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Edward L. Monser Pledges $2.5 Million to Ranken Technical College

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School receives largest personal donation in its history

Ranken Technical College has announced a $2.5 million donation from Edward L. Monser that will support the construction of MFG Inc., its 26,000 square foot center for microenterprises and high tech manufacturing.

The pledge is the school’s largest personal donation since Ranken was founded in 1907.

Monser recently retired as President of Emerson after a distinguished 30-plus year career with the global technology and engineering company. He is also a former high school and vocational teacher whose passion for learning, skills development and preparing youth for work has been reflected by his corporate and personal commitment to Ranken. In addition to supporting Ranken’s efforts through innumerable corporate donations, scholarships and partnerships through the years, Monser generously donated his own time and talents to the school. He is a 17-year member of the Ranken Board of Trustees (nine years of which he served as Board Chairman), and he continues to be an active Board member, benefactor and advocate.


MFG Inc. is a private-public initiative that is partially funded by a $2.35 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. It came about as a result of the increased demand Ranken saw for programs from both students and industry partners. Under construction on the east side of the Ranken campus, MFG Inc. will enable Ranken students to split their time between classroom study and real-world learning, while earning a salary as they complete their studies. The new facility will provide a real industrial environment that will serve 100-150 students, while also producing $4 million to $5 million in goods and services every year for the participating companies. The new building will be operational by 2019.

“This very generous gift from Mr. Monser is crucial to the MFG Inc. initiative which will serve as a model for the region and state,” said Ranken President Stan Shoun. “Throughout the years, he has greatly contributed to the region’s economy and to the professional development of Ranken students. This is another outstanding example of his dedication to ensuring that we maintain the skilled workforce necessary for our region’s future success.”

“I am proud to contribute to Ranken’s transformational approach to education,” said Monser. “Manufacturing is vital to our region and our nation, and we must ensure our workers have the right skills to succeed in an industry that is increasingly powered by advanced technology. The microenterprise model achieves that goal and benefits all parties involved.”

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

Pinnacle Contracting, Inc. Selected as Construction Manager for $9 Million Historic Renovation

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Pinnacle Contracting, Inc. has been tapped by St. Louis-based developer Pier Property Group to execute the historic renovation of the Steelcote Manufacturing Company Paint Factory complex at 801 Edwin Street in mid-town St. Louis, Mo.

Pinnacle is targeting a spring 2019 completion for the 42,000-square-foot, $9 million conversion that will create 31 units in the landmark five-story building.  A second adjoining structure will house the leasing office and bike storage while a third building will host two additional units bringing total residence count to 33.   Fifteen indoor tempered parking spaces and exterior gated parking for guests and residents will also be constructed.

In addition to traditional loft floor plans with 10- to 12-foot ceiling heights, two-story units with rooftop terraces and panoramic views of St. Louis will also be available.  Loft finishes include oversized window bays, sealed concrete floors, quartz countertops and back-painted glass backsplashes in kitchens.

Founded in St. Louis, Steelcote pioneered rubber enamel coatings for a variety of products and was once a world leader in the field.  It opened the building on Edwin Street in 1922 and finished building out upper levels in 1929.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located within St. Louis University’s Midtown Redevelopment Area, the complex has been vacant since 2006.

“We have been fortunate to meet with family members of the original owners of the building who have shared their memories of milestones and significant events with the re-development team,” said Pinnacle Vice President of Operations, Tim McLaughlin, “Their stories and collector’s items are evident throughout the design, which aims to bring elements of the past back to life.”

Led by Michael Hamburg, Pier Property Group focuses on the acquisition, renovation and management of historic buildings.  It specializes in development opportunities that utilize public/private partnerships and creative financing.

Members of its St. Louis-based project team are architect Trivers Associates and the local office of structural engineer KPFF Consulting Engineers.

“The assignment poses multiple technical challenges ranging from the unique mat slab foundation in the basement to the detailed layout coordination required to respond to the specific structural requirements within each floor slab,” added McLaughlin. “Thorough preconstruction planning is key.”

Founded in 1998 in St. Louis by Tom McLaughlin and Nelson Grumney, Jr., Pinnacle Contracting provides general contracting, construction management and design-build services.  In its 20th year of business, Pinnacle works in many different markets including historic renovation, office, educational, industrial, healthcare, hospitality, retail and multi-family.

Midas Hospitality Opens Dual-Branded Marriott Hotel in Missouri

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While Midas Hospitality has multiple hotels in 14 states throughout the country, the latest property – its 15th in Missouri – was built practically in its very own backyard.

The dual-branded Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott will open its doors Oct. 26 at 12815 Daylight Dr. in West County.  The four-story, 136,000-square foot hotel is located at Manchester Rd. and I-270.  The hotels were developed and are owned by the Roberts’ families, principals of Commercial Development Company, Inc., who have owned the former quarry property for more than 25 years.

The 101-room Residence Inn and the 110-room Courtyard by Marriott will be managed by premier hotel management group Midas Hospitality.  Jim Will, who has 26 years of hospitality experience, was named the General Manager for both hotels.

The property was built by Midas’ sister company MC Hotel Construction, a general contractor specializing in new hotel construction and renovations.  The dual-branded hotel features a state-of-the-art fitness center, indoor pool, meeting rooms, and outdoor gathering spaces with gas-burning fire pits.  The Courtyard Bistro features a wide variety of dining options from convenient fast food to upscale dining.

“We are proud to open our 15th hotel development in our very own state,” said David Robert, Midas Hospitality’s CEO and Managing Member.  “This property is conveniently located in the heart of West County and has easy access to everything from entertainment and shopping to historic landmarks and business districts.”

Founded in 2006, Midas Hospitality has developed, opened and currently manages numerous properties including 40 hotels in 14 states. The company serves global brands including Hilton, IHG, Marriott, and Starwood.  Midas Hospitality’s headquarters are located at 1804 Borman Circle Dr. in Maryland Heights, Mo.  For more information, call (314) 692-0100 or visit

MC Hotel Construction, which is also located at 1804 Borman Circle Dr. in Maryland Heights, Mo., specializes in hotel construction and renovations with projects currently underway in six states.  MC Hotel Construction builds for leading brands such as Hilton, Marriott, IHG, Starwood, and Legacy Suites.  For more information, call (314) 339-6600 or visit

S. M. Wilson President Amy Berg Joins Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Industry Council and Wyman Center Board of Trustees

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S. M. Wilson & Co., President, Amy Berg, has been named to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Industry Council and the Wyman Center Board of Trustees.

As President and member of S. M. Wilson’s Executive Committee and Executive Planning Committee, Berg guides and manages the company and assists in determining the future direction of S. M. Wilson. During her 22 year tenure with the firm, Berg has been instrumental in the development of new business, client retention and establishing public relations and marketing strategies.

Berg recently joined the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Industry Council which is designed to provide important feedback regarding economic conditions within a key Eighth District industry sector. She will serve on the real estate council, providing insight on the economic conditions affecting the construction and real estate industry.

In addition, Berg was elected to the Board of Trustees of Wyman Center, an organization dedicated to empowering teens from economically disadvantaged circumstances to lead successful lives and build strong communities. Her term will begin in January 2019. As a member of the board, she will serve a three-year term to help the organization achieve strategic goals and initiatives, oversee policies, monitor performance and ensure long-range planning meets the needs of future generations.

Berg is also active in the business community as a board member of the Missouri Growth Association, as well as sitting on the board of Habitat for Humanity and Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business Advisory Board at Saint Louis University.

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

IWR North America Completes Work on the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Arch Visitor Center

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Local specialty contractor installs decorative metal package for historic landmark

IWR North America, one of the longest-standing specialty contractors in the United States that focuses on being a true building enclosure partner, recently completed work on the $380 million renovation of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Arch Visitor Center. IWR started work on the project in March 2017 and completed their work in June 2018.

“We were honored to be awarded the contract for this historical and highly recognizable man-made landmark,” said Todd Staley, general manager of IWR North America. “The Gateway Arch is an amazing monument and testament to our country’s rich past. Being awarded the Decorative Metals package for this project makes us feel like we’re taking part in that history.”

For the renovation, IWR installed several systems which had tight tolerances and were all custom fabricated products, including stainless steel tri-wire screen wall cladding, custom wire and cable security screen, monumental stairs from the entry level to the main level of the museum, radius lovers and radius green screens, stainless steel guardrails, stainless steel and glass handrails, and stainless steel entrance grilles and grates. Following a diligent shop drawing process for each feature of the project to successfully install the systems to the concrete structure, IWR strategically prepared, measured and coordinated aligning the two. IWR installed radius and splayed fabricated products with long lead-times for procurements and fabrication. The design concept of the project was an “inwardly facing cone” creating a constantly changing radius for many of the parts of the project making fabrication and installation tolerances virtually non-existent to achieve the correct alignments between systems.

“The museum now has a dramatic new entrance and entry plaza offering improved connection to downtown St. Louis and better access to the Arch itself,” continued Staley.


For this project, the construction manager had multiple superintendents on site managing different scopes for each area of the renovation and addition. The coordination of multiple vendors was a challenge due to each custom designed piece requiring completely different installation processes. IWR’s general foreman and project manager continuously coordinated with the on-site project team to ensure the alignment with other trades regarding both finished product and installation sequence which led to a successful project completion.

The project’s general contractor was St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. and designed by the architect Cooper Robertson, James Carpenter Design Associates, and Trivers Associates. IWR worked alongside local vendors TROCO Custom Fabricators and Modern Metals. With 45,000 square feet of new museum area, including exhibition galleries, public education facilities, and visitor services, the expansion reinforces a more modern telling of American history with a more inclusive viewpoint.

Headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., IWR North America is one of the longest-standing specialty contractors in the nation, providing turnkey building enclosure services and custom specialty metal design services coast-to-coast since the 1940s. For more information and to view photos, please contact Preconstruction Manager Mike Smalley at or call 314-633-4919.

KWK Architects: Student Housing Safety Incorporates Sophisticated Technology, Traditional Design Elements

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When designing or renovating a student housing facility, square footage, number of occupants and budget are often top design considerations. Designing for student safety ranks even higher, say the experts at KWK Architects.

“Protecting students from intruders and dangerous individuals is always top of mind, and frequently discussed during the design process for any student housing project that KWK Architects is involved with,” said KWK Principal Javier Esteban, AIA, LEED AP. “There are several common safety strategies that we as architects always strive to implement in any design. Sophisticated new technologies are adding a valued extra layer of safety to traditional designs.”

According to Esteban, the safety and security industry is moving toward more personalized security systems where a user’s data resides directly on access cards to gain entry to student housing facilities, and fingerprinting or other biometric processes are being used to access secure areas. The new generation of security cameras also provide higher definition images at lower lighting levels, with the ability to cover much wider angles, creating a very strong, multi-layered security system.

“The prices of these sophisticated devices are coming down and will soon be affordable for many universities,” said Esteban. “The level of sophistication of new access control system technology can provide almost instantaneous data on what key was used and when the entry was accessed and locked, and could also provide control of locking from the outside via a website in cases of wired electronic door hardware. This technology can also provide a vital tool for forensic examination should a security breach occur.”

Additional ways high-tech safety technology is being incorporated into student housing design include:

  • Providing access cards on exterior entry points
  • Specifying new door hardware technologies that allow for greater control
  • Using Power Over Ethernet (POE) access control hardware that allows for centralized building locking controls on doors in case of an intruder or active shooter
  • Monitoring entry points at the building with electronic controls and cameras
  • Installing local alarms at exit-only stairs and exits to notify security of potential breaches, including timers on doors for alarms to sound in case a door has been propped open
  • Including a bedroom, suite or apartment electronic access control point

Esteban says traditional design theories that incorporate basic layers of security and the human element on site, throughout the building, and in individual units should still apply in today’s student housing designs and complement the use of technology. These include:

  • Creating a clear separation between public and private areas
  • Reducing the number of building entry points to guide students and visitors past a reception desk, while still maintaining an adequate number of exit points
  • Providing adequate exterior lighting near the building
  • Creating clear paths to public areas and reducing or eliminating hiding places, such as open access enclosures and tall, dense landscaping
  • Controlling access points at the main public floors between the public and residential floors
  • Incorporating a reception “front desk” area with a set of eyes (this is typical at most if not all residence halls)
  • Designing spaces that create a sense of security. For example, instead of having a dark, empty sidewalk, design the sidewalk to pass near a public space that people can observe
  • Locating large windows in the first-floor lounges that face building accesses to provide visibility
  • Designing laundry rooms with glazing-facing corridors, or even locating washers and dryers in a manner that does not create dead-end situations, so a person would have two accesses out

“In the end, when it comes to designing for security, the good guys must always have it right, but the bad guys only need to breach these systems once. Despite all the new, more advanced technologies available, having the right human behind or in front of this technology makes all the difference,” said Esteban.

Founded in 2013 by five architects with a combined 150 years of higher education knowledge and experience, KWK Architects partners with colleges and universities across the United States to create innovative and inspiring places that enhance campus life. For more information about KWK Architects, visit or contact Director of Marketing Cindy Hausler at

Hastings + Chivetta, KAI Design & Build Redo Busy Grand Blvd Crossings to Increase Safety

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Architect Hastings + Chivetta and General Contractor KAI Design & Build are seeing the results of their recent redesign and construction of the Grand and West Pine Boulevards streetscape to enhance pedestrian safety at Saint Louis University.

Making it safely for pedestrians to cross and making the entire crossway accessible were key project priorities. KAI Design & Build Director of Field Operations Steve Kizer said the newly rebuilt streetscape runs along Grand Boulevard northbound and southbound from Lindell Boulevard two blocks south to Laclede Avenue.

“It’s not unusual for 300 to 400 pedestrians to be crossing at any of these points along Grand at peak times such as 9am and 3pm,” Kizer said.

HCA President Chris Chivetta said the fast-track project, which began right after Saint Louis University’s commencement ceremonies in May and was completed just three months later, is part of the university’s overall master plan that HCA is in the process of updating.

“The newly redesigned, rebuilt crossing features a wider median that can more safely accommodate pedestrians waiting for the light to change at these busy intersections,” Chivetta said. “The project scope also includes additional lighting, improved traffic signals and bollards situated along the media and sidewalks to prevent cars from encroaching into pedestrian areas.”

Slowing down vehicles as they approach the campus to facilitate a safer central campus core was a chief goal of the project, according to Chivetta.

More about those new bollards: Kizer said they’re designed, built and secured to be able to withstand a severe blow from an oncoming vehicle.

“Each of the bollards contains a steel tube measuring 10 inches in diameter and one inch thick,” said Kizer. “They’re installed into a concrete pad that is attached to a 10-inch I-beam that is perpendicular to the steel tube and embedded into the concrete. These bollards are built to withstand a 50-mile-an-hour vehicular impact.”

To create space for the wider median, the third northbound traffic lane was eliminated.

In addition to safety-specific improvements, the streetscape project included landscape design and aesthetic improvements.

Kizer credited civil engineer Stock & Associates for its project expertise.

“This streetscape project was fast-paced and involved a lot of people working on-site at one time,” Kizer said. “The architect, general contractor, engineer and top-quality subcontractors all pulled together and made this happen as a team.”

An unforeseen element during construction, Kizer said, was discovering a network of trolley tracks in the excavation area. Workers had to physically remove the track infrastructure before work could commence.

The new streetscape also has visual and audio instructions to indicate when it is safe for pedestrians to cross. The improvements are features of a brand-new signalization system that was installed as part of the project. Also, within the project’s scope, existing asphalt was milled and replaced, and new stamped concrete pavers were installed.

Western Specialty Contractors Receives St. Louis Business Journal Family Business Award

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103-year-old company employs fourth-generation family members

Western Specialty Contractors is honored to announce that it has been selected for the St. Louis Business Journal’s Family Business Awards. The program recognizes family-owned companies that have successfully transitioned between generations and made an impact on the St. Louis community. The winners were honored at an awards event on Oct. 11.

Founded in 1915, St. Louis-based Western Specialty Contractors is currently led by CEO Benjamin Bishop, Jr., a third generation founding family member. A total of five family members, many fourth-generation, currently work at Western.

“We are so honored to receive an award that recognizes the value of family-owned businesses,” said Western CEO Ben “Butch” Bishop, Jr. “Family values have become almost cliché in recent years, but that’s really what built Western Specialty Contractors. Of course, Western is dedicated to quality work and craftsmanship, but Western believes that you cannot achieve quality consistently unless you have people who can work as a team, with trust and respect for each other. Those values are truly the legacy of Western’s founders Ben Many and George Bishop, Sr.”

Western’s history began in 1915 when the Ironite Company of Chicago invented a cost-saving product to waterproof concrete foundations from the inside called “Ironite” and needed contractors to successfully apply the product. St. Louis native Ben Many jumped on the opportunity and hired his brother-in-law George Bishop, Sr., also a St. Louis native, to be his partner after Bishop returned home from serving in World War I, and the Western Waterproofing Company of Missouri was born.

Following The Great Depression in 1929, Bishop worked to rebuild the struggling company after his partner moved to Chicago to pursue other opportunities. Through the decades, the Bishop family continued to grow the business and expand across the country, passing it down through the generations to eventually include branch locations in Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington. Western also expanded its services beyond just waterproofing to include masonry and concrete restoration, specialty roofing, disaster recovery and façade restoration, and changed its name to Western Specialty Contractors in 2015.

Today, Western is the largest concrete and masonry specialty contractor in the U.S., with over 30 branch offices and member companies nationwide, employing more than 1,250 people and executing more than 3,000 contracts each year.

Western has been quietly restoring some of America’s most beloved buildings and structures for generations and takes great pride in its hands-on ability to get the job done right, while creating lasting quality. Western has completed more than 300,000 projects over the course of its 103-year history, which include: Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL; Citadel Military College of South Carolina; Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, CA; Disney World’s Epcot Center in Orlando, FL; Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C.; Martin Luther King Federal Building in Atlanta, GA; Chrysler Building in New York, NY; Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, IL; Superdome in New Orleans, LA; Busch Stadium and Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, MO; Packard Automotive Plant in Detroit, MI; Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco, CA and Shrine of Saint Joseph in St. Louis, MO, to name just a few.

Western has faced it share of ups and downs over the course of its 103-years in business, which have included The Great Depression, two World Wars and multiple recessions, but throughout history, Western has proven that strong leadership, a willingness to adapt to changing times and hard-working, committed employees are the keys to succeeding through challenges.

“Learning to have patience was one of the most difficult skills to master. Learning from the ground up doesn’t come overnight and having been in business for 103 years you go through a lot of ups and downs,” said Bishop, Jr. “The principles and values put in place by the best generations have really made keeping the family culture the cornerstone of Western’s success. Your company is only as good as the people who work for you, and we have several fourth-generation family members presently employed by Western. Times change, processes change and people change. Change will always be the challenge all companies have to conquer in order to survive the generations.”

About Western Specialty Contractors

Family-owned and operated for over 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. Western offers a nationwide network of expertise that building owners, engineers, architects and property managers can count on to develop cost-effective, corrective measures that can add years of useful life to a variety of structures including: industrial, commercial, healthcare, historic, educational and government buildings, parking structures and sports stadiums. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO with over 30 branch offices nationwide and employs more than 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals who offer the best, time-tested techniques and innovative technology. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit


Bangert, Inc. Announces Acquisition of New Flagship Office in Olathe, KS

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Bangert, Inc. today announced the acquisition of their new flagship office in Olathe, KS. The building, which is located just north of Garmin, is a crucial addition and marks the company’s move from downtown Kansas City. “We see it as a huge benefit to our employees and our culture” says Kent Galley, COO, Bangert, Inc. “The modern, open space will promote our digital-first initiatives and give us some much-needed square footage for growth.”

Some key facts about Bangert, Inc include:

  • Founded in 1983, the company has been present in the Kansas City Metro since 1999
  • Bangert, Inc. is a family-owned business, now in its 3rd generation
  • Richard Bangert, founder, developed communications systems for the Apollo missions before

launching Bangert, Inc. with his son Kurt, Bangert, Inc. has grown substantially over the last 6 months, with plans of hiring 45 people throughout it’s 5 national locations over the next 18 months – the bulk being added in Olathe. The hunt for a perfect location has taken nearly a year to complete, but company leadership is excited about joining the Olathe community. “Olathe is a great place for us to be,” says Director of Marketing Reid Bangert, “We’re looking forward to being active with our neighbors as well as contributing to the local community.”

Bangert, Inc. is a leading technology solutions provider to the construction industry. Bangert has continually cultivated strong resources by investing in people and processes that are dedicated to helping their clients save time and money. There has never been a more exciting time to be in construction technology. If you’re looking to join a vibrant and dedicated team visit


Budnick Converting Awards Kadean $8 Million Contract For New Headquarters And Production Facility

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Budnick Converting Inc., a private, woman-owned enterprise, has awarded Kadean Construction an $8 million design-build contract to construct a 100,000 square foot headquarters and production facility, doubling the size of the company’s current operations in Columbia, IL, it was announced today.

The new structure will include 75,000 square feet of manufacturing, production and warehousing space, and 25,000 square feet of office space including the ground floor, a mezzanine area, a break room, conference room, and other commons areas.

The new structure will eventually replace Budnick Converting’s existing 50,000 square foot headquarters and manufacturing operations on an 11-acre tract adjacent to its current location, 200 Admiral Weinel Boulevard in Columbia, which is about 15 miles south of downtown St. Louis.

Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-October and completed in June 2019. The company plans to move into the new facility next summer, said Ann Wegmann, owner and president of the company.

“We are very excited about our plans to construct our new headquarters and manufacturing facility,” said Wegmann, whose father, Ed “Bud” Schwartz, co-founded the company with “Nick” Cutlich in 1952. “My Dad would be very happy we are continuing to grow the company. This expansion also will enable us to better serve our national and international clients.”

Budnick Converting, which is ISO-certified, specializes in converting adhesive coated tapes, foams, films, foils, and other specialty materials for hundreds of clients, including the transportation, appliance, consumer electronics, moving and storage, medical, and distribution sectors.

Wegmann acquired the company in 1982, and runs it today with her executive team, which includes her daughter, Quality and Communications Manager Christy Hornacek, who is overseeing the new construction and helping to manage Budnick’s growth.

“This design-build project is exciting for our team because it will help this 66-year-old company continue to expand its services to its clients here and abroad,” said Mike Eveler, president of Kadean Construction.

Besides its operations in Columbia, IL, Budnick also has a second converting facility in Tampa, FL, a warehouse in Oklahoma City, OK, and a full-service joint venture operation in Monterrey, Mexico. The company also maintains six sales offices throughout North America.

The company currently employs 89 men and women at its Columbia, IL facilities and another 17 at its other operations across the country, Wegmann said. She pointed out that Budnick Converting plans to increase employment at its Columbia facilities by at least 10 percent in the next year.

Kadean has retained Gray Design Group as the project’s architect, J.R. Grimes Consulting Inc. for civil engineering, KPFF St. Louis for structural engineering, and numerous St. Louis-area subcontractors for carpentry, electrical, plumbing, concrete, and other work.

Founded in 1963, Fenton-based Kadean Construction has become one of the Midwest’s most successful construction companies, specializing in design-build, construction management, and general contracting for a diverse set of major clients in the industrial, commercial, health care, office, senior care, and multi-family industries.


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