Industry Pay Premiums Rise Nearly 19 Percent As Firms Continuing Recruiting


Construction firms nationwide provided a wage premium of nearly 19 percent compared to the average hourly earnings for all private-sector employees as contractors continue chasing bodies to staff the still-robust construction activity in many states.

The Associated General Contractors of America said June 2 that the industry is still struggling to hire and retain enough people.

“Demand for construction workers remains strong, outside of homebuilding,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC of America. “Contractors continue to report their primary challenge is finding qualified workers, not finding projects or most materials.”

The unemployment rate among jobseekers with construction experience declined from 3.8 percent last May to 3.5 percent in May 2023, the second-lowest May rate in the 23-year history of the data. A separate government report released in late May reported that new hires in construction at the end of April totaled 460,000, growing 3 percent from one year earlier. The new hires figure, according to Simonson, does not account for the number of workers who left the industry during the same timeframe.

Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in construction – covering more onsite craft workers as well as many office workers – jumped by 6 percent over the year to $34.07 per hour.

Association officials say firms are boosting pay and taking other steps to recruit construction workers.

Advanced Manufacturers, Developers Investing More than $1 Billion in Regional Projects


Big manufacturing – more than $1 billion of it – is indeed coming to the St. Louis region, according to panelists who spoke at FreightWeekSTL 2023.

Plans by Good Development Group to invest $1.2 billion in developing the Gateway South Project on 100 acres adjacent to the Gateway Arch, says GDG partner Alec Jadacki, are well underway. The development will consist of three subdistricts: 1) a design and construction innovation district, 2) recreation and residential and 3) an entertainment district. Co-locating advanced modular manufacturers, he says, is the strategy.

“When you think ESG (environmental, social and governance), this is the future,” said Jadacki. “Reducing carbon and speeding up the construction process is the next generation of modular construction.”

Co-panelist Scott Willert, president of America’s Service Line LLC/America’s Logistics, says construction began last fall on an $800 million beef processing facility in Warren County, MO that will employ 1,300.

Tyson Foods is currently building a $228 million, 270,000-square-foot processing plant expansion in Caseyville, IL and plans to add robotic production lines and 400 workers, according to plant manager Christopher Rogers. The company also invested $48 million at its Caseyville plant over the past four years.

James Hardie Building Products will build a 1.25 million-square-foot facility in Crystal City, MO near Interstate 55, says Sean Parks, senior capacity manager. “Our research told us that there’s a robust labor market in and around Jefferson County,” he said.

Mary Lamie, executive vice president of multi modal enterprises for Bi-State Development, the St. Louis Regional Freightway’s operator, says these manufacturing firms share a common thread.

“You each represent different industries that have chosen to locate or expand in different parts of our region, but you all found a welcoming, collaborative environment, available and reliable workers and an abundance of land with excellent multimodal infrastructure needed to support your operations,” Lamie said.

BEX Construction Services Debuts New Headquarters


BEX Construction Services, the City of Maryland Heights and the Maryland Heights Chamber of Commerce conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 1, 2023 to welcome fast-growing BEX Construction Services to its new BEX-built headquarters near Creve Coeur Lake at 12173 Prichard Farm Road in Maryland Heights MO 63043

Speakers included Maryland Heights Mayor Mike Moeller; Director of Economic Development Jim Carver; and BEX Construction Services President Randy Bueckendorf and discussed how BEX Construction Services decided to relocate, invest and grow in Maryland Heights. Firm Mascot Bexy the Bear was unveiled. Local sand sculptor Dave Diederich sculpted the firm’s new building and the BEX Shield as a three-dimensional sand sculpture from 10 tons of sugar sand, working from May 31 through the morning of June 1.

BEX Construction Services performed a gut renovation of the former Steak ‘N Shake headquarters, built in 1984, to create room to grow with a new two-story, 6,700-square-foot headquarters. The structure is staged for excellent team collaboration with conference space, private offices, print room and kitchen on the first floor plus second floor space for larger gatherings and future office expansion. A metal storage building for staging equipment and materials will be added soon to the .75-acre site.

Formerly located in St. Charles County, BEX chose a location that is close to clients’ job sites and employees’ homes and conveniently positioned near I-70, Route 364/Page and I-270 with the additional nearby amenities of the Fee Fee Greenway, Crystal Springs Golf Course and Creve Coeur Lake.

Founded in 2014, BEX Construction Services ranks as St. Louis’ second-fastest growing private company based on a two-year growth rate of 364%. It has been recognized three times by members of the American Subcontractors Association Midwest Council as General Contractor of the Year (2022, 2020 and 2019). BEX tackles projects ranging from interior buildouts and remodels to massive distribution centers. It also is active in the office / commercial, educational, institutional, health care, industrial / process, restaurant, retail, automotive and warehouse markets throughout the St. Louis region.

Photo credit: Lindsay Stewart

Keystone Construction Company Completes Construction of $4 Million Outdoor Entertainment Space at The District of St. Louis


Keystone Construction Company has completed the next phase of development at The District of St. Louis with the Hub Stl, a $4 million state-of-the-art outdoor entertainment space where families and friends gather, host events, watch sporting events, movies, live performances and more. Located in Chesterfield, MO at Boones Crossing, The District is a premier St. Louis-area destination for live music, food and drink as well as unique retail concepts in one walkable location. Referred to as the heartbeat of The District, the Hub Stl instills the District Beyond Fun mantra of the development. Keystone was the design/build general contractor. The developer of The District is The Staenberg Group. HDA Architects and O’Toole Design Associates served as the architects.

Construction began last fall with the demolition of the Polo Building located in the center of The District to create space for the Hub Stl. As part of the project, Keystone constructed a 70-foot by 21-foot elevated performance stage with a synthetic turf field viewing area with capacity for 400 people. A large LED screen and sophisticated sound and lighting system will be installed later this summer. This performance area will be encircled by iconic, local sit-down restaurants with dining patios, a brewery and social hall as well as a beer garden. Anticipated to open later this summer is 4 Hands Brewing Company, which will occupy the anchor space with a 10,000-square-foot taproom. Hi-Pointe Drive-In, as the brewery’s culinary partner, will operate a fast-casual dining offshoot within the space.

Keystone previously built two other anchor destinations within The District — Main Event and The Factory. Main Event is a 50,000-square-foot indoor entertainment center which includes 22 lanes of state-of-the-art bowling, laser tag, gravity ropes and hundreds of arcade and virtual reality games. The Factory is a 52,000-square-foot indoor concert venue that features unique, movable partitions to create a range of seating configurations for up to 3,400 people. It was the first performance venue to be built from the ground up in the Midwest in more than twenty years.

The next phase of The District development project will include additional unique retail shops, event spaces, fitness options, beauty services and cigar lounge. Michael Staenberg’s vision for the District came alive on Mother’s Day watching the community gather in one place and preview the Hub Stl for the Chesterfield Mother’s Day 5k. More than 800 runners participated in the 5k. Proceeds from the race were donated to support the ALS Association – The St. Louis Regional Chapter, which provides free programs and services to support families affected by ALS. Spectators and runners played a variety of games as well as enjoyed music from Moon Valley Band and beverages from 4 Hands Brewing Company.

Keystone Construction Company is a St. Louis-based general contractor with expertise in design/build projects for office, retail, industrial and healthcare clients. For nearly 35 years, Keystone projects have reflected the company’s commitment to superior architecture and design, quality materials and craftsmanship that stand the test of time. The general contractor has received numerous design and construction awards, including Building St. Louis awards in 2017, 2019 and 2021; Project 64 West Excellence in Community Development Award; and Excellence in Design Award from American Builders Company and Nucor. Harvard University chose Keystone’s unique process for a course study called “How to do Design/Build Right.” For more information, visit

70-Mile Hwy 70’s Corridor Linking Missouri & Illinois is Epicenter of Industrial Market Growth in the St. Louis Region


A 70-mile transportation corridor is the epicenter of the historic surge in new construction in the St. Louis regional industrial market. More than 24 million square feet of new industrial space hit the market over the last five years, and nowhere is this construction boom more evident than along the Interstate 70 corridor running from Foristell, Missouri to Marine, Illinois. The major logistics corridor is home to a wealth of national manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, with room to develop even more. The activity in the corridor and anticipated direction of future growth was the focus of the final session of FreightWeekSTL 2023 on May 26, which was moderated by Doug Rasmussen, CEO and Managing Principal of Steadfast City Economic & Community Partners, and featured panelists Ed Lampitt, Vice Chair of Cushman & Wakefield, and Matt Hrubes, Senior Vice President of CBRE.

Steadfast City recently completed in-depth research on the 70s corridor, which includes Interstate 70 and portions of Interstates 170, 270 and 370. Regarding this corridor, Rasmussen noted that in 2022, eight million square feet of new space was delivered and about six and a half million square feet was absorbed. The top six leases in the market in 2022, which represented about 2.4 million square feet, were all signed with companies in this 70-mile corridor. He noted that Procter & Gamble was at two million square feet, Unilever at 1.7 million square feet, and Walgreens with a half million square feet, and the corridor also recently attracted other companies that are new to the market, including Tesla. Overall, the corridor is home to about 30 companies that each occupy more than a half million square feet, and there are approximately one billion dollars of infrastructure improvements underway or planned along the corridor.

“What I like to say as a site selector, is it’s basically 70 miles of beachfront property,” said Rasmussen.

Lampitt said it is noteworthy that 85% of all institutional product in the St. Louis area is along the 70s corridor and agreed that it is where they are seeing the bulk of regional industrial activity. In discussing recent trends in the corridor, he said one of the biggest, especially in 2022, was the shift from e-commerce and 3PL tenants to manufacturing tenants. He clarified it was still a lot of distribution space being leased, but it was being leased by manufacturing companies.

“Also, we continue to see service deliveries continue to go up, meaning they have to be closer to their customers. We’ve seen a significant increase of new tenants, new users to St. Louis,” said Lampitt. “We used to quote that 17% of all deals were new to St. Louis, meaning they didn’t have a presence here. That’s doubled. It’s in the 30, 30-plus percent range.”

Those trends are reflected in the diversity of the deals being done in the 70s corridor, from spaces of 200,000 sq. ft. or less being snapped up by companies that want to be closer to rooftops for their distribution, to the new 800,000 square foot manufacturing facility being built by American Foods Group in Warren County, Missouri.

Hrubes talked about the changes he has seen related to tax abatements and the impact that has had on the market and along the 70s corridor, as the types of tax abatements that originated on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River many years ago and drove industrial development there, have made their way into Missouri.

“That’s what really spearheaded a lot of that development along Highway 70, especially in the Hazelwood market,” Hrubes said, pointing to developments such as Hazelwood Logistics Park and Hazelwood TradePort, both developed by NorthPoint, the old Ford plant that Panattoni redeveloped and the former Mills Outlet Mall that is now being converted into industrial space after receiving an almost 20-year tax abatement. “Without those kinds of economic incentives, who knows where we’d be. That was really a driving force, I think, that added to the success of those developments.”

Hrubes said,  “in the Southwestern Illinois market, it used to be a 10-year sliding scale tax abatement, and now on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River, the industry is seeing 18 or even 20 years of tax abatement being offered and the same thing occurring in St. Charles County, where other types of incentives, such as Chapter 100s, are adding to the success of developments such as the Premier 370 Business Park.”

“Finally we’re able to compete and challenge other states. If it’s a multi-city search, St. Louis now looks a lot better compared to where it used to be just five to 10 years ago,” Hrubes said.

The labor pool was discussed, with Lampitt highlighting that retaining workers is as important as finding them, while Hrubes said the areas attracting industrial investment along the 70s corridor are the ripe areas for the types of workers needed. He said one of the first things a lot of companies do when exploring different site locations is to check the box on the labor study.

“If they can see that there’s a readily available workforce, whether it’s a skilled workforce or a warehouse workforce, they need to have those things in place before they decide to either lease space or build property in those locations,” Hrubes said.

The demand for labor is what Hrubes said will continue to drive development further west along the 70s corridor, where there’s not only a good existing labor pool in St. Charles County, but also the potential to draw from nearby Lincoln, Franklin and Warren counties. Rasmussen said he also expects further growth on the eastern edge of the 70s corridor as companies have the ability to draw workers from nearby Bond and Clinton Counties in Illinois.

Lampitt highlighted that some of the significant growth in recent years has been internal growth, with existing companies expanding their presence in the bi-state region, underscoring the need to make sure developers are taking care of the companies already invested here.  He cited as examples, Procter&  Gamble, which started with 800,000 square feet and now has three million, and Worldwide Technology, which started with 200,000 square feet in 2005 and now is at 3.6 million.

Looking forward, Rasmussen called attention to the fact that industry experts are estimating there may be about three million square feet of space coming back on the market as second generation space, and speculated if that might be a cause for concern. Both panelists said they saw that as a plus for the region at this time, given the historically low vacancy rates and the need to have flexible product offerings to meet market demands. Hrubes said that just three of four deals would be all it would take to absorb the entire amount of second generation space by the end of the year.

“I actually think that there needs to be more spec built right now; there’s not enough product out there,” said Hrubes. “To Ed’s point about the vacancy rate, it’s probably too low. And I think that we need more space because you get below 6% to 8% vacancy rate, it’s time to build. If you don’t have it, then you’re not going to see the activity.”

The need to have available product was further highlighted by Rasmussen, Hrubes, and Lampit, who talked about Tesla’s decision to locate its newest Midwest facility in the St. Louis region. The company was initially targeting the Kansas City market, but couldn’t find the 700,000 square feet of space it needed there. Tesla found exactly what they needed at Gateway TradePort, a planned industrial park in Pontoon Beach, Illinois, which is one of the newest industrial parks in the 70s corridor. Hrubes said that infrastructure investment has been key to spurring development all along the 70s corridor.

“Before Highway 370 was developed, that land was worthless, you know, it was just farm ground and floodplain, and then, all of a sudden, 370 comes along. Now look at all the industrial development that’s been spurred along there,” said Hrubes. “Then comes the Page Extension Bridge. Now look at all the development that’s going on along 141 and the improvements that were done there, to actually have a connector that goes all the way from South County to North County through ground zero for our industrial real estate sector, which is Earth City. And you follow 141, there’s probably a lot of decision makers that live in that zip code. It just makes sense. When you add that infrastructure and you invest dollars in it, it opens up other opportunities for development that makes a lot of sense to a lot of people.”

Rasmussen asked the panelists if they were seeing any reshoring activity along the 70s corridor. Hrubes pointed to the General Motors (GM) plant in Wentzville, which is likely the largest manufacturer in the bi-state St. Louis region, noting that GM master leased a supplier warehouse.  “I think when you have large scale manufacturing like that, then it does increase the demand for suppliers to that company or that facility,” said Hrubes. “They all need to locate close to there, obviously, because the transportation cost to get those items, on demand, on time is significant. So yes, you can call it onshoring. I think it’s been happening here for years, and I think that it will just continue to ramp up.

Panel session host Mary Lamie said, “We appreciate you providing some great insight that will be helpful as the Freightway continues to promote the 70s corridor and its incredible concentration of industrial warehousing and distribution operations that make it a prime location for existing businesses and future industrial site selection and economic growth.” Lamie is the Executive Vice President of Multi Modal Enterprises for Bi-State Development, which operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway as one of its enterprises.

To view the 70 on 70 panel session, visit It was the final event of FreightWeekSTL 2023 which featured a variety of virtual panel sessions with industry experts and leaders in freight, logistics and transportation. The week-long freight and logistics expo was presented by the St. Louis Regional Freightway and Bi-State Development. To learn more or watch earlier sessions for FreightWeekSTL 2023, visit

About St. Louis Regional Freightway  

A Bi-State Development enterprise, the St. Louis Regional Freightway is a regional freight district and comprehensive authority for freight operations and opportunities within eight counties in southwestern Illinois and eastern Missouri, which comprise the St. Louis metropolitan area. Public sector and private industry businesses are partnering with the St. Louis Regional Freightway to establish the bi-state region as one of the premier multimodal freight hubs and distribution centers in the United States through marketing and advocacy for infrastructure development that supports the movement of freight. To learn more, visit

ABI Slips in April; Construction Wages in 2022 Outpaced Other Industries


Submitted by the AGC.

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) registered a score of 48.5, seasonally adjusted in April, down from 50.4 in March and the sixth reading in the past seven months below 50, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported on Wednesday. Any score below 50 means more firms reported decreased billings than increased billings. The ABI is derived from the share of responding architecture firms that report a gain in billings over the previous month less the share reporting a decline in billings, presented on a 0-to-100 scale. AIA calls the index “a leading economic indicator that leads nonresidential construction activity by approximately 9-12 months.” Readings for practice specialties (based on three-month averages) varied: mixed practice, 52.1 (down from 53.5 in March); commercial/industrial, 51.8 (up from 49.7 and the first reading above 50 since July); institutional, 50.6 (first reading above 50 since October, up from 49.1); and residential (mainly multifamily), 41.5 (below 50 since July, down from 42.3). The new design contracts index rose to 49.8 from 48.9.

The average weekly wage for all construction industry employees in the U.S. was $1544 in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2022, an increase of 1.2% from Q4 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Wednesday in its Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages report. Construction industry average wages in Q4 2022 were 11.4% higher than the private sector average of $1385 (which declined 2.6% from Q4 2021). The amount and direction of change for average weekly wages in construction varied widely. Among the 10 largest counties, the highest average in Q4 2022 was in New York County (Manhattan), $2566, up 2.4% from Q4 2021; followed by Cook County, Ill. (Chicago and nearby suburbs), $1916, up 3.5% year-over-year (y/y); and King County, Wash. (Seattle and nearby suburbs), $1810, down 1.6%. The largest y/y increase was in Los Angeles County, 3.6% (Q4 2022 average: $1658), followed by Cook County. The average wage declined 1.7% in King County and 1.6% in Dallas County (Dallas and nearby suburbs, Q4 2022 average: $1701).

Data centers are replacing offices and other structures in some markets. In Loudoun County, Va., Amazon World Services plans to demolish nine buildings and replace them with four purpose-built data centers, the Washington Business Journal reported on May 22. Data Center Frontier on Thursday cited other examples in Loudoun County. Digital Realty proposed replacing a “1960s parking garage [in downtown Los Angeles] with “a 13-story building which would include nearly 486,000 square feet of floor area, most of which would be dedicated to computer servers and supporting equipment,” the e-newsletter Urbanize LA reported on May 23. “A former department store located to the north on 7th Street currently functions as a data center, as does the One Wilshire high-rise….Likewise, the former Post Office Annex near Union Station has been converted into a data center, and a newly built facility recently replaced a surface parking lot next door.” 

“A growing number of retailers in city office districts are relocating their businesses to the suburbs, where visits to shopping centers are on the rise as fewer people commute to downtown workplaces,” the Wall Street Journal reported on May 9. “Suburban landlords say demand from retailers was strong during the first months of this year, even with high inflation and rising interest rates. Shopping-center owner Site Centers reported record-high leasing in the first quarter, while owner Phillips Edison reported a new high for occupancy. Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. said its portfolio is more than 98% leased. Even high-end enclosed malls, which were hard hit by the pandemic, are showing signs of improvement. Foot traffic at Simon Property Group’s malls is higher this year compared with 2022 while overall occupancy was 94.4% in the first quarter, just shy of pre-pandemic levels, according to the company.”

It “appears in domestic migration data that, years after lower-wage residents have been priced out of expensive coastal metros, higher-paid workers are now turning away from them, too,” the “Upshot” column of the New York Times reported on May 12. “The college-educated workers who’ve turned away from them are increasingly migrating toward major metros that are still prosperous but not quite so expensive—places like Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston and Tampa. During the pandemic, smaller cities such as Portland, Maine, and Wilmington, N.C., also saw growing inflows of such workers…. Among the 12 most expensive metros, net college migration has generally declined or turned negative. The other 41 large metros have mostly continued to attract working-age college graduates.” A chart shows net migration into or out of each metro’s college-educated population in 2010-14, 2015-19, and 2020-21.

S. M. Wilson & Co. expands technology focus with new Chief Technology Officer and Construction Technology Manager

Jamie Berson

S. M. Wilson & Co., a St. Louis-based construction manager and contracting firm, is restructuring its technology department with the promotion of Jamie Berzon, CM-BIM to Chief Technology Officer and hiring of Brian Turner as Construction Technology Manager. Mark Patterson, who has been serving as the firm’s Chief Information Officer for nearly 18 years, will retire at the end of June. The team will shift focus from information technology to construction technology in order to enhance S. M. Wilson’s processes and operations.

“Using the most up-to-date construction technology helps our team create an amazing client experience throughout the construction process. Our tools, such as augmented reality, drones, laser scanning and more, increase vital communication and collaboration with our clients, the design team and our subcontractors and also allows for efficiency,” said Amy Berg, President.

Brian Turner

The shift to construction technology allows S. M. Wilson to be proactive and efficient, enhancing collaboration with Owners, design partners, going Beyond the Build. Within the past two years, the company has made several advancements in construction technology including the use of Destini for estimating, AutoDesk BUILD for project management, SmartPM for schedule management and GC Pay for subcontractor management. Furthermore S. M. Wilson has five licensed drone pilots, utilizing drone technology, Building Information Systems (BIM) and augmented reality on the majority of projects.

As the new Chief Technology Officer, Berzon spearheads all technology initiatives and deliverables, while driving innovation and implementing technological advancements to improve S. M. Wilson’s operational efficiency and support growth. Responsibilities include developing and executing the company’s technology strategy in alignment with firm goals, overseeing the implementation of new systems, and implementing and maintaining technology security policies and procedures to safeguard data. Berzon has worked at S. M. Wilson for 25 years, most recently as Construction Technology Manager.

Turner brings more than 22 years of experience in IT system management and technology for firms in the construction industry. In his role as Construction Technology Manager, Turner is overseeing and managing the firm’s information technology systems, infrastructure and services that support operations. He is also assisting with research and development of existing and new construction technology.

S. M. Wilson is a full-service construction management, design/build and general contracting firm with headquarters in St. Louis and offices in Edwardsville, IL and Cape Girardeau, MO. Founded in 1921, S. M. Wilson is dedicated to going above and beyond expectations for their clients by putting people first. The 100% employee-owned company is one of the leading construction management firms in the Midwest. Areas of expertise include K-12 education, commercial, healthcare and industrial projects. For more information, visit

McCarthy Completes Construction for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas


Nation’s first biosafety level 4 containment facility for animal disease research

McCarthy Mortenson NBAF, a joint venture, has announced completion of construction and commissioning for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas, the nation’s leading animal disease research facility. Once fully operational, NBAF will have laboratories functioning at multiple biosafety levels, including the first facility in the United States with biosafety level 4 containment capable of housing large livestock.

With construction complete the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking steps to assume control of NBAF from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T). These steps include a phase called the operational endurance period.

“During this phase, USDA’s work processes must be tested and validated in accordance with the building systems. Scientists will confirm laboratory set-up, evaluate standardized laboratory work processes for consistency and safety, and ensure equipment is functioning appropriately,” said Dr. Ken Burton, NBAF Deputy Director. “These are critical initial steps to ensure all research and diagnostics can be accomplished safely and effectively.”

Developed to ensure public health and the safety and security of the nation’s food supply, the 707,000 gross square feet facility is located on a 48-acre site. It is designed with stringent containment, blast-resistant and anti-terrorism requirements, as well as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) high wind design criteria adopted by DHS.

The NBAF complex includes 574,000 gross-square-feet of laboratory space, including biosafety level 2, 3 and 4 laboratories. The BSL level 4 containment laboratories require the highest level of safety protocols and equipment, enabling scientists to safely study and diagnose a variety of high-consequence animal pathogens.

In addition, an 87,000-square-foot, free-standing Central Utility Plant (CUP) houses boilers, chillers, emergency diesel generators and other support elements for the main laboratory facility.

Despite challenges and delays brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and pushing back the commissioning timeline several times, the project with commissioning came in under the $1.25 billion budget established by federal officials in 2014.

As a replacement to the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), NBAF will put the United States on the front line of livestock animal health research. The full transfer of the scientific mission from Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York likely will be completed within the next two years.

In addition to having multiple state-of-the-art laboratories, NBAF will also have a Biologics Development Module (BDM to explore the development and production of potential vaccines, diagnostic platforms and veterinary medical countermeasures.

The construction team is a joint venture of St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. and Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction. The McCarthy/Mortenson team was selected through a best value competitive process based on the team’s expertise in constructing biosafety facilities and its experience in the local area.

The NBAF Design Partnership (NDP) is the architect and engineer on the project. NBAF Design Partnership, a joint venture of Perkins+Will, Flad & Associates Architects, Merrick & Company, Affiliated Engineering Inc., and CCRD Partners. The preconstruction, construction and commissioning contract was valued at $1,060 billion.

McCarthy has completed similar biosafety level projects for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ames, Iowa, and Boston University in Boston. Mortenson Construction brings long-standing, local experience in the Manhattan, Kan., area, along with the experience of working on a similar laboratory project at the University of Colorado Denver’s Research II in Aurora, Colo.

Sidebar By the Numbers:

·         60,000 cubic yards of concrete (equivalent of a 300-mile sidewalk from Manhattan, Kan. To Oklahoma City, Okla.

·         3-million-square-feet of paint

·         4.5-million-linear-feet of electrical wire (equivalent of 850 miles from Manhattan, Kan. To New Orleans, La.

·         13,000 tons of steel, equivalent to weight of approximately 6,500 cars

·         4-million hours of on-site labor, equivalent to 385 people working 1,925 years

·         Structure built to withstand a car flying through the air at 92 mph.

·         The NBAF Central Utility Plant (CUP) could power 15,750 homes

People On The Move In The Local Construction Industry


ASCC Hires Two to Direct Association’s Sustainability Initiative

Bruce Suprenant

The American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) announced that Bruce Suprenant, P.E., PhD., FACI, and Bev Garnant, HACI, have been retained to develop and manage the association’s sustainability initiative. Suprenant and Garnant are ASCC’s former technical director and executive director respectively.

“This initiative has two purposes,” explained Garnant. “The first is to collaborate with the Portland Cement Association (PCA), the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), and others, to best achieve the goal of lowering the carbon footprint of our industry. The second is to gather and develop resources to help our members navigate this new reality.”

Bev Garnant

“Sustainability is ASCC’s new safety,” says Suprenant. “The majority of owners and developers will soon mandate that the construction of their projects, as well as the long-term operation of the structures, be as sustainable as possible. It’s ASCC’s responsibility to provide their contractors the knowledge and expertise to meet these preconditions.”

ASCC has established a Sustainability Committee for the purpose of accomplishing the goals of the initiative. Members include representatives from PCA, NRMCA, and ACI Neu, producers, consultants, and contractors from across the country.

The American Society of Concrete Contractors is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of those who build with concrete, and to providing them a unified voice in the construction industry.  Members include concrete contracting firms, manufacturers, suppliers, and others interested in the concrete industry such as architects, specifiers, and distributors.  There are approximately 720 member companies in the United States and 13 foreign countries. For more information, visit or call the ASCC office at (866) 788-2722.

Spellman Brady & Co. Senior Designer, Christa Barr, Named to American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers Committees

Christa Barr

Spellman Brady & Co. is proud to announce that the American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers (AAHID) has selected Christa Barr, CHID, EDAC, IIDA, NCIDQ, to join its “Marketing and Social Media Committee,” as well as its “Industry Partners Committee.”

As a “Marketing and Social Media Committee” member, Ms. Barr will collaborate with a group of experienced healthcare interior designers and architects to coordinate the AAHID booth at the annual Healthcare Design Expo (HCD). She will also help plan the AAHID reception at HCD and work to expand the organization’s social media presence.  As part of the “Industry Partners Committee,” she will reach out to potential industry partners and engage current leaders. Christa earned the prestigious Certified Healthcare Interior Designer (CHID) certificate in 2020 and is currently one of seven professionals in Missouri with this credential. Certified Healthcare Interior Designers are distinguished and qualified by education, examination, and work experience to practice healthcare interior design. The CHID appellation recognizes excellence, commitment, and knowledge.

When asked about her passion for healthcare design, Ms. Barr responded,

“My grandmother spent the last ten years of her life in and out of hospitals, rehab centers, and skilled nursing. Experiencing the healthcare continuum through the eyes of a patient and their family shed light on how important the environment played a role in healing and our mindset. We also saw how crucial it was that the staff have what they need to do their jobs efficiently.

When designing a space or selecting furnishings, I always try to envision how a patient, a family member, or staff will feel and what they need for a supportive, healing environment.”

The American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers (AAHID) is a professional organization responsible for the certification of healthcare interior designers qualified by education, examination, training, and experience to provide interior design services to safeguard public health, safety, and welfare in the healthcare industry.  AAHID calls upon the proficiency and expertise of healthcare design professionals to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.

Spellman Brady & Company is a nationally recognized St. Louis-based interior design firm specializing in senior living, healthcare, higher education, and multi-family environments. The firm maintains design excellence by delivering comprehensive space planning, interior design, furniture, artwork master planning, and procurement services. As a Certified WBE Business, Spellman Brady & Company has completed more than 6,300 projects in 43 states and abroad since its founding 29 years ago.

$30,000 in College Scholarships Awarded by SITE Advancement Foundation to St. Louis Area Students

Six students planning to attend college in the Fall 2023 semester have each received a $5,000 scholarship from the SITE Advancement Foundation to help further their education.  The $30,000 in total scholarships is double the amount awarded by the Foundation in the prior year. 

“Over the past several years we have increased the individual scholarship awards from $1,500 to $5,000 in response to the cost associated with attending today’s colleges and technical schools,” said Jeremy Bennett, Executive Director of the SITE Improvement Association.  “The number of students applying for this year’s scholarships significantly increased thanks to the higher award amounts made available by the Foundation.  I want to thank our Foundation, Scholarship Committee, and members of SITE for their generosity in responding to the needs of our scholarship recipients.”

High school graduates, college, and trade school students with a parent employed by one of the 230 SITE Improvement Association member companies are eligible for these scholarships, which are based on each student’s academic achievements, involvement in the community and financial need.

            The scholarships are made possible through voluntary contributions from SITE Improvement Association member companies and from the SITE Advancement Foundation Scholarship Fund, which has awarded more than $400,000 in scholarships over the past 23 years.

            “While recipients may pursue careers outside of construction, they all appreciate the opportunity for this financial relief provided by the construction community,” said Bennett.  “Past recipients have found ways of giving back to the industry, especially as they grow into various leadership roles, and those efforts compounded over 23 years are priceless.”

            This year’s scholarship recipients include:

            Faith Beckmann – Sponsored by Nor-Vel Grading & Excavating, LLC, Faith is finishing her freshman year at Westminster College where she is studying History and Museum Studies. While at school, Faith serves as the student assistant for the Westminster College Archives in the Reeves Library. She is also employed as a seasonal interpreter at the First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site, where she leads tours for visitors.

Hunter Hathaway – Sponsored by McConnell & Associates Corporation, Hunter plans to study Physical Therapy at St. Louis University after graduating from Fox High School. Hunter’s participation in high school football and throwing discus fueled his desire to become a physical therapist. His goal is to work for a professional sports team.

Baylee Marquez – Sponsored by N.B. West Contracting Company, Inc., Baylee is a Nursing student at Truman State University. She is interested in working in pediatrics or labor and delivery after graduation. Baylee enjoys helping those around her by making a positive impact when helping them through difficult times.

 Luke Merz – Sponsored by Central Stone Company, Luke will attend the University of Mississippi after graduating from Freeburg Community High School and plans to study Mechanical Engineering. Luke has been a part of his high school cross country team and has served as a counselor at cross country and track summer camps. His favorite classes are mathematics and science.

            Mason Neal – Sponsored by Kuesel Excavating Co., Inc., Mason is completing his freshman year at the University of Mississippi where he’s studying Mathematics and pursuing a career in intelligence. He has applied to Ole Miss’s highly exclusive Intelligence and Security Studies program. If accepted, he will complete an internship with one of America’s intelligence agencies.

            Margaret St. John – Sponsored by McFry Excavating, Inc., Margaret is a third year Nursing student at Missouri State University.  She has served the Missouri State’s Student Government Association as a senator as well as a member of its Health and Wellness Committee. She is also involved with the Student Nursing Organization.

The SITE Improvement Association advances the construction industry in eastern Missouri through public policy advocacy, labor relations support, safety and leadership training and professional networking. Established in 1966 as an independent trade organization, SITE represents more than 230 contractors and suppliers in the Concrete, Asphalt Paving, Sewer/Utility, Highway/Bridge, Earthmoving, Landscaping and Specialty construction sectors.  For more information, visit

May 19, 2023

Home Builders Association Donates $15,000 to Rebuilding Together Saint Louis

On behalf of the Home Builders Charitable Foundation (HBCF), 2023 HBA President Jeremy Roth (Elite Development Services/McBride Homes) (left) presented a $15,000 donation to Rebuilding Together Saint Louis’ executive director Elaine Powers.

The donation will be used toward Rebuilding Together Saint Louis’ Rebuilding Day Program. Rebuilding Together revitalizes neighborhoods in partnership with the community by rehabilitating the houses of low-income home owners, particularly the elderly and the disabled, so that they may continue to live independently in comfort and safety. Rebuilding Day is the organization’s annual one-day blitz where volunteers make home repairs and a lasting impact on home owners in the St. Louis Metro area.

The HBA is a local trade association of nearly 600 member firms representing the residential construction industry. The Home Builders Charitable Foundation, the HBA’s charitable arm, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing assistance to people or organizations with special shelter needs.

Kadean Construction Opening New Philadelphia Office with $288 Million of Industrial Projects Underway

Steven Judge

Kadean Construction has opened a new office in Philadelphia to support the design/build contractor’s fast-growing base of logistics and industrial construction projects in the Northeast Region of the country. 

The St. Louis-based contractor has completed 3.3 million square feet of distribution and manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Rhode Island since 2021 worth more than $164.8 million.  Kadean also has an additional 4 million square feet of distribution, manufacturing, and spec warehouse projects now under construction worth more than $288 million in Pennsylvania and Virginia, including the 1.2 million FedEx Ground hub in Fairless Hills, PA.

            The new Philadelphia office will be led by Steven Judge, Director, a 17-year Pennsylvania-area project executive with extensive design/build and development experience. He currently leads a staff of two project managers and two project engineers, with more anticipated to join the office by the end of 2023. 

            Kadean’s staff moved into its new office at 200 Lindenwood Drive in the Lindenwood Corporate Center in Malvern, PA, in mid-May.  The office includes 3,700 square feet of newly renovated space adjacent to indoor and outdoor amenities including a café and lounge areas.

“Kadean was introduced to the Northeast Region in late 2020 by way of a national key client,” said Mike Eveler, President of Kadean Construction.  “Since then, we’ve secured more than 12 projects, with 80% of that work performed in the state of Pennsylvania.  We’ve taken a methodical approach to further vetting out the local market, resulting in our full commitment to open the Malvern office.  We anticipate growing this office to $250 million in annual revenue by 2027 with support from approximately 20 professional staff.” 

“With more than $150 million in backlog, we’re confident we have the financial stability to invest in talented individuals to help us build a long-lasting future in the Northeast Region,” said Judge, Director at Kadean. “Our vision is to create a motivated work environment where our talented people can build upon our relationship-driven, design-build expertise.”

Philadelphia is the third full-service office operated by Kadean. Based in St. Louis, Kadean opened its Kansas City office in 2018 after handling an increasing amount of work in that market over the past ten years.  Today both offices support the contractor’s growing local and national project base of industrial, healthcare, multifamily, cannabis, institutional, and other commercial design/build projects spread across 20 states. Earlier this year, Kadean moved into a larger headquarters location in St. Louis.

Kadean is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023 with record levels of business from new and repeat customers. Annual revenues have grown by more than 400 percent over the past five years — from $67.6 million in 2018 to $340 million in 2022. For more information on Kadean, visit

May 12, 2023

McClure Engineering Hires New Chief Operating Officer

Jamie Johnson

McClure Engineering, a St. Louis-based mechanical and electrical consulting engineering firm, hired Jamie Johnson as its new chief operating officer (COO). Johnson will lead, support and oversee the operational and financial health, human resources and talent development, marketing and regulatory compliance for McClure Engineering. She will be responsible for both supporting and executing the firm’s vision and operating strategy as it continues to grow. She will also lead the day-to-day business operations of the firm, ensuring daily activities turn strategic plans into actionable goals. 

“We are all very excited to announce Jamie Johnson as the new COO of McClure Engineering,” said Keith Esarey, president of McClure Engineering. “Throughout her career, Jamie has proven to be both a highly respected and transformational leader. Her combination of both motivational and analytical skills is exactly what we were looking for in a COO. We are more than confident that we are in great hands with Jamie as we continue to grow.”

A graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia with a degree in business and communications, Johnson brings more than 15 years of experience to McClure Engineering. Previously holding roles in human resources and business operations, Johnson most recently held the position of Chief of Staff/Vice President of Business Operations to the Chief Technology Officer of a major organization supporting more than 2,000 employees globally.

“We believe Jamie’s background in human resources is a real plus,” continued Esarey. “It isn’t too common for someone to transition from human resources to business operations, but we believe it gives Jamie a unique perspective. Communication and understanding are very critical at a large organization like ours, and this kind of background should be invaluable for this role.”

April 28, 2023

S. M. Wilson & Co. Promotes Five Team Members to General Superintendent

S. M. Wilson & Co. has expanded its field operations team leadership by promoting Steve Williams, Craig Cox, Mike Ashley, Eric Baumgartner and Ryan Phipps from Project Superintendent to General Superintendent.

A growing portfolio of work and backlog combined with the firm’s efforts to continuously improve and innovate led to the creation of the positions. 

As General Superintendents, they oversee field operations, including the management of all field staff. Responsibilities include working collaboratively to develop and implement strategies to build successful and effective project teams that are accountable for safety, quality, budget, schedule and client satisfaction.

Williams is a second-generation S. M. Wilson superintendent, joining the firm to work with his father in 1981. He has served as Project Superintendent most recently for projects including the new Godfrey, Illinois fire station, Highland Public Safety Building and retail projects for Target and Von Maur. 

Cox has worked at S. M. Wilson for 25 years. Since joining the firm, he has worked on many PreK-12 education and retail projects. He is currently overseeing several Target remodels and Dry Goods buildouts as well as renovation and addition projects for Fox C-6 School District in Arnold, Missouri. 

Ashley joined S. M. Wilson in 2004. He has served as a project superintendent and field operations director on more than $170 million in projects for Ladue School District.

Baumgartner joined S. M. Wilson in 2014 as a project superintendent. He has 30 years of experience. His work at S. M. Wilson has included several projects at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois. Baumgartner will be overseeing work for Edwardsville Community Unit District 7 Schools and Target. 

Phipps joined S. M. Wilson in 2022 as a project superintendent. With more than 30 years of industry experience, he has primarily focused on higher education and infrastructure projects ranging up to $105 million. Phipps is currently working on the CDB EPA office renovation project. 

S. M. Wilson is a full-service construction management, design/build and general contracting firm with headquarters in St. Louis and offices in Edwardsville, IL and Cape Girardeau, MO. Founded in 1921, S. M. Wilson is dedicated to going above and beyond expectations for their clients by putting people first. The 100% employee-owned company is one of the leading construction management firms in the Midwest. Areas of expertise include K-12 education, commercial, healthcare and industrial projects. For more information, visit

Mia Rose Holdings Expands Leadership Team with Addition of New Principal

Jordan Dorsey

Growing St. Louis-based developer Mia Rose Holdings (MRH) has expanded its leadership team with the addition of Jordan Dorsey as Principal. As Principal, Dorsey sources and manages new developments and builds partnerships in current and expanding markets, including St. Louis and Northwest Arkansas. He also facilitates capital needs through investor and bank relationships. 

Dorsey brings more than 10 years of valuable construction and real estate industry experience. He was previously president of a development firm focused on senior living developments throughout the Midwest and Mid-South. He holds a Juris Doctor from Southern Illinois University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

IMPACT Strategies Announces New Preconstruction Department Leadership

Jason Toennies and Derek Schafer promoted to new roles.

IMPACT Strategies is proud to announce new leadership in its preconstruction department. The firm has promoted Jason Toennies from Senior Estimator to Director of Estimating, and Derek Schaefer from Preconstruction Manager to Director of Preconstruction.

The promotion of these two key staff members to senior leadership positions is part of the firm’s strategic business plan for continued growth in its St. Louis and Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana (OKI) markets. IMPACT Strategies celebrated a record year in 2022 with more than $110 million in completed projects throughout five midwestern states. 

Jason Toennies

Jason Toennies holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management from Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville. Jason joined IMPACT Strategies in 2007 and brings more than 25 years of experience to his new role as Director of Estimating.

Derek Schaefer

Director of Pre-Construction Derek Schaefer has 15 years of experience in the construction industry. He graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management. He also earned the Design-Build Institute of America’s DBIA designation as a nationally certified Design-Build Professional in 2022. Derek joined IMPACT Strategies in 2013.

Toennies and Schaefer have been a part of numerous high-profile IMPACT Strategies projects, including Altair at the Heights in Richmond Heights, MO; 2200 LaSalle at Lafayette Park; several projects for BJC Health System; and numerous industrial buildings at Fenton Logistics Park.

The development and promotion of these new leaders allows for the future transition of Executive VP Mike Christ to a part-time role, expected in early 2024. Christ will remain a member of the firm’s executive leadership and will act as a mentor and coach for Toennies and Schaefer. Christ will also continue to lead IMPACT Strategies’ virtual design and construction (VDC) initiative.

IMPACT Strategies President Mark Hinrichs said, “As part of our long-term leadership planning and the continued growth of our firm, I am very excited to see Jason and Derek step into their new roles.

Each is a strong, capable leader with a track record of success – they will be instrumental in taking our already high-performing preconstruction department to new heights.”

USDA Groundbreaking in Normandy, MO


USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. J. Emilio Esteban, GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Paul Kiecker, and City of Normandy Mayor Mark Beckmann today celebrated the groundbreaking for the new home of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Midwestern Laboratory in Normandy, Missouri.

The state-of-the-art facility will both incorporate and support science and technology to address present and future public health challenges. This facility will also support a deeper commitment to sustainability to help minimize environmental impact from construction to operation while ensuring efficiencies that save taxpayer dollars. 

Consistent with GSA’s mission to acquire space on behalf of other government agencies, GSA signed a lease with US Federal Properties for a term of 20 years and a total contract value of $115,540,000. US Federal Properties has hired McCarthy Building Companies based in Des Peres, Missouri, to serve as the General Contractor.

“Our labs are crucial to the work we do in protecting the U.S. food supply and exports touching every corner of the world,” said Dr. J. Emilio Esteban, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety. “This new facility will allow the FSIS Midwestern Lab to incorporate advancements in science and technology to meet present and future challenges in food safety and public health.”

“At GSA, we want all federal spaces to empower employees to do their best work, bolster the missions of agencies like USDA, and support the local community,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan. “This partnership with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the community of Normandy is going to help ensure that federal employees have a safe, state-of-the-art, and sustainable facility where they can continue to provide great service to the American people.” 

“This is the first FSIS laboratory construction in recent years where we have been able to participate in the top-to-bottom design process to specifically meet our needs,” said Paul Kiecker, Administrator of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. “This new facility will advance FSIS’ operational excellence, increase our overall efficiency because of our close proximity to a major airport, and enable us to recruit the next generation of talented employees from St. Louis colleges and universities.”

The building is currently under design. Construction site preparation work will start this summer with site and civil work completed in the fall and building construction in 2024 and 2025. 

GSA provides centralized procurement and shared services for the federal government, managing a nationwide real estate portfolio of nearly 370 million rentable square feet, overseeing approximately $75 billion in annual contracts, and delivering technology services that serve millions of people across dozens of federal agencies. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best customer experience and value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the government and the American people. 

The Food Safety and Inspection Service is the public health regulatory agency within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) responsible for ensuring that domestic and imported meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled.

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