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St. Clair County Celebrates Completion of $7 Million River Bridge District Project on East St. Louis Riverfront

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Critical infrastructure project opens up several hundred acres of undeveloped, newly accessible ground, aims to attract industry and new jobs along the East St. Louis Riverfront 

Public and private stakeholders today gathered to celebrate the transformation of a key section of the East St. Louis Riverfront into a magnet for additional industry and jobs. A ceremonial snip of the ribbon marked the completion of the $7 million River Bridge District Project that came in on time and more than $1 million under budget. The landmark project opened up several hundred acres of undeveloped, newly accessible ground that is already sparking interest from other agribusiness and distribution companies in a section of the East St. Louis Riverfront that is part of the thriving Ag Coast of America.

The River Bridge District Project included a comprehensive overhaul of Front Street from Trendley Avenue in East St. Louis to where the road terminates in Fairmont City, as well as improvements to various connecting roadways.  The initial phase, for which ground was broken in August 2016, included the critical rebuilding and upgrading of Front Street to allow for enhanced access for the burgeoning commercial traffic generated by Cargill and Bunge-SCF along the East St. Louis Riverfront. The second phase included a new roundabout near the Casino Queen on River Park Drive and associated improvements to other parts of River Park Drive and B Street.  This important infrastructure work was aimed at addressing traffic congestion issues in the vicinity; creating enhanced access for patrons and employees of the Casino Queen and citizens of East St. Louis and providing separation of the heavy commercial traffic from other normal public movement.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, who grew up in East St. Louis, was on hand for the ceremony. “I am so glad be back here in my hometown today to celebrate a project that will help attract businesses to a long-dormant area on the East St. Louis Riverfront. I helped secure federal funding for this successful public-private partnership that will improve travel through East St. Louis and increase economic opportunity,” Durbin said.

“This infrastructure project substantially improves commerce through a key stretch of East St. Louis and shows what can happen when government partners with the private sector,” noted Congressman Mike Bost (IL-12) in a written statement, as a conflict prevented him from attending. “I am especially hopeful that this project will provide our farmers better access to international markets.”

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, Illinois State Representative LaToya Greenwood, East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks, and representatives of the various funding partners and other invited guests also were on site for the official ribbon cutting, which took place on Front Street at the intersection of Trendley Ave., directly across from the Gateway Arch. The project is the final piece of substantial highway infrastructure improvements already made by state and federal partners in the immediate vicinity, including the relocation of Illinois Route 3 and the opening of the new Stan Musial Veteran’s Memorial Bridge.

This project is the culmination of many millions of dollars in transportation infrastructure investment over the past several years in the surrounding area – much of which can be seen from right here,” said Kern. “Through those investments, we are solidifying this area’s strategic position as a prime central location for smooth and convenient transportation efficiencies, and we fully expect that this latest investment will be a catalyst for business expansion, enhanced economic health and local prosperity.”

Taulby Roach, project coordinator for St. Clair County Transit and the individual tasked with managing the River Bridge District project, was also in attendance.

“This project is about partnership – from federal to state to county and city; from financier, to engineer, to superintendent to laborer – all of these diverse groups finding a single purpose to build a project for the public good,” noted Roach. “I am proud to be a part of this partnership and I hope that it can provide a model of how to unite diverse interests to a single goal – better, more efficient infrastructure.”

The improvements along the mile-long stretch of Front Street that links Cargill and Bunge-SCF will better support their growing operations and pave the way other businesses to invest and grow in the area.

Specific improvements included adding a thick concrete surface to Front Street and widening the road to 30 feet from its existing 20 – 24-foot footprint, so that it can better handle the heavy truck traffic, especially during harvest season. An estimated 400 -500 trucks currently use the road, and that number is expected to continue to grow given market growth and conditions. The project also included resurfacing of Trendley Avenue from Front Street to Main Street, the reconstruction of West Missouri Avenue from Front Street to B Street and the reconstruction of B Street from Missouri Avenue to River Park Drive.  All three streets are now 24-feet wide following completion of the work. The only outstanding items are minor details such as quality inspections and sign placement.

The investment means that now, instead of using River Park Drive, truck traffic will come down Trendley Ave. to Front Street and have direct access from there to Route 3, which is already connected to the new Stan Musial Veteran’s Memorial Bridge. As part of the rebuilding of Front Street, a separated lane for pedestrian and bike traffic has been included that ties into the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park. A final phase of the project will link that on-road bike path to the Confluence Trail that runs along the eastern shore of the Mississippi, and via the Eads Bridge to the Riverfront Trail that runs along the western shore, providing an unrivaled opportunity for trail enthusiasts interested in that unique vantage point to experience the mighty Mississippi.

“From the very beginning when this project was first presented to the City, we were hopeful of the tremendous potential that this kind of infrastructure investment could produce for East St. Louis,” said East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks.  “Today, we are elated to celebrate its completion and the benefits it is delivering, not just in terms of the great enhancements to the existing businesses of Cargill, Bunge-SCF and the Casino Queen, but also in the ripple effect it will have for the citizens and economic health of our City.”

Funding for the project, which was originally estimated at $8.1 million but was delivered under budget, came from various public and private sources, including more than $1.5 million from the private sector. Bungee-SCF, Cargill and Casino Queen each committed $520,000 for the project. The additional funding was provided in the form of a $2.65 million grant from the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA); a $1.5 million contribution from SWIDA; $1.125 million from the St. Clair County Transit District; $500,000 from the Metro East Park and Recreation District and a $125,000 TARP grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation. Illinois American Water also invested in the project, spending approximately $9 million above and beyond the project budget on replacing more than two and a half miles of water main lines along Front Street.

Illinois-based Baxmeyer Construction Co. served as the general contractor for the job, while engineering was handled by TWM of Swansea.

Architects Association Objects to EPA Rule Reallowing Asbestos-Based Materials

in Associations/News

By KERRY SMITH, Editor, St. Louis Construction News & Review Magazine

The St. Louis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects supports its parent organization’s stance on a proposed US Environmental Protection Agency ruling. The ruling allows new asbestos products via manufacturing, processing and importing.

Included in the types of materials identified as now allowable by the EPA are: adhesives, sealants, roof and non-roof coatings, arc chutes, beater-add gaskets, extruded sealant tape and other tape, filler for acetylene cylinders, high-grade electrical paper, millboard, missile liner, pipeline wrap, reinforced plastics, roofing felt, separators in fuel cells and batteries, vinyl-asbestos floor tile and any other building material other than cement that contains certain types of asbestos.

The EPA’s authority for taking this action stems from the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, Section 5, which was amended two years ago. It authorizes the agency to determine that a use of specified chemical substances can be considered a “significant new use.” Asbestos is one of those substances. Once this determination has been made, manufacturers of any designated products must notify the EPA at least 90 days prior to manufacturing, processing and selling the asbestos-related product(s).

AIA St. Louis President Barb Anderson-Kerlin said the local affiliate agrees with the official position as communicated by the AIA to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. In the written correspondence, national AIA President Carl Elefante formally opposes the Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for asbestos.

“The EPA has offered no compelling reason for considering new products using asbestos, especially when the consequences are well known,” Elefante said. “Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, reauthorized in 2016, the EPA must evaluate and determine whether existing substances pose a risk to the public or the environment. Asbestos causes significant and irreversible risk to those who come into direct contact with it. The risk is especially acute for those who work in demolition construction. Given the established health, safety and welfare risks that asbestos poses at all stages of its mining and usage, the AIA urges asbestos to be treated as a high priority chemical that is phased out of usage,” he added.

Anderson-Kerlin said an architect’s responsibility to design projects that do not compromise the health of project partners and building occupants is paramount.

“As architects, it is our job to protect the public from the buildings we create and they occupy,” said Anderson-Kerlin. “Therefore, the AIA St. Louis Chapter supports the position of our national entity in urging the EPA to rule against the use of asbestos in all cases.”

Elefante’s response, submitted August 9th, underscored the proven risks of asbestos as well as its damaging effects including mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. The AIA national president said exposing contractors, builders, architects and building occupants to friable and airborne asbestos fibers is a bad and dangerous idea.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the U.S. has struggled to implement an asbestos ban of its own. The known carcinogen has been banned in 60 countries.

Home Builders Association Donates $15,000 to Youth In Need

in Associations/News

On behalf of the Home Builders Charitable Foundation (HBCF), 2018 HBA President Dale Black of CMS Homes (left) presented a $15,000 donation to Rob Muschany, chief development officer of Youth In Need.

The donation will be used to install an HVAC system and electric to a detached garage that is being converted to a multi-purpose room at Youth In Need’s Transitional Living Program group home in St. Charles; and for clean-up and restoration of walls, ceilings and flooring damaged by sewage back-up in the main house. The Transitional Living Program is a residential program that operates a group home and several independent living program models designed to provide runaway and homeless, at-risk youth with a continuum of individualized and strength-based services to successfully transition young adults into self-sufficient and financially independent adults.

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 Members Power the PGA Championship in St. Louis

in Associations/Homepage Primary/News

If you attended or watched the historic 100th PGA Championship in St. Louis, you marveled at the precision golf shots.  Behind the scenes, equally impressive precision by Electrical Connection members powered the event and connected it to a worldwide audience.  Contracted by Aggreko, an international electricity, heating, and cooling provider, NECA contractor Guarantee Electrical Co. teamed with IBEW Local 1 to power every facet of the championship.

“The PGA was a spectacular showcase for St. Louis worldwide,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president, Electrical Connection.  “We are extremely proud of our IBEW/NECA team which for decades has been the region’s ‘go to’ source for reliable and safe electrical and communications infrastructure needed for major events.   The PGA and Bellerive Country Club delivered a great tournament for fans and we were pleased to be part of it.”

The tale of the tape on the sprawling Bellerive Country Club in Town & Country, Mo. and its 7,547-yard course also tells the tale of the enormous challenge of transforming the private club for a worldwide spectacle. The event was almost entirely powered by generators.

Guarantee connected temporary power to the 46,800-square-foot PGA Merchandise Pavilion to power its air conditioning, wireless communications, lighting, video boards and more. The generators also reliably powered the concession stands strategically placed along the golf course.

Equally impressive were the accommodations for the media and the estimated 1,000 journalists covering the event.  The IBEW/NECA team provided temporary power to the massive media center and stationary cameras covering the action on the course.  In addition, the temporary power was used to support media using wireless connections for roaming camera crews and journalists on the course.

Guarantee began work on the project a year ago by connecting temporary power from an Ameren feed to the PGA trailer from which the entire championship was orchestrated. To insure uninterruptable power for this major event, a backup generator was provided to the Bellerive clubhouse.

The PGA project was yet another in a series major St. Louis area events wired by the IBEW/NECA team.  Indeed, Guarantee Electrical traces its name to its “guaranteed performance” wiring of the 1904 World’s Fair.

The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the National Electrical Contractors Associations (NECA).  For more than 100 years, IBEW/NECA has been the “go to” resource for safe and reliable electrical and communications construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  For more information, visit

Southern Illinois Builders Association Opens New Marion Office

in Associations/Companies

The planroom for the Southern Illinois Builders Association has moved to a new location. The address of the new location is: 1519 E. DeYoung Street, Suite B, Marion, IL 62959, (618) 527- 7600;

An Open House is scheduled for: Tuesday, September 11th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Brian Rehbein will be the part time Branch Manager of SIBA’s Southern Illinois office and will be available at the Open House. Some of Brian’s responsibilities will include: taking care of the plans, specs and addenda that are received; teaching First Aid/CPR/AED classes; tool box talks on jobsites; assist with the Annual Southern Illinois Career Expo in DuQuoin; and various other safety training classes. Light appetizers and drinks will be served. RSVP to Kristin at 618-624-9055 or by email at if you plan to attend.

For more information about the new SIBA planroom, please contact Donna Richter at SIBA at (618) 624-9055.

Established in 1945, Southern Illinois Builders Association (SIBA) represents approximately 500 construction companies throughout Southern Illinois and is the largest regional contractor association in Illinois.

Geotechnology’s Gallagher & Boll Help ASCE Create Awareness of Infrastructure Problems

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Looks to Ignite Action for Americans to Make Investments or Face Consequences

The grades for our U.S. infrastructure are in and they are grim. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the country’s infrastructure has an average grade of D+.

ASCE is warning Americans across the nation that they must commit to rebuilding and protecting our infrastructure or we will face serious consequences.

Since 2001, ASCE has issued a National Infrastructure Report Card every four years that examines current infrastructure conditions and needs, assigns grades, and makes recommendations for how to make improvements. For its 2017 Report Card, the organization reviewed 16 infrastructure components and found that the infrastructure warranted the same overall grade as in 2013. Much of the infrastructure is in fair to poor condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of its service life. There is cause for concern.

In order to drive home the local significance of these findings, ASCE asks members across the nation to volunteer their time and talents to prepare State Infrastructure Report Cards.

Sheryl Gallagher

For more than a year, Sheryl Gallagher, PE, D.GE, Principal Engineer in Geotechnology’s Overland Park, Kansas office, and Dennis Boll, PE, RG, Principal Engineer in Geotechnology’s St. Louis office, have led efforts to bring attention to the condition of infrastructure in Missouri and Kansas.

Gallagher became involved after she completed her term of office as ASCE Kansas City chapter President. A board member of the Kansas City Section asked if she would serve as Chair of the Kansas City Section Government Public Relations (GPR) Committee.  Responsibilities of being chair included spearheading updates of the Missouri and Kansas Infrastructure Report Cards.  Planning efforts for the report cards began in January 2017 by reaching out to the presidents of ASCE’s Kansas, Kansas City and St. Louis Sections and the Wichita Branch and having them send out a request for volunteers to their members. While gathering volunteers, Ms. Gallagher collaborated with ASCE National to determine milestone goals so that releases for both states could occur in late Spring 2018.

She was grateful when 45 ASCE members across the states of Missouri and Kansas volunteered to research and prepare reports that most appropriately fit their areas of expertise.

“Because our volunteers were so dispersed, in-person meetings were impossible to arrange. ASCE National set up webinars so we could learn about how the national report was prepared,” said Gallagher. “We learned that grades were assigned according to the following eight criteria: capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation. We had access to technical and industry reports prepared by experts in their fields. It was important for us to understand the format of the Report Card, so that we, as well as our counterparts in California or Maine or elsewhere, were grading similarly.”

The Committees had access to financial information and studies from dozens of state and federal sources, such as the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The 2013 Report Cards were helpful as reference points, as well, since Committee members were able to see how the states used funding to manage past infrastructure issues.

A draft of the Missouri report card was finished March of 2018, and one for Kansas was finished in June 2018, Gallagher says, but there was a lot of back and forth communication afterward between the Committees and ASCE National. Some report card chapter members had to do more research, answer questions, add data and make changes for the sake of consistency.

Boll serves as Chairman of the St. Louis GPR Committee, and volunteered to write the levee reports for both states, since he had expertise and knowledge in that field. As Missouri’s Infrastructure Report Card was being finalized, preparation began for the announcement of the results. With the help of ASCE National, Boll brought together release events that included ASCE St. Louis and Kansas City members, the general public visiting the Capital in Jefferson City, and local and state officials.  Press interviews occurred to explain the significance of the findings.

In April, Missouri’s Infrastructure Report Card was released and 11 infrastructure chapters (aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, inland waterways, levees, ports, rail, roads, and stormwater & wastewater.) were summarized. The Report Card gave the state infrastructure an overall grade of C-, with no chapter receiving better than a C. Missouri roads dropped more than any other chapter, to a D+ from a C in its 2013 Report Card. The lowest grade in the Report Card was given to Missouri dams, which received a D-.

“Missouri’s infrastructure continues to muddle along at the status quo, but if we don’t increase investment soon we will start feeling the ramifications,” said Gallagher at the Missouri report card release.  “We have almost 5,000 bridges in Missouri that need repairs. While the grades indicate that the transportation network requires attention, if we allow it to languish, these assets will become a drag on the economy and more costly to repair.”

In June, the Kansas City and Kansas Sections and the Wichita Branch released report card grades for nine infrastructure categories. The Report Card was issued with an overall grade of C.  Levees and energy rose from a C- to a C, and investment in bridges and dams paid off with raising grades since the 2013 Report Card.  Aviation slipped to a C-, drinking water and rail remained at a C, and a new chapter to the Kansas Report Card, stormwater, received a C-.  The largest grade drop was roads that went from a C+ in 2013 to a C- in 2018.

“The categories that improved were thanks to recent increased funding, proving that when we invest, we see results,” said Sheryl Gallagher at the Kansas report card release.  “It’s time for the state to build on that momentum to ensure that, as America’s heartland, Kansas can deliver goods to market and grow our economy.”

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

New Family Fitness Trail Opening August 23 At Spanish Lake Park

in Associations/News

A new 1.4 mile, $125,000 Family Fitness Trail being built at Spanish Lake Park in North St. Louis County will open for public use on August 23 following a 10:00 a.m. dedication ceremony.  Designed for outdoor exercise and active play the entire family can enjoy together, the new trail features four separate educational and nature-themed children’s play stations plus a variety of adult exercise equipment, benches and new landscaping linked by an existing paved trail.  Animal climbing structures featured at each play station are along the same lines as Turtle Park near the St. Louis Zoo.

“We envision children leading their adult and other playmates from station to station and keeping the entire family moving along the length of the trail for an hour or more,” said Mark Ohlendorf, President of the St. Louis County Parks Foundation Board of Directors.  “This will allow parents and grandparents to interact with the young people in their lives while everyone enjoys the benefits of regular exercise.  It will also create a better sense of community and identity in the Spanish Lake, Black Jack and surrounding areas while improving the aesthetic appeal of the park.”

Funded in part by a $50,000 grant from the Gateway Foundation, the Family Fitness Trail is the first in a planned series of new privately funded recreational amenities and improvement projects in various St. Louis County Parks to be built by the St. Louis County Parks Foundation through partnerships with corporations, non-profit organizations and individuals.  The St. Louis County Parks Foundation is a public/private partnership started in 2015 to better connect people to their parks and bridge the gap between the public funds available and the additional money needed to care for, restore and enhance all St. Louis County parks.

“We are extremely grateful to the Gateway Foundation and our other donors for making this possible,” Ohlendorf added.

The Foundation plans is currently raising funds for the construction of two additional family fitness trails at St. Louis County Parks in South County and West County in the coming year.  Trails were identified as the top priority for new investment in the County’s parks by residents surveyed in the Vision 2030 Master Plan currently being developed by St. Louis County Parks.

The St. Louis County Parks Foundation works with the St. Louis County Parks Department to identify the park system’s needs and opportunities, and then coordinates the fundraising, purchasing and project oversight necessary to build new amenities that will improve these parks.  The Foundation’s first project was the installation of a large new fountain at Tilles Park in 2015.  Today more than $71,000 has been committed from five private foundations for additional park projects.

“We have 71 parks and more than 12,700 acres of parks to maintain with limited funding,” said Gary Bess, Director of St. Louis County Parks.”  “The Foundation is focused on improving our parks while we focus on maintaining them. They are a true and valued partner with us.”

Spanish Lake Park is located at 12500 Spanish Pond Road in Spanish Lake. It features two lakes, a series of hiking and biking trails, two playgrounds, tennis courts and other recreational amenities.  For more information on the St. Louis County Parks Foundation, visit

61st Annual Asphalt Conference

in Associations/News

The 61st Annual Missouri S&T Asphalt Conference will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 27-28, 2018 at the Missouri University of Science & technology in Roll, MO.

Presentations at the conference include: pavement evaluation, rating and treatments for municipalities; full-depth reclamation in Missouri; trackless tack; RAP quality; Pavement Preservation and recycling Alliance; overlay bond testing; best paving practices for small-scale operations; intelligent compaction update; paving machine maintenance; MODOT’s increased density initiative-Phase II; next generation plants; software, and training; basic quarry operations and more.

The conference should be of interest to paving contractors, public agencies, consulting engineers, testing labs, aggregate producers, asphalt binder suppliers, and equipment technical reps. Personal Development Hours (PDH) will be awarded.

More information and registration

Interest in STEM, Technical Careers Raise Female Ranks at Ranken Summer Camp

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The student makeup at Ranken Technical College’s Summer Adventure Academy was quite different this year. Women have traditionally been under represented in past years at the Academy’s camps, but times are changing. This summer, females represented from 25% to 50% in many of the camps.

Ranken opens its doors for several weeks every summer to hundreds of middle school and high school students to spur their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and to encourage their decisions to pursue technical careers.

This year, of the 123 middle schoolers participating in the camps, 42 were girls. Especially popular with these young students, were the Heavy Metals (welding) camp, which featured hands-on welding, and the Web Design camp. These programs were almost evenly divided between males and females.

High school students are offered differed programs. In their camps, of the 142 participants, 38 were females. A “Women in Engineering” camp was filled, with other popular choices among female high schoolers being Remote Control Race Engineering, Robotics and Racing, Design & Engineering and Tetrix Robotics, with approximately 25 to 40% female participation. Wood Works and Adventures in Architecture were popular camps, as well.

“We are very pleased that young people, and especially young women, are taking advantage of these camp experiences,” said Ranken Vice President of Diversity and Student Success Crystal Herron. “The hands-on activities are educational, but they are also inspirational and aspirational. Both men and women are needed to fill technical jobs and we are helping them discover new career opportunities.”

The program, which charges minimal fees and offers scholarships, is funded in part by a National Science Foundation advanced technological education grant and by many generous local donors.

About Ranken Technical College
Ranken Technical College is a private, non-profit, degree-granting institution of higher learning whose primary mission is to provide the comprehensive education and training necessary to prepare students for employment and advancement in a variety of technical fields. For more information, visit

Home Builders Association Donates $15,000 to Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis

in Associations/News

On behalf of the Home Builders Charitable Foundation (HBCF), 2018 HBA President Dale Black of CMS Homes presented a $15,000 donation to Deirdre Schaneman, resource development operations manager for Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis (HFHSL).

The donation will be used to support Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis’ 2018 Build program. The funding will play an integral role in helping HFHSL reach its goal of building eight new homes in the southeast quadrant of St. Louis City – including Bevo Mills, Carondelet and Marine Villa, three 2-story homes in the Tiffany neighborhood and five homes in the La Saison neighborhood with one of the five being HFHSL’s 400th house. Once the homes are completed they will be purchased by hardworking, low-income families who will perform 350 hours of sweat equity to qualify for their purchase, and take on a 30-year, affordable mortgage payment.

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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