NACJ Fall 2022 Issue

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At North American Constructors Journal, we deliver balanced and relevant reporting that showcases the construction industry’s top projects and talent in the U.S. and Canada. Our team reports on industry challenges and new opportunities that can improve your bottom line. As an industry, you’re fierce in the face of today’s challenges. Reports show contractors are adding backlog while facing substantial increases in costs and delivery delays. Labor shortages continue, but some firms are succeeding with in-house training and other recruitment efforts. Digital project delivery and other technological advances will enhance collaboration and improve project flow. Our team’s goal is to provide timely and valuable information for our diverse readership. We report on the latest commercial, industrial, and institutional projects; industry news; environmental design; and project management strategies. We publish dozens of articles and features about top development companies, general contractors, and their signature projects. Behind the scenes, our team analyzes trends that could impact our readers and reports on best practices, new tech and training procedures. We welcome your input.

The Team Editor-In Chief - Kevin Doyle Executive Director - Alex Hortaridis Creative Director - Stephen Marino Developer - Andrew Twomey


Table of Contents


Associated Builders and Contractors Enterprise Fleet Management 13


Mammoet 27 Dozier Crane 41


Fisk Electric 55


Helix Electric 73 The U.S. Military at West Point 87




MMR Group 99 Sealevel Construction 109 Strafford Crane 121


Helmkamp Construction Co. 131 American Fire Protection Group 141


Brayman Construction Co.



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Associated Builders and Contractors:

Giving An Industry Its Voice The foundation and the purpose of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) have not wavered since it was founded in 1950. Written by Kevin Doyle Produced by Stephen Marino

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North American Constructors Journal idway through its 71st year of operation, the foundation and purpose of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has not wavered since it was founded in 1950, according to current President and CEO Michael D. Bellaman. “We’re all about work based on merit, recognizing that each individual is unique and brings unique value, and creating those conditions so they can shine and achieve their career dreams,” explains Bellaman, an industry veteran of 23 years with extensive international experience who joined ABC in 2011. “We feel that healthy, fair and open competition grows the industry and grows career opportunities for the individuals. “That philosophy has been extremely consistent. It’s kind of like our law of gravity – it’s always there and it guides us on all of our decisions,” he adds. “We’re making sure the industry has a great brand [while] being a leader and facilitator of helping the industry transform.” Based in Washington, DC, ABC has approximately 21,000 member companies across the United States and provides members with political, legislative and


Anirban Basu

public affairs assistance as well as workforce development and health and safety training. At a macro level, Bellaman estimates membership historically saves those companies more than $30 million annually. He points out that 99 percent of the nation’s construction firms have 100 employees or less but deliver 63 percent of annual construction spending and employ 68 percent

“We showcase our annual safe highlights these high-performin companies can focus on ways to i actual performan - Michael Bellaman, P

North American Constructors Journal Michael Bellaman


of necessities. We’re able to get best in market pricing, so a small company has the same buying power as a much larger company,” Bellaman says. “We are constantly identifying partners to work with and working out arrangements that are a win/win. The key is to make it simple.” Interestingly, one of those small companies – Sage Policy Group, Inc. – was founded and is owned by the ABC’s Chief Economist Dr. Anirban Basu. It employs 11 individuals.

of the workforce. “The average construction company owner for these small businesses sometimes has a tool belt on. Sometimes the owner is also the director of HR and sometimes the head of safety. They wear multiple hats. They don’t have the buying power, so part of the association’s value proposition is to bring partnerships to the table and provide across a spectrum

ety performance report which ng organizations as a group so improve. It’s resource-based on nce and results.” President and CEO

When the association articulated that value proposition in 2012 it worried how it would hold up in the face of a catastrophic event such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Turns out, it was spot on. “It was how we delivered that significantly changed [such as] how to deliver projects safely. I’m really proud of how our membership and association worked synergistically to author, design and share safety protocols, means and methods instantly. We were updating the members daily and weekly so that everyone had information about what we were learning about this in real time,” Bellaman says. ABC’s National Vice President for Construction Technology and

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Innovation Matt Ables shined throughout the pandemic. “On his first day, the world shut down due to COVID. I look like a genius for having hired a Technology Innovation guy. Matt has been tremendous. The volume of technology available in our industry and the innovation that has occurred has been unbelievable,” Bellaman praises.

Programs and Initiatives STEP (Safety Management System) – The association’s world-class safety management system is updated and improved upon annually by the top safety leaders in the country.


“That framework continues to challenge, inform, educate and help our members be leaders in safety and safety performance. Members that participate are roughly twice as safe as the industry average with the top performers at 655 percent better than the industry average,” says Bellaman. Additionally, the association’s annual Safety Performance Report, based on more than one billion work hours, is recognized by OSHA as a best practices indicator and posted to its web site. “We showcase our annual Safety Performance Report which highlights these high-performing organizations as a group so

North American Constructors Journal companies can focus on ways to improve. It’s resource-based on actual performance and results. As an example, when it comes to combatting substance abuse problems and improving onboarding, companies can lower incident rates by 60-70 percent,” Bellaman observes. Construction Coalition for a Drugand Alcohol-Free Workplace – ABC co-founded this organization approximately 10 years ago in response to growing access to legalized drugs and most especially opioids. “We felt we had to do something


correctively and educate members about modern programs for substance abuse and prevention. Over the course of time what we’ve learned is that in our industry – and COVID put us on the path to this – safety is about total human health, the physical and the mental, social and spiritual element. Our vision now is about healthier, happier employees having career dreams,” says Bellaman. Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention – Understanding that aches and pains are an industry by-product and that death by suicide occurs

North American Constructors Journal five times more than from a safety mishap, ABC is doing all that it can to educate members about total human health and treating the whole patient.


productively in order to meet the needs of our clients.” Excellence in Construction Awards – The 31st Annual Excellence in Construction© Awards Gala was held March 10 in Grapevine, TX. Nearly 130 member companies from across the country were presented with awards for project excellence, Contractor of the Year, safety and diversity.

Construction Executive – This ABC’s magazine reaches more than 50,000 contractors and construction-related business owners and has won more than 20 editorial awards. The magazine serves as a leading source for news, market developments and business Addressing Issues issues impacting the construction As the country emerges from the industry. pandemic and returns to a state “With the technology and innovation approaching some semblance of normalcy, questions have naturally of today, you can be in the field, or you can be in the office. Remember, arisen: a lot of our members are fewer than 10 persons, so these people are truly • How do you properly re-open a job site? entrepreneurs,” Bellaman stresses. • How do you properly sign someone into the site? Accredited Quality Contractor • What do you do about tools? Credential – The AQC pledge is posted to the ABC website : “As an “We talked to our members in the South that deal with hurricanes Accredited Quality Contractor, our company is committed to providing because they know how to button down a site. We replicated and our clients with the highest quality tweaked their protocols based on construction services and we this situation and instantly had care deeply about our employees shutdown and reactivation plans and the communities in which we for when we came out,” Bellaman build. We are proud to be part of says. the construction industry and are dedicated to the principle of free “We tapped into the entire enterprise. We commit ourselves membership, we were able to to serve our communities and to work with OSHA and the other provide our employees with the government agencies and take skills they need to work safely and

North American Constructors Journal what we learned to governors to keep construction open. Construction is a culture of safety and this was a matter of understanding how to deliver the work safely and documented so that everybody knew what was happening,” he continues..


discussions with presidents and CEOs of different companies about creating space for people to work in a collaborative way to get through this,” Bellaman says.

Working ethically and following rules that changed constantly was a daunting task.

Since most members don’t have teams of lawyers or compliance officers, ABC has worked tirelessly to help them win work, sustain their businesses, and pay their employees.

“Information was changing and within a week would be obsolete. We were constantly on top of this, keeping our members informed so they knew what the rules were and could live by them. We had

“That goes back to CEO confidence, an integral part of that confidence equation. Am I ready to buy that next piece of equipment? Do I hire that next person, or open that next office after getting

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“The fact the industry is in such good shape coming out of this crisis, despite everything, is borne out by ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator, which is back to where it was pre-pandemic, according to many measures. Many contractors expect rising sales and increasing profit margins, which is the most remarkable thing of all.” - Dr. Anirban Basu, Chief Economist

through COVID? We helped authoring a paycheck protection plan. The average loan size is under $100,000 but it’s a big key thing,” Bellaman asserts. Supply chains remain disrupted, leading to volatility in commodities pricing. States that shut down completely are having trouble getting back up to speed because workers have either moved on or have left the work force altogether. Dr. Basu explains: “The economy received a demand shock in the context of a post-pandemic world. That translates to shortages and rising prices and there’s not enough sawmill capacity to deal with that. It’s expensive and it takes time. Companies can add a shift but labor has been in short supply. This has dampened momentum in both residential and non-residential construction.” “We have supply chain webinars

and we have strategic partners who play a significant role in the supply chain so we tap into their expertise to give us a view. Lead times are getting longer because demand is higher and supply is less,” Bellaman says. “Still, over the next two years, we could need another million people based on 3.5-4 percent growth – and it could be greater than that. We’re supporting 800 educational programs across the country to make sure they have access to the talent that is available.” Lumber prices exploded during the pandemic and, despite a recent softening, remain well above pre-pandemic levels. Dr. Basu notes that lumber prices have added an average of $24,000 to $36,000 to the cost of building a new house and is slowing new housing starts. “We know increased lumber prices and the price of gypsum and

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some other categories has hurt. Now many builders are waiting for prices to fall before they start new construction. The upward trend in permits has flattened out. However, I think you will see lumber prices continue to tumble in the weeks ahead and a re-emergence in the building permits total,” Dr. Basu observes. “Still, we’ve heard in some instances contractors saying, “Here’s your deposit back – we cannot build a home for you at the agreed upon price.” That could trigger a breach of contract claim. Promising to do something and


then not doing it is not good for a business reputation” he says.

Key Projects According to Bellaman, the federal government has built about 1,800 projects over the last 13 years of more than $25 million and ABC members won about 60 percent of the value of those contracts. “That just validates that our members are world class and that they are doing about $6-$8 billion in large-scale projects on an annual basis,” he says. Our members are building award-winning projects all

North American Constructors Journal over the country in all the different market sectors.” Among them are the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of AfricanAmerican History and Culture, and the U.S. Air Force Memorial in Washington; a mixed-use project in Bethesda, MD and stadiums, malls, industrial and infrastructure projects. In the aftermath of 9/11, Bellaman’s previous employer pulled workers and equipment off a construction project and sent them across the street to aid The Pentagon.

pattern of people and companies. There are certain states that are appealing to both people and companies on the move,” he says. “Colorado and Texas have certainly fit that profile in recent decades. Something similar could be said for North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Arizona. These states are generally the economic winners and many are in the American South.”

Construction was deemed an essential industry across much of the country at the start of the pandemic, allowing the industry to operate at some capacity and remain somewhat stable. Health Of The Industry Companies leaned on their Dr. Basu notes that, in general well-stocked pipelines to keep terms, some pockets of the country them going. are able to buck trends and thrive during a downturn. “The fact the industry is in such good shape coming out of this “At the core of that is the migration crisis, despite everything, the


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backlog is where it was according to many measures. Many contractors expect rising sales and increasing profit margins, which is the most remarkable thing of all because contractors have been facing so many obstacles,” Dr. Basu offers.

meritocracy is that wherever your desire takes you, our industry has an opportunity for you. We put the hip waders on, go through the technology and help our members make decisions because there are just so many offerings out there,” he says.

Looking Ahead

“We have a void because we took shop, sewing, cooking and typing classes out of schools. People don’t get the opportunity to work with their hands. They don’t know what it’s like, yet there is a sense of accomplishment when you do that. Not everyone really needs to go to college to be successful, so we’re getting that story out,” he concludes.

Even though millions of middleincome jobs go unfilled in this country every day, Dr. Basu says the near-term recovery looks promising. Trouble could arise when stimulus money evaporates. “ABC is a force. A lot of people in society could come to believe that free market economics is not the best path for America. They see unresolved issues that come with Capitalism such as wealth inequality. The solution is to engage even more people in the free market. ABC stands for the proposition that a free market is the way to broadly shared prosperity,” says Dr. Basu. Bellaman says the industry has embraced state-of-the-art technology – sensor technology, for example, keeps workers six feet apart on a job site– along with emerging methodologies such as pre-fab and modular building. “The beautiful thing about a


Company Name: Associated Builders and Contractors

Country: United States Industry: Construction Est: 1950 Premier Services: Industry association representing all specialties within the U.S. construction industry. President/CEO: Michael D. Bellaman Website:

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Enterprise Fleet Management:

Enterprise’s comprehensive transportation solutions save clients time and money

Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Enterprise Fleet Management is the largest fleet management provider in the United States. Written by Leslie Blaize Produced by Stephen Marino

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edium-sized businesses face some tough challenges in managing their fleets of 20 or more vehicles. Instead of spending valuable time addressing these issues, many companies turn to the experts, Enterprise Fleet Management, based in St. Louis, Missouri. From the start, Enterprise’s goal was to help companies improve the way they operate their vehicles. “We create the right fleet plan for a customer,” explains Vice President Frank Thurman. “We buy and sell vehicles and develop fleet plans that drive productivity and control expenses.” Jack Taylor founded Enterprise as a leasing company in 1957. In the early 1990s, the company expanded into the leasing business for the underserved small- to medium-sized fleets. Enterprise now has an annual revenue of $26 23.9 billion and manages approximately two million vehicles. It serves companies, government agencies, and organizations with fleets of 20 or more vehicles and anyone looking for an alternative to their employee vehicle reimbursement program. Enterprise’s full-service fleet management, award-winning

“If you take care of you employees, profi - Jack Taylo

technology, and expertise benefit customers. It operates of network of more than 50 fully staffed offices. Enterprise helps its customers with: • Selection of suitable vehicles • Fuel control • Maintenance • Buying and selling vehicles

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difficulty getting the equipment they need for growth or to replace vehicles in the most advantageous timeframe. Enterprise helps customers find solutions. “We’re putting a bigger emphasis on preventative maintenance,” Thurman says. “Our customers are probably going to keep their vehicles a bit longer. One of the ways you can do that is by taking really good care of them.”

Managing Fleet Costs The firm is part of Enterprise Holdings and has a worldwide rental fleet of 1.5 million vehicles. In addition, Enterprise Fleet manages 650,000 vehicles.

ur customers and your fits will follow.” or, Founder Dealing with Supply Challenges Thurman says the industry’s biggest challenges are vehicle availability and supply chain constraints. The scarcity of microchips is impacting production capabilities. As a result, Enterprise’s clients may have

“We’ve become extraordinarily good at planning to buy vehicles, executing the acquisition, and marking sure that we keep the vehicles in service for the right period of time,” Thurman reports. “There is an optimal replacement period.” Enterprise works with clients to control their fleet costs. One way is through fuel economy, and the other is maintenance. Thurman explains that as vehicles age, their fuel economy degrades, impacting costs. “We’ve helped

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some companies reduce their fuel costs by more than $100 per month per vehicle.” Another critical element of managing fleet costs is maintenance. Enterprise Fleet Management has a national service department that employs about 150 automotive service certified technicians. They’re former mechanics who work with shops calling for repair approval. As part of their quality-control process, they’ll consider the following: • Does a warranty cover the repair? • Is it a duplicate repair?

Frank Thurman - Vice President


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• Are the charges correct? “In the past three years, we’ve saved over $40 million on maintenance and repairs on our customer’s behalf,” Thurman reports. Enterprise’s clients benefit from the company’s expertise. “Most businesses focus on their core competency, and they aren’t focusing on their fleet,” he says.

Electrifying Vehicles Enterprise keeps up with the latest technology, including the electrification of vehicles.

North American Constructors Journal Thurman reports that Enterprise Strategy Managers conducted a feasibility study Personalize Services in partnership with Geotab, its telematics partner, on about 90,000 of its existing lease vehicles. Results showed that about 13 percent of the vehicles were suitable for electrification. It was predicted that by 2025, 45 percent of the vehicles could be converted. More electric pickup availability could extend the range of electric vehicles in the future. Thurman reports that as technology becomes more prevalent, costs also should fall.


Enterprise assigns a Cclient Sstrategy Mmanager to each customer to improve customer service. That individual is an expert in fleet management. It’s their responsibility to help navigate the best replacement plan for each customer. The manager will also make sure that customers participating in the company’s fuel or maintenance programs receive the full benefits. They will also review the drivers’ use of them. In addition, there’s a Fleet Strategy

North American Constructors Journal Manager who tracks what’s happening in the marketplace. They analyze the right time to buy and sell vehicles. “The client strategy manager and the fleet strategy manager work together to help companies make excellent decisions about operating a highly productive fleet with the lowest overall operating cost,” Thurman says.


company may operate 45 vehicles full time and occasionally need more vehicles to meet business demandbut only use 35 regularly. One approach for these clients is to only keep the number of vehicles they need. Enterprise can supplement their fleet through it’s commercial rental offering or make additions if needed. Case Studies

Some clients have questions regarding the replacement of their fleet. Thurman suggests that clients could supplement their fleet through Enterprise’s rental partnership. For example, a

Experience Gives Perspective As vice president, Thurman works with the sales and operational teams to understand what’s

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important to customers. He evaluates new tools, products, and strategies to see if the company achieves its value proposition.


Great Work Leads to Advancement

Enterprise’s leadership works to fulfill the vision of Jack Taylor, the company founder. He said, “If you take care of your customers and your employees, profits will follow.”

At Enterprise, leadership recognizes hard work. “You are evaluated on your performance and ability to impact the customer and the organization,” Thurman reveals. Employees also are expected to follow the company’s founding values of respect, trust, and integrity.

In his role, Thurman wants to understand what customers and employees are thinking. Then he can work to provide great customer service and successfully engage employees.

He explains that Enterprise has more freedom than publicly traded companies that must be concerned about how decisions will impact their stock price or market value. As a privately held business, “We can do things that are best for

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Pep Boys is a complete auto care service provider—from inspections and routine preventive maintenance to brakes, tires, suspension and complex repairs, and for every make and model. Our team of ASE certified expert technicians works to ensure maximum up-time. We have serviced vehicles for Enterprise and some of the country’s largest national fleet companies. With 1,000 locations nationwide, extended fleet service hours and priority scheduling, we keep businesses moving. We’ve built our success by focusing on long-term partnerships with our customers and delivering a highquality experience and value every time, for every vehicle. So, whether you run five vehicles or 5,000, Pep Boys always delivers on our promise: We go further to help you go farther. For more information, visit


or call us at


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our customers and employees,” Thurman says.

marketplace and can work to bring value to that community.

Benefits of ABC

Thurman says that Enterprise has about 1,100 clients who are ABC members. The company owns or helps manage about 60,000 vehicles for these association members.

Thurman says Enterprise benefits from its membership in Associated Builders and Contractors, a national trade association. “We’ve been a partner with ABC since 2004,” he reports. Enterprise participates with 44 different chapters throughout the country and values the association’s endorsement. In addition, Enterprise personnel make beneficial connections through ABC. As a result, they learn what’s important in their local

Quality Partnerships When Enterprise works with a maintenance partner, the company wants to make sure it provides quality service. The national service department and supply chain management personnel vet each potential partner. They consider their service quality, product

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quality, pricing, speed, and variety of service offerings. “Over time, we also monitor how effective they are in execution,” Thurman says. Enterprise analyzes a partner’s timeliness and accuracy of repair orders.


exceptional wonderful partners and suppliers,” Thurman says. Enterprise treats these two groups with the same kind of appreciation shown to employees.

Attentive Listening Pays Big Benefits

“We also put a premium on making sure that local businesses represent the community we’re operating in. We’re thoughtful about building minority-owned and women-owned partnerships,” he says.

Thurman received valuable advice early in his career: “Focus on your client’s needs first and let that be your north star. Then you will distinguish yourself in the marketplace.”

“We couldn’t meet our customers’ needs if it weren’t for these

He also emphasizes that it’s important to be an active listener. “Give one hundred percent of your

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“We have great tools, but you need to know what’s important to the person you’re sitting across from so that you can figure out how to craft a solution that will fit their needs.” - Frank Thurman, Vice President


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attention to the person you’re currently meeting with, whether it’s a coworker, client, or vendor partner. We live in a world where distraction and disruption are ever-present. People who can remain present have a significant advantage, and people can feel the difference.” Thurman notes that Enterprise can teach people about fleet management and how to ask a question. “We have great tools,” he says, “but you need to know what’s important to the person you’re sitting across from so that you can figure out how to craft a solution that will fit their needs.”



Company Name: Enterprise Fleet Management Country: USA Industry: Construction Est: 1957 Premier Services: Customized Fleet Management CEO: Chrissy Taylor; Corporate Vice President, Frank Thurman Website:

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A New Kind Of Power Lifting Mammoet joined with UK-based rival ALE in January 2020 to create the world’s largest engineered heavy lifting and transport company Written by Kevin Doyle Produced by Stephen Marino


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riginally established as a crane rental company more than 55 years ago in Europe, Mammoet USA is now in its 32nd year of operations. In the Americas region, Mammoet services the United States, Canada, Mexico and Latin America. Recently, the company acquired and joined forces with its UKbased rival ALE to become the world’s largest engineered heavy lifting and transport company operating in 45 countries. As part of the larger SHV Group, it is recognized as an innovative leader in technology across the industry and a magnet for the best and the brightest. “We are the coolest company in the world – we accomplish some really fantastic things that not many companies can replicate,” says Anthony Garcia, who has been with the company for 14 1/2 years and is currently Vice President of Operations for the United States and Mexico and a member of the Americas organization’s regional board. A 2006 graduate of Teas A&M (B.S., Mechanical Engineering), Garcia has progressed through the company from Project Engineer to Project Manager to Branch Manager up to his current position.

He holds certifications from the TIAS School for Business and Society and the IMD Business School and an MBA in Finance from DePaul University’s Kelstadt Graduate School of Business. “I like the fact that our company favors entrepreneurship by letting individuals take the reins at all levels. That mentality of people doing what they need to be doing, and asking for support when it’s needed, to be successful is one of

“We are the coolest company in t really fantastic things that not m - Anthony Garcia

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our core beliefs,” he adds. “All of our people think differently and that really sets us apart from our competition.” (Read More about Mammoet’s history) Formed purposely as a decentralized operation instead of a vertical silo, the company generates $500m AVR and employs 1,500 individuals in the

the world – we accomplish some many companies can replicate.” a, Vice President


Americas. Its array of services – including engineered heavy lifting and jacking, heavy transport, and shutdown management – is geared toward a more sustainable future. The company maintains an unmatched global fleet of equipment, is unfazed by the most challenging projects, and has broken records for lifts and transports previously considered impossible. Decentralization enables Mammoet to remain in close contact with its customers while developing relationships Garcia says help distinguish the company from its

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competitors. “In 2018, we made the strategic decision to bring the region together to gain speed and have everyone aligned and working as one team. There’s no job too small. We have a lot of capabilities, we think in details, we have a lot more capacity than most people realize, and we are very good at all scales” Garcia elaborates.

Products and Projects “I think one of the coolest things we’ve done in the last couple of years is our new and innovative Focus30 crane that erects vertically and has a much tighter, smaller footprint,” Garcia says.


“In terms of infrastructure, the environment is getting more congested and the Focus30 helps clients build a large capacity crane, in a small space, while not sacrificing on safety or capacity. We actually just did our first job with it in the UK in a refinery where we helped to reduce disruption during a scheduled turnaround.” SEATTLE-TACOMA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT BRIDGE WALKWAY: Eight years in the making, the new bridge is part of the airport’s $968m expansion project and only the second walkway in the world with suitable clearance for a Boeing 747 to taxi beneath. Mammoet used the accelerated bridge construction

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North American Constructors Journal (ABC) method for the 1,472-ton walkway. Using their specialized equipment, Mammoet transported and lifted the prefabricated bridge into place, completing the operation over two nights while flight traffic was at its lowest to ensure minimal disruption to the airport’s schedule. The walkway was transported using a total of 56 axlelines of SPMTs in a four-point configuration, with one set of SPMTs at each corner. Mammoet’s transport team taxied the load a total of three miles down the center runway in just under three hours while shouldering runways remained open. Once in position


under the piers, erection crews used four 900-ton steel frames that utilized a strand jack system, the first time these frames from the Netherlands had been used in the United States. With approximately 1.5 inches of tolerance for a precise fit, the bridge span was precisely hoisted into its final position before being welded into place. At 900 feet long, it is the world’s longest pedestrian bridge span over an active airport taxi lane. The international arrivals facility opened in 2020, helping double the airport’s international passenger capacity to 2,600 per hour.



crews worked to widen the travel lanes and then reconstruct the westbound SR84 bridge.

Mammoet assisted clients Archer Western and De Moya Group with the successful removal of the westbound State Road 84 bridge over I-95 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida earlier this year. The team removed the entire bridge in one night by using the Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) method.

The bridge, weighing in at 1,082t (2,385,200 lbs.), was initially set for demolition following a twostage plan. Instead, using six trains of 8-line SPMTs equipped with 250-ton jacks, the bridge was lifted from its abutments, traveled southbound along I-95, and finally staged on an off ramp to later be The bridge removal, part of the I-95 demolished. This approach saved Express Lanes Phase 3C project, will over an estimated 29 days of work. result in wider travel lanes on I-95 below the interchange with I-595 Safety Protocols and improved efficiency of the SR 84 interchange. Following removal Safety enhancement requires of the westbound lane complete, constant oversight and attention

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and is enmeshed in the company’s culture. The company’s Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHE-Q) Department’s guidelines aim to exceed those of the local, regional and national regulatory agencies in each of the countries where it operates. According to its website, employees are provided with an extensive training program as well as on-site learning and development programs, protective equipment and tools to perform their work to the highest safety standards with the goal of ensuring every worker returns home safe. All workers are empowered to


say “no” if they deem a situation unsafe.

Day to Day No two days are ever quite the same for Garcia, who has been with the company for close to 15 years. He now works out of the Rosharon, TX headquarters after previously running operations in Louisiana. He sees his role as supporting others on their way to becoming successful. “Our team spends a lot of time meeting with our clients and understanding their needs and perspectives in terms of how we

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North American Constructors Journal can be a better partner and how can we address the challenges they’re seeing. Internally my team and I are supporting our leaders and helping them make decisions,” he says. “We’re a highly innovative company and always have been on the forefront of technology as it relates to our business and new ideas and concepts.” He says the company has been a leader in the transition of energy to renewables, especially the burgeoning offshore winds market in the United States, working with partners to streamline the process and make it cheaper. The company is a long-standing member of the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA) with Mammoet USA achieving a 40-year Longevity Award from the Association in 2018, the Canada Eastern division hit a 30-year milestone earlier this year as well as the Mammoet


(formerly George Young) operation in Swedesboro, New Jersey which was recognized for a 55- year milestone in 2019. Garcia says that, despite being competitors, companies attend association meetings with open minds and a candid approach. “We feel it’s really important to have that relationship with our competitors. We’re all talking to the same clients, executing similar work and also helping the construction industry see things from our perspective, challenging the industry and governments on some of the regulations they have. How can we do it safer and how can we do it more economically? Being able to talk with like-minded companies and executives about their challenges and successes is beneficial,” he says. Garcia makes numerous college and high school presentations to inspire the next generation and bring awareness about the unique

North American Constructors Journal industry and finds career days especially exciting. “I want to get them interested when they’re young and impressionable and try to show them the cool things we do. It’s not just engineering – we have all these other wonderful roles that even if you’re not super technical you can still be a part of our industry. In regards to its service providers, Mammoet works with like-minded companies that understand its expectations and model based on repeat, sustainable business. The company takes pride in the fact it knows all of its primary vendors by name and face.


“It’s simple – do what you say you’re going to do. Provide us proof of concept and whether you can do that repeatedly. You can’t have that without understanding the needs of both sides, so it is a give and take. As long as we’re clear with each other that this is what I’m expecting and this is what I’m providing, it tends to work out. We can be more stringent at times but that’s because we want to do right by our client,” Garcia explains.

Challenges to Meet Once it became clear COVID-19 would re-frame the work environment permanently, the company shifted into hyper-drive

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to manage the problem. “I give all the credit to our people. We made some good decisions early on through our crisis teams that got together to work out complex problems. Everybody put in the time and effort they needed to make it work. It was a collective group operating in the best interest of the company that got us through last year to the start of this year,” Garcia praises. As is with the case with every other segment of the construction industry, the company is facing a knowledge and age gap as Baby Boomers


age out, taking with them invaluable knowledge and tricks of the trade. “They know what to do, they know how to do it and they’re great decision-makers because they’ve seen a lot of things and so our challenge is no different than the regular construction industry except our skill set is not something you get off the shelf through traditional high school and college programs. It is something we’re taking very seriously and we’re addressing it,” Garcia notes. That includes time and money

“I want to get (students) interested when they’re young and impressionable and try to show them the cool things we do. It’s not just Engineering – we have all these other wonderful roles that even if you’re not super technical you can still be a part of our industry.” - Anthony Garcia, Vice President

North American Constructors Journal spent on workforce education. “A lot of our clients are doing the same thing. We all have to do a better job of getting it out there that these types of jobs are available. We need qualified people and they need to know you can make a great living doing it,” Garcia asserts. One thing is certain – when individuals come to work for Mammoet, they tend to stay. Many 30- and 40-year employees have never worked elsewhere and, Garcia admits, that is attributable in part to a work environment that would be hard to replicate. “Our people, across the board, are passionate about what they do. There is a large sense of community. Everybody is in love with the company. It was evident to me the first day I walked into the building, that Mammoet was a special place to work -- that feeling of pride, that feeling of we’re the best at what we do. I see a lot of creativity everywhere, people challenging how it’s been done in the industry or how it’s been done internally,” he says.


its decentralized structure, the company is surprisingly nimble and able to respond rapidly to client needs, belying the massive scope and size of its operations. “We’re always looking at how we see the future and how we’re going to shape ourselves as a sustainable company. We want our families and the people who work for us to continue to be here for a long time. We are inspired by our shareholder’s purpose of “Courage to Care for Generations to Come.”


Company Name: Mammoet Country: United States Industry: Construction Est: 1989 Premier Services: Heavy lifting and jacking, heavy transport, and shut-

Looking Forward

down management

Among the very best at what it does Mammoet maintains a culture built for sustainability. Thanks to

VP: Anthony Garcia Website:

North American Constructors Journal

Dozier Crane & Machinery, Inc.:

Dozier Crane & Machinery Does It All

Established in 1984 as a family-owned business, Dozier Crane & Machinery is a full-service crane sales and rental company based in Savannah, Georgia. Written by Leslie Blaize Produced by Stephen Marino


North American Constructors Journal



North American Constructors Journal


ozier Crane & Machinery, family owned since 1984, offers anything you need in the crane industry. “We’re a one-stop shop,” says Matt Greenspan, who provides crane sales and business development for the firm. Based on a 16-acre site in Savannah, Georgia, Dozier Crane is a full-service crane sales and rental company. It has decades of experience servicing clients in 48 different states and 49 foreign countries, where it has many dealer and contractor customers. The firm stocks, sells, and rents all major brands. It’s a dealer for Kobelco, Terex, Shuttlelift & Manitex. Customers also can turn to this company for its expertise in off-brands and older machines. Its inventory includes millions of dollars of equipment. Besides offering new and used cranes for sale and rental, Dozier Crane & Machinery also provides boom sales, OEM crane parts, crane transportation, and mechanical services. “With more than 40 years in the crane industry, we’re confident that our crane specialists can handle all of your crane needs,” says Dozier Companies President & CEO Dozier Cook.

Dozier offers 80 to 90 cranes for rent and operates 120 to 150 cranes. The family of businesses includes Dozier Crane & Machinery, Dozier Worldwide Cranes, and Dozier Crane & Rigging. They serve customers from office locations in Savannah and Douglasville, Georgia, and Titusville, Florida. What’s the secret to coordinating the diverse aspects of Dozier

“With more than 40 years in the

that our crane specialists can ha

-Dozier Companies Presid

North American Constructors Journal


who can handle any cranerelated need. Greenspan says the company’s operators are highly skilled mechanics who work on a wide variety of projects, whether oil and gas, structural steel, or roads and bridges. Dozier Crane’s top mechanics have approximately 35 years of crane experience. They obtain continuing education to remain updated on the newest changes and technology in the industry. In addition to well-appointed shops, mechanics also have fully equipped service trucks that allow them to provide most types of mechanic services in the field. Crane? “Each company is specialized in its own way, but we all work together and help each other out on a daily basis,” Greenspan says.

Qualified Mechanics Solve Diverse Challenges The companies are known for their high level of customer service provided by top-notch employees

crane industry, we’re confident

andle all of your crane needs.”

dent & CEO Dozier Cook

Dozier Provides Growth Opportunities The sales team understands the crane business. Most of the sales team started out at the bottom – washing cranes part time in college or working out in the yard – and worked their way up to their current positions. Each day brings new challenges for the sales team, which has diverse roles. One day they’re buying cranes, and the next moment they may be flying cross-country to show equipment to customers. If the company’s short-handed, they’ll be out in the yard doing

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North American Constructors Journal what’s needed. They also appreciate the Dozier company culture. “We’re here to support our customers,” Greenspan comments, “but we’re also here to look after each other.” Dozier employees stick around. “Everyone has been here a long time,” he reports. One mechanic in his 60s, for example, is now retiring. He’s been working with company president Dozier Cook since he was 18 years old – before Dozier Crane was even formed. “We don’t have a high turnover here because of who we are at the core,” Greenspan reveals. “Everyone knows who you are and what we believe in. At the end of the day, it’s really not about cranes. It’s about building a family and relationships within the company and with customers.”

Dozier Expands Facilities Greenspan reports that Dozier is constantly investing in its facilities and keeping them updated. Recent investments include the construction of a nine-acre boom yard that stores used and new booms. A new parts department now carries new and used factory parts for many crane models. In addition, Dozier opened a facility in Douglasville, Georgia. It provides


operated and maintained rentals to the greater Atlanta area. Dozier’s inventory includes: • Crawler cranes • Rough terrain cranes • Boom trucks • All terrain cranes • Carry deck cranes • Truck cranes • New & used boom and jib

Selling Cranes Worldwide The sky’s the limit when it comes to selling cranes. Dozier’s international customers range from Dubai to Africa, the Middle East, Europe, China, and the Dominican Republic. Dozier works with a respectable exporter who ships cranes as needed. Dozier Crane is located within eight miles of the Port of Savannah, Georgia, and 100-250 miles of major ports in Jacksonville, Florida, Charleston, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina.

Subcontractors Dozier is open to working with new subcontractors. The company has built up an excellent reputation for customer service. It works with some of the biggest contractors in the country as well as some of the smallest. We have equipment for all size companies.

North American Constructors Journal

Project Highlights I-95 and I-16 Interchange Reconstruction, Savannah, Georgia:Dozier Worldwide is the crane supplier for the I-16, I-95 interchange in Chatham County, Georgia. Currently, Dozier supplies eight cranes that consist of 250-ton crawlers down to the smaller 50-ton rough terrain cranes. At one point, the project required 12 cranes at this job site. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, this interchange reconstruction project for the Southeast Region is the largest since the construction of this portion of the interstate in the 1970s.


A second Dozier company also is involved in this project. Dozier Crane and Rigging is hauling bridge beams. “Clients appreciate that the Dozier companies offer one-stop shopping,” Greenspan says. Dozier collaborates with contractors who need assistance to get jobs done on time.

Steel Plate Manufacturing Plant in the South Dozier Crane and Rigging has a maintenance contract for a steel plant in the South, the biggest construction site in the country.

North American Constructors Journal


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“At the end of the day, it’s really not about cranes. It’s about building a family and relationships within the company and with customers.” -Matt Greenspan, Crane Sales and Business Development

North American Constructors Journal Dozier will service approximately 30 cranes. The $1.7 billion steel plate manufacturing plant is expected to open in 2022. .

Developing Long-term Relationships Dozier believes in giving employees opportunities once they’ve learned the basics of the operation. “We’ve all worked our way into our current positions. That’s how we operate here,” Greenspan says. Employees learn company processes and are given the freedom to make changes as circumstances change. Dozier Cook, president of Dozier Crane and Machinery, started the


company out of his garage with the help of Bill Avila, his father-inlaw. Now he heads up a firm that works with clients throughout the world with a great team behind him. Currently, the Dozier family of companies has approximately 100 employees. That includes owners, operators, mechanics, plus sales, marketing, and office staff. “We all wear many hats,” Greenspan reports. “We have a family atmosphere here that is unbelievable. And you probably won’t ever see that anywhere else,” Greenspan says

North American Constructors Journal 53 network through social media or .Operations Begin with personal visits. Safety Keeping employees safe is a top priority. The Dozier Companies have an excellent safety rating throughout the entire industry. All employees have OSHA and specialized training, depending on their position. It’s geared for an employee’s role. Courses reflect the unique needs of personnel, including mechanics, welders, and the sales staff. Each month, personnel participate in a safety meeting. The company always is looking for ways to improve its safety program. “Our guys don’t leave the yard without all the proper equipment needed for the job,” Greenspan says.

Networking: Key to Success For individuals who want to succeed in the crane business, Greenspan encourages them to network as much as possible and expand their horizons. He now networks most days, but he believes he could have done more earlier in his career. It’s important to get to know representatives of the key vendors in the industry. They’re all interconnected and share information about suppliers. Greenspan notes that you can

When Dozier Cook and Vice Presidents Cary Goodwin and John Seckinger began in the industry, they didn’t know everyone. But now, with their experience, Dozier’s leaders are well known. Cook, Goodwin, and Seckinger have about eight decades of business experience when considered as a whole. “I learn from them every single day,”

North American Constructors Journal Greenspan emphasizes.

Dozier Looks Ahead Customers consider Dozier a one-stop shop for all of their crane needs. The Dozier Companies will continue to grow and seek new business opportunities in the years ahead. One of Dozier’s guiding principles is to provide top-of-the-line equipment that meets stringent quality and safety standards.


Before buying major new or used equipment, it’s personally inspected by someone from Dozier. That way, customers will receive the best quality cranes at competitive prices. Concern for others will continue to be a driving force behind the Dozier operations. “Dozier Cook cares about who we are and what we do on a daily basis,” Greenspan says. “We’re a family of companies, a family of employees, and a family outside of this building.”


Company Name: Dozier Crane & Machinery, Inc. Country: USA Industry: Crane Sales & Rental Est: 1984 Premier Services: Full Service Crane Sales & Rental Company Business Development & Sales: Matt Greenspan Website:

North American Constructors Journal


Fisk Electric :

Augmenting the

Electrical Construction


Now in its second century of operation, Fisk Electric of Houston, TX continues its evolution into an elite national and international electrical contractor and building technologies integrator. Written by Kevin Doyle Produced by Stephen Marino

North American Constructors Journal



North American Constructors Journal s it nears the end of the first decade of its second century of operation, Fisk Electric remains fresh and innovative while expanding its brand and continuing its evolution into a premier national and international electrical contractor and building technologies integrator.


SVP Operations: Cory Borchardt

It would be hard to imagine a company founded with more modest means – John Fisk, then 21, borrowed $25 in 1913 and started the company in the shed behind his father’s garage. Safe to say he wouldn’t recognize the industry juggernaut his idea has morphed into. Today, as a publicly traded entity under the guidance of President/CEO Orville M. Anthony Jr., the company maintains its headquarters in Houston, TX, working across an array of industry sectors for which it provides the design, installation and maintenance of electrical systems, structured cabling applications, integrated electronic security systems, and building technology solutions from project concept to completion. Depending upon the time of year, the company employs between 1100 and 1500 individuals. It maintains membership in a

number of high-powered industry associations, most notably the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Cory Borchardt brought 20+ years of experience to the company when he joined Fisk as Vice

“We’re just not seeing enou construction across all of the trad as contractors and trade organizat that they can make a good livin - Cory Borchardt,

North American Constructors Journal President/CEO: Orville M. Anthony Jr


That just translates into a better customer experience. Our guys build relationships with building owners, the developers and the general contractors and that puts us in position in the market to be successful long term,” Borchardt notes. Creating a culture of inclusion and a top-down support system has been paramount to the company’s long-term and continued success.

President of Operations in 2019. He observes that it is highly unusual for a union shop to have retained workers for more than 30 years. “We have individuals who have worked for us for their entire careers. That’s pretty remarkable for a union contractor to retain employees for as long as we have.

ugh young people get into des. We have to do a better job ations to market to young people ing by going into the trades.” SVP Operations

“Culture is king in any organization and you want to build and foster a culture of entrepreneurs, a culture that lets the good ideas come from the people who are doing the work in the field,” Borchardt stresses. “Whether it’s an idea of doing things a better way, or of installation of software that will make the job easier, as a manager you’ve got to find ways to encourage that type of behavior. “Having that culture that encourages a way to do it better really creates a fun environment for people and a sense of ‘I can make a difference.’ If you can create and foster that culture, you’re going to see a lot of longevity with your employees and you’re going to find people who have far more capabilities than the job they were hired for and that’s what it’s all about,” he adds.

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High-Profile Projects The company’s deep and diverse project portfolio stretches across the country, with the largest at this time being in transportation in and around Los Angeles with The 2028 Summer Olympics looming. “The LA Metro Purple Line has a four- to eight-year life cycle and will increase the transportation footprint of Los Angeles and take priority for us in order that the city will be ready and able to move people,” Borchardt notes. L.A. METRO PURPLE LINE EXTENSION, SECTION 2: Fisk is the electrical contractor for the $156m project designed for the city by STV Incorporated. Section


Two of the three sections will deliver 2.55 miles of twin-bored tunnels and two new stations at Wilshire/Rodeo and Century City Constellation with a 2025 target date for completion. Once finished the three-section extension will add nine miles of track and seven new stations. NORTHEAST WATER PURIFICATION PROJECT: This ongoing project in Houston will ensure the requirement that clean drinking water consist of at least 60 percent surface water by 2025. A new Intake Pump Station constructed in Lake Houston will transfer lake water via two 108-foot pipelines to treatment facilities more than a mile away. A new treatment facility built next

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North American Constructors Journal to the current plant will treat 320 million gallons of water each day, increasing total capacity to 400 million gallons. PORT OF MIAMI SCFT CARGO YARD DENSIFICATION PROJECT: This $8.6m project for the Port of Miami/Miami Dade County is also nearing completion. As EC, Fisk installed underground infrastructure to power reef rack structures that allow the use of electric rubber tire gantries. The project also included construction of two new Florida Power & Light (FPL) vaults, 7,000 feet of 126” HDPE directional boring and 4,000 feet of utility duct banks, along with installation of 10,000 feet of owner-provided bus bars, secondary power distribution system and supportive ancillary items necessary.


Additionally, the company is involved with projects such as Center City Las Vegas, the Hermann Hospital Sarofim Pavilion in Houston, the Nancy and Rick Kinder Museum Building in Houston, and the Third Street Light Rail Project, Phase Two in San Francisco. The company’s history timeline is chock full of key historic milestones. “It’s very rewarding to be on a team that is considered a front-runner on every project. When you look at the long-term employees in our organization one of the reasons many have migrated to, flourished at and stayed with Fisk is that we do these projects. You get a certain sense of accomplishment when you start with a pile of sand on an empty lot and by the time

North American Constructors Journal

you’re done there’s a casino or a water treatment plant or something that’s important for the community,” Borchardt says with undeniable pride. Interestingly, he notes the advent of COVID-19 and other events of the past two years have fast-tracked projects that “have certainly become more important than when they were first envisioned, being designed and put out to bid because transportation has become such an important part of the economy to address the supply-chain bottleneck.”

Safety Procedures And Protocols Safety is top of mind – 24 hours a day, every day and is woven into


the company’s value proposition. “It’s simple – be your brother’s keeper. That’s always at the forefront of our presentations to our craft workers that we’re in this together. It’s not ‘Us vs. Them,’ it’s not ‘Management vs. Employee.’ We all want everyone to be safe so we try to relate safety to home life. What’s meaningful (to workers)? Why do they work safe? It may be for their kids, their wife, a new puppy. Our approach is to watch out for the person next to you – whether it’s an electrician or a pipe-fitter doesn’t matter,” Borchardt says. To that end, the company now relies heavily on technology to deliver and update its message as often as needed to keep everyone on the same page.

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“The people now at retirement age built their careers on relationships. The younger group struggles with making human connections sometimes, so we’re really trying to teach it as well as leading by example.” - Cory Borchardt, SVP Operations

“Safety all boils down to training and awareness, so we’re using technology for access to training videos, resources and records, QR codes, iPads and iPhones to get the information to the people doing the work, so it’s more individualized,” Borchardt says. The approach has paid off, Borchardt says, noting positive feedback and results by providing

information to those doing the work. “You know the old way you did all these training sessions once a year but when it came time for your job to get to the scaffold, it might’ve been 10 months since you had the training. With the technology we can put that video on in the morning for the guys getting ready to do the work that day. It’s fresh

North American Constructors Journal in your mind,” he says. “Having that information empowers them to share it with others on the job.” According to its website, the company has earned more than 20 NECA Safety of Excellence awards.

Day To Day Borchardt is responsible for day-to-day operations of all of the company’s operating units across the country. That entails researching everything and anything about technology, machine learning, software and modeling that translates into


electrical installation. “We’re on software overload right now. There is a lot of cool technology that has come out and it all works and it all has merit. We’re always trying to figure out the right ones, how they fit into our organization and whether or not they make sense for us,” he says. Business development requires continual attention to help select the right partners, vendors, subs, and general contractors. “Flat out, you’ve got to get to know who they are, understand how they operate, what their

North American Constructors Journal limitations are, what their strengths are. When you start learning that about companies you start forming some great relationships, understanding how they work, how they operate and what’s important to them,” Borchardt says. “When it comes down to it, you’re relying on them to deliver for you to be successful and it’s really a big percentage of your project, We really have to understand what makes them go.” Over time, Borchardt says vendors and subs understand the value of establishing long-term relationships. On those occasions when a sub contractor comes up with a new approach to doing


something, Borchardt says “that is someone you also have to be talking to; you don’t want to miss the opportunity to provide a service when it becomes available.” The company derives great benefit from its association memberships. NECA is where we spend most of our effort and our time. It is a great tool for a small contractor that doesn’t have the means to get access to training, advice and best practices. For some of the larger contractors, NECA is a good voice to make meaningful change to policies and procedures at the state and federal level and also gives us a unified way to negotiate

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Maintain Safe Operations

North American Constructors Journal with IBEW on issues that matter and what we need to do to meet the demands of our customers and clients,” Borchardt says. Similarly the AGC’s powerful legislative voice is aligned with the company’s needs and its vision of how the industry is evolving.

Meeting Key Challenges As is the case with most companies – from the behemoths to the mom-and-pop shops and everyone in between – across every sector of the industry, dwindling manpower remains a vexing problem. Retiring Baby Boomers take


irreplaceable expertise and tricks of the trade with them. Additionally, the industry lost a large portion of the next generation in the 1970s and ‘80s when they opted for a college degree as the road to a comfortable lifestyle, skipping the trades altogether. Playing catchup has not been easy. “We’re just not seeing enough young people get into construction across all of the trades. We have to do a better job as contractors and trade organizations to market to young people that they can make a good living by going into the trades,” Borchardt asserts.

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CED HOUSTON 850 Greens Parkway Houston TX. 77067 281.873.4233

CED Houston is an electrical wholesaler providing quality distribution and lighting equipment to electrical contractors throughout the greater Houston area. Our main hub resides in Houston along with five additional satellite locations in Humble, Katy, Tomball, Stafford and coming soon – Pearland. We employ approximately 150 dedicated individuals delivering best in class service to our customers and are firmly committed to community outreach in the markets we serve.

Paradoxically, the industry’s fasttrack approach to implement technology to close the manpower gap has also been problematic. “The people now at retirement age built their careers on relationships. The younger group struggles with making human connections sometimes, so we’re really trying to teach it as well as leading by example,” Borchardt explains. “They can have a fulfilling job, do cool stuff and use cool technology. You have to be computer savvy and have technical skills to be successful nowadays.” As buildings become smarter, the need for those with advanced technological skills continues to

grow. Supply, however, is simply not keeping up with demand. Borchardt acknowledges part of the problem is that union shops operate with an apprenticeship mentality making it take up to seven years to become a standalone journeyman, foreman, estimator or project manager. So, as it is wont to do, Fisk is changing the paradigm. “That process does not work well with today’s younger generation; they lose interest too quickly. They want to see quicker progress, quicker advancement, more responsibility to take on other things. So we really try to get

North American Constructors Journal them engaged in meaningful work quicker. They still have to learn all the steps, and do the intermediate jobs they need to do to get to the level, but there are also opportunities on jobs that may require 3D Modeling or BIM,” Borchardt says. For example, the company’s seasoned veterans who don’t understand modeling concepts gives the younger group an opportunity to be at meetings and in places they normally wouldn’t be as entry-level employees. “They get to use their expertise to have a meaningful impact on a project and that’s what they want to see that they can make a


difference with their job and their understanding of technology is one way to help the seasoned guys who know how to build the work and give them an opportunity tpo make a difference quicker,” Borchardt elaborates.

Looking Forward Innovative, progressive and nimble all accurately describe this company as it embarks upon its second century. Succession and long-term plans aside, high-performance construction companies will always be needed. “Stuff needs to be repaired and stuff needs to be torn down and re-purposed,” Borchardt says

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“It’s very rewarding to be on a team that is considered a front-runner on every project. When you look at the long-term employees in our organization one of the reasons many have migrated to, flourished at and stayed with Fisk is that we do these projects.” - Cory Borchardt, SVP Operations

North American Constructors Journal bluntly. “In construction people are excited when they come to you. They’re building something new. They’ve got the money to build a new headquarters or a new facility and they are excited about it.” When he started out, Borchardt recalls he was driven by project completion. Now, he says, having a hand in the company’s continued growth and the success of its employees is the most gratifying part of the job. “I really like to see a young person come in and succeed. I like seeing estimators who have always done things one way learn a new way and become more efficient and more successful. It’s really fun for me to watch an apprentice come in with a look on their face of “Oh my gosh, I don’t know what I’m doing, I can’t do any of this” and six, seven years later, they’re the foremen, the guys leading the crews coming up with the new ideas and the better ways to do the job. There is so much fulfillment in that process,” he says.


to get back on the horse and trying it again if it didn’t work. If you try 99 things and only one works and propels you to the next level or the next job, that’s all that matters. Too many people are afraid to fail. If you’re willing to speak up and try with confidence, you can go anywhere you want if you’re willing to fail and learn,” he concludes. It’s a mantra Fisk Electric has lived by for more than 100 years.


Company Name: Fisk Electric Country: United States Industry: Construction Est: 1913

Is there a single piece of advice he would’ve given a younger version of himself starting out?


“The one thing that really helped me and propelled me toward management was being willing to try something and being willing

SVP Operations: Cory Borchardt

Orville M. Anthony Jr.


North American Constructors Journal

Helix Electric:

Helix Electric Leads Through Innovation and Positive Work Environment

Helix Electric, one of the largest electrical contracting companies in the nation, offers pre-construction, BIM/ engineering, project management, design/build, and prefabrication services for multiple sectors. Written by Leslie Blaize Produced by Stephen Marino


North American Constructors Journal



North American Constructors Journal elix Electric, a non-union/ merit shop established in 1985, specializes in designbuild and highly complex electrical projects. It’s one of the largest electrical contracting companies in the nation. Victor Fuchs, president & managing partner of Helix Electric of Nevada, approaches business operations as a marathon runner. “We’re constantly looking for a better way to do things,” he says. “You may be winning the race, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to end up that way. There’s somebody right behind you.” Fuchs says Helix continually seeks the best methods and people to deliver exceptional services to maintain its reputation as a frontrunner. Helix offers pre-construction, BIM/ engineering, project management, design/build, and prefabrication services across the full spectrum of sectors. They include: • • • • • • • • •

Commercial and Retail Education Government and Military Healthcare and Biotech Hospitality and Entertainment Industrial Multi-family and Residential Renewable Energy Transportation


There’s no secret formula for delivering consistent and powerful results. Helix builds strong relationships with clients based on honesty, trust, and reliability. The company is known for its tenacity, diverse experience with different types of jobs, and reputation for completing projects. Partners appreciate the company’s financial strength and bonding capacity. Helix President Boris Shekhter oversees the company’s headquarters in San Diego, California. The company generates approximately $800 million annual revenue and employs more than 3,000 across the United States. Fuchs runs the company’s Nevada operation with a workforce of approximately 600 employees. They work out of offices in Las Vegas, Reno, Nevada, and Salt Lake City, Utah, generating $180 in annual revenue. As a non-union electrical contractor, Fuchs opposes Project Labor Agreements that require unionization. He believes PLA results in high project costs.

“We’re constantly looking for a be be winning the race, but that doe up that way. There’s some - Victor Fuchs, Presiden

North American Constructors Journal big deal,” he emphasizes. Promoting Safety The company puts significant emphasis on safety. Fuchs says, “We’re very much into preventive measures, and we also do a lot of education.” He adds, “We have zero accident tolerance.” To achieve its safety goals, three safety professionals visit job sites on an ongoing basis. They come as educators and provide job crews with the tools they need to keep the sites safe. They also share experiences from other jobs that may be useful. As part of the process, the safety professionals use a strict scoring system. If a report falls below 80 percent, it’s delivered to Fuchs’s desk. “We discuss what could have been done differently,” Fuchs says.


Key Projects Meow Wolf Las Vegas - Prepare to be amazed at Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart in Las Vegas. It is one of the firm’s most unique and interesting projects. The Omega Mart merges art with technology to create an immersive experience for visitors. The one-of-a-kind experience relies heavily on complex lighting and powering the countless interactive features throughout the exhibit. Auric Symphony Park, Las Vegas - Auric Symphony Park is the first residential component within Victor Fuchs

If it’s determined that someone doesn’t have a safety mindset, they may not be the right person for the job. The danger is that an individual could hurt either themselves or others. “Safety is a

better way to do things. You may esn’t mean you’re going to end ebody right behind you.” nt & Managing Partner

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Helix Electric and specialty contractors across the globe partner with Autodesk Construction Cloud. The world’s leading MEP contractors rely on Autodesk Construction Cloud to drive company profitability by connecting data across the project lifecycle, ensuring quality installation in the field, and reducing risk as they deliver more complex projects, faster.

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North American Constructors Journal


Empowering a Data-First Approach for Electrical Contractors

It’s more than being a technology provider, it’s about being your technology partner. These days, you can’t go onto a jobsite or office without seeing construction technology. Connecting project teams in the cloud is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity. Field collaboration has become table stakes. Electrical contractors like Helix are moving beyond simply connecting people and projects, to equipping individuals and teams with insights to help them get the job done more effectively and efficiently. Over the last two years many electrical contractors have evolved how they operate—using digital tools and technologies to collect and track project information. However, many lack consistent and reliable processes for collecting and documenting the data produced by their technology applications, impacting their ability to analyze and identify issues that could improve processes. According to a recent global report between Autodesk and FMI, only 27% of specialty contractors stated that they regularly review data at a set interval for quality purposes, and only 24% said they have established data reporting and monitoring practices. These stats make sense since only 26% of specialty contractors said they manage/keep their project data in a common data environment, like Autodesk Docs part of the Autodesk Construction Cloud. So, while we see specialty contractors using technology, there is ample room for improvement when it comes to establishing standards and processes to manage and analyze data . As a technology company, we see these challenges every day. This is why we work with contractors across the globe, enabling them with the right processes and workflows that meet business and project goals. But more importantly, we work to ensure the data from these workflows is being captured in the right way, so that it can be used to provide insights for continued improvements. This is our goal, our mission: To make our customers successful and make our technology work for them. For over 10 years, Autodesk has worked with Helix Electric, striving to be more than just your technology provider. We’re here to be your technology partner. We do this by understanding your business and workflow needs and creating plans that focus on empowerment and adoption—all backed by Autodesk Construction Cloud technology that enables real-time collaboration and connection between the field and the office, and access to meaningful data. At Helix, we know you’re not just waiting for progress, you’re building it. And Autodesk is here, as your trusted partner, to help you along this journey. To learn more about what Autodesk Construction Cloud can do for your projects scan the QR code or visit autodesk

North American Constructors Journal Las Vegas’ visionary Symphony Park development. This luxury apartment complex includes 324 units and approximately 14,500 square feet of retail and restaurants. #TeamHelix and Martin-Harris Construction are excited to build the next great living experience at Auric Park with a resort-style pool, resident lounge, fitness center and business center. The facility will include numerous upscale services, including concierge-level support, entertainment, social events, and cultural experiences for residents. Creech Air Force Base, Indian Springs, NV - Creech AFB serves as the vibrant main operating


base of the 432d Wing and 432d Air Expeditionary Wing. With a 3,000-strong workforce, it sustains around-the-clock overseas contingency operations against global terrorism. This design-build project provides site improvements, electrical infrastructure, backup generator, and other necessary support for a complete and useable Ground Control Station Building and Command Center Facility. Cobalt Cheyenne Data Center Cobalt Cheyenne is a 34,000-sq.ft. facility backed by 5.5 megawatts of critical power. The Tier III data center is designed for concurrent operation and

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maintainable site infrastructure. Hill Air Force Base Ogden Generator System Upgrade Building 891, Hill AFB, Utah This project includes upgrades to the existing generator system at Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Defense Enterprise Computing Center (DECC) Ogden Building 891. The electrical scope of this project includes the replacement of three existing 1250kW 12kV generators with four new 2000kW 12kV generators. It also called for replacing the existing paralleling switchgear with


new 12kV paralleling gear and new 12kV utility switchgear in two new enclosures. A new 2500kW load bank also was added.

Attracting Top Employees Helix works hard at creating a positive work environment for employees. “Our benefits are probably the best in the industry,” says Fuchs. The company matches 32 cents for every dollar that people save, up to the maximum allowed by law. That means if an employee saves

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$16,000, Helix will match it with a contribution of more than $5,000. Fuchs says Helix helps employees build up their savings for retirement or other big goals, like putting their children through college. Before Covid-19 restrictions, Helix also invited employees and their significant others to holiday parties. They also planned picnics for families. “We consider ourselves a family – a big family – but still a family,” he says. Other yearly events included Management Retreats, which may be conducted again in 2022. “We want to make sure that our people are excited about coming to work,” says Fuchs. “I really don’t want people just to come here because of a paycheck.” These workplace initiatives must be having a positive impact. A recent client who toured one of Helix’s offices commented on how many

smiling faces he saw. Apparently, the client doesn’t always see happy employees at the workplaces he visits.

Leading a Winning Team As the president of Helix Electric of Nevada, Fuchs serves as the head coach of a successful operation. In his role, Fuchs says he’s not just

“We want to make sure that our people are excited about coming to work. I really don’t want people just to come here because of a paycheck.” - Victor Fuchs, President & Managing Partner

North American Constructors Journal


number of vendors who have proven their worth. Fuchs wants to make sure that one of Helix’s partners won’t let them down. “We work with a core group of companies over and over again,” he says.

Providing Exceptional Service Helix seeks continual communication with clients to provide an exceptional construction experience. The company surveys clients through its survey program when jobs are half done and then at completion. The survey consists of seven questions. responsible for the 600 people who work for the company. He also considers the number of people in each related household, which increases that base number. “Every morning, I wake up thinking that I’m responsible for 2,100 lives.” As president, Fuchs said his job is “exciting and fulfilling.”

“We help Helix outshine the competition.”

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Helix believes in educating employees and reports that the company invested $550,000 for educational expenses.

Helix Vets Partners The company works with a limited

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North American Constructors Journal “We ask our clients to speak up and tell us if there’s something we need to improve,” says Fuchs. In addition, Helix asks every customer for a letter of recommendation. “When people don’t write a letter of recommendation, that’s probably a sign that something went wrong,” he adds. There’s a small minority who don’t believe in submitting recommendations or may not care to write one. However, most clients are glad to recommend the company. Then once the company gets a recommendation, it’s read in front of an employee’s peers.


In addition, Fuchs thanks the employees for their efforts.

Advancing the Electrical Industry The electrical construction industry continues to captivate Fuchs. He wants to do his best to serve his team and create a great work environment, and he also likes the challenge of providing outstanding services. “I like to see how we can bring the customer value, outsmart the competition, and deliver the best service for a competitive price,” he says.


Company Name: Helix Electric Country: USA Industry: Electrical Contractor Est: 1985 Premier Services: Design-Build and Complex Electrical Projects CEO: Victor Fuchs, President & Managing Partner Website:

North American Constructors Journal


The U.S. Military Academy at West Point:

Building Toward A Secure, Sustainable Future From the classroom to the playing fields and the unseen infrastructure needed to run at peak efficiency, the nation’s oldest military academy is getting a makeover. Written by Kevin Doyle Produced by Stephen Marino

North American Constructors Journal



North American Constructors Journal n your mind’s eye it’s easy to imagine Gen. George Washington – a land surveyor by training through his early adult life – observing the garrison at West Point keeping watch over the Hudson River in 1781 and referencing it as “the most important post in America.” “That was West Point as a military garrison in the Revolutionary War period. General Washington saw it as a critical component of the Revolution itself, of the overall war plan,” explains Col. Greg Boylan, Director of Resource Planning and Integration for West Point, the longest continuously garrisoned post in U.S. history since 1778. First proposed by Henry Knox and Alexander Hamilton, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point was formally founded by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802. The Academy is now under the direction of its 60th Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams (Class of ’83). Appointed in 2018, he is a distinguished career field artillery officer who has served around the world. The Academy’s mission statement prominently displayed on its home page is “to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to


the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army.” Today the massive 16,000-acre military reservation’s annual operating budget ranges from $160m to $190m and is dedicated to a 47-month holistic leader development program – the West Point Leader Development System (WPLDS) – into which the 4,400 cadets are immersed from the moment they arrive on campus. “The principle offering for cadets is grounded in academic, military, physical and character development programs, all of which are intended to produce highly-qualified, capable and ready commissioned officers prepared for active service leading soldiers in units in the United States Army,” Col. Boylan explains. Approximately 5,000 staff and personnel from 11 other

“The place is absolutely steeped to the strategic past of West Po strategic nature of its present it produces for the Army and o them realize the criticality of it of our Army a - Col. Greg

North American Constructors Journal organizations placed by the Army work in direct support of the Academy, which serves as a sort of “Task Force Headquarters.” That includes 1,577 personnel – 822 military and 755 civilians – serving as Academy staff and faculty. “We have a significant number of active duty personnel here who have already trod the road these young men and women are endeavoring to tread. We want our cadets to have first-hand exposure to people who have experienced the challenges they will soon face,” notes Col. Boylan.

Modernization Plans


“That includes assuring all requirements are identified and validated as they relate to the Academy’s mission and integrating them and synchronizing them within the Academy’s plan to assure we can continue our mission at a high level with minimal disruption. You can’t shut the place down for five years while you rebuild everything,” he says. Precise coordination with other elements of the staff is, Boylan says, “to assure that the resources necessary to execute that mission and achieve the vision are planned, prioritized and allocated so COL. Greg Boylan

From the classroom to the playing fields and the unseen infrastructure needed to run at peak efficiency, West Point is getting a makeover. As Director of Strategic Resource Planning and Integration, Boylan oversees management and implementation of the Academy’s modernization vision and plan, dubbed “USMA 2035”.

d in history … By linking cadets oint you help them understand in the context of the leaders our nation. This, in turn, helps ts strategic role in the future and nation.” g Boylan

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that the Superintendent is wellinformed and well-positioned to make the decisions that lead to success.” The 15- to 20-year USMA 2035 moderization plan: • Barracks infrastructure • Academic infrastructure • Military complex infrastructure • Physical development infrastructure • Enabling efforts (utilities, IT, etc.) for infrastructure that underpin the previous four segments Barracks Infrastructure: Work is two-thirds complete in this 10-year program that involves the complete renovation of nine existing barracks and the construction of a tenth –



Davis Barracks completed in 2017. The largest, Bradley Barracks, will have 900 beds upon completion in August 2022. Lee and Sherman Barracks, the final two, are completing the design phase and will begin in January 2022 with a 2023-24 target completion. “We incorporated collaborative spaces and chain of command spaces within the barracks – spaces that allow cadets to interact in chain of command positions and to have expanded opportunities to facilitate their growth in academic and military development domains,” Boylan explains. Academic Building Upgrade – The new $200m Cyber and

North American Constructors Journal Engineering Academic Center now under construction required blasting and removal of 300,000 cubic yards of rock. The state of the art center will include a parking structure beneath it and an August 2025 completion date is anticipated. Additional major academic building renovations, including the Patton Swing Facility that will be required to enable them, are expected to begin earnest in FY23 and continue through 2035. Military Complex – Phase One of the four-phase renovation project at Camp Buckner began in January 2021and will continue through Summer 2024. A larger military construction effort is planned for Camp Natural Bridge and is anticipated to begin in 2028.


Physical Fitness Infrastructure and Fields – This project is under way on several levels and design aspects will tackle historic preservation. The centerpiece is The Academy’s storied Michie Stadium, which will undergo a $95m Preservation Project focused on its East Stands and funded solely by donations. Numerous other projects including cemetery expansion, wastewater treatment plant renovation and expansion, and utility and steam system component upgrades are ongoing across campus.

A Day In The Life Candidates for admission are screened based on academic performance, leadership potential

North American Constructors Journal – a large percentage were high school team captains or cocaptains; club presidents and valedictorians – physical fitness assessment and aptitude, and character assessment such as letters from individuals they were involved with, exposed to or interacted with in high school. Once admitted, Boylan says the WPLDS framework provides cadets opportunity for growth in two ways. “First they practice following and then they practice leading starting in the sophomore year and it aggregates in each year with increasing responsibility


for numbers of people and requirements for a squad, platoon or company all the way up to the brigade. Ultimately WPLDS focuses cadets in three areas: Living honorably, leading honorably and demonstrating excellence in all that they do,” he says. Ultimately, staff and faculty serve as facilitators, providing candidates with tools to guide them. “What I tell cadets as an example is that I am not here necessarily to develop them, I am here to facilitate development because development is an individual responsibility. It is how the individual chooses to take

North American Constructors Journal advantage of the developmental opportunities presented to them,” Boylan adds. The curriculum includes 36 majors and 17 minors and cadets have access to 17 research centers. “They are different from a dedicated research institution and it’s important to understand that. Our research program is less about connection with externalities as opposed to research components that are intended to enrich the undergraduate academic experience,” Boylan offers Cadets also study abroad, participate in internships and have the opportunity to engage with


applied research components with external partners. “They learn how their particular academic pursuits apply in a military context but then also have exposure to various other agencies that support the military and military problem-solving requirements,” Boylan observes. Cadets are exposed to boxing, military movement, survival swimming, combat applications and a lifetime fitness regimen with regular testing. The Academy supports 30 NCAA D1 teams within the Patriot League, 16 club teams, and an intramural program that covers 11 other sports. Every

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Adaptive Reuse Government Civic Higher Education Commercial Healthcare Mixed Use Residential

...the art of architecture, the technology of construction, and the business of building.

Thayer Hall - Whole Building Renovation, US Military Academy, West Point, NY

cadet competes in some athletic endeavor. Boylan, who taught in the Department of System Engineering, has also served as the officer representative for the women’s rugby team for eight years. “Every team, depending on size,

has one or more to provide mentorship for the Cadet-Athletes to keep them grounded about what they are here for, 47-month developmental experience culminating in graduation and commissioning into the army,” he says. “I remind my players every day that none of you are here to play rugby. Rugby is here for all of you insofar as it pertains to your

“We have a significant number of active duty personnel here who have already trod the road these young men and women are endeavoring to tread. We want our cadets to have first-hand exposure to people who have experienced the challenges they will soon face.” - Col. Greg Boylan

North American Constructors Journal development as a leader and an officer. When it stops enabling that growth, you should probably find something else to do.”

The Road Ahead With USMA 2035 in place, the nation’s oldest military academy is on the fast track to a secure, sustainable future, every bit as important in a global context today as Gen. Washington deemed it to be 240 years ago. “The place is absolutely steeped in history. You have an immediate attachment to the earliest moments of our nation’s history. In many ways it started here and that


attachment contributes to the purpose of what you’re doing here. By linking cadets to the strategic past of West Point you help them understand the strategic presence. It helps them realize why it is so critical to remain strategic into the future both for the Army and the nation,” Boylan elaborates. He notes that dealing with young men and women called to a higher purpose every day and having the opportunity to influence and guide their growth toward that end is incredibly satisfying. “Ask anyone here what attracts them and it’s the opportunity to deal with, interact with, develop

North American Constructors Journal


North American Constructors Journal


and nurture and to guide these young men and women,” he stresses. Looking back, he notes the importance of thanking your parents as often as possible for their early and continued investments in your future. “Personally invest in who you are and remember your development is your responsibility. There is a great quote by Anne Frank that I always use: ‘Parents can only give good advice or put [their children] on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands’,” Boylan


Company Name: U.S. Military Academy at West Point Country: United States Industry: Construction Infrastructure Est: 1781 Mission: To educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, and Country as an officer in the U.S. Army. Superintendent: Lieutenant General Darryl A. Williams Website:

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MMR Group:

Highly Rated Electrical & Instrumentation Contractor Addresses Labor Shortages With A Win-Win Solution Based in Baton Rouge, LA, MMR Group is the largest open-shop electrical and instrumentation contractor in the United States. Written by Leslie Blaize Produced by Stephen Marino

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North American Constructors Journal ames B. “Pepper” Rutland says, “Blue-collar, skilled workers in America seem to be disappearing on us.”

As founder and president of MMR Group, the largest open-shop electrical and instrumentation contractor in the United States, Rutland knew that his company needed to address the development of a quality workforce. He emphasizes that “labor is our challenge, and we’re only as good as our team.” As a result, MMR developed a successful comprehensive training program that benefits both the company and employees looking for advancement opportunities.

and hands-on training during oneor two-week sessions. Participants must pass all 40 plus workstations, or they’ll be asked to return for further training to complete the requirements. MMR pays for the trainees’ housing and expenses during the training period. After completion of the training, the participant returns to their existing office. As graduates, personnel are eligible to: • Earn the highest pay grade for any of their projects • Get a week’s paid vacation • Receive a $2,000 set of hand tools The center is recognized by the

To address industry labor shortages, MMR spent several million dollars on its Craft Training Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The facility, built in 2014, offers training to employees who fill the role of front-line supervisors and craft personnel in the field. The company’s training program redefines the industry standards of qualified craftspersons and supervisors. Supervisors recommend qualified workers who receive classroom


James “Pepper” Rutland

North American Constructors Journal National Center for Construction Education and Research as an Accredited Assessment Center and Accredited Training Sponsor.

Training Future Supervisors Rutland says that this training helps groom the next level of supervisors. So far, 540 employees have participated. And of those graduates, only about three percent have left the firm.

Accommodating Hispanic Workforce MMR is also addressing the need to become bilingual in the company’s operations. One of these initiatives is through the launch of MMRTV, a bilingual digital mobile platform to provide employee training and assessment. With a large Hispanic workforce, Rutland remarks, “If we don’t adapt, we’re going to be left behind.”

Celebrating 30 Years MMR, founded in 1991, is consistently ranked at the top of


the Engineering News-Record’s annual specialty contractors list. The company delivers one million work-hour projects and manages 30 offices in North and South America. Its project list spans 36 countries across four continents with an average of 5,000 employees. The company has performed more than $7.5 billion in electrical and instrumentation services since its inception. It brings in $768 million in annual revenue. MMR strives for horizontal integration. Its goal is to handle all of a project’s electrical and instrumentation needs. In addition, it operates fabrication facilities.

Football Taught CEO Life Lessons Rutland, a lifelong Louisiana resident, attended Louisiana State University on a football scholarship and graduated from the engineering department in the construction management program. His role as a football team captain

“I learned a long time ago that if you can get everybody on the same team, pulling the same way, it’s a huge benefit.” - James B. “Pepper” Rutland, CEO and President

North American Constructors Journal

taught him many life lessons. “I learned a long time ago that if you can get everybody on the same team, pulling the same way, it’s a huge benefit,” he says. After college, Rutland was given the opportunity to run the instrumentation division of an E&I firm under Leonard Matthews and Bob McCracken, to which he would become the “R” in MMR (Matthews McCracken Rutland). “It’s the only job I’ve ever had,” he says. Now, as CEO of the parent company, Rutland spends his day solving problems. “I do what nobody else wants to do,” he notes


.Instead of enjoying good news, Rutland seeks out the challenges. He asks a lot of questions: • Where do we have an issue? • What are we doing about it? • How do we effectively fix it?

Managing Complex Projects MMR’s projects range throughout the world. Rutland picked out a few to highlight. Sasol Lake Charles Chemical Complex – Cracker and Derivatives Project - Westlake, Louisiana MMR performed electrical, instrumentation, and start-up for the project. The company’s scope

North American Constructors Journal


North American Constructors Journal


of work included duct banks and manhole installations and finish assembly of 12 substations. The company also provided high voltage cable installation and termination to eight substations, grounding, cable tray, cable and fiber optics, lighting systems and Public Address and General Alarm (PAGA), and camera installations.

practices throughout the project. “We had a lot of trying aspects to the job that made it very difficult,” Rutland says. Challenges included moving personnel to the job site and traveling on a two-lane road.

With a contract value of over $320 million for MMR, the project brought together 1,400 MMR employees logging approximately four million work-hours. MMR is proud to be consistently recognized for its safe work

“We integrated many of our resources on this project,” Rutland reports.

Kinder Morgan Elba Island 35V and 15KV Project - Savannah, Georgia

MMR performed electrical and instrumentation services, telecommunications, start-up, and

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commissioning assistance on this $2 billion mega project. The scope of services included 1.5 million feet of 35 and 15kv armored cable, 60 each 35kv phisterer plug terminations, 60 each 35kv stress cone terms, and 288 each 15 kv stress cone terms. MMR also provided turn-key telecommunications system design, installation, and commissioning.

People-Driven Company Despite its size, Rutland still thinks


of his company as a “big family unit.” The workforce enjoys an on-site full-time gym staffed with a trainer and nutritious meals following the lunchtime class The company plans activities multiple times a year. They include attending football games, holiday parties, fishing tournaments, and picnics. Rutland emphasizes that his employees spend 80 percent of their waking life at work. As CEO, he says, “I want to help create an atmosphere where people actually

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“I want to help create an atmosphere where people actually like coming to work, being part of the process, and seeing success.” - James B. “Pepper” Rutland, CEO and President

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like coming to work, being part of the process, and seeing success.”

failure.” He adds, “Listen to your gut more than you probably do.”

Selecting Top Partners

Don’t focus on your competitors, he advises. “Focus on what you’re doing, and do it better than anybody else, and all those other issues seem to take care of themselves.”

As a top specialty contractor, MMR focuses on working with quality partners. The company self performs many services but still needs partners for some aspects of a project. When Rutland was a football captain, he promoted working together. He uses that same approach with subcontractors, vendors, and service providers. “We’ve all got to pull together,” he says, to deliver quality projects for the client. That means the partners need to come through despite material and pricing challenges. “At the end of the day, we’re held accountable, and we’ve also got to hold them accountable,” he says. MMR looks for stable partners who have successfully delivered services on past projects.

“Just trust your instincts,” he says. “They’re usually right more times than they’re not.”


Company Name: MMR Group Country: USA Industry: Construction Est: 1991 Premier Services: Electrical and

Learn From Failures

Instrumentation Contractor

What can you learn from past experiences?

CEO: James B. “Pepper” Rutland

Rutland emphasizes that “the only thing you learn anything from is


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Sealevel Construction:

Recent Acquisitions, Industrial Work + Local Workforce Propels Growth for Heavy Civil Contractor Sealevel Construction is a heavy civil contractor established in southeast Louisiana that performs services for the marine and industrial markets. While the construction firm began its operations primarily as a small municipal contractor, over the last two decades it has developed its capabilities to provide services for the Gulf Coast region’s industrial, marine transportation, and infrastructure sectors.

Written by Leslie Blaize Produced by Stephen Marino

North American Constructors Journal



North American Constructors Journal ealevel Construction is a heavy civil contractor established in southeast Louisiana that performs services for the marine and industrial markets. While the construction firm began its operations primarily as a small municipal contractor, over the last two decades it has developed its capabilities to provide services for the Gulf Coast region’s industrial, marine transportation, and infrastructure sectors. Sealevel now employs more than 250 employees in multiple disciplines. The company has also obtained five industry-related affiliate companies and performs work in eight states. Sealevel’s recent expansion efforts have resulted in the company securing approximately $90 million in annual revenue in 2021 and nearly $100 million thus far in annual revenue for 2022. Sealevel’s overall growth can be attributed to the contractor’s new affiliated companies, increased industrial work, and, most importantly, its local workforce’s integrity and safe performance.

Core Capabilities Sealevel can now self-perform most of the work on significant civil and marine projects including


everything from site work to pile driving to structural concrete to steel fabrication to the electrical components. Director of Operations Travis Schonacher adds, “This diversity makes us very competitive in the markets we work in.” Sealevel and its affiliated companies now offer the following core capabilities: • Driven Piles • Drilled Deep Foundations • Structural Concrete • Structural Fabrication • Site Work Development • Civil Construction • Barge Maintenance and Repair** • Marine Transportation and Logistics** • Crane and Heavy Equipment Repair** • Electrical Services** • Mechanical/Utilities **denotes capabilities performed by Sealevel’s affiliate companies Sealevel also has an AISCcertified structural steel fabrication division. The division, also known as Specks Fabrication and Cutting, employs nearly 40 workers including welders, draftsmen, painters, and quality control personnel. Specks’ fabrication shops house advanced cutting technology including the PythonX, Messer

North American Constructors Journal

Cutting Table, HGG Pro Cutter, EMI Pipe Processor and other cutting equipment. By offering a drafting team, diverse cutting, fabrication, and coating services, Specks can complete all phases of any size project to the quality standards expected. The Specks team works alongside Sealevel and other contractors to complete the fabrication portion of marine, commercial, industrial and bridge infrastructure projects. Sealevel also added a marine repair and transportation affiliate to the family of companies. The marine division offers drydock capabilities as well as barge and tug


maintenance and repair services for the marine transportation and construction industries. Situated along Louisiana’s southern waterways, the marine yard allows convenient access to all marinebased projects. In addition, the company included electrical services to its portfolio of capabilities. The electrical affiliate provides diverse electrical services for marine, industrial, commercial and municipal facilities. Lastly, their crane and equipment servicing affiliate provides maintenance and repair services for all makes and models of heavy

North American Constructors Journal


North American Constructors Journal

equipment in the construction, marine, and oil and gas industries. President Richard Roth believes that, “Adding fabrication, marine repair and transportation services, equipment repair, and electrical services to our list of capabilities has enabled us to be more competitive and more valuable to the industries we serve. I believe these new services will position the companies and its employees for more opportunities, leading to growth in new and current markets.”

Industrial Work Sealevel’s turnkey solutions have allowed their team to deepen


the company’s footprint in the industrial market. From installing deep foundations to structural concrete, Sealevel executes civil and foundation portions of industrial expansion and maintenance projects. For example, their deep foundations crews completed an industrial project that entailed nearly 1,700 pipe piles. The Sealevel team also performed a major underground utilities project for a refinery, which included mass excavation, a concrete ring wall foundation, wet well installations, pipe rack supports, structural concrete and the installation of underground drainage throughout

North American Constructors Journal the facility. Another notable project for Sealevel’s industrial team was a drainage improvement project, which included structural concrete, pilings, construction of a catch basin and additional services. All three of the above-mentioned projects have been awarded Excellence in Construction(EIC) Awards through Sealevel’s membership with Associated Builders and Contractors, a national trade group. These awards continue to reflect Sealevel’s strong commitment to safety, innovation, and work integrity- all of which are criteria in achieving EIC awards. Sealevel also performs dock repairs for industrial facilities that


are situated along water channels and rivers. Sealevel recently self-performed a wharf repair, which included the fabrication, transportation and installation of a jacket structure, handrails, platforms, and walkways. The project also required site work and clearing, rip rap placement along the bank, and the installation of pipe piles and a fender system. Sealevel’s industrial capabilities do not stop there. The contractor also has the team and equipment to design, engineer, fabricate and install helical piles and support products for the energy and industrial markets.

North American Constructors Journal

Municipal/Flood Control Work Aside from Sealevel’s industrial work, their municipal division builds flood control infrastructure in South Louisiana for governmental municipalities and the United States Corps of Engineers. Equipped with a company-owned fleet of barges, cranes, tugs and other heavy equipment, the Sealevel team has constructed several projects as part ofhurricane protection systems. Projects include the construction of levees, pump stations, lock systems and flood control structures.


Featured Project Bayou Chene Flood Control Structure, St. Mary and Terrebonne Parishes: Sealevel recently finished the Bayou Chene Flood Control Structure, a long-awaited, $80 million structure constructed to prevent backwater flooding in 6 parish communities. Engineers deem this to be the largest flood control structure in the United States, as the entire structure provides approximately 1,050 linear feet of flood protection when the barge gate is in its closed position across the channel. The automated swinging barge

North American Constructors Journal


gate is also massive by itself at 406’ long, which is longer than a football field. Sealevel and its divisions self-performed 99% of the scope of work including: - Installation of the floodwall consisting of steel sheet piles and associated plumb and battered pipe piles - Placement of rip rap for scour protection - Channel Dredging - Fabrication of walkways and handrails - Construction of tie-in levees - Installation of landing piles and a cut off wall - Fabrication and installation of two 40’(W) x 173’(L) x 36’(H) jacket receiving structures The Bayou Chene Flood Control Structure was successfully installed and delivered to the owner within the contract scheduled time. Though they experienced unforeseen challenges, Sealevel collaborated with the owner, engineer, U.S. Coast Guard and marine industry to complete the job within requirements.

Providing Jobs for a Local Workforce Sealevel recognizes that these projects would not be possible if it weren’t for their employees, most

of whom live locally in respect to Sealevel’s headquarters and their projects. The team believes that a local workforce is a win-win for both Sealevel and its employees. Schonacher says, “Employees can be close to their families and go home every night, and we work with employees who understand and are prepared for Louisiana’s heat, geological landscape, and the local culture.” Another selling point for employees is that Sealevel’s

North American Constructors Journal workforce doesn’t have to be concerned about layoffs, as Sealevel’s position of growth continues to ensure work for all craftsmen and craftswomen. “We’ve never had a layoff because of lack of work,” says Schonacher. “We’re in a steady hiring mode.” Though Sealevel is continuously seeking quality employees, their team has mentioned finding a skilled labor force has been challenging. Leaders are taking a multi-faceted approach to finding talent, including providing bonuses for employee referral, offering comprehensive training for new hires and distributing recruitment information to local universities and technical colleges.

Safety, Integrity and Communication Are Keys to Consistent Success Whether a marine or landbased project, Sealevel’s team understands that safe performance, integrity and communication promote successful projects and lasting relationships with clients. To ensure a safe work environment, Sealevel has developed a safety program of HSE professionals with distinct roles. The team has also established a safety committee that involves field


and office personnel in order to plan and implement safety initiatives. Further, the safety team looks to ABC’s STEP program to incorporate valuable safety procedures and solutions into their own program, creating a safety culture specific to Sealevel’s operations. In 2021, ABC awarded Sealevel with the Diamond National Safety Award, reflecting Sealevel’s strength in safety. Criteria for this award included total recordable incidents, process and program innovation, lost workdays, EMR score and other safety criteria. The safety team looks forward to continued improvements to their safety program. “Safety has to be First” is one of the company’s core values. “We make it a priority to ensure our employee’s safety is the number one thing,” Schonacher emphasizes. Another guiding principle to Sealevel’s success is integrity in their line of work. Their team emphasizes that having integrity in all phases of work enables trust between coworkers, subcontractors and engineering partners, ensuring lasting relationships and growth for their team. Roth adds, “We want to be known as a reliable, respectful and trustworthy heavy civil contractor that follows through with each commitment with integrity. We

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North American Constructors Journal

want to be intentional about this, because at the end of the day, performing with honesty and our God-given talents is what matters most.”

Looking ahead Celebrating 25 years in business this year, the Sealevel team and its affiliated companies look ahead to changing markets, while striving to bring the best possible game plan to its clients. Their team emphasizes that though they are proud of their accomplishments, they will not remain complacent. They continue to seek improved methods of performance and ways in which to operate in the best interests of its clients and outstanding employees.



Company Name: Sealevel Construction Country: USA Industry: Construction Est: 1997 Premier Services: Heavy Civil Construction President and Founder: Richard Roth Website:

North American Constructors Journal


Stafford Crane Group :

Stafford Crane Group’s deep customer knowledge results in quality service delivery Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Stafford Crane Group Firm is a worldwide provider of lifting equipment and services. Written by Leslie Blaize Produced by Stephen Marino

North American Constructors Journal



North American Constructors Journal tafford Crane Group (SCG), a family-owned business established in 2004, values comprehensive care of its clients. That focus helped create the company’s success as a worldwide provider of lifting equipment and services. “Our main competitive advantage in the industry has always been and will always continue to be providing great customer service,” says Greg Linaman, CEO. “That means you have to control the customer experience from start to end.” The company, with headquarters in Phoenix, built its reputation in Arizona. SCG has expanded into new markets and currently operates in more than ten states, with depots in Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Oklahoma City, and Houston. It also offers crane and hoist rentals in Mexico. Through its affiliate Lift Cargas, Stafford Crane Group offers crane and hoist services in South America. Most recently, SCG acquired Soima Cranes of Portugal, a family-owned and operated tower crane manufacturer. Stafford Crane Group employs between 150 to 200 people. Its yearly sales, now exceeding $50


million, quadrupled in the past five years. Although the rate of increase slowed a bit because of COVID-19, “we’re ramping up to pretty much full speed now,” reports Linaman. “I think that number’s only going to keep going up.”

Firm Provides Comprehensive Services SCG understands that customers want to turn to one provider for their needs. As a result, SCG manufacturers, designs, and installs cranes. The company rents and sells: • Mobile cranes • Self-erecting cranes • Overhead cranes • Construction hoists Technical expertise is another critical component of the company’s success. SCG provides certified operator services for all cranes and hoists. It also offers erection and dismantle, technician, and consulting services on tower crane projects worldwide. A key component of SCG’s success is understanding its clients’ needs. “We listen to the customer and see what they want done better or how they want something changed,” says Patrick Stafford, owner and SCG founder.

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Unlike a family-owned business, large corporations typically don’t have trusted family members who can visit significant customers to learn about their project needs.

Patrick Stafford III, who represents the next Stafford generation.

Family’s Crane Business Began in Ireland

As a niche industry, Stafford Crane Group needs a specialized workforce. “We really have to develop our own talent,” notes Linaman. “The smaller the pool of talent you have to draw from, the harder it is.”

The origins of Stafford Crane Group can be traced to 1996 when Derek Stafford founded Stafford Tower Cranes in Dublin, Ireland. In 2004, Derek’s brother Patrick wanted to expand the business into the U.S. With Derek’s support, Patrick and Heather Stafford founded Stafford Tower Crane of America in Phoenix, Arizona. Now Patrick is joined by his son,

Training Employees

SCG solved this issue by creating the Tower Crane School of Phoenix, one of the largest and most prestigious crane training schools in the United States. It provides training for tower and

North American Constructors Journal

mobile crane operators as well as riggers and signalpersons.

Acquisition Assists with Supply Chain Issues Like most industries, supply chain challenges are impacting SCG. The cost of a container from Europe has doubled in some cases during the past year. The company also is dealing with some availability issues. Stafford talked with crane suppliers during his international travels to address supply concerns. Some of those conversations led to the acquisition of Soima Cranes of Portugal.


Management Takes HandsOn Approach SCG believes in on-site supervision of its projects by family members or close associates. “Leadership is on-site for a lot of these projects, if not all of them when the crane is going up,” reports Linaman. A leader typically tours a worksite with a project manager, watching for safety issues and managing performance. On-site managers want to ensure the company is performing at a top level. If work starts five minutes late, that means 10 or 15 people are hanging around without anything

North American Constructors Journal to do. That’s unacceptable with the cost of a mobile crane at $1,000 an hour. “We’re involved every step of the way,” says Patrick Stafford. As a worldwide provider of lifting equipment and services, Stafford Crane Group plays a critical role in many significant projects. The following projects highlight the company’s diverse services. State Farm, Tempe, Arizona: One of SCG’s most significant projects was the State Farm office campus in Tempe, Arizona, for Ryan Companies. It’s the largest office development in the state’s


history. Stafford provided six cranes and five construction hoists, and the firm self-performed all services. “The client chose us because we could provide a complete package,” says Stafford. Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood Project, University of California San Diego: SCG is currently supporting Kitchell on the Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood project on the University of California San Diego campus in La Jolla, California. SCG provided a five-tower crane and five dual hoists. It’s the biggest tower crane

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project in Southern California, with an expected completion date in 2023.

college degree. New hires have the opportunity to prove themselves and get noticed.

What Employees Value about SCG

Besides on-the-job training, the Tower Crane School of Phoenix also opens up possibilities for high school graduates who don’t want to pursue a college degree. High school counselors appreciate this option for teens who want to learn more about jobs in the construction industry.

At Stafford Crane Group, you don’t need an advanced degree to succeed. “If you work hard and do a good job, you will get noticed, and you will be rewarded,” says Linaman. “For talented and ambitious employees, that’s the kind of atmosphere they love.” Because it’s a niche industry, employees can make really good money at a young age without a

Both Stafford and Lanaman agree that the company’s “care factor” is important for employees. Linaman notes that the firm

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recently closed a big deal with a bank. The project involved the entire company. At the close of the agreement, the bank’s regional head met with Stafford and the management team. He was impressed with Stafford’s broad knowledge of his employees.

done differently.

“That guy (Stafford) knows who sweeps the floor,” he said.

At one point, Stafford was interested in aviation but pursued crane development instead.

Stafford and Linaman emphasize that they’re willing to do what is necessary to get the job done despite their leadership positions. During his career, Stafford has performed most of the work tasks that he asks others to complete. And as part of his job, Stafford frequently travels to Europe, Canada, and elsewhere to meet with clients and address their needs.

Focus on Relationships Stafford has been happy with his company’s growth since 2004. Still, like many owners, he sometimes thinks about what he could have

“I think we definitely could have been more aggressive in the early stages,” he notes. “We took our time and tried to stay involved with everything, although that was important.”

Lanaman also shared some of his lessons learned over the years. “Learn absolutely as much as you can every day because it’s amazing how often knowledge is a competitive advantage,” he says. “Be curious, read, and develop your knowledge base.” In addition, the CEO says he believes it’s important to meet as many people as you can. “At the end of the day, business is about people and relationships. Take every opportunity to meet people and develop good relationships with folks in the industry and related industries.”

“We listen to the customer and see what they want done better or how they want something changed.” - Patrick Stafford, Owner and SCG founder

North American Constructors Journal 130 SCG Prioritizes Taking Care of Clients If Stafford had to pick a top best practice for Stafford Crane Group, it would be taking care of customers. “You can have brilliant chairmen and presidents and everything else, but sometimes the care factor gets left behind. The one huge advantage we have is that we will always be meeting with the customers,” he says. “We will always be friends with our customers, and we make sure to take care of them.”

COMPANY INFORMATION Stafford also emphasizes the importance of bringing in the right people to help run the company at an early stage. “I’ve been very lucky in this regard,” he recalls. “Somehow, I bumped into Greg one night.” As leaders of the company, both Stafford and Lanaman bring different strengths to their roles. Stafford is a very hands-on owner who knows what’s going on with the critical components of the business. Although also involved with day-to-day operations, Linaman also steps back and studies the overall trends in the construction industry.

Company Name: Stafford Crane Group Country: USA Industry: Tower Crane Company Est: 2004 Premier Services: Lifting Services and Equipment Owner: Patrick Stafford CEO: Greg Linaman, CEO Website:

North American Constructors Journal


Helmkamp Construction Co.:

Pre-Planning leads to project success From pre-job to post-job, Helmkamp Construction company of East Alton, IL seeks a better way to deliver services Written by Leslie Blaize Produced by Stephen Marino

North American Constructors Journal



North American Constructors Journal


hen Rob Johnes joined Helmkamp Construction Co. as an intern in 1997, he had no idea he would end up buying the company as the first non-family owner. Now, as the president and owner of this full-service general contractor firm, Johnes wants to provide his employees with the same opportunities for growth that he enjoyed as a new employee out of college. You won’t find many barriers at Helmkamp. If any employee wants to take on a challenge, they’re given the chance, with lots of internal support. Based in East Alton, Illinois, this client-focused construction firm brings in about $60 million a year. Its workforce includes 25 office staff and about 100 direct employees in the field. Although it provides construction management, Helmkamp also self performs a lot of work with an average project size of $200,000. The company, founded in 1938, serves the repeat professional buyer of construction in the industrial, building and life science markets. Helmkamp delivers services for about 200 projects a year. Its main presence is in Illinois and the St. Louis metropolitan area. Helmkamp also performs work in an additional 25 states throughout

the country. Johnes says his firm looks for projects that they can execute really well. Because of their highquality services, some customers have been with the firm for 50 years.

Stakeholders Know the End Goals One reason for the firm’s long-term success may be its attention to

“Celebrate success. It’s too easy t

the next project without acknow completed.” Rob

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that exactly meets a customer’s specifications. Another critical question concerns the project goals. Why does a client need the project? Perhaps they need to meet a deadline for increasing production, or they’re rolling out a new product. Once Helmkamp’s team understands the goals, they share this data with their subconsultants and associated firms. “We’re a guest in the facility,” Johnes says. “We plan ahead, and we’re prepared.”

pre-planning. Teams dig into the issues to discover their customers’ goals - both obvious and hidden. “We figure out what are going to be the issues beforehand,” Johnes says. “That way, we’ll have the right people, materials and equipment before the project begins.” Project leaders look for intangible issues that may not be obvious, such as which building entrance to use or how to produce an invoice

to always to be looking ahead to

wledging the success of a job just Johnes, President

In addition, Helmkamp incorporates safety into its pre-planning process. The firm’s superintendents and foremen also share information regarding unsafe safety activities and how they were corrected on a job site. These stories are popular because they’re authentic. “It’s a craft person talking to a crafts person, misspellings and all,” he adds. If there’s a trend with a safety issue, such as ladder usage, then Helmkamp may offer training to prevent future safety problems.

Stay Ahead of Schedule Another aspect of the pre-

North American Constructors Journal Rob Johnes - President & Owner


Luke LaBeau - Safety Director

planning process is identifying an owner’s unrealistic expectations. Sometimes, Helmkamp needs to inform the owner that their goal may not be practical or physically possible. Then the project team will work with the owner to find a solution.

Helmkamp’s project leaders are always looking for opportunities to pull ahead, whether that’s in the fieldwork, or through prefabrication or pre-work. “As a result, you’ve built in a cushion to absorb the unexpected and still adhere to deadlines,” Johnes says.

If the project requires a specific time frame, it may be necessary to prefabricate an element. By understanding an owner’s expectations, Helmkamp can then aggressively manage contingencies.

The firm likes to say that the month is over when you hit the 15th day. That’s because if you don’t address an issue by mid-month, it won’t be solved until the next month. It takes time to get materials, make the engineering change or solve some other issue.

Johnes agrees with a popular saying, “If you’re on schedule, you’re behind schedule.” That’s because unexpected issues may arise.

This philosophy must work because this director always gets his projects done on time.

North American Constructors Journal 136 Serving the Industrial World The following three projects reflect Helmkamp considers itself a clientbased rather than an industrybased firm. The company works for customers in the private market who buy construction in a repeat professional manner. Their clients include owners in the power, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. The company’s clients look for quality contractors who provide a safe work environment for their employees and owners. “Safety is at the forefront of everything we do,” Johnes says. Projects Demonstrate Diversity

Helmkamp’s diverse portfolio. All are for long-time clients. One client, who has worked with the firm for 15 years, hired them to build a new field house for a Christian Science school in the St. Louis, Missouri, area. The 90,000-sq.-ft. structure is now about 50 complete. Helmkamp assisted with front-end planning.

A second project is with Ameren, a local utility, for a conveyor’s coal yard. It required multiple shifts in the tunnels of the coal yard. The third project is with Tinuum Group, an emissions reduction firm, for installation of emissions control

North American Constructors Journal


facilities for power plants.

the job?” Johnes asks.

The firm started with one project and installed 36 of them across the country. Through this project, the firm learned it could quickly mobilize teams, hire subs as needed, and build these plants to meet demand.

As part of the post-job review, superintendents will review a partner’s performance. If they don’t get high marks, these partners won’t be included in future jobs, even if they submitted a low bid.

Forging Strong Partnerships Helmkamp understands the importance of selecting the right project partners to ensure the firm’s continuous success. For each project, the team considers if the outside contractors are the best fit for the job. “Do they have the right people and resources to execute

Johnes explains that timing is critical for many industrial projects. If an industrial facility doesn’t open on time, it could cost the owner millions of dollars.

What do the Clients Need? Helmkamp wants to make life easier for their client owners. Johnes understands that it’s best

North American Constructors Journal

to tailor Helmkamp’s processes and procedures to meet a client’s needs in a large corporate environment. “We try to the be the ‘Easy Button’ like the Staples commercial,” he says. Helmkamp won’t sacrifice safety or quality, but otherwise, the company will accommodate their customer’s requests. He tells clients, “Tell me what you need, and we’ll do it.”

Focusing on Continuous Improvement Besides pre-job planning, Helmkamp also formalizes its postjob analysis. Johnes involves all


relevant personnel in this process. The project team will analyze a few job components that they might do differently the next time. Or they may recommend the continuation of the same approach. “Then we memorialize these comments and share them,” he says. Individuals who worked on the project may present to the rest of the company about some aspect of the project that didn’t go well, or that succeeded. For example, a crew may be forced into a new approach that works better than a traditional one. Johnes wants to make sure the entire company benefits from these on-site discoveries.

North American Constructors Journal

Coping with Material and Labor Shortages Helmkamp and its clients face material price increases and shortages like others in construction. Johnes predicts these issues will be short-term. In the long term, labor shortages will continue to be a challenge. “If individuals are willing to learn, have the right attitude, and are intelligent, you can teach them what they need to know if they enjoy working with their hands,” he says.

Johnes also predicts that offsite prefabrication may become more common. He’s seen factorybuilt components in the past. Most recently, he’s seen their use accelerate in the past few years because of the labor shortage and developing technologies.

The Lure of the Construction Industry Johnes is passionate about delivering excellent service for his clients. He loves construction “because everything’s always

“We try to the be the ‘Easy Button’ like the Staples commercial.” Rob Johnes, President


North American Constructors Journal


to others in the construction industry? “Celebrate success,” he says. “It’s too easy to always to be looking ahead to the next project without acknowledging the success of a job just completed.” Otherwise, Johnes notes, “12 years can go by, and you realize you haven’t celebrated anything.” He adds, “take the time to smell the roses, as they say.”

COMPANY INFORMATION different,” he says. “All the inputs change, whether it’s different subs, materials, environment or players.” As an owner, Johnes relishes the problem-solving process involved in each project. He also enjoys watching his long-term employees develop their skills over time . “Some of these guys I got out of college as interns,” he reveals. “At first, they were unsure of themselves. And now they’re confident in front of our owners and successfully delivering projects.”

Savor Your Successes What advice would Johnes offer

Company Name: Helmkamp Construction Co. Country: USA Industry: Construction Management and Self-Performance Est: 1938 Premier Services: Industrial, Building, Life Science CEO: Rob Johnes, President and Owner Website:

North American Constructors Journal


American Fire Protection Group:

Playing to Our Strengths – Creating a Simple and Worry-Free Life Safety Experience

American Fire Protection Group, based in South Central USA, is a leading provider of life safety services across multiple sectors. Written by Kevin Doyle Produced by Stephen Marino

North American Constructors Journal



North American Constructors Journal


merican Fire Protection Group’s (“AFPG”) employees, in 10 locations across the country, are skilled Life Safety Specialists of the highest order. AFPG has evolved into an industry leader, offering a wide array of life safety services across multiple sectors. That’s a key separation point for President Mike Gengler between AFPG and its competition. “It starts with our mission: to be the leading solutions provider in the Life Safety Industry,” says Gengler. “We always strive to bring our finest effort, exceptional ideas and incomparable character in everything we do. We stress and communicate across our team, so it is well known what the mission is day in and day out. As important, if not more important, the foundation of our mission is our company values.” The company works primarily in South Central USA with offices in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, and corporate headquarters in Minnesota. While offices are inter-connected and can pool resources as needed, Gengler notes that all are expected to operate autonomously, at the most granular level.

Playing To Its Strength The company’s financial strength, coupled with a deep and experienced staff, enables it to provide clients with safe, welldesigned, long-term solutions. “We have people who have been

“We focus on behaviors that pro environment that allows us to go h do the things we enjoy - President M

North American Constructors Journal


According to Gengler, one of the company’s primary advantages is the diversity of unique markets it works in, allowing AFPG to showcase its many strengths. “Each market has a different flavor, but our focus value proposition is the same. We lead with inspections and monitoring, then build on the strength of that relationship with fire sprinkler, fire alarm, and hazard services,” he observes.

Commitment to Safety Safety is not just a priority at AFPG … it’s a core value and an integral Mike Gengler

around a long time, and the team has witnessed many situations. The world is changing rapidly, and experience helps us with our customers’ leadership, safety, and risk management. This is a big piece of the pie that customers appreciate,” explains Vice President of Operations Steve Rians.

ovide a safe and risk-free work home to the people we love and y most,” Gengler says. Mike Gengler

North American Constructors Journal

part of the company’s culture. “We focus on behaviors that provide a safe and risk-free work environment that allows us to go home to the people we love and do the things we enjoy most,” Gengler says. Every team member across the company has stop-work authority. At any point, someone can say, “Stop, we need to take a pause and work through a situation because I believe it is unsafe or there is some risk we need to mitigate.” As part of its safety process, AFPG conducts weekly safety meetings, constantly observes and evaluates


behaviors, hires dedicated Safety Leaders, and commits to achieving zero injuries, zero incidences, and zero losses. AFPG provides a safe and healthy work environment focused on continual improvement and injury elimination while complying with relevant regulatory requirements. The company believes all injuries and occupational illnesses can be prevented and strives to implement a safety and health management program to achieve this goal. AFPG’s Safety Training consists of the following: • TEAM members participate in a minimum of eight hours of

North American Constructors Journal


computer-based and eight hours of classroom-based safety training each year • The company conducts weekly Safety Toolbox Meetings • Employees get frequent taskspecific safety training • New hires receive safety orientation as part of the company’s onboarding process

Rians elaborates, “There is no better environment to showcase our customer attention and safety skills than in a healthcare facility. The customer immediately observes that AFPG understands their needs, delivering comfort and confidence. Once this trust is established, it pretty much seals the deal for a true partnership.”

“Safety is a mindset and an attitude for everyone,” Gengler says.

Showcase Projects

Rians identifies the healthcare environment as a litmus test for the company’s application of jobsite safety, security, and the needs of a complex client.

The following projects reflect the diversity of AFPG’s expertise. Fujifilm Andromeda Diosynth Classroom Building: The facility is designed to support late-phase

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North American Constructors Journal and commercial manufacturing of gene therapies and other advanced therapies. The estimated $35 million project will include the addition of cell culture and high throughput manufacturing suites. NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci visited the facility during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Sam Houston State, Gresham Library Renovation: Working in an active student environment, AFPG demonstrated its expertise working under stressful conditions. The Academic Success Center has improved the existing study areas, reorganized the physical library collections, and created new collaborative spaces for the ASC to be housed in the library.


Pfizer POD Project: Pre-fab critical care unit components (pods) were produced in Texas and Belgium before being transported to a central site for rapid assembly and deployment during the pandemic. Additional completed AFPG projects include: • Raytheon Aircraft Hangars with high expansion foam fire protection. The demanding schedule was completed ahead of schedule despite several on-site challenges. • AFPG completed the demolition and replacement of 11 overhead and rack sprinkler systems at McLain Foods and RSI, working

North American Constructors Journal

over existing dry storage conditions and ongoing operation in the facility (Quell). The company is also working on National Distribution Automated rack retrieval systems; Lithium-ion battery energy storage facility; for multiple Lowes Stores; and dry system replacements Dry and Cold Storage facilities with fully automated Automatic Storage Retrieval Systems.

Day to Day Gengler views his role as one of setting direction through vision and strategy, adding it’s “probably the most important thing I do.”


He is also responsible for aligning resources and making sure the “right leaders are in key roles across AFPG.” “I work hard to motivate and inspire, especially our field team. We are thankful for their efforts every day, particularly after being on the front line for the past nearly two years during this pandemic,” Gengler says. Meanwhile, Rians happily tells the company’s story. He works with the sales teams that are focused on delivering the high-end service long-time clients have come to expect while bringing new customers into the fold.

North American Constructors Journal “It is important to partner with folks who share our values and enable us to be successful while ensuring the right decisions get made on go/no go. Honesty and integrity are the easiest things in the world to maintain, but they are difficult to regain once you lose them. Bringing consistency is important to our proposals, using our Mission and Values as guides,” he points out. In general, the company finds relationships with key industry associations to be beneficial, especially when it comes to training and implementing best safety practices. On those occasions when AFPG needs to work with new vendor/ partners, they seek out likeminded companies that share their value system and commitment to loyalty. Among the challenges facing the industry as a whole, the age gap remains most pressing. Retiring Baby Boomers are taking invaluable institutional knowledge and tricks of the trade with them


when they retire. Gengler adds that the current worker shortage is impacting the entire industry. Despite this, he notes that many employees have been with the company for over twenty years which has developed a highly experienced TEAM who are actively mentoring the next generation of Life Safety experts. Meanwhile, COVID lingers in its fourth or fifth iteration. Material prices, including steel, have skyrocketed. And don’t forget the price of gas – without gas, materials don’t move, and without materials, construction grinds to a halt.

Committed to Hiring Armed Forces Personnel A U.S. military veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to “the United States of America” for an amount of “up to and including their life.” That is honor. There are too many

“Every good employee needs to be a leader. Enjoy the journey even when you fail. And if you fail again, don’t get frustrated with the disappointments. Because each failure is an opportunity to learn and improve.” - President Mike Gengler

North American Constructors Journal people in this country who no longer understand that. We do. Gengler, himself is a Civil Engineering Management graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he played on the Varsity hockey team for four years. He went on to serve in the United States Army as an Executive Officer and Platoon Leader. As a Maintenance Officer, he managed all maintenance activities for equipment valued in excess of $21 million in a Multiple Launch Rocket System Battery. Mike and AFPG appreciates the leadership, loyalty, and superb qualifications each veteran brings to the civilian workplace.


These qualities and skills are transferable as positive assets to any organization, which is why the company is active in its veteran recruitment. AFPG offers veterans an opportunity to start a career with a company that honors their military service, invests in their future, and helps support and train them as they transition to a civilian career.

Looking Ahead AFPG embraces technology at every level and has developed systems to deliver solutions in the most efficient way possible. Looking back, Gengler reiterated the reasons for the company’s long-running success: “Being ready for what’s next leads to opportunity and growth, and that leads to solutions that help our customers,” he notes. And he tacked on a final piece of personal advice,

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“Every good TEAMmate needs to be a leader. Enjoy the journey even when you fail. And when you fail, don’t get frustrated with the disappointments. Because each failure is an opportunity to learn and improve,” he concludes. It’s a philosophy that has kept AFPG on the path to continued success for a good long while.

North American Constructors Journal

Brayman Construction Corporation:

From Suits to Boots

Brayman Construction Corporation’s successes are based upon critical thinking, diversification and clear communication Written by Kevin Doyle Produced by Stephen Marino


North American Constructors Journal



North American Constructors Journal tephen M. Muck set a goal for himself to one day own and build his own successful business.

So, in 1992 he left a successful career in investment banking and bought Brayman Construction Corporation, based in the Pittsburgh suburb of Saxonburg, because, he says, he wanted to trade suits and ties for boots and jeans. The company was founded in 1947 by George Brayman, which by 1992 performed approximately $7 million in annual volume. Today, Brayman Construction Corporation, with Muck as CEO, Chairman of the Board and owner, employs approximately 450 staff members across its various divisions and generates between $150 million to $200 million in annual revenue. Brayman’s success has been built on tenets that are essential to growing any business: critical thinking, diversification, clear communication with stakeholders as well as civic leaders and, of great importance to Muck, creating an environment that encourages his staff to learn and grow within the organization. Brayman’s diversity includes 8 divisions with primary core


“What I do is strategy buildin connections. So, I try to make understand the capabilities of all [and] are able to utilize each competitive product - Chairman/CEO

competencies in heavy civil engineering and construction, foundation drilling, marine construction and commercial diving. One of Brayman’s affiliate companies, Advantage Steel & Construction, self-performs steel erection and operates a steel fabrication shop, and was recently voted the third fastest growing company in Pittsburgh by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Another affiliate, Brayman Precast, operates a precast concrete manufacturing Steve Muck

North American Constructors Journal


and a risk manager.

ng and establishing synergy sure that all of those entities of the parts of the organization h other to provide the most t for our customers. O Stephen Muck facility and a rebar fabricating facility with pre-tie capabilities. Brayman’s ability to perform many construction functions in-house and its reputation of tackling challenging projects provides the organization a built-in edge over its competitors.

A Focus On Diversification, Risk Management And New Opportunities Muck characterizes his role in the organization as a strategy builder Tim Taylor

“Strategy is easy to understand, we have a lot of moving parts and a lot of moving companies,” he says. “Part of what I do is to make sure that all of those entities understand the capabilities of all of the parts of the organization [and] are able to utilize each other to provide the most competitive product for our customers.” The organization’s focus, through Muck’s eyes, is on seeking new opportunities. Brayman embraces and effectively manages risk, making novel, high risk projects possible. The companies’ employees foster this entrepreneurial spirit. “Believing in the people in the organization and having their backs has allowed us to do complex, higher margin work, some of which has never been done before,” he says. “(We also have) our willingness to learn new things and thrive. Our latest diversification has been into the construction robotics market, creation and pursuit of solutions for the industry.” Brayman often brings one, two, or more of its divisions, and their particular expertise, together to pursue difficult jobs where there are few competitors with the

North American Constructors Journal Jeff Hopple


says Muck. At Brayman Construction, as at many heavy construction companies, knowledgeable, efficient people with 40-plus years of experience are retiring, replaced by younger employees who need to learn the nuances of the organization and the jobs to be done.

capabilities to meet the exacting standards set by customers. One of Brayman’s assets is the ability to properly position the right people in the various roles each job presents. That could mean hiring a single individual or acquiring a new company with a necessary skill set and slotting them into the team.

Staff Education A Priority Nurturing employees with opportunities to grow and learn all the different facets of the business has become critical, particularly considering the events of the last two years. Like many industries, the construction industry is experiencing a major labor skills gap, probably the most severe challenge facing the industry,

To facilitate and expedite the necessary training, Brayman has introduced a mentor program, with the organization’s senior, most experienced people passing along the lessons they have learned, with a one-on-one perspective, to younger staff. It’s a thorough process and connects mid to senior management with less experienced employees. Muck stresses the importance to this group of understanding how the business is run, in addition to product knowledge. The goal is to develop the team and individuals to become complete business people, who, in addition to their skills as engineers and project managers, will have a more well-rounded understanding of the dynamics of the business, in order to manage projects effectively and generate profitable outcomes in the years to come.

North American Constructors Journal One route taken by Brayman to facilitate younger employee development, is a unique preapprenticeship training program instituted six years ago. The program is open to high school graduates, who spend one Saturday every month over a two-year period to become familiar with the many activities and capabilities of Brayman’s 8 divisions. After the two years, they can join one of the organization’s trade apprenticeship programs or one of the internal employment opportunities. A major benefit of the program is that participants can avoid incurring college debt.


Additionally, participants enter the workforce with skills that allow them to integrate into the workforce and contribute almost immediately. A major reward for participants, says Muck, is the increased earnings potential these candidates achieve by the age of 25 or 26.

Premium Placed On Work Site Safety Brayman handles some of the riskiest construction activities, including marine construction, steel erection, heavy lifting and commercial diving anywhere from 10 to 100 feet deep.

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introduce myself.”

“We do some simple things, such as first-year employees getting assigned a different color hard hat,” says Muck. “That way when any experienced person, superintendent or myself see a lime green hardhat, we know that is somebody new who hasn’t been with us a year yet. It also allows me to go over and

Naturally, schedules can change, so Brayman’s policy is to not overbook future work in order to have the capacity to deal with schedule changes. It’s a real balancing act to ensure the company maintains adequate resources and personnel to deliver high quality work to customers in accordance with project schedules.

Customers And Partners As with any successful business, Brayman maintains clear communication channels with customers, especially when it comes to meeting their projected schedules.

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North American Constructors Journal Brayman works with a variety of partners, some on a long-term basis, some new to individual projects. In the latter case, the company employs a vetting process to evaluate a potential partner’s cultural values and their ability to deliver quality work safely and on time. In Muck’s experience, good contractors all seem to have the same basic values. Their foundations include, first and foremost, caring about their people, the safety of their job sites and not shying away from taking reasonable risks. Such foundations lead to more successful, profitable, and reliable organizations.

High Profile Projects The Brayman Construction Corporation’s resume of successful projects is impressive. Some of the most notable include: CHARLEROI LOCKS AND DAM 4 RIVER CHAMBER COMPLETION PROJECT: The ongoing joint venture project with Trumbull Corporation for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District, is scheduled as a nine-year project at a cost approaching $270 million dollars upon completion. The modernization effort will yield one new 84-feet-wide by 720-feet-long


chambers to replace the existing 56-feet-wide lock currently in operation. KANAWHA RIVER BRIDGE: Brayman served as general contractor on this award-winning $83 million project for West Virginia’s Division of Highways District 1, completed in 2011. The 2,975-foot segmental bridge carries I-64 East over the Kanawha River, crossing multiple local roadways and the Norfolk Southern railroad. The 760-foot main span remains the longest segmental span in the United States. This was selected as a Bridge of the Year award winner and was Brayman’s first balanced cantilever bridge. BLUESTONE DAM: Brayman has been at this site in Hinton, WV for multiple projects for over 15 years and anticipates completing its current contract in 2030. Brayman is currently working on the final phase: Phase V Stilling Basin. This project has a current cost of $320 million and duration of approximately nine years. At the onset of these projects, this dam (owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) was considered to be one of the most at-risk for failure dam structures in the United States. Work at this location has included several hundred high-capacity anchors, large mass and tremie concrete

North American Constructors Journal placements, grout curtain cut off walls, complex monitoring instrumentation. As the current project completes the safety upgrades, Brayman will be building a community park with multiple ball fields leaving a lasting legacy for the community. THE ‘ANDY WARHOL BRIDGE’ AND ‘RACHEL CARSON BRIDGE’: Officially known as the 7th Street and 9th Street bridges in Pittsburgh, Brayman rehabilitated both bridges for Allegheny County. Both projects involved extensive steel repairs, complete replacement of the concrete


bridge decks and bridge sidewalks, blasting and painting of the entire structure. Close proximity to downtown Pittsburgh necessitated careful planning and coordination between Brayman, subcontractors, the city, and Allegheny County.

In The Community No matter where the projects are, Brayman’s employees connect and stay in touch with local leadership, including mayors, city council members and others in order to determine local needs. A prime example is the Bluestone Dam project (noted above), the highest

North American Constructors Journal


risk dam in the country, where the company has enjoyed a 15-year relationship working with the local community on development along the New River.

invest in the company, which he accepted,” says Muck. “In large part I learned the business from Jack, in addition to working with Brayman’s superintendents.”

From The Past And Into The Future

The company continues to learn new things and thrive through diversity. The most recent example of diversification has been its entrance into the construction robotics market and the creation and pursuit of solutions for the industry.

Muck attributes much of the company’s success to the early years and a gentleman named Jack Hughes, who retired 20 years ago. “Jack was the only project manager, the purchasing agent, and wore many other hats when I initially acquired the company. I offered Jack the opportunity to

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The formation of the company’s affiliate Advanced Construction Robotics Inc. came about from Muck’s long-term observations that

North American Constructors Journal productivity was lagging, work force availability was dropping, safety was a growing concern, and many day-to-day construction activities, such as rebar tying, were boring and uninspiring. Advanced Construction Robotics debuted TyBot in October of 2018, which ties rebar intersections. Next up is its IronBot product in 2022, which handles rebar carrying and placing. While Brayman’s qualified staff does most of the ‘heavy lifting’ Muck adds his experience and a different perspective. “Our largest, most recent project is the nine-year, $320 million [Bluestone Dam Phase V Stilling


Basin] project,” he says. “Because of the duration, potential escalation risks and the complexity of the work, I spent quality time with our team as we were building [the bid]. Really my role is risk assessment and maybe some left-handed, right-brain approaches to the work. I’ve been at this for almost 30 years now and understand the principles and can put fresh eyes on something my people have worked on for weeks or months or years.” Muck sees Brayman Construction Corporation as a nimble, innovative and reflective company with multiple plans in place. He firmly believes in its people to drive

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“I enjoy the diversity of what we do and I love the people, w field, hands-on, building great works, the guys supervising t trying to get a low, hard-bid project … and trying to utilize all t we have in our diverse organizatio - Chairman/CEO Stephen Muck

North American Constructors Journal

whether it’s the guys out in the them; or the estimating teams the tools and the resources that on.” k


continued growth and success, encouraging them to take risks and pursue their dreams. “We really do our own thing based on many [foundational industry] principles,” he says. “We’re looking for continuous improvement and efficiencies. Running parallel to that is human development, which has become so critical in our industry.”


Company Name: Brayman Construction Corporation Country: United States Industry: Construction Est: 1947 Premier Services: Provider of complex, heavy civil engineering and construction, foundation drilling, steel erection, and marine construction for both public and private sector clients. Chairman/CEO: Stephen Muck Website:

North American Constructors Journal


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