The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry

Category archive

Companies - page 30

Construction is on the Rise, but Labor Issues Cause Concern

in Companies/News

By Chris Daues, CPA 

When you think of the economy, how do you think it is doing? Everyone, from Wall Street to your neighbor, seems to have an opinion. Specifically relating to the construction industry, here are the facts so you can form your own opinion.

National Construction Spending 

Since 2011, construction spending in the U.S. has steadily increased to approximately $1.2 trillion in 2015, which is a 9.6% increase from 2014 to 2015.

Specifically, private (portion of the economy controlled by private individuals or organizations) construction spending has increased 11.4% from 2014 into 2015, while public (portion of the economy controlled by the government) construction spending only increased 4.4%.

In a March 2016 press release from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), a trade association in the U.S. construction industry, construction spending for the rolling 12 months in January 2016 totaled $1.14 trillion, which is an approximate 3.0% increase from the rolling 12-month total in December 2015.

Spending on multi-family residential construction increased 2.6%, private non-residential construction increased 1.0%, and public construction increased 4.5% from December 2015 to January 2016.

National Employment

While spending has increased to an eight-year high in 2015, employment in construction-related jobs has not surpassed pre-recession (2008) levels as demonstrated by the graph below, which has caused a labor shortage in the industry.

However, unemployment rates within the construction industry have decreased to an eight-year low of 7.5% in 2015. So you may be asking yourself, how do we have an employment shortage if the unemployment rate within the industry is so low?

This is an indicator that while the majority of those individuals in the industry are working, there is still a significant number of workers that left the industry during the recession and have not yet or may not return.

State and Metro Employment

On a state-by-state basis, several states have seen double-digit increases in construction employment from January 2015 to January 2016, including Nevada (10.0%), Hawaii (16.0%) and Rhode Island (13.0%).

Additionally, other states showed strong employment increases like Colorado (5.0%), California (7.0%) and Tennessee (9.0%). There were several states, including Alaska (-9.0%), Kansas (-2.0%) and Wyoming (-5.0%), that had decreases in employment over the same time period.

From a metro level, several metro areas have seen double digit increases in employment from January 2015 to January 2016 including Sante Fe, NM (16.0%), Miami, FL (13.0%) and Las Vegas, NV (11.0%).

St. Louis, MO (5.0%), Kansas City, MO (8.0%), Nashville, TN (9.0%) and Boulder, CO (8.0%) were among other metros that also showed strong employment increases.

There were several metros, including Albuquerque, NM (-3.0%), Cheyenne, WY (-8.0%) and Tuscan, AZ (-1.0%), that had decreases in employment over that same time period.

Unemployment by Position

The AGC surveyed its members in September 2015 and received over 1,350 responses. Of the responses, 59.0% had total annual revenue of less than $50 million.

Companies were asked what their most difficult positions were to fill. For hourly employees, they responded that carpenters, sheet metal installers, concrete workers and electricians were the most difficult positions to fill. For salaried employees, project managers, estimators and engineers were the most difficult to fill.

Offsetting Workforce Shortages

The aforementioned survey summarized how companies are compensating for the worker shortage. Primarily, companies are increasing base pay and providing incentives and bonuses in response to the labor shortage.

In addition to increasing compensation, companies are also using more subcontractors and staffing agencies. While companies are discovering ways to mitigate the labor shortage issue, they face the potential risk of relying on workers unfamiliar with the proper safety procedures and policies at a higher cost.

Additionally, per the published 2015 Workforce Development Plan, the AGC is working at the federal level on several issues to revive the labor force in the construction industry.

Specifically, efforts to reform and reinvigorate the Perkins Act are being made so there is a new emphasis on increased funding and more flexibility for school officials to teach in-demand skills sets.

The plan outlines, among several initiatives, increased trade related courses being offered to high school students through the community college system and immigration reform.

Material Costs

Each month, the AGC publishes data summarizing the producer price index (PPI) for key construction related outputs. The PPI measures the average changes in prices received by domestic producers for their output.

The PPI of several key raw materials for the construction industry have increased marginally over a 12-month period from January 2015 to January 2016 including flat glass (5.9%), cement (5.6%) and gravel/crushed stone (5.7%).

However, other key components have seen significant declines including diesel fuel (-34.6%), steel mill products (-19.2%) and copper and brass mill shapes (-17.6%).

While the industry saw slight increases in some key components, the drastic decreases in other key components should help mitigate the increases in wages being offered due to the labor shortage.

Key Client Metrics

Upon examining data from RubinBrown’s client base of general contractors, subcontractors and specialty contractors in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois, we noted several trends:

For contractors with more than $100 million in annual revenue, average gross profit decreased from 13.0% in 2014 to 12.2% in 2015

For contractors with less than $100 million in annual revenue, average gross profit decreased from 19.1% in 2014 to 18.8% in 2015

On average for all clients, backlog increased on average 40.0% from 2014 to 2015

Economic Forecast

In looking at the crystal ball, the next two years appear to get even brighter from a spending standpoint. Ken Simonson, the Chief Economist of AGC of America, estimates that total construction related spending in the U.S. will increase 6.0 – 9.0% in 2016 and another 5.0 – 7.0% in 2017.

Specifically, he estimates that both private residential and private non-residential will increase 5.0 – 10.0 % and 5.0 – 8.0% in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Simonson further estimates that multi-family residential spending will increase 8.0 –12.0 % in 2016 while single family residential spending will only increase 6.0 – 9.0%. He cited that multi-family growth is primarily driven by low vacancies and the increasing popularity of the urban areas.

Big Picture

Overall, the construction industry is demonstrating several positive signs. However, the positive momentum will be slowed if the labor shortage is not alleviated in the near future.

Full story here:


RubinBrown’s Construction Services Group

We provide services to general contractors, specialty subcontractors and related companies in the construction industry.

Ken Van Bree, CPA, CGMA — St. LouisPartner-In-Charge

Construction Services Group, 314.290.3429,

Matt Beerbower, CPA — Denver, Partner & Vice Chair

Construction Services Group, 303.952.1252,

Mark Jansen, CPA, CGMA — St. Louis, Partner & Vice Chair

Construction Services Group, 314.290.3208,

Bryan Hinton, CPA — Nashville, Partner

Construction Services Group, 615.685.0391,

 Chris Daues, CPA — Denver, Manager

Construction Services Group, 303.952.1276,

Zach Fritz, CPA — Kansas City, Manager

Construction Services Group, 913.499.4416,

Graham Ryan, CPA — Kansas City, Manager

Construction Services Group, 913.499.4441,

Tarlton Corp. Manages Webster University Parking Garage Expansion

in Companies/Homepage Primary


Tarlton Corp., a St. Louis-based general contracting and construction management firm, is serving as construction manager on the $12 million expansion of the Garden Avenue Parking Garage at Webster University.

When completed in spring 2017, the 523,450-square-foot structure at 580 Garden Ave. will more than double the existing number of spaces in the garage and significantly boost Webster’s parking inventory on campus. The five-level precast concrete structure features thin-set brick, a drilled pier foundation and retaining walls, with Tarlton self-performing the structural concrete work.

The team is carrying out intensive construction while keeping the adjoining garage fully functional, with some areas closed intermittently during construction activities. Work includes deep excavation of more than 20 feet, with some drilled piers 38 feet deep. Precast concrete erection began in November, and interior work is scheduled to begin at the end of the year.

The commitment to safety is a critical component of the project. The team is navigating a mobile crane around overhead power lines and working in a tight staging area on an active college campus with high pedestrian and vehicular traffic. A high school campus is adjacent to the site and an active railroad line is within 100 feet of the building footprint.

“The Webster University Garden Avenue Parking Garage builds on our success as one of the region’s top construction managers and concrete experts,” said Tracy Hart, president, Tarlton Corp. “We are delighted to work on a project that will have such a positive impact on the Webster community.”

A live video feed of the garage expansion project can be found online at

The Tarlton construction management team includes Joe Scarfino, project director; Diane Grimsley, project manager; Alex Brown, project engineer; and Bill Foster, project superintendent. KWK Architects is project architect, with Walker Parking Consultants serving as structural engineer. Additional team members include Grimes Consulting, civil engineer; Webb Engineering Services, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection; and SWT Design, landscape architect.

Many Tarlton projects have been recognized for excellence in concrete work, including the first section of the MetroLink Cross County Extension, the Saint Louis Art Museum Expansion and the Mechanical Dynamics & Analysis High Speed Balance Facility, all winners of Quality Concrete Awards from the Concrete Council of St. Louis. In addition, Tarlton Vice President Steve Cronin was inducted in 2016 into the council’s Concrete Hall of Fame.

With its home campus in St. Louis, Missouri, Webster University comprises an action-oriented global network of faculty, staff, students and alumni who forge powerful bonds with each other and their communities around the globe. Founded in 1915, Webster is a private non-profit university with nearly 17,000 students studying at campus locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa and in a robust learning environment online. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.

In business since 1946, Tarlton Corp. is a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise that completes projects for wide-ranging clients in the life science, higher education, health care, commercial, power and industrial markets. Tarlton also has special expertise in concrete construction, concrete restoration and hydrovac services. 

Roeslein & Associates Donates $50,000 to BackStoppers

in Companies/News

Contribution in Memory of Blake Snyder and Other Police Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

Roeslein & Associates, Inc. recently presented The BackStoppers organization with a check for $50,000 in memory of Officer Blake Snyder and other police officers who have fallen in the line of duty.Ron Battelle, Executive Director of The BackStoppers and former St. Louis County Police Chief, received the contribution during a presentation at Roeslein & Associates headquarters December 14, 2016.

The BackStoppers is an organization that provides needed financial assistance and support to the spouses and dependent children of all police officers, firefighters, volunteer firefighters, and publicly-funded paramedics and EMTs in our coverage area who have lost their lives or suffered a catastrophic injury performing their duty.

“It is an honor and privilege to help these families. It is also an honor and privilege to accept this contribution from Rudi and the company. We will be eternally grateful for what you have done here,” Battelle said. “We deeply, deeply appreciate this donation.”

Owner of Roeslein & Associates, Rudi Roeslein, addressed the company during this donation ceremony stating, “For those whom do not know, Jeremy Quate of our Red Bud facility attended training at the Police Academy with Office Blake Snyder. Shortly after Officer Snyder’s passing, Jeremy reached out to me asking if I was aware of The BackStoppers program. I already knew I wanted to help in whatever way possible and this confirmed that Roeslein & Associates would be taking action.” Mr. Roeslein continued on by saying, “As a company in the Lindbergh school district and a significant contributor to this community I think it is our duty to show support for our police. I thank them for their continued service and hope that this contribution will help to make a difference.”

The BackStoppers Organization will use this donation to assist Elizabeth Snyder, wife of fallen Officer Blake Snyder, on putting a down payment on a new home for her and her family. The BackStoppers organization continues to support the surviving spouse and all dependent children until they reach age 21 or complete their post-secondary education. The BackStoppers currently supports 81 families with 66 dependent children and has supported 160 families since 1959 in its inception.

Roeslein & Associates was founded in 1990, specializing in engineering, modular fabrication and construction services.

Above: Pictured left to right: Officer Schroeder, Deputy Chief Ken Cox, Lieutenant Blake, Rudi Roeslein, Ron Battelle, Sergeant Absolon, Jeremy Quate and Officer Weinman.


McGrath & Associates Renovating Elevators at Alton Memorial Hospital & Barnes-Jewish Hospital

in Companies/News

McGrath & Associates has completed work on elevators at Alton Memorial Hospital as part of a $5.5 million BJC HealthCare elevator renovation and modernization project. McGrath also is renovating elevators at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. McGrath is the construction manager and general contractor for the design/build project.

At Alton Memorial Hospital, McGrath renovated four elevators and built a new elevator equipment room. Elevators are equipped with new geared-traction machines, controllers, elevator entrances, call buttons and lanterns.

McGrath also is renovating 13 elevators on the south campus of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Renovations to the Central, East Pavilion and Rand-Johnson elevators include new cab interiors, controllers, entrances, hall buttons and lanterns. McGrath is installing new HVAC, electric and architectural elements in equipment rooms, and the existing geared traction drive machines are being refurbished. The Barnes-Jewish Hospital elevator project is scheduled for completion in late December 2017.

Elevator groups at both hospitals remain in service during the renovation project. McGrath follows strict safety protocol when working around elevator shafts, and implements isolation and infection prevention measures when working in occupied health care areas to ensure a clean and safe environment for patients, staff and visitors.

Kenneth H. Lemp Elevator Consultant, Inc. provided the elevator survey and scope of work. The architect is VERVE Design Studio.

McGrath & Associates is a 100 percent employee-owned general contractor and construction management firm specializing in commercial, health care, industrial, institutional and pharmaceutical construction projects since 1983.

S. M. Wilson Employees Provide 95+ Community ‘Acts of Kindness’ to Mark Company’s 95th Anniversary

in Companies/News

From rescuing stray animals and volunteering in local schools to granting holiday wishes and coaching youth sports, the employees of S. M. Wilson & Co. decided to celebrate the company’s 95th anniversary this year by voluntarily providing more than 95 acts of kindness. The acts enriched the St. Louis community by assisting kids, those in need and those who serve our country.  Employees were empowered to provide acts of kindness that they felt were important throughout the year, which resulted in a wide range of activities and support.  The program far exceeded its goal.

“We chose this form of celebration to underscore our company’s core strengths of value, service, people-centered culture and passion to transform communities by delivering more than just buildings,” said Amy Berg, President of S. M. Wilson.  “The response from our employees was tremendous.  We provided more than 140 acts of kindness by August, and we are probably close to 200 by now.”

Seventy percent of S. M. Wilson’s employees are involved in the community in their own ways.

Through the acts, more than 40 Holiday Wishes were recently granted to kids at Epworth Children and Family Services. Seventeen employees gave blood to the American Red Cross.  Employees also volunteered their time mentoring, serving on non-profit boards and participating in Ready Readers, while others randomly purchased lunches for soldiers at Ft. Leonard Wood. The list goes on.

“The wide variety of support provided to the community reflects the employee-friendly culture at S. M. Wilson,” Berg added.

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

S. M. Wilson Breaks Ground on Early Childhood Center Renovation & Addition

in Companies

S. M. Wilson & Co. has broken ground on the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District Early Childhood Center (ECC) renovation and addition. The $7.9 million building program includes construction of a new 90-space parking lot and improvements to the current ECC campus.

Renovations to the current ECC building will include a gut remodel of all classrooms, installation of new HVAC and fire protection sprinkler systems and upgrades to the security system.  Site improvements will include enhancements to the drop off/pickup area, bus lanes, site fencing, site lighting and modular retaining walls.  The adjacent Burgess Avenue will be changed from the existing one-way traffic design to accommodate two-way traffic, and new sidewalks will improve pedestrian access to the campus.

The new one-story addition will feature a multipurpose room and three pre-school classrooms.  It will be built on the current ECC parking lot at 2801 Oakland Avenue in Maplewood.  The project will include more than 15,000 square feet of new and renovated educational space.

Upon completion of the remodel and addition, the ECC will have a total of nine new classrooms and intervention spaces, plus a large multi-purpose room.

S. M. Wilson will provide Construction Management services, and Bond Architects is the project’s architect. Construction is scheduled to be completed in late Summer 2017.

This is the fifth building project S. M. Wilson has handled for the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District since 2001.  Most recently the company completed a $3.7 million program of renovations and additions to two different schools, including renovations to the high school and the construction of a new addition and renovations at the Early Childhood Center.

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

New Buildings Continue to Drive Record Setting Year for St. Louis Region’s Industrial Market

in Companies/News

Commercial real estate brokerage firm JLL (NYSE: JLL) today announced the region’s industrial sector is on track to deliver nearly seven million square feet of new construction by the end of the year, the highest activity the region has ever seen. More than 3.5 million square feet was delivered by the close of Q3 and another 3.4 million is anticipated by year-end. Construction deliveries have far surpassed 2015, which topped out at 2.2 million square feet. New development, coupled with growing occupancy rates, has pushed warehouse asking rates up 4.4 percent in the last year.

Pat Reilly, senior vice president for JLL and president of the St. Louis chapter of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), said, “It’s been a remarkable year for industrial growth in St. Louis and all indicators point toward sustained momentum in the sector. With another 3.4 million square feet expected to deliver in the fourth quarter, we are on track to see year-end totals upward of 6.8 million square feet in new construction activity. This is a clear illustration that St. Louis’ industrial real estate scene is thriving.”

New construction projects driving the numbers include GM’s supplier warehouse in Wentzville (1.1 million square feet), Reckitt Benckiser’s new distribution center in St. Peters (717,000 square feet), and NorthPark’s new speculative warehouse in North County (538,000 square feet).

JLL’s Industrial Outlook also shows year-to-date absorption rates exceeding 4 million square feet, the most activity seen in ten years and projecting absorption to top 5 million square feet by year end.  Slightly more than 60 percent of the industrial leasing activity has been in the Metro East, and approximately 40 percent is in the Missouri portion of the market, divided between projects in North County, Mid County, St. Louis County and South County. The commencement of Amazon’s two fulfillment centers in Edwardsville and Schnucks’ warehouse in North County added 2.5 million square feet to occupancy. Boeing added a new manufacturing facility at its North County campus, while Knapheide and Ole Tyme Produce each completed build-to-suit projects in St. Charles County.

Low interest rates, healthy consumer spending and strong e-commerce are forming perfect conditions for industrial and logistics real estate growth in 2017, says JLL. Potential investment in infrastructure and continued company expansion are also expected to fuel demand for warehouses and distribution centers despite global economic uncertainty.

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate

The Korte Company Begins Work On $92.5M Design-Build USPS Distribution Center Project In Portland, Oregon

in Companies/News

The 818,000 square foot project is situated on a 47-acre site with three entrances onto the property and includes a 788,845 square foot Processing and Distribution Center with Administration, Maintenance and Employee Support areas.  The distribution facility features areas specified for a BMEU (Business Mail Entry Unit) and USPIS (United States Postal Inspection Services). The building consists of a Workroom, which houses fixed mechanization equipment and postal automation equipment and a Mail Platform with a total of 92 dock positions.

Also included in the overall scope of work is a 29,000 square foot Vehicle Maintenance Facility (VMF) with 15 service bays, 2 body shops and a full-service wash bay.

The Korte Company, founded in 1958, is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with offices in Highland, Illinois; Norman, Oklahoma; and Las Vegas, Nevada. The company manages, on average, an excess of $250 million in annual construction volume.

The Korte Company’s project expertise includes building for federal, state and local government agencies as well as the design and construction of healthcare facilities, medical office buildings, warehouse/distribution centers, religious facilities, commercial buildings, schools, recreation centers and office complexes.

Integrated Facility Services Celebrates 50th Anniversary

in Companies/News

Integrated Facility Services (IFS), a full-service mechanical engineering firm and the eighth largest specialty subcontractor in Missouri, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. IFS provides HVAC, plumbing, piping, building automation and energy conservation services to clients across the country from offices in St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri.

Established by Bill Rundquist in 1966 as Air Masters, the company now employs more than 250 workers in five divisions – HVAC and Mechanical, Plumbing, Fire Protection, Building Automation and Controls, and National Design Build and Mechanical Construction. The in-house engineering department offers licensed professional engineers, GPS and 3D modeling, and other state-of-the-art technologies to improve jobsite coordination and efficiency.

In 2016, Air Masters consolidated its four affiliated companies and rebranded as Integrated Facility Services (IFS), a single-point resource for mechanical contracting and service. Today, IFS is led by Bill’s son, John Rundquist, who joined the company as a University of Missouri graduate and assumed the role of president in 2012. Bill Rundquist continues to serve as CEO and chairman.

Bill Rundquist launched the company out of his home in 1966 with a few dollars and a vision to build an organization based on excellent customer service, solid technical expertise and a commitment to the highest quality. On his second day in business, Rundquist sold a residential air conditioning job and installed it himself. He recalls borrowing his young daughter’s wagon to haul the condensing unit from his new 1965 Dodge sedan to the installation pad. Within several months, Rundquist was adding employees to install and service HVAC equipment.

Over the past five decades, IFS has moved six times to accommodate constant growth and expansion. Bill Rundquist purchased the current 56,000-square-foot headquarters building at 1055 Cassens Industrial Ct. in Fenton in 2004. When IFS recently reorganized and remodeled this year, John Rundquist had the company’s core values of stewardship, safety, integrity, teamwork, and innovation etched into the glass doors of the conference and meeting rooms.

IFS recently expanded its state-of-the-art pipe fabrication and welding shop into a nearby building on Cassens Industrial Ct. in Fenton. They also purchased a 10-acre site in Columbia, Missouri, for a branch office and warehouse facilities to serve the mid-Missouri market.

Integrated Facility Services (IFS) is a full-service HVAC, plumbing, piping, fire protection and building automation firm with more than 250 professional and trade employees.

Terramac Appoints Kirby-Smith Machinery, Inc. as Authorized Dealer

in Companies/News

Terramac, a leading manufacturer of innovative rubber track crawler carriers, expands its representation in the North American market to include Kirby-Smith as part of its dealer network. Kirby-Smith will represent the versatile Terramac product line in Oklahoma.

“Terramac is the ultimate Swiss army knife of the pipeline industry,” says Joe Trapani, Director Pipeline Services Division at Kirby-Smith. “All pipeline customers have a need for rubber track carriers and Terramac’s are well-known for reliability and extreme diversity. Including Terramac as part of our machinery tool kit will allow us to grow our customer base in the industry.”

Kirby-Smith will offer Terramac crawler carriers to serve the pipeline industry with customizable equipment that accommodates various pipeline applications. In addition to Terramac’s three standard options – convertible dump-to-flat beds, rock dump beds and flatbeds – Kirby-Smith will offer Terramac units customized with support attachments such as hydroseeders, vacuum excavators and tack rigs. With the addition of the versatile Terramac product line Kirby-Smith also plans to identify and expand into other markets.

The team at Kirby-Smith will provide professional sales, rental and aftermarket support for Terramac products. Kirby-Smith’s knowledgeable staff has been fully trained in the application, sales, parts and service side of the Terramac product line and stands ready to offer prompt and professional customer support.

“Kirby-Smith Machinery maintains a strong commitment to exceed customer expectations and their dedicated team consistently delivers superior service and product support,” says Andrew Konopka, President of Terramac. “We are pleased to welcome Kirby-Smith to our growing dealer network and we look forward to a lasting partnership.”

Terramac® LLC, based in Elburn, IL, was established to produce the world’s leading crawler carriers. Units are sold through a full dealer network which offers customers easy-to-locate parts and service throughout the world. The units can be customized with support equipment to serve many industries such as pipeline, utility, mining, environmental, general construction and more. To learn more, please visit or call 630-365-4800.

Kirby-Smith Machinery, Inc. was established in 1983 and is recognized as one of the premiere new and used heavy construction equipment and crane dealers in the country.

1 28 29 30 31 32 47
Go to Top