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Lambert Airport Business Diversity Development Success Story

in Associations/People
Will Sanders
Will Sanders, Owner, A-Plus Contractors, LLC

Will Sanders is living proof of how MBE/DBE certification and the support of the Lambert St. Louis Business Diversity Development (BDD) office can be instrumental in helping a young business take-off and thrive. His family business, A-Plus Contractors LLC, was founded in 2009 and certified in 2014. The company is on track to do $500,000 in business this year, and Will is setting his sights on reaching $1 million in contracts for 2017. Will credits Amber Gooding, Airport Assistant Director of Community Programs & Business Diversity Development with playing a major role in the company’s success story.

In 2014, Will attended an informational meeting conducted by the Airport for new businesses interested in obtaining certification. “That meeting proved to be invaluable,” he said. Up to that point he had been running A-Plus in addition to holding down another full-time position. He had just decided to leave his full-time job to devote all of his time and energy to growing A-Plus.

The decision to devote full-time to the fledgling business required a leap of faith from Will and his wife, Kadee. In their humble beginnings they were concerned about how the young business would weather the winter months, when work typically slows for a business that specializes in hauling, excavation, and mobile power washing. While in the process of seeking his certification, Will got an idea. He figured that snow removal at the Airport would require some hauling, so he asked Gooding about the contractor performing this service for the Airport. Gooding immediately put him in touch with Tom Green at Midwest Landscape, a certified prime contractor. Green readily agreed to bring A- Plus on board as a tier 2 supplier.

Will took advantage of this opportunity, making sure that his company performed at a high level, and advanced to tier 1 status. “That contract was paramount,” he exclaimed. “We would not have gotten that work without Amber.”

As a result, Will to this day is one of BDD’s biggest boosters and is a strong proponent of the certification program. “The MBE and DBE programs get us a seat at the table,” said Will. “It makes us visible to prime contractors.” When the Sanders’ were developing the first marketing plan for their business, they realized that most of their competitors were certified. “I needed to get on equal footing with them,” explained Will. The certification process took about three months.

Will Sanders 2
Will on the job at Lambert Airport

After landing that first snow removal contract with the Airport, Will was able to build on that success and quickly grow his business. He noted that he purchased his first dump truck for A-Plus in 2014 and that the company now owns four trucks and two trailers and is looking to purchase two-three more trucks this year. The company has also grown from a one-man operation (Will) to a staff of four full-time and one part-time employees. A-Plus currently is a sub-contractor on another Lambert Airport contract to reconstruct the F and J runways. The scope of work involves tearing out the old concrete, using some of the broken concrete as a base, hauling dirt and old concrete, and laying new concrete. Will estimated that the project has yielded A-Plus about $45,000 thus far, and when work is completed in October, the total contract will probably wind up at about $90,000.
Will credits his two stable Airport sub-contracts – the snow hauling and the taxiway reconstruction – with legitimizing his business. “They have enabled us to keep cash flow moving, and the runway work helps us stabilize revenue,” he notes.

His advice for other companies considering certification is to “pre-plan and get your paperwork in order. You have to understand your business,” he said. “The Airport is here to assist you, not to do your work for you. You have to be willing to help yourself.”

Will Sanders has big plans for A-Plus. “I’m looking to grow to be a mid-size company of 40-50 employees over the next seven years,” he said. “I have a strategic plan that looks to elevate our business beyond DBE/MBE status.”  Will wants to be an example in the community of a successful minority business. By all accounts he is doing just that.


Tyson Townsend
Tyson Townsend, Owner, Top to Bottom Cleaning Solutions and Landscaping

Tyson Townsend is a success story in the making. In just two years this enterprising 27-year-old has grown his business, Top to Bottom Cleaning Solutions and Landscaping, LLC, from push mowing five residential lawns in his neighborhood to currently maintaining up to 60 residential properties. The Festus-based business now has two full-time employees and Townsend is poised to take his business to a whole new level. As a result of earning Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification this past December, Townsend just landed his first commercial contract with the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to perform sodding restoration work.

“I wouldn’t have gotten this job without the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification,” he explained. “They found my company on Lambert Airport’s Business Diversity Development (BDD) website.” He noted that MSD offers a lot of jobs for landscapers to restore lawns following sewer work. Townsend hopes that the successful completion of this first commercial job will lead to many more. He is also looking forward to bidding on work at the Airport.

Townsend was advised to apply for MBE certification by one of his previous employers. “They told me about all of the opportunities at the Airport for minority companies,” heexplained. The prospect of increasing the visibility of his business and getting opportunities to pursue commercial contracts appealed to Townsend so he researched the process, completed the paperwork, and earned his MBE certification within a few short months. He noted that Pamela Paulette, BDD Contract Compliance Officer, was very professional and helpful in guiding him through the process. “There is a lot of paperwork,” said Townsend. “Pam was great about answering any questions I had.” The BDD Office has streamlined the certification process.

Townsend attributes his early success to hard work and an insatiable desire to learn new things about his field. Prior to starting his own business in 2014, he gained valuable experience working for three other lawn and landscaping companies, where he focused on learning everything he could about all aspects of the business. He picked up new knowledge and skills with each company, working his way up to management and supervisory roles. Those experiences include supervision over a large project for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) to cut down more than 400 trees.

Tyson Townsend 2
Tyson Townsend and his wife, Nikki.

Thanks to the experience he gained working for others, he can provide a wide variety of services to his customers, including installation of retaining walls, tree cutting, sodding, and lawn mowing. When he first started his business, Townsend explored the possibility of including janitorial services in his business model. He subsequently decided to focus exclusively on what he knows best, lawn care and landscaping.

As he looks to expand his business, Townsend is focusing on gaining new knowledge and skills. “If you’re not learning every day, you’re not doing something right,” he declares. Long-term, he would like to branch out and offer additional services, such as sewer work. He would like to do more concrete work, excavating, and grading. Recalling his humble beginnings, Townsend also wants to contribute to the economic success of the community. His growth model includes providing employment for people who may not have the opportunities afforded to him. With Townsend’s drive to succeed and thirst for new knowledge, there’s no doubt that his business will soar.

Get Certified Online

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  • Complete the applications and upload documents.
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  • A Business Diversity Development representative will contact you soon!

Why apply online?

Applying online offers the benefit of streamlining and automating the application requirements for certification resulting in a shortened timeframe to complete the certification review process.

Contact us!

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Legislation Helping Missouri Contractors Control Workers Comp Insurance Costs To Become Law August 28

in Associations/News

Legislation passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year to help Missouri employers control their workers’ compensation insurance rates while ensuring injured workers receive the treatment they need to recover and return to the workforce is set to become law on August 28. July 15th was the final day for Governor Jay Nixon to act on legislation approved in this year’s legislative session, and he allowed Senate Bill 700 to become law without his signature or his veto. Senate Bill 700 passed overwhelmingly in both chambers, with no dissenting votes in the Missouri Senate.

The bill allows an employer, particularly a construction contractor, to pay up to 20 percent of an injured worker’s medical expenses if the injury does not require more than three days of lost time from the job.  Otherwise, the medical costs are covered under workers’ compensation insurance.

“This legislation provides employers in the state’s construction industry with another tool to use in helping contain their workers’ compensation costs,” said SITE Improvement Association Executive Director Terry Briggs.  “In the competitive construction industry, every dollar saved helps.”

Senate Bill 700 was SITE’s top legislative priority in this session of the general assembly. SITE helped lobby to get this bill approved. Senator Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, sponsored Senate Bill 700.  Why is this legislation so important?

“Every time an injury claim is filed under workers’ compensation, it affects the employer’s experience modification (MOD) rating,” said Briggs. “The MOD is used by workers’ comp insurance companies to establish an employer’s premiums for insurance.  The higher rating, the costlier the insurance will be.  It also is used by some purchasers of construction services, such as owners, to determine whether or not they want to allow a contractor to bid on their work.  A lower MOD rating can help a contractor be eligible to bid and perform work on construction projects that they otherwise would not be able to do if their mod rating was high.”

Briggs noted that S.B. 700 contains many safeguards to ensure the injured employee receives the necessary medical care to recover from the injury.  In addition, employers must continue to report such incidents to the state so that workplace injuries are tracked.

Other features of the bill include:

  • Allowing a contractor to pick the calendar year quarter in which to base the contractors’ premium adjustment credit.  Current law restricts contractors to only use the third quarter of the calendar year to base their credit;
  • Allowing volunteer fire protection associations to apply for grants from the State Fire Marshall’s Office to help them offset some of their workers’ compensation costs.  The amount of funds available for grants is subject to legislative appropriations. Once the appropriated funds run out, no more grants are available.

SITE Improvement Assn LogoSITE is an independent construction contractor group representing more than 165 contractors and businesses primarily in the concrete, earthmoving, landscaping, asphalt paving, highway/bridge, sewer/utility and specialty construction segments.  It represents the interests of its members in negotiations with labor unions, promotes political and legislative agendas and provides safety and technical training for members. SITE is celebrating 50 years of continuous operation in 2016.  For more information, visit

Osha Delays Effective Date For Enforcing Employees’ Rights To Report Workplace Injuries, Illnesses

in Associations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is delaying enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its new injury and illness tracking rule to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers. Originally scheduled to begin Aug. 10, 2016, enforcement will now begin Nov. 1, 2016.

Under the rule, employers are required to inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation; implement procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are reasonable and do not deter workers from reporting; and incorporate the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against workers for reporting injuries and illnesses.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Synergy Group Receives Two Awards From Society For Marketing Professional Services

in Associations
Sandy Flees and Rachel Brown
Sandy Flees and Rachel Brown

Synergy Group has received two of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) St. Louis’ top honors, the “Award of Excellence,” for construction industry client projects.

Synergy Group has received two of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) St. Louis’ top marketing honor, the “Award of Excellence,” for client website and rebranding projects.

Synergy Group received an “Award of Excellence” in the Website category for design and development of a new website for Wiegmann Associates, a leading national design/build HVAC and energy solutions mechanical contractor. Synergy built and customized Wiegmann’s modern, new mobile-responsive website and crafted all content.

“Our new website is modern and intuitive, and effectively demonstrates our strengths through content, personal testimonies, original Wiegmann photography, and project profiles,” said Steve Pearce, Vice President of Wiegmann Associates.

Synergy Group received an “Award of Excellence” in the Promotional Campaign category for a comprehensive rebranding for Integrated Facility Services (formerly Air Masters), a single-point resource for mechanical contracting and service including HVAC, plumbing, building automation and fire protection. The rebranding included a new website, logo, corporate materials, truck signage, internal and client communications, and a publicity and marketing campaign.

“Our rebranding was done smoothly, effectively and on budget.  We were fortunate that Synergy Group was our partner in this endeavor,” said Arthur Bottorff, sales and marketing manager for Integrated Facility Services. “The successful rebranding has increased our selling opportunities by 20 percent.”

Mary Schanuel
Mary Schanuel

The SMPS St. Louis Marketing Excellence Awards, which are held every two years, recognizes outstanding achievement in marketing communications by professional service firms in the design and building industry.  Projects are judged on marketing objectives, creativity, quality, content and results.

Synergy Group is a full-service strategic marketing communications firm providing strategic planning, brand creation, public relations, website design and development, marketing materials, digital communications, social media and business development services.  

Construction Financial Management Association Responds to CDC Report on Suicide Rate by Occupational Group

in Associations/News

Statistics released from the CDC on July 1, 2016 show that workers in construction and extraction have a 53.3 per 100,000 rate of suicide, which is second only to workers in the farming, fishing, and forest occupational group (84.5 per 100,000). With 17 states taking part in the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), this data heightens the need to address suicide prevention and mental health promotion in the construction industry.

Recently, the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) formed the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention to gather and disseminate key information and resources, share education and programming for CFMA’s 94 chapters across North America, and promote initiatives to support suicide prevention.

Stuart Binstock, CFMA President & CEO, said, “At CFMA’s 2016 Annual Conference & Exhibition, we brought the topic of suicide prevention to an audience of our nearly 1,300 attendees by offering two general education sessions and presentations to chapter leaders, providing flash drives, and introducing our new online resource at Efforts are also underway to encourage our industry partners to join the Alliance with the ultimate goal of preventing death by suicide in the construction industry.”

“As a construction company controller, I understand the importance of protecting and supporting our most valuable asset—our human capital,” adds CFMA Chairman Ken Chiccotella. “In conjunction with our conference theme of Building It Forward, ensuring not only the physical well-being, but also the mental health of our workforce must be core to our business strategies and goals.”

The newly released “Construction + Suicide Prevention” publications by Cal Beyer, Director of Risk Management at Lakeside Industries and executive committee member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, CEO and Co-Founder of the Carson J. Spencer Foundation, mental health advocate, and survivor of her brother’s suicide, address why suicide prevention in an imperative in the construction industry and provide 10 action steps companies can take to save lives.

“Construction industry leaders are stepping forward and changing culture with a new vision around suicide prevention. CFMA has shown bold leadership in spearheading this shift in culture as a conduit in making suicide prevention a health and safety priority,” said Spencer-Thomas. The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention cites these CFMA resources and website in support of the cause.

Ann Althoff, MCR, LEED AP, Associate DBIA Named Chair of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) St. Louis

in Associations
An Althoff

St. Louis design/build project executive Ann Althoff, MCR, LEED AP, Associate DBIA, has been named chair of the Urban Land Institute – St. Louis District Council (ULI St. Louis).

Active in ULI locally and nationally for more than eight years, Althoff has helped advance the organization’s responsible land use mission by serving as treasurer, assisting with the organization’s educational programs, co-founding the Women’s Leadership Initiative, and representing ULI St. Louis nationally as chair for mission advancement. On a national level, Althoff is active in the Public-Private Product Council and is a founding member of the End-User Product Council.

In her corporate work, Althoff brings more than 30 years of experience in the real estate and design/build industry.   She currently serves as a project executive at Clayco charged with identifying, nurturing and supporting new corporate, institutional and industrial design and construction ventures. Ann also provides client relationship and business development leadership for Forum Studio, the full-service design practice and wholly owned subsidiary of Clayco.  Prior to joining Clayco, Althoff worked with HOK, as senior vice president in charge of strategy and business development, Pace Properties and Cushman Wakefield (formerly Cassidy Turley).

Althoff earned a masters degree in urban affairs from Saint Louis University and earned her business administration degree from Fontbonne University.  She holds a masters in corporate real estate through CoreNet Global. Ann Althoff is a resident of Glendale, MO

With more than 220 members, ULI St. Louis unites thought leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

IFMA St. Louis Appoints Members to Board

in Associations

The St. Louis Chapter of IFMA (International Facility Managers Association) announced officers elected to its Board of Directors and Committee Chairs. Their terms run from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

  • President, Nancy Cripe, GRS Auction Services
  • Vice President, Don Finnegan, CFM, Enterprise Holdings
  • Treasurer, Jennifer Johnston-Tichacek, Ferguson Enterprises
  • Secretary, Jacqueline Mattingly, FMP, Monsanto
  • Immediate Past President, Chris Laughman, CFM, SFP, LEED AP O&M, Federal eserve Bank of St. Louis
  • Membership Chair, Gary Wood, Stryker Construction
  • Marketing Chair, Chris Darnell, Bluegrass Lawn Care
  • Education Chair, Scott Held, Ameren Corp.
  • Programs Chair, Jeff Touchette, Jarrell Mechanical Contractors
  • Sponsorship Chair, Karl Gnau, Veritiv
  • Sustainability Liaison, Dave Gardin, CFM, The Koman Group
  • Advocacy Liaison, James Delgado, Cozad Commercial Real Estate

IFMA St. Louis offers its members a learning and networking environment among its diverse membership, and supplies its members with the tools to achieve their professional goals. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, IFMA St. Louis has more than 250 members representing small and Fortune 500 companies throughout the region.

Photo Above: IFMA St. Louis Board Members from left: James Delgado, Cozad Commercial Real Estate; Chris Laughman, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Nancy Cripe, GRS Auction Services; Don Finnegan, Enterprise Holding; and Jennifer Johnston-Tichacek, Ferguson Facilities Supply. Not present Jacqueline Mattingly, Monsanto.

Habitat For Humanity Saint Louis Lists Property & Buildings For Sale

in Associations

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis has announced that it is publicly listing its property and buildings for sale as of Monday, July 11, 2016. Newmark Grubb Zimmer has been retained as a broker agent. The property is located at 3763 Forest Park Avenue in St. Louis. It sits on 1.5 acres and consists of multiple buildings ranging in size from 10,750 SF +/- to 25,600 SF +/- with a total of 52k +/- SF and 342 +/- feet of Forest Park Avenue frontage.

Habitat TEFThe property houses Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis’ Administrative Offices, ReStore Forest Park and a Construction Warehouse. It is just east of the Cortex Innovation Community and Washington University Medical Center complex and across from IKEA.

Newmark Grubb Zimmer has set a 30-day call for offers (with no list price) ending Friday, August 12, 2016. The listing does not obligate Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis to sell.

Kimberly McKinney
Kimberly McKinney

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis Chief Executive Officer, Kimberly McKinney offered, “In a continued effort to be good stewards of the organization’s assets (whether that asset is a donation or, in this case, our building), Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis is exploring a relocation that would allow the organization to maximize the value of real estate occupied since 2002 in order to further our mission to provide decent and affordable housing. All Habitat Saint Louis functions currently operating on Forest Park Avenue – the ReStore, the Construction Warehouse and the Administrative Offices – will continue to operate during this time of due diligence. If a relocation is deemed to be appropriate, all three functions will continue to operate in a new location.”

Habitat STL 2“Given the exciting, new commercial development around us, we have an obligation and responsibility to move forward and determine what our assets are worth,” emphasized Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis Board President, Marc Hirshman.

Mike Carlson, Executive Managing Director-Principal of Newmark Grubb Zimmer added, “Habitat for Humanity’s current site, being right on Forest Park Parkway, is truly the last premier redevelopment site in the corridor that connects BJC to SLU. Then of course, in between you have CORTEX, the CWE and IKEA. This is the hottest area in St. Louis for multifamily and commercial real estate in general. We expect extremely high interest from possible buyers.”

Questions regarding the listing should be directed to Mike Carlson at Newmark Grubb Zimmer, or 314-628-0438.

Habitat STL 1Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis (HFHSL) is a not-for-profit, ecumenical housing ministry working in partnership with individuals and communities of all faiths to improve housing conditions and provide safe, decent and affordable housing in St. Louis City and County. With nearly 400 homes already built or rehabbed, HFHSL is one of the leading housing developers in St. Louis. HFHSL regularly ranks among the top Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the country. HFHSL donors, volunteers, and partner families work side-by-side to build or rehab homes ensuring that every deserving family in St. Louis has a decent place to live.

In addition to a down payment and a 30-year affordable mortgage, each HFHSL homebuyer invests 350 sweat-equity volunteer hours into building or rehabbing a home and attending life skills classes. Homeowners are teachers, healthcare providers and returning college students determined to achieve homeownership and create a legacy for their families.

HFHSL’s two ReStores sell new and reusable construction and home remodeling supplies. The mission of the ReStore is to provide additional financial resources to HFHSL; expand opportunities to serve a broader base of the community by providing low-cost materials; and provide good stewardship of sustainable resources within the St. Louis MSA.

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis: Building Homes, Building Hope, Building St. Louis. For more information, visit:

ASA Midwest Council Elects 2016-17 Officers, Board of Directors

in Associations

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA)-Midwest Council recently elected its officers and board of directors for 2016-17.

Amy Heeger
Amy Heeger

Amy Heeger, president of AME Constructors was elected as 2016-17 chapter president. Heeger succeeds Kevin Douglas of Freeman Contracting, and will serve a one-year term which began July 1 and will expire June 30, 2017.

Heeger, who has been a member of ASA since 2011, will be the first women president for the ASA Midwest Council.

“I am looking forward to a great year and am honored to have been elected to lead such a fine organization. Heeger said. “The ASA Midwest Council will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2017, and it will be my privilege to serve during such a milestone for our chapter.”

Val Perales of Bazan Painting Co, was elected vice-president. Jennifer Church of United Rentals was elected secretary, and Mark O’Donnell of Schmersahl Treloar & Co., CPA’s will serve as the association’s treasurer for a three-year term.

Members of the 2016-17 Board of Directors also include: Tom Henson, Affton Fabricating and Welding; Jeffrey Loebner, Envirotech; Brian Hayden, Hayden Wrecking; Christopher O’Hagan, J. D. Kutter Insurance Associates; Richard Russell, Sachs Electric Co.

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) Midwest Council is a construction trade association made up of quality specialty contractors and suppliers serving the construction industry and the community in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area and southern Illinois.

IFMA St.Louis Honors Members, Facility At National FM Day Celebration

in Associations

Members of the St. Louis Chapter of IFMA (International Facility Managers Association) gathered to recognize two industry members and the facility of the year. Held on Wednesday, June 15, at the Moonrise Hotel in the Delmar Loop, the awards were presented during the chapter’s celebration of National FM Day. Started in 2008, FM Day underscores the value and contributions of facility managers in St. Louis and around the nation who ensure that commercial buildings provide a safe, healthy and productive environment.

Award recipients were:

Distinguished Member Award: Michelle Hoff, Business Development Representative, Paragon Certified Restoration

Hoff was recognized for her contributions to IFMA St. Louis. She chaired the chapter’s recent annual Golf Classic. Additionally, she oversaw marketing for the area’s Industry Expo, which brings building owners, facility managers and suppliers together to discuss common issues and trends. Chapter members lauded her ability to collaborate and find new opportunities that benefit the facility management industry.

Achievement in Facility Management Award: Jacqueline Mattingly, FMP, Workplace Strategy Management, Monsanto

An 18-year veteran in developing and leading complex projects, Mattingly works with senior leadership to identify opportunities to increase performance. As a team leader at Monsanto, she has been an integral part of the global company’s improved service performance. This included launching a new software program earlier this year to streamline office allocations at the company’s St. Louis corporate campus. The new system allows the end user to review and follow all work orders, significantly reducing cycle time and improved service levels. The software also ties directly into Monsanto’s other operating systems.

Facility of the Year: Shriners Hospitals for Children – St. Louis

The new replacement hospital opened in June 2015 not far from its first St. Louis location. The 90,000-square-foot facility represents an extreme departure from a traditional 24/7 full-service hospital. It now operates primarily as an outpatient center with just 12 in-patient beds. Serving a nine-state region, many patients travel several hours to receive the hospital’s specialized care. Hotel-style guest rooms accommodate parents and their children for these visits. Its high-tech, high-touch design features brightly colored décor, interactive technology to engage all regardless of physical abilities, and an accessible playground for children with special needs.


IFMA St. Louis offers its members a learning and networking environment among its diverse membership, and supplies its members with the tools to achieve their professional goals.

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