News - Page 2

Color Art Construction Awarded LaunchCode Techforce Center


Color Art Construction is the newest addition to LaunchCode’s ground-breaking team in St. Louis.

LaunchCode was founded in 2013 by Jim McKelvey, creator of Square and St. Louis native. This nonprofit organization helps people with nontraditional backgrounds find career opportunities in technology. In the last several years, LaunchCode has provided free and accessible education, training and paid apprenticeships to thousands in the region.

Now in 2021, actual ground is being broken for LaunchCode’s new Techforce Center at 4811 Delmar Boulevard. The facility expansion supports ongoing efforts to increase national visibility for St. Louis in the areas of computer programming and technology.

Color Art Construction joins community developer Rise and architectural firm JEMA on the project. Improvements to the 19,000 square-foot center feature collaborative spaces for gathering, a coffee bar, and an area for computer programming and learning. The new classroom and meeting spaces offer LaunchCode the ability to increase class cohort sizes by 33%, from 600 to 800 students per year.

As the largest interior solutions provider in the St. Louis region, Color Art delivers “Knowledge at Work” through furniture, construction and technology services. This combination of offerings provides clients the opportunity to streamline multiple facility needs through a single, seamless source. Find more information at


McCarthy Promotes Joe Lewandowski to Project Director


McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has promoted Joe Lewandowski to the position of Project Director in the company’s Central Region. 

In this role, Lewandowski will lead onsite construction teams on McCarthy healthcare projects, including Phase 3 of the BJC HealthCare Campus Renewal Project in St. Louis. 

Since joining McCarthy in 2005, Lewandowski has managed a range of prominent hospital expansion projects throughout the U.S. His project leadership experience includes the New Orleans VA Medical Center, a nine-building new campus that replaced critical medical infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Katrina; and a new six-story tower shared by Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City South and Oklahoma Heart Hospital.

“Joe is a savvy project leader who’s skilled at building trusting relationships while remaining focused on delivering exceptional construction outcomes,” said Doug Mangers, Senior Vice President of Operations at McCarthy’s Central Region.

Lewandowski graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri in Columbia.

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country – with more than 150 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients. With approximately 5,000 salaried employees and craft professionals, the firm has offices in St. Louis, Atlanta; Collinsville, Ill.; Kansas City, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Denver; Dallas, Houston; and San Diego, Newport Beach, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned. More information about the company is available online at or by following the company on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.


Fischer & Frichtel Supports Local Military Families Aided through Folds of Honor


Fischer & Frichtel Homes has presented Folds of Honor-St. Louis Chapter with a donation of $20,000. The contribution will support the organization’s mission of providing educational scholarships and support for the spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members.

Fischer & Frichtel is a 5-star partner of St. Louis Chapter, which is the highest level of sponsorship. The company committed $1,000 for every home it sold between Memorial Day and the 4th of July to the organization.  On July 13, John Fischer, president of the local homebuilder, fulfilled that pledge and more.

“We will forever be grateful to our service members who have sacrificed so much for our freedom,” said John Fischer, president of Fischer & Frichtel. “We proudly stand behind Folds of Honor to educate the legacy of these brave men and women. We thank our customers for their business which enables us to support this worthy cause.”

Founded in 1945, Fischer & Frichtel is St. Louis Born, St. Louis Built, and has helped thousands of families in St. Charles and St. Louis counties turn their homebuilding dreams into reality. With more than 20,000 homes and 200+ new home communities to its credit, Fischer & Frichtel is known for its legendary construction quality, on-staff carpentry team, first-rate customer experience, talented Home Center designers, and its unique warranty program.

Fischer & Frichtel is currently building homes in master-planned communities, intimate enclaves, lavish estate neighborhoods and free-standing villa communities in Bridgeton/Maryland Heights, Chesterfield, Cottleville, Dardenne Prairie, Eureka, Lake Saint Louis, O’Fallon, St. Charles and Wildwood. Visitors are invited to visit its many display homes or call (314) 283-6510 for more information.

Photo Above: Fischer & Fischer representatives present a $20,000 donation to Folds of Honor-St. Louis organization. Shown in the photo from left to right are Matt Schwartz, Carl Hausmann, Austin Johnson, John Fischer, Tom Weis, Doug Mitchell.


Spellman Brady Collaborates with De Stanley, Artwork Consultant


Spellman Brady & Company is pleased to announce the collaboration with    De Stanley, the principal of Stanley Studio, for artwork consulting services.Mrs. Stanley, who previously worked for Spellman Brady as an interior designer, will be providing artwork consulting services for the firm’s fast-growing artwork master planning practice for healthcare, senior living, multifamily, and education clients.

Mrs. Stanley has over 10 years of professional experience and apassion for photography coupled with a strong sense of interior design and art consulting.  She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Interior Design from Maryville University of St. Louis.  In addition to her previous 5-year tenure as an interior designer with Spellman Brady, Mrs. Stanley was an instructor in her local community for high school students interested in Interior Design where she taught fine art and architectural perspective drawings.

Spellman Brady & Company is an award-winning St. Louis–based interior design firm specializing in senior living, multi-family, healthcare, and higher education environments. The firm maintains design excellence by  delivering comprehensive 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 27 years ago.  For more information about Spellman Brady & Company, please visit


Metro-East Contractor Named Top Workplace & Best Place to Work on St. Louis Area Lists


Helmkamp Construction has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2021 honor by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Top Workplaces.  The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC.  The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization: including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

“During this very challenging time, Top Workplaces has proven to be a beacon of light for organizations, as well as a sign of resiliency and strong business performance,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO.  “When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward.  Top Workplaces draw on real-time insights into what works best for their organization, so they can make informed decisions that have a positive impact on their people and their business.”

For 10 consecutive years, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has recognized the importance of effective leadership, strong values and motivated workers.  Over 1,600 employers were invited to have their employees take the survey and any business with at least 50 employees was eligible to participate.  However, only 151 earned recognition in Top Workplaces.  Helmkamp ranked #12 on this year’s list.  2021 was their 3rd consecutive year of both participating and earning a spot on the list.

The St. Louis Business Journal also named Helmkamp Construction Co. as a Finalist on their 2021 Best Places to Work list.  The Journal is partnered with Quantum Workplaces which uses its own algorithm to measure communication, management structure, benefits, teamwork and several other factors.  The companies are grouped by size, then ranked by Quantum to determine the St. Louis area’s most employee-friendly workplaces.  More than 250 nominations were submitted and 75 were honored as Finalists across all categories.

Helmkamp was among the 20 winners identified in the medium-sized category.  Winners of each category will be named in a special publication on July 30th.  This was Helmkamp’s 3rd year of participating in the Best Places to Work program.  They earned a spot on the list in 2019 and 2021, while earning the Business Journal’s special category award for their charitable impact on the community in 2020.  

Rob Johnes, President & Owner of Helmkamp Construction, said “We have a clear definition of success and it’s tied around integrity.  Every person that works for us believes in doing the right thing for each other and our customers and follow a decision-making tree that is based on those things.  Our employees tell us they are proud to work for a company that does the right thing and cares about their well-being.  We reward our employees and tailor our benefits around their health and future, so they experience a fulfilling career and enjoy a happy and healthy life with their families.”

Since 1938, Helmkamp Construction Co. has built relationships based on quality, integrity, and safety leadership.  Helmkamp is the builder of choice for the repeat, professional buyer of construction in Industrial, Building, and Life Science markets.  Helmkamp self-performs excavations, concrete foundations and slabs, structural steel, rough and finish carpentry, labs, millwright equipment installations, and laser alignment/precision leveling.  Helmkamp Construction Co. serves clients in the St. Louis metro area but has also performed work for customers in 25 states to date.  To learn more, visit


IMPACT Strategies Completes Another Project in Fenton Logistics Park


IMPACT Strategies was pleased to serve as the Construction Manager for another US Capital Development project in Fenton Logistics Park. The Building 7 project – now an Amazon Distribution Center – is part of a larger redevelopment plan for the former Chrysler assembly plant site in Fenton, MO. This Class A, multi-use building is 148,800 square-foot, with a 52,000 square-foot canopy and features concrete tilt-up construction, 32-foot clearing heights, 16 trailer dock doors, and more than 330 parking spaces.

The state-of-the-art industrial and commercial park is rapidly growing and creating new jobs with the addition of each new occupant. IMPACT Strategies has previously constructed facilities for several other tenants in the par.

IMPACT Strategies worked with M+H Architects and Jon Petriches of US Capital Development on this project, which was completed earlier this year.

IMPACT Strategies provides client-focused construction management, design/build, and general contracting services. The firm offers a full continuum of innovative design/build service capabilities including proven construction management processes and site development. IMPACT Strategies serves a regional and national client base in the Healthcare, Senior Living, Multifamily, Office, Retail, and Warehouse/Distribution markets from its offices in Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio. To learn more visit


icon Mechanical Moves into New Granite City, Illinois Headquarters


Mechanical Engineering Firm Expands to Accommodate Exponential Growth.


• New 40,800 square-foot facility opened June 4th

• Expanded HQ represents firm’s continued growth

• icon employees make full-force return to the office as new HQ opens

• icon President says new facility helps prepare firm for coming wave of new business

icon Mechanical, one of the largest full-service design-build/design-assist mechanical contractors in the Midwest, has opened its new, 40,800 square-foot headquarters office in Granite City, Illinois.

The new facility, located at 1616 Cleveland, is adjacent to the mechanical contractor’s former location and marks the company’s second office expansion in its 25-year history. The state-of-the-art building provides the space needed to accommodate the company’s 150 plus Granite City-based employees and readies the company for continued growth. icon currently employs over 500 professional and craft workers company-wide.

“We are certainly excited about this new facility,” said Jeff Rush, President of icon Mechanical. “This represents a new era in our history and positions us well for the future. Our business remained strong throughout the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and now we’re prepared for what we envision will be a wave of new construction.”

The migration into the new headquarters also marked the full-force return of all icon employees to the office, following more than a year of CDC guidelines and COVID-related policies that kept a majority of icon’s office staff working remotely.  

“I guess you could say we returned in style,” said icon Founder, Mike Bieg, who along with the firm’s partners, boldly commissioned the construction of the new headquarters during the peak of the pandemic – a time when many major corporations were selling office real estate and opting for a permanent remote work force. “We’ve always maintained a go-forward, confident attitude knowing that when we emerged from the pandemic, we would be ready by having the right people, processes and facilities in place. It’s about being prepared and taking the lead. That’s the way we’ve operated over the last 25 years and it has served us well.”

Rush said the new facility enables the company to further enhance its industry-leading technical capabilities with larger design spaces and state-of-the-art equipment. The office also provides expanded innovative work and leisure spaces for employees.

The icon headquarters was a design/build effort made up of St. Louis area firms, including icon; Contegra ConstructionJuneau AssociatesGray Design Group and Alper Audi.

icon Mechanical has continued to increase its footprint in Granite City since beginning operations in 1995 and now has ten buildings covering over 175,000 square feet. The company has grown into one of the nation’s most innovative design-build and prefabrication/modularization mechanical engineering firms. icon has completed high-profile projects in almost every state, Mexico and St. Croix. The specialty contractor specializes in large, multi-million dollar commercial, industrial, and institutional projects that typically feature challenging technical specifications and requirements.

icon Mechanical employs around 500 professionals and craft workers. The company also has offices in St Louis, Missouri and Nashville, Tennessee, in addition to its Granite City, Illinois headquarters.

About icon Mechanical

icon Mechanical is a full-service mechanical contractor, engineering and construction firm specializing in the design, fabrication, installation, modification, and ongoing service of process piping, power piping, industrial ventilation and commercial HVAC.


TJ Wies Contracting Names Cameron Wies Chief Operating Officer


The Leadership Team at TJ Wies Contracting is proud to announce the appointment of Cameron Wies as Chief Operating Officer (COO). As COO, Wies’s responsibilities will consist of day-to-day oversight of TJ Wies Contracting operations and implementation of the Leadership Team’s Strategic Plan.

After graduating from the University of Missouri, Wies worked as a site manager for Baierl + Demmelhuber Construction in Germany. Upon his return to the United States and TJ Wies Contracting, Wies began as an Apprentice Carpenter in the field and then transitioned to Estimator, followed by Project Manager/Project Executive. Wies was instrumental in the design, development, and process development of the new TJ Wies Prefab Innovation Center in St. Peters, MO. He has also served as the TJ Wies Process Champion for the implementation and utilization of Total Station layout tools, as well as the Plexxis accounting and project management software. Notable projects that Wies has been involved in include BJC Hospital Phase 2 North and South Towers and the Y-12 Uranium Processing Facility in Oak Ridge, TN. 

Wies’s promotion is the next step in the TJ Wies Contracting Leadership Team’s long-range Strategic Plan for transition from Tim Wies to Cameron Wies.

Cameron and his wife Laura have a son, Carter, and a daughter, Kiley, and are expecting their third child in October. In his little available free time, Cameron enjoys spending time with his family and chasing after his children.


McCarthy Lifts 30,000 Pound Accelerator into Place for Mercy Proton Therapy Center


The centerpiece of the new Mercy Proton Therapy Center currently under construction at the David C. Pratt Cancer Center, a MEVION S250iTM gantry-mounted proton accelerator, was positioned into place by McCarthy Building Companies, Saturday, July 17, at the site located at 607 S. New Ballas Road in Creve Coeur.

After a journey across seven states, the accelerator was placed through an opening in the vault’s 7-foot, 6-inch thick concrete lid using a 350-ton capacity crane, the same day it arrived.

“This major milestone in construction puts us one step closer to making the Mercy Proton Therapy Center a reality for our patients,” said Steve Mackin, Mercy executive vice president and Mercy’s East Communities president. “Seeing the equipment before it’s enclosed in the concrete vault shows just how massive an undertaking this project has been. It’s remarkable to think of the many people who will survive – and thrive – because of this technology.”

A small crowd of leaders from Mercy, McCarthy and Mevion took turns signing the equipment and then watched as the accelerator unit was placed. It was secured inside a three-story high, 42-foot-by-47-foot “vault” treatment room featuring concrete walls ranging from three to seven and a half feet thick located within the new 17,000-square-foot, three-story addition to the David C. Pratt Cancer Center. Because being as little as one inch off in thickness would result in less radiation shielding, the center was designed and built with extreme precision, with tolerances less than three-quarters-inch wall-to-wall and one-inch floor-to-ceiling.

Construction began in July 2020; the center’s opening is planned for summer 2022.

The world’s only gantry-mounted proton accelerator, the MEVION S250i, features the HYPERSCAN® pencil beam scanning technology and Adaptive Aperture® pMLC that delivers a highly stable, fast, precise and uniform proton therapy beam. The complete unit weighs 300,000 pounds, including the 30,000-pound accelerator, 85,000-pound housing and 72,000 pounds of arms and counterweights.

Currently, there are only 41 proton centers in the United States. Proton therapy, which has fewer side effects than traditional cancer treatments and can be used for many types of cancer, uses high-energy beams of protons to precisely deliver radiation to a tumor, reducing or eliminating unwanted radiation exposure to surrounding, healthy tissue. Mercy will make this option available for patients pursuing both research options and traditional clinical care.

About Mercy

Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems for four consecutive years by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy is one of the nation’s most highly integrated, multi-state health care systems, including more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, convenient urgent care locations, imaging centers and pharmacies. Mercy has 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, more than 4,000 Mercy Clinic physicians and advanced practitioners and 40,000-plus co-workers serving patients and families across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy’s IT division, Mercy Technology Services, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients from coast to coast.

About McCarthy

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country – with more than 150 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients. With approximately 5,000 salaried employees and craft professionals, the firm has offices in St. Louis, Atlanta; Collinsville, Ill.; Kansas City, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Denver; Dallas, Houston; and San Diego, Newport Beach, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned. More information about the company is available online at or by following the company on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.


Gap Between Costs & Bid Prices Widens in June


Steel climbs further, lumber tumbles in July

The gulf between contractors’ costs and pricing continued to widen again in June. The producer price index (PPI) for new nonresidential building construction—a measure of the price that contractors say they would charge to build a fixed set of buildings—increased 0.4% from May and 3.4% year-over-year (y/y) since June 2020, while the PPI for material and service inputs to construction industries jumped 3.8% and 26.3%, respectively, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Tuesday. There were double- and even triple-digit percentage y/y increases for numerous inputs: diesel fuel, 127% y/y; lumber and plywood, 101%; steel mill products, 88%; copper and brass mill shapes, 61%; aluminum mill shapes, 33%; plastic construction products, 22%; gypsum products, 18%; truck transportation of freight, 15%; asphalt felt and coatings, 11%; and insulation materials,10%.

The prices used to calculate PPIs were generally in effect around June 11. Since then, there have been numerous price increases for steel products. A reader forwarded a June 29 letter from a supplier that it was increasing rebar prices 4.67% on July 1 and 8-9% “tentatively” on August 1. Atlas Tube wrote to customers on Tuesday that it “is raising the price on all new orders for mechanical, HSS [hollow structural shapes,] and piling products” $125 per ton, effective immediately. Readers are invited to send cost and supply-chain information to

Lumber futures have continued the plunge that began in early May, closing on Thursday near year-ago levels but up 29% from the pre-pandemic peak in February 2020. While prices may not have fallen as much at the dealer or retail level, “lower prices are beginning to beckon buyers, especially developers of big projects, like apartment buildings, which shelved construction plans when prices reached unprecedented levels,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. But “the spotlight on lumber continues to crowd out the story of meteoric price increases of another wood product integral to the integrity of a building’s structure—oriented strand board (OSB),” which is used in walls, flooring, and roofing, the National Association of Home Builders wrote on Wednesday. “The price of OSB has increased 510% since January 2020, exceeding the peak price increase in lumber by nearly 180 percentage points. Although plywood panel prices have substantially increased over the past 18 months as well, the increases have been less than half those seen in the OSB market. In addition to elevated prices, acute shortages have plagued the residential construction industry–particularly after the severe winter weather experienced in the south in February.” In addition, flooring manufacturer Shaw Industries notified customers on July 2 that it “will implement a temporary freight surcharge on all hard surface products,” effective August 16.

Seasonally adjusted construction employment in June trailed the February 2020 level in 39 states, exceeded it in 11 states, and was unchanged in the District of Columbia, according to AGC’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data posted today. (February 2020 was the month in which employment peaked nationally before plunging during widespread shutdowns in March and April 2020.) New York lost the most construction jobs since February 2020 (-54,300 jobs or -13%), followed by Texas (-54,100, -6.9%), California (-36,500, -4.0%), and Louisiana (-20,700, -15%). Wyoming recorded the largest percentage loss (-15%, -3,500 jobs), followed by Louisiana and New York. Utah added the most jobs (7,000, 6.1%), followed by Idaho 4,400, 8.0%), South Dakota (1,400, 5.9%), and Rhode Island (1,200 5.9%). Idaho added the highest percentage, followed by Utah, Rhode Island and South Dakota. For the month, construction employment declined in 25 states, increased in 24 states and D.C, and held steady in Maine. Georgia added the most construction jobs from May to June (5,700, 2.9%), followed by Kentucky (2,700, 3.4%) and Florida (2,500, 0.4%). Kentucky had the largest monthly percentage increase, followed by Alaska (3.0%, 500) and Georgia. New York lost the most construction jobs for the month (-6,900, -1.9%), followed by Pennsylvania (-4,100, -1.6%), and Texas (-3,300, -0.5%). Vermont had the largest percentage loss (-3.5%, -500 jobs), followed by New York, Alabama (-1.9%, -1,700) and North Dakota (-1.9%, -500). (BLS reports combined totals for mining, logging, and construction in D.C., Delaware and Hawaii. Because there are few, if any, mining and logging jobs in these locations, AGC treats the levels and changes as solely construction employment.)

Construction starts, not seasonally adjusted, increased 2.4% y/y in June from June 2020, data firm ConstructConnect reported on Tuesday. Year-to-date starts for January-June 2021 rose 2.1% from the same months in 2020. Year-to-date nonresidential starts slumped 11%: nonresidential building starts plunged 20.5% (commercial, -21%; institutional, -11%; and industrial [manufacturing], -10%), while engineering (civil) starts fell 4.8% (including road/highway, -1.8%, and water/sewage, +9.8%). Residential starts soared 23% year-to-date (single-family, 32%, and apartments, 0.1%).

“Residential construction softened in several districts in response to rising costs, while commercial construction was mixed but up slightly on balance,” the Federal Reserve reported on Wednesday in the latest “Beige Book,” a summary of informal surveys of businesses in the 12 Fed districts from mid-May through June. (Districts are referenced by the names of their headquarters cities.) AGC posted excerpts relevant to construction from each district’s report, including the following. New York: “Wage growth has picked up somewhat, most notably for jobs in” construction, among other sectors. San Francisco: “Worker shortages were also noted in construction” and three other sectors. Dallas: “Industrial construction and leasing remained exceptionally strong.” Reminder: Contractor readers are invited to take the 2021 AGC/Autodesk Workforce Survey.