News - Page 258

2017 Economic Outlook Forecasts 3% Growth In Equipment and Software Investment


Investment in equipment and software is expected to grow 3.0% in 2017, according to the Annual 2017 Equipment Leasing & Finance U.S. Economic Outlook released today by the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation. After a likely contraction in 2016, equipment and software investment is on track to improve in 2017. According to the Outlook, while persistent global headwinds and policy uncertainty are ongoing concerns, the U.S. economy’s fundamentals are generally solid, and rising business confidence should lead to increased investment. The Foundation’s report, which is focused on the $1 trillion equipment leasing and finance industry, highlights key trends in equipment investment and places them in the context of the broader U.S. economic climate. The report will be updated quarterly throughout 2017.

Ralph Petta, President of the Foundation and President and CEO of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association, said, “With the elections over and key policy decisions beginning to take shape, the cloud of uncertainty hanging over businesses’ decisions to invest appears to be lifting. Business confidence in the future of the U.S. economy is on the rise. Unemployment is slowly decreasing, housing prices are improving, and the securities markets are in all-time record territory. This more positive economic news during the second half of 2016 seems to indicate that GDP is poised for solid, if unspectacular, growth. We are hoping that the spillover effect is a strong equipment finance industry in 2017.”

Highlights from the study include:

  • In 2017, the U.S. economy is poised to experience moderately strong growth of 2.7%.  After a growth pause during the first half of 2016 in which low energy and commodity prices contributed to weak business confidence and investment, the U.S. economy appears to be back on solid footing.
  • Credit market conditions are healthy and are not expected to inhibit business investment or the equipment finance industry.
  • Struggles for the energy, manufacturing and export sectors posed a major drag on business investment in 2016, but early indicators point to growth of 3.0% in equipment and software investment in 2017.
  • The Foundation-Keybridge U.S. Equipment & Software Investment Momentum Monitor, which is included in the report, tracks 12 equipment and software investment verticals. A number of verticals are primed to improve in the first half of 2017. Over the next three to six months:
    • Agriculture machinery investment growth will likely remain negative.
    • Construction machinery investment growth should improve.
    • Materials handling equipment investment growth should remain stable.
    • All other industrial equipment investment growth will likely rebound.
    • Medical equipment investment growth should remain stable.
    • Mining and oilfield machinery investment growth is expected to improve.
    • Aircraft investment growth will likely strengthen.
    • Ships and boats investment growth is set to improve.
    • Railroad equipment investment growth should continue to strengthen.
    • Trucks investment growth is poised to accelerate.
    • Computers investment growth is likely to improve.
    • Software investment growth should continue to strengthen.

The Foundation produces the Equipment Leasing & Finance U.S. Economic Outlook report in partnership with economics and public policy consulting firm Keybridge Research. The annual economic forecast provides a three-to-six month outlook for industry investment with data, including a summary of investment trends in key equipment markets, credit market conditions, the U.S. macroeconomic outlook and key economic indicators. The report will be updated quarterly throughout 2017.

Access the full report at

The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring thoughtful innovation and contributing to the betterment of the equipment leasing and finance industry. Funded through charitable individual and corporate donations, the Foundation focuses on the development of in-depth, independent research and resources for the advancement of equipment finance industry knowledge. Visit the Foundation online at

All Foundation studies are now available for free download from the Foundation’s online library. A new infographic is also available from the recently released U.S. Equipment Finance Market Study 2016-2017, which provides a comprehensive view on the current size and anticipated growth of the U.S. equipment finance market,



S. M. Wilson Employees Provide 95+ Community ‘Acts of Kindness’ to Mark Company’s 95th Anniversary


From rescuing stray animals and volunteering in local schools to granting holiday wishes and coaching youth sports, the employees of S. M. Wilson & Co. decided to celebrate the company’s 95th anniversary this year by voluntarily providing more than 95 acts of kindness. The acts enriched the St. Louis community by assisting kids, those in need and those who serve our country.  Employees were empowered to provide acts of kindness that they felt were important throughout the year, which resulted in a wide range of activities and support.  The program far exceeded its goal.

“We chose this form of celebration to underscore our company’s core strengths of value, service, people-centered culture and passion to transform communities by delivering more than just buildings,” said Amy Berg, President of S. M. Wilson.  “The response from our employees was tremendous.  We provided more than 140 acts of kindness by August, and we are probably close to 200 by now.”

Seventy percent of S. M. Wilson’s employees are involved in the community in their own ways.

Through the acts, more than 40 Holiday Wishes were recently granted to kids at Epworth Children and Family Services. Seventeen employees gave blood to the American Red Cross.  Employees also volunteered their time mentoring, serving on non-profit boards and participating in Ready Readers, while others randomly purchased lunches for soldiers at Ft. Leonard Wood. The list goes on.

“The wide variety of support provided to the community reflects the employee-friendly culture at S. M. Wilson,” Berg added.

S. M. Wilson is a full-service construction management, design/build and general contracting firm with headquarters in St. Louis. 


Office of Administration Announces Phase I Completion of State Capitol Project


First phase of $40 million project to renovate and repair historic structure finished ahead of schedule

The Office of Administration today announced the completion of Phase I of the Missouri State Capitol construction project. As a result, all south side entrances will re-open immediately and are anticipated to remain open throughout Inauguration activities and the 2017 Legislative Session. Design of Phase I of the project began in 2015 with construction beginning this past spring. Phase I is finishing more than two weeks ahead of schedule.

“We are incredibly pleased that Phase I of this project has gone as smoothly as it has and is wrapping up earlier than anticipated,” Office of Administration Commissioner Doug Nelson said. “The renovation and repair of our State Capitol has been a priority for Governor Nixon and the General Assembly, and the ongoing construction project will ensure that the historic structure is preserved so it can continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.”

“The state employees, project consultants and contractors involved with a project of this scale have truly stepped up to the plate and delivered,” said Facilities Management, Design and Construction Director Cathy Brown. “I am so appreciative their efforts have allowed us to reach this landmark in time for upcoming events such as the 2017 Inauguration and Legislative Session, which are of great importance to Missouri citizens.”

During the 2015 Legislative Session, $40 million for Capitol repairs was appropriated after garnering bi-partisan support. The funding will bring the building’s sub-structure back to serviceable condition after years of water infiltration and address the deteriorating stonework on the exterior of the Capitol, which was completed in 1917. The project will essentially extend the life of the building as well as improve the overall appearance, structural stability and water shedding capacity.

Phase I of the Missouri State Capitol renovation and repair project included:

  • Renovation and repair of the exterior stone terraces, south steps, east steps, and east and west carriage drives which included a new waterproofing membrane to replace the system installed in the past which had exceeded its useful life;
  • Repairs of the existing concrete substructure that had deteriorated over the years because of water penetration;
  • Stone work where mortar and sealant joints had failed and were allowing water to infiltrate interior occupied space on the Governor’s upper terrace was repaired; and
  • Repair work to the building terraces, which generally consisted of replacing or repairing: damaged stone; concrete support beams and slab; storm drains, waterproof sheet membranes; and joint materials.

Phase II of the project is slated to begin in late summer of 2017 and will likely be complete sometime in 2020. Project II will include:

  • The renovation and repair of the exterior stone facades, dome, and drum;
  • Façade work to specifically assess and repair the stones for cracks, spalls, and open joints. Some stones have been displaced and will be reset. All stones will be checked to see that they are anchored securely and will be cleaned;
  • Replacement of stone pavers and edge stones on the North Plaza and adjacent flanking sidewalks as well as sidewalks and stairs directly off the north drive leading to the Governor’s Portico. Upon completion, the surface will be more conducive to pedestrian traffic.;
  • Repair to the North Plaza retaining wall;
  • Various stone repairs for the Centaur Fountain pool rim and edge stones;
  • Removal and/or replacement of uplights and warning lights on the upper dome; and
  • Removal and waterproofing of the terrace level balustrades and repair/renovation of balustrade lighting.



Modular Wall Innovation Veteran Opens New, Exclusive Muraflex Dealership in St. Louis

Bob Mitchusson

Longtime architectural interiors executive, Bob Mitchusson, recently opened Architectural Business Interiors and simultaneously, has become the exclusive Muraflex demountable glass partition dealer for the St. Louis metropolitan region.  As one of the very early pioneers (with Haworth International/SMED International) in the architecture/ movable wall marketplace, Bob brings 25+ years of very strong client focused view.  To wit, with the support of SMED International, Mitchusson was able to acquire standardization contracts with Emerson Electric, Graybar Electric and Enterprise Rent-a- Car to name a fewIn addition to Muraflex demountable glass partitions, Architectural Business Interiors will offer interior shade systems, acoustical ceilings, and architectural glass as part of its product offerings.

According to Bob Mitchusson, “I am very excited to have the immediate backing of Muraflex

wall systems, which I believe is one of the industry’s most aesthetically comprehensive demountable solutions.  I have outlined a very aggressive growth plan for the company and look forward to continuing to fortify our strong client-focused approach to providing outstanding product offerings beginning with acoustical ceilings, architectural glass and shade systems as well.”

A graduate from Ohio State University, Mitchusson began his career as a Territory Manager for SMED International in 1989. In 2000 SMED International was acquired by Haworth International and Bob eventually moved into the position of Global Account Manager where he worked until 2008.  In 2008 he started his own interior construction consulting business, Modular Interior Solutions, working on comprehensive modular interior construction solutions including modular walls, raised-floor systems, modular electrical systems, etc.  Most recently, Bob served as the owner of Comprehensive Business Interiors and as the Territory Marketing Manager for SIMO Corporation marketing high-end architectural products that included private office to open-plan and conferencing solutions as well as high-end innovative, state-of-art AV solutions.


Advantages of 5D Macro BIM



By Todd Imming

You need five dimensions to tell the whole story. How 5D Macro BIM saves time and money in pre-construction and early design

The back of a napkin may be a famous medium for getting an idea off the ground, but when it comes to early design and pre-construction on multi-million dollar projects, it just doesn’t cut it. Thankfully, 5D Macro building information modeling (BIM) is giving the ideas of architects and designers the respect they deserve.

What is 5D BIM?

5D BIM, or five dimensional building information modeling, is the real-time display of fully valued parametric building components within a virtual model. It allows experienced users to create models that demonstrate how changes to materials, layouts, square footage and other design elements not only affect the appearance of a facility, but also the cost and schedule of construction (dimensions four and five). It’s a type of Macro BIM, which is a technology that allows estimators to model facilities at the earliest stages of design.

5D Macro BIM marries the artistic form of design with the strategic function of a building’s architecture, and increases transparency in the process. With 5D Macro BIM, anything you can dream up can easily be modeled and examined — creative design concepts, clever exterior finishes, innovative layouts, uniquely shaped and aligned departments and floors in varying sizes. And costs are clearly pegged to materials, labor or soft costs.

Here’s how it’s delivering real value for clients:

  • Visual and data modeling capabilities translate into a better understanding of project scope. Formulas drive costs on each building system based on the specific design, materials, site conditions, phasing and other parameters according to the owner’s timeline.
  • The entire project team develops an understanding of the proposed design, assumptions and cost drivers. They then have a concise and accurate description of scope, cost and schedule—which directly impacts funding decisions.
  • Data is provided in real time as the model is developed or changed. Alternative concepts can be easily explored, while owner and project team can see the cost and other data unfold instantaneously. This drastically shortens design and estimation cycle time. Reliable, accurate updates in real time drive efficiency.
  • Databases make it possible to leverage not only historical data, but also industry experience. Using data from specific sectors—such as healthcare or distribution center construction—is a significant advantage to owners who place a high value on proven success.
  • All major project stakeholders can visualize the end product and understand exactly what’s included in the budget. For owners, transparency is crucial. No surprises.
  • Updating the model automatically changes the construction costs in real-time. “What-if’s” become productive and engaging solution missions for the entire team, especially the owner.

This software allows construction firms to make faster and smarter decisions, offer a wider range of cost options and use fewer personnel during the early business assessment and design stages. When used by companies that already subscribe to a Design-Build methodology— where design and construction are housed under the same roof— the benefits are compounded. Costs from back-and-forth between the two disciplines are all but eliminated when change is realized in real-time.

5D Macro BIM may be a technology owners can no longer afford to ignore.

Todd Imming is The Director of Marketing for The Korte Company, an ENR Top 100 Design-Build firm that has delivered more than 3,000 projects throughout the U.S. Imming has led The Korte Company’s marketing department since joining the company in 2004. He earned an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis and has extensive knowledge of marketing, business development and construction.



IFMA Donates Funds, Clothing to Keep Vulnerable Warm This Winter


The St. Louis Chapter of the International Facility Management Association celebrated the reason for the season by donating money and clothing to keep the region’s most vulnerable warm during the often bitter winter. The donations were made during the organization’s holiday social on Dec. 1.

Representing facility managers and suppliers who maintain the region’s commercial buildings, the organization presented a check for $1,000 to Heat Up St. Louis. The nonprofit organization builds awareness and provides resources to help those in need, especially the elderly and disabled, and needy families with critically ill children, avoid illnesses and deaths during the area’s bitter winter season. IFMA St. Louis also funds the organization’s Cool Down St. Louis, which provides services and support to keep residents cool during the hot summer months.

IFMA St. Louis has supported the weather-related assistance programs for the past three year. More than 300,000 area residents have received energy assistance since the programs’ inception in 2000.

Members did more to ensure others less fortunate in the area stay warm this winter. They donated gloves, mittens, scarves, hats, ear muffs and blankets. These items will be distributed to various charities that help keep the St. Louis region’s most vulnerable warm during the winter.

IFMA St. Louis offers its members a learning and networking environment among its diverse membership, and supplies its members with the tools to achieve their professional goals. Started in 1985, IFMA St. Louis has more than 250 members representing small and Fortune 500 companies throughout the region.


New Buildings Continue to Drive Record Setting Year for St. Louis Region’s Industrial Market


Commercial real estate brokerage firm JLL (NYSE: JLL) today announced the region’s industrial sector is on track to deliver nearly seven million square feet of new construction by the end of the year, the highest activity the region has ever seen. More than 3.5 million square feet was delivered by the close of Q3 and another 3.4 million is anticipated by year-end. Construction deliveries have far surpassed 2015, which topped out at 2.2 million square feet. New development, coupled with growing occupancy rates, has pushed warehouse asking rates up 4.4 percent in the last year.

Pat Reilly, senior vice president for JLL and president of the St. Louis chapter of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), said, “It’s been a remarkable year for industrial growth in St. Louis and all indicators point toward sustained momentum in the sector. With another 3.4 million square feet expected to deliver in the fourth quarter, we are on track to see year-end totals upward of 6.8 million square feet in new construction activity. This is a clear illustration that St. Louis’ industrial real estate scene is thriving.”

New construction projects driving the numbers include GM’s supplier warehouse in Wentzville (1.1 million square feet), Reckitt Benckiser’s new distribution center in St. Peters (717,000 square feet), and NorthPark’s new speculative warehouse in North County (538,000 square feet).

JLL’s Industrial Outlook also shows year-to-date absorption rates exceeding 4 million square feet, the most activity seen in ten years and projecting absorption to top 5 million square feet by year end.  Slightly more than 60 percent of the industrial leasing activity has been in the Metro East, and approximately 40 percent is in the Missouri portion of the market, divided between projects in North County, Mid County, St. Louis County and South County. The commencement of Amazon’s two fulfillment centers in Edwardsville and Schnucks’ warehouse in North County added 2.5 million square feet to occupancy. Boeing added a new manufacturing facility at its North County campus, while Knapheide and Ole Tyme Produce each completed build-to-suit projects in St. Charles County.

Low interest rates, healthy consumer spending and strong e-commerce are forming perfect conditions for industrial and logistics real estate growth in 2017, says JLL. Potential investment in infrastructure and continued company expansion are also expected to fuel demand for warehouses and distribution centers despite global economic uncertainty.

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate


David Hackett Announces Retirement


Manchester Hackett & Associates, Inc. is announcing the retirement of an industry veteran. David Hackett, the founder of Manchester Hackett & Associates (formerly David Hackett & Associates), will be retiring December 31, 2016 after 56 years in the building products industry. He started his career as a draftsman for Winco Ventilator in 1960. Over the next 11 years he worked in the metal door and frame business, metal roof deck business, and skylights as part of a multiline representative agency. In August 1971 he formed David Hackett & Associates, which ultimately became Manchester Hackett & Associates, Inc. in 2004.

Manchester Hackett & Associates will continue to operate under the current ownership of Rich Manchester, along with Dan Groos, Sales Associate; Jackie Natsch, Project Manager; and Sandy Gymer, Administrative Assistant.


The Secret is Out


On Wednesday, St. Louis Alderman Joe Roddy foretold that there would be “a major development announcement for the Central West End” on Monday, December 12.

An unnamed developer, he said, would present designs for a major new building at a public meeting at the Schlafly branch of the St. Louis Public Library at 7 pm.

There is no need to wait. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch unveiled the designs Thursday night for a 36-story, glass apartment tower at West Pine and Kingshighway boulevards on what is now a surface parking lot.

Rumors about the project have circulated for nine months. The parcel at 100 N. Kingshighway is owned by Antheus Capital/Silliman Group, who also are the developers of a planned apartment building in the Cortex district. The architect is one they have used before, Chicago-based Studio Gang. The reported estimated cost of the project is $130 million.


Engineering Center of St. Louis Set To Break Ground


Multi-phase renovation, designed by REMIGER DESIGN, brings historic center into new era of engineering

REMIGER DESIGN, a St. Louis-based planning, architecture and interior design firm, along with the Engineering Center of St. Louis are pleased to announce the groundbreaking ceremony for the Center’s multi-phase renovation project. The groundbreaking will be held on Wednesday, December 14 at 10:30 a.m. at the Engineering Center of St. Louis located at 4359 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108. Established in 1868 and formerly named the Engineers Club of St. Louis, the Center serves as a central meeting place for the engineering community now representing more than 14,000 engineers. The renovation project, designed by REMIGER DESIGN, will help give the center a new face for the engineering profession in St. Louis and help enhance its efforts to increase public engagement and student development throughout the St. Louis area.

“For almost 150 years, the Engineering Center has been a cornerstone in the St. Louis engineering community,” said Nicole Young, president of the Engineering Center of St. Louis. “We are the third oldest engineering society in America, and thrilled to be breaking ground on this momentous renovation project and creating a space that will promote and support the fostering and development of a wide range of programs and initiatives.”

With construction work by United Construction, the first phase of the project will involve converting the building’s auditorium into a technologically advanced meeting space. The renovation will create a flexible and modern environment that will be used by the Engineering Center to collaborate with its 30 affiliated organizations, partner with local schools and businesses and encourage greater student development in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“It has been an honor working on this renovation project with the Engineering Center, an organization that has made so many significant contributions to the engineering profession,” said Vern Remiger, president of REMIGER DESIGN. “The restoration project we are working on with United Construction will provide the ability for the center to continue to make a lasting impact on the St. Louis engineering community and the engineering industry as a whole.”

During the ceremony, the Engineering Center will honor Breck Washam, Vice President & General Manager of Burns & McDonnell, and George Tomazi, past president of the Engineering Center, for their generous support. Nicole Young, President of the Engineering Center, Barry Koenemann, President of United Construction and Vern Remiger will also serve as honorary groundbreakers at the ceremony.

Phase one of the multi-phase renovation project is scheduled to be completed in the Spring of 2017. Additional stages of the project will include a redesigned fellowship hall, a new STEM learning facility and new updates to the building’s exterior.

“The Engineers Club of St. Louis (now known as the Engineering Center of St. Louis) is the third oldest engineering organization in the U.S.A. and the oldest west of the Mississippi. I have a special place in my heart for the Club because I was able to follow in the immediate footsteps of the true giants in our profession who were also true community leaders,” remarked George Tomazi, retired Director of Design and Construction at Mallinckrodt, and donor and Past President of the Engineering Center. “As such, there is an inherent obligation to continue to honor their contributions, and supporting the Club is one way to accomplish that.”

The Engineering Center of St. Louis, located at 4359 Lindell Blvd, is home to more than 30 affiliated professional societies. 

REMIGER DESIGN is a St. Louis-based planning, architecture and interior design firm specializing in the planning and design of commercial and corporate facilities. 


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