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St. Louis Regional Freightway Sets Top Transportation Infrastructure Project Funding Priorities

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Remarkable Progress Made in First Year to Establish Region as Premier International Freight Hub 

The St. Louis Regional Freightway updated the region on the remarkable progress it has made over the past year toward establishing the bi-state area as a premier freight center and multimodal hub for the nation. The efforts will help ensure the region is prepared to handle projected large increases in freight volume opportunities over the next two decades. The accomplishments were highlighted during the St. Louis Regional Freightway’s second annual Freight Summit on May 10. Since the St. Louis Regional Freightway launched in April 2016, it has made great strides in coordinating with both the public sector and private industry to enhance and grow the $6 billion in goods traveling through the St. Louis area by rail, road, river, and runway, while also laying the groundwork to ensure the region’s infrastructure can handle the growth.

“We launched The Freightway with a mission to market our region to the world as a premier freight hub and logistics center, a destination for new business and manufacturing, and a multimodal transportation nexus for the nation,” said John Nations, Bi-State Development President and Chief Executive Officer. “The first-year results have exceeded our expectations for what we thought would be accomplished during the first year in business.” The St. Louis Regional Freightway is one of five enterprises operated by Bi-State Development.

Mary Lamie, Executive Director of the St. Louis Regional Freightway said unprecedented regional support and partnerships have been a key factor in the success. The Freightway represents eight counties in two states, the public sector and private industry, and all segments of the supply chain. While this large number of stakeholders with unique needs and concerns could be seen as an impediment, Lamie sees this diverse group of stakeholders as a major asset with a depth of expertise and experience that could be harnessed toward the common goal of advancing the region’s position as a leader in freight and transportation.

Lamie also pointed to The Freightway’s ability to forge and strengthen relationships with freight partners throughout America’s heartland and to the Gulf of Mexico, as a key accomplishment during its first year. These efforts have produced new and stronger partnerships in Kansas City, Memphis, Minneapolis, Chicago and most notably the Port of New Orleans. The St. Louis Regional Freightway signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of New Orleans earlier this year to grow trade and build upon existing and new business relationships between the two regions and critical ports on the Mississippi River.

“These efforts have created a strong foundation for us to advance our container-on-barge capabilities and reach out beyond the nation’s core to establish relationships with coastal ports,” said Lamie.

Mike McCarthy, Chairman of the Freight Development Committee, cited The Freightway’s ability to develop and build consensus around a list of 20 priority projects necessary to modernize the region’s freight infrastructure as a key accomplishment over the last year. The list has unanimous regional approval and the backing of both the Missouri and Illinois congressional delegations, which has vaulted regional priorities into national priorities. McCarthy is the president of Terminal Railroad Association (TRRA) of St. Louis.

“Representing the infrastructure needs of the manufacturing and logistics industries, the multimodal transportation priority list is a critical tool for both the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Missouri Department of Transportation, and for elected leaders to better understand what is needed in order to advocate funding for infrastructure dollars,” said McCarthy.

Topping the list of projects aimed at improving the multimodal transportation network is the replacement of the 127-year-old Merchants Bridge, which is one of two rail bridges used by six Class I railroads and Amtrak to cross the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri. Improving Interstate 270 from Lindbergh Boulevard in Missouri to Route 111 in Illinois, including replacing the Chain of Rocks Bridge, is another priority project that focused on improving the region’s transportation network.

The top projects identified as priorities for improving access to the region’s multimodal network are the North Riverfront Corridor Improvements, including Hall Street, Branch Street and the Municipal River Terminal rail access; along with Illinois Route 3 Improvements, which include widening Route 3 from East St. Louis to Sauget, Illinois, and the Falling Springs Road Alton & Southern Railroad bypass. The Freightway is committed to working collaboratively with public and private sector leaders to help validate these and other multimodal transportation needs and explore funding opportunities for efficient, reliable cost-effective and safe delivery of freight movement that the St. Louis region and the nation depends on to compete globally.

“While building relationships and building support for our infrastructure priorities are at the heart of the  efforts to advance the bi-state area as a premier transportation and logistics hub, actively marketing the region’s manufacturing and logistics advantages is another,” Lamie said. For the past year, the Marketing Committee, led by Chairman Dennis Wilmsmeyer, has focused on developing and implementing marketing plans to promote the St. Louis region to new freight markets and customer bases, leveraging relationships with shippers and carriers and spotlighting the region’s top industrial real estate sites. Wilmsmeyer is the Executive Director of America’s Central Port.

“These marketing efforts, which are receiving prominent exposure and media attention locally and nationally, are vital as The Freightway works with manufacturing and logistics industry decision makers and industrial real estate planners,” said Wilmsmeyer. “As we gain national and global recognition as premier freight hub, we’re building a team of ambassadors to help draw even more attention to our strategic location and benefits.”

Matthew K. Rose, Executive Chairman of BNSF Railway, was the special guest speaker for the annual event. With responsibility for one of the nation’s largest freight railroad networks in North America, encompassing 32,500 miles of rail in 28 states across the western two-thirds of the United States and three Canadian provinces, Rose’s remarks underscored the critical role played by transportation, and particularly the railroads, in supporting the freight economy.

“As a country, we should want more freight on the railroads, not less,” Rose said. As he emphasized the various environmental, time and cost benefits associated with rail transport, he said, “I like to refer to the U.S. supply chain as a weapon of mass competitiveness.” Rose said that competiveness can be further enhanced by public-private investment in projects such as the replacement of the Merchants Bridge, which would support increased capacity and growth.

“Growth in a region’s economy is rarely by accident, or simply because of the natural assets or advantages a region has; it takes work. Here in St. Louis you understand that, and you’re working together,” said Rose.

The first video in a series of short videos highlighting the region’s competitive advantages debuted at the Freight Summit, with the others set to be unveiled in the coming months. The entire series will be available at TheFreightway.com, the website launched last year as the gateway for businesses and site selectors to locate key contacts, real estate opportunities and regional logistics capabilities.

Moving forward, The Freightway’s goals include ongoing efforts to create a platform that takes advantage of the unprecedented increase in the nation’s freight activity over the next 30 years. The team will continue to build relationships with coastal ports and to promote the St. Louis region’s container-on-barge capabilities. Marketing efforts will keep the focus on the bi-state area’s freight assets including six Class I railroads, four interstate highways, two international cargo airports, and the third largest inland port. Details also are being finalized for a bi-state familiarization tour for site selectors to further showcase the St. Louis region’s competitive logistics advantages.

The Presenting Sponsor for the Second Annual Freight Summit was BNSF Railway, with Terminal Railroad Association (TRRA) and Bi-State Development serving as Networking Sponsors. Supporting Sponsors included Ameren, America’s Central Port, DNJ Intermodal Services, LLC, St. Louis Lambert International Airport, The Jerry Costello Group, LLC, The Regional Business Council, TranSystems and Werremeyer.

To learn more about the St. Louis Regional Freightway and to view the complete list of 2017 Multimodal Transportation Projects, visit www.thefreightway.com.

Established in 2014 as an enterprise of Bi-State Development, the St. Louis Regional Freightway is a freight district and comprehensive authority for freight operations and opportunities within eight counties in Illinois and Missouri that comprise the St. Louis metropolitan area. 

Home Builders Association Donates More Than $6,000 to Rainbow Village Properties, Inc.

in Associations/News

On behalf of the Home Builders Charitable Foundation (HBCF), 2015 HBA  President Ken Kruse of Payne Family Homes (left), HBCF President John Eilermann of McBride & Son Companies (right) presented a $6,370 donation to Jo-Ann Goldstein, associate director of development for Rainbow Village.

The funds will be used to repair a driveway at one of Rainbow Village’s homes for a wheelchair-bound client. Rainbow Village strives to enhance the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities by providing safe, affordable and well-maintained neighborhood homes. Living in a neighborhood home, instead of a nursing home or institution, gives residents a better quality of life and more independence.

The HBA is a local trade association of more than 600 member firms representing the residential construction industry. The Home Builders Charitable Foundation, the HBA’s charitable arm, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing assistance to people or organizations with special shelter needs.

 

Emerging Flooring Technologies

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As time marches on, new technologies, processes and techniques shape the way commercial flooring contractors operate. From lean construction and the prefabrication of materials to the increased demand for LVT and design involvement, things are changing to improve quality, reduce installation time and promote best-value decisions.

Lean construction

The biggest change in the commercial flooring world is the push toward lean construction. This method of construction management has been passed around since the early 1990s, but has been utilized most often in the past few years. Lean construction is a mindset that seeks to minimize the waste of materials, time and effort. This can only be achieved through the participation of all project participants – the contractors, owner, end-user, managers, etc. These participants from various industries, under a variety of roles, work together instead of in isolated groups.

Under traditional construction management approaches, each contractor’s crew worked in isolation, lacking communication with the other projects. Instead, the general contractor and sub-contractors for plumbing, electrical, flooring, etc., all meet regularly to determine where everyone is on their projects, how those timelines may affect everyone else’s projects and what tasks need to be done to ensure goals are met. The projects are mapped out every morning, that way no one is butting heads. Additionally, it keeps accountability high.

Another part of lean construction is a new method for scheduling projects. Traditionally, projects were scheduled from the start date forward. Now, under what is called the Last Planner System, projects are scheduled from the end date through the start date. Scheduling a project this way allow contractors to work out issues in advance and know when things need to be done to stay on time. This is maintained through biweekly regroupings to review the schedule and stay on track.

Prefabrication of materials

An important change in the commercial flooring world is the prefabrication of flooring materials. By knowing the dimensions of the upcoming project, flooring contractors are cutting the flooring materials to fit beforehand instead of traditionally doing it on site. These prefabricated materials are then stored in the contractor’s warehouse until the project is ready to begin.

By employing the prefabrication of materials method, flooring contractors are able to keep the project’s job site clean and free of unnecessary debris while also greatly reducing the amount of time spent on site during the installation process.

Continued demand for LVT floors

Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) are not new to the commercial flooring world. What is new is the increasing demand for them and explosion of LVT manufacturers. With more LVT manufacturers comes a reduction in price and an increase in available aesthetics. LVT now comes in a huge range of prices due to a vast array of quality and design options.

The drive for LVT demand is the desire for low-maintenance, high-durability flooring options. With LVT, there is no waxing and stripping. Instead, simple cleaning methods are all that is needed for floor maintenance.

Design involvement

As part of the change in the way flooring contractors operate, there is a recent push by flooring contactors to get involved in the design aspect of a project. Designers, architects and engineers have usually mapped out a project before a flooring contractor is even contacted. Often times they have chosen materials that don’t match with the design or are not suited for the application.

Relying on the expertise of a flooring contractor helps find the balance between aesthetics, functionality, durability and costs. It’s referred to as value-engineering and flooring contractors are implementing it on projects across the nation. While value-engineering isn’t necessarily new, it’s use for flooring projects is increasing.

These methods, practices and materials are emerging more and more in the commercial flooring industry. Each one is having a profound impact on the way flooring contractors approach and complete a project.

This article was originally published on the Spectra Contract Flooring learning center.

American Society of Concrete Contractors to Hold 16th Annual Conference in Phoenix this September

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The American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis, MO, will hold its sixteenth Annual Conference September 14-17, 2017 at the Arizona Grand Resort, Phoenix, AZ.  Concrete contractors, manufacturers, designers and other industry professionals will gather for three days of educational events and networking.

Industry experts including Brad Humphrey, Pinnacle Development Group; Ian Blair, The Blair Group; Amy Lynch, Generational Edge; Chris Sullivan, Chem Systems; and Kim Basham, KB Engineering, will offer seminars on critical industry topics.

Seminar tracks include Tech, Business Management, Business Field Level, Decorative and Polished Concrete and Safety.

Seminar topics include “Use Science – Not Luck (to Minimize Floor Cracking)”, “Polished Concrete Maintenance”, “Navigating Your Construction Contract”, “Winning The War on Attitude”, and “Death on the Job”.

Attendees can take advantage of the ACI Flatwork Finisher Certification class and exam which will be offered September 14.

Additional opportunities include a golf tournament, kart racing, Phoenix Art Museum tour, and a visit to an Arabian horse ranch.

The ASCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of those who build with concrete, and to providing them with a unified voice in the construction industry.  Members include concrete contracting firms, manufacturers, suppliers and others interested in the concrete industry, such as architects, specifiers and distributors.  There are approximately 725 member companies in the United States and 15 foreign countries.  For more information visit the website at www.ascconline.org or call (866) 788-2722.

Tenth Annual Decorative Concrete Awards

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The Decorative Concrete Council, (DCC), a specialty council of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis, in partnership with Concrete Construction magazine, announces its tenth annual Decorative Concrete Awards.  The competition is open to DCC members and non-members.

Entries are invited in the following categories:  overlays, cast-in-place stamped and special finishes, stained, polished concrete, polished overlays, countertops, vertical application, concrete artistry, multiple applications, architectural concrete, decorative environmental, and project video.  With the exception of countertops, two awards may be given in each category, for projects 5,000 SF and less, and projects over 5,000 SF.  Submittals are judged on craftsmanship, aesthetics, functionality and creativity.

The deadline for submittal is September 30, 2017.  The awards will be presented at the World of Concrete 2018.  For more information, or to enter go to www.ascconline.org or call 1-866-788-2722.

The ASCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of those who build with concrete, and to providing them a unified voice in the construction industry.  Members include concrete contracting firms, manufacturers, suppliers and others interested in the concrete industry such as architects, specifiers and distributors.  There are approximately 725 member companies in the United States and 15 foreign countries.  For more information visit the web site at www.ascconline.org or call 866-788-2722.

 

ASA Midwest Council Hosts St. Louis Construction Showcase and BBQ

in Associations/News

Free event scheduled for May 24th in Queeny Park 

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) Midwest Council has assembled more than 60 companies to participate in its 5th Annual St. Louis Construction Showcase & BBQ on Wednesday, May 24th in Queeny Park.  The event is free for all to attend! Visit www.asamidwest.com for a full list of exhibitors scheduled to be in attendance.

The free event is open from 2:00-7:00 p.m., with judging of the BBQ competition to begin at 4:30 p.m.  Attendees will be able to visit with companies that represent all aspects of the St Louis construction industry, while enjoying some fantastic FREE BBQ samples and refreshments, provided by the exhibitors.

“The event provides a great chance for anyone in the construction industry to network and experience the latest & greatest in construction technology, software, equipment, tools and supplies,” said ASA Midwest Council president Amy Heeger. “We moved the event to May this year, and think the milder weather will lend to an even better experience for all of our exhibitors and attendees. We are looking forward to a great turnout, and are excited about the more than 60 companies already signed up to exhibit at the annual showcase.”

For more information about the FREE TO ATTEND ASA Construction Showcase & BBQ on May 24th at Queeny Park, visit  www.asamidwest.com/asa-midwest-council-events/?ee=160

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) Midwest Council is a construction trade association made up of quality specialty contractors and suppliers serving the construction industry and the community in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area and southern Illinois. The ASA Midwest Council’s purpose is to improve the construction process through active participation in education, advocacy and cooperation. For more information about the ASA Midwest Council, visit www.asamidwest.com or contact executive director Susan Winkelmann at susan@asamidwest.com  
ASA has been Building. Community. for 50 years. Est. 1967

Home Builders Association Donates More Than $7,000 to DOORWAYS

in Associations/News

On behalf of the Home Builders Charitable Foundation (HBCF), 2017 HBA President Ken Kruse of Payne Family Homes (left) and HBCF President John Eilermann of McBride & Son Companies (right) presented a $7,210 donation to Herman Johnson of DOORWAYS  (also known as Interfaith Residence).

The funds will be used to make lighting improvements in their family residential complex. DOORWAYS is an interfaith non-profit organization which provides housing and related supportive services to improve quality of life and health outcomes for people affected by HIV/AIDS.

The HBA is a local trade association of more than 600 member firms representing the residential construction industry. The Home Builders Charitable Foundation, the HBA’s charitable arm, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing assistance to people or organizations with special shelter needs.

Electrical Connection Saves the Season

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Services Donated to Repair Lighting for Little League in Festus, Mo.

For a time, it appeared that the joys of summer with the crack of the bat and kids playing baseball might be silenced at the Twin City Little League in Festus, Mo.  That’s because the lighting for the field was in bad need of repair and would not pass inspection for the 2017 season.  But the Electrical Connection stepped to the plate and saved the season!

Matt Copland & Chris Bank

The IBEW/NECA partnership agreed to donate services to repair the lighting.  NECA contractor Schaeffer Electric Company, Inc. teamed with IBEW Local 1 electricians Matt Copland and Chris Bank to repair field lights and bring them up to code.  A full slate of baseball games for the summer is now underway.

“The Electrical Connection really came through in our time of need,” said Scott White, Twin cities director of fields.  “Schaeffer Electric and IBEW made sufficient improvements to the field lighting so we could kick off a busy 2017 schedule of games.”

Since 1939, Twin City Little League has been an anchor of the Festus and Crystal City communities.  The non-profit Little League sanctioned program serves more than 400 boys and girls, ages three to 16 years old, in 12 different divisions of baseball and softball programs.

The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local One and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).  Members provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  Find a contractor near you in the Electrical Connection contractor database.

New Tool Helps People Buy Local, Healthy Energy-Efficient Building Products

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Architects, Multi-Family Home Building Owners, Consumers and Others Can Use New Database to Find Locally Made Building Products That Minimize Harmful Toxins

The BlueGreen Alliance Foundation today released a new tool to help everyone from building professionals to consumers find energy-efficient housing products that are healthy and made locally. Building Clean—found at http://www.buildingclean.org—offers an easy-to-use interface to access its one-of-a-kind database. Products and manufacturers of products available on the database include appliances, heating and air conditioning equipment, insulation, lighting, plumbing, roofing, sealants, and water filtration.

Housing consumes more than 20 percent of U.S. energy. Building Clean is designed to make it easier for architects and designers, consumers, contractors and developers, and manufacturers to find American-made, healthy products so they can capture the benefits of energy efficiency retrofits—including lower utility bills, improved occupant health and increased economic development.

“Building Clean will supercharge efforts to find healthy, American-made products in a wide range of sectors,” said Kim Glas, president of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation. “Building Clean should be in the toolbox of anyone updating multi-family homes, designing new affordable housing or just looking for the safest products to use when upgrading their own home.”

The site allows both searches for products and manufacturers in energy efficient building sectors and includes information about toxic chemicals commonly found in some product categories. In addition, you can search for products certified with third-party health certifications and that promote transparency by listing the chemicals they contain.

The site can also be a resource for businesses looking to break into the energy-efficient product supply chain. “We wanted to make sure we were making it easy for manufacturers looking to grow their businesses to find and get into contact with other business with needs they can fulfill, providing an opportunity to grow their market and business,” added Glas.

Building Clean is an initiative of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation and is a companion piece to the broader Energy Efficiency for All initiative, which is dedicated to linking the energy, housing and health sectors to tap the benefits of energy efficiency for millions of low-income families.

Building Clean is an initiative of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that conducts research and educates the public and media about solutions to environmental challenges that create economic opportunities for the American people. Visit https://www.bgafoundation.org.

Home Builders Association Donates $10,000 to Rebuilding Together-St. Louis

in Associations/News

On behalf of the Home Builders Charitable Foundation (HBCF), 2017 HBA President Ken Kruse of Payne Family Homes (left) and HBCF President John Eilermann of McBride & Son Companies (right) presented a $10,000 donation to Dave Ervin, executive director of Rebuilding Together-St. Louis (second from left), and Mark Jansen, Rebuilding Together Board Member.

The donation will be used toward Rebuilding Together-St. Louis’ Rebuilding Day program. Rebuilding Together revitalizes neighborhoods in partnership with the community by rehabilitating the houses of low-income home owners, particularly the elderly and the disabled, so that they may continue to live independently in comfort and safety. Rebuilding Day is the organization’s annual one-day blitz where volunteers make home repairs for low-income, elderly and disabled home owners in the St. Louis Metro area.

The HBA is a local trade association of more than 600 member firms representing the residential construction industry. The Home Builders Charitable Foundation, the HBA’s charitable arm, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing assistance to people or organizations with special shelter needs.

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