Mar/Apr 2021

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$5.99 Mar-Apr 2021 Serving Contracting Firms and the Arizona Community. . . Then & Now

ACC: Commemorating a Decade of Publication Union Rock & Materials’ Mule-Powered Past Arizona Auctioneering History with WSM’s John Cadzow Cudia City: Phoenix’s Delicious Slice of Hollywood Paint-Can-Lid Prophet: Denny Gleason’s Street Signs

Arizona’s Timeless Magazine

Midtown Phoenix’s Big and Infamous Parking Garage Dennis Numkena’s Anasazi-Inspired Architecture

We’re celebrating 10 years!

Bentson Contracting:

Building Everything from Driveways to Highways McCarthy Expands Water reclamation Plant

Faciliteq Readapts Raquetball Club

Willmeng Lifts Record-Setting Concrete Panel in gilbert

Arizona’s Third-Tallest Structure Falls

Chasse Builds Tucson Democracy Memorial


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Listening to The Pointer Sisters.

Cheese enchiladas at El Norteño!

Editor Douglas Towne

None, I have zero guilt about my many pleasures!

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Contributors Alison Bailin Ross Kimbarovsky Jeff Kronenfeld Luke M. Snell Doug Sydnor

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Serving Contracting Firms and the Arizona Community… Then & Now


Arizona Contractor & Community (ACC) magazine is published bi-monthly (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec). ACC is a professional publication designed for the contracting industry, engineers, architects, equipment rentals, suppliers, and others interested in Arizona and its history. Content including text, photographs or illustrations may not be reproduced without the written permission from the publisher. The publisher does not assume responsibility for unsolicited submissions. ACC reserves the right to reject any editorial and advertising material and reserves the right to edit all submitted content material. Arizona Contractor & Community Copyright © 2021 All rights reserved.

Mar-Apr 2021




Arizona Contractor & Community

Contents 12 14














Contributors - Ross Kimbarovsky & Jeff Kronenfeld From The Editor - ACC: 10 Years and Counting Douglas Towne Construction Around Arizona: Projects • People • Practices Back When - Cudia City’s Celluloid Sendoff Douglas Towne Bentson Contracting: Building Everything from Driveways to Highways - William Horner To the Highest Bidder: A History of Arizona Auctioneering with WSM’s John Cadzow Jeff Kronenfeld Cudia City: Phoenix’s Delicious Slice of Hollywood Douglas Towne Paint-Can-Lid Prophet: Denny Gleason’s Street Signs Douglas Towne Building on the Past - 1965: Midtown Phoenix’s Big and Infamous Parking Garage Architect’s Perspective - Dennis C. Numkena, AIA: Use of Drama - Doug Sydnor, FAIA

Digging Through the Archives - Union Rock & Materials Company - William Horner


Bid Results


Advertising Index

Union Rock & Materials delivering concrete, and Bentson Contracting finishing ABC for Rosenzweig Center parking structure in Phoenix, 1963.


Image courtesy of ACC

Front Cover -

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Ross Kimbarovsky Article on page 37

Jeff Kronenfeld Article on page 46



oss Kimbarovsky founded and is the CEO at crowdspring, where more than 220,000 experienced freelancers help businesses (including many builders and construction businesses), agencies, entrepreneurs, and non-profits with high-quality custom logo design, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming services. There’s a rumor that Ross left his law practice in 2007 to found crowdspring so that he could wear shorts to work. The story is true. Crowdspring has worked with the world’s biggest companies, including Amazon, LG, Starbucks, Microsoft, Barilla, and Philips, and the world’s top marketing agencies, along with numerous entrepreneurs and startups from 100 different countries. Before founding crowdspring, Ross practiced law for 13 years as a successful trial attorney. He counseled and represented clients (from small internet startups to Fortune 100 companies) in complex disputes involving intellectual property in state and federal courts and before the World Intellectual Property Organization. Ross regularly mentors new business owners and entrepreneurs through Founder Institute, Techstars, and other programs. He frequently writes about business and marketing on crowdspring’s award-winning small business blog. He has authored many ebooks, including How to Start a Business From Scratch and Stand Out: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting, Growing, and Managing a Successful Business. Since starting crowdspring, Ross has founded other startups, including Startup Foundry, Quickly Legal, and Respect.

eff Kronenfeld is an investigative journalist, fiction writer, and scriptwriter based out of Tempe. He was raised in the Valley, has an English degree from ASU, and writes about science, technology, social change, and food. He is a grant writer and associate editor for Iron City Magazine. His articles have been published in Vice, Discover Magazine, Overture Global Magazine, Psychedelics Today, Smart Mouth, the Psychedelic Times, Echo Magazine, Arizona Contractor and Community Magazine, Java Magazine, The Wrangler,, the Arts Beacon, and PHXSUX. For his contributions to the Phoenix Jewish News, Jeff received a Simon Rockower Award for excellence in news reporting from the American Jewish Press Association in 2018. His short story “Pain Machine” was featured in the anthology, The Sharpened Quill. He co-wrote the script for Wasted, which won Best Film at the Dinerwood Short Film Festival in 2016. His story “Man on Fire” was published by Four Chambers Press in 2017. In 2018, his story “Ostracism” was published by Ripples in Space: A Sci-Fi Journal. He also wrote the introduction to Cabinet of Curiosities, a book of photography by artist Ryan Parra. His story “The Obsolete” was published in the 2019 edition of So It Goes, the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. He was a semi-finalist for the 2019 Pen Writing for Justice Fellowship. When not writing, researching or conducting interviews, he likes to garden, camp and hike. Links to his writing can be found at

Mar-Apr 2021








Arizona Contractor & Community

Volume 8 Issue 4

$5.99 Jul-Aug 2019 Serving Contracting Firms and the Arizona Community. . . Then & Now

Arizona’s Timeless MagAzine

Sunstate equipment Founder Mike Watts Reopens Castle Hot Springs

Volume 3 Issue 3

‫ ٭‬Paul Staman: A Mid-Century Contractor with Staying Power ‫ ٭‬Homes with a Personal Touch: Goodheart construction Co. ‫ ٭‬The Hidden Legacy of Western Architect Luther R. Bailey ‫ ٭‬Barry Warner: Professional Contractor and Musician ‫ ٭‬Sunland Asphalt Celebrates 40 years!

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Serving Contracting Firms and the Arizona Community… Then & Now

• The Inside Angle on Grand Avenue • Arizona’s “Luckiest” Nightclub • City’s “Surprise” Female Founder • The Friendly Place: The Trunk Space • Grand Times at Hayden West Plaza • Caravan Inns: Sheik Places to Stay • 35 Years of Sunland Asphalt


Mar-Apr 2021

From the editor:

ACC: 10 Years and Counting Douglas Towne


Image courtesy of Author

here was a running joke between my wife and me before Arizona Contractor & Community debuted in Spring 2012. “I’m going over to Billy’s to work on the magazine, so I’ll be home late,” was my frequent message. She’d tease me about the name being “Billie,” and eventually became concerned about my absences. Billy Horner and I solved that problem by hosting the next meeting at my house. But the other challenges Billy and I encountered starting this magazine weren’t as easily solved. And many challenges there were, trying to launch a print publication in the internet age, when famous magazines had shrunk to a fraction of their previous size or halted production altogether. Fortunately, we got lucky and had a few things going for us. One is the synergistic relationship Billy and I have, which helps create a publication that appeals to a wide variety of readers. Billy’s strong suit is Arizona construction, while mine is the state’s history and natural resources. There’s overlap between us, but the magazine wouldn’t work without our yin-yang dualism. As we release our 43rd issue and celebrate the magazine’s 10th anniversary, I’m thankful for the eclectic and talented group who helped make this journey possible. Foremost are Billy’s wife, Laura Horner, and the late Charles “Chuck” Runbeck. Laura is our techie and design guru who

puts together the magazine and runs our website. She’s also responsible for behind-the-scenes office management, the details of which I remain blissfully unaware. Chuck, who died last March at age 91, was the cornerstone of the publication. Without his sterling reputation in the industry and enthusiasm to create yet another business success, we’d still be idling on the launch pad. A handful of others have been Porter & andy Womack: indispensable to our success. Steph Brothers & Mid-Century Contractors Carrico, who fatefully introduced Billy and me at her Trunk Space art gallery and performance venue in Downtown Phoenix. Christia Gibbons, who created valuable connections with her students at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. The late Tom Hogarty, who enthusiastically marketed the magazine until his death last August. Douglas Sydnor, who writes eloquently about buildings and those who design them in his architecture column. Many other individuals have contributed to the magazine. They include a mix of talented reporters, historians writing about their research passions, ASU journalism students, construction professionals, and PR specialists, who pitch their ideas to us at the Valley Publicity Summit at ASU’s Barrett Honors College. And, of course, there’s the Arizona construction industry. We appreciate your good nature when we ask you to search tattered shoe boxes for faded work Polaroids and respond to questions about people, equipment, and projects from decades ago. Your advertising in the magazine is a constant reminder of the great value you place on documenting the incredible legacy of Arizona’s roads, buildings, and infrastructure—and the people and companies that built them. With your continued support, we’ll persist in our mission to create an irreplaceable, entertaining archive about your important efforts for future generations—and hopefully bring a ASU cheerleaders help us smile to your face when you open every celebrate our 10th anniversary. freshly printed issue. VOLUME 9 ISSUE 5

$5.99 Sep-Oct 2020 Serving Contracting Firms and the Arizona Community. . . Then & Now

B.L. Gustafson: Arizona’s prolific Road Builder McArthur’s Arizona Biltmore: the Jewel of the Desert Concrete Does Float: The U.S. Navy’s WWII Fleet

Arizona’s Timeless Magazine

Solterra Materials: Solid as Granite

CHASSE Updates Valley Schools

Five Best Tech Opportunities for Construction Rushia Fellows, AIA: Courageous Community Leader

The Inside Track On Central Phoenix’s Murphy Bridle Path

Overlooked Environmental Hazard Halts $12 Million Project

Johnson Carlier Talks COVID-19

Ground Level Takes Down Terminal 2

Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Willmeng




Willmeng Lifts Record-Setting Concrete Panel in Gilbert


he satellites built at the new Northrop Grumman manufacturing facility in Gilbert are destined for outer space, but a construction company had to lift almost heaven and earth to make it possible. Willmeng Construction Inc., a Phoenix-based commercial general contractor, hosted a tilting ceremony at the plant site located at McQueen and Elliot roads in November. The company successfully lifted the heaviest concrete tilt panel in the nation, weighing 504,000 pounds. The 87-foot 7-inch-high panel was the eighth tallest in the Western hemisphere Above: Suntec Concrete secures cables to the nation’s heaviest concrete panel. Right: (Right to Left) Mike Mongelli, Willmeng president; James Murphy, Willmeng CEO; and Brian Johnson, Willmeng project executive, watch as the first panel lifted makes history.

and broke the previous record of 369,600 pounds set in Phoenix two years ago. “The logistics, scheduling, pre-planning, and execution of this project for Northrop Grumman is one of complexity and requires an entire team effort to deliver concrete panels like very few have seen before,” James Murphy, Willmeng CEO, says. “The collaboration among Suntec, Gensler, and the client will result in a state-of-the-art facility equipped to meet Northrop Grumman’s needs in Gilbert.” Designed by Gensler, Phoenix, the manufacturing facility expansion will maximize space to nearly double the existing plant’s production capacity. The satellites are for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Geological Survey. These satellites are used for various high-profile satellite missions, including critical science missions and other programs to support our national security.

“This project milestone is a huge accomplishment for the entire project team and our many trade partners,” Mike Mongelli, Willmeng president, says. “We look forward to seeing the impact this facility makes on Arizona at large.”

Arizona Contractor & Community

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Melissa Smith 480.721.3338

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Experience: 3 years with Willmeng Favorite part of the job: I love taking on a project’s challenges and working together to resolve them. Toughest job task: Developing early conceptual budgets and logistics are always a challenge, but it’s rewarding to watch early vision translate to work in place. Most memorable day at work: The realization at a team dinner that, at the end of a challenging project, we had become better friends. Favorite off-job task: Time with family on a lake!

Employee Spotlight: Mike Mongelli, President

The record-setting lift required a specialized 850-ton crane, which was moved from California and assembled on-site days prior. The crane erected and set the first two panels on slabs, which Suntec Concrete had poured weeks before to account for the lengthy curing process. Each panel was 20 feet 1 inch-wide and 2-feet thick, breaking records for size and requiring unique reinforcing considerations to execute this milestone. “Safety is our number one priority on this project,” shared Israel Sanchez, Suntec project manager. “We kicked the morning off with an extensive safety meeting after weeks of preparation to make sure that everything occurred without any issues.” Derek Wright, Suntec president, remarked that his entire team was grateful to be part of such a momentous project. “Our intent is always to deliver for our clients on whatever the project demands,” Wright says. “We appreciate the hard work by our team and trust given from our

Top left: Suntec Concrete breaks their last record by lifting the heaviest concrete tilt panel to date. Top right: Willmeng Construction and Suntec Concrete gather for an extensive safety meeting before panel erection. Above: Aerial view shares the magnitude of the crane and surrounding panels. Below: Custom 62-foot braces exported from Texas are used to secure the concrete panel in place.


Images courtesy of Willmeng

Employee Spotlight: Brian Johnson Principal

clients to be part of such a complex and exceptional project.” Northrop Grumman’s 100,000 squarefoot project expansion to its existing satellite manufacturing facility will feature large bays to house overhead cranes with a height of 55 feet and transition bays as tall as 65 feet. In preparation for this day, Willmeng Construction and Suntec Concrete partnered to increase the number of safety practice-runs and doubled the number of field workers to ensure each panel’s safe placement with the highest level of quality.

Experience: 10 years with Willmeng Favorite part of the job: Working with our teams to plan and resolve challenges. Toughest job task: Both toughest and most gratifying is managing a large team, team relationships, and resolving challenges for developer and user. Most memorable day at work: The day we won the project with the Allred team, days between, and the day we turned it over to the developer and user. Favorite off-job task: Enjoying family, grandkids, and friends.

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Faciliteq Completes Five55 Melrose in Midtown Phoenix


in collaboration with Jennifer Goguen of Goguen Designs. Even before the novel coronavirus changed daily office life, Faciliteq has provided flexible workspace design that promotes safe environments. Features of Five55 Melrose showcase many of the solutions shared business spaces are now adapting to incorporate. Highlights include: • Underfloor Air Distribution (UFAD) delivers cleaner air and better Indoor Air Quality with up to 60 percent reduction in exposures to occupant-generated pollutants. • Improved air circulation throughout each workers’ space, avoiding the unhealthy mixture of co-pollutants. • Sixteen private office suites that allow

for personal privacy for each team while still maintaining an energetic, community atmosphere. • Moveable walls with modular power and data, allowing workers to quickly adapt as workspace needs or technology changes. • Bleacher seating in the center of the communal workspace, ideal for group presentations. The space will also be available for community members to use for group gatherings or presentations. This building is the third project for Faciliteq and BWIQ as it expands into the Phoenix market. Their other locations include The Walter in Central Phoenix and Faciliteq’s showroom in Tempe.

Images courtesy of Faciliteq

aciliteq, a leading workplace solution provider in the Southwest, opened its newest adaptive reuse project in November. Developed with sister company BWIQ (Build With IQ), the Five55 Melrose building located at 555 West Turney Avenue transforms a former Melrose neighborhood fitness center into a modern co-working environment designed with the postCOVID world in mind. Five55 Melrose was built in 1977 as a fitness center and racquetball club that served midtown Phoenix for 30 years. Faciliteq founder Quentin Abramo and BWIQ President, John Shinners, knew that respecting the building’s history was significant for both the community and bringing the space into the future. The club’s original features remain, from the courts that have become office and lounge areas to the center walkway that is now a gathering point for presentations and networking. “Faciliteq and BWIQ are committed to sustaining the rich history of each building we renovate,” said Abramo. “We knew that the racquetball club would offer great bones for a unique communal workspace that would lead the way to the future of work.” Abramo describes the building as an ideal space for creatives, product showrooms, and multimedia production. Five55 Melrose was completed in partnership with architects William Erwin of Erwin Architecture and Don Andrews of Andrews Design Group, and Sharpe Construction. Faciliteq completed interiors

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Images courtesy of McCarthy

McCarthy Tops Out LEED Platinum ASU Science Building


orld-class athletes aim for the gold, but with construction, the target is even higher. Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) status conferred by the U.S. Green Building Council is being pursued at the new $192 million Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 7 (ISTB7) project at the

Employee Spotlight: Clint Carlson, Superintendent Experience: 8 years with McCarthy Building Companies

Clint, 3rd from the left

Favorite job task: Coordinating complicated tasks with our teams, such as installing a large structural component, a large piece of equipment, or coordinating an extensive concrete pour. Toughest job task: It’s difficult to have to let a team member go because I want to help everyone succeed, but some individuals are just not cut out for the challenges that come with construction. Most memorable day at work: A tie between re-opening the VA project in New Orleans after Hurricane Isaac in 2012, and topping out the tallest building in my hometown of Grand Junction, Colorado. Favorite off-job task: Formerly rugby, but now Jiu-Jitsu and paddle boarding the Salt River with my wife and three daughters.

Arizona State University. Of the many gold, silver, and certified LEED projects on campus, ISTB7 is the most ambitious since it’s the flagship building for ASU’s School of Sustainability. McCarthy Building Companies recently achieved the construction milestone of topping out on the new building, which aspires to attain triple net-zero performance with innovative design and construction technologies. A range of innovative approaches, including concrete admixtures and the void form structural deck system known as BubbleDeck, that foster sustainability as well as evapotranspiration, photovoltaics, and ASU’s own carbon-capture technology will help achieve this goal. The 281,000 square-foot, five-story, high-performance research facility fosters an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge generation and leading-edge research, including innovative endeavors focusing on food, water, and energy sustainability. In expanding the research district at ASU’s Tempe campus, the building will allow researchers to collaborate on pressing environmental and food challenges. Besides offering public outreach and exhibit space, ISTB7 will be home to the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service, the School of Sustainability, the Institute of Human Origins, and a five-story atrium biome of flora and fauna. The facility will contain wet and dry lab space, a conference and education center with a 389-seat presentation hall, university classrooms, and faculty and staff offices. “As a gateway to the Tempe campus, this represents a legacy project for our team, and we are proud to continue our

Top left: ISTB7 construction progress. Top right: ASU ISTB7 top out. Above: ISTB7 construction progress.

involvement with ASU on a complex that will connect the science and innovation districts on campus,” says Bryan Kuster, senior vice president of McCarthy’s Southwest Region Education Building Group. “Our laboratory construction team is working with the university and project partners to attain the highest sustainability goals utilizing innovative materials, processes, and technology.” Materials on the building incorporate ASU’s own cutting-edge scientific research on integrated carbon-capture technology. Methods to save and produce energy that will be utilized include air currents, evapotranspiration, and photovoltaics. The complex will also treat and recycle sewage for use as greywater using low-energy, biobased systems. Grimshaw Architects and Tempe-based Architekton were selected as architects for the project. “This was an incredible opportunity to celebrate the historic nature of the site while creating a project that leverages both the interior and exterior spaces to support and promote ASU’s innovative research,” Rachel Green Rasmussen, AIA, with Architekton, says. “The team’s goal was to design a project that roots itself in our evolutionary past while creating a living lab for our sustainable future.” The ISTB7 project is scheduled for completion in December 2021. McCarthy also constructed the $120 million, 191,035 square-foot Biodesign Institute C research building at ASU, which was completed in June 2018, which received LEED Platinum certification. Arizona Contractor & Community


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Images courtesy of CHASSE

ocated in Tucson’s El Presidio Park adjacent to the Historic Pima County Courthouse, the January 8th Memorial honors the victims and survivors of the tragedy that occurred on an unforgettable day in our community, state, and nation. “In 2011, a shooting occurred at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ Congress on Your Corner event in Tucson that wounded 13 and killed six individuals who were participating in a fundamental act of democracy. The community came together in the days that followed to provide comfort and support to one another,” says Leigh-Anne Harrison of CHASSE Building Team, which served as general contractor on the project. Chasse is also a three-time Tucson Metro Chamber honoree for ethical, community-focused practices across Pima County. Completed in late 2020, the 42,000 square-foot memorial and its surrounding gardens at 160 West Alameda Street

represent a community embrace. In a single Employee Spotlight: gesture, its landforms become healing arms protecting the inner monument, where the Leigh-Anne Harrison, story of January 8th is told. Carved into the Client Services landscape of El Presidio Park, the Memorial Experience: Going on is a place of contemplation and reflection 10 years with CHASSE. where visitors can honor the victims and survivors of this tragic event, who were Favorite job task: Connecting with clithere to engage in democracy, and the first ents and building relationships! responders who stopped the violence and Toughest job task: I’d rather spend all saved lives. my time with people! But document Symbols telling this story are cut and management is part of the job, and etched into this collective wall of mem- I have a love/hate relationship with ories, forming constellations that speak spreadsheets. of the people who died, survived, and Most memorable day at work: When responded on that day, and recall Tucson’s CHASSE decided to start an office here history of resilience. The Living Wall’s earth in Tucson, we hit the ground running. forms protect the Memorial in the surWe are grateful the Tucson community rounding gardens. It evolves and changes has embraced CHASSE and allowed us with the seasons. Yet, it is timeless and the opportunity to build such a special spans generations, an organic landscape of project. stone and plants woven in a pattern that Favorite off-job task: Traveling! evokes ancient basket weaving. “People plant seeds in its crevices, A memorial ceremony took place on where life takes root, a celebration of Tucson’s togetherness in the face of tragedy, Jan. 8, 2021, the tragedy’s 10th anniverand a manifestation of the healing of its sary. Following a bell ringing at exactly 10:10 a.m. that coincided with when the community,” says Harrison. first shots were fired, the ceremony featured a video produced by the county. The film captured moments from the day ten years ago before formally introducing the memorial, including how it came together and reactions from some survivors and family members of the victims. Partners with CHASSE on the project include Chee Salette landscape + architecture based in Glendale, California.


Chasse Builds Democracy Memorial in downtown Tucson

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McCarthy Expands East Valley Water Reclamation Plant


Images courtesy of McCarthy

any wish they could just flush 2020 down the toilet. If you live in the East Valley, it’s comforting to know that the Greenfield Water Reclamation Plant can probably handle it, thanks to a recent $170 million Phase III expansion

project completed by McCarthy Building Companies. This project represents a 14 million gallon per day (MGD) expansion of liquids and solids treatment that allows the facility to treat up to 30 MGD of liquids and 38 MGD of solids on an annual average flow basis. Three municipalities – the City of Mesa and Towns of Gilbert and Queen Creek – jointly own the treatment plant located at 4400 S. Greenfield Road in Gilbert. Mesa maintains and operates the plant. The original plant opened in 2007 and was constructed by McCarthy Building Companies in a joint venture with Sundt Construction. Construction for the plant expansion started in November 2017 and reached substantial completion in August 2020, despite challenges this year with COVID-related restrictions on suppliers and subcontractors. “This plant is the primary means of treating wastewater in the area,” says Pat Payne, project director for McCarthy, which Top: Hoisting for the project’s two new eggshaped anaerobic digesters. Left: Building the radius foundation walls to support the project’s two new anaerobic digesters.

served as Construction Manager at Risk. “As an end-of-the-line plant, it was imperative that plant operations be maintained. We very thoroughly vetted and planned all of our outages, and we didn’t have any unplanned outages.” During the pre-construction phase, McCarthy and the design engineers identified more than 100 essential outages or maintenance of plant operations (MOPOs). McCarthy led weekly MOPO meetings with as many as 25 key stakeholders contributing ideas as part of that process. “The plant’s staff worked closely with the contractor to make sure they knew the constraints of the operation,” says Joseph Schroeder, P.E., Mesa project manager. “The plant was able to make changes to accommodate the contractor, and the contractor was able to make changes to accommodate the plant.” Throughout the plant expansion construction, all plant elements remained operational and capable of producing A+ reclaimed water for the municipalities it serves. The liquids treatment processes include preliminary treatment via screening and grit removal, primary sedimentation, biological nutrient removal, secondary Arizona Contractor & Community

twenty eight

Mar-Apr 2021


Images courtesy of McCarthy

clarification, tertiary disk filtration, chlorine contact disinfection, chemical feed systems, and effluent pumping. Solids handling and treatment include sludge screening, blending, thickening, anaerobic digestion, dewatering, and gas handling. Other site improvements include comprehensive odor, noise, and visibility control measures to ensure acceptance within the community.

Employee Spotlight: Gray Wensley Project Superintendent Experience: 35 years with McCarthy Building Companies.

The plant is designed to meet the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Class A+ reclaimed water quality standards and Class B solids for land application or disposal. While expanding the treatment capacities, this project also enhanced operations of the plant, including replacement, repair, and rehabilitation of aging equipment. Carollo Engineers and Brown and Caldwell served as the design engineers. Major subcontractors included Pipe Line Services dba Aims, Progressive Roofing, Harris Rebar, K&F Electric, Inc., and Schuff Steel Company, all of Phoenix, along with Prime Controls, Tempe, and Matrix Service, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Top: Multiple cranes are working at the Greenfield plant site. Above: The plant’s aeration basins with the anaerobic digesters in the background. Below: Hoisting one of the three new secondary clarifier aluminum dome covers.

Favorite job task: I enjoy being a part of a capable, dedicated, committed, high-performing project team and encouraging my teammates to turn difficult challenges into opportunities. Toughest job task: Managing the human element of a project and ensuring no one is injured, which is also my top priority. Most memorable day at work: Bringing the Phase 3 aeration basins at Greenfield Water Reclamation Facility online for the City of Mesa in 2019. It required a complete team effort, and that was an awesome feeling! Favorite off-job task: Spending time with my family, traveling abroad (when we aren’t in a pandemic!), and woodworking.

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Excavating, Inc., and explosives sub-contractor Dykon, Inc. The power plant owners include the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, SRP, Arizona Public Service Co., NV Energy, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, and

Images courtesy of SRP

landmark in the Four Corners region came crashing down in late December, coating the nearby City of Page with a fine coat of dust. The three smokestacks of the Navajo Generating Station, a decommissioned 2.25-gigawatt coal-fired power plant located on land leased from the Navajo Nation, were demolished in a single blast, falling northward like felled trees. The NGS reinforced concrete stacks were the third-highest man-made structures in Arizona and were equivalent in size to a 77 ½ story high-rise building. “In my many years as a civil engineer, I have never witnessed such a powerful, historic, and epic event,” says Gary Barras, Salt River Project director of Project Management & Construction. “In just 54 seconds, three monumental giants toppled, the earth trembled, and the skylines visible from spectacular Lake Powell, Antelope and Glen canyons changed forever.” In addition to the stacks, the 199-foothigh steel-frame Unit 3 electro-static precipitator, which captured fly ash before it The long-anticipated demolition, a entered the atmosphere, was simultanemilestone in the NGS decommissioning ously demolished. process, was a coordinated effort of forRight: Navajo Generating Station in operation, mer plant operator SRP, decommissioning 2019. program manager Tetra Tech, decommisBelow: Navajo Generating Station smokestack demolition, 2020. sioning general contractor Independence


Arizona’s Third-Tallest Man-Made Structures Demolished Near Page

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facilities at the plant, including the warehouse and maintenance buildings, lake pump system, and railroad that are valued at around $175 million. The owners also paid nearly $19 million to the tribe for cost savings associated with not decommissioning those facilities and paid $3.6 million to fund a solid waste disposal program. “Dust bosses,” also known as water cannons, sprayed water to minimize dust from the blast. Shielding material was installed to protect nearby structures that will be retained. A few weeks prior to the demolition, contractors prepared the stacks for blasting by drilling holes for explosives into each

stack’s base. Steel I-beams were wedged into the stack windows and vent openings to prevent each one from twisting in an unintended manner, which allowed them to fall in the planned location. “More than 300 holes were drilled near ground level on the northern 18-inch thick inside walls on each of these stacks,” Barras says. “The vertical reinforcing steel within the concrete was saw cut along the southern quadrants at the bases of these 70-foot diameter structures.” Once explosives were loaded into the holes, a licensed structural engineer and a licensed blaster oversaw the demolition and blasting plans. The three reinforced concrete stacks were built in the mid-1990s. They replaced the three original NGS stacks that were constructed in the mid-1970s as part of the NGS Scrubber Project to remove sulfur dioxide from NGS emissions. Before any demolition activities, all regulated materials such as fluids, oils, chemicals, or asbestos were safely removed, as were items like light bulbs, batteries, and mercury switches. Barras says the time, effort, and energy that the decommissioning team put into planning the demolition was extensive and important, but paled in comparison to what was required by the people who designed, built, operated, and maintained NGS. “While the momentary demolition of these three stacks will soon be forgotten, we should always remember and be thankful for how our lives were made better because NGS provided reliable power to the Southwest for decades,” he says. “I send a heartfelt thanks to the past NGS workers and also say thank you to the many others who worked hard daily to generate reliable power at our plants.”


Tucson Electric Power Co. The facility was built in the 1970s in response to increased power demands in the Southwest and to supply energy for Central Arizona Project pumps. The NGS owners decommissioned the largest coal-fired plant in the Western U.S. because natural-gas-fired electricity is cheaper than coal. Also, the plant contributed 14 million tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere each year even after upgrades in the 1990s. Operation of NGS officially ended in November 2019 when SRP permanently shut down the plant’s three units. The Navajo Nation has retained several

Images courtesy of George Hardeen

Right: Navajo Generating Station smokestack demolition, 2020. Below: Lemuel Brown, SRP site manager, detonating the blast, 2020.

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Aluminum in Concrete: A Simple Solution to a Complex Problem Luke M. Snell, P.E.


concrete precaster recently contacted me with problems from bubbles forming during casting and white streaking on the concrete surface. I learned that he was placing aluminum inserts into the fresh concrete, which were required and could not be substituted for other metals. The problem with aluminum and fresh concrete is well understood. The alkali in the cement will react with the metal and cause hydrogen gas to form within minutes, as shown in YouTube videos that cover the topic. When hydrogen gasses are trapped in concrete as it hardens, voids resulting from entrapped air are created that result in a significant loss of concrete strength. The New York Department of Transportation did a study casting concrete in aluminum molds. Their research showed a 35 percent loss in strength compared to concrete cast in standard cylinder molds. The loss of concrete strength is further complicated if aluminum is used in reinforced concrete or concrete containing calcium chlorides. Corrosion will occur on the aluminum resulting in spalling and cracking of the concrete. For this reason, many state and federal agencies will not allow aluminum conduits or inserts to be used in concrete. The best way to solve this problem is to provide a protective coating on the aluminum. Research shows that using bitumen, lacquer, or enamel paint will provide adequate protection. However, care must be

a significant loss in strength. Further investigation found large pockets of entrapped air thought to have been caused by the scoured aluminum. A company was vacuuming aluminum and cement dust when a minor explosion occurred. Researchers thought it resulted from hydrogen gas that was generated and ignited by a nearby electrical motor. A company made an aluminum drum for a concrete truck, hoping to reduce the drum’s weight. The drum split at its seams. When steel conduits were unavailable, contractors substituted aluminum conduits that resulted in cracks in the concrete. The American Concrete Institute states that aluminum pipelines should not be used to pump concrete.

Aggregates were delivered to a batch plant in a dump truck that had an Thus, it should be standard practice aluminum bed. Some aluminum not to use aluminum in concrete unless it was scraped off when dumping the is adequately protected. load, and the resulting concrete had

Images courtesy of Author

Bottom right: Hydrogen gas bubbles created by aluminum inserts during concrete casting. Below: White streaking on concrete caused by aluminum inserts.

used when placing the concrete to ensure the coating is not scratched or damaged. There is a simple experiment to show the effects of concrete cast against aluminum and the effectiveness of a protective coating. Cast a concrete mixture in an aluminum cupcake form, and then repeat, this time applying enamel paint from a spray can on the second cupcake form. Allow the paint to dry overnight before placing the concrete in the mold. The concrete cast against the aluminum will have several small bubbles at the contact areas caused by hydrogen gas. In contrast, the concrete in the aluminum with a protective coating will show no distress. While researching this topic, I found several intriguing but unverified stories about aluminum and concrete:

Arizona Contractor & Community




Thirty six

Mar-Apr 2021

Ross Kimbarovsky


onstruction is a popular industry, but it has a high failure rate as more than 60 percent of businesses close within the first five years. There’s a lot that goes into building a successful construction business, including a solid business plan, team, and marketing strategy to help find customers. Here are three things to get a competitive advantage for your construction business:

Images courtesy of Author

1. Pick a Niche One of the keys to success in the construction industry is identifying and embracing your niche. It will be much easier to differentiate yourself from generalized construction companies if you specialize. Think about it. If you had lung cancer, would you go to a general practitioner or an oncologist specializing in lung cancer? You’d go to that lung cancer specialist – because they’re the best chance you’ve got to solve your unique problem. The same is true for people seeking construction services. They’re going to have to spend their money and want some degree of assurance that it’s going to be worth it and that they’re working with the right company. Few people or businesses are great at everything. Knowing that you provide construction services catered to their specific needs will boost a customer’s confidence in your ability to get the job done well.

If you’re struggling to identify what your niche might be, these techniques might help: • Identify underserved specialties in your field. If there are already too many roofers in your geographic area, pick another less competitive segment. • Determine which areas customers struggle with the most. For example, even if there are many painters in your area, is it still difficult for people to find a quality, affordable painter? • Ask yourself if your unique background provides you with a rare area of expertise. Whatever niche you choose, don’t make the mistake of trying to be the right fit for every customer. Choose your specific calling and then market your skills to that audience. This is an integral part of your company’s brand identity and will help you create more influential word-of-mouth referrals. 2. Define Your Services A service is impossible to see before it’s been delivered. And, customers don’t like to pay money for vague promises. If you want your construction business to succeed, you need to show your customers the specifics of what you will offer – and deliver. That starts with you defining your services and deliverables, which is vital for three reasons: 1. Clearly defined services can be easily explained to leads. 2. Transparent deliverables show the value of your service. 3. Specificity helps to set realistic expectations for your customers.


How to Get a Competitive Advantage for Your New Construction Business

If you’re offering painting services, be clear on what paints you’ll use, how many coats of paint you’ll apply, whether you’ll move furniture, etc. This last point (specificity) benefits everyone. Your customers can make comfortable, informed decisions. And, you avoid being taken advantage of by customers. In the construction industry, your services and deliverables are the core of your business. So, make it very clear exactly what customers will get. Don’t overreach.

3. Remove Uncertainty Spending money on an intangible like a service can make customers uneasy. So, eliminate that discomfort. Two techniques are particularly powerful for businesses in the construction industry - social proof and demonstration of skills. People often look to their peers for reassurance that their purchase is a wise one; positive reviews from customers create confidence in potential customers. So, share testimonials and reviews from happy customers to build credibility on your website. And take photos at completed jobs so that you can include those photos, with permission from the customer. And, if you’re lucky enough to have an endorsement from a well-known professional in your field, feature that as well. One of the most compelling ways to establish credibility with your website is by showing that you know your stuff. Anyone can claim to be an expert, but only a real expert can back it up. So, prove your expertise by showcasing case studies and writing consistently insightful content about construction. Then, share it for free with a blog or “resources” section on your website. There’s a lot to think about when you’re starting a construction business. These tips will help you get a competitive advantage to level the playing field against established competitors.

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THIRTY eight

A Global Ready-mix, Aggregate, Asphalt & Cement Supplier


Back When Cudia City’s Celluloid Sendoff DOUGLAS TOWNE


n the late 1950s, ABC featured a popular Western named 26 Men. The show, which ran for three years, was based on the Arizona Rangers’ adventures. The elite law enforcement unit, which was active from 1901-1909, was established by the territorial legislature. Many members were veterans of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders who had previously served in the Spanish-American War. When the show aired, the four surviving Arizona Rangers certified the accuracy of each of the 78 episodes of 26 Men.

The pilot for 26 Men was filmed in Placerita Canyon outside Los Angeles, but subsequent filming moved to Cudia City Studios in Phoenix and other areas around the state for historical authenticity and lower production costs. The series became the #1 syndicated TV Western in 1958, and was broadcast on 189 U.S. stations plus others in Canada, England, Germany, Japan, and Spain. But the quartet of aging Arizona Rangers eventually became disgruntled with the lack of authenticity in the show’s scripts, which prompted them to file a lawsuit against the series. The legal action ended

the TV show. It was the last major production at Cudia City. Former Arizona Ranger William Oliver Parmer told the Tucson Daily Citizen in 1960 that the storylines in 26 Men were mostly the stuff of pure imagination. “At the rate they kill off men in those things, we’d have ended up with just women left in the territory.” Background: Filming of 26 Men in Phoenix, late 1950s. Below: The Arizona Ranger Headquarters for 26 Men doubled as Cudia restaurant, late 1950s.

Images courtesy of Jim Judge

Arizona Contractor & Community

Mar-Apr 2021

Bentson Contracting: Building Everything from Driveways to Highways S

Top left: Bentson Contracting advertisement, 1941. Left: Operator for Bentson Contracting, compacting select material with a Seaman-Andwall 17-wheel roller along 24th St., south of Indian School Rd., 1963.

William Horner

ome Valley residents probably know Bentson Contracting Co. only from its sidewalk stamps around the city. That’s a shame, because the company was one of the most successful midcentury paving contractors and construction materials providers. Its owner, Kenneth G. Bentson, also had a long and admirable track record of civic service in Arizona and truly helped build the community in many ways. A cautious man, Bentson nonetheless thrived on the inherent challenges in his profession. “The most enjoyable part of construction was the risk,” he told Southwest Contractor in 1984. “It seemed like a feast or famine, up or down. You were in business or trying to get a job. When everything came together, and the risk paid off, it was nice to see your accomplishments.” How did Bentson become such an essential player in the Arizona construction industry? His daughters, Barbara Blewster and Dinah Lundell, believe it had to do with his upbringing in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where he was born to Josie and Gilbert Bentson in 1905. “His father, Gilbert, instilled in him old-fashioned virtues, self-reliance, and a willingness to work hard at the family’s general store owned by his grandfather, Bernt Bentson, in Silverton, Oregon,” Blewster, a former member of the Arizona House of Representatives, says. The family business, however, proved frustrating for Bentson as he worked with some of his eight uncles. By his teens, Bentson knew he wanted to be in business for himself with no family involvement or partners. “Dad was never a great student,” Blewster recalls. “During the week to make money, he lived at a neighbor’s home and milked ten cows before and after school. He then had a route by which he would deliver the milk to nearby residents. He also worked as a sawmill hand and other odd jobs during vacations.” Bentson found time for sports and was an exceptional athlete, focusing on basketball and football in high school. On the gridiron, his speed and skill at catching passes made him the team’s star wide receiver in 1923. After graduation, Bentson worked at a local Oregon bank for five years before

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Bentson family

Left: Ken Bentson at his home bar, 1970s. Top right: Ken “Tinner” Bentson, Silvertonia yearbook, 1923. Above: Ken Bentson with his daughter, Dinah, at Sky Harbor Airport, 1967. Below: Bentson at his ranch in Oregon, 1970s. Bottom left: Ken and Eleanor Bentson sailing at Puget Sound, WA, 1960s.

forty two

Mar-Apr 2021

Image courtesy of AZ Republic

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

taking a job in Los Angeles with Bank of America in 1928. “He left Silverton, and his sister offered him a place to stay in the city,” Lundell recalls. “Prohibition made alcohol hard to come by, so he and his sister would make their beer in the bathtub.” Bentson changed vocations in 1932 to deliver barrels of fuel, oil, and grease to industrial clients in the city’s Watts neighborhood for Union Oil Company. He was transferred to Phoenix in 1936, where he went door to door selling petroleum products to customers. Bentson resigned from Union Oil in 1938, after the company wanted to move him back to Los Angeles. He then took a job with Tiffany Construction, working as a salesman selling seal coat for subdivisions. During this period, Bentson met Eleanor Follet, a native of Pima, Arizona. They married in 1939. After hustling work to pave driveways and service stations for Tiffany, he decided to go out independently. “Dad said, if they can do it, then so can I, and launched Bentson Contracting in 1941,” Blewster says. “He started with used equipment and a little bit of money. He had one old pickup and a small hand-crank cement mixer.”

Bentson had a knack for business and knew how to grow his company during World War II. Specializing in industrial paving, Bentson Contracting surfaced and paved many Phoenix streets and took jobs outside the city that weren’t bid on by more prominent companies. Bentson invested everything he had into expanding his company while having a conservative lifestyle. “When you were out of work, you bid things cheaper in order to keep the organization going,” he told Southwest Contractor. “Dad was a crackerjack businessman but had a kind heart,” Blewster says, talking about “Big Joe” Holguin, who joined Bentson Contracting in 1941 and was injured on the job in 1960. “My Dad followed the ambulance to the hospital, making sure he received proper attention,” she says. “Holguin was never able to work after the

Above: Ken Bentson, Barry Goldwater, David Murdock, Paul Fannin, Ralph Staggs, and John Rhodes (L-R), at Fannin’s gubernatorial victory celebration at Westward Ho, 1958. Top left: Bentson Contracting advertisement, 1949. Bottom: Bentson street improvements with a Gradall loading machine putting concrete into a Union Rock end-dump truck, with an Allis Chalmers blade in the foreground at Glendale and 58th avenues, 1962.

accident, and Bentson assisted with the medical bills.” Bentson Contracting opened a branch office in Casa Grande specializing in concrete ditch-lining and transit-mix concrete in 1948. In 1950, Bentson purchased the Union Rock & Materials Company located at Central Avenue on the Salt River for $200,000. After the purchase, Bentson Contracting moved their office from 151 West Watkins Road to 2800 South Central Avenue. Union Rock & Materials expanded around the Valley with three material plants and two asphalt plants, in addition to a portable asphalt plant. Liquid asphalt was shipped on rails from Southern California “24 hours a day, seven days a week.” The two entities operated separately until 1962, when they were consolidated under the name Union Rock & Materials Corporation, with Bentson Contracting as a division. In 1966, Bentson purchased Tucson-based San Xavier Rock & Sand, which became a third division of the corporation. By the early 1960s, Union Rock & Materials’ principal business was the manufacturing and selling of construction materials, aggregates, and transit-mixed concrete. The division was selling 2,000 yards of concrete per day at around $11 a yard to keep up with the local construction boom. Meanwhile, Bentson Contracting concentrated on paving streets throughout the Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

Top left: Bentson blade operator B.A. Farnsworth spreading road-mix on 51st Avenue between Buckeye and Southern roads with a new Cat 14D blade, 1964. Top right: Bentson Contracting working on North Campbell Avenue in Tucson, 1966. Above: Soil cement roadwork in Tucson, 1966. Right: Bentson General Supervisor Dan Moats, 1964.

state and subcontracted much of the curb and gutter work so that they wouldn’t compete with their customers who were buying their concrete. Among the projects was five miles of Interstate 17 north of Phoenix. Bentson took his company public and retired at age 62 in 1968. He maintained 55 percent of the stock and sold the remaining interest to the Peter Kiewit & Sons Company of Omaha, Nebraska. He subsequently purchased a 23,000-acre ranch in Oregon’s scenic Imnaha River Valley, which he visited monthly to oversee cattle operations and enjoy fishing and horseback riding. Union Rock & Materials, Bentson Forty Four

Contracting, and San Xavier operated under the Kiewit umbrella until 2002 when Rinker Materials acquired Kiewit Materials Co. and retired the names. Besides his construction companies, Bentson had leadership positions with many organizations. He was president of Boys Clubs of Phoenix, Arizona Country Club, Arizona Building Contractors, the Arizona chapter of Associated General Contractors of America, served on the Paradise Valley Country Club board, and was the Arizona director of the National Association of Manufacturers. In 1970, he accepted a seat on the Arizona Board of Regents from Governor Jack Williams, whom he had met

at KOY radio in the late 1930s during on-air advertising for Union Oil. Bentson was active in the Arizona Republican Party and a close friend with the state’s GOP leaders. “Dad loved this country and felt anyone could be what they wanted if they worked hard,” Blewster says. He died at age 91 in 1996, five months after his wife, Eleanor, passed away. Their daughters created the Kenneth G. & Eleanor F. Bentson scholarship fund at Arizona State University to assist students of Mexican descent. Bentson was remembered fondly by others in the Arizona construction industry. “The Mardian brothers did a lot of business Mar-Apr 2021

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Top: Bentson Contracting lining a ditch using the Fullerform system, 1956. Above: Dinah Lundell, Bill and Barbara Blewster, 2019.

with the various Bentson enterprises,” former Phoenix Mayor Sam Mardian, Jr. wrote after Bentson’s death in 1996. “During those 35-40 years, all our business activities were carried out amicably, with Bentson the seller and the Mardian the buyers. He was an honest and straightforward businessman.” But his daughter provided the most holistic perspective on Bentson. “Dad did own a construction company,” Blewster says. “But he did so much more.”

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To the Highest Bidder: A History of Arizona Auctioneering with WSM’s John Cadzow


oday, Western Sales Management (WSM) in Phoenix hosts online auctions with bidders from all over the world, but things were a little different when owner John Cadzow first got into the industry in the late 1960s. Back then, Cadzow was a kid hocking soda cans for 25 cents apiece while on stage; his dad, also named John, sold livestock, farm equipment, antiques, and lots of other stuff. Despite all the changes, this ancient practice’s basics remain the same. The earliest records of auctions come down from the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. Near the end of the first book in his seminal work Histories, he wrote about

“It was like you’re going back 100 years,” Cadzow recalls. “It was very simple. It was mostly just a legal pad of paper and money changing hands right then and there.” Cadzow’s father first got into auctioning when the family lived in Pennsylvania. The elder Cadzow had worked at steel mills

Image courtesy of Author

Top right: John Cadzow Sr. leading an auction. Below: WSM staff.

the Babylonian practice of selling potential brides to the highest bidder. However, Cadzow explained that the modern industry traces its roots back to the 16th and 17th centuries. A few auction houses from back then are still in operation. The Stockholm Auction House is the world’s oldest, founded in 1674, while Sotheby’s first sale occurred in 1744. In the U.S., the practice became more widespread during the Civil War as auctions were the preferred method for Union officers to sell off confiscated property. The fast-paced style of chants still used by auctioneers likely traces its origins back to tobacco auctions from around the same time. The first auctions Cadzow attended as a boy weren’t so different from those of a century prior.

Image courtesy of WSM

Jeff Kronenfeld

Forty six

Mar-Apr 2021

Image courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

in Pittsburgh while also running the family farm and raising cattle, horses, and mules. Seeing auctions as another potential revenue stream, he sought an experienced mentor to apprentice under for a year until eligible to apply for his license. Cadzow’s busy father studied and practiced when and where he could. “I can remember when we were picking corn in the fall,” a smiling Cadzow said. “I’d be riding the wagon behind the corn picker picking off the extra husks and stuff like that, and my dad would be up there practicing his chant on the tractor from when he was going to school and just reading off his chant and selling stocks of corn or selling a post or a tree or anything.” In those days, auctions were more than just economic opportunities. The rhythmic chants, an array of random items, and bidding wars were a source of entertainment. It wasn’t all fun and games, though. Sometimes folks cried as they watched their animals being carted off or fought with each other as the family farm was parted out. “It was kind of humbling,” Cadzow

Image courtesy of History Today

Above: M.W. Zimmerman Auctioneers, event held at contractor Bowen and McLaughlin’s yard on 19th Avenue, 1950. Right: Christie’s Auction Rooms engraving from The Microcosm of London published by Rudolph Ackermann, 1808.

explained. “The community would get together and help everybody out because you never know when you’re going to be the next person. That was the whole deal in the ‘70s. Some tough times.” The Cadzow family wasn’t immune to the hardships of the era. They sold their farm by auction to finance a move to the

Valley of the Sun in the early 1970s. Back then, the Valley was a much smaller place. The I-10 wasn’t even yet completed, and the region was home to just over a million people, roughly a fifth of its current population. Likewise, the area’s auction industry was also smaller but primed for explosive Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

growth. In 1971, Cadzow’s father founded WSM. He started by doing small estate and farm auctions on the weekends. WSM also partnered with furniture brokers from the Midwest and hosted a three-day annual spring antique sale, typically held at either the state fairgrounds or in large hotels. “There were only a handful of auction forty eight

companies in the state of Arizona when we came in the early 70s,” Cadzow explained. “It evolved with time where more auction companies came into the Valley as it grew. They all either have moved on or merged with other companies.” At the same time, WSM began to branch out into other kinds of auctions. Utility companies contract with auctioneers to sell a wide range of items, which continues to be WSM’s bread and butter. Its first big contracts were with APS, SRP, and Mountain Bell. WSM began by selling vehicles, tools, and other miscellaneous items. Over the years, the Cadzows started to take on larger ticket items like construction equipment. They also began to work with various government agencies from cities to police departments. Over the next few decades, the

Above: Zimmerman auction, 1950. Left: Miller & Miller Auctioneers, Inc. flyer for Fisher Contracting auction, 1980s.

antique market began to dry up. Not only did Cadzow see consumer demand for such items decline throughout the 1990s, but he also saw a lot of WSM’s partners from the Midwest retire. The one-two punch of weak consumer demand and a declining supply base proved devastating. Cadzow recalls the last antique sale he and his father held was so disappointing they finally decided to step away from such work for good. Luckily, the booming contract business more than offset the declining market for antiques. WSM secured new contracts from Southwest Gas and several large construction firms. It also continued to work with its existing customers and expand its buyer base. This steady growth led WSM to move to progressively larger locations. Today, the company’s home is a sprawling acreage located in Phoenix on 67th Avenue. It boasts a massive lot packed with a staggering variety of vehicles, machines, and other Mar-Apr 2021

Left: Auction flyer for Elmer Phipps farm machinery in Chandler, 1954. Below: Auction flyer for contractor Farr Western Asphalt Paving Inc. in Phoenix, 1967.

Images courtesy of AZ Republic

items. On the larger side, there’s a small forest of towering cranes flanked by everything from dump trucks to bulldozers to fire engines to a fleet of semis. On the smaller side are seemingly endless rows of trucks and cars, including a few high-end luxury vehicles. These usually are confiscated from drug dealers. On the day I visited, the lot held an orange Lexus, a black Tesla, and even a green Lamborghini. Cadzow often meets potential buyers exhilarated by the idea of owning a fallen kingpin’s wheels, though the practical businessman tends to see things a little differently. Criminals tend not to maintain their vehicles as well as a big company, and the police aren’t exactly gentle with such cars either. Such cars will often sit in impound for years during trials and investigations. Of big man said with a shrug. course, he has another reason too. COVID-19 transformed this venera“I myself wouldn’t want nothing to do ble industry overnight. When Governor with it because you’ll never know which of Doug Ducey issued the state’s first lockhis buddies are still out on the street,” the down order, Cadzow put a hold on auctions for a few months. He has yet to begin Above: A Lamborghini seized from a drug in-person public auctions again. However, dealer for sale at WSM. Below: A lift and other construction machines he has aggressively expanded the compafor sale at WSM. ny’s online offerings. Now bidders from all Bottom right: WSM owner John Cadzow with over the world compete in WSM’s auctions, his stepson, Gage Richardson.

Images courtesy of Author

which has been a boon for business. Despite all this, he explains the heart of the business remains taking care of his customers, and that is something that neither plague nor technology will ever change.

Arizona Contractor & Community

Cudia City:

Phoenix’s Delicious Slice of Hollywood Douglas Towne


almost two decades. Already an accomplished sculptor, painter, photographer, musician, inventor, voice coach, and movie director, Cudia was also fluent in six languages by the time he entered the Valley’s hospitality business in the 1940s. Utilizing his unique skill-set, the flamboyant Renaissance Man not only created one of the Valley’s most memorable dining experiences, but he also funded a one-of-a-kind construction project. The faux-frontier town and gourmet restaurant were but part of a remarkable Below: Salvatore P.B. Cudia in the director’s chair, 1940s. Right: Cudia’s Arizona Motion Picture Locations, Inc. truck, 1940s.

Images courtesy of Jim Judge

ack in the day, a distinctive Phoenix enterprise balanced the demands of fine dining with hosting 26 roughand-tumble lawmen who brought bad guys to justice. This unique combination occurred at Cudia City, a replica frontier town at a popular film and TV production spot that featured Camelback Mountain as its backdrop. The movie set’s cinematic highlight was its last major production: the ABC’s 30-minute drama 26 Men, based on the Arizona Rangers who kept the peace during Territorial days. Within the Western movie set was Cudia, a restaurant known for its otherworldly ambiance. If an eatery reflects its owner’s talents and charisma, Salvatore P.B. Cudia set a high bar in Phoenix for

career for Cudia. Born near Rome in 1887, Cudia was a marquis when he left Italy in 1904 and deeded his considerable property to an orphanage. “A marquis?” he once answered his son. “You don’t get that title for being good; you get it for being bad on behalf of the king,” according to an article Fifty

Mar-Apr 2021

in The Arizona Republic in 1977. Cudia immigrated to America to work as an artist in a multitude of fields. These endeavors included forming an Italian opera company in Washington, D.C., serving as concertmaster at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, sculpting the busts of

Broadway theatrical greats, and building movie sound stages in Florida and Hollywood. At the latter, he made some Polish-language Westerns, which were export successes. Attracted by Phoenix’s clean air and cheap land, he moved from Southern

California to create his Western movie studio near the northwest corner of Camelback Road and 40th Street in 1939. Cudia purchased 20 acres from former Governor R.S. Stanford and designed and built every part of the studio, located eight miles outside the city. He later added 24 more Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Jim Judge Image courtesy of Author

Left: Cudia at the Cudia City bar, 1940s. Above: Cudia posing with newspaper and grapes. Right: Cudia restaurant napkin.

adjacent acres to his holdings. Only four films were made at Cudia City by his Valley of the Sun Studio before World War II halted movie production. During the war, Cudia designed patriotic plaques and charitably allowed his sound stage to be used as a banquet hall for civic groups and service members. The on-site restaurant and accommodations consisting of a dozen bungalows, initially used by film crews, evolved during the war into the Cudia City Guest Resort for visitors fifty two

Above: The waterfall at Cudia restaurant, 1940s. Right: Cudia City sound stage, 1940s.

wanting to experience a touch of Hollywood. Visitors entered Cudia City through two elaborately lit pillars. After the war, filming resumed at Cudia City, including the 78-episode series of 26 Men, starring Tris Coffin. Guest stars on the show, which ran for three years in the late 1950s, included Robert Blake, Don Mar-Apr 2021

Haggerty, Leonard Nimoy, and Denver Pyle. The series proved popular with viewers and, when its cast wandered off the set for lunch, created a skewed impression of the Valley for one newcomer. “I remember in 1957 going to the drugstore at 44th Street and Camelback and seeing various cowboys in full costume at the lunch counter,” says Milly Bolek, who had just moved from Cleveland. “I thought to myself, ‘People sure dress like authentic cowboys out here in Phoenix!’” These days, some viewers watch the Western for views of Camelback Mountain before it became gilded with mansions and five-star resorts. Many Phoenix residents fondly recall

Cudia Restaurant, which was housed in a low-slung building with an elaborate hitching post out front and period antiques scattered around. The restaurant’s focal point was a spectacular outdoor dining area featuring a colossal 30-foot, manmade waterfall cascading over rocks into a turquoise-colored swimming pool. Tables were set up on the adjoining lawn; a saguaro growing through the patio roof added to the exotic atmosphere. “There were also two indoor dining rooms and a bar, behind which were two large paintings of reclining ladies,” William Linsenmeyer, a Phoenix native whose family visited often, says.

Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Jim Judge

Top left: Valley of the Sun Studios plaque, 1939. Top right: Cudia in his office. Below: 26 Men filming at Cudia City, late 1950s.

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The menu featured affordable gourmet food, including juicy steaks with spaghetti on the side. These meals were lauded by the noted food critic of the era, Duncan Hines, who wrote an annual nationwide restaurant guide, Adventures in Good Eating. The restaurant’s motto was,

“Come hungry, and we’ll feed the heck out of you!” Still, much of the restaurant’s bling came from its owner and host, the debonair Italian marquis himself, who favored wearing a diamond ring that covered three fingers. “Salvatore was gracious, poised,

Mar-Apr 2021

stage converted into a dining hall for up to 1,200 guests. In the early 1960s, Cudia briefly allowed his sound stage building to become a teen dance club on Saturday nights and then a church. He then closed Cudia City and retired at age 74. Westerns were too difficult to film at the studio, with phone lines and houses increasingly being captured in the cameras’ background. Cudia sold the land for redevelopment, but not before one more grand performance. Cudia footed the bill to have a bridge built at 40th Street across the Arizona Canal to access his property conveniently. Hoffman-Miller Engineers designed the bridge built by the Arizona Concrete Pipe Co. for an estimated $35,000. Cudia deeded the bridge to the city when construction finished in 1961. “I made my money here, and I am willing to spend some of it in this fashion for the benefit of my neighbors and the

city,” he told the Republic that year. None of the studio buildings he designed were preserved when the property was redeveloped. The initial plan to create a Roman-style marketplace never occurred. The marquis spent his final decade living in one of the 16 one-acre natural desert homesites in Cudia City Estates. Cudia listened to his favorite Italian opera arias until he died in 1971 at age 83, leaving behind a son, granddaughter, and six great-grandchildren. “Toto, as the family called Salvatore, found his true home in Phoenix,” says his great-grandson, Jim Judge, a retired teacher from the nearby Phoenix Country Day School. “He was able to create a haven here in the Valley not only for himself but for his family.” Below: Cudia City Estates, 2020. Below left: Plaque on 40th St Bridge, 2018. Bottom: 40th Street Bridge, 2018.

Images courtesy of Author

and had a somewhat courtly manner,” Linsenmeyer says. “He was impeccably attired in western shirt and trousers.” Blessed with dashing good looks and sharp wit, and oozing Continental charm, Cudia was rarely outshone by his clientele, including Hollywood actors such as Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, and Ginger Rogers, plus royalty such as the King of Iraq, Faisal II. At times, humbly referring to himself as “da caretaker,” Cudia operated the restaurant like a wisecracking variety show host. “Cudia insults his customers but always with a gleam in his eye. Everyone knows Cudia, everyone likes Cudia, and everyone thinks his food and hospitality are tops,” noted an Arizona Times article. Cudia hosted many of the Valley’s social functions in the 1940s and 1950s. Small gatherings occurred in his restaurant; larger events such as the Phoenix Symphony Gala were held in a nearby sound

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ost people would be pleased to properly organize their garage, or even a closet or two. Not Dennis “Denny” Gleason. The talented ragtime pianist who couldn’t read a note of music had a grander goal: starting in the mid1930s, he organized Valley roadways, one paint can lid at a time. With “Why Get Lost?” as his official motto, Gleason made it his life’s mission to efficiently direct motorists around the

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Paint-Can-Lid Prophet:

Denny Gleason’s Street Signs Douglas Towne

Valley in the pre-GPS era. Frustrated by spotty street signage in Phoenix, Gleason devised a standardized system for determining one’s distance from Downtown or

any other location in Maricopa County. He promoted his plan by publishing a handbook and obsessively mounting unauthorized, homemade street signs made from 5-gallon metal paint can lids on traffic poles near intersections. “At one point, you could see Denny’s signs on almost every power pole around,” says Ed Chilleen, owner of the now-closed Crazy Ed’s Satisfied Frog Restaurant in Cave Creek. “Denny was one of the last great characters in Phoenix. We opened Crazy Ed’s in 1962, and Denny showed up almost immediately in an old car with some paint can lids and his wife. He played the piano and frequently dropped by to sit in with our band.” “Denny was a colorful person,” says Larry Gleason, Denny’s nephew. “He was good-looking, charismatic, kind, and full of personality – everyone loved him!” There were few clues that Phoenix had gained one of its most memorable individuals when 16-year-old Denny Gleason moved from Indiana with his family in 1911. His father had tuberculosis, and it was thought that the hot dry climate would help him. Gleason lived a typical Valley life, graduating from Phoenix Union High School, serving in the U.S. Navy during World War I, marrying Rispah O’Farrell who came from a prominent San Francisco family, and having a son, Jack. The paint-canlid-prophet then unexpectedly found his life’s calling when he joined the haberdashery business of his brothers, William and Lawrence, in 1919. Gleason’s Men’s Clothing Store, successors to the Valley Clothing Company, featured high-end attire. They opened their business in 1916 at 5 West Washington Street. Denny’s role was to drive around Maricopa County, collecting payments from customers. At the time, street signs were few, many roads in the Valley had multiple names, and some streets were known by their Salt River Project lateral numbers. Not surprisingly, Gleason grew tired of cruising dusty, unmarked roads searching for customers’ homes. Seeking a more efficient way to navigate the Valley, Gleason took copious notes while driving and, in 1935, published a Left: Denny Gleason’s Maricopa County street guide, 1935. Mar-Apr 2021

Image courtesy of Phoenix Magazine

Image courtesy of Arizona Republic

Above: Denny and his street signs, 1968. Top left: Denny and his street signs, 1964. Left: Street signs created by Denny Gleason.

120-page pocketbook, Denny Gleason’s Numerical System Street, Road, and Rural Route Guide. Gleason adopted a version of the Public Land Survey System used to demarcate Arizona into points north, south, east, and west. This grid used the intersection of the Gila and Salt River Meridian and Baseline on Monument Hill just south of the Gila and Salt rivers’ confluence. However, Gleason switched the starting point for his system to Central Avenue and Van Buren Street in Downtown Phoenix. From this crossroads, Gleason determined every location in Maricopa County based on mileage coordinates. For instance, Camelback Road and 44th Street became 4N, 5E, and Dobbins Road and 27th Avenue became 6S, 2.5W. The two

intersections were 17.5 miles apart (4N + 6S = 10 miles; 5E + 2.5W = 7.5 miles). But Denny’s life changed dramatically during the Great Depression. “The Gleason’s closed their clothing store in 1930,” Larry Gleason says. The business had a brief reprise with a new location at nearby 16 ½ South Central before it shut down for good. Denny’s wife divorced him, reportedly because of the lovable Irishman’s fondness for bourbon. Gleason later landed a position as a road striper and sign painter for the Maricopa County Highway Department. The new job, which Gleason held for more than 30 years, provided him an opportunity to increase his street-naming system’s visibility. The position also offered access to a near-inexhaustible supply of paint can lids, which he repurposed for his street signs. He painted location coordinates on the covers and mounted them to utility

poles with baling wire. Depending on one’s knowledge of Gleason’s system, the paint lids, painted black with white lettering, were helpful navigation tools or mysterious, and perhaps unsightly, hieroglyphics. Gleason also placed his signs at schools. “Denny mounted one at Mohave Elementary School in Scottsdale, which I attended,” recalls his great-nephew, Chip Gleason, a retired Phoenix firefighter. “I didn’t think too much about it at the time. I guess I just figured everyone had a slightly eccentric family member that did such things.” There were few limits to Gleason’s system or his enthusiasm for promoting it. He often stopped by friends’ homes unannounced to present them with handmade signs that bore their home’s location. “We started Crazy Ed’s Lake Havasu in 1966 and, on opening night, Denny and his second wife, Lennie Wallace, showed up with a paint can lid with our coordinates,” Chilleen recalls. “It was like 160W, 80N.” In his free time and on his own dime, Arizona Contractor & Community


Mar-Apr 2021

Images courtesy of Author

Images courtesy of Gleason family

Gleason continued to labor over his unique project, focusing on unincorporated county areas in later years. “Denny drove an old 1940s brown sedan with his name and slogan boldly painted on the sides,” recalls Michael Swaine, a Phoenix graphic artist. Over the years, Gleason’s sign material evolved from paint-can lids to sheet metal, and, finally, to 15-inch plywood boards. Gleason lobbied for years to receive official approval for his sign system. “Why do you think the state spends money every year on mileposts?” Gleason told The Arizona Republic in 1957. “They know it’s the simplest way to pinpoint any spot along the highways.” Gleason retired from the county highway department in 1961, and in the late 1960s, Maricopa County agreed to pay him $5 per posted sign. But the county rescinded the contract after a couple of years. Municipalities were either ambivalent about his signs or passionately opposed to them and removed many signs. “It’s unfortunate that Denny’s system was never adopted because it made a lot of sense,” Chilleen says. During the evenings, Gleason played piano at bars and restaurants around the Valley for drinks and whatever proceeds customers put in his tip jar. “He never took a piano lesson but had an amazing ear for music,” Larry Gleason says. “You could name a song, and 9/10ths of the time, he would be able to play and sing it.” In the early 1970s, seemingly resigned that the county would never officially adopt his coordinate system, Gleason devoted his energy to playing the keyboard at shopping centers to solicit donations for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He died in 1976 at age 81. After Gleason’s death, his signs were slowly removed, sometimes by municipalities that discarded them and occasionally by collectors. “I remember driving around Phoenix with my dad and getting a little irritated when he stopped to grab a sign made by Gleason,” Cindy Barker Davidson says. “He said, ‘This is a piece of history!’” Although it’s been more than 25 years since the family has seen one of his signs along a road in the Valley, there might still be a few survivors. “Denny put them up even in the most remote locations in Maricopa County. There’s probably a few out there still slowly gathering rust,” says Larry Gleason. Top left: Denny Gleason in the U.S. Navy during World War I, 1917. Top right: Denny Gleason, 1920s. Bottom left: Joy, Larry, Catherine & Chip Gleason holding Denny’s street signs, 2013.

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Building on the Past


he 26-story First Federal Savings Building located across from Park Central Mall in the Central Corridor became Phoenix’s tallest structure when completed in 1965. TGK Construction served as the general contractor for the project. Mayer Development owned the International style tower, which is now called the Phoenix Corporate Center. The building initially featured balconies on all north and south-facing windows, later enclosed in glass to expand the leasable interior space. Ten elevators served the building, including the “Skylift” that ran outside the structure on the west side and provided panoramic views of the Valley. An earlier part of the development was the nine-story Mayer Central Building to the north, which was completed in 1960. The building was noteworthy as the Phoenix Playboy Club’s home from 1962-1983. It was renamed the Phoenix Professional Tower in

2005. Sandwiched between the two towers was the Mayer Central Plaza and East Mall Building, the latter featured the President’s Health Club Resort. The buildings needed a spacious parking garage for tenants and visitors. The resulting five-level garage was the Southwest’s largest, with a 1,100-vehicle capacity and featured three levels aboveground and two belowground. Union Rock and Materials Corp. and its Union Rock Products and Bentson Contracting Co. divisions removed 70,000 cubic yards of earth and poured 25,000 cubic yards of concrete for the development. The parking garage was an unqualified success, but unfortunately it was the site of a most notorious mob hit a decade later. On February 19, 1975, accountant Ed Lazar was found shot five times with a dime placed on his forehead in the garage’s seldom used rear basement stairwell, according to the book,

Image courtesy of Arizona Republic

1965: Midtown Phoenix’s Big and Infamous Parking Garage

Evening’s Empire. The killing, which made national news, occurred the day before Lazar was to appear before a grand jury investigating his business partner, Ned Warren Sr., who was dubbed “the Godfather of Arizona Land Fraud.” Authorities later determined that a pair of Chicago hitmen killed Lazar. Warren was convicted of land fraud and bribery in 1978 and died in prison two years later. Historic Photos: Union Rock’s Hough Payloader filling end-dump trucks during excavation for the Mayer Central Plaza parking structure, 1963. Right: Phoenix Corporate Center.

Mar-Apr 2021

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

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Architect’s Perspective: Dennis C. Numkena, AIA: Use of Drama Doug Sydnor, FAIA he enlisted in the U.S. Army, which assigned him to Governor’s Island outside New York City. Numkena attended a nearby computer school and visited the Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building inspired him to become an architect. “That was the first time I really got a look at structure,” he commented. His final year in the Army was 1964 at Fort Huachuca in southern Arizona. In civilian life, Numkena worked for a computer company but soon pursued architecture. That year, he entered the University of Arizona architecture program and, the following summer, worked for architect Bennie M. Gonzales, FAIA. Numkena subsequently transferred to Arizona State University, where he received his 1970 Bachelor of Arts Degree in Architecture. His architectural aesthetics were influenced by Gonzales’ work, using similar materials and approaching his buildings in a sculptural sort of way. Numkena then formed the first Native American-owned architecture firm, Numkena Associates Architects AIA, which opened at 7 West Adams Street in Phoenix. Numkena was dedicated to the idea of reinterpreting the language of the Southwestern indigenous people and particularly the Anasazi, ancestors of the Hopi. “Numkena Architects was formed in

Image courtesy of Author

ecoming a licensed architect is a challenging path requiring a minimum of eight years, including a professional architectural degree, a three-year internship, and passing the rigorous licensing examinations. So, it is impressive to learn of someone that overcame these hurdles who faced challenging circumstances growing up. Dennis C. Numkena, AIA, is an inspiring story who pursued his dream of becoming an architect. Numkena was born in Moenkopi Village, a remote farming community located south of Tuba City on the Hopi Reservation in 1941. He grew up in a small stone house as the youngest of five boys and was a Snake Clan member. Numkena left the reservation at age 13 after his Kiva initiation ceremony. He was more academically and socially inclined than his brothers, so his father allowed him to attend the Phoenix Indian School, a government boarding school that educated Native American youth. “He was the one who told me to go away and never come back until I could provide some kind of service,” Numkena said. The future architect stayed until his sophomore year, when “I finally ran away from it. At that time, there was no philosophy there. It was a regimented way of trying to raise Indian kids.” Numkena escaped one evening to a McDonald’s just across Central Avenue and called a young speech teacher. She took him home to live with her family in Scottsdale, and he spent his junior and senior years at Scottsdale High School. Numkena was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy but had trouble envisioning himself at sea, commenting, “What do Hopis know about sailing ships?” Instead,

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1971 and decided to concentrate on providing architectural services for the Indian tribes throughout the Southwest,” he said. “Over the years, the firm explored the cultural histories of many Indian tribes to properly respond to the architectural needs of that particular tribe. The architectural process required interaction with many governmental agencies and their various needs, but keeping in mind the real requirements of our Indian clients.” Numkena obtained his Arizona architectural registration in 1975, and the office moved to 384 East Coronado Road in Phoenix. During the 1970s and 1980s, Numkena designed more than 25 projects for Southwest tribes, including museums, elementary schools, recreational and justice facilities, and housing. He believes each of his buildings makes a definite statement, stating, “What is notable is the use of drama, typically, in our buildings.” His creations tend to be rectilinear and composed of concrete, masonry, and wood, and use earth tones suited for their locations. “Anything you see in Hopi (country) is somewhat rectilinear,” he said. “[Concrete] allows me to sculpt. You can make it flow, and the massing of concrete gives it just a feeling of being very solid. I do not use color as a statement. I go with form itself.” The Anasazi Resort Condominiums at 12212 North Paradise Village Parkway in Phoenix was completed in 1983. The large complex has extensive landscaped grounds weaving through multi-story residential structures. All units are accessed by a single-loaded external walkway, thereby avoiding interior conditioned circulation. Plastered and richly colored building forms are rooted in ancient Southwestern Native American structures, as they integrate bold, thick, sculpted, and layered walls. Masses and site wall detailing includes stepped profiles and small openings reminiscent of Native American basketry, weavings, and pottery glaze patterns, which creatively sets itself apart from the more conventional condominiums. Left: Anasazi Resort Condominiums in Phoenix, 2020. Mar-Apr 2021

Numkena served on the Heard Museum Board of Trustees from 19751979, and on the 1989 Design Review Panel for the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. In 1997 and 2000, he led architectural lecture tours of Europe. Numkena also created a theatrical design, sets, and costumes for Mozart’s The Magic Flute, performed at ASU’s Lyric Opera Company, and filmed in 1982 for PBS. In 1987, he designed the Papal stage and murals for Pope John Paul II’s audience with Native Americans at the Phoenix Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Native American community awarded Numkena the prestigious 2002 Arizona Indian Living Treasure Award and 2008 Kent C. Ware Lifetime Achievement Award. Numkena died on April 11, 2010, at the age of 68. “In the 1990s Dennis came and talked about his life, buildings, and art in Jeff Cook’s ‘Critical Regionalism’ class on multiple occasions,” Max Underwood, AIA, President’s Professor at ASU, wrote in 2020. “His careful listening, shared wisdom, and many post-class conversations with our students were life-changing.”


1974 Hopi Neighborhood Facility, New Oraibi, AZ

1974 Fort McDowell Tribal Center, AZ

1975 Polacca Elementary School, Hopi Tribe, AZ

1976 San Simon Elementary School, Tohono O’odham Nation, AZ

1976 Pyramid Lake and Paiute Tribal Museum, NV

1977 Hopi Tribe 73-Unit Housing Project, AZ

1977 Canyon Records, Inc., 4143 North 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ

1977 Montezuma Castle Tourism Center, Camp Verde, AZ

1978 Tom Jackson & Associates Office Building, 6808 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Douglas B. Sydnor, FAIA, is Principal at Douglas Sydnor Architect and Associates, and author of three architecture books.

Image courtesy of Sharon Stetter

Image courtesy of Republic Archives

The nearby Anasazi Office Plaza at 11211 North Tatum Boulevard in Phoenix was completed in 1985. The complex comprises three two-story structures above an underground parking garage and feature golf course views to the north. The three buildings break the overall scale, and each is articulated with southern bris soleil, providing recessed windows and a visual depth. West elevation is a sculptural tour de force with various sized windows carved into a thick plastered wall. The design offers some playful details that are unusual for office development. Numkena was equally skilled in painting. “It was mostly looking at my older brother’s paintings and messing around with paints that I began being an artist,” he said. “Home training in art was reinforced by a teacher at Moenkopi – a Mrs. Dickerson – who insisted that her students spend an hour a day painting.” Numkena’s exhibitions from 1977-2000 included the Heard Museum, Stetter Gallery, Taliesin West, and Grady Gammage Auditorium. He created art murals at ASU’s College of Law in Tempe, NAU’s School of Forestry in Flagstaff, and St. Mary’s Pharmaceuticals in Tucson.

Image courtesy of Author

Image courtesy of Sharon Stetter

Above: Dennis Numkena with his art. Right: Anasazi Office Plaza, Phoenix, 2020. Bottom left: Drawing of the Paiutes Museum, Pyramid Lake, NV. Bottom right: Pyramid Lake & Paiute Tribal Museum, NV, 1976.

Arizona Contractor & Community

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SIERRA VISTA: 1601 Paseo San Luis # 202  Sierra Vista, Arizona 85635  520.458.9594  TUCSON: 3949 East Irvington Road  Tucson, Arizona 85714  520.748.0188 

Arizona Contractor & Community

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Digging through the archives Union Rock & Materials Company


ne of the largest midcentury construction rock and sand providers was started by a businessman who knew more about manure than materials. Arizona was still a territory when Walter T. Bartol arrived in Phoenix in 1907. He landed a job at a Phoenix livery stable for $50 a month before starting his own, the Seventy two

Golden Eagle Livery Stable at 217 North Central Avenue in 1910. The site later became the Vista Theater and is currently the 40-story Chase Tower, the state’s tallest building. Bartol enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1917 during World War I and returned a few years later to open Cement Products, Inc., a

Image courtesy of Newspaper Archiv es

William Horner

Mar-Apr 2021

cement block plant, on West Buchanan Street located just south of Downtown. The plant remained in operation at that location until 1933. In 1928, Bartol acquired 100 acres at the southern end of the Central Avenue bridge at the Salt River. He started Union Rock, a materials operation, by excavating sand using mules and selling it to local contractors. The mules also towed vehicles Top left: Union Rock’s first conveyor operation, 1934. Left: Union Rock & Materials ad, 1939. Above: Union Rock & Materials plant operation at Central Avenue on the Salt River, 1946.

across the flowing Salt River to provide additional revenue, according to Kieways published by Peter Kiewit & Sons in 1979. The plant expanded to ready-mix mortar, cement blocks, and rock. A dragline was used to excavate the materials, which were then crushed, screened, and washed. In 1939, Bartol incorporated the business and renamed the operation Union Rock and Materials Company. The company’s “Omaha Orange” colors made its vehicles easily recognizable, and its slogan was “In Union There Is Strength.” Bartol continued expanding Union Rock & Materials, adding a lime mortar

plant in 1939 and doubling its output three years later. The entire operation was overhauled and upgraded in 1945 with a Cedar Rapids 15 x 24-foot crushing unit, which had two double-deck vibrating screens and a secondary Simons-Cone 2-foot crushing unit. New conveyors and concrete loading bins were also installed. In 1948, Bartol obtained an automatic block machine for the plant that produced “Dunbrick” brand blocks. According to an article in The Arizona Republic, Bentson Contracting, a local paving and ditch-lining contractor started in 1941 by Kenneth Bentson, purchased Arizona Contractor & Community

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

Above: Ken Bentson (far back) and Union Rock employees attend a Christmas party at Tang’s Rice Bowl, 1956. Top right: Ken Bentson sponsored the Phoenix Jaycees horse show, 1962.

Union Rock & Materials for $200,000 in 1950. After taking over the sand, gravel, and concrete-block plant, Bentson specialized in the sale of concrete blocks, marketing of ready-mixed lime mortar, and transit-mixed concrete. Bentson Contracting was among the many local construction companies that also managed their own aggregate and material operations after World War II. Union Rock & Materials expanded to the East Valley when it purchased the Zufelt Ready Mix Co. in 1952. The Mesa

plant, located north of McDowell Road and east of the Beeline Highway along the Salt River, furnished transit-mix concrete and was upgraded after the sale. The company later opened three other materials operations in the West Valley: the 59th Avenue, Glendale, and Deer Valley plants. The company held an open house to show off their new pushbutton plant, at their main Phoenix facility on Central Avenue in 1953. Contractors and representatives viewed Union Rock & Materials’ new automatic concrete batch plant demonstrations, which mixed enough concrete required for the average home in 7.5 minutes. One person controlled the entire operation, working buttons to set automatic equipment in motion. Union Rock & Materials had their own fleet of cement train

trucks, which brought bulk product via highways from the Arizona Portland Cement Co. plant in Rillito, located just north of Tucson. A Phoenix company, Cook Bros., custom-built the aluminum cement train hopper units, each with a 24-ton capacity. The cement train made three trips daily. Union Rock & Materials phased out the concrete block plant and focused on transit-mix “ready mix” concrete. San Xavier Rock & Sand, featured in our Nov-Dec 2020 issue, was purchased by Union Rock & Materials in 1966. The Tucson-based company, incorporated by Edward O. Earl in 1947, sold the sand and gravel operation with more than 100 employees for approximately $1 million. The purchase created a third division of the Union Rock & Materials Corporation, which had been established in 1962. With the acquisition of San Xavier, the company re-entered the concrete block business. Two years after the San Xavier acquisition, Peter Kiewit & Sons Company of Omaha, Nebraska, purchased the majority interest from Bentson and other stockholders. San Xavier Rock & Sand Co., Union Rock & Materials Co., and Bentson Contracting kept their names, colors, and logos but included the green and white Peter Kiewit & Sons “Think Safety” sticker. In the fall of 2003, Rinker Materials Corporation acquired Kiewit Materials Co. for $540 million. With the Rinker purchase, the names of these old-time Arizona construction firms were retired. Far left: Union Rock & Materials plant manager Phil Williams with 1959 Chevy El Camino, 1960. Left: Union Rock & Materials ad, 1950s.

Seventy four

Mar-Apr 2021

Images courtesy of Arizona Contractor & Community

Above: Union Rock, pouring at the Lightning Storage addition at Fourth and Jackson streets, Phoenix, 1953. Right: Union Rock & Materials hopper, 1973. Below: Union Rock & Materials aggregate operations at Central Avenue on the Salt River, 1980. Bottom right: Union Rock & Materials business card.

Arizona Contractor & Community

Kingman Ash Fork Pineveta Haydon Building Corp. $2,486,319 1/29/21

Carrizo Whiteriver Ind Pines J Banicki Construction Co. $2,507,821 1/22/21

Power Rd Phase 2B Hunter Contracting Co. $7,411,939 1/13/21

Flagstaff Holbrook Leupp Rd Pulice Construction $2,090,213 1/29/21

Benson Willcox Hwy J Banicki Construction Co. $2,496,892 1/22/21

Glendale Ave Reconstruction Combs Construction Co. $11,861,183 1/13/21

Fulton St Council Avenue Sewer Main Cemex Construction Materials South $622,732 1/28/21

US 60 Salt Griffin Fire Show Low Construction Inc. $471,247 1/22/21

Jomax Parkway Loop 303 Vistancia Blvd J Banicki Construction Co. $3,589,824 1/12/21

Sun City Drainage Hunter Contracting Co. $1,372,287 1/27/21

Mesquite Littlefield Kiewit $55,994,446 1/21/21

Cottonwood Street Visibility Dip Repair Lincoln Constructors $98,841 1/12/21

MCDOT Admin Bldg Parking Lot DNG Construction $900,602 1/26/21

Havasupai Wash 3 Wash Stabilization Perco Rock Co. $2,346,808 1/20/21

FY21 Countywide Arterial Collector VSS International $1,538,000 1/12/21

FY 2021 Cave Creek Rd MicroSurfacing VSS International $250,000 1/26/21

Camelback Rd Reconst 83rd 91st Ave SWB Southwest Barricades $2,195,541 1/20/21

Viewpoint Drive Pronghorn Ranch Pkwy CLM Earthmovers $390,549 1/11/21

West Flag Impr David Hutcheson Mountain High Excavating $2,466,387 1/22/21

Water Line Replacement Black Canyon Chandler Construction $75,000 1/19/21

Glassford Hill Rd Spouse Dr Traffic Signal CLM Earthmovers $312,275 1/11/21

West Flag Imp Canyon Terrace Mountain High Excavating $959,031 1/22/21

Off Highway Vehicle Staging Area Merrill Walker Builders $544,314 1/14/21

Tuba Window Rock Dinnebito Wash FNF Construction $2,562,681 1/8/21

TOUA WaterWastewater Flood Mitigation Arrow Indian Contractors $433,961 1/22/21

State Route 69 16 inch Water Pipeline Mountain High Excavating $665,864 1/14/21

Cameron Bitter Springs Hwy Show Low Construction Inc. $1,701,460 1/8/21

Maricopa Rd SR 347 AJP Electric $1,131,979 1/22/21

Battaglia Rd Reconstruction Visus $462,000 1/14/21

Prescott Ashfork SR 89 Asphalt Paving & Supply $850,317 1/8/21

march 1959 New Water Treatment Plant Khorramshahr, Iran Infilco, Inc., Tucson $5 Million Installing 12” Water Lines McDowell Rd. 68th St.-79th St. J.H. Welsh & Son, Phoenix $75,254 Installing 20” Water Lines Squaw Peak Water Treatment Plant N.S. Shumway, Phoenix $337,306 Rebuilding 2.5 Miles of Road U.S. 66 to Hoover Dam Arrow Const. Co., Yuma $347,970 Seat Catapults for Aircraft Talco Facility in Mesa Talco Engineering Co., Mesa $500,000 Below: Talco Engineering Co. and U.S. Air Force prep for a test firing of ejection seat in Mesa, 1959.

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Bid Results january 2021

Pavement Reconstruction Package 2021 Sunland Asphalt $2,181,254 1/13/21






601 North Jackrabbit Trail Buckeye, AZ 85326 Phone: 623-853-8300

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Seventy Six

Mar-Apr 2021


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Arizona Contractor & Community

Advertisers’ index

PLEASE Patronize our advertisers, they make this publication possible! A to Z Rentals 480-558-0063

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Statewide T&T 602-368-8797

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Herc Rentals 602-269-5931

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Cliffco 602-442-6913

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DCS 480-732-9238

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Shanes Grading & Paving 602-992-2201

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Diamondback Materials P. 22 623-925-8966

Law Enforcement Specialists P. 70 623-825-6700

Sharp Creek Contracting 602-437-3040

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DitchWitch 602-437-0351

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Lithotech 602-254-2427

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Sitech Southwest 602-691-7501

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Dynamic Diesel 602-376-1448

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Marrs Construction 602-282-4007

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Solterra Materials 602-531-0454

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E&E Companies 480-251-8929

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Matt Brown Trucking 602-361-2174

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Southwest Asphalt 480-730-1033

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Seventy eight

Specialty Companies Group P. 6 623-582-2385

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P. 66,67

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Mar-Apr 2021

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