People On The Move In The Local Construction Industry


Justin Kohlman, P.E., Named President of St. Louis-Based Schaeffer Electric Co.

Justin Kohlmann

One of the St. Louis area’s oldest electrical contracting companies has announced new leadership.  Justin Kohlman, P.E., has been named president of Schaeffer Electric Co., succeeding Timothy Chettle who will serve as chief executive officer.  Founded in 1935, Schaeffer has grown to become one of the region’s leading residential, commercial and industrial electrical contractors.  Schaeffer is an employee-owned company that reported revenues of $25.5 million in 2021 and employs 96. 

“Since joining Schaeffer in 2011, Justin has pushed the company to evolve in all areas of business,” noted Chettle. “From accounting and technology to BIM and estimating systems, he has been a part of each transformation.  After taking over the estimating department in 2016, the company has grown 20% in overall revenue and continues to take on larger, more complex projects.” 

Schaeffer is an IBEW-signatory contractor and performs a broad array of complex projects. Most recently that includes:

  • Electrical and communications installations for the new KMOV-TV headquarters in Maryland Heights, Mo.
  • Smart parking garages for MercySSM SLU Hospital and Washington University
  • A data center expansion for Verizon in Downtown St. Louis
  • The new Rehabilitation Hospital for Mercy on its South St. Louis County campus
  • Medium voltage loop work along with power and lighting for the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park’s animal barns in north St. Louis County
  • The Streets of Caledonia medical office building for SSM Health in O’Fallon, Mo.

Kohlman has orchestrated industrial electrical projects for nearly 20 years.  He is actively involved in the electrical industry serving the board of directors St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and chairing the NECA management development committee. Kohlman earned degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

Kohlman will be supported by a leadership team that includes Senior Vice President David

Bradley and vice presidents, Carolyn Conboy and Michael Lucas.  As CEO, Chettle will remain on the Schaeffer board of directors and help guide the leadership team.

Schaeffer Electric was founded during the Great Depression by Carl Schaeffer, who initially ran the business out of his Soulard home.  He was succeeded by his son Gerald in 1969. Daniel Schaeffer succeeded his father, Gerald, as the third generation of owner in 1990. Chettle became the first “non-Schaeffer” to lead the company in 2011 after joining the firm in 1990. The firm is headquartered at 4667 Green Park Rd in South St. Louis County.

Terracon Announces Don Dracon as Senior Vice President of Client Development

Terracon, a leading provider of environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services, has named Don Dracon, senior vice president of client development. He will be responsible for business and client development strategy, national accounts and national business sector oversight, and collaboration with operations development staff to link company and operational client development goals.

“I’m excited to become part of Terracon’s team as we continue to build upon the company’s long history of success and continuous growth,” Dracon said.

Dracon brings more than 30 years of business development and operational experience in the public and private sectors, including professional and technical services, consulting and engineering, and construction. He earned a Bachelor of Science in marine engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration in marketing and finance from Rutgers University. He is based in Terracon’s Charlotte office.

WINCO Window Company Promotes Katherine Hahn to Marketing Manager

Katherine Hahn

WINCO Window Company announces the promotion of Katherine Hahn to Marketing Manager. Hahn joined WINCO’s Sales and Marketing department in 2018 and has been instrumental in rebranding products, adding digital marketing, creating new websites, and increasing the company’s overall market presence.  

“We have experienced tremendous growth with our enhanced marketing efforts and look forward seeing how Katherine’s creativity continues improve our customer experiences,” says Kurtis Suellentrop, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, WINCO Window Company. 

Hahn is a Certified Digital Marketing Professional with the American Marketing Association.  

March 31, 2023

S. M. Wilson & Co. Promotes Brandon Groom to Project Manager

Brandon Groom

S. M. Wilson & Co., a St. Louis-based construction manager and contracting firm, has promoted Brandon Groom to Project Manager. Groom, who has seven years of construction industry experience, joined S. M. Wilson as an Assistant Project Manager in 2022. In his new role as Project Manager, Groom is responsible for subcontractor procurement and management, schedule and budget maintenance and collaborating with the design and engineering teams to ensure projects are delivered successfully. He is currently working on the new $56 million Illinois Environmental Protection Agency office and laboratory in Springfield, IL.

March 24, 2023

Poettker Construction Announces Executive and Manager Promotions

Six integral team members promoted across multiple departments

Poettker Construction Company, one of the nation’s leading construction firms, recently promoted six integral staff members to executive and management positions.

To expand Poettker’s risk management program, Charles Wilson, CSP, ASP, STSC, was promoted to Vice President of Risk Management, and Everett Kelly, CHST, was promoted to Corporate Safety Manager.

Wilson has been with Poettker Construction for over 12 years. He most recently served as Corporate Safety Director overseeing the company’s safety program and initiatives. Under his leadership, Poettker achieved numerous safety milestones including first place in AGC’s Construction Safety Excellence Award | Building 400,000-600,000 work hour category, PLATINUM level in Associated Builders and Contractors’ STEP Safety Management System, and designation as a certified contractor through the Coalition for Construction Safety (CCS). Wilson serves as a member of the Southern Illinois Builders Association safety committee. 

Kelly joined Poettker Construction in 2021 and has served as an industry safety professional for over 25 years. He most recently served as a Safety Specialist monitoring workplace activity to ensure compliance with company policies and safety regulations. He also assisted with developing policies, conducting safety inspections, and implementing safety training.

On Poettker’s Field Operations Team, Corey Jasper was promoted to Director of Field Operations and Stan Kuhl was promoted to General Superintendent.  

Jasper joined Poettker Construction in 2016 as a field superintendent after working for multiple commercial construction firms throughout the St. Louis area. With over 25 years of experience, he most recently served as a General Building Superintendent, overseeing field personnel performance, and coordinating workforce for Poettker’s building projects. Under his direction, Poettker’s average field operations team increase by 54 percent over four years.  

Kuhl has been with Poettker Construction for over 36 years, primarily serving as a lead superintendent on some of Poettker’s most complicated construction projects. In Kuhl’s new role, he will establish a one-on-one mentorship program with a handful of project superintendents.

For Poettker’s Project Management Team, Eric Lohman, LEED Green Associate, and Chris Robards, LEED Green Associate, AHA CHC were promoted to Project Director roles. 

Lohman has been with Poettker Construction for over 15 years. He most recently served as Senior Project Manager overseeing the company’s retail program, which grew by 118 percent in the past year. Robards joined Poettker in 2016 and most recently served as a Senior Project Manager primarily overseeing the company’s institutional and education programs, which grew by 250 percent in the past year. In their new roles, both Lohman and Robards will share oversight of project teams across Poettker’s diverse portfolio with a focus to develop the next generation of construction leaders.  

“There is a tremendous amount of talent and diverse expertise among these six individuals,” said Ryan Poettker, president of Poettker Construction. “These promotions reflect the commitment these individuals have on enhancing safety and quality initiatives across the organization, which ultimately attracts the next generation of workforce talent needed to remain competitive in the industry.”

Oculus Inc. Enhances Hospitality Design Services with Portland Promotion

Jaime Merrill

Oculus Inc., an award-winning, WBE-certified architecture and interior design firm, announces the promotion of Jaime Merrill, NCDIQ, IIDA, to Hospitality Design Leader. In her new role, Merrill will help enhance the firm’s hospitality roster in Portland and the West Coast, while expanding hospitality design services to other markets Oculus serves.

“Jaime has been instrumental in growing our reputation in the hospitality design market,” said Robert Hoffman, AIA, managing principal for Oculus’ Portland office. “Her ability to deliver award-winning designs for our clients will only further the impact that Oculus has on creating beautiful, community-rooted projects. We’re excited to see the new opportunities Jaime will bring to Oculus.”

Merrill joined Oculus in 2017 as a Senior Interior Designer specializing in space planning, conceptual design, project management, visual presentations, and FF&E specifications. She has contributed her skilled designs to notable projects such as Yonder + Mae and helped oversee the completion of Woodlark Hotel in Portland, which was named a finalist for the International Interior Design Association’s (IIDA) Interior Design Competition. Merrill most recently served as the interior design director for the transformation of Georgie’s restaurant in Newport, Ore. and lent her design expertise to the hospitality interiors of Clarendale Clayton, a premier senior living residence in Missouri.

“I’m thrilled to start this new chapter in my career with Oculus,” said Merrill. “Hospitality design is an amazing opportunity to tell each client’s unique story and create an immersive experience for people from all walks of life. Every space presents a new challenge to take interior design a step further and make a real transformation in the client’s business model.”

Oculus entered the Portland hospitality market in 2017 and has built its practice there and along the west coast as a full-service architectural and interior design firm. Hospitality represents the fastest-growing emerging market for Oculus, with projects ranging from boutique restaurants and hotels to large-scale commercial developments.

Merrill received her Bachelor of Fine Art in Interior Design from Marylhurst University and is a member of the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality’s Northwest Chapter. She is currently involved in several high-profile projects for Oculus, including a new food hall at the base of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Portland and the new retail experience center for Rawlings’ corporate relocation in St. Louis.

In addition to its location in Portland, Oculus Inc. is headquartered in St. Louis with another office in Dallas; they also have staff locations in Orlando, Fla., Hampton, Va., and Mesa, Ariz.

S. M. Wilson & Co. Adds Bernie Burtch as Project Director and Promotes Matt Frank

(L to R): Matt Frank, Bernie Burtch

S. M. Wilson & Co., a St. Louis-based construction manager and contracting firm, has added Bernie Burtch and promoted Matt Frank to the roles of Project Directors. Burtch and Frank provide leadership and operational oversight on a variety of construction projects. They are responsible for ensuring that the entire team has the resources necessary and maintains high-level communication throughout each stage of the process to meet the Owner’s schedule, budget and community engagement expectations.

Burtch is assigned to new construction and renovation projects for Fox Schools and the Illinois Capital Development Board. Frank is managing the construction of the new Francis Howell North High School.

Burtch brings extensive understanding and knowledge of safety, compliance and federal contracting. He has more than 29 years of industry experience, including large government, education, community and healthcare projects up to $749 million. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering and Technology from Montana State University and attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Construction Leadership Institute. Burtch earned the OSHA 30-hour Construction Safety and Health for Construction Industry certification as well as USACE Construction Quality Management for Contractors certification.

Frank has 27 years of construction experience, with an extensive background in the institutional and healthcare industry. He has worked on over $90 Million of healthcare projects, including 10 years working with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, eight years with St. Louis Children’s Hospital and four years working with St. Louis University Hospital. He holds a BA in Business Management from Webster University, OSHA 30-hour Construction Safety and Health for Construction Industry certification as well as his CHC (Certified Healthcare Constructor).

March 17, 2023

Mia Rose Holdings adds new Director of Construction role

Zac Deets

Growing St. Louis-based developer Mia Rose Holdings (MRH) continues to expand its leadership team with the addition of Zac Deets in the new role of Director of Construction. Deets brings 18 years of construction superintendent experience and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of construction projects, including ensuring budget and schedule alignment. The firm has numerous multifamily developments in various stages of construction across Northwest Arkansas and the St. Louis region. He holds an Associate of Science in Construction Engineering from Morrison Institute of Technology.

McClure Engineering Announces Two New Principals

Austin Strieker

McClure Engineering, a St. Louis-based mechanical and electrical consulting engineering firm, promoted Alex Pugh, P.E. and Austin Strieker, P.E. to the position of Principal. In his new role, Pugh will continue to focus on developing McClure Engineering’s strength, partnering with architectural partners in pursuit of design and construction projects. Alternatively, Strieker will focus his efforts on strengthening McClure Engineering’s healthcare presence in Illinois. Strieker will continue to oversee new projects and clients and serve as a mentor to new employees, while also working to develop new client relationships.

Alex Pugh

“We are proud to announce we have promoted Alex Pugh and Austin Strieker to the role of Principal at McClure Engineering,” said Keith Esarey, president of McClure Engineering. “These promotions reflect the great work they have been performing and their excellent leadership at McClure Engineering. We’re confident their skill sets will serve the company well as we continue to grow.”

Starting with McClure Engineering in 2010, Pugh has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri – Columbia. His projects have included industrial, healthcare, and higher education teaching laboratories. He has also handled project management, system design, and construction administration on institutional developments with multi-million-dollar construction budgets. In addition, Pugh has administered lead mechanical and plumbing project engineering duties for construction of registered historical buildings, museums, theatres, higher education scientific laboratories, and industrial aeronautical production and testing facilities.  

Joining McClure Engineering as an intern 15 years ago, Strieker boasts a BS in Electrical Engineering from St. Louis University. Strieker has been involved in a variety of projects including major renovations and additions to educational, office, recreational, and healthcare facilities.  Within the project teams, he has been responsible for the electrical, telecom, and fire alarm design.  Along with design, Strieker is active in construction administration, providing insight and advice to contractors to ease installation and ensure quality control.  He has consulted in the development of campus wide standards for technology systems, access control, surveillance systems, IP and analog intercom systems, low and medium voltage transmission, and customer sub-metering. Strieker has also performed various technical studies including the evaluation of healthcare emergency power systems.

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