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Sorella Group Receives American Subcontractors Association Certificate of Excellence in Ethics

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American Subcontractors Association, Inc. Recognizes Sorella Group Specialty Contractor with Certificate of Excellence in Ethics Lenexa, Kansas., March 12, 2019 – Sorella Group, a National Commercial Contractor, was one of 14 construction subcontracting firms to earn the American Subcontractors Association’s Certificate of Excellence in Ethics.

The awards were presented on March 8 during a ceremony in Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with ASA’s annual national convention, SUBExcel 2019, the premier education and networking event for subcontractors, specialty trade contractors, and suppliers in the construction industry.

The ASA Certificate of Excellence in Ethics is presented to subcontractors, specialty trade contractors, and suppliers in recognition of their commitment to ASA values like quality construction and a safe and healthy work environment. ASA honored selected firms that demonstrated the highest standards of internal and external integrity during an awards ceremony. Sorella Group is a certified WBE National Contractor and Building Material Supplier.

The company focuses on commercial carpentry and Division 10 specialty installation and products. For more information, visit or call 913-390-9544. ASA promotes the rights and interests of subcontractors, specialty contractors and suppliers by building strength in community through education, advocacy, networking and professional growth. ASA adheres to and promotes quality construction, ethical and equitable business practices, safety in the work environment, and best industry practices.

For more information about ASA, visit


Square UP Builders Drywall & Taping Division Welcomes First St. Louis Job Corps/IUPAT Pre-Apprentice

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Donesha Rodgers, 20, of St. Louis has joined minority-owned Square UP Builders as the first St. Louis Job Corps/IUPAT Pre-Apprentice.

The direct referral program was recently introduced by the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) and St. Louis Job Corps to give individuals training and help them determine if a specific trade or company is the right fit for them. Companies benefit by receiving feedback on participants’ training and work ethics from the instructor.

Upon completing the program this summer, Rodgers will join Square UP as a first-term apprentice in their Drywall and Taping division. Square UP launched its new drywall division a year ago and only recently added taping to its existing drywall operations, which also includes tape-only proposals and selective painting. Signing the painters/tapers agreement in November 2018, Square UP Drywall and Taping is an MBE-certified contractor providing minority boots on the ground.

“This dynamic program will allow both organizations to train the right person for the right task. Over the next 90 days, Donesha will receive hands-on work and safety training on how to tape and paint, as well as get a full understanding of the trade and the requirements for the position of taper,” said Paul Renaud, General Manager of Square UP Builders.

Applicants to the program must be 18-24 years old and have a high school diploma/GED and a letter of intent from the hiring contractor. Qualified individuals are placed in the program where they learn how to brush and roll, spray, patch and repair, tape and apply vinyl wallcoverings. For completing the program, the individual receives a $500.00 check, trade uniforms and a bag with tools. Participants are required to remain in the program for a minimum of 60 days. Participants can also receive safety certifications such as OSHA 30, Respiratory Fit Test Card, Forklift Certification, Ariel Lift Training, and other safety training.

Candice Rejmenczak, IUPAT Job Corps Trade Instructor, says the new fast-track program is laser focused on helping young people get the training they need to find a good job quickly.

“We encourage other companies to use our program. If they find a good student who is interested in construction and would be a good fit for the program and is willing to work harder and faster to achieve their goals, we will try to find them a job and get them the training they need,” said Rejmenczak. “Being the first company to participate in the program, Square UP has exhibited great intentions of trying to help young minorities who are looking for a chance to find a good career. Square UP is willing and patient and has come to us with open arms.”

The UP Companies (UPCO) is one of the region’s largest full-service MBE-certified contracting companies. For more information, go to or call 314.865.3888.

Electrical Connection Sponsors STL Football Club’s Fifth Season in St. Louis

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Following up their first-ever post season appearance, Saint Louis Football Club’s (Saint Louis FC) has kicked off its fifth season with the Electrical Connection as a major sponsor again.  Its first game was Saturday, March 9, 2019 at Toyota Stadium at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo., netting 2-1 win against the Indy Eleven.  Saint Louis FC is again be wearing their familiar jerseys emblazoned with the Electrical Connection logo.  The Electrical Connection is also be offering one free jersey giveaway for each of the 17 home games at its web site.  To register for the jersey giveaway, visit   The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

“Our five-year partnership with Saint Louis FC has helped spotlight our more than 150 NECA electrical contractor members and the more than 5,000 highly skilled and safe IBEW electricians and communication technicians they employ,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president, Electrical Connection. “Beyond energizing the IBEW/NECA brand of excellence, the Saint Louis FC partnership also allows us to strengthen our community building initiatives.”

Saint Louis FC is playing 34 games this season, including an annual fundraiser sponsored by the Electrical Connection on July 27, 2019 to raise money for “Shop with a Cop” holiday giving programs.   For the fourth year in a row, the Electrical Connection will leverage its Saint Louis FC Partnership at the “Christmas in July” game to raise money for the St. Francois County and Ferguson “Shop with a Cop” programs, both the law enforcement trust building charities.

The Electrical Connection is spotlighted not only on the jerseys but also field banners, scoreboard promotions and other signage at Toyota Stadium.  In addition, the Electrical Connection is supporting Saint Louis FC’s youth programs and has been a strong supporter of the efforts to bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise to St. Louis.

“We look forward to an exciting new season and a continuation of our five-year partnership with the Electrical Connection,” said Jim Kavanaugh, CEO, Saint Louis FC.

Toyota Stadium in World Wide Technology Soccer Park features a Biergarten, Corner Flag Hospitality Patios, a Fan Zone, space for tailgate parties, a Craft Beer Corner, and great food options. For game tickets, visit

Saint Louis FC plays in 36-team United Soccer League (USL).

Electrical Connection members provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  For more information visit

Women Construction Owners & Executives USA Visit with DC Lawmakers

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The 2019 Women Build America National Conference took place at the historic Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C on March 3-5.  The three-day leadership and networking conference was an opportunity for business owners, leaders and corporate executives to join forces to empower communities, enhance business development and meet with legislative experts.

In concert with National Women in Construction Week, Women Construction Owners & Executives (WCOE USA) members gained national recognition and support from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and agency leadership including the Small Business Administration and the General Services Administration.   Emily W. Murphy, GSA Administrator, along with several bi-partisan representatives spoke at the conference addressing industry forecast, cyber security, political policies and Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) updates and guidelines.

The 2019 National Board of Directors was sworn in during the leadership conference which drew members from coast to coast.  The new Executive Board is:

  • President: Sheila Ohrenberg, President of Sorella Group Specialty Contractor
  • President Elect: Deborah Bradley, President of Deborah Bradley Construction
  • Secretary: Lorraine D’Angelo, President of LDA Compliance Consulting
  • Treasurer: Karen Barbour, President of The Barbour Group
  • Immediate Past President: Theresa Kern, President of Ma Rebar Services, Inc.

WCOE, USA is a National Association committed to helping women in the construction industry grow and prosper. Founded over 35 years ago on the purpose of assisting women in executive positions, providing resources to enhance professional development, and creating a legislative network to monitor and pursue legislation advantageous to the industry, WCOE is making strides to level the playing field in a historically male-dominated industry.

For more information on getting involved with WCOE USA, visit the website at and follow the organization on social media. 

More than $20 Million in Investment, Construction, Rehab Landing at Laclede’s Landing

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Laclede’s Landing is on the cusp of revival.

John Clark, president of Laclede’s Landing Community Improvement District, says more than $20 million in private investment is being pumped into the 9-block historic area just north of the Gateway Arch near the St. Louis Riverfront.

Tech startups, PR agencies, innovative casual dining establishments and residential lofts are evidence of what Clark calls a resurgence that the district has been waiting for a long time.

“We went through some odd times over the past decade, that’s for sure,” said Clark, referring to the Great Recession from 2007-09 and the 5-year, $380 million Arch Grounds redevelopment that involved closing a portion of Washington Avenue while the former Arch parking garage was demolished. “They say that to make an omelet, you’ve got to crack a few eggs…there were a lot of eggs cracked during that time, but now we’re beginning to reap the benefits of the completed Arch Grounds effort,” he added.

Advantes Development has invested $12 million to renovate Bi-State Development’s former headquarters at 701 N. First Street into the Peper Lofts, a 6-story community of 51 leased living units housed in the late 1800s edifice once known as the Christian Peper Building; the site was originally a 106,000-square-foot tobacco products storage facility. Peper Lofts, which are already more than half leased, represent the first multifamily development on The Landing. Peper is also home to part of Abstrakt Marketing’s staff.

At 707 North Second Street, another historic building – the Witte Hardware Building, built in 1849 – has been redeveloped by Drury Development Corp. ($2 million). The entire top floor of this 6-story, 80,000 square feet structure is occupied by Brand Addition.

“With the Arch Grounds redevelopment complete, it is a pivotal point for The Landing and the development activity is really taking off,” said Tom Milford, director of real estate for Drury Development Corp. “We’re excited to be a part of it.”

Restaurateurs are also making The Landing home, including a Korean fast-casual eatery known as Kimchi Guys. Clark, a former restaurateur, says dining establishments that did not survive the years of construction surrounding Laclede’s Landing are being replaced by bars and restaurants with a smaller footprint. “What you’re seeing and will likely continue to see are restaurants between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet locating on The Landing,” Clark said, “as compared to the 6,000- to 7,000-square-foot size we saw years ago. We’re also going to be seeing more restaurants than back in the day when there were more clubs and bars here.”

In mid-2016, the project to raise Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard, a 1.5-mile stretch running beneath the Arch, by two feet as a flood mitigation effort, was completed, offering renewed access to The Landing as well.

Now that direct access to The Landing has been restored, increasing parking opportunities is a top priority, according to Clark. “We’re working with both parking companies that already have lots in The Landing – City Park (owned by Drury) and St. Louis Parking Co.,” Clark said. “We’d like to start on (surface) parking-related projects within 30 days. A parking garage is in our long-range plan.”

SLCCC Annual Awards Gala to be Held April 1st

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The St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers Best Practices and Diversity awards gala will take place this year on April 1st at the Missouri Botanical Garden featuring cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner. Registration is now open and sponsorship opportunities are available. Winners will be announced at the gala. Award finalists are listed below.

Best Practices Award finalists include:

  • ACME Constructors, Midwestern Manufacturing Plant
  • Alberici, Washington University Olin Library Transformation
  • Christner, SSM St. Mary’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Replacement
  • Corrigan Co., SSM St. Louis University Campus Renewal Hospital Project – Bathroom Pods
  • Madison Industrial Services Team, Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery
  • McCarthy, Bagwell Dam Stabilization
  • SM Wilson, Habitat for Humanity Headquarters & ReStore
  • Tarlton Corp., Washington University Pedestrian Bridge Replacement
  • Tarlton Corp., 4220 Duncan Avenue Project
  • BJC, Christian Hospital Northeast Lobby Renovation
  • icon Mechanical, Pfizer BioPlace

Diversity and Inclusion Finalists include:


  • Alberici University – Alberici
  • People of Construction
  • Hispanic Chamber of Metro St. Louis


  • Sultan Construction


  • Charles Henson – BJC Healthcare
  • Roslyn Croft – Tarlton Corporation
  • Tom Finan – Construction Forum STL
  • Samantha Cook – Clayco

Registration and more information here

Missouri Park & Recreation Association Names St. Louis County Parks Foundation as its 2019 Outstanding Support Organization

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The St. Louis County Parks Foundation has received the 2019 Citation – Organization Award from the Missouri Park and Recreation Association in recognition of the Foundation’s outstanding contribution and support of the state’s recreation and parks.  The award was presented at the Missouri Park and Recreation Association’s annual conference in Branson on February 28.  The 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 committed to making new recreational opportunities available for the entire St. Louis County population,” said Mark Ohlendorf, President of the St. Louis County Parks Foundation Board of Directors. “Being recognized statewide for our work is extremely gratifying for our volunteers and for our funding partners. We are truly honored.”

Through partnerships with corporations, non-profit organizations and individuals, the Foundation has funded a series of projects including the new 1.4-mile, $125,000 Family Fitness Trail recently opened at Spanish Lake Park in North St. Louis County.   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.

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 Foundation.  Similar Family Trails are planned at Jefferson Barracks Park and Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park.

Over the past three years, the Foundation has been also able to raise funds to donate a new fountain in Tilles Park and make additional purchases of two fountains at Faust Park and Spanish Lake Park and playground equipment at Tilles, Faust, Bee Tree and Suson Parks. In addition, a new gym divider curtain at the North County Recreation Complex, three shade structures at the new Aquatic Center at the Pavilion at Lemay in Jefferson Barracks Park and a new spray pool at Castle Point Park were purchased though funds raised by the Foundation.

Currently, the Foundation is working on a strategic plan that will help provide direction in conjunction with the recently completed Master Plan for the St. Louis County Parks Department.

The Foundation’s leadership includes consists Mark Ohlendorf, President; Ginny McCook, Vice President; Marshall Galliers, Secretary; Eric Moses, Treasurer; Susan Poling, Development Officer; Gene McNary, Board Member, David Weiss, Board Member; Robert Schweizer, Board Member and Debbie Callihan, Board Member.

Mizzou MCAA Student Chapter Presents in Final Four Competition and IFS Receives National Safety Award at National Convention

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Thomas Scholarship Presentation

Earlier this week, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) student chapter from the University of Missouri-Columbia presented in the Final Four Competition and St. Louis-based Integrated Facility Services received a National Safety Award at the MCAA National Convention in Phoenix, AZ. Thomas Walsh, one of the student presenters, also received a $5,000 scholarship from MCREF (Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation) at the convention.  All three awards, including $2,500 won by the UMC Student Chapter, were announced by E. Timothy Decker, president, C&R Mechanical, who serves as president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Eastern Missouri (MCA-EMO), sponsor of the student chapter.

The Final Four presentation session, held March 4, featured basketball legend Magic Johnson, current president of basketball operations for the LA Lakers, as the keynote presenter, speaking on “Imagine.” The popular rock band, Imagine Dragons, also performed Tuesday evening at the MCAA19 National Convention.

IFS, with offices in St. Louis and Columbia, MO, was recognized with an MCAA national safety award in Category 3 (250,000-400,000 man hours) for improvements to its safety program. The improvements resulted in more frequent job site audits, lowering of its EMR, and better safety rates.

Ahmad, Thomas, Adam, Addison, Derrick

The students’ mock project was a four-million-dollar renovation of the South End Zone of the Indiana University Football Stadium. Using Navisworks, QuoteSoft and 3-D Building Information Modeling (BIM), the students offered plans, specs, costs and schedules to install all of the facility’s mechanical systems, including air-handlers and Energy Recovery Units (ERU’s), and design for the utility piping for the kitchen area. Through value engineering, UMC’s student chapter was able to bring $232,000 in cost savings to the project, which they presented to a panel comprised of contractors from across the U.S. on the convention’s mainstage. Student presenters included Ahmad Atallah, chapter president; hometown: Jerusalem); Addison Korsmeyer (hometown: Alhambra, IL); Derrick Jenkins (secretary; hometown: Kansas City); Adam Moore (vice-president; hometown: Lee’s Summit, MO); Paige Theby (hometown: St. Louis, MO); and Thomas Walsh (treasurer; hometown: St. Louis).

Following the awards ceremony, MCA-EMO Executive Director Kristy Stephens said, “Being selected for the Final Four is a huge ‘win’ for any student chapter.  This is a very young chapter that, in five short years, has outpaced student chapters around the country, capturing first place in 2017 and being named MCAA Student Chapter of the Year that same year from among a total of 59 student chapters nationwide. The ‘hands-on’ involvement and wise counsel of our seasoned professionals has helped propel them to become one of the top student chapters whose members are sought out by recruiters from around the country. We also want to congratulate the IFS team for this national recognition of its safety program.

Thomas, Adam, Ahmad, Addison, Paige

The 16-member student chapter participated in a number of training sessions and programs with MCA-EMO members to help prepare them for this year’s Final Four.  MCA-EMO member advisors included: Malcolm Sweet, general manager of Integrated Facility Services in St. Louis, who chaired the MCA-EMO Committee that helped found the student chapter   Other advisors included Brian Gent, vice-president, estimating and preconstruction, Corrigan Brothers, Inc.; Robert Grossman, project estimator, and Nick Kniesche, engineer, Murphy Company; and Pat Reilly, vice president of construction marketing, and Ben Haberberger, project manager/estimator, Haberberger, Inc. The UMC student chapter’s faculty advisor is Lawrence Schilke, P.E., managing engineer, UMC.

“This year’s project was a huge challenge for our students,” commented Schilke. “Not only did they learn basics about HVAC systems, piping and ductwork, and plumbing systems; they also learned how to estimate labor and prepare a material takeoff for these systems. They learned how to use many software systems and MCAA’s WEBLEM site. They invested a great of time above and beyond their classes to gain valuable knowledge of the mechanical contracting industry and, in the end, produced a great proposal for the MCAA student competition.  As always, we thank MCA-EMO for their financial support and mentoring.”

Malcolm Sweet added that this year’s project was not a typical design-build assignment, but rather a plan and spec job, requiring different skill sets and additional software than that used in previous years. “They worked hard and were well-prepared for this year’s competition,” he said. “It’s wonderful to witness the technical know-how and confidence displayed by these college students who will be the future leaders in our industry”

MCAA Student Chapter (UMC)

Atallah said that a major goal this year was recruiting more women to the chapter.  “Last year we only had one female member and this year we were able to recruit six new female members through our merger with the Society of Women Engineers. And it was great to be able to welcome two of them as members of our Final Four presentation team.”

When not preparing for the national completion, the student chapter was busy with community and industry outreach, with student Austin Matthews serving as outreach coordinator. Thomas Walsh volunteered for the STEM Cups challenge in local schools. They also made site visits to the UMC chiller plant and to icon Mechanical Construction & Engineering, LLC’s Fab Shop in Granite City, IL. Seven students attended the MCAA’s Great Futures Forum in Anaheim, CA in September 2018. They also sponsor an annual MCAA golf tournament and participate in the MCA-EMO golf tournament to support student scholarships and the chapter’s activities.

“My MCAA student chapter experience actually helped change my career option,” said Atallah. “I intended to go into process/design engineering, but my experience with our student chapter changed my outlook and pointed me towards mechanical contracting.  I initially just wanted to get involved and I’ve learned that early industry involvement actually gives back to me. It’s been especially rewarding to be able to network with industry professionals around the country.”

MCA-EMO offers programs crucial to the ongoing success of contractors and vendors operating within the construction industry in Eastern Missouri. For more than 70 years, the MCA has sponsored cost-effective educational opportunities taught by qualified and experienced professionals in the MCA Training Center. MCA-EMO also offers industry events, networking opportunities, and sponsors a student chapter at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Visit:

Byron, Plocher ‘Trace’ Edwardsville’s Development with $50 Million Mixed-Use Project

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The East side real estate development team of Christopher Byron and Scott Plocher is forging ahead on a $50 million, mixed-use site in Edwardsville, Trace on the Parkway.

Byron, managing partner of Edwardsville-based BCPK Law LLC and Plocher, president of Highland-based Plocher Construction Co. Inc., broke ground in January on the project formerly known as Edwardsville Town Center. The 26-acre development is located at the intersection of Governors’ Parkway and IL Route 157, directly across the state highway from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

A total of 184 luxury apartments units (one-, two- and three-bedroom) comprise the residential facet of the development. Multiple amenities will include a resort-style pool, fitness center, social lounge and direct connections to the Madison County Transit walking/cycling trails. Phase one, underway now, totals 72 of the living units and the main leasing center; it is expected to reach completion in March 2020.

Phase two – which will include the remaining apartments and the retail scope – is scheduled to begin in late April. The 78,000-square-foot commercial retail component will include a 40,000-square-foot Kloss Furniture flagship location and six single-story retail outlots.

“We’re looking forward to bringing a grocer, restaurants and more retail to the Trace as this project continues to develop,” said Byron. “There’s still more to come in Edwardsville…the residential and commercial growth is sustaining it,” he added.

Trace on the Parkway is located on the former long-time site of Madison Mutual Insurance Co.’s headquarters. In early 2017, the company moved to a 5-story office building in downtown Edwardsville that was also developed and built by Byron and Plocher. Trace gets its name from The Edwards Trace, a key trail in the settlement of Central Illinois during the early 1800s, that claimed Edwardsville as its northbound launching point.

Other recent Byron and/or Plocher developments in Edwardsville and Glen Carbon include: the corporate headquarters for Prairie Farms Dairy, Altitude Trampoline Park and Donco Electrical Connection. The development team’s O’Fallon, IL projects include The Blade (Class A office tower along North Greenmount Road at I-64) Dewey’s restaurant and Sugarfire Restaurant.

Ameren Missouri Reaches Milestone in Plans to Build Second Wind Facility in the State

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New renewable energy planned for Atchison County

Ameren Missouri’s second planned wind facility in the state is one step closer to producing renewable energy. This morning, the Missouri Public Service Commission voted unanimously to grant Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), a certificate of convenience and necessity to acquire, after construction, an up to 157-megawatt (MW) wind facility to be located in Atchison County.

“Expanding renewable energy in Missouri is an important part of our strategy which, alongside our Smart Energy Plan, will modernize the energy grid and enhance how our customers receive and consume energy,” said Michael Moehn, president of Ameren Missouri. “Today’s announcement brings us even closer to adding at least 700 MW of wind energy by 2020.”

Several milestones remain for the northwest Missouri facility, including obtaining a timely and acceptable Midcontinent Independent System Operator transmission interconnection agreement. The Atchison County facility, along with the previously-announced 400 MW facility under development in northeast Missouri represent an approximately $1 billion investment and are expected to be in service by the end of 2020. These planned additions in renewable energy will help Ameren Missouri achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company’s electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri’s mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company’s service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or

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