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Associations - page 24

Carpenters Back Carnahan for Lieutenant Governor

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The Missouri Carpenters Union is supporting former U.S. Representative Russ Carnahan in his bid to become lieutenant governor.

“Our more than 22,000 members have been working tirelessly to fight back against “right to work” and other attempts to erode the gains we have battled so long to win,” Al Bond, the Carpenters’ executive secretary-treasurer, said.  “Whether fighting for improved funding for dilapidated roads and bridges, or improving health care for our veterans, Russ’ priorities have always been squarely focused on making government work for average Americans.  He is a friend to hard-working families and champions the same issues and ideas we’re fighting for.”

According to the Carpenters Regional Council, Carnahan is stressing the need for better education, from early childhood to grade school and college, is committed to helping those starting and growing their own businesses, and believes government can, and should, do better to strengthen Missouri’s middle class.

Founded in 1882, the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council represents more than 22,000 skilled tradesmen and women across Missouri, Kansas and southern Illinois.

Drivers’ Pension Fund Going Broke

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Last Friday, the executive director of the Central States Pension Fund sent a letter to retirees and covered workers announcing that the fund will be broke in less than 10 years.

 

St. Louis area construction employers, who have drivers, contribute to the Central States Pension Fund.

 

The letter from fund director Thomas Nyhan followed the US Treasury Department’s rejection of a rescue proposal from the trustees of the pension plan.

 

John Moellering, a construction law expert at Lewis Rice LLC, said the Central States Pension Fund was one of the first, and certainly the largest pension fund to apply for a rescue plan under the Multi-Employer Pension Reform Act of 2014. Before that law, pension funds could not cut benefits to retirees. Under the law, distressed funds can file an application with the Treasury Department to cut or “suspend” benefits in order to keep the fund solvent. By any definition, the Central States Pension Fund is distressed.

 

Moellering said, “The Central States fund pays out $3.40 for every dollar that comes in. The net ouflow is about $2 billion a year.”

 

“It is in a death spiral,” he said.

 

In September, the fund’s trustees proposed to cut benefits to current retirees an average of 23 percent, although some retirees would see cuts of as much as 59 percent.

 

The law, Moellering said, “has a sliding scale on how much you can reduce pensions for different groups to make it equitable..”

 

If the Treasury Department had approved the plan, it would have gone retirees and workers for a vote. If they had voted it down, the Treasury Department could have imposed it anyway. Since the Treasury Department rejected the rescue plan, however, there will be not vote.

 

Moellering said that he was surprised that the Treasury Department turned down the proposal. There are few options left.

 

“Normally, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation is a backstop for retirees who lose their pensions when their funds fold, but it doesn’t have the wherewithal to pay out on the underfunded Central States plans,” he said.

 

More than 400,000 retirees get pension checks from the Central States Pension fund.

 

“The fact that the federal government’s multiemployer pension insurance program, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), is also running out of money means our participants may see their pension benefits ultimately reduced to virtually nothing when the Fund runs out of money,” Nyhan wrote to retirees.

 

“The whole multi-employer pension arena is very troubled right now,” Moellering said. “The model was fine when it started, with more people contributing than were collecting, but as industry has matured, it no longer works. You can only squeeze participating employers so much, especially when they are competing with numerous employers who don’t contribute to the fund,” he said.

SMPS-St. Louis Announces Its 2016-2017 Board of Directors

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SMPS-St. Louis recently announced their 2016-2017 Board of Directors.

The following slate has been elected by acclamation as the 2016-2017 SMPS St. Louis Chapter Board of Directors. The following individuals will commence their terms in office on September 1, 2016.

President: Amanda Bohnert, S. M. Wilson & Co.
President Elect: Catrina Cook, Spellman Brady & Company
Immediate Past President: Jessica Davila, CPSM, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
Treasurer: Cindy Hausler, CPSM, Mackey Mitchell Architects
Treasurer-Elect: Jennifer Bradshaw, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
Secretary: Cheryl Vancil, Oates Associates Inc.
Communications Director: Courtney Kinamore, S. M. Wilson & Co.
Programs Co-Directors: Kristyn Newbern, Access Engineering, LLC and Shane Harris, Professional Service Industries, Inc. (PSI)
Membership Director: Alec Gleason, TOKY Branding + Design
Education Chair: Megan Hinrichsen, Development Strategies
Special Events Chair: Nora Bresnahan, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
Sponsorship Chair: Shannon Egger, Ross & Baruzzini
Student Chapter Liaison, Dave Scarmana, Lawrence Group

SMPS was formed in 1973 in St. Louis by a small group of professional services firm leaders who recognized the need to sharpen skills, pool resources, and work together to create business opportunities. Today, the organization represents a dynamic network of 6,000+ marketing and business development professionals from architectural, engineering, planning, interior design, construction, and specialty consulting firms located throughout the United States and Canada. Please visit our website at www.smps-stl.org.

Celebrate The Renovated St. Louis Riverfront at “Picnic On The Riverfront” on June 2nd

in Associations/News

The Event, which will include a 2,016-foot-long community picnic table and fireworks display, will kick off season of events for residents and tourists

Few construction projects get feted with a giant picnic, but BSI Constructors transformation of the St. Louis riverfront by the Arch is one of them. Great Rivers Greenway, the City of St. Louis, CityArchRiver Foundation and other partners are going to celebrate the completion of the project on Thursday, June 2, St. Louis’ largest ever community picnic, complete with a 2,016-foot long table with chairs.

The picnic is open to the public. The official ribbon cutting on June 2 will begin at 5 p.m. on the overlook stage along Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard. Afterward, attendees can explore the nearby Mississippi Greenway, enjoy local music and educational activities for kids and purchase dinner from food trucks and other vendors. People are also welcome to bring their own picnic meal. An interfaith blessing will kick off dinner at 6:15 p.m., followed by an aerial photo of all the picnickers. The event will end with a brief fireworks display at 8:30 p.m.

The renovation of the 1.5-mile stretch of riverfront includes the recently rebuilt Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard and extension of the Mississippi Greenway from the Biddle Street Trailhead south to Chouteau Avenue, with protected walking and biking paths. The entire riverfront was elevated an average of almost two feet to limit flooding, returning more days of the year back to the community for walking, riding bikes, sightseeing and special events. While the historic elements were preserved, such as the cobblestones lining the levee; new amenities such as benches, bike racks, lights, power outlets and a street-level stage will make the space more inviting for events and programs.

The construction, which is wrapping up, is on track to meet or exceed minority participation goals with 32 percent participation by minority-owned business enterprises and 19 percent participation by women-owned business enterprises. Fifty-one percent of construction contracts were awarded to disadvantaged business enterprises. Workforce participation is also on track to meet the goal of 14.7 percent minority workers.

“The riverfront is a place where everyone is welcome, and it was important that the construction of the project reflect that, too,” said Carey Bundy, Project Manager for Great Rivers Greenway.

 

Design-Build Coming to Missouri’s Local Public Agencies

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The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), the only organization that defines, teaches and promotes best practices in design-build, celebrated the passage of H 2376 through the Missouri General Assembly. The bill enables any local political subdivision to use design-build project delivery at their discretion. The bill also ensures that community development block grants are properly allocated to water and wastewater projects that are delivered using design-build. This legislation had a long road to victory spanning a decade, and is significant in light of the strong demand for design-build authority from public owners.

 

The DBIA played a key role in crafting the legislation, providing supporting testimony, and working with Representative Lincoln Hough and Senator Jay Wasson to get this legislation passed. Governor Jay Nixon has indicated he will sign the legislation.

 

“This legislation affirms Missouri’s commitment to finding better ways to deliver construction projects for the taxpayers, and is encouraging for the future of design-build in the Midwest,” said G. William Quatman, who currently serves as chairman of the National DBIA Board of Directors. Quatman is a Missouri resident who serves as general counsel for Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co.  He has helped to write the legislation in various forms, and testify for it, since 2007.

 

“There is a great demand for design-build on local civil, architectural and water projects in Missouri, and I applaud the members of the Missouri General Assembly for embracing this comprehensive procurement reform. I am extremely grateful for all the hard work done at both the regional and national level to see this legislation through.”

 

“With this bill coming so close last session, it is especially gratifying to see it win such large majorities this year,” said Brian Johanning, former president of DBIA’s Mid-America Region, who led the legislative effort on this bill. “This bill really shows what is possible when a united front takes on a necessary reform. In the true spirit of integrated design-build project delivery,were able to build a coalition with industry stakeholders and utilize every resource in DBIA’s arsenal to see this one through.”

 

According to Lisa Washington, DBIA’s executive director and CEO, “Among the many bills we’ve worked on this session, this is by far one of most important. As a comprehensive reform, this bill allows all local agencies to not only use design-build, but to properly execute it. This legislation is an opportunity to promote Design-Build Done Right and to bolster other legislation in the region. We are very excited about this win.”

National Roofing Contractors Association Launches Online Career Center

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The roofing industry is in immediate need of hardworking, highly skilled talent to fill positions in all sectors of the industry. To help meet this need, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has launched its online NRCA Career Center.

 

The NRCA Career Center is a comprehensive roofing industry-specific resource that will enable all industry sectors, including roofing contractors, distributors, manufacturers, consultants and designers, to find the ideal candidates to fill open positions at all skill levels.

 

Similar to the entire construction industry, the roofing industry has been experiencing a severe labor shortage. The NRCA Career Center was developed in part to address this issue, as well as spread the word to job seekers about the many rewarding opportunities available in the roofing industry.

 

“For many years, there has been a great need for workers in the roofing industry,” says William Good, NRCA’s CEO. “The NRCA Career Center will help make workers more aware of the many opportunities that exist in our industry and how rewarding a career in roofing can be.”

The NRCA Career Center consists of two job banks that provide a dual strategy for finding talent. The NRCA Job Bank allows potential candidates to view available industry jobs as well as upload resumes for review by prospective employers.

 

NRCA also has partnered with Hard Hat Hub, a premier career resource for the construction industry. Job candidates can create a personal profile for employers to view.

 

Roofing industry wage information as well as training resources also are provided.

For more information about the NRCA Career Center visitwww.nrca.net/careers.

 

ASA Midwest Council Announces Boots & Bling Awards Gala Winners on April 23rd 2016

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ASA LogoThe American Subcontractors Association (ASA) Midwest Council announced the winners of its Boots & Bling Awards Gala, April 23. ASA Midwest Council hosted 360 people, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown St. Louis, for the annual event. The four categories for awards were General Contractor of the Year, Outstanding MEP Subcontractor, Outstanding Specialty Subcontractor, and Service Provider/Supplier of the Year. The ASA Legacy Award and GC Field & Office Employees of the Year were also recognized at the gala. The ASA Midwest Councilawarded special safety awards to qualifying ASA members who have achieved work safety excellence in 2015.

2016 General Contractor of the Year

  • Category A – Alberici Constructors
  • Category B – McGrath & Associates
  • Category C – SITELINES, INC.

2016 Outstanding MEP Subcontractor

  • Category A – Guarantee Electrical
  • Category B – Bi-State Fire Protection

2016 Outstanding Specialty Subcontractor

  • Category A – TJ Wies Contracting, Inc.
  • Category B – George McDonnell & Sons

2016 Service Provider/Supplier of the Year

  • J.D. Kutter Insurance Associates

ASA Legacy Award

  • Jim Frey, Alberici Constructors

GC Field Employee of the Year

  • Gary Hart, Interface Construction

GC Office Employee of the Year

  • Linda Bernhard, LANDCO Construction

2015 Safety Award Winners

  • Division I – Sachs Electric Company
  • Division II – Vee-Jay Cement Co., Inc.
  • Division III – Bell Electrical Contractors
  • Division IV – BAZAN Painting Co. and Golterman & Sabo, Inc.
  • Division V – Duct Systems and Negwer Door SystemsDivisionVI – Architectural Sheet Metal Systems and Parkway Construction Services

“I would like to congratulate this year’s award winners and thank everyone for their continued support for the ASA-Midwest Council and the St. Louis area subcontractors,” said ASA-Midwest Council President Kevin Douglas. “Our awards Gala is about celebrating excellence. The winners this year are a great illustration of excellence in construction. They are outstanding examples of what is possible when a project team works together towards their common goal.”

General contractors were nominated based on bid ethics practice, equitable contract/purchase order provisions, safety policy and practices, payment practices, jobsite supervision, scheduling coordination, subcontractor/vendor relations and administrative procedures/paperwork. Sub-contractors were judged on bid ethics and practice, safety policy and practices, jobsite supervision, communication, scheduling coordination, project relations, administrative procedures/paperwork and quality workmanship. The vendor/suppliers were nominated based on pricing consistency, equitable contract/purchase order provisions, accessibility, timeliness of service/delivery, customer relations and administrative procedures.

The general contractor and subcontractor categories were divided into sub-categories based on sales volume. ASA members nominated and cast votes for the General Contractor and Service Provider/Supplier awards. Past nominees and previous general contractor award winners submitted nominations for the subcontractor categories, which were voted on by previous general contractor winners.

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 314-845-0855. ASA Midwest Council – Building. Community.

New Business Opportunities Created at Lambert Airport’s 2016 Business Diversity Forum

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The 2016 Business Diversity Forum presented by Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Business Diversity Development soared to new heights with 400 attendees on April 1. New enhancements included a dynamic keynote speaker, 22 roundtable discussions, and the presentation of individual Diversity Champion awards. The event showcased business development at Lambert Airport and provided opportunities for minority, disadvantaged, and women-owned businesses to connect with prime contractors and airport decision makers.

Amber Gooding, Assistant Director Community Programs and Business Diversity Development welcomes 400 attendees.
Amber Gooding, Assistant Director Community Programs and Business Diversity Development welcomes 400 attendees.

“Diverse Opportunities to Create New Successes” was the Forum theme. “All of you here today inspire us to work very hard to create new partnerships in the business community,” said Amber Gooding, Assistant Director of Business Diversity Development and Community Programs, in opening remarks to launch the Forum.

Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge announced, “The Airport just completed its best year of passenger service in the past seven years.”

Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge
Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge

Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge welcomed attendees and outlined the positive strides the airport has made towards achieving the major objectives of its strategic plan: financial stability; growing passenger air service; improving the customer experience, and economic development. She noted that with the addition of eight new markets and expanded service in several existing markets, the airport just completed its best year of passenger service in the past seven years. In the area of economic development Hamm-Niebruegge said, “People are now coming to us about development projects, both aeronautical and non-aeronautical.”

Keynote speaker Ravi Norman, CEO of THOR Construction, Inc.
Keynote speaker Ravi Norman, CEO of THOR Construction, Inc.

Keynote speaker Ravi Norman, CEO of THOR Construction, Inc., one of the largest minority-owned companies in the United States, lived up to his reputation as a dynamic motivational speaker with a rousing talk on his SIT-EAT-GROW model for business success. He said that individuals must begin with personal foundational pillars grounded in faith. The crux of his SIT-EAT-GROW model is that you must have access to opportunity; you must be seated at the table in order to eat, which can, in turn, lead to growth.

Building & Highway Contractors Report Renewed Optimism For Missouri’s Building Climate

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Highway Contractors’ Outlook Jumps 27 Points on Passage of Federal FAST Act

Missouri’s highway and building contractors report higher expectations for the construction industry’s economic outlook in a recent AGC of Missouri Contractor Confidence Index (CCI), looking six, 12 and 18-24 months ahead.  The AGC of Missouri’s CCI Index was conducted online and at meetings in early April with member contractors, and compares to data collected three months ago.

Contractors in the AGC of Missouri’s Heavy/Highway/Infrastructure Division report a marked increase in their prospects over the next 24 months, rising 21 points in short-term confidence (six months), 16 points in the near term (12 months), and jumping nearly 27 points for 18-24 months, based on a 100-point index.  Results over 50 points are considered trending positive, with the results coming in at 63.54 pts. (six months), 68.75 pts (12 months), and 59.52 pts. (18-24 months).

Leonard Toenjes
Leonard Toenjes

Leonard Toenjes, CAE, president of the AGC of Missouri, attributes the remarkably higher outlook in part to passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in December that provides funding for federal highway projects for the next five years.  “Washington still hasn’t solved the long-term prospects for funding infrastructure, but at least they saw their way clear to provide budget predictability for the next five years. Now Missouri needs to step up to the plate and resolve our state’s challenge of crumbling bridges and highways like I-70, which is falling into serious disrepair.  Unfortunately, Missouri still ranks 4th highest in the nation in the number of structurally deficient bridges and the 11th highest in the nation in percentage of structurally deficient bridges. Not only is this a safety issue, but these rankings hurt our prospects for attracting new business and commerce.”

At the same time, commercial contractors in the AGC of Missouri’s Building Division report improved expectations going forward. Their outlook rose nearly 4.5 points for the short term (six months), increased nearly 4.0 points near-term (12 months), and rose one-half point for the longer term (18-24 months). The favorable results were: 67.86 pts (six months), 65.48 pts. (12 months), and 59.52 pts. (18-24 months).

“We are happy that all trends are positive, but, unlike 28 other states that showed employment growth between February and March 2016, Missouri shed 2,000 construction jobs during the same period,” added Toenjes. “ While other parts of the country have seen a full recovery in the building industry, Missouri has been lagging in its recovery, but it is still a recovery. We have grown employment by four percent, or 4,500 jobs, since March 2015.  All signs point towards a continuing recovery with the announcement for such long term projects as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) facility.  We are thankful for that.”

This survey was developed by the AGC of Missouri and was distributed online as well as in-person at recent meetings to member contractors. The CCI index is released quarterly* and is designed to be an additional tool to help business, government and institutional leaders plan for the future.

*Due to scheduling difficulties, no 3rd Q 2015 survey was conducted.

 

Roeslein Alternative Energy Wins 2016 ‘Groundbreaker of the Year’ Award

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Chris Roach, Director of Roeslein Alternative Energy, accepting the 2016 Groundbreaker of the Year Award during the general session of the International Biomass Conference and Expo in Charlotte, NC on April 12, 2016.
Chris Roach, Director of Roeslein Alternative Energy, accepting the 2016 Groundbreaker of the Year Award during the general session of the International Biomass Conference and Expo in Charlotte, NC on April 12, 2016.

Roeslein Alternative Energy was named the 2016 Groundbreaker of the Year by BBI International, at the annual International Biomass Conference and Expo in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 12, 2016.

Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) has recently launched a significant project, which warrants the nomination for this award. RAE has partnered with Smithfield Hog Production (SHP) of Missouri. RAE is utilizing SHP’s hog manure lagoons by placing impermeable covers over them in order to anaerobically digest the manure to create methane gas. The captured methane will then be refined and used as a renewable natural gas. Once refined the gas will then be injected into main grid pipelines, and accessible to millions. Along with manure conversion, RAE looks to utilize marginal and highly erodible land and restore them back to the native prairies that they once were. It is the goal of RAE to restore ultimately 200,000 acres of land to native prairies which will boast natural rehabilitation of habitats for plants and wildlife.

“Being a relatively young company, many in the industry are not aware of our advances on this project. Attending this conference and expo, was a way to spread the word,” said Chris Roach, Director for Roeslein Alternative Energy. “However, by receiving this award, not only was it a true justification of all the hard work and dedication we have been pouring into our projects, it helps accelerate this process and get others on board with what we are doing.”

The Groundbreaker of the Award is given to one company who is nominated and voted on by BBI International, a globally recognized bioenergy events and trade magazine company, and a committee for the International Biomass Conference and Expo. This award is in recognition that significant quantities of money and energy must be invested into a bioenergy project before construction can begin. Companies and organizations that reach the groundbreaking stage represent the minority of potential bioenergy projects. The dedication and perseverance needed to navigate design, funding, permitting, purchase agreements and community acceptance indicates extreme aptitude worthy of acknowledgment. The Groundbreaker of the Year Award recognizes the company or organization that has significantly advanced the bioenergy industry by breaking ground and making meaningful headway on a commercial scale biomass-to-energy project.

Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) was founded in 2012 as an operator and developer of renewable energy production facilities that converts agricultural and industrial wastes, along with renewable biomass feedstocks to renewable natural gas and sustainable co-products. RAE engages in these business operations with a focus on incorporating native prairie restoration. RAE is a limited liability corporation with its principal offices located in St. Louis, Missouri. To find out more, please visit www.roesleinae.com

Chris Roach, Director of Roeslein Alternative Energy, accepting the 2016 Groundbreaker of the Year Award during the general session of the International Biomass Conference and Expo in Charlotte, NC on April 12, 2016.

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