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National Month of Veterans & Military Families Job Fair

in Associations/News

November is the National Month of Veterans and Military Families and DAV / RecruitMilitary are proud to host the St. Louis Veterans Job Fair on Thursday, November 21st from 11am to 3pm at Chaifetz Arena at St. Louis University. This free event for veterans, military spouses, transitioning military, National Guard members and Reservists features 40+ employers ready to hire.

In addition to providing career opportunities for veterans, RecruitMilitary is also focusing efforts on the more than 600,000 military spouses in the United States who are unemployed and/or underemployed in their professional careers. The company is actively working to help address the exorbitantly high unemployment rate of military spouses – nearly 25% – a rate more than six times the national average. This is the highest unemployment rate of any singular group in the U.S.  Through its partnership with Google, a new job search tool is now available to assist military spouse and military trained talent to explore 8,000 remote work options in the RecruitMilitary database of more than 250,000 jobs. With more than 140 veteran and military spouse job fairs this year, RecruitMilitary offers veterans and military spouses the most opportunities of any organization to help facilitate their future career goals.

RecruitMilitary’s Event Director, Jennifer Hadac who is also a US Navy Veteran, is available to discuss the hiring event and how we’re helping St. Louis veterans, transitioning military and military spouses find meaningful career opportunities.

Recession Likely Still More than 3 Years Away, Commerce Trust Co. Economist Says

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Scott Colbert


Although U.S. economic growth is slowing after more than 42 quarters of expansion, the start of a recession is still not likely to occur until early 2023, according to Scott Colbert, executive VP, chief economist and director of fixed asset management for Commerce Trust Company.

That being said, uncertainty remains in the air relative to America’s trade war with China and a presidential election less than one year away, he added.

“The trade war with China won’t likely push the U.S. into recession,” said Colbert at Commerce’s 2020 Economic Forecast and Financial Market Update in Clayton on Nov. 6. “Economic recovery has been so slow and gradual that we haven’t created the ‘heat’ of high inflation to push the Fed to hit the brakes and raise interest rates. Once leading economic indicators recover, as they did in March 2017, the economy statistically has six years until the next recession.”

After the Fed followed through on three of four predicted interest rate cuts in 2019, the fourth will likely not materialize until March 2020, Colbert said.

“To have a recession, two things really have to happen,” he said. “One, an anxiety shock such as the Arab-Israeli (oil) War in 1973, the Gulf War in 1990, the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 and the 2008 housing crisis. Two, a Fed that’s braking to control inflation…right now, the Fed is doing the opposite by cutting interest rates to extend the economic recovery.”

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Electrical Connection Members Honored at AGC Keystone Awards

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Two Electrical Connection-member contractors earned awards at the annual Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Missouri Keystone Awards.  PayneCrest Electric, Inc. was saluted for construction excellence in the delivery of its Monsanto/Bayer Greenhouses project.  PayneCrest was also honored for its work on the Ameren Labadie Fly Ash facility, which was an award finalist.  Meanwhile, Aschinger Electric Co. earned a Specialty Contractor of the Year (SCOTY) Award in the electrical category.  In addition, Guarantee Electrical Co. was honored as a finalist for its work on The Last Hotel in downtown St. Louis and the Ameren Wastewater Treatment Process facility.

All three contractors are members of the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractor Association (NECA) which partners with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 to form the Electrical Connection.

Since 1997, when the AGC Keystone Awards competition was launched, more than 100 NECA contractor projects have been honored in the awards program, 32 of which earned AGC Keystone Awards.  According to the AGC, “the awards are a glowing recognition of construction professionals whose skill, teamwork and spirit of innovation make a lasting contribution to a community by building facilities that support and enhance the quality of life. Safety performance, use of technology or new innovations, and workforce diversity are also essential components of overall performance.”

In awarding PayneCrest its Keystone Award for the Monsanto/Bayer Greenhouses, the program noted that “PayneCrest overcame extraordinary complexities in remodeling 26 greenhouses as Monsanto transitioned to new ownership under Bayer. Each greenhouse required intense specialized infrastructure within its extremely limited space with a strict mandate to avoid shading plants with electrical systems. PayneCrest created, tested and refined mockups to guide pre-fabrication and installation with extraordinary precision, delivering on all expectations.”

Program notes for the other honored Electrical Connection-member projects included:

  • PayneCrest’s Ameren Labadie Fly Ash – “New EPA regulations eliminating fly ash ponds compelled Ameren to tap PayneCrest’s design/build skills for solutions to treat and dispose of the Labadie Power Plant fly ash. PayneCrest’s detective work revealed unknown aging infrastructure and integrated it with new electrical systems. It deftly managed work in tight spaces to power new EPA-compliant silo storage facilities to treat the fly ash.”
  • Guarantee’s Last Hotel – “Historic renovation is always tricky, when it involves digging through layers of history in a city like St. Louis. Leveraging the historic International Shoe factory building’s Art Deco elegance into the contemporary destination of The Last Hotel, led Guarantee’s project team through a century’s worth of urban archaeology, a wilderness of unmapped utilities between buildings, below streets, below the basement.”
  • Guarantee’s Ameren Wastewater Treatment Process project – “Among the challenges of the project were the uncertainties created by the innovative nature of the technology involved, which drove a relentless effort to adapt and test equipment to better calibrate performance. Working closely with Ameren’s design team and engineers, Guarantee’s installers were involved from design through commissioning, testing and adjusting sensors and equipment over the course of the project.”

“The successful and innovative delivery of these complex projects reflects the

proficiencies of our Electrical Connection NECA contractors and the skills and safety of our IBEW workforce,” noted Jim Curran, executive director, Electrical Connection.  “As we work with civic and business leadership in Missouri, we can confidently provide countless examples of IBEW/NECA’s readiness to efficiently and creatively deliver the next generation of electrical and communications projects.”

Winners of the 2019 Keystone Awards were celebrated at the AGC’s Construction Awards Gala scheduled for Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 at the River City Casino & Hotel in St. Louis.

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri represents more than 500 commercial, industrial, heavy and highway contractors, industry partners and related firms in 110 counties in Missouri. For more information, visit

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

Cohen Architectural Woodworking Receives Third National Award for Outstanding Workplace Safety

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Cohen Architectural Woodworking announces it has once again received an award for Outstanding Workplace Safety from the Architectural Woodworking Institute (AWI).

Cohen Architectural Woodworking was recognized for the 2019 Zero Lost Time Accident Achievement for Manufacturers Award for reaching more than 100,000 work hours without a safety incident. Cohen also received the award in 2017 as well as the 2017 Safety Improvement Recognition Award for Manufacturers, awarded to companies who reach more than 100,000 hours of maintaining a safe workplace.

“We care about our workers and want to send them home safely to their families. We make sure our entire team is bought into excellence in everything, including safety.” said Phillip Cohen, Founder and President.

The Architectural Woodwork Institute has been the voice of the woodworking industry for more than half a century. The organization provides networking and educational programs for all members. The AWI is known for The Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS), a guide for the specification, construction, and installation of interior architectural woodwork. Each year it hosts a variety of award competitions honoring top performing companies in several categories.

Founded in 1982, Cohen Architectural Woodworking is a family-owned architectural design/build woodworking firm headquartered in St. James, Missouri. For more information visit


Photo caption: Alan Vance (L), Safety Coordinator with Cohen Architectural Woodworking, receives a certificate from the Architectural Woodworking Institute for Outstanding Workplace Safety. The award was presented to Vance at the Cohen offices by  John Slania, marketing representative for Federated Insurance.

KAI Receives Two AIA St. Louis/AIA Central States Region Design Awards

in Companies/News

KAI Enterprises proudly announces that it has received two AIA St. Louis/AIA Central States Region Design Awards for interior design and architecture. The awards were presented at an Oct. 11 awards ceremony at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis.

  • Awards Presented to KAI Include:
  • Award: Interiors Category – Distinguished Award
  • Project: Alberici Hillsdale Office Renovation
  • Firm: KAI Design

Project Description: KAI’s Architecture and Interior Design teams were challenged with renovating the outdated second floor of Alberici Corporation’s Hillsdale, Missouri office. The goal was to provide a better workspace for employees at two of its subsidiaries – Hillsdale Fabricators and Kienlen Constructors. The office space was riddled with unused space, outdated finishes and no consistent flow and did not adequately represent the company’s brand or expertise. Its employees were dispersed throughout several floors.

KAI designed an open floor plan that consolidated all of the employees onto one floor, with a centralized break room and a refined, industrial design. The finished design utilizes custom-crafted furniture pieces that showcases the client’s skills, exposed ceilings and columns, sealed concrete floors, reclaimed wood, steel partitions, glass workstations and modern lighting.

“Our team did an excellent job showcasing the company’s brand and skills in the design through the use of custom-made furniture and industrial finishes hand-crafted by the client’s own structural steel fabricators,” said KAI Senior Interior Designer Terry Crotty. “Our designers recognized how pivotal the client’s expertise was to creating their new space.”

  • Award: Architecture Category – Merit Award
  • Project: Grand Flats Luxury Apartments
  • Firm: Lead Architect – HOK, Associate Architect – KAI Design

Project Description: Located at 2232 S. Grand Blvd. in St. Louis’ Compton Heights neighborhood, the 124-unit development features a heated pool and sundeck; studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments; luxury finishes; 24/7 fitness center; self-serve pet spa; coffee bar; designer kitchens; private balconies; social lounge; community micro-market; private meeting rooms and bike storage.

“Our goal on this project was to create a mini-metropolis with modern, luxury finishes and amenities that focus on convenience and community,” said Crotty. “The Grand Flats apartments evokes an environment where people want to be.”

Additionally, KAI Engineering was part of the Soldier’s Memorial Military Museum restoration project team, for which lead architect Mackey Mitchell and associate architect The Grice Group received an AIA design award. KAI Engineering was proud to have been part of the project team.

The 1938 art deco building in Downtown St. Louis underwent a $30 million renovation to its interior and grounds that started in 2016 and was completed in 2018. The renovation made preserving the building’s original art deco detailing a priority. Exterior work included pavement and landscaping replacement, stone wall cladding repair and cleaning, new waterproofing and roofing, new reflecting pool and Five Branches Fountain, and an expanded Court of Honor. The building’s interior received a modern HVAC system, new exhibit galleries, replacement tiles, cleaned and rewired light fixtures, LED lighting, new wheelchair ramp and other ADA-compliant improvements. Renovation to the basement more than doubled the museum’s exhibition space.

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. To learn more about KAI, visit

Electrical Connection Member-Supported Real Estate Investment Trusts Nears $1 Billion

in Associations/News

Very quietly, Electrical Connection members have been supporting nearly $1 billion in investments made in St. Louis area commercial real estate development projects.  The investments comes from a portion of union pension funds reinvested into St. Louis area projects through three real estate investment trusts.  They include AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT)AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT) and Union Labor Life Insurance Co. (ULLICO).  Collectively, these funds have invested $946 million in local real estate projects.

ULLICO 212 Meremac

Each of the real estate investment trusts are supported by pension funds of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1, which partners with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to form the Electrical Connection.

“The investments we supported were particularly valuable in the wake of the Great Recession,” noted Frank Jacobs, business manager, IBEW Local 1.”  “Projects were in danger of stalling when funding dried up and we were enduring depression-level unemployment in the trades.  The entire region needed an infusion of investment.  Fortunately, we had quality developments built with the skill of union labor that attracted investments supported by our union pension funds.”

Doug Martin, executive vice president, St. Louis Chapter NECA, concurred and added, “These are job-generating construction projects that not only provide a good return on investment, but also add to the quality of life in St. Louis.”


The local impact of each of the real estate investment trusts on St. Louis includes:

  • Since inception 30 years ago, the AFL-CIO HIT has invested $575 million to support 32 projects with total development value of $946 million. These projects have built or preserved more than 5,065 housing units and created an estimated 13.5 million hours of union construction work.  In the last 10 years, AFL-CIO HIT has invested $260 million in 13 projects with a total development investment of $484 million in St. Louis. These projects are creating an estimated 6.5 million hours of union construction work. Those investments include:
  • Villas at Crystal Lake, Swansea, IL
  • Council Tower Senior Apt., St. Louis
  • Park Pacific Apt., St. Louis
  • The Laurel, St. Louis
  • Parkway Lakeside Apt., O’Fallon, Ill.  ·
  • Holy Infant & St. Joseph Apt., Shrewsbury, Mo.
  • St. John Neuman Apt., Jennings, Mo.           ·
  • The Heights at Manhassett, Richmond Heights, Mo.
  • The Gatesworth, St. Louis      ·
  • Hampden Hall, St. Louis
  • The Fountains of Ellisville, Ellisville, Mo.       ·
  • Covenent Place II, St. Louis

More on AFL-CIO HIT can be found at

AFL-CIO BIT has invested $180 million in nine St. Louis area projects, producing 1.5 million manhours of construction work.  Most recently, this includes the $51 million Encore at Forest Park.  It also includesthe $42 million Cortona Apartments at Forest Park.   Other projects include the Veterans Administration, IRS Building, and FBI Building in St. Louis, various projects at Fountain Lakes Commerce Center in St. Charles and more.  More can be found at

ULLICO has invested over $191 million in Missouri through its “J for Jobs” program. Most recently it invested $55.7 million to create 212 Meramec Apartments in Clayton, Mo.  More can be found at

“We work with our business, civic and economic development partners throughout the St. Louis region to find meaningful projects that would merit reinvesting union pension funds back into our community,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president, Electrical Connection.

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

KAI Build & PARIC Corporation Break Ground on $21 Million Ameren Missouri Operating Center

in Companies/News

New facility to serve as electric operations hub for more than 135,000 customers 

KAI Build and joint venture partner PARIC Corporation broke ground on Oct. 24 to start construction of Ameren Missouri’s new North Metro Operating Center at 4427 Geraldine Avenue. The $21 million facility will replace the adjacent Geraldine Operating Center which has employed hundreds of Ameren employees and provided electric operations to North St. Louis for over 60 years.

The North Metro Operating Center will be a localized hub for up to 500 Ameren employees who perform work from electric system repairs to major infrastructure upgrade projects to storm restoration. The new facility, which is expected to be completed in Dec. 2020, will include:

  • 19,600-square-foot office building for administrative offices and a crew area
  • 26,000-square-foot open truck shelter for 42 trucks
  • 6,400-square-foot storage building
  • 4,400-square-foot, three-sided trailer storage building

“Ameren Missouri is committed to creating stronger communities where we work and live, which is why we are reinvesting in North St. Louis by building the new North Metro Operating Center next door to our current facility,” said Michael Moehn, Chairman and President of Ameren Missouri. “The new, larger facility was needed to continue to meet our customers’ service reliability needs in North St. Louis and surrounding communities. A project of this magnitude requires collaboration and partnership with a number of stakeholders, including local government officials, community leaders and a host of diverse contractors.”

Ameren Missouri is constructing the project through a joint venture partnership with its general contractors, PARIC Corporation and minority-owned KAI Build.

“KAI Build is proud to be a part of helping the transformation of the north bookend of the city. Ameren, being an excellent corporate citizen and making this investment, gets the snowball rolling to help start the development infill between this project and the central corridor,” said Michael Kennedy, Jr., CEO of KAI Enterprises. “This allows developers to start looking at all the possibilities north of Delmar. These anchor projects are so important. This feels really good.”

The joint venture partnership between PARIC and KAI will represent the two firms’ eighth project together over the past 20 years. As a prominent construction leader in the area, PARIC recognizes the impact of partnership with diverse businesses.

“We are very excited to start this project with Ameren Missouri alongside our longtime partners KAI,” said Keith Wolkoff, President of PARIC Corporation. “We pride ourselves on bringing meaningful inclusion efforts to all of our projects and embed that into our company culture. The importance of growing the capabilities of minority firms in our area is crucial.”

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. To learn more about KAI, visit

PARIC Corporation was established in 1979 and is currently one of the largest privately held, St. Louis based, companies and ranked nationally in the ENR Top 200. PARIC is at the forefront of construction advancements, utilizing the latest in virtual design and construction technology. For more information about PARIC visit 

Photo Credit – Megan Maune

S. M. Wilson Names New Executive Leadership Team

in Companies/News

S. M. Wilson & Co. is under new leadership in an effort to provide more value and personalized experience for their clients, partners and employees.

“Today we are naming a new executive committee to provide strategy, planning, development of our people and most importantly open communication,” said Amy Berg, S. M. Wilson & Co. President.

The firm’s new executive committee will consist of eight team members including four existing members – Scott Wilson, Chief Executive Officer; Amy Berg, President; Mark Cochran, Chief Operations Officer; Mike Dohle, Chief Financial Officer and four new members – Steve Meeks, Vice President of Pre-Construction and Estimating; Amanda Bohnert, Chief Marketing Officer; Rebecca Cornatzer, Chief Human Resources Officer and Jack Kinamore, Project Director.

The new executive committee will be focused on technology, lean construction and vertical integration through an experience-based approach.

“This team has been chosen for their exemplary leadership and passion for S. M. Wilson’s success,” states Berg. “Our new executive committee will maintain the values of respect for all people, trust and humility. They will lead us to continued success and growth.”

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

Sverdrup Remodel Wins Design Excellence Award

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The renovated central core of the Sverdrup Complex earned a Design Excellence Award in the Higher Education category from the International Interior Design Association’s Gateway Chapter. V Three Studios LLC, the architecture firm that oversaw the redesign, received the award during a ceremony on Oct. 24.

The newly remodeled facility features a sleek, modern interior with a fully integrated technical infrastructure throughout its purpose-built classrooms, labs, and studios, as well as a variety of informal gathering spaces for time between classes. The finishes in the space consist of natural woods, transparent glass panels, exposed metal materials, and colorful furniture accents that purposefully enhance the learning experience.

The Sverdrup Complex serves as home to Webster University’s School of Communications.

“The space was designed to support our hands-on approach to teaching and learning; we produce communication and media as well as study them. Similarly, the new facility is designed to encourage collaboration, access to emerging technologies, and to emulate the modern work environment,” said Eric Rothenbuhler, dean of the School of Communications. “While the primary users are students, faculty and staff in the School of Communications, the renovated classrooms as well as the social gathering areas are popular with students and faculty from every school and college at Webster.”

New features include a portable, reconfigurable television studio setup , a one-button studio to record instant video, a state-of-the-art student media lab for print, digital, and radio production, a design and production lab that supports the latest in animation, game design, and video post-production, and a testing and criticism studio that lets students test their digital creations in real-world situations. All the spaces are interconnected, which means that media created in one area can easily be played, shared or edited in another area in the building, as well as streamed to the world

The Design Excellence Award celebrates and recognizes superior design as judged by a distinguished panel of members from national IIDA chapters. The judges reviewed established criteria for the project nominations and selected V3’s design as the best in category. The panel commented about the Sverdrup renovation, “The project does a great job of using architectural details and volume to bring life to the space.”

The Sverdrup Complex opened in 1987 as three interconnected buildings along Big Bend Road on Webster University’s primary campus in St. Louis. It served as the home of the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology until that school relocated to the East Academic Building in 2012. The School of Communications, which experienced tremendous growth, consolidated its faculty, staff and classes in the Complex.

The renovation covered 16,600 square feet in the center building and the east and west connecting atriums. The space includes open, flexible-use, collaborative workspaces, designed to support multimedia work, cross-disciplinary work, and collaboration. These areas also include media screens, digital signage, and audio-visual installation, worktables, both soft and task seating, and magnetic and pin-able wall surfaces to further encourage collaboration. The space also gives access to web-based technology and information.

Work on the building started in October 2017 and was completed by September of 2018. Besides V Three Studios, other key players in the design included Conference Technologies, Inc, which was responsible for the audio-visual integration, and Spellman Brady, which was responsible for the furniture.

For more information on the School of Communications or the Sverdrup Complex, visit

Rebuilding Together St. Louis Announces New Executive Director

in Associations/News

Rebuilding Together St. Louis is pleased to announce Elaine Powers as the organization’s new Executive Director. Powers comes to the group with more than 30 years of executive nonprofit experience.  In her new role, Powers will oversee strategic planning, development, and governance among other responsibilities.

“Elaine’s depth of experience and solid background in the nonprofit sector is invaluable and will be a great asset to our organization,” says Barry Upchurch, President of the Board. “She is taking the helm at a time of unprecedented growth, and we are delighted to have her join the stellar team in place.”

In addition to serving in leadership roles with  Angels’ Arms and the Lemay Child and Family Center, Powers also ran a strategic consulting practice. Her previous experience also includes St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where she served as Director of Development Services. Powers holds a  Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in nonprofit administration from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.

For more than25 years Rebuilding Together St. Louis has provided free home repair to low income homeowners and veterans in need so they may remain safely and comfortably in their own homes.

Since its founding, the organization has rehabbed more than 3000 homes; 68 community spaces and touched more than 57,000 lives. The St. Louis affiliate is a leader among the more than 120 affiliates nationwide. St. Louis has been selected to hold the National Rebuilding Together Convention at St. Louis Union Station, November 14 – 16, 2019. For more information visit, call 314.918.9918 or email    

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