demand generators in the city, but it will definitely accommodate the exciting growth now taking place in the City of St. Louis, including the new $600 million Saint Louis University hospital project and the new $1.6 billion National Geo-Spatial Intelligence or NGA headquarters campus currently under construction just a mile north of our site.”

KAI Design & Build is a national 100+ person design and build firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. A renowned leader in the industry, KAI provides design and build integrated project delivery solutions through collaboration, technology, processes and expertise. For more information about KAI Design & Build, visit or call 314-241-8188.

HBD Construction, Inc. is a diverse, full-service general contracting and construction management firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information about HBD Construction, Inc., visit or call 314-781-8000.

S. M. Wilson Awarded Hallsville R-IV School District Primary School Addition And Renovation Project

in Companies/News

S. M. Wilson & Co. has been selected by Hallsville R-IV School District to serve as the Construction Manager at Risk for the Hallsville Primary School addition and renovation.

The 31,000 SF addition will include adding classrooms to the Primary School consisting of eight new second-grade classrooms, and potentially adding two new first-grade classrooms and two new kindergarten classrooms. The design will be configured to allow for future expansion to the west. The gymnasium addition will consist of a main entry way, concessions, restrooms, locker rooms, storage and ancillary spaces.

The project will also include renovations to other exiting District buildings as well as additional projects related to a school bond issue and the District’s $7.3 M capital improvement plan.

Slated for completion in the summer of 2020, the project will be completed in phases to provide minimal disruption to the occupied campus.

Klinger & Associates is the architect on the project.

S. M. Wilson is a full-service construction management, design/build and general contracting firm with headquarters in St. Louis. For more information, visit

KAI Design & Build Announces Acquisition of 51-year-old Volk Construction Company

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KAI Design & Build Announces Acquisition of 51-year-old Volk Construction Company 

KAI Design & Build announces that it has acquired St. Louis-based Volk Construction Company, effective Oct. 1, 2018. The acquisition provides KAI’s clients with a greater pool of construction expertise and talent, and Volk’s clients with a greater depth of integrated design and construction solutions.

“Volk Construction Company has earned a reputation in St. Louis for treating subcontractors and owners fairly and equitably. Their dedication to quality workmanship, ethics and safety is unsurpassed in the industry, and we couldn’t be prouder to have acquired such a reputable and well-respected general contractor to join our team,” said KAI President Michael Kennedy, Jr. “Each of our great companies bring complementary strengths that combine to a sum much greater than our individual parts.”

Since 1967, Volk Construction has provided construction management, design-build, renovation and general contracting services to a variety of public and private sector clients in the St. Louis marketplace. Over the course of its history, Volk Construction has served hundreds of clients and worked on thousands of projects in the healthcare, commercial, institutional, industrial and financial industries. Some of the significant projects that Volk Construction has been a part of include:

  • Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology Clinical Center for Imaging Research
  • Washington University School of Medicine Genome Sequencing Data Center
  • Cooper Bussmann Headquarters
  • Christian Hospital Northeast Emergency Department Renovation
  • Audubon Center at Riverlands
  • Washington University Danforth Campus Busch and Wilson Hall Renovation
  • Christian Hospital Northeast Kitchen Renovation
  • Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis 6th Floor Renovation
  • Veterans Honor Park Memorial
  • YMCA Trout Lodge Renovation

Founder R. David Volk, Sr. worked in the construction industry for over 20 years before starting Volk Construction Company 51 years ago. His son, David Volk, Jr., became the company’s president in 1995 after working over 40 years in a variety positions at his dad’s company.

Volk Construction Company will complete current contractual commitments with its owners, subcontractors and suppliers. All new opportunities as of October 2018 will move forward as KAI Design & Build.

“Over the last several years, the A/E/C industry has evolved dramatically with innovative technologies, enhanced means and methods, and greater collaboration with customers, staff, architects and engineers, subcontractors and suppliers. In short, our industry has become much more efficient. This modern model of efficiency and collaboration is exactly what has driven Volk to become part of KAI Design & Build. The combination of Volk’s heritage and commitment to St. Louis combined with KAI’s progressive approach to collaborative design and construction solutions aligns perfectly and will create a powerful platform to meet the evolving needs of our industry and national customer base,” said Volk, Jr. “My daughter Melanie Volk and I, along with our other team leaders are very excited about the future with KAI.”

Photo Above: KAI President Michael Kennedy, Jr. stands between David Volk, Jr. and Melanie Volk.

KAI Design & Build is a national 100+ person design and build firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. KAI provides design and build integrated project delivery solutions through client collaboration, the latest technology, proprietary processes and individual expertise. For more information about KAI Design & Build, visit or call 314-241-8188.

Building Careers

in Homepage Primary/People

The latest People in the News highlighting new hires, promotions, honors & recognition of the men and women in the St. Louis building community.

Mary Weidenbenner Receives SHRM-SCP Accreditation

Mary Weidenbenner

Highly distinguished HR credential sets NewGround apart in competitive market

NewGround, a St. Louis-based experiential architecture, design, and delivery firm, recently celebrated Mary Weidenbenner, Vice President of Human Resources, as she earned her SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) accreditation from the Society for Human Resource Management.

The SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (SHRM BoCK™) is the foundation for this certification. The SHRM BoCK organizes eight behavioral competencies into three clusters: Leadership (Leadership & Navigation, Ethical Practice), Interpersonal (Relationship Management, Communication, Global & Cultural Effectiveness), and Business (Business Acumen, Consultation, Critical Evaluation).

Human resource (HR) professionals who develop strategies, lead the HR department, influence the community, analyze performance data, and align HR strategies with organizational goals are eligible to take this highly distinguished exam.

“Receiving my SHRM-SCP accreditation was an important accomplishment in my HR career here at NewGround, and this strategic competency-based certification will also give us a more competitive edge to attract and retain top talent,” said Mary Weidenbenner, Vice President of Human Resources.

Earning this credential sets HR professionals apart from their colleagues and keeps organizations more competitive in today’s economy. SHRM certification is the only HR accreditation offered by the world’s largest HR membership organization.

“We are so proud of Mary in her achievement earning the SHRM-SCP accreditation,” said Kevin Blair, President and CEO. “Mary’s hard work and determination to achieve this highly distinguished goal really paid off, and we would love to congratulate her on reaching her goal.”

NewGround is an international, award-winning architecture, design, and delivery firm, providing dynamic, experiential, market-driven environments. For more information, visit NewGround at

Tamika Cain-Proctor joins Kwame Building Group as Vice President

Tamika Cain-Proctor

Tamika Cain-Proctor has joined Kwame Building Group, Inc., as Vice President. She will oversee KWAME’s infrastructure construction projects, including aviation, tunnel, light rail and roads. With experience on LEED-certified projects, Cain-Proctor brings added value in the areas of site and safety inspections, quality control and cost engineering.

Cain-Proctor has more than 18 years of experience in construction project management and engineering. She holds a Master of Science in Structural/Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oklahoma. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the American Institute of Architecture.

Kwame Building Group, Inc. (KWAME) is one of the nation’s top pure construction management firms, dedicating 100 percent of its resources to project management services. For more information, or call (314) 862-5344.

November 2, 2018

KAI Hires Dan Forguson as Vice President of Finance 

Dan Forguson

KAI Design & Build proudly announces the addition of Dan Forguson of Columbia, Illinois as Vice President of Finance.

In his new role, Forguson reports to the CFO and is responsible for providing enterprise leadership in the areas of financial planning and analysis, mergers and acquisitions, and project controls.

“As KAI continues to experience both organic and acquisitive growth, we are placing a high priority in the area of business analytics,” said Forguson. “We are making strategic investments in talent and ERP enhancements in order to maintain a pulse on our business and to ensure that we are growing profitably.”

Forguson has 10 years of experience in the AEC industry, having previously held the title of Regional Project Controls Director at Jacobs in St. Louis. Forguson has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville and his MBA from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. He is currently working on a master’s degree in accounting at DePaul University – Chicago, and he is a member of the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE).

“With his depth of experience in corporate financial management within the architecture and engineering industry, Dan brings his knowledge and skills with mergers and acquisitions, business analytics, forecasting and project controls,” said Michael Hein, AIA, PMP, Chief Operating Officer at KAI. “Dan will also be helping us define the right metrics for our internal scorecard allowing us to monitor our business on a weekly basis.”

KAI Design & Build is a national 100+ person design and build firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. KAI provides design and build integrated project delivery solutions through client collaboration, the latest technology, proprietary processes and individual expertise. For more information about KAI Design & Build, visit or call 314-241-8188.

NewGround Promotes Javier Fernandez to Construction Manager

The new role will serve multiple clients across the U.S.

Javier Fernandez

NewGround, a St. Louis-based experiential architecture, design, and delivery firm, recently celebrated the promotion of Javier Fernandez to the role of Construction Manager. Javier will be responsible for providing leadership and managing a multitude of construction projects, with a primary focus on Chartway Federal Credit Union (FCU).

Prior to his new role, Javier joined NewGround in 2015 and served as Project Manager on numerous projects throughout the U.S., including Chartway FCU, ESB Financial, Visions FCU, Union Savings Bank, and DATCU.

Javier brings an impressive skill set with excellent client relations and high-quality construction projects to succeed in his new role.

With more than 12 years of experience in the architecture field and 10 years serving as a project manager, Javier has worked in various construction ranks building projects for clients in the New York City and Long Island areas.

“Javier’s work always reflects our core values of quality, teamwork, dedication, and integrity, and I am confident that his construction leadership experience will help him continue to deliver successful projects for our clients at NewGround for years to come,” said Chip Nix, Senior Vice President of Build Operations.

Javier holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Technology from the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, N.Y.

NewGround is an international, award-winning architecture, design, and delivery firm, providing dynamic, experiential, market-driven environments. Over the last century, NewGround has completed more than 15,000 projects throughout the USA, Canada and in the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NewGround at

Oculus Inc. Adds to Administrative Team

Architecture and interior design firm brings two new hires to headquarters

Oculus Inc., a full-service architecture and interior design firm, is growing its administration team with the additions of Amber Wendler and Taylor Wells. Both Wendler and Wells will be based out of the firm’s St. Louis corporate headquarters.

“As Oculus Inc. continues to grow its business, we need a strong support team in order for us to meet our clients’ expectations and bring our work to new levels,” said Lisa Bell-Reim, Oculus Inc. president. “We are excited to have Amber and Taylor on board to help us meet our goals.”

Wendler comes to Oculus Inc. with more than 20 years of administrative experience. She most recently served as an accounting associate for Agency for Community Transit, based in Granite City, Ill. She has also worked for ITP Corporation for the Boeing Company and Helmkamp Construction Company, both located in the St. Louis metro area.

Wells brings seven years of professional experience to Oculus Inc., most recently coming from Hoefert Law in Alton, Ill. She possesses a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.

Outside of its headquarters in St. Louis, Oculus has offices in Dallas and Portland, Ore.

Oculus Inc. delivers comprehensive architecture, interior, planning and move management services that support business change and promote business value. Founded in 1994, Oculus creates high-performance design for clients in the retail, commercial, restaurant, education, government and healthcare industries. For more information, visit

October 26, 2018

Oculus Inc. Grows Staff in St. Louis and Dallas Markets

New hires will support architectural services to retail, hospitality and government industries

Oculus Inc., a full-service architecture and interior design firm, has hired Jack Bowe, Justin Kanturek and Lavell Johnson II to serve the retail, hospitality and government industries from its St. Louis and Dallas offices.

“We are very excited about the additions of Jack, Lavell and Justin,” said Lisa Bell-Reim, Oculus Inc. president. “As Oculus continues to evolve in the architectural and interior design industry, we require a team with diverse backgrounds and unique skillsets. Jack, Justin and Lavell will be instrumental in helping us continue to develop state-of the-art work for our national and international clients.”

Bowe joins Oculus Inc. as a project manager and brings a comprehensive architectural design and consulting services background with specialization in complex commercial and restaurant design. Prior to joining Oculus Inc., Bowe worked as an independent architectural contractor for projects including the Shaw Burger Station, a competing proposal for the Forest Park Boathouse, and Elmwood Restaurant in the St. Louis-area. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Kanturek also joins Oculus Inc. as a project designer for the St. Louis office, previously working on the Creve Coeur Park Soccer Complex and Weber Workforce Center.  Kanturek also served as an adjunct Teacher at Lewis & Clark Community College. He has a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois and is on schedule to complete his Master of Architecture degree from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale in December.

Named a project designer for the firm’s Dallas office, Johnson II brings seven years of professional experience to Oculus Inc., most recently as a designer of residential and commercial roof and floor systems and retail layouts. He has a Master of Architecture with an emphasis in Urban Design, plus a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Oculus Inc. delivers comprehensive architecture, interior, planning and move management services that support business change and promote business value. For more information, visit

Karlos Ramirez Joins Midwest BankCentre’s Legal Board of Directors

Karlos Ramirez

Karlos Ramirez, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis, has been elected to the Midwest BankCentre legal board of directors.

As leader of the Hispanic Chamber since 2011, he works to promote business opportunities for Hispanic-owned firms and professionals and to drive economic development in the region. Earlier in his career, he was director of the University Center and conference services at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

Ramirez chairs the board of directors for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, which oversees economic development efforts in St. Louis City and County. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education at Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Ill., and his master’s degree in educational administration at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. He is a member of the Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives (ACCE), the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), Veiled Prophet and Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity, a Latino-based fraternity with a multicultural membership.

Midwest BankCentre, a mainstay of St. Louis community banking since 1906, ranks among St. Louis’ largest locally owned banks with assets of about $1.9 billion and deposits of $1.4 billion. It provides integrated financial services with expertise in commercial, retail and digital banking; business cash management; mortgage lending; consumer lending; and insurance.

Monica Pangaribuan Passes Hawai’i Contractors License Exam

Monica Pangaribuan

NewGround employee meets state requirement for local licensing

NewGround, a St. Louis-based design and delivery firm, recently celebrated Monica Pangaribuan, who successfully passed the Hawai’i Contractors Exam. The state of Hawai’i requires a licensed Responsible Managing Employee (RME) as well as a local, on-island RME. This enables Monica to serve as NewGround’s RME for projects in Hawai’i.

As Project Manager for NewGround, Monica provides direct management of production and schedule milestones, project goals, quality control, and job site safety. Monica also inspects and reviews the construction process to enforce compliance with plans, specifications, building, and safety codes. Bringing nearly 14 years of experience as a Project Manager or Project Engineer, Monica has served at numerous companies, including Bow Construction Management Services, Collawn Building Services, Lendlease, and Kitchell CEM, Nan Inc.

In addition to her recent RME certification, Monica holds certifications in Construction Quality Management for Contractors for the USA Corps of Engineers, Asbestos Awareness, OSHA 30, ACI, and First Aid/CPR.

“We are extremely proud of Monica and glad to have her on our team,” said Chip Nix, Senior Vice President of Build Operations. “NewGround looks forward to the many great things yet to come in Hawai’i with Monica supporting our efforts.”

About NewGround NewGround is an award winning international design and delivery firm that creates custom, brandinfused, experiential environments that accelerate client growth and performance. Over the last century, NewGround has completed more than 15,000 projects throughout the USA, Canada and in the United Kingdom. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, NewGround maintains corporate offices in Chicago, Illinois, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Toronto, Ontario, with a regional presence throughout the US. For more information, visit NewGround at

Edwardsville Construction Tops $122 Million With 2 Months Remaining

in Homepage Primary/News


With 60 days left on the calendar, the City of Edwardsville can already say 2018 has been a record-breaking year with regard to commercial and residential construction dollars being pumped into the Metro East community.

Year-to-date figures for the first 10 months of 2018 indicate that construction projects breaking ground in Edwardsville thus far this year total a whopping $122.6 million, a 19.2 percent increase over all of 2017.

“We have another two months to go, and we’re anticipating another $15 million of construction projects coming through in additional permits,” said Walter Williams, director of economic and community development for the city. “This is our best year yet in terms of the number of construction dollars being invested in our community.”

Edwardsville-based Contegra Construction and Highland-based Plocher Construction are leading the way in new commercial construction projects this year, according to Williams.

New Poag Richland Residential Project

Among Contegra’s 2018 projects are the New Poag Richland Residential Project, a $20 million, 9-building, 486-bed housing community on a 15-acre site very near Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and Timberlake Village, a $3.2 million retail center along Illinois Route 157 that features Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse.

Plocher Construction’s 2018 work in Edwardsville includes Edwardsville Town Center, a mixed-use development spanning 26 acres at Route 157 and Governors’ Parkway, directly across from SIUE. The $35 million, 75,000-square-foot-plus project will also feature residential apartments with multiple outlots for future tenants.

Williams said that in all of 2017, new construction dollars permitted by the City of Edwardsville totaled $102.8 million.

The Korte Company Earns USPS Supplier Excellence Award

in Companies/News

Agency recognizes completion of distribution center six months ahead of schedule 

The U.S. Postal Service has announced that The Korte Company is among five nationwide firms honored with Supplier Excellence Awards for the 2017 fiscal year, and the only Design-Build facility contractor included among the awardees.

“The Korte Company is very thankful for this award. It is an acknowledgement of a mutually beneficial strategic partnership between The Korte Company and the USPS that spans almost 40 years,” said Michael L. Tubbs, Executive Vice President and Project Executive for The Korte Company. “The USPS and Korte have together delivered the best-quality, best-value projects with superior design. We look forward to our future together.”

The award was given based on successful completion of the construction of an 818,000-square-foot Processing and Distribution Center in Portland, Oregon. The facility, which also includes 29,000 square feet of vehicle maintenance space, sits on 43 acres of reclaimed land adjacent to the city’s main airport.

Despite one of the worst winters on record, construction teams stuck to an aggressive schedule and finished the distribution center six months ahead of schedule. That helped the USPS realize overall operations cost savings.

Supplier Excellence Awards recognize Postal Service suppliers “that have demonstrated exemplary contract performance, innovation and supply chain integration, or played a significant role in helping the Postal Service reduce costs or achieve other strategic objectives.”

According to USPS Supply Management Vice President Susan M. Brownwell, the awards give the USPS “the opportunity to acknowledge—and celebrate—the contributions of our top-performing suppliers.”

“The focus that these suppliers have placed on performance, communication, innovation and continuous improvement has been instrumental in helping the Postal Service deliver high quality service to our customers,” Brownwell said.

Founded by Ralph Korte in Highland, Illinois in 1958, The Korte Company is a national leader in Design-Build construction and founding member of the Design-Build Institute of America. In addition to its Highland, Illinois headquarters, The Korte Company has satellite offices in St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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