People On The Move In The Local Construction Industry


Helmkamp Promotes Eric Shumake to Project Manager

Eric Shumake

Eric Shumake, formerly Assistant Project Manager at Helmkamp Construction Co., has been promoted to Project Manager. 

The general contractor proudly announced this week that Shumake will be taking a higher project management position among its team of Industrial project managers.  Shumake is a former Manager for the U.S. Army who joined Helmkamp Construction in 2019 as an intern while completing his degree in Construction Management at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.  He was quickly exposed to many types of construction projects across Helmkamp’s diverse client portfolio.  However, Shumake found he most enjoyed and thrived in industrial construction environments.

Shumake, alongside Helmkamp’s Director of Operations, most recently managed a 10-month-long, out-of-state, complex civil construction project at a power plant, further proving his ability and commitment to deliver highly successful results for industrial clients.  These clients partner with select pre-qualified contractors who have expertise in performing heavy industrial work at the highest regulated safety standards, an area that Helmkamp Construction Co. is known for. 

BEX Construction Services Hires Cole Libbert as Project Engineer

Cole Libbert

Cole Libbert has joined BEX Construction Services as a project engineer. His five years of field supervision experience spans commercial, industrial, multifamily and tenant finish projects.

Libbert completed his bachelor’s degree in construction management with a minor in business administration at the University of Central Missouri. He has traveled the country as a field superintendent, building the technical skills needed to help guide projects through BEX’s service-oriented building process.

Luxury Infill Housing Innovator Robert E. Saur Dies

Robert E. Saur

Robert E. Saur, 79, the founder and president of Clayton-based Conrad Properties Corp., died Nov. 1, 2022, from complications related to pulmonary fibrosis. In a development career bridging five decades, Saur made an indelible mark on local lifestyles and skylines with his innovative infill developments.

Born Oct. 14, 1943, in north St. Louis, he graduated from Beaumont High School, then earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Washington University and a master’s degree in urban planning at Michigan State University. After a brief stint with The Rouse Co. in Maryland, Saur returned to St. Louis and founded Conrad Properties Corp. in 1971, using his father’s middle name.

His interest in real estate dated to his youth, when he and his older brothers, Louis and Ray, enjoyed fixing up and maintaining the four-family flats owned by their parents, Louis and Marie Saur. That family partnership played a role in the 1972 development of Hobbits Glen in north St. Louis County, Conrad Properties’ first apartment complex, built with architectural and fiscal help from Saur’s brothers. Other early project investors included Al Siwak and Norm Rubenstein, who first backed Conrad Properties’ 1977 development of Prospect Creek apartments in Manchester, Mo. Siwak and Rubenstein became part of Saur’s large network of close friends, and remained investors in succeeding developments.

Saur led Clayton’s downtown renaissance, working with his brother, Louis R. Saur, as his architect. Beginning with prairie-style townhomes in Clayton’s Old Town in the 1970s, his projects became more complex, spanning the Old Town office buildings at 150, 165 and 168 N. Meramec and the Litzsinger Woods single-family home development in Ladue before concentrating on mid- and high-rise residential and mixed-used developments located mostly in the central corridor, from downtown St. Louis to Clayton.

Saur’s market-leading acumen for infill developments anticipated emerging lifestyle trends. His ability to adapt to changing markets was a hallmark. When The Claytonian at 750 S. Hanley Road came on the market during the early 1990s recession, its traditional floor plans, larger footprint and luxurious amenities targeting renters met with delayed success. But it ultimately became one of the company’s cornerstone achievements.

His creativity extended to financing, key to pursuing new developments. In 1988, he became a founding board member of Enterprise Bank. Former Enterprise CEO Fred Eller said, “Bob had a knack for taking standard banking practices and turning them into something new. He saw things that were so obscure yet obvious upon his observation.” His talents turned challenging banking decisions into creative solutions, including the financing of the 150 N. Meramec building, where Enterprise makes its headquarters.

In 2000, Saur completed the mixed-use Clayton on the Park at Brentwood and Bonhomme, Clayton’s first new residential high-rise in more than 30 years. He and his team went on to develop other market-defining residential projects including The Residence at 800 S. Hanley Road, Hi-Pointe Lofts in Richmond Heights, Maryland Walk in Clayton and 4545 Lindell in the Central West End. During the 2000s, Conrad Properties led the residential development market with more than $250 million in projects underway.

Clayton Mayor Ben Uchitelle said, “Bob Saur was a visionary. Before anyone else, Bob started developing fine condos in Clayton, taking chances and succeeding. The city of Clayton will long benefit from the imprint of his handsome and significant projects.”

He shared his life with his childhood sweetheart, Sandra Eisenhart, whom he married on May 8, 1965. Their marriage spanned 47 years until Sandy’s death in 2012. Their sons, Eric and Craig, both worked at Conrad Properties, with Craig becoming president and CEO in 2007. The economic downturn of 2008 compelled him to close the company, a devastating decision for Saur. The sense of family he cultivated within Conrad Properties forged strong bonds among employees, spurring annual reunions to this day.

Saur’s approachability, enduring sense of humor and straightforward approach sustained lifelong friendships and community connections in a high-stress, high-risk business. “Bob was always a gentleman and a great negotiator,” said Mike Schoedel, who worked with Saur when he was city manager in both Richmond Heights and Clayton. “He always had a clear vision of what he wanted but was also mindful of what the community wanted. There aren’t many developers who are willing to compromise their goals to partner with the community. He became a mentor to me in understanding key components for creating quality developments in the communities I served, plus he was downright fun to be around.”

Saur remained engaged in the community, proposing new micro-apartments in Clayton in 2018 and promoting age-in-place communities and single-family rental developments for workforce housing. With Altus Properties, he successfully repositioned the open-plan apartments of Metro Lofts in the Central West End to Metro Flats, reconfigured as multi-generational rental apartments.

In addition to his development career and role in the formation of Enterprise Bank, he was founder and partner in CIS Communications LLC and a founding partner of Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Sandy Saur; his brother, Louis Saur; and his niece, Jackie Saur. He is survived by two sons, Eric (Mary) Saur of Alton, Ill., and their daughters, Reagan and Lucy, and Craig (Stephanie) and their daughters, Sophie and Lila, Austin, Texas. Surviving also are his brother, Ray (Kathy) Saur; his sister-in-law, Pat (the late Louis) Saur; and his niece, Nikki Saur, all of St. Louis. A memorial service will be held on Dec. 19 at 11 a.m. at Lupton Chapel, 7233 Delmar Blvd.

November 11, 2022

Poettker Construction EVP & COO Receives St. Louis Business Journal Honor

John Carrol

“Jon has been instrumental in Poettker’s growth over the years, especially for developing quality relationships with clients utilizing the construction management delivery method and leading technology and process initiatives for the operations team,” said Ryan Poettker, president of Poettker Construction. “He truly exemplifies the kind of dedicated professionalism and strong community relationship culture that we value at Poettker, and we are very proud of Jon for receiving this award.”

The St. Louis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Awards salute young professionals making a difference in their organizations and communities. More than 350 nominations were submitted and reviewed by a panel of previous 40 Under 40 winners who helped the Business Journal choose members of the new class, who appeared in the November 4 print edition of the St. Louis Business Journal.

Carroll began his career at Poettker in 2007 as a project engineer after graduating from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville with a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management. Carroll further developed his project management and leadership skills by serving in multiple roles within the company including project manager, project director, and vice president. In 2021, Carroll was promoted to his current role as Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, where he oversees the risk management, project management, and operations departments. Under Carroll’s leadership, Poettker has grown to nearly 230 employees and is currently managing over $78M in construction management contracts, an 840 percent increase since he joined the team.

Carroll’s passion for education and safety goes beyond the projects he manages at Poettker. He is the vice chair on the board of directors and on the steering committee for Clay County, IL’s CEO organization. As one of 62 CEO programs across the US, this organization is an immersive mentorship for youths to learn to be responsible, enterprising, and entrepreneurial thinking individuals. Carroll has been active in coordinating private tours and presentations of active project sites with local colleges and high schools to show students the depth of construction industry job opportunities available, from field trades and project management to technology and financial based positions.

About Poettker Construction Company

Established in 1980, Poettker Construction is an award-winning family-owned business specializing in construction management, design/build, general contracting and self-perform services with an emphasis to exceed the client’s expectations. Poettker Construction provides safe, quality, sustainable, and technology solutions to clients in the Education, Distribution, Government, Healthcare, Hospitality, Municipal, Recreation, Retail, and Utility industries. The company prides itself on building long-lasting relationships with their clients, business partners and the communities in which they work. For more information, visit

Kwame Building Group Hires Two Project Team Members

Arriane Hopkins & Samuel Amponsah

Kwame Building Group (KWAME) has added Samuel Amponsah as Project Engineer and Arriane Hopkins as Project Administrator.

Amponsah brings more than 12 years of experience and is currently working on Cervantes Convention Center expansion and modernization project. He is responsible for subcontractor management, reviewing and coordinating submittals and RFIs, and maintaining communication with the client and project team.

Amponsah holds a Master of Science in Construction Project Management from Anglia Ruskin University and a Bachelor of Science in Land Economy from Kwame Nkrumah’​ University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.

As Project Administrator, Hopkins provides administrative support on a variety of projects, including the Metropolitan Sewer District, Maggie O’Brien’s Renovation and Mastercard. Her responsibilities include tracking contract changes, creating presentations, coordinating documents and maintaining staff schedules.

Hopkins received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Harris Stowe State University.


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. Celebrating its 30-year anniversary in 2021, the employee-owned company provides estimating, scheduling, project planning, value engineering and other project management services as an independent advocate for owners and developers. KWAME’s public and private sector projects include educational facilities, major airports nationwide, light-rail systems, hospitals, wastewater treatment facilities and government facilities. KWAME is headquartered in St. Louis with division offices in Atlanta, Dallas and Seattle. For more information visit

or call (314) 862-5344.

November 4, 2022

Christie Brinkman of Castle Contracting Honored Twice for Her A/E/C and Community Leadership

Christie Brinkman

Christie Brinkman, director, design-build at Castle Contracting, LLC, has been recognized by two national publications for her outstanding leadership across the local A/E/C industry and broader St. Louis community.

Building Design + Construction selected Brinkman for its “40 Under 40” list of achievers for 2022, and Engineering News-Record has included her on the ENR Midwest “Top Young Professionals” list for 2023. These honors complement Brinkman’s previous recognition in the St. Louis Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” class of 2021.  

“Christie is an exceptional young leader who’s earned the utmost respect of her clients, Castle colleagues, project partners and community collaborators,” said Castle Senior Vice President Michael Pranger. “These honors underscore her positive impact on our company, industry and community.”

Brinkman joined Castle in 2018 as business development manager and was promoted to senior business development manager in 2020 and director, design-build in 2021. In her current role, Brinkman engages new owner and developer clients early in the civil design process to save costs and reduce risks during construction. Through her efforts, she has more than doubled the number of design-build clients and increased the number of design-build projects 6.5 times.

Brinkman currently serves as Chair for Mission Advancement with the St. Louis chapter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), and she’s also held leadership positions in the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) St. Louis Chapter, St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers (SLC3), Construction Forum STL, the Engineers Club of St. Louis and the Missouri Society of Hospital Engineers.

A past president and board member of Home Sweet Home, a local nonprofit furniture bank, Brinkman’s recent community involvement also includes volunteering for LifeWise STL, Women’s Safe House, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, Shalom House, The Bridge and the Wet Nose Project

View the Building Design + Construction 2022 40 Under 40 honorees.

Castle Contracting, LLC provides turnkey site preparation and design-build services, site utilities, earthwork and trenchless technology directly to owners; general contractors; and mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection contractors. The company’s earthmoving expertise is visible throughout the St. Louis region and from coast to coast. Castle’s recent civil contracting projects include Gateway Arch National Park, the East End transformation of Washington University’s Danforth campus, Next NGA West, and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis Neuroscience Research Building.

IMPACT Strategies Adds Two to Office Staff

IMPACT Strategies has added two new staff members at its Fairview Heights, IL headquarters: Melissa Rogers as Senior Accountant, and Debbie Nelson as Office Administrator.

Melissa Rogers

Melissa Rogers holds a master’s degree in accountancy from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas. Prior to joining IMPACT Strategies, Rogers worked for three years as an auditor in public accounting. In her new role as Senior Accountant, Rogers is responsible for general ledger accounts, project billing, managing owner contracts, and assisting with accounts receivable and payable.

Debbie Nelson

Debbie Nelson holds a master’s degree in sociology from Southern Illinois UniversityEdwardsville and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA. Nelson brings more than 15 years of administrative experience to her new role at IMPACT Strategies. As Office Administrator, Nelson is responsible for front desk reception, office management, supply procurement, project assistance, and general administrative support.

Mark Hinrichs, President at IMPACT Strategies said, “We are thrilled to welcome Melissa and Debbie to the IMPACT Strategies family. They each bring incredible skills and expertise to their respective roles, and we’re excited to see the great things they will accomplish in service of our clients.”

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

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