Category archive

News - page 2

Kwame Building Group Completes Work on Multiple Projects at Normandy Schools

in Companies/News

Louis, with Kwame Building Group (KWAME) serving as the construction manager and owner’s representative. The projects, which were funded by Proposition N, a $23 million no-tax- rate increase bond issue, include the new $15 million Normandy Early Learning Center, new library media centers and STEAM studios at Jefferson and Washington Elementary and additions at all elementary schools to reconfigure the schools to a 1st through 8th-grade model.

The new Normandy Early Learning Center on Natural Bridge Road was constructed to improve the long-term educational outcomes of the district’s students by combining pre-school, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten on one campus. Construction of the 68,000-square-foot, two-story building included demolition of the existing 120,000-square-foot middle school, site development and parking lot improvements. The new state-of-the-art facility features a whimsical, tree-house themed library; outdoor playground; gymnasium and 35 classrooms.  The architect was TRi Architects.

“By making the investment in our youngest learners, we have the opportunity to set a new standard within the district and the metropolitan area,” according to the Normandy Schools Collaborative website. “Very few public school districts offer free early childhood (ECC) programs to their residents. In the state of Missouri, only three percent of children have access to public ECC programs.”

Previously, KWAME served as the program construction manager for the Normandy Schools Collaborative $16 million bond program. The program, which spanned 2004 through 2008, included renovations and expansions on Normandy Senior High School and other district facilities. In 2011, KWAME was the construction manager and owner’s representative for the district’s 65,000-square-foot Barack Obama Elementary School.

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

Kadean Celebrates Topping Out of Barclay Condominiums

in Companies/News

Kadean Construction Company celebrated the topping out of The Barclay, a condominium building under construction at 204 N. Clay Street in downtown Kirkwood for developer Savoy Investments, LLC.  The final roof truss of the 40,000 square foot, four-story structure was hoisted into place by Cheltenham Construction Services, one of Kadean’s subcontractors, signifying that the structure has reached its maximum height.

The Barclay will feature 14 luxury condominiums with underground parking and other amenities.  Construction began in November 2019 and is scheduled for completion early in 2021.  Core 10 Architecture is the project architect and KPFF Consulting Engineers is providing engineering services.

“We are so gratified that this project has remained on schedule during the COVID-19 public health pandemic, which has adversely affected the progress of many other construction projects across the St. Louis region,” said John Pennington, partner and co-owner at Savoy Investments. “Most of these condominiums were pre-sold prior to the start of construction, and the owners are eager to move in. We look forward to people taking up residence here before the end of the year as originally planned.”

“Topping out is an important milestone for this project, and we are excited to celebrate it with everyone today,” said Mike Eveler, President of Kadean Construction. “The entire project team has done a great job of keeping this job site safe for workers while responding to the site’s logistical limitations.  I credit the collaboration of everyone involved for keeping this moving towards a successful outcome.”

“Today is a great time to celebrate a new streetscape in vibrant downtown Kirkwood,” said Tyler Stephens, Design Principal at CORE10 Architecture. “It’s exciting when a team like this has a vision for multiple buildings on a street that establishes a sense of home for future residents.”

This is the second new condominium construction project for which Savoy Investments has chosen Kadean to build on the same block in downtown Kirkwood.  In 2018, Kadean completed construction of The Madison condominiums at 110 W. Madison Avenue, a project similar in size and appearance to The Barclay.

Kadean Construction is a rapidly growing, 55-year-old commercial construction company with 51 employees and annual revenue of more than $85 million.  Kadean specializes in pre-construction, design-build, construction management and general contracting services at the local, regional and national level in the industrial & manufacturing, life sciences, healthcare, commercial and multi-family market segments.

House Spending Bill Bars Military Construction Funding for Border Wall

in Companies/News

Submitted by AGC of Missouri

A House spending bill for military construction would block funding from going to President Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The fiscal 2021 spending bill for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs would prohibit military construction funding appropriated since fiscal 2016 from being used on barriers on the southern border and roads to access a barrier on the border, according to draft text released by the House Appropriations Committee.

It would also prohibit funding for projects that were delayed because Trump declared a national emergency and dipped into military construction for the wall, according to the text.

The provision is included in a $250.9 billion spending bill that would give $10.1 billion to military construction in fiscal 2021. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veteran Affairs and Related Agencies will consider the bill Monday night.

“This bill honors our commitment to the men and women in our armed services, to our veterans, and to military families, who sacrifice every day for our nation,” Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “Critically, the bill will prevent President Trump from stealing any more appropriated funds from urgently needed military infrastructure projects to pay for his wasteful border wall.”

Separately, the House Appropriations Committee’s spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security would prohibit construction of a border wall.

Trump declared an emergency last year after a prolonged government shutdown over his request for border wall funding ended with Congress appropriating less than he requested.

Since then, Trump has taken $3.6 billion from military construction to be used on the wall. He has separately dipped into other Pentagon accounts to move billions more into the department’s counterdrug fund to use on the wall.

The moves have infuriated Democrats, and a few Republicans, who say Trump is ignoring Congress’s power of the purse. But legislative efforts to stop him have faltered in the past.

Last year’s House versions of spending bills would have similarly blocked funding for a border wall, but the bans did not survive negotiations with the Senate and White House.

Last year’s defense spending bill would have also limited the amount of money the Pentagon could move between accounts, and the defense policy bill would have similarly placed limits on funding transfers and banned Pentagon funding from being on the wall. But those, too, didn’t survive negotiations.

After last year’s fights, this year’s House version of the policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, avoids an exact replay. But it would cap emergency use of military construction funding at $100 million for domestic projects and $500 million for overseas projects.

Ameren Begins Upgrading 1.2M Electric Meters Throughout Missouri

in Companies/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Investing in Smart Energy

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

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

Ameren Missouri’s Smart Energy Plan 2019 highlights:

• 900+ projects completed

• 9,000 new storm resilient utility poles installed

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

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

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

• $8 million in customer solar rebates allocated.

Learn more about Ameren Missouri’s smart energy initiatives at

About Ameren Missouri

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

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

in Companies/News

Monuments can be powerful, and even controversial, reminders of a person, place or event in history. When monuments start to show signs of wear-and-tear and weather damage and need to be restored to their original conditions, or new monuments need the expertise of a specialty contractor to construct, customers call Western Specialty Contractors.

Over the course of its 100+ year history, Western Specialty Contractors has worked on some of the nation’s most recognized monuments and memorials, such as the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C.; The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO; Staten Island September 11th Memorial in New York City, NY; World War II Veterans Memorial Globe in Springfield, IL; and the Lincoln Receiving Vault in Springfield, IL.

Whether the memorial or monument is made of stone, concrete or metal, they are all subject to weathering and damage over time. Through proper, routine maintenance, monuments and memorials can be returned to their original condition and protected from future damage.

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

“Each memorial project is unique and requires a special set of restoration skills and care. Repairing spalling and cracking concrete, installing appropriate waterproofing and treating rusting metal consistently will go a long way toward boosting a monument’s longevity. One aspect that remains consistent is Western’s dedication to respecting and maintaining the historical integrity and significance of the memorial or monument that has been entrusted to our care,” said Ben “Butch” Bishop, Jr., CEO of Western Specialty Contractors.

Staten Island September 11th Memorial in New York City, NY

In 2004, Western assisted in the design and installation of granite victim plaques for The Staten Island September 11th Memorial in New York City. The memorial, designed by architect Masayuki Sono and titled, “Postcards”, is constructed of two, 40-foot wing-like fiberglass walls, each with a 30-foot long window displaying the face profile and name of each victim.

Western was responsible for overseeing the selection and production of granite in Victoria, Brazil and Barrie, VT that would make up the 274 granite plaques. Each victim profile was designed by the architect and family members and downloaded to an electronic file that guided a waterjet machine over the granite to create each victim’s profile and name inscription. Western’s crew took great care in joining these special plaques to the memorial’s fiberglass walls. Over 3,000 family members and friends of the victims, city officials and a cast of devoted workers dedicated the memorial, which was awarded the New York Construction “Best of 2004 Annual Award.”

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO

Western Specialty Contractors completed a project in 2017 to restore and waterproof the roof of the Museum of Westward Expansion located underground beneath the iconic Gateway Arch on the St. Louis Riverfront.

After the concrete roof was exposed, Western crews identified and repaired any leaks, then installed a 2-ply Laurenco modified bitumen sheet waterproofing covered with WR Meadows PC2 protection board. An electronic leak detection system followed by a permanent leak detection grid system were installed over the protection board.

The next phase of the project involved waterproofing the 42,000 SF horizontal lid and 37,000 SF vertical walls of the museum addition. Additional waterproofing of the north and south museum entrances and each Arch leg was also completed. The museum was largely operational during construction and a lot of the time Western crews were working over occupied space. Western sequenced the removal of existing roofing material so that they could remove, clean and install new roofing material daily to keep the museum dry during construction.

World War II Veterans Memorial Globe in Springfield, IL

In 2015, Western Specialty Contractors was tasked with repairing and re-coating the World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial Globe in Springfield’s historic Oak Ridge Cemetery. The exterior of the concrete Globe was showing signs of wear, with cracking and spalling concrete evident near the top of the memorial where a previously applied protective coating was flaking off.

Western crews removed damaged areas and repaired them with a polymer-modified concrete repair mortar. The shapes of the continents and the Globe’s longitude and latitude lines were reformed and finished, under the watchful eye of the artist, to match the existing profile. Crews wet-abrasive blasted the Globe’s surface to remove any remaining coating and provide profiling for the new coating.

After the surface had dried, Western applied a Sherwin Williams Loxon Concrete Primer and two coats of ConFlex XL Elastomeric Coating in flat white to match the original color.

Restoration of President Abraham Lincoln Receiving Vault in Springfield, IL

In 2015, Western Specialty Contractors restored the historic receiving vault in Springfield, IL that once held the bodies of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln and his son, Willie. Constructed in the 1860s, the stone and marble vault had major deterioration due to decades of water penetration.

Western crews repaired the vault’s walls using a system of low cement ratio mortar and brick infill in areas where the brick had deteriorated away from the wall. After infilling the voids in the walls, Western applied a layer of low cement ratio mortar to the entire wall surface to create a smooth surface to accept the bentonite sheet waterproofing. Western used stone fabrication methods to repair two serpentine retaining walls that extended outward away from the vault entrance.

The restoration project was completed on May 1, 2015 in time for commemoration and funeral reenactment ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s funeral.

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool – Washington, D.C.

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool was constructed in 1923 following the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. The pool is over a third of a mile long, 167 feet wide and 30 inches deep in the center. In 2004, Western waterproofed the pool, which had begun to leak, and cut-out and re-caulked joints with urethane grout and silicone sealants.

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. Western offers a nationwide network of expertise that building owners, engineers, architects and property managers can count on to develop cost-effective, corrective measures that can add years of useful life to a variety of structures including: industrial, commercial, healthcare, historic, educational and government buildings, parking structures and sports stadiums. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO with over 30 branch offices nationwide and employs more than 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals who offer the best, time-tested techniques and innovative technology. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit

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

The Salvation Army Welcomes New Divisional Commanders

in Associations/News

Lt. Colonels Robert and Collette Webster, currently serving as divisional leaders for the Indiana division, have been appointed as divisional leaders to the Midland Division serving Missouri and Southern Illinois.  Current Divisional Leaders, Lt. Colonels Dan and Dorene Jennings, are now assigned to lead The Salvation Army Northern Division serving Minnesota and North Dakota.

Lt. Colonel Robert Webster is a graduate of Asbury University with a degree in Physical Education and Recreation.  He also holds a Masters of Ministry Degree from Olivet Nazarene University.  Before becoming a Salvation Army officer, he worked as a Physical Education teacher for the Tampa, Florida Public School System, and as a Community Center and Recreation Director in Atlanta and Indianapolis.

Lt. Colonel Collette Webster is a graduate of Asbury University, where she majored in Physical Education with a minor in Psychology and was an all-state honoree in volleyball for the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  She has continued her studies at Olivet Nazarene University and Trinity International University.

Lt. Colonels Webster brings 60 years of combined experience as officers and have held several pastoral appointments, including appointments in St. Louis, MO, New Albany, IN, and Port Huron, MI.  They have also provided leadership for The Salvation Army’s youth programming as the Divisional Youth Secretaries in the Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Division and as The Salvation Army’s Central Territorial Youth Secretaries.  They pioneered the work at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in South Bend, Indiana, with Lt. Colonel Bob as the Senior Officer (Executive Director) and Congregational Life Officer, and Lt. Colonel Collette as Officer for Youth and Program Development.

Also, Lt. Colonel Bob Webster has received several honors such as the Kiwanis International Robert P. Connelly Award for Heroism, Life Membership with the International Association of Fire Fighters, Founding Member of the Port Huron Police and Fire Chaplain Service, member of the New Albany, Indiana Fire Department Chaplain Service, member of the South Bend Police Department Chaplain Service and Teacher of the Month for the Hillsborough County Florida School System.

Lt. Colonel Bob Webster has also served as a Chaplain (CISM) at many major disasters around the country including; Hurricane Andrew, the Mississippi River floods in St. Louis, tornados in Kentucky and Indiana, plane crashes in Indiana and Iowa, and at the World Trade Center (Chaplain to the Fire Department of New York) and Hurricane Katrina (DMORT Chaplain).

Lt. Colonel Bob loves playing golf and woodworking, while Lt. Colonel Collette is an avid reader.  Each enjoys spending time with their grandchildren.

KAI Design Expands

in Companies/News
Michael Andresen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ramona Nicula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kwame Foundation Cancels Annual Golf Tournament

in Companies/News

Fundraising continues for first-generation, college-bound students

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Companies/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information visit

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


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

in Companies/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

0 $0.00
Go to Top