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Kwame Building Group Receives Award for Taxiway and Runway-Rehabilitation at St. Louis Lambert International Airport

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Kwame Building Group (KWAME) has received the American Concrete Paving Association (ACPA) Excellence in Concrete Paving Award for taxiway and runway rehabilitation work at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL). KWAME, via their joint venture with HR Green, Inc., provided project management for the $9.7 million, multi-phase project, which included reconstruction of taxiways known as Sierra and Kilo and the rehabilitation of runway 12L-30R. The ACPA Missouri/Kansas Chapter selected the project as the best cement concrete rehabilitation project completed in the state of Missouri in 2018.  The awards program recognizes high-quality workmanship, quality and creativity in concrete pavement projects.

The taxiway reconstruction project included the removal of 15,000 square yards of existing Portland Cement Concrete pavement and replacement with new concrete pavement.  The concrete removed from the old taxiway, originally constructed in 1979, was recycled and reused as the base course cap and sub-base layer.

Also included in the project was new drainage systems, 6,000 square yards of asphalt shoulders, asphalt service road, airfield lighting, airfield directional signage and pavement markings. To avoid disruption of normal operations at the airport, portions of the work was performed at night and on weekends.  The general contractor was Millstone Weber, LLC. The consulting engineer was Crawford, Murphy, and Tilly (CMT).

KWAME has completed numerous projects at Lambert since 1999, including the $62 million, award-winning Airport Experience Program, the largest renovation in Lambert’s history, and also the restoration of Concourse C and other areas following the EF4 tornado that hit the airport in 2011.

Kwame Building Group, Inc. (KWAME) is one of the nation’s top pure construction management firms, dedicating 100 percent of its resources to project management services. An employee-owned company, KWAME provides estimating, scheduling, project planning, value engineering and other project management services as an independent advocate for owners and developers. For more information, visit or call (314) 862-5344.

Poettker Construction Underway with Le Méridien Marriott Hotel Conversion

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Poettker continues to bolster its hospitality profile in St. Louis 

Poettker Construction, a second-generation family-owned construction company, is currently renovating the former Majestic Hotel in downtown St. Louis. For this project, Hawkeye Hotels engaged Poettker Construction’s hospitality experts to transform this 9-story hotel into a high-end Le Méridien Marriott Hotel.

Poettker is managing the overall project along with self-performing key selective demolition and carpentry items in order to help ensure the project schedule is maintained.

“The Poettker team is thrilled to be a part of this high-end renovation in downtown St. Louis,” said Keith Poettker, president of Poettker Construction. “During preconstruction, we recommended many value engineering options to ensure the project would be completed on time and within budget without sacrificing the French design influences unique to the Le Méridien brand.”

The Le Méridien brand has 18 hotels in the United States, with this being the first one in the St. Louis area. Amenities will include 96 luxury guest suites and rooms, sophisticated lobby and event spaces, an upscale restaurant and bar, and a modern fitness area.

Poettker Construction anticipates project completion in early Fall 2019. The architect of record for the project is Coleman Partners Architects, LLC based in Baton Rouge, La.

Established in 1980, Poettker Construction is a second-generation, family-owned and veteran-owned business specializing in construction management, design/build, general contracting and self-perform services with an emphasis to exceed the client’s expectations.  For more information,visit

HDA Architects & JNS Architects Complete Design of European inspired AC Hotel located in CWE

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HDA Architects and JNS Architects have completed design of a new $45 million European inspired AC Hotel located in the Central West End of St. Louis, Missouri. The 7-story building will have 192 guest rooms. The development team on this project is Koplar Properties, Concord Hospitality Enterprises and Homebase Partners. The General Contractor is MC Hotel Construction.

The project is within distance to the extensive BJC – Washington University Medical Campus, Forest Park, and walkable access to bars, restaurants and shops. The AC Hotel will be the first hospitality project completed in the Central West End in nearly 20 years and is scheduled to commence construction this summer.

One Metropolitan Square Aims To Elevate Tenant Experience With New Amenity Upgrades

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After more than $2.5 million in updates last year, St. Louis’ tallest high-rise, One Metropolitan Square, announced today it is adding several innovative amenity upgrades. The downtown building’s lobby now boasts a massive 28-foot by 10-foot, 2,000-pound media wall with 112 LED panels, and soon it will begin constructing a 7,000+ square-foot amenities lounge on the buildings 42nd floor. The lounge will feature an open, modern floor plan with seating areas for socializing; a bar and game tables; and impressive views overlooking The Arch and downtown.

JLL, the firm managing the property, says the upgrades are being done in part to modernize the iconic building, but most of all they are hoping to set a new standard for tenant experience within multi-tenant office buildings in St. Louis.

“One Metropolitan Square is undergoing a transformation and leading the way in terms of amenity offerings for Class A office in St. Louis,” Henry Voges, senior vice president, JLL Property Management Group.  “The Eatery Food Hall added last year has been a huge success, and the media wall is something you won’t find in any other multi-tenant office building in St. Louis. With the planned amenities floor, it will be difficult to find a better tenant experience in the City of St. Louis.”

In the past year, One Metropolitan Square successfully completed eight renewals and five new tenant leases, including two agreements signed within the past month with FGM Architects and NGK Law Firm, both which are moving from a nearby downtown building. NGK will occupy approximately 6,000 square feet and FGM approximately 10,000 square feet. Both companies are expected to move late summer. One Metropolitan Square is currently just over 75 percent occupied, and JLL expects that number to increase with the planned amenities and upgrades.

“Owners are recognizing that the workforce expects more from their office buildings and that how people experience their space is driving leasing decisions,” said Mark Zettl, JLL President of Property Management. “While physical space will always be critical, experience is the office amenity of the future.”

JLL’s 2,100 property management experts in the U.S. provide comprehensive real estate services in more than 1,700 buildings totaling more than 365 million square feet. For more news, videos and research resources, please visit the firm’s newsroom.

Aschinger Electric Teams with IBEW To Complete the New Meramec Valley Branch Library

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Project is the 17th St. Louis County Library Branch Improvement by Electrical Connection Membership

St. Louis County Library’s new Meramec Valley Branch debuted on May 15, 2019.  It is the 17th branch to be modernized by the Electrical Connection partnership comprised of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).  NECA contractor Aschinger Electric Co. completed the technology-infused library, taking over work from Briner Electric Co. which it acquired in 2018.   The library was designed by Mackey Mitchell Architects and Bond Architects.  Brinkmann Constructors was the construction manager.

The new $5.6 million Meramec Valley Branch located at 1501 San Simeon Way is more than 21,000 square feet and replaces a 2,690-square-foot branch that was the smallest in St. Louis County Library system.  It is infused with the latest technology for research and features a Discovery Zone for children, private study rooms, a quiet reading room, a community meeting room, a business center, a community garden, a walking path and outdoor reading deck.

NECA contractors and IBEW have performed electrical installations on 16 other branches in the St. Louis County Library system including Grant’s View, Weber Road, Jamestown Bluffs, Indian Trails, Rock Road, Samuel Sachs, Cliff Cave, Prairie Commons, Natural Bridge, Oak Bend, Bridgeton Trails, Florissant Valley, Daniel Boone, Grand Glaize, Mid-County and Thornhill branches.  The projects have entailed a wide variety of complexities including electrical, fire alarm, decorative and energy efficient lighting, generators for emergency lighting, and technology improvements for new and renovated branches.

The projects are part of a multi-year capital improvement campaign called Your Library Renewed to improve a total of 19 branches. In 2012, voters approved a $.06 tax increase to fund new facilities and upgrades to existing structures, as well as enhanced library programs and services. More information on all of the library improvements including images can be found at

Now celebrating its 107th year of service, Aschinger Electric is a four generation, family-owned electrical and communications contractor serving the commercial, industrial, educational and health care markets.  Learn more at

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


Laclede’s Landing Hails Memorial Day Completion of Lucas Ave Project

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St. Louis-based Stika Brothers Concrete Contracting, Inc. is the lead contractor for the  Lucas Avenue Project in Laclede’s Landing, a high-impact effort wrapping up this weekend that creates vehicular access to the Landing’s south end and features pedestrian-friendly sidewalks with trees and lighting.

John Clark, president of the Laclede’s Landing Community Improvement District, said the $350,000 infrastructural project creates a new main artery access point to the Landing connecting Lucas Avenue from Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard to Lumiere Boulevard (Third Street). Clark said the newly rebuilt section literally paves the way for the growing amount of residential development there. Advantes Development is converting the former Bi-State Development headquarters at 701 North First Street into Peper Lofts. Advantes Principal Brian Minges has two more Landing structures under contract – the former Hoffman Building (700 North Second) and the Greeley Building (618-624 North Second) – for a mixed-use, residential-retail redevelopment.

“Brian is seeing great success with the Peper Lofts, the Landing’s first-ever multifamily development that is quickly filling up,” said Clark. “With the completion of all the work on the Gateway Arch grounds and museum plus an additional $20 million in recent investments on the Landing with more to come, we anticipate increasing demand for additional residential options from those who want to live in this premier riverfront location.”

The new stretch of Lucas Avenue is anticipated to open this Monday, May 27.

S. M. Wilson, Christner Partner to Build $28 Million Expansion for COCA

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S. M. Wilson is building Phase 2 of the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) expansion that will nearly double the size of the nonprofit organization’s facility at 524 Trinity Avenue in St. Louis.

Phase 1 of the project was completed by S. M. Wilson in June 2018 and consisted of renovations to the Kuehner West Wing Facilities. Construction of Phase 2 – scheduled to reach completion in early 2020 – is currently under way and includes construction of the two-level Ferring East Wing addition.

Axi:Ome, Design Architect and Christner, Associate Design Architect are architects of record

A national leader in innovative arts education, COCA serves more than 50,000 people annually of all ages, backgrounds and ability levels throughout the Greater St. Louis area. As demand for the organization’s services continues to increase, the existing facility no longer has adequate capacity.

In 2015, COCA launched the Create Our Future campaign, a multi-year fundraising effort to transform its University City campus. COCA has raised $45 million to fund the expansion and renovation project and build capital reserves and endowment funds for scholarships, support services, artistic and educational programming.

“This expansion will allow COCA to serve more students from throughout the St. Louis community and ensure that we remain a part of what makes St. Louis a great place to work, live, and raise a family, for years to come,” said COCA Board President Jesse Hunter.

A new 450-seat theatre features a core and shell made of primarily concrete. Foundations, columns, walls and decks are a mix of load-bearing masonry and structural steel, according to S. M. Wilson President Amy Berg. The extreme height of the masonry walls makes them unique. Standing 50 and 52 feet high, the structural loading sequence, wind bracing and assembly of the load-bearing masonry walls were crucial during design, she said.

“The one-of-a-kind theatre is also difficult to build due to the 11 different floor elevations,” Berg added. “S. M. Wilson had to be precise when planning the concrete pour sequence which required multiple forming and shoring systems.”

Because of the limited space and access of the project site, a tower crane was required in order to accommodate the long reaches for concrete pours and steel picks. Typically a tower crane would not be needed for a two-story building, Berg said, but due to the location, the height of the masonry walls, overhead obstructions, multi-level concrete deck pours and complex steel installations, it was a requirement for a successful project.

“COCA is an inspiring organization and a staple in our community,” she said. “We are proud to be a part of delivering this landmark project and look forward to how this new space will continue to innovate and inspire for generations to come.”

TJ Wies Contracting Presented with Safety and Quality Excellence Awards

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TJ Wies Contracting was recently presented with Safety and Quality Excellence Awards at the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry’s (AWCI) Annual Convention in National Harbor, Maryland. The Awards Brunch was held on April 25th.

AWCI is an international association with over 2,400 members. The membership consists of manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and contractors throughout North America.

AWCI presented TJ Wies Contracting with the 2019 Excellence in Construction Safety Award – “for the greatest overall increase in safety, training, and awareness among AWCI member companies with between 500,000 and 1,000,000 man-hours in 2018.” This year marks the third time that TJ Wies Contracting has been presented with an Excellence in Safety Award by AWCI; other years include 2015 and 2017.

In addition to the Excellence in Safety Award, AWCI also awarded TJ Wies Contracting with the 2019 Excellence in Construction Quality Award in the Drywall category for work on the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial – Museum of Westward Expansion & Visitor Center, now referred to as Gateway Arch National Park. The Excellence in Quality Award “recognizes excellence in construction quality in the face of complicated and challenging projects.” TJ Wies Contracting received Excellence in Quality Awards in 2010 and 2011 as well, for Cardinals Kids Cancer Center and River City Casino, respectively.

Tim Wies stated, “I have always felt that safety, quality, and productivity were not mutually exclusive. Having now won these prestigious awards three times each, the industry has acknowledged what I have known from the start – a safe company can produce quality work while still being productive. Thank you to AWCI for the recognition and thanks to everyone on Team TJ Wies Contracting.”

Ryan Freeman Named President of PayneCrest Electric, Inc.

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Ryan Freeman

Ryan Freeman has joined PayneCrest Electric, Inc. to serve as president.  PayneCrest is one of the St. Louis area’s largest electrical contractors serving a variety of industries locally and nationally.  David Payne, who has served as PayneCrest’s president for 34 years, will remain chief executive officer of the firm.

Freeman has 18 years of experience in construction management and executive leadership, most recently serving as a senior vice president at McCarthy.  He has earned a number of honors including being named a “40 under 40” high achiever by the national publication Building Design + Construction and the St. Louis Business Journal.   He was also named an outstanding alumnus by Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville’s School of Engineering from which he graduated with a mechanical engineering degree. Freeman is a past board member of FamilyForward and currently serves on several committees for the St. Louis-based charity that fights child abuse and neglect.

PayneCrest is annually ranked among the nation’s “Top Specialty Contractors” by the construction trade publication Engineering News Record.  It reported revenues of $160 million in 2018, ranking among the top electrical contractors by the St. Louis Business Journal.  The firm provides industrial, commercial and telecommunications electrical contracting and engineering services.  It has been honored more than 25 times for construction excellence in the annual AGC Keystone Awards, including its work on the St. Louis area’s two largest electrical contracts – the Holcim Cement Plant and the Lumiere Place Casino and Hotel.

Most recent PayneCrest projects include the Pfizer research campus in Chesterfield, Mo., Centene’s expansion in Clayton, Mo., the expansion of the GM auto plant in Arlington, Tex. and the Facebook Data Center in Omaha, Neb.

Founded in 1954, PayneCrest specializes in solution-oriented industrial, commercial and telecom electrical contracting and engineering services for a local, regional and national clientele.  Clients span healthcare, technology, biotech, energy, industrial, institutional and commercial industries. Find out more at

IBEW Local 1 Electrician Wins 2018 IBEW Apprentice of the Year

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Deaf apprentice Cory Davis pursues his dream despite language barrier


IBEW LOCAL 1 PROUD: Cory Davis, a fifth-year IBEW Local 1 apprentice who has been deaf since birth, was named the 2018 IBEW Apprentice of the Year at the IBEW Construction and Maintenance Conference in Washington last month, making his IBEW Local 1 family proud. – IBEW photo

Much to the delight of his IBEW Local 1 family, Cory Davis, a fifth-year IBEW Local 1 apprentice who has been deaf since birth, has been named the 2018 IBEW Apprentice of the Year.

Davis, who was selected among 400 nominations nationwide, received the award last month at the 2019 IBEW Construction and Maintenance Conference in Washington. The 37-year-old father of four said he was shocked to learn he had won the prestigious honor.

“I want to say, ‘Thank you to Local 1 for getting me in and to my wife Rebecca for supporting me,’” Davis signed at the award ceremony. “I’m very proud to be a member of the IBEW.”

Davis, originally from Alton, IL, knew as a child he wanted to be an electrician. His father worked at a telecommunications company and brought his scrap home and Davis would practice wiring.

After receiving his associate degree in electrical technology from Harper Williams College in Palatine, IL, he stayed in the Chicago area and worked for a company building control panels.

Eventually, Davis moved back to the St. Louis area, married and started a family. He knew that he needed to join the IBEW to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an electrician.


IBEW LOCAL 1 Business Representative John Kahrhoff (left), St. Louis Electrical Industry Training Center Director Dennis Gralike (second to left) and Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs (far right) knew from the very beginning that apprentice Cory Davis (standing left of Jacobs) had a bright future with Local 1. – Compass Communications photo

In 2014, he met IBEW Local 1 Business Representative John Kahrhoff at an air show. Davis and Kahrhoff, a licensed interpreter, struck up a conversation, and after learning about Davis’ qualifications and his goals, Kahrhoff knew Davis had a future with the IBEW Local 1 family and talked it over with Business Manager Frank Jacobs.

“John walked in with his credentials, and I said, ‘Let’s get him in here for an interview and make sure there is an interpreter,’” Jacobs said. “He came in for the interview and did really well, and he was selected into the apprenticeship program.”

The IBEW Electricians Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee committed to giving Davis full communication access through sign language throughout his apprenticeship training.

“Cory finished the program at the top of his class and had the highest grade point average, and continues to receive outstanding evaluations on the job,” said Dennis Gralike, director of the St. Louis Electrical Industry Training Center.

Mike Hood, former vice president of Bell Electric who has bilateral hearing loss, took Davis under his wing and hired him in 2014. Hood has since retired, but still enjoys learning about Davis’ success on the job.

CORY DAVIS, a fifth year IBEW Local 1 apprentice who works at Bell Electric, is well respected on the job because of how good he is at what he does. – screencap

“The work that Cory does is impressive, and he is respected on the job,” Gralike said. “Even journeymen wiremen look up to him because of what he has accomplished and how good he is at what he does.”

Davis communicates with his co-workers via writing and pointing to blueprints. He attends union meetings on a regular basis and takes part in many his union’s community service opportunities.

“My advice to other apprentices or those considering an IBEW Local 1 apprenticeship is to just be yourself,” Davis said. “Show your knowledge of the industry and what you can do and work hard, and you’ll do just fine.”

In August, Davis will be attending the IBEW National Training Institute in Ann Arbor, MI, where he will be recognized by the IBEW National Training Committee – which oversees the curriculum for the IBEW/National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) training program – as an outstanding apprentice.

“I imagine Cory will serve as an inspiration to the many instructors that will be attending the event,” Gralike said.

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