The Keystone Contractor Magazine Spring 2022

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Strip Malls Cured with Health-care Injection The Risk Factor Safety First — Safety Always! The One Trillion Dollar Challenge The Tough Road Ahead
The Magazine of the Keystone Contractors Association



Magazine of the




Partner Editor

Atlas Marketing

Chris Martin

Tracy Sturla Keystone Contractors Association

Content Advisor

Creative Director

Marketing and Social Media Writer Advertising Director

Jon O’Brien (717) 731-6272

Denise Dolgos Beth Martin

Susan Matson Tracy Sturla (412) 749-9299


Click on underlined event to learn more or visit the KCA Events webpage for up-to-date information.

KCA Spring Clay Shoot


Construction Safety Week May 2-6

Captive Insurance Seminar May 18, 12 PM-1 PM

Improving Project Outcomes Session with partnering AEC organizations

May 25, 3 PM-7 PM

National Safety Month sponsored by National Safety Council June

Construction Opioid Awareness Week July 25-29

KCA Safety Award applications due September 1

Construction Suicide Prevention Week September 5-9

Governor’s Occupational Safety & Health Conference October 31-November 1

Events are subject to change and exact dates will be applied in future issues.

KCA Annual Clay Shoot to benefit college scholarships November

Improving Project Outcome Session with partnering AEC organizations December

KCA Top Young Leader Award and Tom George Community Service Award applications due December 31




Election 2022: Educate Yourself, Ask Questions, and Vote!

It’s political campaigning season—you can tell by what seems like every other TV commercial focusing on candidates running for office. Plus, the yard signs are in full bloom this spring.

The best thing each of us can do to determine the best person for each position is to take time to educate ourselves and learn more about the candidates. The easy way is to simply pick a political party and pick all Ds or Rs, but the easy way is not always what’s best. This is evident in northeast Pennsylvania where we have quality Democrats, Republicans, and Independents representing our region.

Our industry owes it to our fellow Pennsylvanians to vote smart in elections. The construction industry plays a vital role in the economic successes of our state. We are job creators offering employment opportunities to thousands. We encourage our industry professionals to reach out to their elected representatives to make sure good policies are enacted throughout the year. If we, as an industry, do our homework before elections, we can elect candidates who understand the role that good policy plays in job creation.

The candidates will deliver endless messages with their views on education and health care—two very important issues that impact all of us. But, as construction professionals, we must dig a little more beyond the general public issues to learn which candidates are best for our industry.

Concerning the race for Pennsylvania’s next governor, the General Contractors Association of PA (GCAP) has changed how we will evaluate candidates for this important position. In past elections, we’ve surveyed the candidates to provide feedback on each issue of interest to the construction industry. However, due to the number of candidates vying for this primary win, GCAP has decided to wait until after the primary election to speak with the candidates who will be on the ballot this fall.

Interested in sharing a message, opinion, or letter? Members can submit ideas to Tracy Sturla at

Additionally, as a service to the industry, GCAP is willing to survey candidates in our state’s other races so that the industry can understand where these individuals stand on our issues. Let us know how we can help you and your company become better educated on your important race. GCAP can be a valuable service to Pennsylvania’s construction industry if you take advantage of this organization. For more information, please visit General Contractors Association of Pennsylvania -



Recently I found myself in a discussion about workforce development with government officials, labor representatives, and contractors. It got a little heated, which is to be expected because each of us is passionate about our industry (but don’t worry—we all walked away friends). One comment from that afternoon’s gathering stuck with me and still has me thinking a lot about the topic.

One individual had me wondering if the year was 2022 or 2002 because the same talking points were being used: “We need to let guidance counselors and parents know that college is not for everyone, and the building trades offer a nice alternative…” Blah, blah, blah. We’ve all heard it before, and I think everyone knows what comes next in this conversation: “Vo-Tech is a great introduction to the construction industry,” and then a comment is made that if you take the college route, it can rack up a lot of debt.

No one disputes those talking points; they were valid 20 years ago, and they’re valid today. It can be discouraging to hear the same song play over and over again. However, I do think we, as an industry, are getting through. Here’s an example that illustrates my point: Recently, I found myself speaking with an accomplished accountant, the president of a firm with multiple offices throughout Pennsylvania. He says: “Working in the construction industry is something I know very little about, but I think the right move for one of my sons is to work in the field since he’s mechanically inclined, loves being outside building stuff, and can work well in a team learning from others. I don’t know what he is meant to do in construction, but I know he’ll excel in this industry. And he can always visit his brothers on weekends to get a taste of college life.”

I don’t think comments like these were made by white-collar professionals 20 years ago. Back then the square peg was jammed in a round hole. A child would go to college and major in philosophy but end up working in a trade because that’s where their talents excelled. Today, we are at the point where parents are listening to their kids, and what’s going on in the world of construction, and understand the traits that make people successful in this industry. When more investigation is done into the trades industry, parents and students can consult organizations like the KCA to receive more information on a career in construction.

In this issue of The Keystone Contractor Magazine, we have a great article on the Federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act. It’s expected that this act’s labor numbers will hit their peak in the fourth quarter of 2025, when we should expect an additional 872,000 more jobs in our country, with 461,000 of those jobs in construction. 2025 will be here before we know it, and as an industry, we need to keep up our workforce development efforts—our message is being heard.

Learn more by listening to workforce development experts in the field by visiting the Building PA Podcast website and searching “workforce development”. Or, check out one of these podcasts: Improving Workforce Development in Pennsylvania Workforce Development and Educational Impact Workforce Development - Evolve Training

Learn about joining the building trades here



The Amazon effect and the pandemic have created challenges for strip mall owners.

As the retail sector reinvents itself to adjust to changing consumer shopping habits and the demise of once mighty brands, it can be a struggle to fill previously coveted storefronts.

That has created opportunities for other tenants, particularly medical facilities.

Urgent care and medical offices are eyeing these locations. Competition for patients is hot in some markets, and they’re looking for new ways to expand their customer base and grow repeat business.

Just outside Reading, Tower Health opened an urgent care at the site of a former shoe store. Near Allentown, St. Luke’s University Health Network opened a walk-in clinic on the footprint of a former strip mall that had been anchored by RadioShack.

The number of shopping centers nationwide with a health-care tenant rose from 19% in 2013 to 30% in 2020, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Recent reports state that in the past year, about 69% of adults had visited a health-care provider located in a shopping center.

Strip malls are attractive to hospital systems and medical practices for several reasons.

They are highly visible along major corridors and are often on public transportation routes. They are close to where people live. They have ample parking. And speed to market is quicker. Moving into an existing facility isn’t as time-consuming as building a new facility that must go through zoning, stormwater, and other approvals. And they typically have community support.

Retail space usually has open floor plans, so it is easier to renovate. Upgrades may be needed for better lighting, plumbing, and other mechanical systems to bring them up to medical grade.

Enclosed malls also are being revived by the medical industry.

Family Practice Center in Selinsgrove opened an acute care clinic in a former Sears location in the Susquehanna Valley Mall. Former malls in Boston and Nashville have bounced back after health-care systems opened medical offices. The famed Mall of America in Minneapolis is also home to a walk-in clinic.

As more malls and strip malls look to reinvent themselves and remain relevant, there will be more opportunities for medical practices to move into those high-traffic, high-visibility properties. And that will create renovation opportunities for the construction industry.

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Safety First

As the construction industry struggles to find workers, it must ensure that labor shortages do not impact safety on job sites.

When there are fewer workers, “there are a lot of corners that can get cut in order to get the job done in a timely manner,” said Brent Gates, risk manager for Strickler Agency, Inc., an independent insurance agency with offices in Chambersburg and Carlisle.

That can include not waiting for safety equipment to arrive or not installing a trench box, for example, because of a desire to keep a project on schedule.

“They used to have maybe 15 to 20 people on the job, now they only have 8 to 10. What’s going to fall off? A lot of times, unfortunately, that might be safety,” said Gates, who works with clients to improve safety programs through training, site inspections, development of policies and procedures, and job site safety analyses.

“It seems like there’s more people wearing more than one hat on the job site than ever before, and that’s creating a situation where sometimes safety is forgotten.”

Contractors must be realistic when they bid on jobs and create timelines, taking into consideration any labor limitations.

Companies with strong safety cultures won’t allow labor shortages to put workers at risk.

“That’s the biggest thing. If a company is not committed to safety and providing a safe working environment for their employees, and supervisors aren’t held accountable for the safety of their job sites, that’s when things fall off very quickly,” Gates said.

Safety Always!

“If a company has a good safety culture in place, they’re not going to cut those corners...You can tell who’s good and who’s not very quickly when you’re on a job site or even when you’re in a meeting with folks.”

The construction industry also faces a shortage of experienced safety professionals. More firms are looking to hire experts, as the pandemic exposed weaknesses they want to address, Gates said.

While colleges and universities are churning out more graduates with those credentials, it takes them time to gain experience. They need to grow into their jobs.

Safety programs also need to consider employees’ mental health, Gates said: “Mental health is a big area that I think is overlooked in the construction industry.”

He said the CDC published a study a few years ago that said 80% of construction workers felt stressed on the job, while 40% of employees within the sector reported suffering from mental health issues, depression, or anxiety.

The suicide rate in construction is one of the highest of any industry, he said: “It’s something that companies need to be aware of.”

Companies should offer employee assistance programs and have open-door policies where they encourage their team members to discuss any problems they are facing, both on the job and at home, Gates said.

If you or someone you know is feeling depressed, anxious, or having thoughts of suicide, contact 1-800-273-8255 or



The Keystone Contractors Association (KCA) is pleased to announce Quandel Construction Group’s Sarah Knehr as the recipient of the 2021 KCA Top Young Leader Award. This award is bestowed upon emerging professionals from member companies who play a critical role in the community and professional areas of the construction industry.

A senior project manager with Quandel, Sarah has served in the construction industry since 2010 and has been a valuable member of the Quandel team. After she started as a project engineer, it became evident that she belonged in a more challenging role and was quickly promoted to assistant project manager. Growing professionally over the past decade, she now leads her own projects and is the key point of contact for clients on projects.

“She is responsible for the administration of our construction services and serves as the corporate lead for health-care planning and design matters,” said Greg Quandel, CEO of Quandel Enterprises. “Her skills in running efficient and timely projects have made her one of our top project managers. Sarah’s leadership abilities have gained respect from many whom she has interacted with over the years.”

Mike Karcutskie, president of Quandel Construction Group, said, “Sarah’s work ethic and leadership skills have served her well in achieving the prestigious recognition from the KCA. The fact that KCA chose Sarah is not surprising for those of us who work with her on a daily basis.” Karcutskie added, “Sarah always manages projects with enthusiasm and problem-solving at the forefront. Her consistent results continue to serve both Quandel and our clients well.”

Jon O’Brien, executive director of the KCA, said, “The KCA feels it is important to recognize the accomplishments of our industry’s future leaders because it is these individuals who will be counted on to lead the KCA and our construction industry for years to come. Sarah is well-deserving of this award as she is respected within the construction industry and in her community.”

For more on the KCA Top Young Leader Award and Sarah Knehr, please enjoy this video: The 2021 KCA Top Young Leader Award.

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The One Trillion Dollar Challenge

FEATURE The Tough Road Ahead

The night the infrastructure bill was approved, Plum Contracting Inc. President Ali Mills was watching the votes as they were cast.

“It was an exciting time for us. Then the next day you think, ‘what does this mean for us?’ There are going to be a lot of challenges to it,” said Mills, whose Greensburg firm does a lot of work for PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Those challenges include labor shortages, long lead times to obtain materials, and volatile materials and fuel prices.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking. But you still must be excited,” Mills said.

The Act includes $11.3 billion

for highways; $1.6 billion for bridges; $2.8 billion for public transportation; $355 million for airports; and $171 million for electric vehicle charging stations.

It also includes $100 million for broadband internet; $1.4 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure; $26 million for cybersecurity; $49 million for protection against wildfires; and $3.5 billion for home weatherization.

The bill will benefit the entire highway construction industry, said Richard Barcaskey, executive director of the Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania (CAWP). continued

Pennsylvania anticipates receiving more than $20 billion over the next five years from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, according to Gov. Tom Wolf’s office.


His members are ready to go while preparing to navigate the challenges.

“The good news is Congress passed an infrastructure bill. The bad news is the pandemic has made it even harder to attract men and women to a career in the trades,” Barcaskey said. “And then the bigger question, ‘does inflation and the cost of materials eat away at the increased funding?’”

Many firms already have their hands full with work and will have to find ways to take on additional projects.

“Our business has never been stronger, and the impact of the infrastructure bill didn’t even get here yet,” said Kevin Campbell, president and CEO of Barry Isett & Associates, an engineering and consulting firm based in Allentown.

“From an engineering standpoint, it’s what we’re here for. We say our purpose is to enrich our communities. Every project we work on improves the quality of life. That’s what this is all about. That’s what we’re here for. We’ll work through the challenges. It’s not going to happen overnight. We’re excited to have several good years in front of us.”

A big challenge will be for the state to come up with the matching funds necessary to tap the federal money, said state House Speaker Representative Bryan Cutler, a Republican from Lancaster County.

About $930 million in matching funds are estimated to be needed to tap the highway and bridge funding.

The Motor License Fund, most of which comes from fuel taxes, may not be sufficient. Some of that money historically has been diverted to pay for the state police. Even with that diversion being reduced, “I still think there’s going to be a gap there,” Cutler said.

Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Yassmin Gramian said about $360 million of the matching funds are accounted for. The governor and legislators will have to work out a plan for the rest.

She hopes the Legislature will consider options raised last year by the Transportation Revenue Options Commission formed by the governor.

Suggestions include phasing

out fuel taxes and replacing them with a vehicle-miles-traveled tax; expanding tolling; doubling the cost of annual vehicle registration; increasing the tax rate on vehicle sales; increasing fees on vehicle rentals and leases; imposing a fee on taxis and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft; and charging a $1 fee for every package delivery.

Cutler said the funding strategies must address the increase in electric vehicles. Owners benefit from the state’s road network without paying much in fuel taxes that pay for the network.

Competition for building materials also is going to be a challenge as infrastructure projects start simultaneously coast-to-coast.

“I think one of the other potential problems is, quite honestly, as all of this comes online across the nation, I think that unfortunately will just further exaggerate many of the supply chain issues that we’re seeing,” Cutler said. “What happens when everybody asks for new steel, new asphalt, and new concrete for their bridges?”

As projects get underway in Pennsylvania, the economy should be invigorated as jobs are created.

Every billion dollars spent in the construction industry results in the creation of 5,000 high-quality construction jobs, said Jennifer Berrier, Pennsylvania secretary of labor & industry. And every new construction job results in the creation of one ancillary job, such as in retail or hospitality.

Filling those spots will take some work. Pennsylvania has an aging labor force and a low labor force participation rate.

The One Trillion Dollar Challenge
“There is adequate funding for the bridge side, the structure side, and also for the preservation side of things,” Barcaskey said. “This funding really benefits everyone.”

The construction industry recently had a collective 2,000 job postings on online job boards, Berrier said. And that doesn’t account for every opening that companies are trying to fill.

“The industry is going to need to ramp up. It’s already looking for workers, but as opportunities arise with these federal funds, that demand will increase exponentially,” she said. “I think there’s going to be a need for construction businesses to attract and retain thousands of workers over the next decade.”

Construction has competition for entry-level workers with other sectors that pay comparable healthy starting wages, she said.

With infrastructure spending looming, the U.S. Department of Labor is reviewing wages. In March, it announced it is considering an update to the regulations that implement the Davis-Bacon Act to better reflect the needs of workers in the construction industry.

The goal is to speed up prevailing wage updates to ensure pay is staying on track with actual wages.

the construction industry prepare for its workforce development needs, Berrier said.

Plum Contracting is trying to build the next generation of project managers through an internal mentoring program. Senior superintendents are coaching and developing younger workers who have shown leadership skills and a leadership mindset to “form them into what we need them to be to run projects.”

Performing work for PennDOT requires a workforce that is specially trained, Mills said.

“Being a contractor for government agencies means producing projects and adhering to strict rules and regulations. We have to follow specifications from PennDOT and the federal government.” Mills added, “It’s not easy work and there’s a lot to it. We have to put our name on it, and we have to follow the rules.”

“It’s going to be challenging but I think the construction industry has something that maybe some of the other industries may not have, and that is sustainability and a lifelong career that earns familysupporting wages and benefits,” said Berrier.

“Federal dollars should be used to create good jobs in local communities all across our country,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “These proposed regulations are good for workers, good for building high-quality infrastructure, and for ensuring we have a strong construction industry, as we rebuild America.”

The state must partner with apprenticeship programs so they can expand and increase their capacity to meet coming needs, Berrier said, and help grow preapprenticeship opportunities that feed into apprenticeships.

The state Department of Labor & Industry is finalizing the availability of grant money to help

Buchart Horn, Inc., an international engineering and architecture firm headquartered in York, is recruiting additional staff in anticipation of the coming projects. It hopes to tap work across the spectrum of the infrastructure bill, from roads and bridges to airports and water and wastewater treatment systems.

Buchart Horn already is working to install electric vehicle charging stations in Pittsburgh and hopes to be involved with that part of the bill, too.

Jamie Keener, Buchart Horn’s director of market development, said, “People are preparing for it. It’s a little hard to carry overhead for too long, not knowing when funding is ultimately going to be released to support the work. I believe everybody realizes they need to be well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity.”

This is the third consecutive


The One Trillion Dollar Challenge

year that recruitment has been the number one initiative for Barry Isett & Associates, Campbell said.

“I think our growth is just going to be limited by the number of people we can hire,” he said.

This amount of infrastructure funding hasn’t been seen in a generation, Campbell said: “You can’t just snap your fingers and all of a sudden create the workforce to get all this work done.”

As work comes in, construction industry firms must be realistic about what they can do and be honest with clients about scheduling limitations.

“You don’t want to say ‘no.’ So, you tell the client ‘yes,’ but it’s going to be a few months. It’s managing client expectations,” Campbell said.

Maintaining a healthy work environment for team members also must be a priority.

“You’re trying to meet client expectations. You’re trying to maintain a work-life balance. We believe it’s our associates first, clients second, and profit third. That’s our company culture, and that’s what we try and stick to,” Campbell said.

PennDOT is concerned about the industry being able to develop its future workforce. But it doesn’t anticipate that there will be a shortage of workers to carry out the infrastructure bill.

Project lettings are expected to rise from about $2 billion annually to about $2.5 billion over the five years. While that’s a substantial increase, it is not unheard of. Pennsylvania was at

that level about five years ago, said Melissa Batula, PennDOT’s executive deputy secretary.

“It’s not of a size that our contracting force hasn’t already been able to adapt to,” she said. “We’ve been there. It’s not something new.”

Another looming challenge is how to project costs in order to make realistic bids.

“A lot of these projects are going to last more than a year, so where are we going to be in a year and how do you bid a job to know where gas prices are going to be next year, or where material prices are going to be next year?” said Mills. “So of course, people are going to be padding their bids to kind of try to figure out how to stay afloat when they are bidding these jobs and then building these jobs.”

Plum Contracting still is trying to catch up from costs it had to


absorb when the price of plastic pipe that its subcontracting division uses for drainage projects more than doubled in just a few months last year after an ice storm knocked resin plants offline in Texas.

“Even though we were seeing huge increases, we were just eating those costs,” Mills said. We were not able to go back to PennDOT to tell them, ‘hey, our material prices are no longer good.’ “We’re still trying to catch up from that. I can only imagine with this where it’s going to take us.”

Batula said PennDOT is aware of the risk that contractors face when bidding, and it has plans in place to try to protect them.

It is indexing fuel costs in contracts, so prices will be adjusted if they rise or fall by more than a certain percentage. And contractors can opt into escalation clauses for steel prices.

The infrastructure legislation will provide the first opportunity in more than a decade for long-term planning of infrastructure work, Barcaskey said. In addition to onetime transportation funding, it also includes a five-year reauthorization of surface transportation funding. For about the past 15 years, Congress has mostly passed only annual reauthorizations.

Ideas for where to spend the

money already should be brewing, Keener said, as municipalities have weighed how to spend funds from the American Rescue Plan Act: “That really got people starting to think about what projects they’d be wanting to do.”

Keener, who has experience as an economic developer and land use planner, hopes the infrastructure bill will be “a difference-maker.”


design infrastructure projects, we must be mindful of sustainability as well. It’s not just about spending the money and building a bunch of infrastructure.”

Keener believes Pennsylvania’s construction industry is ready for the challenges it faces to implement the infrastructure plan.

“I’m confident that we’re going to get it done in Pennsylvania. We typically do.”

Experience You Can Count On

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“I prefer to see projects address safety, capacity, and efficiency, but also hope decision-makers will use the funding as an opportunity to advance economic development and support quality of life. Clean water is a quality-of-life issue,” Keener said.
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What makes you excited to start your day?

Knowing that today’s challenges will be different from yesterday. I am charged about the fact that I can work with a team of creative professionals that have a can-do attitude and are able to create a positive difference in each other’s lives by the work that they do. Negotiating, changing course, and managing activities in a quickly changing environment keep me on my toes and exercise my problem-solving skills on a daily basis. Additionally, knowing that I have an array of experienced and polished team members willing to help guide and support my efforts makes for a pleasant work experience.

What’s something you hope to achieve by the time 2023 arrives?

I hope to have made a positive impact with the McCrossin team, our community, vendors, and customers. Also, to exceed enterprise goals with regards to revenue, customer satisfaction, and team camaraderie while continuing to contribute to an already sturdy and cross-functional organization.

What’s a major challenge in front of you right now?

I share the same challenge as other project managers do in any field: supply chain fluctuation. Availability, lead time, and dynamic material prices lend a hearty challenge to even the most watchful project managers. Our long-term projects require heightened oversight in terms of material procurement.

What’s a good piece of advice a mentor has shared with you?

Be like water! We work in an ever-changing environment that can change direction unexpectedly and on a dime. Flexibility in both mind and administrative prowess will win the day. Being able to roll around challenges, fill the gaps, and adjust priorities is worth its weight in gold. Top all of this with a positive team attitude and success is sure to follow!

Know an Emerging Leader you’d like us to feature?

Or, have exciting industry news to share. Maybe a story idea? Tell us more by emailing We’d love to hear from you!


?What makes you excited to start your day?

I enjoy getting to solve the design aspects of projects and having a positive impact on those projects. It’s also working with a great team that helps make those things happen.

What’s something you hope to achieve by the time 2023 arrives?

I hope to continue to help my company achieve continued success in all projects. Also, I hope to continue to develop into a leader within my company and be someone that people can look to for support and guidance in our projects.

What’s a major challenge in front of you right now?

I wouldn’t say there’s a major challenge at the moment. I’m currently handling the typical challenges of our industry, a large part of which revolves around making sure that we provide the right level of communications and details to our clients and the internal project teams.

What’s a good piece of advice a mentor has shared with you?

A reminder that no one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. But it’s important to make sure that your mistakes are small and that you learn from them.

What makes you excited to start your day?

A variety of things. One day it could be the finalization and completion of a project. Another day might be starting a new project. Other days it may be the challenge of a complication or drawback that arises on a project. Each day has its own challenges and rewards.

What’s something you hope to achieve by the time 2023 arrives?

I honestly don’t have a need to achieve anything by the end of this year. Enjoying each new day is an achievement in itself.

What’s a major challenge in front of you right now?

A major challenge, I think all contractors face today, is the availability of building materials and the volatility of prices. Lumber and aluminum prices are off the charts. Some other items have lead times of 8-12 months or more. It doesn’t appear these problems will be resolved in the near future.

What’s a good piece of advice a mentor has shared with you?

Always take care of the small problems so they don’t become big problems.

Dimm Project Manager/ Estimator Bill Anskis Company
Justin Wingenfield
Project Manager Alexander Building Construction Company Jennifer Moll RA, AIA, NCARB Project Architect Webber/Smith Associates

Penn Installation

What makes you excited to start your day?

The construction industry is very exciting. Each day is different and presents a new challenge. I look forward to each challenge the day brings because, at the end of the day, you have accomplished something. It may be a minor part of the project or a person’s life, but it’s a step forward.

What’s something you hope to achieve by the time 2023 arrives?

I have been exploring new roles within Penn. I started as the safety director and have now been exploring the role of project manager. This year I will have the ability to manage a project from start to end. I am hoping to achieve a successful outcome not only for our company but as a team member of the project.

What’s a major challenge in front of you right now?

The major challenge for me at the moment is becoming a project manager in the volatile economy that we are currently in. You plan and plan, but with the market constantly on the move, it makes it very difficult to stay in front of it. Again, this is what is exciting about the position.

What’s a good piece of advice a mentor has shared with you?

As a safety professional, there are many mentors that have provided great advice. The best and most simple advice is to be yourself and treat those as you would want to be treated. With the respect of your peers, you can accomplish anything.

Everyone says they are safe, on time, and on budget.

Atlas Marketing can work with you to define your unique value and devise a marketing strategy to reach customers seeking what you have to offer.

Mike / 412-749-9299 Pittsburgh / Lancaster

2020 KCA Safety Winners

KCA Contractor Over 100,000 Hours with the Safest Record:



NOTE: The winner in this category is presented the H.B. Alexander Trophy, named after a founding father of the KCA who was renowned for safety leadership.

KCA Contractor Between 50,000 and 100,000 Hours with the Safest Record: BILL ANSKIS COMPANY


KCA Contractors Under 50,000 Hours with the Safest Record:


KCA Subcontractors Between 50,000 and 100,000 Hours with the Safest Record:

LEIBOLD, INC. Pottsville, PA

KCA Subcontractors Under 50,000 Hours with the Safest Record:

RALPH E. JONES Harrisburg, PA ZERO INJURIES! Safety Award Winners VIDEO

PICTURED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Jonathan Humma, legislative director for Senator DiSanto; Jeff Smith, general manager, Alexander Construction; Darren Rech, safety director Alexander Building Construction; and Charles Erdman, chief of staff for Senator DiSanto.


The Risk Factor

With supply chain issues and labor shortages continuing to plague the construction industry, a lot more thought and planning must be put into negotiating a contract.

There’s more pressure on general contractors and owners to protect themselves from volatile pricing and the costs of delays, while still finding a way to push ahead with critical projects.

“The markets that we are dealing with today are unlike anything that we’ve ever experienced,” said Brad Shulenberger, vice president of construction services at Warfel Construction, which has offices in East Petersburg and Paoli.

Contractors and owners must reach an agreement on who will bear price increases. They are relying on escalation clauses and contingency funds to minimize risk.

“The design-bid-build model is almost fraught with disaster right now,” said Sam Huber, manager of design and construction at Eurofins BioPharma Product Testing in Lancaster. “By the time you design and bid, you may have two issues. Your price on the design has escalated, or you can’t get product you specified.”

Relying on relationships is more crucial than ever. Owners and builders who have collaborated previously can build on their history to come up with a plan that is mutually acceptable.

Lancaster is the largest site in Eurofins’ international network of 1,000 companies in 54 countries. Due to historic sustained growth over the last 60 years, building expansions and remodeling have been occurring continuously there since the company’s founding in 1961. Eurofins is currently relying on three to five general contractors.

“We’re fortunate that we have those relationships established,” Huber said. “Now is not the time to start the dating game with new contractors.”

It’s important to communicate at the start of a project and put an agreement in writing, said Maria Di Stravolo Elliott, an attorney with Barley Snyder in Lancaster who represents contractors and owners.

There are different ways to manage risk, Elliott said. “You can certainly say that for a certain percentage level of increase, the contractor will take the risk. And then after that, the owner takes the risk. Or, you can just say we’re

How Contractors and Owners Are Navigating Market Shifts 20 THE KEYSTONE CONTRACTOR

going to split it 50-50, whatever the price increase is.”

Most owners recognize the need for escalation clauses and contingency funds, according to Shulenberger. “We’re not just increasing contract values with inflation and contingencies for the sake of doing it, we’re doing it with the anticipation that those dollars are going to be needed to be spent for the cost of your project,” he said.

“Projects that previously wouldn’t have carried escalation budgets, whether that’s 3%, 5%, or 10%, are now including escalation budgets,” Shulenberger said.

Almost any project nowadays, unless it’s starting next week, is going to have some type of an escalation tied to it due to the volatility that we are experiencing in the market.

Warfel Construction recognizes it also has a stake in the game when considering whether additional costs should be shared.

A few—a very small minority—have chosen not to use contingencies, Shulenberger said. Some have regretted that decision, as they have had to face costly change orders.

“It’s a reality of the times

that we’re dealing with. Nobody likes it, and I don’t think anybody wants to pay for cost escalation,” noted Shulenberger. “Our recommendation is always to carry the contingencies and carry the escalation dollars.”

As contractors present price increases in materials, owners must decide whether to pay the markup and keep the job on track or look for an alternate material that falls within budget but may delay the project schedule.

Huber spoke recently with an architect who shared a cautionary tale.

A client wanted to save money on escalating costs of materials. It took two months to redesign work around an equipment change.

“By the time they got back to that, they had spent as much money in redesign time and lost production time. And that’s what people miss—lost production time,” Huber said.

Owners must consider the return on investment when making those difficult decisions.

“I don’t have that space. So, what’s my revenue per square foot per month, and if I delay my construction for two months, how much did I lose versus just buying that out and be done with it and move forward?” Huber said.

Savvy owners understand the climate.

“For one situation, the owner was willing to absorb some of the risk, but they wanted to know that the contractor was going to order as many of the materials up-front as possible,” Elliott said. “So that way, we didn’t have this gap of time that

could expose the materials to a price increase all of a sudden.

“So, in a way, the owner was saying, ‘OK, fine, I understand the economy is erratic right now. But I also want you to think ahead and order as much as possible up-front even if we have to store materials at a certain place and pay for storage as opposed to price increases. I’m willing to work with you, but you need to let me know and you need to take precautionary steps to avoid price escalations.’” According to Elliott, some contractors may be willing to absorb some risk, such as a 2% or 3% increase, as that is typically considered the cost of inflation. Contractors looking to continue or create a long-term relationship might be willing to take a little bit more of a hit to keep themselves in the running for future work.

Owners must ask important questions, Huber said, during negotiations about price risk. “Have an honest conversation with your contractors. If they come and say we’re going to put a 10% escalation across the board on everything, question why,” Elliott advised.

“Why would you put 10% on paint and finishes when we haven’t seen that in the industry? We’ve seen that on steel and electric and mechanical equipment. If they’re throwing just flat numbers out there, they’re either not savvy in the market or they’re just being lazy.”

For more on this topic from Elliott, listen to her here:



GCAP Receives Statewide Recognition

Board members and staff of the General Contractors Association of PA (GCAP) were recently honored in the City & State magazine’s inaugural Construction Power 75 list.

This list identifies the leading builders, contractors, public officials, construction managers, consultants, lawyers, and advocates who are building and rebuilding our commonwealth. GCAP individuals honored include: Clifford Rowe, CEO, PJ Dick and GCAP board member; Greg Butz, president, The Butz Family of Companies; Ben Connors, CEO, GBCA and GCAP eastern PA representative; Maura Hesdon, general manager, Shoemaker Construction and GCAP vice president; Jon O’Brien, GCAP executive director; Dave Daquelente, executive director for MBA and GCAP western PA representative; and Lance Claireborne, director of industry relations for GBCA and GCAP staff.

JEM Group Hires Ross and Barnhart to Assist With Home Adaptations Program

JEM Group has hired Ron Ross (left) and Myndi Barnhart (right), a specialized team to deliver project needs for a Home Adaptations program with PA Health & Wellness, a subsidiary of the national managed care company, Centene Corporation. From stairlifts, vertical platform lifts, outdoor and transition ramps to door widening, grab bars, and tub wall cut-outs, this team addresses project needs that make homes safer and easier to maneuver, allowing for everyday tasks to be possible.

Quandel’s Tracy and Mastrippolito Earn Remote Pilot’s Certificate

Quandel employees, Don Tracy, corporate safety director, and Nick Mastrippolito, BIM coordinator, recently obtained their remote pilot certificates. They are now certified to operate small, unmanned aircraft systems (i.e., drones). Quandel uses drone technology on construction projects to plan preconstruction work, document the project, capture and track project progress, and improve safety on job sites. Drones are used to scan and create 3D models and track earthwork with cut and fill analysis tools.


Weiand Joins JEM Group as Project Manager

Quandel Announces Family Succession Plan

Quandel Enterprises, LLC announces the transition of Gregory Quandel, chief executive officer of Quandel Enterprises; Jerome Urban, president and chief executive officer of Performance Construction Company; and Michael Murchie, executive vice president of Quandel Enterprises and chief executive officer of J. Vinton Schafer Construction, LLC into leadership and ownership of Quandel’s family of companies.

Greg Quandel joined the firm in 2009, Urban in 2006, and Murchie in 2020. Quandel Enterprises also includes Quandel Construction Group, LLC and Pyramid Construction Services, LLC.

Josh has 15 years of experience in construction and most recently has worked in the industrial and multiunit housing markets. Weiand will spearhead the firm’s expansion into the self-storage sector, taking the company into new territories outside of PA. We look forward to Josh expanding the growth of JEM Group’s capabilities and presence in new regions.

Bitner achieves Engineering Designation of EIT

JEM Group would like to congratulate Dakota Bitner, who just achieved the engineering designation of EIT. We’re so proud of Dakota’s aspirations and applaud his commitment to earning this certification, further expanding his knowledge of engineering principles.

Noble (Bud) Quandel, Jr., who served Quandel Enterprises as chief executive officer since 1977, is transitioning leadership and ownership after a successful construction career of more than 50 years. Quandel, Jr. will remain with the company as an executive chair and a member of the board of directors through 2031 to facilitate a smooth transition.

“These gentlemen are proven leaders and have already been responsible for leading our construction services for Quandel and our Quandel brands. My goal was to have a family business continue and for leadership to have a financial interest and participate in the ownership of the business,” stated Quandel, Jr. “I am fortunate to have a phenomenal and superb leadership team, and I am confident in their intellect, insight, and capabilities to move our company forward. They have a deep understanding of every facet of our business. Everywhere I look, we have improved this company and its knowledge base. The quality of this team and their judgment and wisdom is extraordinary.”

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Jerome Urban, Noble “Bud” Quandel, Jr., Michael Murchie, Greg Quandel. Josh Weiand has joined the JEM Group team as a project manager.

Alexander Building Construction Receives Honors

Doug Workman, general manager at Alexander Building Construction, was named a 2022 Top 100 people honoree by Pennsylvania Business Central. Workman has been with the Alexander Building Construction team for over ten years.

Barton Malow-Alexander received the CMAA Central PA Chapter Project Achievement Award in the Healthcare category for the Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center.

Alexander Building Construction New Hires

Steve Spade - Superintendent at Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center project

Clayton Kejas - Project Engineer at the Penn Highlands Healthcare Centre County microhospital

Connor Switzer - Project Engineer for Projects at Geisinger Wyoming Valley

Brady Ney - Director of Recruitment and Talent Acquisition

Alexander Building Construction Promotions

David Sillner - Senior MEP Project Manager

Mayone Sallows - Regional Safety Manager

Chase Vilga - Senior Project Engineer

Dennis Walter - Senior Project Manager

Jake Ergler - Project Manager

Karen Mayes - Senior Project Manager

Brad Tyler - Senior Restoration Project Manager

Bruce Mills - Superintendent

Justin Wingenfield - Senior Project Manager

John Edleman - Project Manager

LEFT TO RIGHT: Brian Guillaume, KCI Technologies and president of CMAA Central PA Chapter, presents the award to Dan Flickinger, project executive, Alexander Building Construction

Daniel J. Flickinger, CCM, LEED AP - Project Executive

Michael Sgriccia, LEED AP - Project Executive

Quandel Promotes Motuk

Brandon Motuk has been promoted to senior project manager. Motuk will focus on mentoring project teams, client retentions, and promotion of the Quandel organization.



Advantage Steel & Construction, LLC.

Alexander Building Construction LLC

Atlas Marketing

Babst, Calland, Clements &Zomnir, P.C.

Barry Issett & Associates

Beckley & Madden, LLC

Benell Inc.

Bhaumik Engineering LLC

Bill Anskis Inc.

BL Companies

Bognet Construction

Bowles Rice

Brightbill Industries

Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz

Burns White

Business Information Group, Inc.

Caretti, Inc.

Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce

Carlisle Construction Materials

CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc.

Central Contractors’ Supply Co., Inc./ Overhead Door Co. of Johnstown

Charlson Braber McCabe & Denmark

Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.

CLA (ClftonLarsonAllen LLP)

Cohen Seglia Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC

Cresswell Brothers

Darr Construction Co.

Eastern PCM LLC

Edward A. Reider Inc.

Enerfab Power & Industrial Inc.


Eshbach Brothers LP

First Davis Corp

Foster & Foster Actuaries and Consultants

G.C. Zarnas & Co., Inc.

George M. Wildasin Ce Inc.

Grand Vistas

Houck Group

Houser-Ford Group at Morgan Stanley Jem Group, LLC

J.C. Orr & Son, Inc.

Johnston Construction

Joseph Miorelli & Co.

Keener, Inc. Keller Konchan, Inc.

Leibold Inc.

Lockton Companies, LLC

M.L. Acri, Inc

Macri Concrete

Marmat Inc.

Masonry Contractors Association of Central PA

Massaro Corporation

McClure Company

McConkey Insurance & Benefits McCrossin

McCrossin Foundations

Mid-State Construction

Modernfold of Central PA

Novinger’s, Inc.

NUCA Pennsylvania

PA Masonry dba PA Group, Inc.

Panzitta Enterprises


Penn Installations

Pennsy Supply

Perdomo National Wrecking Co LLC.

Performance Construction Services, Inc.

PJ Dick

PPL Electric Utilities

Providence Engineering Corp

Pullman SST, Inc

Quandel Construction Group

Ralph E. Jones, Inc

Reager & Adler, PC

Rescue One

Ridgetop Interiors, Inc.

Rocky Bleier Construction Group

Sandra Palone & Associates, LLC

Schlaegle Design Build Associates, Inc.

Schooley Mitchell of Pittsburgh

Seubert & Associates, Inc.

Serviam Construction

She Does Hauling

Smith Masonry, Inc.

Spartan Construction Services

Stalwart Insurance Group

Stambaugh Ness

Stouffer Mechanical Contractor LLC

Strategic Executive Consulting

Strickler Agency, Inc.

The Blue Book

The SRS Group, LLC

Troianiello Masonry, Inc.

Willig Williams & Davidson



KCA & UPMC Host Supplier Diversity Construction Networking Event

Keystone Contractors Association (KCA) and UPMC hosted a networking event for KCA members and diverse suppliers to further strengthen their relationships in the construction industry. Contractors and suppliers had the opportunity to meet and learn more about UPMC’s program and portal. The UPMC Supplier Diversity Program is working to provide increased opportunities for businesses that are classified as minority-owned, women-owned, disability-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Anthony Achampong, project manager, Quandel; George Robinson II, director, supplier diversity & inclusion, UPMC; and Joe Chicora, senior project manager, Quandel.

EAS, Laborers, and GCAP 2022 Legislative Reception

George Robinson II, director, supplier diversity & inclusion for UPMC, speaking about UPMC’s Supplier Diversity Program and Portal at Crawdaddy’s restaurant in Harrisburg.

On February 8, the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (EASRCC), Laborers District Council of Western PA, and General Contractors Association of PA (GCAP) collectively hosted a legislative reception at the Hilton Harrisburg. This annual event brings legislators and construction industry leaders together to share information on new legislation and construction industry happenings.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: James Weber, director of preconstruction, Wagman Construction; Kevin Laird, business development manager, S.P. McCarl & Company; and Bob Dresser, president, Strategic Executive Consulting.


Three associations host Evening of Accolades recognizing preeminent individuals, companies, and projects in Central PA commercial construction.


Project of the Year: Under $5 million - Ralph E. Jones, Harrisburg for East Wing Addition to the Capitol Building

Project of the Year: $5 million - $25 million - Alexander Building Construction Company for Mt. Nittany Medical Center Cardiovascular Pavilion

Project of the Year: Over $25 million - Quandel Construction, Harrisburg for UPMC Pinnacle New Memorial Hospital


Safety Award: Quandel, Harrisburg

Industry & Community Service Award: Beth Peiffer, Ralph E. Jones, Inc., Harrisburg

Member of the Year: Michael Metz-Topodas, Esq., Cohen Seglias, Philadelphia


Subcontractor of the Year: Hershocks, Inc., Harrisburg

Outstanding Woman in Construction: Bobbie Van Buskirk of A.P. Williams, Harrisburg

Excellence in Safety Under 50,000 Hours: First Capital Insulation, York

Over 150,000 Hours: McClure Company, Harrisburg


Inaugural Thomas George Memorial Community Service Award: Steve Motyka, Alexander Building Construction Company, Harrisburg

2019 KCA Top Young Leader Award: Charles Thiemann, Alexander Building Construction Company, Harrisburg

Finalist in the 2019 KCA Top Young Leader Award: Jerome Urban, Performance Construction, Pottsville Safety Awards

Contractor Over 100,00 Hours with the Safest Record: Quandel, Harrisburg

Contractor Between 50,000-100,000 Hours with the Safest Record: Mid-State Construction, Harrisburg

Contractors Under 50,000 Hours with the Safest Record: Bill Anskis Company, Inc., Elysburg

Subcontractors Under 50,000 Hours with the Safest Record: Leibold, Inc., Pottsville


The Keystone Contractors Association is a Pennsylvania commercial construction trade association dedicated to improving the construction industry by focusing on safety, education and training, labor relations, community service, career development, and government relations.


VALUABLE MEMBER SERVICES: Education and training, career development, safety, labor relations, community service, and government relations.

KCA AFFINITY PROGRAMS: Your company and employees can take advantage of an extensive array of discounted services and products. We often hear members say the total dollar amount saved from these discounts offsets their annual membership dues!

ONLINE RESOURCES: Weekly toolbox talks, equipment recalls, "members only" wage rate information, monthly safety campaign calendar, and much more!

NETWORKING: Construction industry social events, webinars, podcasts, virtual educational sessions, and improving project outcomes group discussions.

MEMBER AWARDS PROGRAMS: KCA recognizes the state's most innovative, safest, and communitybased construction companies and professionals. Our prestigious awards include: The Thomas George Memorial Community Service Award; The KCA Top Young Leader Award; and, The KCA Annual Safety Awards!

Join now and gain access to valuable resources, benefits, and services that can help your company in today’s marketplace. APPLY NOW!

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