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Ameren Begins Upgrading 1.2M Electric Meters Throughout Missouri

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First installation at a Habitat for Humanity home in St. Charles, part of larger plan to build a smarter, stronger, cleaner energy grid for families and businesses

St. Charles residents will begin seeing utility crews in their neighborhoods as Ameren Missouri starts to upgrade electric smart meters. This is the first step in a multi-year project to upgrade 1.2 million electric meters and 130,000 gas modules throughout Ameren Missouri’s service territory.

“With a new smart meter, customers will get more precise energy use information to help them better understand how and when they use energy, which can help them use it more efficiently” said Jeff Esserman, director of the smart meter program at Ameren Missouri. “They will be able to choose from a range of expanded rate options, which will offer flexibility to pay less when using energy during off-peak hours, when demand for energy is lower.”

Upgraded smart meters also will improve reliability thanks to two-way communication between the updated grid and the new meters. This capability allows Ameren Missouri to “talk” to the meters and quickly identify if a location has lost power, pinpoint the problem, and fix it faster.

Ameren Missouri will install 120,000 smart meters throughout much of St. Charles County over the next several months, then expand upgrades into St. Louis City and other regions of the state. Customers will begin receiving notifications a few months in advance to inform them of their scheduled installation timeframe and provide answers to frequently asked questions.

A remodeled Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County home was the first St. Charles residence to receive an upgraded smart meter, preparing the family for a bright energy future. The upgraded meter will provide energy usage information they can use to shift their energy usage habits and potentially save on their bill.

“We work to build affordable and sustainable housing for our families, and look for ways to make them energy efficient to reduce homeowners’ monthly costs,” said Michelle Woods, Executive Director at Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County. “We appreciate that Ameren Missouri is thinking about how smart meters and other technologies can help customers manage their energy use better.”

“Our installers have Ameren Missouri ID badges and to keep everyone safe, they will practice social distancing measures,” said Esserman. “Since our crews will be working outside, you don’t need to worry about being present during the installation. It will take less than 20 minutes to switch your meter.”

Ameren Missouri expects to complete the installation of smart meters for all Missouri customers by 2025. More information about the smart meter installation and time of use plan options is available

Investing in Smart Energy

The new smart meters are part of Ameren Missouri’s Smart Energy Plan, which includes thousands of electric projects to prepare for the region’s future energy needs. The current five-year plan will invest $7.6 billion in continued grid modernization while building upon successes from the first year.

“We identified projects that will provide more reliable, affordable energy for our customers, and help reduce carbon emissions to benefit our environment,” said Marty Lyons, president at Ameren Missouri. “Through these efforts, we are building a cleaner, stronger energy grid that will serve our region’s changing energy needs for decades to come.”

Ameren Missouri’s Smart Energy Plan 2019 highlights:

• 900+ projects completed

• 9,000 new storm resilient utility poles installed

• 13 new or upgraded substations completed to serve growing communities and improve reliability

• 180+ smart switches installed, which can reduce an outage from hours to seconds by re-routing power.

• 30,000 hours of avoided outages in 2020 for customers with upgraded smart switches.

• $8 million in customer solar rebates allocated.

Learn more about Ameren Missouri’s smart energy initiatives at

About Ameren Missouri

Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company’s electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri’s mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company’s service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit or follow us at @AmerenMissouri or

Western Specialty Contractors Uses Special Skills and Care When Restoring Monuments and Memorials

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Monuments can be powerful, and even controversial, reminders of a person, place or event in history. When monuments start to show signs of wear-and-tear and weather damage and need to be restored to their original conditions, 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 worked on some of the nation’s most recognized 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, monuments and memorials can be returned to their original condition and protected from future damage.

In the case of graffiti, Western uses high-performance, environmentally friendly technology to safely and effectively remove spray paint and its shadows from concrete, brick and natural stone without damaging their delicate surfaces or changing their appearances.

“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.

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

Image above: President Abraham Lincoln Receiving Vault in Springfield, IL

KAI Design Expands

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Michael Andresen

KAI Design proudly announces the hiring of Michael Andresen, AIA, CDT, LEED AP, as Project Manager.

As Project Manager, Andresen acts as the primary point of contact and the liaison between the owner/client and the design team on both public and private projects. He is responsible for the work quality, schedules and budget compliance for the project team.

He has 14 years of industry experience, having previously worked as a Project Manager for Vessel Architecture and Design in St. Louis and as an Architect at RDG Planning & Design in Des Moines, Iowa.

“Having Mike Andresen join our KAI Design team is a next growth plateau for our organization. He is a seasoned project manager with a wide range of project experience – including a particular emphasis with social infrastructure-driven markets such as community, education, healthcare and housing. Mike brings a well-rounded personal portfolio of solid business management, technical acumen and a passionate drive for design excellence. His alignment with KAI values, culture and mission are just terrific,” said KAI Managing Partner Brad Simmons, FAIA.

He is a Registered Architect with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), LEED AP with the U.S. Green Building Council and CDT with the Construction Specifications Institute.

Over the last four years, he has worked as a Project Manager on six new construction and renovation projects in St. Louis totally more than half a million square feet of planning, design and construction. Prior to relocating to Missouri, Andresen spent 10 years working in central Iowa where he managed the sustainable design process on over 3 million square feet of new construction, including certifying 30 LEED projects – 10 of which achieved LEED Platinum certification.

Andresen has a Bachelor of Architecture with a Minor in Entrepreneurial Studies from Iowa State University. Andresen and his wife live in Olivette with their son.

KAI Hires Ramona Nicula, PE LEED AP as Director of Electrical Engineering

Ramona Nicula

KAI Engineering is proud to announce the addition of Ramona Nicula, PE LEED AP as Director of Electrical Engineering of its St. Louis office.

In her new position, Nicula will lead electrical engineering project design, work planning, electrical discipline recruitment and staff development. She will provide project oversight of St. Louis-led projects and lead the overall quality control of the electrical department.

“Ramona is a home run hire and a truly welcome addition to our KAI Engineering team. She brings a passion and commitment to engineering design excellence and meshes well with our KAI mission, culture and values,” said KAI Managing Partner Brad Simmons, FAIA. “Ramona is a mature industry veteran that brings a wide range of project experience. As a seasoned group leader, she is well known in our industry, understands our seller-model and is a proven performer with alternative delivery.”

Nicula has had a successful 25-year career in the industry, having previously served as Vice President of EDM Inc. and Engineering Manager at PayneCrest Electric, both of St. Louis.

She earned her engineering degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Transylvania University in Romania and an M.B.A. from University of Missouri – St. Louis. She is a member of the Electrical Board of Missouri and Illinois and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Texas, Maryland and California. She is also a LEED Accredited Professional through the U.S. Green Building Council.

When not working, Nicula enjoys skiing and biking. She resides in St. Louis with her husband and daughter.

KAI Enterprises is a national design and build firm providing delivery-oriented building solutions with a diverse portfolio of experience, in-house multi-discipline professionals, and expertise in both design and construction delivery. Founded in 1980, KAI has grown into one of the largest minority-owned firms in the AEC industry. KAI Enterprises is comprised of four distinct business units—KAI Design, KAI Engineering, KAI Build and KAI 360 Construction Services. To learn more about KAI, visit

Kwame Foundation Cancels Annual Golf Tournament

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Fundraising continues for first-generation, college-bound students

Because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, The Kwame Foundation has canceled its 17th annual golf tournament, which raises tens of thousands of dollars each year for scholarships for first-generation, college-bound students. The Kwame Foundation, a 501c(3) organization, is fundraising online so they can continue to help students. Donations can be made at

Since 2003, the foundation has endowed over $1.5 million in scholarships and grants at over 12 different universities. Although the foundation serves students of all races, the primary focus is minority students who are bright, talented, high-achieving individuals but might not otherwise have an opportunity for higher education.

“While we are saddened to have to cancel our event, the needs of our college-bound students continue in significant ways. We are grateful to our loyal sponsors and volunteers who continue to donate their time and money to serve local students in need, including those who have been specifically impacted by the coronavirus,” said Kim Thompson, executive director of The Kwame Foundation.

Founded by Kim and Anthony (Tony) Thompson, CEO of Kwame Building Group, The Kwame Foundation provides young people an opportunity to learn, grow, and become professionals in their chosen careers. Programs include financial assistance and scholarships, educational mentorships, internship opportunities and training in careers consistent with those needed to compete in a changing environment.

The Kwame Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization that creates opportunities for youth in underserved communities through mentorship and scholarships. Founded by Kim and Anthony (Tony) Thompson, CEO of Kwame Building Group, the Kwame Foundation develops a doorway of opportunity into the professional world through mentoring programs and scholarship opportunities. For more information on Kwame Foundation, visit or call (314) 754-5619.

Landco Construction Launches Innovative “REMOTivate” Service to Upgrade Home Office Spaces

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As months of pandemic work-from-home arrangements start to show the strain, St. Louis-area commercial contractor Landco Construction has a solution: REMOTivate yourself and your employees with home office makeovers.

Landco President Linda Bernhard says its new service can help companies lean into an uncertain situation with improvements that keep employees motivated and efficient.

“It could be a long time before we get back to normal,” Bernhard said. “Everybody has people working from home — sitting at their dining room table or down in the basement surrounded by 2×4 studs and raw insulation. A proper home office can make them more productive.”

Landco specializes in constructing contemporary, effective and environmentally aware workspaces for many St. Louis companies and campuses, including several Fortune 200 organizations.

Bernhard says that when the coronavirus struck earlier this year, it quickly became clear that the shelter-in-place orders were putting many clients’ construction plans on indefinite hold. “They didn’t know how long they’d be keeping employees working remotely.”

So, her team came up with REMOTivate, a service it could offer to both employers and employees to improve the work environment for the remote workforce.

Landco’s bundled offerings bring home office functionality to work-from-home locales. They range from the very simple — a desk and chair — to more premium packages that could include a sit/stand desk, executive chair, acoustical panels, even light construction such as installing a privacy door. “We can make this package work for everybody,” Bernhard said.

Employers can offer it as a perk to their workers, maybe to help transition them to permanent remote work. “They may be looking at downsizing their campus, giving up some rental space to save on their rent.”

Employees may treat themselves in order to be more efficient and comfortable in their home offices — or may upgrade an employer’s offered renovation with extras of their own.

Landco is working with its partners, CI Select, Golterman & Sabo, Request Electric and Automated Data Solutions, to put together a menu of standardized offerings that can be ordered easily and delivered quickly. “We need products that are turnkey — that we can turn around in three to five days,” Bernhard said. Landco employees will observe stringent safety protocols, maintaining social distancing when they deliver and assemble the REMOTivate orders.

Bernhard said she’s spoken to both vendors and clients in the St. Louis area. “We’ve had a great response,” she said. “The excitement level is high.”

And it’s a service she believes will continue to be attractive to some clients, even when the initial COVID-19 crisis abates.

“What we’ve been encountering over the past few months has opened everybody’s eyes to a new way of working,” she said. “If employers can save rent, if employees can work from home, I do see a need continuing for this.”

For more information visit

Since 2001, Landco Construction has built astounding interior projects – and a strong reputation with clients for collaboration, consistency, and service. A Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE), Landco is led by CEO Linda Bernhard and her talented, experienced team of projects managers and craftsman (and women). Her vision reflects the company’s founding vision: Service, above all else. It is why Landco has received multiple ASA Contractor of the Year awards, and why they’re consistently among the top construction companies in St. Louis. 


Pluton Biosciences First St. Louis-based Biotech Company Selected for Global Illumina Accelerator

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Pluton Biosciences is the first St. Louis-based biotech company to be chosen for Illumina Accelerator, a company creation engine started by San Diego-based, global DNA sequencing leader Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN). Illumina Accelerator partners with global entrepreneurs to build breakthrough genomics startups.

“Pluton is thrilled to be the first St. Louis-based biotech company to be chosen by Illumina Accelerator. The opportunity to build our company in San Francisco, a global center of the life sciences industry, is terrific, and to have an investment from Illumina, the world’s largest sequencing company, is even better,” said Pluton CEO Charlie Walch.

Pluton is a microbial testing and discovery research company dedicated to finding unique microbes to replace synthetic chemical applications in agriculture and pest control with eco-friendly natural products. Pluton uses Micromining®, its high-throughput microbial discovery platform, to identify and isolate novel bacteria, fungi, and viruses within months and not years, which dramatically improves R&D throughput for agtech companies and producers of pesticides.

Pluton’s Chief Science Officer Dr. Barry Goldman observed, “Access to Illumina’s sequencing resources enables Pluton to build a vast microbiome data library – a critical component of our Micromining platform. Joining Illumina Accelerator San Francisco Bay Area as part of the 11th funding cycle is a transformational opportunity for Pluton.”

During two six-month funding cycles per year, Illumina Accelerator provides the selected startups with access to seed investment, access to Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, as well as business guidance, genomics expertise, and fully operational lab space adjacent to Illumina’s campuses in Cambridge, UK or the San Francisco Bay Area.

Three companies comprise the inaugural funding cycle of Illumina Accelerator Cambridge, UK and four companies, which includes Pluton Biosciences, will join as part of the 11th funding cycle in the San Francisco Bay Area. Due to lockdowns and travel restrictions during the current COVID-19 pandemic, Illumina Accelerator kicked off both funding cycles digitally this month, bringing all seven startup companies together for the first time.

“We are proud to partner with Pluton in the 11th funding cycle of Illumina Accelerator San Francisco Bay Area,” said Amanda Cashin, Co-founder and Global Head of Illumina Accelerator. “Pluton’s experienced team and unique approach to harness the power of next generation DNA sequencing will uncover new microbial insights for environmental and plant health.”

Illumina Accelerator has partnered with First In Ventures to provide convertible notes for the incoming startups in the U.S. and U.K. Wing Venture Capital will continue their support in providing convertible notes in the U.S., and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority will support the companies in the U.K.

Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Pluton Biosciences researches and mines beneficial microbes in the soil for use in sustainable bioproducts across a variety of industries, including pesticide, agriculture, pharmaceutical, and bioremediation. Pluton’s Micromining platform targets new microbial solutions quickly and inexpensively, speeding the introduction of novel natural products through the research and development pipeline to market. For more information about Pluton Biosciences, visit 

Illumina Accelerator is the world’s first business accelerator focused solely on creating an innovation ecosystem for the genomics industry. It provides select startups with access to seed investment, business guidance, Illumina’s sequencing systems and reagents, and fully operational lab space in the San Francisco Bay Area or Cambridge, U.K. during each six-month funding cycle. Since launching in 2014, Illumina Accelerator has invested in 45 genomics startups from across the globe, which have collectively raised approximately $400 million in venture capital funding.

Helping to Create Virus-Resistant Spaces in Schools

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New Transira Window Solutions Cuts the Germs

The world changed overnight. Schools, businesses, restaurants, and other public settings closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Now these same places are preparing to re-open, with social distancing and safety measures in place.

Public and private K-12 schools are at the top of the list for concerns about re-opening. School administrators and facility managers are looking at new ways to keep students safe. A new breakthrough in window systems, Transira™ Prime Window Solutions, resolves several common problems faced by public buildings used for education, as well as government, commercial, retail, and healthcare.

Transira Prime Window Solutions encases a high-performance vertical shade within an insulated window, eliminating the possibility that allergens and airborne pathogens cling to the shade’s fabric. The window system can be locally controlled and simultaneously tied into the overall building management system. This offers teachers and school staff the ability to control visibility, light, and solar heat entering a room at the touch of the button.

WINCO Window Company, a St. Louis-based manufacturer of architectural aluminum windows, developed the Transira concept as a way to modernize and simplify daylighting. The Transira system was first used by the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada as a way to visually secure learning spaces in the event of an intruder on campus.

“The feedback that we’ve gotten from teachers and school district personnel has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Gantt Miller, LEED AP, part of the product development team at WINCO. “Since adding healthy daylight is as simple as pressing a button next to the light switch, they’ve found that rather than relying on artificial lighting, classrooms and student activities are more frequently illuminated by a warm glow of natural light.”

With more than 70,000 students in its school district, Washoe County has plans to build an additional 15 schools and has committed to including Transira Prime Window Solutions in the design. Now with Coronavirus causing concern for re-opening school districts, Transira Prime Window Solutions provides an additional benefit of cleanliness for the health and welfare of students and staff.

“Draperies and shades can hold onto disease-spreading microbes. Both are difficult and costly to sterilize. This is a risk we can eliminate entirely from the equation. Cleaning glass is far easier and safer than cleaning the soft surfaces of fabrics,” says Miller. Transira neutralizes this source of contamination while simultaneously reducing operating costs, harnessing daylighting, and dramatically streamlining and sanitizing the user interface for a school room’s lighting and privacy.

When not being operated locally by a teacher or school staff member, the Transira Prime Window Solutions can interface with a school’s existing Building Management System to help conserve energy and save money by reducing or allowing heat transfer depending on the current cooling or heating load of the building. “Basically, when the building needs heat, the window delivers. When the building needs to stay cool, the window blocks solar heat gain,” says Miller.

Building the shade into the window not only protects it from contamination but also from inadvertent damage from daily use. Shades, blinds, draperies and window coverings are one of the largest single maintenance expenditures. By putting the shade within the window, it is protected from handling while being controlled seamlessly with a wall keypad or BMS integration — convenient, efficient, and cost-effective.

Bundled Benefits Can Reduce Costs

Transira Prime Window Solutions can reduce energy bills because both the insulated window, glass coatings and interior shades all contribute to reducing costs. Security is improved because the shades can be quickly raised in case of a fire or lowered in case of an intruder. The windows are also engineered to prevent sound entering the building, creating a quieter school room for learning.

WINCO partnered with Somfy, the world leader in the automatic control of openings and closures in buildings to ensure the Transira Windows offer state-of-the-art functionality. “We needed a partner with a proven track record in automatic control, and Somfy was instrumental in navigating the fine details that went into this product,” says Miller.

A final benefit of having the shades built into the window is that the installation of Transira Prime Window Solutions cuts down on multiple trades, multiple vendors, project complexity, and extended timelines. Only one vendor is needed to spec, design and install Transira Prime Window Solutions.

WINCO also offers Transira Accessory Sash Window Solutions when a full window replacement is not necessary. This is a smart way to add energy and security upgrades to existing window systems. Transira Accessory Sash Window Solutions offers the convenience of built in shades that are controlled with BMS integration or local control.

To learn more about WINCO’s new Transira Prime Window Solutions and Transira Accessory Sash Window Solutions, visit

Founded in 1915, WINCO Window Company, based in St. Louis, provides full-service manufacturing of high-performance architectural and heavy commercial aluminum windows and doors nationally, for classic renovation and new construction. Visit for more information.

For more than 50 years, Somfy engineers have designed quality products that both commercial and residential markets rely upon to motorize interior window coverings, awnings, rolling shutters, exterior solar screens and projection screens. Somfy motorization systems are easily integrated with security, HVAC and lighting systems providing total home or building automation.

St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers Hosts City Foundry STL Virtual Tour, Project Update

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More than 100 design and construction industry professionals virtually toured City Foundry STL on Tuesday afternoon, learning more about the inspiration behind the development along with its projected Phase 1 opening time frame.

Lawrence Group CEO/Developer Steve Smith, Lawrence Group Design Architect/Senior Project Manager Bridget Bogan Keitel, Lawrence Group Director of Development Services Todd Rogan and Great Rivers Greenway CEO Susan Trautman offered perspectives on the $210 million, 330,000-square-foot, mixed-use, historic renovation of the 14-acre former Federal Mogul foundry site in Midtown at 3700 Forest Park Avenue.

Smith and Keitel said Phase 1 of the project – which includes the 20-vendor food hall with 500 seats in a public market layout, is projected to open in Q3 or Q4 of this year.

Smith shared with the SLCCC virtual audience his vision that propelled the development. The genesis of that vision hailed from a leisure trip he took to Atlanta with his family in 2015. “We visited Krog Street Market in historic Atlanta and immediately saw its vibrancy and dynamism,” said Smith, noting that the building that served for nearly 100 years as Atlanta Stove Works’ manufacturing hub for making the cast iron Barrett Range closed in 1987. It stood dormant for 15 years but was redeveloped into an historically redeveloped, mixed-use development. “Within two weeks of returning to St. Louis, I visited the Foundry site and saw the same potential,” he said.

Reusing a unique, historic building rather than tearing it down to build a generic new one appealed to Smith – and to investors – and City Foundry STL was born.

Future phases of the development, he said, include completion of the Brickline Greenway (formerly known as Chouteau Greenway) – which will run through the heart of site, additional office and research space, plazas, a grocery store and housing.

“Our aspirations include being authentic in how we memorialize the past while continuing to create the public face of innovation and the storefront to creativity for St. Louis,” Smith said.

NewGround Launches Rebalance Program

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Comprehensive presentation to help reset workplace strategies post-pandemic

NewGround, a St. Louis-based innovative architecture, design, and project management firm, is excited to announce the launch of Rebalance 2020, a program that will introduce the strategic framework to propel organizations forward to unprecedented success post-pandemic.

NewGround’s team of retail strategy and design experts have developed a comprehensive response to our world post-pandemic to help organizations optimize retail and corporate workplace strategies based on the shifted retail experience paradigm. By preparing leadership teams to address design and operational changes, this reset process begins by realigning with a new vision of the pathway forward.

Rebalance 2020 is a presentation that will provide answers to the questions leadership teams are asking. NewGround’s team will guide organizations through evolving design and digital needs to successfully transform and master the power of their space. This 90-minute presentation is delivered by industry thought leaders and is followed by a 30-minute brainstorming session.

Rebalance 2020 Program Highlights:

  • What just happened?
  • What are post-COVID19 consumer perceptions and concerns?
  • How do these perceptions impact business strategy going forward?
  • What are the short-term & long-term implications to the consumer experience?
  • What should we do about it?

Watch and learn more about Rebalance here:

“We are thrilled to launch our Rebalance program to help leadership teams reset their business strategies and realign their organizations for growth,” said Kevin Blair, President and CEO at NewGround.

NewGround is the industry thought-leader in strategy, innovative design, and project management, and has been for over 100 years. We help financial institutions master the power of their space to create the next generation workplace and retail solutions. At NewGround, we are driven by our core values of: Service, Excellence, Innovation, Collaboration, and Communication. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, NewGround maintains corporate offices in Chicago, Illinois, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Waterloo, Ontario, with a regional presence throughout the U.S. For more information, visit NewGround at

S. M. Wilson Virtual Design & Construction Manager Matt Niemeyer Becomes Licensed Architect In Missouri

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S. M. Wilson & Co. Virtual Design and Construction (VD&C) Manager Matt Niemeyer has become a Licensed Architect in the State of Missouri.

Architectural licensing is granted only when candidates complete sufficient professional education, the Internship Development Program and pass the Architect Registration Exams. Niemeyer earned his B.S. in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has 24 years of construction experience and also became a Licensed Architect in the State of Illinois in 2009.

Niemeyer’s architectural background affords a unique perspective on the construction process, allowing insight and greater collaboration between S. M. Wilson and design teams. It also provides value to Owners with the ability to analyze constructability, sequencing and schedule as well as adjust material types and layout for real-time cost analysis.

As a VD&C Manager, Niemeyer is responsible for analyzing models provided by Architects and Design Engineers for internal use in Estimating and Pre-Construction, generating 3D/4D/5D site logistics and site safety plans and creating models, renderings and animations to illustrate project approach and demonstrate virtual design and construction capabilities during pursuits. Niemeyer is also responsible for BIM/VDC Quality Control which ensures the coordinated BIM models are used by the trades when placing components in the field.

S. M. Wilson is a full-service construction management, design/build and general contracting firm with headquarters in St. Louis. For nearly 100 years, S. M. Wilson has provided a complete range of services and has become one of the leading general construction and construction management firms in the St. Louis area. The employee-owned company is dedicated to going above and beyond expectations for their clients by putting people first. For more information, visit

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