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Western Specialty Contractors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Western Specialty Contractors

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

 

Western Specialty Contractors Uses Special Skills on Treasured Monuments and Memorials

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Monuments can be powerful, inspiring tributes to a person, place, tragedy or event. But when those treasured monuments start to show signs of wear-and-tear and weather damage and need to be restored to their original glory, or new monuments need the expertise of a specialty contractor to construct, customers call Western Specialty Contractors.

Over the course of its 100+ year history, Western Specialty Contractors has had the privilege of working on some of the nation’s most recognized and revered monuments and memorials, such as the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C.; The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO; Staten Island September 11th Memorial in New York City, NY; World War II Veterans Memorial Globe in Springfield, IL; and the Lincoln Receiving Vault in Springfield, IL.

Whether the memorial or monument is made of stone, concrete or metal, they are all subject to weathering and damage over time. Through proper, routine maintenance, treasured monuments and memorials can be returned to their former glory and protected from future damage for visitors to cherish and enjoy for years to come.

“Each memorial project is unique and requires a special set of restoration skills and care. Repairing spalling and cracking concrete, installing appropriate waterproofing and treating rusting metal consistently will go a long way toward boosting a monument’s longevity. One aspect that remains consistent is Western’s dedication to respecting and maintaining the historical integrity and significance of the memorial or monument that has been entrusted to our care,” said Ben “Butch” Bishop, Jr., CEO of Western Specialty Contractors. 

Staten Island September 11th Memorial in New York City, NY

In 2004, Western assisted in the design and installation of granite victim plaques for The Staten Island September 11th Memorial in New York City. The memorial, designed by architect Masayuki Sono and titled, “Postcards”, is constructed of two, 40-foot wing-like fiberglass walls, each with a 30-foot long window displaying the face profile and name of each victim.

Western was responsible for overseeing the selection and production of granite in Victoria, Brazil and Barrie, VT that would make up the 274 granite plaques. Each victim profile was designed by the architect and family members and downloaded to an electronic file that guided a waterjet machine over the granite to create each victim’s profile and name inscription. Western’s crew took great care in joining these special plaques to the memorial’s fiberglass walls. Over 3,000 family members and friends of the victims, city officials and a cast of devoted workers dedicated the memorial, which was awarded the New York Construction “Best of 2004 Annual Award.”

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO

Western Specialty Contractors completed a project in 2017 to restore and waterproof the roof of the Museum of Westward Expansion located underground beneath the iconic Gateway Arch on the St. Louis Riverfront.

After the concrete roof was exposed, Western crews identified and repaired any leaks, then installed a 2-ply Laurenco modified bitumen sheet waterproofing covered with WR Meadows PC2 protection board. An electronic leak detection system followed by a permanent leak detection grid system were installed over the protection board.

The next phase of the project involved waterproofing the 42,000 SF horizontal lid and 37,000 SF vertical walls of the museum addition. Additional waterproofing of the north and south museum entrances and each Arch leg was also completed. The museum was largely operational during construction and a lot of the time Western crews were working over occupied space. Western sequenced the removal of existing roofing material so that they could remove, clean and install new roofing material daily to keep the museum dry during construction.

World War II Veterans Memorial Globe in Springfield, IL

In 2015, Western Specialty Contractors was tasked with repairing and re-coating the World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial Globe in Springfield’s historic Oak Ridge Cemetery. The exterior of the concrete Globe was showing signs of wear, with cracking and spalling concrete evident near the top of the memorial where a previously applied protective coating was flaking off.

Western crews removed damaged areas and repaired them with a polymer-modified concrete repair mortar. The shapes of the continents and the Globe’s longitude and latitude lines were reformed and finished, under the watchful eye of the artist, to match the existing profile. Crews wet-abrasive blasted the Globe’s surface to remove any remaining coating and provide profiling for the new coating.

After the surface had dried, Western applied a Sherwin Williams Loxon Concrete Primer and two coats of ConFlex XL Elastomeric Coating in flat white to match the original color.

Restoration of President Abraham Lincoln Receiving Vault in Springfield, IL

In 2015, Western Specialty Contractors restored the historic receiving vault in Springfield, IL that once held the bodies of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln and his son, Willie. Constructed in the 1860s, the stone and marble vault had major deterioration due to decades of water penetration.

Western crews repaired the vault’s walls using a system of low cement ratio mortar and brick infill in areas where the brick had deteriorated away from the wall. After infilling the voids in the walls, Western applied a layer of low cement ratio mortar to the entire wall surface to create a smooth surface to accept the bentonite sheet waterproofing. Western used stone fabrication methods to repair two serpentine retaining walls that extended outward away from the vault entrance.

The restoration project was completed on May 1, 2015 in time for commemoration and funeral reenactment ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s funeral.

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool – Washington, D.C.

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool was constructed in 1923 following the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. The pool is over a third of a mile long, 167 feet wide and 30 inches deep in the center. In 2004, Western waterproofed the pool, which had begun to leak, and cut-out and re-caulked joints with urethane grout and silicone sealants.

About Western Specialty Contractors

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

Western Specialty Contractors Recommends Contractors Adopt Quality Control Programs

in Companies/News

One of the most important aspects of construction is delivering a quality project. Owners hire contractors to perform a specific function, and they expect a superior product. Implementing a quality control program that evaluates the work process from initial steps all the way through to completion ensures customer satisfaction and long-term success, according to Eric Olson, Safety Director at Western Specialty Contractors.

“There are many benefits to implementing a quality control program. Many contractors may not see the value in it when looking at the upfront costs of a program, but ensuring a superior product delivers a number of benefits to the owners, consultants, facility managers and general contractors on a project,” said Olson. “In short, Western’s Quality Program was designed and developed with the explicit goal of adding measurable value to our customers.”

For over a century, St. Louis-based Western Specialty Contractors has made quality control a cornerstone of its organization and a part of its company culture — a sound quality control program that has attributed to Western’s long-term success and respect in the industry. Western celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015 and ranks as one of the top 150 privately held companies in St. Louis based on revenue.

“It’s woven into the fabric of our daily work lives and integrated into every activity and process that we do,” said Olson. “Quality control is the foundation of a healthy, long-term relationship with our customers and an internal source of pride. Bottom line, quality is good for business.”

Olson suggests that when implementing a new quality control program, all employees should be fully trained on the value of the program and understand how to perform and document inspections correctly.

“If employees aren’t aware or don’t understand the value, they may just see the program as more paperwork and will not truly verify the quality of the performed work,” added Olson.

With a sustainable quality control system in place, the tangible benefits to construction companies are numerous:

  • Contractors complete work the right way, the first time, thus saving time and money on expensive re-work. Tearing out and re-installing defective material is almost always more expensive than the initial task.
  • Being forced to redo work increases employee risk. Doing a project the first time comes with injury risk, but that risk is tempered through earnings potential. All work should be completed as safely as possible. Performing the same work a second time for free increases employee exposures for little to no gain.
  • A well-documented quality control program can help with any future litigation. Documentation confirming the project was performed correctly goes a long way.
  • Finally, delivering a quality project ensures a happy customer. Happy customers are much more likely to hire the same contractors for future projects.

Western’s Quality Program is documented in its Quality Assurance and Quality Control Policy and Procedures manual. The multi-section manual details the specifics of Western’s program and illustrates:

  • Clearly defined roles and responsibilities
  • Well established document control
  • Detailed proposal preparation, project set-up and process controls
  • Strict guidelines on purchasing and material controls
  • Robust verification, inspection and testing protocols
  • Specific guidance in the identification of non-conforming actions and the necessary corrective procedures

Highlights of Western’s Quality Program also include:

  • Quality Control Inspection Sheets customized for each specific job
  • A Quality Control Supervisor (QCS) assigned to each project to ensure overall quality compliance
  • All materials inspected to insure conformance with project requirements before being released for use
  • A series of well-defined tests and inspections before, during and after construction to verify that all items conform to stated project requirements
  • A complete set of all documents required for the proper execution of work to be maintained on site

Western’s Quality program was derived and perfected from some of the best practices across a range of industries, including: Lean, ISO and Six Sigma.

Visit www.westernspecialtycontractors.com/about/quality-control/ for more information about Western’s Quality Program.

About Western Specialty Contractors

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

 

Western Specialty Contractors Restores Facade of Historic Downtown St. Louis Monogram Building

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Former 1900s women’s hatmaking factory and warehouse converted to luxury apartments

Western Specialty Contractors – St. Louis Masonry Restoration Branch recently completed a $1.2 million facade restoration of the historic Monogram Building at 1706 Washington Ave. in Downtown St. Louis.

Developer Michael Knight, a partner at Revive Capital Development of Kansas City, MO, converted the nine-story brick and terra cotta building, renamed Monogram on Washington, into 168 modern, luxury apartments (112 one-bedroom, 32 two-bedroom and 24 studio), complete with a roof-top pool. The building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, originally opened in 1910 as a millinery factory and warehouse in the city’s former garment district.

Western Specialty Contractors first contracted with St. Louis-based general contractor Paric Corporation in November 2016 to begin work on the building’s west elevation while abatement work was getting started. This first phase included installation of 28 new window openings with new lintels and precast sills, 30% brick tuck pointing, pressure washing the entire facade and caulking all window perimeters. Western crews also cut an opening in the south elevation for a buck hoist to be installed. This first phase was completed in September 2017.

A second contract was issued to Western for additional facade restoration work to the north, south and east elevations. Western used two suspended scaffolding and four masons to complete the work in October 2017. The work included:

  • South elevation – tuck pointing 30% of brick joints and 25% of terra cotta joints, caulking all window perimeters and pressure washing
  • North and east elevations – tuck pointing 25% of terra cotta joints and all brick joints, pressure washing, and replacing 10 pieces of missing or damaged terra cotta with Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) replicas

Paric, under the direction of the owner, had Western provide a 135-foot aerial lift so that the jobsite foreman, with assistance from the engineer, could inspect all elevations. Subsequently, Western’s scope of work increased to include tuck pointing all brick and terra cotta joints on the south, north and east elevations; plus replacing an additional 15 pieces of terra cotta with FRP.

With the scope of work more than doubling for Western’s crews, the change proved to be a challenge to the overall schedule for the building’s new roof and pool installation. Western was able to meet the original schedule by adding two swing stages and six more masons working 10-hour shifts, seven days a week. The final facade restoration work was completed in February 2018.

Architect: BNIM

Structural Engineer: Bob D. Campbell and Co.

Historic Preservation: Rosin Preservation

Family-owned and operated for more than 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 www.westernspecialtycontractors.com.

Western Specialty Contractors Provides Seven Safety Tips to Protect Construction Workers From Extreme Heat

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Summer is a great time for construction work, but a brutal time for construction workers. Excessive heat and sun exposure pose significant dangers, such as sunburn, dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Every year, construction workers become ill on the job and some even lose their lives due to heat exposure.

To protect its workers from the extreme summer heat, Western Specialty Contractors manages a heat illness training program and a safety hotline for its employees.

As part of the program, training is provided to all employees and supervisors who work in high temperatures. Training topics include: how heat can affect the body, how to identify the signs and symptoms of various heat-related illnesses, and what to do if a co-worker is experiencing symptoms of a heat-related illness. Western also regulates the hotter environment by providing water and shade to workers and by having supervisors and safety managers monitor the heat index so that the proper protective measures can be taken.

“It is important particularly during the summer months that outdoor workers drink plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration, which is the primary cause of heat cramps and heat exhaustion,” said Cameron Samuel, Assistant Safety Director at Western Specialty Contractors.

Cameron, who has training and experience managing the health and safety of outdoor workers, offers the following tips for preventing heat-related illnesses on a construction jobsite:

  • Drink water frequently and drink enough water that you never become thirsty. Drink water or other non-caffeinated, electrolytic beverages and make sure that your drinks are always cool, not room temperature. Adding a lemon slice to water can make plain water more drinkable.
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing made from natural materials such as cotton. Avoid wearing non-breathing synthetic clothing. Wear safety glasses with UV protection, sunscreen and brimmed hard hats.
  • Gradually build up to heavy work. If possible, do the hardest work during the coolest time of the day. Workers who are suddenly exposed to working in a hot environment face additional hazards to their health and safety. New workers and those returning from time away need to be extra careful in making sure they stay hydrated.
  • Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity. Move to the shade or a cool area such as an air-conditioned building or car when possible, but try not to go in and out of air conditioning too much as it will make it harder for you to adjust to the heat. Use cooling fans whenever possible.
  • Select your lunch carefully. Junk food is high in fat and preservatives and will put a high caloric load on the digestive system. Try eating a bigger breakfast, so you’re not as hungry at lunch. Eat light lunches that include fruits, vegetables and salads.
  • Keep an eye on your co-workers and be alert for signs of heat exhaustion. Early symptoms include lethargy, disorientation, stumbling, dropping tools, slurred speech or unresponsiveness. Heat stroke is a medical emergency requiring a 911 call and immediate cooling.
  • Check your urine frequency and color throughout the day. Water intake is adequate when urine is clear or light yellow. When the desire to urinate is less than twice per day and/or you are producing a dark yellow urine, you may be dehydrated.

By training employees on the early signs of heat exhaustion, taking the proper precautions, and employing tips like the ones listed above, outdoor workers will greatly reduce the risk of heat-related dangers.

Family-owned and operated for more than 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 www.westernspecialtycontractors.com.

Western Specialty Contractors Provides Seven Safety Tips to Protect Construction Workers From Extreme Heat

in Companies/News

Summer is a great time for construction work, but a brutal time for construction workers. Excessive heat and sun exposure pose significant dangers, such as sunburn, dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Every year, construction workers become ill on the job and some even lose their lives due to heat exposure.

To protect its workers from the extreme summer heat, Western Specialty Contractors manages a heat illness training program and a safety hotline for its employees.

As part of the program, training is provided to all employees and supervisors who work in high temperatures. Training topics include: how heat can affect the body, how to identify the signs and symptoms of various heat-related illnesses, and what to do if a co-worker is experiencing symptoms of a heat-related illness. Western also regulates the hotter environment by providing water and shade to workers and by having supervisors and safety managers monitor the heat index so that the proper protective measures can be taken.

“It is important particularly during the summer months that outdoor workers drink plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration, which is the primary cause of heat cramps and heat exhaustion,” said Cameron Samuel, Assistant Safety Director at Western Specialty Contractors.

Cameron, who has training and experience managing the health and safety of outdoor workers, offers the following tips for preventing heat-related illnesses on a construction jobsite:

  • Drink water frequently and drink enough water that you never become thirsty. Drink water or other non-caffeinated, electrolytic beverages and make sure that your drinks are always cool, not room temperature. Adding a lemon slice to water can make plain water more drinkable.
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing made from natural materials such as cotton. Avoid wearing non-breathing synthetic clothing. Wear safety glasses with UV protection, sunscreen and brimmed hard hats.
  • Gradually build up to heavy work. If possible, do the hardest work during the coolest time of the day. Workers who are suddenly exposed to working in a hot environment face additional hazards to their health and safety. New workers and those returning from time away need to be extra careful in making sure they stay hydrated.
  • Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity. Move to the shade or a cool area such as an air-conditioned building or car when possible, but try not to go in and out of air conditioning too much as it will make it harder for you to adjust to the heat. Use cooling fans whenever possible.
  • Select your lunch carefully. Junk food is high in fat and preservatives and will put a high caloric load on the digestive system. Try eating a bigger breakfast, so you’re not as hungry at lunch. Eat light lunches that include fruits, vegetables and salads.
  • Keep an eye on your co-workers and be alert for signs of heat exhaustion. Early symptoms include lethargy, disorientation, stumbling, dropping tools, slurred speech or unresponsiveness. Heat stroke is a medical emergency requiring a 911 call and immediate cooling.
  • Check your urine frequency and color throughout the day. Water intake is adequate when urine is clear or light yellow. When the desire to urinate is less than twice per day and/or you are producing a dark yellow urine, you may be dehydrated.

By training employees on the early signs of heat exhaustion, taking the proper precautions, and employing tips like the ones listed above, outdoor workers will greatly reduce the risk of heat-related dangers.

Family-owned and operated for more than 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 www.westernspecialtycontractors.com.

Western Specialty Contractors Nearing Completion of Facade Restoration for Future Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

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Crews from Western Specialty Contractors’ Los Angeles and Seattle branches are hard at work performing stone restoration and installing new limestone and granite on the iconic Saban Building, the future home of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in L.A. Western is currently complete with 90% of the facade restoration work, which includes making limestone and granite Dutchman repairs, applying waterproofing, repairing window frames, and patching and cleaning the stone. 

Constructed in 1939, the Saban Building is located on Wilshire and Fairfax next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus, and is listed as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is scheduled to open in 2019. Photo courtesy of Western Specialty Contractors.

Western Specialty Contractors Named to List of Top 150+ Privately Held Companies in St. Louis

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Ben Bishop

Western Specialty Contractors is proud to announce that it has been named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s 2018 Top 150+ Privately Held Companies list.

For decades, the St. Louis Business Journal has profiled the top privately held companies based in the St. Louis area, which are ranked by 2017 revenue. Information is also gathered by editors on how much companies on the list have grown, who runs them and what their hiring plans are for the upcoming year.

Western Specialty Contractors ranked 101 out of 200 companies listed on this year’s list, with a reported 2017 revenue of $213.2 million — a 2% increase from the prior year.

Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO, with 30+ branch locations nationwide and employing 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals. The 103-year-old company is owned and operated by the Bishop family, with Ben Bishop, Sr. serving as Chairman Emeritus and his son, Ben “Butch” Bishop, Jr., serving as Chairman and CEO of the company. Services provided by Western include concrete and masonry restoration, disaster recovery, waterproofing, facade restoration and specialty roofing.

Western started 2018 in growth mode, as reported by the St. Louis Business Journal, with the March acquisition of 125-year-old Western Roofing Co. in Kansas City, MO. The start of 2018 also saw the promotion of Tom Brooks to Chief Operating Officer, following the retirement of Jim Rechtin, Sr. after 46 years with the company.

“We are extremely pleased to make the St. Louis Business Journal’s Top 150+ list once again, and continuing to grow in terms of revenue and market growth,” said Western Specialty Contractors CEO Ben “Butch” Bishop, Jr.

View Western’s listing: www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/news/2018/05/10/top-150-2018-no-101-western-specialty-contractors.html

Family-owned and operated for more than 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 www.westernspecialtycontractors.com.

Industry Safety Leaders Western Specialty Contractors Launches S-T-E-P-P-S to Re-Evaluate Safety on Changing Jobsites

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Workers reminded to make safe choices during National Construction Safety Week May 7-11

The construction industry is fast-paced and ever-changing. Change can be exciting for workers and their supervisors, but it can also be challenging. Not taking the time to ask the right questions about safety when a job changes can potentially lead to unsafe choices, accidents and delays.

Starting in May, Western Specialty Contractors launched its S-T-E-P-P-S (Stop, Think, Employees, Public, Property, Safety) Program designed to get workers to ask the right questions about safety during job changes and develop the answers that will prevent accidents.

“Since their jobs change every day, Western is requiring that every worker and their foremen STOP and assess their jobsite and tasks for the day as part of their Daily Huddle, then THINK about the process for the day,” said Western Safety Director Eric Olson.

Everyone will be asked three simple safety questions as part of their daily morning meetings:

EMPLOYEES – How can our employees get hurt today? By evaluating the job and asking about the potential hazards, foremen can address any issues immediately and ensure that their crews have the right people, equipment and processes in place to prevent injuries. As the job changes, these answers become even more important. Every type of injury should be considered, even soft tissue ones.

PUBLIC – How can the public and those around us potentially get hurt today? It’s important to note how job changes may impact the public, and to take steps to ensure that those living and working around the workers are not hurt.

PROPERTY – How can workers potentially damage nearby buildings, cars or other forms of property during their activities? As crew members work at heights or with harsh chemicals, they should be considering the proper precautions to ensure that they are not dropping items or spraying chemicals onto nearby property.

SAFETY – Asking these three questions every day should lead to the right answers. It is the foreman’s job to act on these answers and ensure that Western’s safety initiatives are the top priority.

“The worst thing we can do is recognize that there is an issue, but not take the proper steps to prevent accidents,” said Olson. “By asking these three questions, we are starting the process of planning our jobs in such a way that accidents can be prevented. Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and by each person taking an active role in safety planning on the job, we can reduce or eliminate accidents, injuries and property damage.”

An industry leader in workplace safety, Western has evolved its safety programs over its 103-year history from the basic compliance initiatives to advanced programs that address ergonomic and soft tissue injuries. Western has also initiated a climate for safety that empowers employees to proactively take steps to evaluate their own job site activities and correct procedures to prevent accidents.

Western currently boasts an industry-leading OSHA Total Recordable Rate of 1.58, over two full points better than the industry average of 3.8. The OSHA Total Recordable Rate is based on injury and illness rates per 100 workers and is used to evaluate a company’s safety measures. The lower the number, the higher the safety rating.

For more information about Western’s commitment to safety, visit www.westernspecialtycontractors.com/about/safety-commitment/.

Family-owned and operated for more than 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 www.westernspecialtycontractors.com.

Western Specialty Contractors Presents SIUE Construction Management Major Joel Sipe with Scholarship

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Western’s internship/recruitment program exposes college students to careers in specialty contracting

Western Specialty Contractors recently presented Joel Sipe, a sophomore and Construction Management major at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), with a scholarship. Western provides the SIUE School of Engineering’s Department of Construction with a scholarship annually. The awarding criteria and recipient of the scholarship is determined by Department of Construction faculty.

Western Human Resources Director Maria Traina and Region Manager Jim Rechtin, Jr. presented Sipe with the scholarship during the SIUE School of Engineering’s Honors Day on April 15.

To expose college students to careers in specialty contracting and begin developing qualified employees to fill its management positions long-term, Western Specialty Contractors, the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and roofing, recruits candidates from leading construction management colleges and universities across the country for its comprehensive, hands-on internship program.

Those who take part in Western’s internship program have the opportunity to gain much more than traditional work experience. With various levels of opportunities and an individual approach, Western’s interns are exposed to everything from sales and project management to work in the field.

Those who remain in the internship program have great promotion opportunities. Western typically hires 60-70% of internship program participants, and will promote them to a management position on average within five years. Over 85% of Western’s managers have been promoted from within the company.

Initiative and hard work are rewarded with competitive salaries, excellent benefits and a 401K match, and tuition reimbursement, as well as advancement opportunities.

For more information about Western’s college recruiting and internship programs, visit www.westernspecialtycontractors.com/careers/college-recruiting/.

Family-owned and operated for more than 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 www.westernspecialtycontractors.com.

PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured from left to right: Western Specialty Contractors Human Resources Director Maria Traina, scholarship recipient Joel Sipe and Western Region Manager Jim Rechtin, Jr.

 

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