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St. Louis Regional Freightway Helps Raise Awareness on Response to a Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack

in Associations/News

The St. Louis Regional Freightway welcomed representatives from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the St. Louis Area Regional Response System (STARRS) and the United States Coast Guard in December to raise awareness about preparations for a regional response plan and capstone exercise in the event of a complex coordinated terrorist attack (CCTA) in the bi-state area. This was the focus of The Freightway’s December Industry Forum, and featured discussions on how the region’s multimodal freight network could be impacted in the event of an attack, and the important role it plays in making sure the region is prepared.

On the panel were Dale Chambers, CCTA Grants Manager, St. Louis Area Regional Response System (STARRS); Althea de Guzman, Regional Program Manager, Hagerty Consulting; Nick Gragnani, Executive Director, St. Louis Area Regional Response System (STARRS); Matt Taylor, CCTA Training Coordinator, St. Louis Area Fusion Center, and Captain Scott Stoermer, Commander, Sector Upper Mississippi River, U.S. Coast Guard. Mary Lamie, Executive Director, St. Louis Regional Freightway, led the panel discussion.

Nick Gragnani, Executive Director of the St. Louis Area Regional Response System (STARRS), spoke about the organization’s role in coordination, planning and response for large-scale critical incidents in the bi-state metropolitan region.

“There is now a responsible party out there – whether it’s through a specialty response team, the urban area search and rescue team, the law enforcement tactical operation team or a team embedded within the hospitals right now – there are response units that can take on mass casualty incidents,” said Gragnani.

Althea de Guzman, Regional Program Manager with Hagerty Consulting, serves as the program coordinator for the St. Louis Regional Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack. She spoke about the program and how the region’s multimodal freight infrastructure can play a key role in preparing for an attack.

“The whole purpose of the CCTA program is to design and manage planning, training and exercises for the region,” Guzman said. “We are currently creating operational guides for law enforcement, fire, EMS, command and control and special operation units that include SWAT, bomb and arson. We’ll then get to train and exercise them in actual response drills.”

Guzman noted that her team is being proactive in identifying gaps in the region where more collaboration is needed. One gap she noted is the needs and challenges along the Mississippi River.

This sentiment was echoed by Dale Chambers, the St. Louis region’s program manager for the Preparing Communities for CCTA and Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) grants, who also serves as the coordinator for the regional training and exercise program. “The river creates a whole lot of challenges, and we are relying on everyone to get engaged,” he said. “That could be by providing meeting space, training opportunities or by opening up barges or boats for training exercises.”

One way those challenges are being addressed is through collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard. Captain Scott Stoermer talked about their tactical resource role with advanced counter-terrorism. Stoermer is responsible for Coast Guard operations that include all or parts of 11 states and more than 2,200 miles of commercially navigable waterways on the upper Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers and their tributaries.

“The marine transportation system is a lifeblood for the national economy and, by extension, our national security,” he said. “This discussion of the governance of the marine transportation system is critical because we’re going to double the need for the use of the maritime transportation system in only a few years. The current $4.7 trillion volume of the economy that is pushed through the maritime transportation system is only getting bigger.”

Matt Taylor has been with the St. Louis County Police Department for more than 17 years and is currently assigned to the department’s Intelligence Unit and detached to the St. Louis Fusion Center. One of three in Missouri and 79 across the nation, the St. Louis Fusion Center was born out of the 9/11 Commission to improve communications and prevent terrorism. It analyzes and responds to reports of suspicious activity and other local/national/global intelligence that is collected or reported.

“Our priority is preservation of life and everything we do is based on that principal,” Taylor said. “The biggest way we are able to do this is through our suspicious activity reports. If more people know what a fusion center is and the impact of suspicious activity reports, it’s a win for everyone.”

Lamie reinforced the region’s vital role as a national multimodal freight transportation hub and highlighted how the St. Louis Regional Freightway would help with engagement of both those within the region’s freight industry and local users of the freight network.

“We have companies like Nestle Purina and AB In-Bev, trucking companies, six Class I railroads, our ports, airports and pipelines. There’s no other location along the Mississippi River that has the cluster of barge transfer facilities we have here in the St. Louis region,” Lamie said. “We will make sure that all of these partners know this group wants to work with them and that they need to be a part of this important initiative.”

The December Industry Forum was sponsored by The Southern Illinois Builders Association and Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program.

The St. Louis Regional Freightway is a Bi-State Development enterprise formed to create a regional freight district and comprehensive authority for freight operations and opportunities within eight counties in Illinois and Missouri which comprise the St. Louis metropolitan area. To learn more, visit

Western Specialty Contractors Offers Tips on Protecting Parking Structures from Damage During Winter

in Companies/News

Chemical deicers and snow plows are commonly used in winter to eliminate hazardous ice and snow from parking decks and structures. While deicers are doing their job melting away snow and ice, some may actually be corroding the parking structure’s concrete and reinforcing steel, and some snow removal techniques may actually be doing more damage than good.

Western Specialty Contractors, experts in parking garage restoration and maintenance, offers several tips to minimize unnecessary damage to parking structures during the winter months, and keep drivers safe.

Snow Removal Tips

  • Clearly mark expansion joints in a way that will be visible to the equipment operator when the deck is covered with snow.
  • Establish a snow removal pattern so that the plow blade approaches expansion joints, control joints and tee to tee joints at an angle no greater than 75 degrees.
  • Equip snow plow blades and bucket loaders with shoes or rubber guards that prevent direct contact with the deck surface.
  • Do not pile snow on the deck surface. Piles of snow can exceed the rated load capacity and cause cracking in the concrete deck surface.

Deicing/Salting Tips

Using chemical deicers to control ice and snow buildup is common. However, these chemicals can have a negative effect on concrete and reinforcing steel and should be used sparingly. There are several different types of deicers on the market that can be used, however, only those approved by the American Concrete Institute are recommended.

  • Sodium Chloride – (road salt, table salt) This is the most common used salt deicer. It has little effect on concrete, but promotes corrosion in reinforcing steel and other metals. Use of this type of deicer is NOT recommended.
  • Calcium Chloride – This is a major ingredient in most commercial deicers. It has little effect on concrete, but promotes corrosion in reinforcing steel and other metals. Use of this type of deicer is NOT recommended.
  • Ammonium Nitrate or Ammonium Sulfate – Use of this deicer will lead to serious concrete deterioration due to its direct chemical attack on reinforcing steel. Use of this type of deicer is NOT recommended.
  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) – The effects of this deicer are similar to salt, but it requires more time to melt ice. It has no adverse effects on concrete or steel reinforcement. If a deicer is required, a CMA is recommended.

It is important to minimize the amount of deicing chemical applied during the first two years of the concrete being installed. During this time, the concrete has an increased permeability which can allow the deicing chemicals to migrate into the concrete more rapidly. As concrete ages and cures, it will become less permeable and chemicals will not penetrate as easily.

It is important to remember that the use of deicing chemicals in general are not recommended. The safest way to remove ice and snow is to use a plow. Sand can also be used to increase tire traction on the deck, but be sure to protect the drainage system when washing down the deck after its use.

 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. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit

S. M. Wilson Introduces #SMWILL

in Companies/News

S. M. Wilson & Co. introduces new corporate philanthropic program, #SMWill as of January 2019.

In an effort to streamline S. M. Wilson’s corporate giving funds and provide more opportunities for employees to support charitable organizations they are passionate about, S. M. Wilson has created #SMWill.

#SMWill is a three-pronged community giving program that encourages employees in their WILL to Serve, Commit and Invest in the communities they build, live and work in. Through #SMWill, S. M. Wilson WILL support at both a company level and at an individual employee level in three ways. S. M. Will…

  • Serve – One paid day of volunteer service for each full-time employee
  • Commit – 501(c)(3) donation matching program $200 per full-time employee
  • Invest – S. M. Wilson funded donations and sponsorships of 501(c)(3) organizations that meet the mission: “Investing in our communities through partnering with organizations focused on supporting the health and education of children”

#SMWill was fully launched in January 2019 and has already supported the community with monetary donations and volunteer hours to organizations such as Ready Readers, Cardinal Glennon Sun Run and Aim High.

S. M. Wilson is a full-service construction management, design/build and general contracting firm with headquarters in St. Louis. For nearly 100 years, S. M. Wilson has provided a complete range of services and has become one of the leading general construction and construction management firms in the St. Louis area. For more information, visit

McCarthy Building Companies makes a “splash” with video shot at new St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station

in Companies/News

The construction workers from McMcCarthy Building Companies, Inc. who are busy building the new St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station took a fun, well-deserved break to reach out to all the “Baby Shark” song lovers in St. Louis and beyond. Here’s the link:

The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will open in late 2019. The 120,000-square-foot aquarium will include one-of-a-kind exhibits and tanks featuring thousands of aquatic animals from the rivers and oceans of the world housed in 1.3 million gallons of water. It will bring together state-of-the-art technology, animal care, education and conservation with the excitement of aquatic creatures. The two-story aquarium — built inside the footprint of a nearly 500,000-square-foot, 19th century iron umbrella train shed that is designated as a National Historic Landmark — is a key piece of the $160 million family entertainment complex planned for Union Station by the station’s owner, St. Louis-based Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM).

FGM Architects Expands to Austin, Texas with the Acquistion of Jackon Galloway Firm

in Companies/News

Founded in 1945, FGM Architects currently serves communities in Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin from offices in Oak Brook, Chicago, O’Fallon, St. Louis and Milwaukee with a staff of 88 architecture, design, technical and administrative professionals.

FGM’s core practice areas are PK-12 schools and higher education; public safety, including police, fire and emergency operations; municipal and recreation facilities. Architectural Record consistently ranks FGM Architects among the Top 300 Architecture firms. Building Design and Construction magazine consistently ranks FGM among the top 25 firms nationally for the design of PK-12 schools.

Jackson Galloway Architects was founded in Austin, TX in 1997 by John Jackson and Bob Galloway, partners who began working together as aspiring architects at the University of Arkansas’s renowned Fay Jones School of Architecture. Jackson Galloway, a firm of 14 professionals, operates throughout Central Texas and is well-known for its expertise with faith-based clients. Jackson Galloway has also completed designs for schools, municipal facilities as well as corporate and residential clients. Recently, Jackson Galloway designed the new City Hall for the City of Hutto, a fast-growing community north of Austin.

St. Louis Construction Industry Job Loss Bucks National Trend, AGC Says

in Associations/Homepage Primary/News


While non-seasonal construction employment increased between November 2017 and November 2018 in 74 percent of the nation’s MSAs, St. Louis experienced the largest job loss – 4,500 jobs or 7 percent – of all 358 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas.

Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, said Thursday that the year-over-year numbers for St. Louis construction employment represent the largest construction job loss in the U.S. for the time period referenced above.

“I’ve been watching these figures for a long time,” Simonson said. “St. Louis has definitely had a rough time over the last year. The year-over-year change has been negative (for St. Louis) for 12 consecutive months, beginning with December of 2017 – which was 2.1 percent less (construction) employment than in December 2016. The November 2018 number was the worst of any of the previous 12 months.”

Simonson said factors likely contributing to St. Louis’ net decrease in non-seasonal construction employment include a tapering in highway spending in Missouri and general uncertainty with regard to infrastructure spending in Illinois. Aging of the construction workforce in St. Louis is an additional contributing factor, he added.

Tarlton Corporation Senior Vice President John Doerr said Missouri voters’ rejection of Proposition D in November – a measure that would have increased the long-stagnant motor-fuel tax to inject dollars into eroding public infrastructure statewide, may be another relevant factor affecting the latest construction employment statistics.

“The City of St. Louis does have some challenges as far as drawing the level of construction activity compared to other MSAs,” Doerr said. “That being said, however, we’re (Tarlton) doing more work in the City of St. Louis than we have in 20 years.”

Other MSAs with a decrease in construction employment, year over year, from November 2017 to November 2018, include the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson (MD) MSA with a decrease of 3,000 construction jobs (-4 percent) and the Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean (NJ) MSA with a decrease in construction employment of 2,400 jobs (-6 percent).

Construction Industry Mourns Jan. 3 Passing of Labor Leader Terry Nelson

in Associations/News
Terry Nelson


The construction industry in St. Louis and Kansas City, MO, Southern Illinois and beyond is mourning the passing of a long-time staunch advocate and true labor leader with a fierce work ethic, an outspoken nature and huge heart for supporting workers and their families.

Terry Nelson, former executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, died Thursday, Jan. 3. Nelson, who was known for being frank, passionate and innovative, led the Carpenters for 22 years as its chief executive until his retirement in September 2015.

Nelson’s successor, Al Bond, said Thursday that Nelson’s legacy is profound and wide-reaching.

“Terry spent his entire career advancing the carpentry trade, from his early days as an apprentice (in the 1960s) to his two decades leading our organization,” Bond said. “He ushered our union through the Great Recession, sought pay increases for our members and developed innovative programs to keep our members and contractors leaders in the marketplace.”

Known for his outspokenness, Nelson was arguably the most progressive labor leader in the Greater St. Louis construction industry. But he was also widely known for his tireless drive and compassion in caring for Carpenters members and their families.

“Terry cared deeply for the St. Louis community as a whole,” said Bond. “He was involved in numerous ventures, trying to help improve the lives of the disadvantaged. More than anything, Terry will be remembered for his unwavering commitment to supporting working families and improving the lives of our members with fair wages, superior benefits and the ability to retire with dignity. Our entire Carpenters family mourns his passing, and our prayers are with his family and friends at this time.”

Geotechnology & Geotechnical Testing Play Vital Roles in Foundation for New Missouri River Bridge

in Companies/News

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) opened a new $63 million Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River in December 2018, replacing a deteriorating bridge built in 1936. The project involved building a new 2,560-foot-long bridge directly upstream (west) of the existing span.

HDR Engineering, Inc., designed the new bridge and Geotechnology, Inc., provided geotechnical services. Alberici Constructors was the contractor.

HDR Engineering designed the bridge using Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) methodology. The design called for a mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall to be built on the south end of the bridge and a new approach embankment north of the bridge. The embankment is approximately 15 feet tall and 500 feet in length.

In 2012, Geotechnology began drilling and testing land and river borings for the proposed bridge and proposed mechanically stabilized earth wall, as well as the planned north approach embankment, and the planned approach pavement on both sides of the river. Seismic liquefaction of loose sands along the north approach embankment and lateral spreading at the north abutment during the design earthquake, were identified as geotechnical design issues.

Twelve borings were drilled to bedrock at depths of 17 to 98 feet using Geotechnology exploration rigs on a river barge. The dolomite rock was highly to slightly weathered and was cored up to 40 feet into sound rock. Because of the variable depth to rock, bridge foundations along the south shore bear on spread footings, foundations in the center of the river bear on drilled piers, and foundations on the north and south shores are supported on driven piles. Load Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) analysis and design methods were used in accordance with MoDOT’s Engineering Policy Guide (EPG). Tiered mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) walls were designed to improve slope stability at the south abutment.

The older bridge had two 11-foot lanes, no shoulders, restrictive weight limits and required a regular cycle of maintenance work. The new span has two 12-foot lanes, 10-foot shoulders and a 10-foot protected path for bicyclists and pedestrians. It also has a 100-year design life with limited maintenance and several other enhancements, including variable depth, haunched steel girders, and fluted bridge piers with architectural reveals. An overlook, where walkers and bikers can stop and view the river, is provided at the center bridge pier.

Located between Jefferson City and St. Louis, the bridge connects Warren County to the north and Franklin County to the south, a growing commercial and residential area.

“This bridge is vital to the community, with approximately 11,000 vehicles traveling on it each day,” said Geotechnology Vice President Frank Callanan, P.E., D.GE. “It was critical that thorough geotechnical examinations were conducted to ensure its safety and viability.”

Established more than 30 years ago, Geotechnology, Inc. is a professional corporation offering a comprehensive range of consulting services in applied earth and environmental sciences, including geophysics, water resource management, geotechnical and environmental engineering, materials testing and drilling. Geotechnology has provided expertise on thousands of major construction projects in the Midwest and Mid-South regions. Geotechnology is ranked #406 in ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms in 2018. Geotechnology, Inc. is based in St. Louis, Mo., and has 10 offices in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. For more information, visit

Nolan “Chip” Jones named AGC of Missouri Board Chairman

in Associations/News
Nolan "Chip" Jones

Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc. DOT Branch Manager to Lead Statewide Association in 2018 

Nolan “Chip” Jones, DOT Branch Manager for Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc., has been elected the chairman of the board of the Associated General Contractors of Missouri (AGC) for 2019.

As a 1988 Civil Engineering graduate from University of Missouri-Columbia, Jones has more than 30 years of experience in the heavy/civil construction industry, joining Emery Sapp & Sons in 1999 as a project manager.  Prior to ESS, Jones spent 10-years as an inspector for MoDOT.  He’s responsible for ESS’s 200-plus employees’ successful completion of more than $800 million in highway and bridge projects.  Chip has been heavily involved in AGCMO, serving on the board of directors since 2014 and has served on the Executive Committee and Finance Committees and the Heavy/Highway/Infrastructure board of directors since 2015.

Other officers of the AGC for 2019 are: chair elect of the board – Becky Spurgeon, Interface Construction Corporation; vice chair of the board – Scott Drury, Bloomsdale Excavating Co., Inc.; and secretary-treasurer – John Doerr, Tarlton Corporation; heavy/highway/infrastructure division chair – Don Rosenbarger, Delta Companies, Inc.; building division chair – D. J. Simmons, ACME Constructors, Inc., heavy/highway/infrastructure division vice chair – Steve Bubanovich, H.R. Quadri Contractors LLC; and building division vice chair, Michael Kennedy, Jr., KAI Design & Build.

Serving on the board representing contractor members are:  Tim Hudwalker, BSI Constructors, Inc.; Troy Musson, Alberici Constructors, Inc.; Kyle Phillips, Herzog Contracting Corp.; and, Sean Thouvenot, Branco Enterprises, Inc. Serving on the board representing the AGC’s specialty contractors are:  Steve Schrimpf, Schrimpf Landscaping, Inc. and Julia Strumpler, Sachs Electric Company  Serving on the board representing the AGC’s supplier/service providers are Jackson D. Glisson III, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C.; and K. Douglas Mertens, Con-Agg of MO, LLC.

The ex-officio board members representing the Construction Leadership Council and Young Executives Club for 2019 are Christopher Kozeny of Kozeny-Wagner, Inc. and Jeremy Bexten of Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc., respectively.

Existing board members who will continue serving in 2019 include:   Paul Ideker, Ideker, Inc.; Eddie Welsh, Capital Paving and Construction, LLC; and William Wagner, S. M. Wilson & Co., immediate past chair.

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri is the leading voice of the construction industry in Missouri, representing over 500 commercial, industrial, heavy and highway contractors, industry partners and related firms in 110 counties throughout Missouri.

Citizens for Modern Transit to Host “Talking Transit” Event on Jan 9th

in Associations/News

Interactive Session to Highlight Metro Transit’s New Transit Plan as it Nears Completion, Gives Attendees Final Opportunity to Weigh-in

Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT) is inviting area residents to take part in a special “Talking Transit” event, featuring Jessica Mefford-Miller, executive director of Metro Transit. The event follows a series of public meetings held by Metro Transit on its “Metro Reimagined” transit plan and will give CMT members, and the community at-large, a final opportunity to weigh-in on the proposed plan as it nears completion. Brief remarks will also be made by Taulby Roach, the new president and CEO of Bi-State Development. Metro Transit is one of five Bi-State Development enterprises. The event is being held on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 5:30 p.m. in the Lower Level Auditorium of the BJC Learning Center, located at 8300 Eager Road, which is accessible by MetroLink and MetroBus.

Metro Reimagined kicked off in 2017 with a study designed to take a proactive look at the mobility needs of the region, evaluate the potential of new technology and innovative transit concepts, and provide a framework for phased improvements that can be implemented within Metro Transit’s current budget. Using the data collected, Metro Transit proposed a new transit plan that aims to deliver shorter waits, faster trips and better connections for customers. The plan has been shared widely during an extensive public and community engagement process and is nearing completion. Additional information about the Metro Reimagined can be found at

“Metro Transit is to be commended for all of the time and hard work it has invested to develop a workable transit plan that meets the needs of local transit riders,” said Kimberly Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit. “We are looking forward to this interactive session and the opportunity it will provide for input and discussion as the transit plan is finalized.”

Registration for the Talking Transit event can be completed online at or by arriving early to the event. The cost is free for CMT members and $10 for non-members. For non-members that would like to attend but have personal financial constraints, CMT offers a limited number of scholarships for each of the Talking Transit events. To learn more about the event, or for more information on Citizens for Modern Transit and its efforts to further transit development in the St. Louis region, call (314) 231-7272, find the organization on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @cmt_stl.

Citizens for Modern Transit is a nonprofit, member supported organization that leads efforts for an integrated, affordable, and convenient public transportation system with light rail expansion as the critical component that will drive economic growth to improve quality of life in the St. Louis region.

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