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Guarantee Electrical Wins Prestigious “Willis Excellence in Construction Safety Award”

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Guarantee was recently selected as the winner for the national award due to its comprehensive safety program which is driven by stressing competency over mere compliance.  To wit, Guarantee has one of the lowest Experienced Modification Rates (EMR) and Total Recordable Incident Rates (TRIR) in the electrical industry.

AGC’s Construction Safety Excellence Awards (CSEA) program is the industry’s elite safety excellence awards program for companies of all sizes and occupational divisions. The selection process is unique because invited finalists make presentations to judges who then ask each finalist a series of probing questions. CSEA recognizes companies that have developed and implemented premier safety and risk control programs and showcases companies that have achieved continuous improvements and maintenance of their safety and health management systems.

Unlike other safety award programs which limit the criteria to frequency rates, the CSEA selection process is considerably more comprehensive.  Each applicant is reviewed for evidence of:

  • Company management commitment
  • Active employee participation
  • Safety training
  • Work site hazard identification and control
  • Safety program innovation

According to Dennis Dubitsky, Corporate Director of Safety and Risk Management for Guarantee Electrical Company, “From top to bottom we focus on competency. Competency is about the independence of the individual workers who have been provided the training, tools and resources, and empowering them to continuously monitor their environment for hazards, allowing them to take all necessary action to work risk free.  Competency is also about senior management leading the process and creating an environment that makes safe, quality production the focus thereby protecting both the individual and the bottom line.”

IMPACT Strategies Expands & Re-Locates Missouri Office

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Construction firm IMPACT Strategies, Inc., is expanding and relocating their Missouri office to the Power House Building at Union Station, 401 S. 18th Street, St. Louis to better serve growing construction market opportunities.

The larger space will allow the company to align their staff with the needs of a growing market in St. Louis for commercial construction. Some sectors of the regional construction market are among the fastest growing in the nation, according to IMPACT Strategies President Mark Hinrichs.

Since its organization in 2002, IMPACT Strategies has experienced steady growth expanding both its geographical service area and market sectors it serves. The company has maintained a near perfect safety record and deploys a structured 8-step safety program to minimize risk to its employees and those of its subcontractor partners.

IMPACT Strategies specializes in retail, commercial, medical and education construction as well as senior and multi-family housing. Services include construction management, pre-construction management, design-build and general contracting.

The telephone number for the Missouri office remains the same at 314.646.8400. The Illinois headquarters office is at 340 Office Ct., Fairview Heights. More information is available at

Modest Expansion for Architecture Billings Index

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Business conditions softening most in Midwest in recent months 

The Architecture Billings Index saw a dip into negative terrain for the first time in five months in January, but inched back up in February with a small increase in demand for design services.  As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the February ABI score was 50.3, up slightly from the mark of 49.6 in the previous month. This score reflects a minor increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 59.5, up from a reading of 55.3 the previous month.

“March and April are traditionally the busiest months for architecture firms, so we should get a clearer reading of underlying momentum over the next couple of months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.  “Hopefully the relatively mild weather conditions recently in most parts of the country will help design and construction activity move ahead at a somewhat faster pace.”

 Key February ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (51.1), West (49.9), Northeast (49.5), Midwest (49.3)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (53.0), commercial / industrial (52.3), institutional (48.1), mixed practice (47.7)
  • Project inquiries index: 59.5
  • Design contracts index: 51.7

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity.

KBR Launches Craft Training Program for Veterans

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KBR, Inc. announced it is creating a program to train active duty military in the pipefitting trade to assist service members who desire to pursue an industrial civilian career following their military service. The initiative is in partnership with Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) and Fort Polk, located in Vernon Parish, Louisiana.

The Veteran Pipefitting Training Program was created for active duty military at Fort Polk and applicants will be selected for the sixteen week program by Fort Polk’s Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) and KBR. Trainees will receive training credentials for both academic and hands-on practice by the National Center for Construction Education and Research upon the successful completion of the course.

“KBR is proud to help provide this great opportunity for soldiers to continue their education and build upon the foundation of their military training,” said David Zelinski, President of KBR’s Onshore Americas business division. “This generation’s post-9/11 veterans represent an extraordinary pool of talent and leadership that the craft industry needs. Our training partnership with Fort Polk provides a vehicle for veterans to translate their skills into the craft professions while supporting their transition to the civilian world,” continued Zelinski.

KBR is making a significant investment in CLTCC’s facilities for this training program as well as covering fees associated with the instructors who will be key contributors to the overall success of this program.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity for our Fort Polk & Transition Assistance Program to partner with KBR,” said Col. David G. Athey, Fort Polk Garrison Commander. “The leadership at Fort Polk has been behind this program from day one. It is a great honor to be part of a program that further develops the skills of our veterans to help them prepare for a career in the craft labor industry. The talents that these soldiers bring to the table are invaluable and we are excited that KBR wants to help our veterans succeed after serving our country.” continued Athey.

KBR has a long history of working alongside of the U.S. military and is proud to continue that tradition with helping veterans transition from military service to successful civilian careers.

KBR, Inc. is a global technology, engineering, procurement and construction company serving the hydrocarbons and government services industries.

‘Light it Up Blue’ in St. Louis for Autism Awareness Month

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St. Louis to Join Worldwide Lighting of Structures & Landmarks Blue 

Autism Awareness Month will kick off on Friday April 1, 2016 in St. Louis with landmarks and structures in the region lit blue.  The structures and landmarks will remain lit through Saturday April 2, 2016, which is World Autism Awareness Day.  On April 1, 2016, the St. Louis Blues will also dedicated their game against Boston Bruins to autism awareness. The worldwide awareness campaign is coordinated by Autism Speaks.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism is diagnosed in one out of 68 children.

Among the structures and landmarks to be lit are:

  • James S. McDonnell Planetarium in Forest Park
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local One union hall in South St. Louis
  • Express Scripts in North St. Louis County
  • The Magic House, Kirkwood
  • Chesterfield Mall in Chesterfield, Mo.
  • West County EMS & Fire, Ballwin, Mo.
  • West County Shopping Center in Des Peres, Mo.
  • Burns & McDonnell Engineering Consultants in Chesterfield, Mo.
  • Knights of Columbus Development Center at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, St. Louis
  • Shaw Park Plaza, Clayton, Mo.
  • MilliporeSigma, South St. Louis
  • Saint Louis Zoo, in Forest Park
  • Peabody Plaza, downtown.
  • University Fountains at Saint Louis University in Midtown St. Louis
  • Civil Courts Building, downtown.
  • 360 Hilton at the Ballpark, downtown.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Building at 501 North Grand at Grand Center.
  • Metro Lighting in Brentwood and Chesterfield.
  • Peabody Opera House, downtown
  • The Laclede Group at 700 Market, downtown


A gallery of beautifully lit structures in past years can be found at the St. Louis Chapter Autism Speaks Facebook page:

In addition to lighting St. Louis blue, schools, businesses and civic organizations are being asked to encourage the wearing of blue clothing on or showcase the color blue in some way. To learn more on how to participate, visit or call the St. Louis Chapter of Autism Speaks at 314-989-1003.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. The CDC has called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown. For more information, visit

KJWW Client Executive Named to ENR Midwest Top 20 Under 40

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Mike Lawless of KJWW Engineering Consultants has been named to ENR Midwest’s 2016 Top 20 Under 40. Lawless, PE, FPE, LEED AP, is a client executive working out of the firm’s St. Louis office.

ENR’s Top 20 Under 40 honors individuals under the age of 40 who represent the “best-of-the-best” in their construction and design careers by giving back to their industry and communities. Winners were cited for leadership, career progress, community involvement and creating landmark projects for their region.

Lawless has been with KJWW for his entire 15-year career. He leads large, technically challenging and complex healthcare and science and ­­technology projects, including the current designs of the new 250,000-square-foot BJC West County Hospital and the new 357,000-square-foot University of Kansas Hospital. In addition to new construction, his projects include renovations, expansions, and infrastructure upgrades. He also provides quality control and peer reviews for many projects, overseeing the coordination of disciplines and quality of documents.

Mike works collaboratively with architectural and construction firms to maximize buildings’ operational efficiency through integrated design solutions while maintaining or lowering construction costs. He continually researches new opportunities for applying proven technologies in unique ways to blend reliable solutions with cutting-edge thinking.

For more on the ENR Top 20 Under 40, visit

KJWW, headquartered in the Quad-Cities, Ill., has more than 500 employees in 15 national and international locations, and is a subsidiary of IMEG Corporation.

People In St. Louis Construction

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Cameron Welch joins McGrath as Project Engineer

Welch, CameronCameron Welch has joined McGrath & Associates as a project engineer responsible for project coordination, estimating, scheduling and other duties. Welch has a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from the University of Missouri in Columbia. He has three years of construction industry experience working on commercial and industrial projects. McGrath & Associates is a 100 percent employee-owned general contractor and construction management firm.

S.M. Wilson Promotes Corey Noder to Senior Project Manager & Jordan Sanders to Assistant Project Manager

Noder, Corey Noder joined S. M. Wilson in 2014 as a Project Manager, and has 16 years of construction industry experience.  He received a B.S. Construction Management from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. He is a graduate of SIUE’s Construction Leadership Institute and the Duke University Management Program.  Noder is a LEED Accredited Professional.



Sanders, JordanSanders joined S. M. Wilson in 2012.  He received a B. S. in Construction Management from Southeast Missouri State University, and has both an OSHA 30 Hour Construction Safety and Health and an ASHE Health Care Construction Certificate.

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

PGAV Destinations Expands Leadership Team Hiring Karen Baker 

Baker, KarenThe global planning and design firm PGAV Destinations announced that Karen Baker has been hired as Senior Director of Branding and Marketing for the rapidly growing PGAV Destinations team. In this new role, Baker will oversee branding and marketing initiatives for PGAV Destinations as they progress through an exciting year with more than $1.2 billion in projects underway.

“We are excited to have Karen join our leadership team. She is a proven strategic marketer in the tourism industry who excels at communicating the voice of brands,” said Mike Konzen, Principal and Chair of PGAV. “Karen will focus on developing strategic marketing plans and setting and executing the key direction of the brand across all of our sectors – which is essential as we continue to grow our business globally.”

Baker was most recently Senior Director of Marketing for several iconic Chattanooga, Tennessee tourism brands, including See Rock City, Ruby Falls, and Lookout Mountain Attractions, along with their special event and consumer brands. She is a past president of the American Advertising Federation of Chattanooga and served on the Greater Chattanooga Hospitality Association board. Baker is an award-winning writer and producer whose career includes leadership roles in creative, brand, media, and marketing strategy.

“The momentum of PGAV Destinations over the past 50 years is impressive,” says Baker. I’m thrilled to be joining PGAV and to become part of the local community in St. Louis at such an exciting time.”

March 18, 2016

Mike Schwaller Joins Integrated Facility Services (IFS)

Schwaller, MikeMike Schwaller of Eureka has joined Integrated Facility Services (IFS) as safety director. He is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring safety initiatives and training programs for IFS, a St. Louis-based HVAC, plumbing, piping, fire protection and building automation firm.

Schwaller holds a bachelor’s degree in Safety Management from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri. He has nine years of construction-industry safety management experience. Prior to joining IFS, Schwaller was district safety manager for Trane in Lenexa, Kansas.

Integrated Facility Services (IFS), formerly Air Masters Corporation, is a full-service HVAC, plumbing, piping, fire protection and building automation firm.

Ryan Hesker Joins Murphy Co. as Design-Build Engineer

Hesker, RyanRyan Hesker has Joined Murphy Co. as a design-build engineer after having served as an intern for the St. Louis-based mechanical contractor.   The announcement was made by Kevin Cook, vice-president, design-build.

Hesker is a 2015 graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a major in mechanical engineering. He served as an intern at Murphy Co. where he helped plan and design HVAC and plumbing systems for commercial projects.

Murphy Company delivers mechanical solutions to the industrial, commercial, institutional and heavy industrial markets. With corporate offices in St. Louis and Denver and a regional office in Colorado Springs, Murphy offers process piping, HVAC, refrigeration, plumbing, design-build, piping fabrication, energy solutions and 24-hour service. Murphy currently is ranked No. 19 on Engineering News-Record’s list of top mechanical contractors in the United States. Founded in 1907, the firm employs more than 1,000 people nationwide. For more information, visit

Jeff Patterson Joins Murphy Co. as Estimator

Patterson, JeffJeffrey H. Patterson has joined Murphy Company as an estimator.  The announcement was made by Bob Breth, vice president, estimating.

Patterson has more than 25 years experience in mechanical estimating, including piping, plumbing, sheet metal and HVAC systems.  He also has managed a pre-construction services department and created design standards for sheet metal fabrication. He attended both St. Louis Technical School and St. Louis Community College.

Murphy Company delivers mechanical solutions to the industrial, commercial, institutional and heavy industrial markets.

Derek Don Rejoins HOK’s St. Louis Office as Senior Landscape Design Professional

Don, DerekDerek Don has joined HOK as a senior landscape design professional in St. Louis. Don will join the teams providing master planning for the Indiana University Health Academic Health Center and St. Louis office projects.

Don previously worked for HOK from 2006 to 2011 and most recently worked at SWT Design as a designer and project manager. He earned his degree in landscape architecture from Purdue University. HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm.

Joel Maevers Joins Murphy Co. as Project Manager 

Maevers, JoelJoel Maevers, P.E., LEED AP, has joined Murphy Co. as project manager. The announcement was made by Thomas Skaggs, vice-president, operations.

A 2000 graduate of the University of Missouri-Rolla  with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Maevers is a licensed professional engineer in both Missouri and Illinois, a LEED accredited professional (2007), and a Chicago Register Energy Professional. He previously worked in Chicago as a project manager for Mechanical, Inc. and Noresco, and served as an associate/project manager for Environmental Systems Design.

A member of the Mechanical Contractors Association, Maevers served as a designer, estimator and project manager for a plumbing contractor. He also was previously appointed by St. Louis County to the Board of Examiners as the professional engineer on the five-member committee responsible for approving licensure examination for all plumbers, pipe fitters and drain layers as well as for review of the exams and test procedures.  He is OSHA 30-hour certified.

Ben Pepin Re-Joins Murphy Company

Pepin, BenBen Pepin has returned to the company as an engineer in design-build. The announcement was made by Kevin Cook, vice president, design-build.

Pepin, who holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia, has worked on projects at Busch Stadium, several locations for Edward Jones and Enterprise, Graybar Electric, and Nestlé Purina.  He also has performed engineering work for several area hospitals, including Phelps County Regional Medical Center, St. Anthony’s Medical Center, St. Clare Health Center and St. John’s Mercy Medical Center.

The Korte Company Named Contractor Of The Year, Las Vegas

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During the 19th Annual Spotlight Awards, The Korte Company was named General Contracting Firm of the Year by the NAIOP Southern Nevada Chapter. The Spotlight Awards honors distinguished companies in the local development community who positively impact the industry and increase awareness through their outstanding achievements.

In addition to being named General Contractor of the Year, The Korte Company was recognized for their work on the Discovery Children’s Museum, located in downtown Las Vegas. The 54,000 square foot tenant improvement project was the recipient of an Honors Award.

“We are honored to be named as the General Contractor of the Year, and it is a direct reflection of the partners, subcontractors and vendors we work with”, according to Greg Korte, President of The Korte Company’s Las Vegas division.

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 $200 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.

Growth Postponed: The Fed Rate and Its Impact on the Construction Sector

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Yesterday, (March 16, 2016) the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) chose to delay an increase in the federal funds rate. This decision was based on uncertainties regarding growth in the global marketplace. Policymakers project that economic growth will be weaker than expected and inflation levels will remain low during 2016. Fed policymakers have adjusted their inflation forecast for 2016 to 1.2%, down from 1.6%. These factors have played a role in the decision to leave rates unchanged. Consequently, borrowing costs will remain favorable for commercial banks and businesses. However, favorable short-term interest rates will likely be short lived as the labor market continues to strengthen and the economy expands. In December of 2015, short-term interest rates were raised for the first time since the financial crisis from near zero to 0.25% with the intention of gradually returning interest rates to more normal levels. Over the course of 2016, the Fed will meet two more times to vote on future federal funds rate increases.

Pushback on future rate hikes is expected from investors and businesses that fear that economies abroad are too fragile for domestic businesses to expand. Weakening global markets not only slow the pace of domestic inflation, they also lead to volatile manufacturing output levels. Stakeholders dread that the rise in interest rates will cause domestic consumers and businesses to spend less. Despite such concerns from investors and businesses, the FOMC will likely allow domestic market conditions to determine the pace of future federal funds rate hikes, and projections indicate further growth of about half a percentage point by the end of 2016.

Should construction firms rent or buy?

The decision to leave interest rates unchanged will benefit domestic businesses that often make large capital expenditures. For example, firms within the construction sector finance or lease equipment, office space and other related overhead necessary to tackle construction projects. Because the cost of financing and leasing such capital is highly sensitive to changes in the federal funds rate, construction firms that rely on equipment financing can effectively budget for the cost of upcoming equipment purchases.

However, with higher interest rates on the horizon, equipment financing will become a less attractive option for construction firms in need of loans. IBISWorld forecasts that the price of equipment financing services will increase at an average annual rate of 5.6% from 2016 to 2019. Construction firms can leverage the availability of rental services to avoid greater up-front costs. Rates for equipment rental services, including earthmoving machinery rental, aerial lift rental, forklift rental and industrial truck rental, are projected to rise as well, but renting may still provide a more favorable option to businesses contending with higher interest rates. With rates on the rise, contractors and other construction firms reliant on financing for capital purchases should consider engaging in contracts now to hedge against steadily rising costs brought on by an increase in the federal funds rate.

HOK Principal Earns Honor for One World Trade Center Work

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Fifteen years ago, HOK Technical Principal Angelo Arzanoemerged from a building into the choking dust just blocks from the collapsed twin towers in New York on 9/11. Little did he know that he would later spend four years of his life at the design firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as senior project architect on the symbol of America’s resilience – One World Trade Center (One WTC).

Today, he’s reaping the rewards of his work as the national construction industry weekly Engineering News Record (ENR) has named One WTC one of the world’s best projects.

Arzano joined the HOK St. Louis office in 2013 and is now executing the design the firm’s largest project locally, the BJC HealthCare Washington University School of Medicine Campus Renewal.

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