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Covering the Industry’s News

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Volume 15


Number 12



Out with the old

Cool rules!

Trey Celaya, Josiah Vance (standing), Sean Dalle and Nicole Kornegay sit in front of the new project “whiteboard.”

Team R U Kool is cool indeed! Pictured, L-R: Brenda, Phillip and Raul

orget the ubiquitous project whiteboard. Throw the regular ongoing, hours-long meetings with project stakeholders out the window. Leave the sour taste behind of owner’s, project superintendents, project managers and subcontractors that’s left when everybody was not on the same page during the project duration. When Sean Dalle, a seasoned Austin construction professional, broke out into his new venture, Datum Commercial Contracting LLC in July, he had definite ideas on how to improve the efficiency, workflow, cost and end-user satisfaction of construction projects. “The industry has become archaic and inefficient and is not making use of

the latest technology to improve,” Dalle says. With Nicole Kornegay and Van Trahern, the team set out to change that reality. Fortunately for Datum, Sean’s brother, Trey Celaya, is an IT wizard. As IT consultant/system designer for the new firm, Trey listened to what Sean wanted and proceeded to build and equip the burgeoning company with a custom system that not only eliminates mistakes and miscommunications, but allows for superior transparency between all team members and clients. Always, one comprehensive startup meeting, including all parties tenants, property managers, architects, continued on Page 17


t’s the perfect name for an HVAC company, but R U Kool? owner Raul Espinoza says the initials also reflect his and his wife’s, Umeisela, initials. Espinoza started the company in 2014 in Buda and he has three to four employees for the company that handles both residential and commercial projects. “What got me started was my first job working in the AC business with my aunt’s ex-husband,” he says. “They had me picking up trash and being a gopher, but I wanted to learn the work. I always stayed a step ahead. The motivation for thriving for more is what inspired me to go beyond my expectations.” That motivation led him to start his own company.

“The training and experience I received made me want to do better for myself,” he says. Espinoza, who grew up in Austin, says he was fairly new in the job force after high school when he started working for another uncle, before leaving to learn the HVAC business. Now, he has more than 10 years of experience and has been doing sub-contract work for more than seven years. “I started in residential and when it got cold, I started doing commercial jobs,” he says. He’s worked on Pronto Insurance remodels and multi-family new builds, among others. continued on Page 17

Surf’s up in Austin!


he first public surf park constructed in the U.S. and the largest surf park in the world opened recently in Austin to rave reviews. White Construction Company (WCC) was the GC on NLand Surf Park, owned by Austin Park LLC., according to Dominic Padilla, LEED AP, relationship development manager. Located east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on a 160-acre lot at 4836 E. Hwy. 71, the water park was created by surfer Doug Coors, descendant of brewing company founder Adolph Coors. The park has 11 different surfing areas, ranging from beginner to professional, and waves that vary in size from 1- to 6-ft.-tall. The surfing lagoon covers an area the size of nine football fields. NLand Surf Park also includes a Surf Shop; Blue Prairie restaurant; a smoothie bar; and the NLand Training Center, a state-of-the-art surf school.

The surfing lagoon at NLand Surf Park covers an area the size of nine football fields.

Senior project manager was Seth Ackland; project superintendent was Wayne Gilley and superintendent was Brady Bowers. Engineer on the project was Spanish engineering firm Wavegarden. Primary construction materials used on the project were concrete and steel, Padilla says. Challenges included dealing with a rainy year. “This project was constructed during one of the wettest years in Austin history,” Padilla says. Collaboration between many people and companies also made the project unique. “Many engineers and consultants from Austin, as well as from Europe, had to work very closely to coordinate all of the engineering,” he said. Construction cost-consulting and continued on Page 17

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Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Defining design

Studio8 Architects Austin employees gather for some team building time.


he founder of Studio8 Architects says his firm is all about working with clients to design and implement something that truly reflects that individual business and its culture. “We pride ourselves on learning about our clients and being a real partner with them,” says Milton Hime, AIA, who founded the Austin office in 2003 and the San Antonio office in 2011. “We make sure what we are doing for them is a reflection of their culture and the way they do business. We want to bring them really great design. At the end of the day, the building is a reflection of them, not us.” Studio8 is strictly commercial and focuses on offices, both interior and shell, as well as tenant improvements, planned communities, master planning and mixed use. “We like to do things from the inside out,” Hime says. “Our preference is enduser buildings, inside and out.” Besides being thoughtful when it

comes to clients, Hime says Studio8 is a great place to work. “We focus on our employees and their development for their careers,” he said. “We do love great design.” There are 25 employees in Austin and five in San Antonio, including five principals: Hime, Lisa Cuddy, AIA, Jennifer Carter, IIDA, LEED AP, Paul Detke, AIA and Robert Byrnes, AIA. Megan Moshier is the director of the San Antonio office, although Hime spends a couple of days a week there. Hime says the San Antonio office was opened when Studio8, named for his studio number when he was at another firm, was redeveloping Windsor Park Mall for the City of Windcrest and the new tenant, Rackspace. The company’s culture also includes giving back to the community. This year, they completed the design work on People’s Community Clinic pro bono, as well as having a 23-year relationship with the Central Texas Food Bank. –cw

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

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Skate parks and shotcrete

Yann and Jamie Curtis have recently branched out to include structural shotcrete projects.


rothers Yann and Jamie Curtis have always been close, so when Jamie – a huge skateboarder – suggested that the family, including mom and dad, start a skate park business, everyone was all for it. That was in 2002 and the company was christened Skate Park of Austin. They owned and operated the indoor skate park – all wooden – for almost five years. At the same time, skateboarding was becoming a pretty popular sport across America and Yann and Jamie soon started receiving calls from municipalities in the area that wanted their own public skate parks. “So, in 2007 we moved into concrete and founded SPA Skateparks (SPA) which still operates today,” Yann says. Their concrete skate parks for those municipalities carried them through the recession. In 2009, the Curtis brothers opened Curtis Concrete Pumping (CCP). Yann is pleased to say that the company’s employees are long term. “We’ve had the same core crew for

over four years now,” he says. “We’re a team. For our specialized work, it has to be that way. And it’s fun.” Recently, CCP has been specializing in structural shotcrete projects. “We are now doing sub-grade parking garage walls,” Yann says. “In one day, we can pour and place 70- to 100-ft of wall, tool in joints, finish concrete to spec, and implement the curing process. Less formwork, less labor costs, less crane time and higher durability of the concrete itself makes the shotcrete process a desirable option to the traditional cast-inplace method.” CCP stays busy all the time and Yann says the company overlaps jobs by a few months to keep the crews working. Their specialized work allows them to travel and most of their projects are custom designed. A current project in Frisco contains their largest visual spectacle to date: a 30-ft long, 13-ft high quarter pipe and a replica swimming pool complete with tiles, stairs and drains. –cw

It’s an Austin thing


L-R: Jaime Hutton with SpawGlass; Luke Nelson with Datum Engineers; Cris Ruebush with PGAL; Josh Wise with SpawGlass

pawGlass Contractors had its annual Client & Subcontractor Appreciation Festival, SpawGlass City Limits, to show everybody a good time right before the start of Austin City Limits (ACL) annual event. –cw

Terri Mathieu with SpawGlass; Tina Rivas with SpawGlass

Mike Sanford with SpawGlass; Pauline Reese

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Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

What do you think your parents taught you and your brothers about being successful in life? They held us accountable for being honest and having integrity. We were a tight-knit family. It was always the five of us doing things together. Mom was the frugal one!

Bret Hall Division Manager Swinerton Builders


ret Hall’s father, David Hall, served in the U.S. Navy as a submarine navigator/quartermaster and the family was stationed in San Diego when Bret was born. But his somewhat peripatetic life after San Diego can’t really be attributed to a naval family lifestyle, since the family moved to Bremerton, WA. next, where his father retired from the service when Bret was young. After the stint in Washington, the family moved to Dallas in the mid 70’s, where Bret’s grandfather, Grant Hall, was in the construction business and Bret’s father went to work with him. Next, the family spent a short time in New Mexico and then went onto Jackson Hole, WY. where David Hall worked through 1986 as a superintendent for a commercial general contracting company. After that, the family moved to Colorado and that was where Bret stayed – that is until moving this year to Austin to take over the reigns of the Austin branch of Swinerton Builders. Tell me about your time in Wyoming. I graduated from Natrona County High School in Casper. In high school, I played American Legion baseball and high school football. I spent a lot of time outdoors, skiing and hunting while we lived there. What did you do after high school? I attended the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley for about a year before running out of money! I went ahead and got an associate’s degree in construction management from Arapahoe Community College in Denver. One of my professors was an operations manager for a commercial general contracting company and he hired me. I worked for him for five years as an estimator/project manager. What did you do next? I moved to Ft. Collins, CO. to work with my dad in a construction company out of Loveland. Dad was the regional manager. I was hired as an estimator and project manager. We built many multifamily projects. That was our bread and butter. My grandfather was there, too, as a superintendent. He was 73 years old then. Working with him was an awesome experience I will cherish for a long time. Tell me about your mom, dad and brothers. My mom, Ellen, was in the mental healthcare industry during her career. I have two younger brothers, Aaron and Kent. Aaron is a store manager for Walmart in Marietta, CA. and Kent is a chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy and is stationed in San Diego.

Tell me a little about your current family life? I met my wife, Sharon, at a pig roast at Cherry Creek Brewery in Denver. She had been helping a friend at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival that day. Honestly, it wasn’t even on my agenda to attend that event that night. I was near there with my professor and we just decided to go. Well, that sounds like fate stepped in! Yes, it does! We got married in 1997 in Ft. Collins, CO. Sharon is an operations manager for a national healthcare consulting firm. Our son, Grant, was born in 1999 while I was finishing up the project that I worked on with my dad and grandfather. He’s 17 and plays baseball for his high school as well as for a summer club team. He’s a pitcher, catcher and plays some infield. My youngest son is Wyatt. He is 13 and he loves to fish, fish and fish. He also plays baseball and is learning to play the trumpet when he’s not fishing. What did you do after you married and finished the project you were working on with your dad and grandfather? Sharon and I moved to Thornton, CO. in 1999 where I worked for a small general contracting company as an estimator. We mostly did office warehouse projects and tenant finish outs. That company was sold and it was a good time for me to leave. I started with Swinerton in January 2002 and I’ll be here 15 years this January. What did you get hired for at Swinerton? I was hired as an estimator for a new special projects group. I helped grow that group and in 2011 became the director of special projects, which encompasses tenant finish outs, data centers, clean rooms, courtyard and streetscapes, lobby renovations, building modernizations, ground up builds under $30 million and more. In the summer this year, I was asked to be division manager for the Austin division. Another move! What was your thought process about moving to Austin from Colorado? Honestly, there aren’t many places I would consider moving to from Colorado, but Austin is one of them. I love my job and I love Swinerton, so this seemed like an ideal opportunity. My oldest son, Grant, is a senior, so the family is still in Thornton until he graduates. I fly back and forth. Thanksgiving, they’ll be down here and we’ll start house hunting and fishing. Grant was thrilled we are moving to Austin. We are all outdoorsy kind of people, plus the University of Texas is definitely on his top of the list universities, since he wants to major in petroleum engineering and they have the best school for that. What are your new responsibilities here? I’m responsible for strategic planning for the Austin market and strategically targeting the right clients and project opportunities. Overall, Swinerton has more than 2,400 employees at its 14 locations across the nation. In Austin, we have 22 employees and it’s a young group. Part of my job here is making sure we have the right

Bret Hall, with a father and grandfather in the business, says there was never really a question about what his career choice would be.

people and coaching them. We have made some cuts since I came and I’m happy with the team that’s in place. The theme of the day is “win and execute”. The team here in Austin is so enthusiastic and eager to make a difference and be a part of the bigger company. Tell me a little about the company culture. It’s about the people and taking care of the clients. It’s about personal growth and opportunity. I’m the perfect example of that – a poster child for opportunity in the organization. Swinerton Builders is 100% employee owned and that’s an important perk. There are about 400 voting shareholders. What do you look for when considering a potential employee? I look for a desire to be part of the best team. Honesty, a desire to learn and to be accountable. If they have those things, we can teach them the rest. Do you have a mentor that helped you along the way? Yes. His name is Scott Conrad and he was division manager in Colorado at Swinerton for the past five years. He’s now a regional manager of our Northwest region. He’s very brilliant in strategic planning and he really impressed on me the value of finding and recognizing great talent. He taught me that once you have that talent in place, you can rely and trust that they will perform for you at a high level. We still talk today. What current projects are you doing? We typically have anywhere from six to 10 projects going on at any one time. Some of our projects right now include an administrative office for Austin Community College, a design center for another client, work on the new Apple campus, a call center for Louis Vuitton in Dallas and an office renovation for Humana Healthcare Insurance in San Antonio. How is Swinerton doing overall? The craft side is growing each month. All of our markets are flush with work with good clients right now. All of our divisions build different product types, such as multi-family, high-rise, aviation, medical. Most of our offices have special project units that lead to sharing corporate services account work with Fortune 1000 companies like VISA and Bank of America when they build in different locations. What advice would you give someone who aspires to be where you are? Learn as much as you can about the

business and networking. Understand the business and where you can add value. We hire people and the job description comes with, for example, 12 items they are expected to do. You rise through the organization by doing 24 items. Take initiative and have a “want to win with a team” attitude. This is a tough business. There’s a lot of competition, a lot of risk and the economy impacts us every quarter. You’ve said you love working for this company. Why is that? The thing I am most proud of is the leadership. It starts at the top and goes to every division. There is a lot of enthusiasm, passion and the time invested by the executives is very unique. The president of the company could walk into the office in Austin and address the employees by name. That means a lot to all of us. Our leadership has long-term vision and they communicate that to the employees. There’s no hidden agenda. They can look beyond the day-to-day and know there is a purpose for the next 15 years. It’s a great, great company. They’ve been really good to me and I’ve had many unique experiences here. The next five to 10 years will be a really fun time at Swinerton. That’s great to hear! So, when you aren’t working, what do you and Sharon like to do? We spend a lot of time on baseball fields! We’ve traveled to Nebraska, Arizona, Puerto Rico for Grant’s baseball games. I love to golf and we both love to cook We do a lot of grilling and Sharon gets my attention when she cooks her Italian and Mexican dishes. We do home projects together in our downtime (winter). When you travel on vacation, where are your favorite places? We go to Mexico a lot. We like Puerto Vallarta. We like the Old Town, the food and culture is phenomenal. We took the boys this year to learn to surf. That was a pretty funny experience. We also like Arizona and we visit there quite often. We are thinking about going back to Hawaii this summer for Grant’s graduation present. Who would you buy a beer for? I’d love to have a beer and talk to President Harry Truman right after the end of WWII and how he felt about using atomic weapons. He had to make that decision himself and live with it forever. I’d like to talk to him and see if he thought he made the right decision and why. –cw

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

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H+sp joins with BSA LifeStructures

New Flintco leadership

Melissa Davis

Kelly Halls

Julie Schneider

Craig Puccetti

Daniel Carl

Jake Snyder

The new Austin team, L-R: Mike Hutter, reconstruction; Stacy Rudd, healthcare market leader; Krik Benken, area manager, VP; Tim Garbutt, marketing manager; Kevin Moyes, South Central Region president; Peter Kozicz, president and CEO; Bob Eaton, project executive; Robert Fritsche, industrial market leader; Rex Woods, business development; Gary Miller, project director


lintco’s Austin office recently celebrated a “relaunch” in order to introduce the community to several new people who have recently assumed leadership roles. “We called this a relaunch because Flintco, as a company, has been going through a bit of an evolution, and none more so than our Austin office,” said President and CEO Peter Kozicz. “In an industry that has been steadily coming back from the last recession, Texas is fertile ground with a lot of opportunity. We have invested more resources to build up our staff to offer our clients the best talent in the Texas market.” The relaunch served as an opportunity to introduce clients to the new leadership in Austin. In the past eight months, 30-year Flintco veteran Kevin Moyes was named the south central region president, while Kirk Benken joined the team as vice president/area manager – a new role for the Austin office. There have also

been several market leaders added to the team, whose focus centers around generating opportunities in the industrial and healthcare market sectors. “There is a spirit of innovation and challenging the status quo at Flintco,” Kozicz said. “Companywide, we have implemented tremendous changes in our training program, and developed a central quality and construction support services department to ensure consistency across all offices. We have a new lean program and how we chase and acquire work has become laser focused. In all areas, we are constantly improving, and that tenacity and dedication to excellence is very much evident here in Austin. There’s a new energy surrounding the office. It’s a great time to be here and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.” Flintco offers services including general contracting, design build, preconstruction and construction management, plus more. –cw


rchitectural and interior design firm H+sp is joining forces with BSA LifeStructures, an architecture and engineering firm with operations in Austin and six other major markets. The two firms will combine under the BSA LifeStructures name. “These firms’ specialties and cultures are a perfect match,” says BSA LifeStructures President Melissa Davis. “We’re excited to combine H+sp’s experience and relationships in this market with the increased capacity and services BSA LifeStructures can offer.” Like H+sp, BSA LifeStructures specializes in the design of healthcare facilities and interiors. The firm also provides architecture and engineering services for higher education and research facilities, resulting in a trio of market segments BSA LifeStructures summarizes as healing, learning and discovery. “Joining forces with BSA LifeStruc-

tures allows us to offer our clients the resources of a much larger firm with the same small-firm mentality and attention to detail,” said H+sp Principal Kelly Halls. “It will allow us to tackle the kind of bigger projects in other markets that clients have been asking us to.” Founded in Austin in 2008 as schneiderHALLS design, H+sp is a 17-person firm led by principals Halls, Julie Schneider and Craig Puccetti. The H+sp principals will join BSA LifeStructures regional director Daniel Carl and MEP engineering director Jake Snyder as principals of the Austin office. “Working with H+sp over the last few months has reinforced our belief that, together, we can provide Austin and surrounding areas with an integrated A&E firm truly focused on creating better healing spaces,” Carl says. BSA LifeStructures was founded in Indianapolis in 1975. –cw

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Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Contractors: 5 questions to start your year Michael Kuchar, CPA, CCIFP Construction Group Shareholder Doeren Mayhew Houston, TX


eady or not, a new year is just around the corner. As your construction business looks to make it a successful one, consider these five best practices for optimizing your financial position. Are you taking advantage of all the tax savings opportunities available to you? Frequently overlooked by construction professionals, the Research and Development (R&D) tax credit rewards businesses for improvements to their processes or technologies. New and innovative construction techniques, improving an existing building structure and designing and constructing a new facility are just a few examples of projects that may meet the R&D tax credit requirements. The Section 179D deduction is another opportunity to consider. Although more complex to qualify for, Section 179D allows contractors performing qualified energyefficient lighting improvements for taxexempt entities to qualify for the deduction even though the cost of the improvements were paid for by the taxexempt entity. Have you created a budget for the year, and is it realistic? A well-constructed and maintained budget allows you to properly plan your expenses, determine revenue and ensure your financials are on track for each project. While creating your budget, be sure to estimate revenue, calculate upfront costs and account for your monthly expenses in order to get a better understanding of monthly financials. Once the actual numbers are in, make sure to compare your budget to actual costs to determine what changes you need to make for upcoming months or future projects. Stay on track with budgeting and your financials with benchmarking tools and resources available to you through the industry associations. Are you prepared to effectively manage your jobs? In order to keep projects on track and on budget, it’s important to know the job schedule and be prepared. By developing a schedule, you will know in advanced when every facet of the job is to begin, when it should be completed, timing for arranging subcontractors and progress throughout the various project stages. It is also important to keep in contact with your team and to have your group on the same page. Often times your team can provide strategic thinking to help with challenges as they arise and give valuable input on cost cutting throughout projects. This can be achieved by conducting weekly or biweekly meetings with accounting

professionals, management and account managers. Do you understand your financial standing and what the numbers mean? Working with accounting personal to analyze financial statements allows you to catch potential problems early on before they become bigger issues and result in costly losses. Understanding your financial standing allows you to be on the lookout for problematic areas impacting cash flow, such as profit fade, under-billings, change orders and flaws in the billing process. Communicate problems or concerns to your accounting professionals to develop and implement processes to minimize cash-flow risks. Have you taken steps to protect yourself from fraud and scams targeting the construction industry? As technology continues to evolve, fraud also continues to rise. The construction industry in particular is targeted because of the various cost inputs, multiple suppliers and subcontractors. Industry professional suggest establishing internal controls and implementing employee policies and procedures to reduce fraud opportunities. One scam we’ve been hearing a lot about involves a fraudulent email address imitating an assistant or company employee you work closely with, sending an email on your behalf asking for a wire transfer to the account they provide information for. Make sure your policies and procedures include measures to protect yourself from such scams. Once money has been transferred from one account to another, there is very little, if anything, that can be done to reverse the transaction or replace what has been lost. Planning for the unknown of what 2017 holds for your construction business can be challenging. Doeren Mayhew’s specialized group of construction CPAs can help you implement strategies that are just right for your individual needs. Michael Kuchar, CPA, is a shareholder and leader of Doeren Mayhew’s dedicated Construction Group in Houston. A top 100 U.S. firm, Doeren Mayhew’s CPAs and business advisors serve more than 500 suppliers and general and specialty contractors doing business domestically and abroad. For more information, visit

What is Surety??? Becky Landry, Surety Manager Catto & Catto LLP San Antonio, TX


ebster’s defines surety as “a person who takes responsibility for another’s performance of an undertaking.” The first known record of contract suretyship appeared in an etched clay tablet from the Mesopotamian region in 2750 BC.

What is the difference between surety and insurance? Insurance is a device where a group of individuals contribute to a common fund for the purpose of utilizing this fund to pay for losses sustained by these individuals. It is a two party obligation between the insured and the insurance company and assumes there will be a loss. The policy premium is actuarially determined based on aggregate premiums earned versus expected losses. Surety operates on the premise that there will never be a loss. Surety is a three party obligation. One party (Surety Company) guarantees a second party (owner/obligee) the successful performance of a third party (principal/ contractor). Surety is more of a credit function. Sureties collect premiums as a charge for lending credit to a contractor. The fundamental difference between insurance and bonds is that surety companies demand reimbursement from principals in the event there is a loss. A General Indemnity Agreement is a contract between the surety company and the contractor. It obligates the contractor to protect the surety from any loss or expense that the surety sustains as a result of having issued bonds on behalf of the contractor. There are four basic types of contract bonds. Bid bonds assure the bid has been submitted in good faith and guarantees the bidder will enter into a contract at the proposed price and provide performance and payment bonds, if requested. A performance bond states that the principal will build whatever it is that he has contracted to build in accordance with the plans and specifications. A payment bond guarantees anyone supplying labor and/ or materials will be paid subject to the contract provisions. A maintenance bond may be requested upon completion of the project and guarantees against defective workmanship and materials. There are three main components that a surety company looks for in a contractor, which are also known as the Three C’s. Character – what is the moral and ethical nature of a contractor? What is his

standing and reputation in the community? Contractors should be honorable and dependable business people. Have they been in any previous legal disputes is also valuable information. What is their credit history and banking relationship? Do they have a line of credit? Reference letters indicating the size and scope of previous projects are very helpful in providing background information on projects completed. Capacity – does the contractor have the necessary skills, knowledge, manpower and ability to complete a project? Does he have the plant and equipment necessary to perform their contracts? Capital – measurement of the contractor’s financial ability to assume the risks of the business activity. Do they have the financial wherewithal to finance a new project along with their current obligations and any problems that could arise? Corporate and personal financial statements are required to determine the financial strength of the principal and their ability to support the bond provided by the surety company. While not necessarily one of the 3 C’s, but equally important is the Continuity of the company. What happens if the owner of a construction company dies unexpectedly or decides to retire? There should be a formal written plan of succession to complete all projects currently under contract. BuySell Agreements and Key-Man Life Insurance are both good instruments in providing continuity. A contractor should look for a surety producer they can trust, and who has the experience, integrity and knowledge to help a contractor grow. The producer should have a vast knowledge of the construction industry and be an integral partner of a contactor like his banker, attorney and CPA. Becky Landry is the Surety Manager for Catto & Catto, LLP. Her company and agency experience gives her a unique understanding of the surety industry. She can be reached at or by phone at 210-222-2161.

Construction News JOB SIGHT

Getting it done

Omar Olivares and Kassidy Pitcox shake hands on a job progressing well in Austin. The two work for PRM Construction, sister company to G2 Builders. The project will be a retail location with spaces available to rent when finished. –cw

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Page 7

A Roadmap for meeting the requirements of the respirable Crystalline Silica Law 29 CFR 1926.1153

Forum-Selection and Choice-of-Law Provisions: Are they enforceable? John C. Warren, Principal Cokinos, Bosien & Young Houston, TX

Joann Natarajan Compliance Assistance Specialist OSHA Austin, TX


orum-selection and choice-of-law provisions are found in most construction contracts. You’re probably familiar with them; they generally stipulate the forum for any dispute resolution, and specify the law that will govern. These provisions are often utilized by larger construction companies that work across broad geographical areas to make dispute resolution more predictable, efficient, and/or advantageous. Though they might be overlooked by some at the outset of a new project, they quickly become an important consideration when a dispute arises. The forum for dispute resolution, and the law that will control such dispute, will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the outcome of a legal battle. Even the most burdensome forum-selection and choice-of-law provisions, freely negotiated, are generally enforced as written by courts. quires courts and arbitrators to “rigor“Home-Rule” statutes In an apparent effort to protect local ously enforce” agreements to arbitrate in contractors, subcontractors and suppliers accordance with the terms of the confrom being forced to litigate in foreign ju- tract. This means for a project in Texas, if risdictions and/or pursuant to foreign the contract has an agreement to arbilaws, many state legislatures have enact- trate in Louisiana under Louisiana law, ed “home-rule” statutes to prohibit the and the FAA applies, the parties will likely enforcement of such clauses. Home-rule have to resolve any disputes in Louisiana. So what does this mean for you? Keep statutes generally void, or make voidable, contract clauses which provide that the an eye out for forum-selection and exclusive forum for dispute resolution choice-of-law provisions in your conshall be in another state, or subject dis- tracts, as they can play a significant role putes to the laws of another state. For in- in any dispute that may arise. If you are stance, Texas has a home-rule statute that unsure as to whether they are enforceapplies to a contract that is “principally for able, consult a construction lawyer for the construction or repair of an improve- advice. John C. Warren is a principal in the ment to real property” located in Texas. It provides that if the contract contains a Houston office of Cokinos, Bosien & Young. provision making any conflict subject to John focuses his practice on all aspects of another state’s law, or litigation/arbitra- construction law and commercial litigation in the courts of another state, that tion.John has been involved in cases relatprovision is voidable by the party obli- ed to petroleum processing facilities, tank gated to perform the construction. Over farms, marine terminals, pipelines, conven20 other states have enacted similar such tion centers, airports, schools, hospitals, statutes, including Louisiana, Oklahoma, hotels, federal government buildings, office buildings, condominiums, commercial/reNew Mexico, Florida, and California. To better explain, consider a con- tail buildings, roads, bridges, and residenstruction project that is located in State tial construction. In addition to his litigaA. The contract, however, has a forum- tion practice, John also regularly drafts, reselection and/or choice-of-law provision views, and negotiates all types of constructhat specifies disputes shall be litigated tion contracts. John is a frequent speaker in State B, pursuant to State B’s laws. If and author on various legal issues within State A has a home-rule statue, then the the construction industry, and has been provision in the contract designating named a Texas “Rising Star” in ConstrucState B as the forum and governing law tion Litigation in 2015 and 2016. He is “AV” may be void (or at least voidable), and rated by Martindale-Hubbell peer review State A will then likely be the proper fo- ratings, the highest rating possible. See his full bio at: rum and law. john-warren/ or email him at: Not so fast - FAA preemption? Kelsey L. Walker is an associate at Coki However, home-rule statutes don’t always control. If the contract contains an nos, Bosien & Young that assisted with this otherwise enforceable arbitration agree- article. She has a B.A. from Texas A&M Uniment, so long as the project involves in- versity and graduated from South Texas terstate commerce (likely for most large College of Law in 2016 where she was an construction projects), the Federal Arbi- editor for the Construction Law Journal tration Act (“FAA”) has been held to pre- and an officer in the Student Bar Associaempt home-rule statutes. The FAA re- tion.

1. Determine if the silica standard applies to your employees. Could employees be exposed to respirable crystalline silica at or above 25 μg/m3 as an 8-hour TWA under any foreseeable conditions, including the failure of engineering controls, while performing construction activities? No: No further action is required under the silica standard. Yes: Choose to comply with the standard using either the: Specified exposure control methods in Table 1, or The alternative methods of compliance 2. Determine what additional requirements you must meet under the standard, based on the compliance method you are following. Requirement

Must the Employer Follow this Requirement



Exposure Assessment


Methods of Compliance


Respiratory Protection

Yes, if respirator use is required by Table 1



Written Exposure Control Plan


Medical Surveillance

Yes, for employees who must wear a respirator under the silica standard for 30 or more days a year.

Communication of Hazards



Yes, for any employees who are getting medical examinations

The silica standard for construction provides a flexible approach for construction employers to achieve compliance. The standard includes Table 1, which lists 18 common tasks using various types of tools or equipment found at construction sites. For each employee engaged in a task in Table 1, employers who choose to follow the Table for that task are required to fully and properly implement the engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection specified in Table 1. Employers who comply with Table 1 are not required to conduct exposure assessments or comply with a PEL for those employees. 512-374-0271 x232

Submitted to Construction News

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Page 8

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Vibe was electric

On the road again

CenTex apprentice Riley O’Neal wins 2nd place in the National IEC 2016 wireoff competition. Yvonne Compton, AirTron; Minu Molina, C&M Interiors; Abrielle Miller, Sure-Wall; Lori J Drake; Shelley Carr, AirTron; Vera Franklin, Lasco Acoustical & Drywall; Chelsea West, PCI Performance Contracting; Mendy Fortin, Lasco; Rebecca Spann, PCI Performance Contracting; Denna Turner, Rand Construction; Paige Willis, C-C Holdings; Rachelle Vierra Castillon, Lasco; Sonia Pasillas, AirTron; Deanna Willson, Rand Construction. Not pictured: Patty Diaz Miles HomeHealth; Jody Lynn Jones, Kunish; Gwen Thompson, Morris Drywall; Vicki Maxwell, Prime Wall; Lily Guiterrez, QA.


uring the week of Oct. 26-29, thousands of people from all over the U.S. converged on San Antonio for the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) annual national convention. –cw


Texas awards included: Apprenticeship Alumni Award: Joe Chandler, IEC Dallas 2016 IEC National Apprentice of the Year: Riley O’Neal, Great Basin Industrial, CenTex IEC

Joe Chandler

Excellence in Construction Awards Multi-family up to three stories, including senior living: Central Electric (San Antonio); Kent Place Residences

one Star Materials credit manager Lori J. Drake decided it was time for a fun girls’ getaway, so she arranged for 17 of the company’s female customers to go on a wine tour through Fredericksburg Nov. 12. Everybody had a great time and Drake says she saw plenty of connections being made as the ladies enjoyed their special day. –cw

Low-Voltage Systems: Central Electric (San Antonio)

A nice bus driver is always welcome.

Who is your favorite athlete?

Service Contractor: Milestone Electric (Garland) Milestone Electric

Jordan Spieth. He’s from Dallas and he’s just got this talent. He pushes himself to get better and he gives the credit for his success to the team of people around him, including his trainers, his family, etc. He is very humble. Bret Hall, Swinerton Builders Lionel Messi. He plays soccer for Argentina and Barcelona and he is arguably the best soccer player that’s ever lived. He’s magical. Yann Curtis, Curtis Concrete Pumping Stan “the man” Musial, St. Louis Cardinals! Sue Johnson, Construction News

Central Electric in San Antonio took home two awards.

It always will be Emmitt Smith. He is the epitome of the perfect example of team sportsmanship and is a great role model that kids can look up to. Debbie Richardson, Hidell Supply Other than my stepson who is just starting is college football career as a freshman at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene (see attached #96), I would have to say it was Mean Joe Greene growing up. I wore his number 75 when playing Pop-Warner football starting at the age of 6…loved his Coke commercials with the giving the kid his jersey and all that.  He played on some championship teams with the Steelers in the 70s and I tuned into every one of them! Jason Smith, ICON Plumbing, Heating & Air LTD Bruce Jenner: The Decathlon is such a hard event. You have to have speed, strength, agility and endurance. Monty McMillan, Hidell Supply Dale Earnhardt Sr. He just seemed like a good role model for NASCAR. After all he was known as the INTIMIDATOR. Clay Howry, Hidell Builders Supply Adrian Peters. He graduated from Oklahoma State University, as did I. Kevin Dodson, Hidell Builders Supply Tim Duncan. For many thousands of reasons! There is nothing wrong with him. Sean Dalle, Datum Commercial Contracting LeBron James. He’s close to my age and he’s a beast! Josiah Vance, Datum Commercial Contracting Jamie Benn. He is captain for the Dallas Stars. He is a hard worker and a blue-collar type of worker. He’s not flashy, he just gets the job done. Trey Celaya, Datum Commercial Contracting

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Page 9

Last cast of the year by Capt. Steve Schultz Sponsored by: Waypoint Marine, Majek Boats, Evinrude Outboards, E-Z Bel Construction, Power Pole Shallow Water Anchor, Aggregate Haulers, ForEverlast ­­­ Hunting and Fishing Products, MirrOlure, andColumbia Sportswear.


oodbye fall fishing patterns and let’s make some room for winter trophy trout fishing. As we prepare to close out the 2016 season, we are also getting out our winter wading gear for the beginning of some of the best trophy trout action of the New Year. Anglers that prefer wading shorelines and the popular rocks in the Baffin Bay complex throwing artificial lures, this is your time to shine. Although water levels and temperatures remain higher than normal, it’s just

a matter of time before they began to fall as we start getting cold fronts in on a regular basis. As soon as the water gets cooler you should notice a better feeding window during morning hours as the sun warms the water throughout the day. Pay close attention to major and minor feeding times and be sure to be fishing an area you have confidence in during these times. Many people make the mistake to relocate to a different spot and don’t realize the bite may be happening while they are moving. It is also important to remember that as water temperatures start falling, your presentation should slow down as well. Smaller lures work best finding feeding fish before changing to the larger patterns for wall hangers. Don’t be mistaken - some of the largest trout I have brought to the Boga Grip have come of 3-4 inch soft plastic lures. Wade fishing is usually the norm during this time of the year, slow rolling soft plastics and suspending baits over soft mud and rocks in Baffin Bay. While top water baits land some of the largest specks during warmer months, they will still land some large trout throughout the winter. Don’t be afraid to give your favorite plug a few casts, especially amidst an abundance of mullet. If you catch one of these beauties make sure you handle them with care. Their only protection against predators is their slimy coating. Try to keep them wet while taking photos and never use a towel to handle them, as you will remove their natural defense.

Before closing, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I would also like to thank all of my clients who have fished with me in the years past. Another shout out is to all of my sponsors that help make my job better throughout the year. If you are searching for the perfect gift for the outdoors person in your family, I offer gift certificates for your convenience. Give

me a call and I can set one up on a moments notice. I have already started to fill the calendar for the upcoming 2017 season. Don’t wait till all the good dates are gone! To schedule your next bay fishing trip give Capt. Steve Schultz a call at 361813-3716 or 361-334-3105 or e-mail him at Good luck and Good Fishing.

Trophy tout season is upon us and it’s the most productive time of the year to land a 30” trout like this one caught in Baffin Bay by Capt. Steve Schultz.

Submitted to Construction News

Submitted to Construction News

Trout clout


Kurt Goll, right, architect and president of JCI Companies, the development arm of Journeyman Construction, and Sean Sorrell, HDD Austin, show off their catch of speckled trout recently caught at Baffin Bay. –cw

Submitted to Construction News

Just jesting around

Tina Reeves, The Reynolds Company, and a “jest” in Jackson Square in New Orleans during an early October vacation. –cw

Aimee Busby, Construction Solutions account manager for Waste Management and current vice president of Austin NAWIC recently returned from an amazing trip in Cabo San Lucas. Deep-sea fishing with Red Rum Sport fishing was on the agenda and Aimee says she cannot say enough about how amazing this company is.  Capitan Alex and 1st Mate Ulysses put the group on the fish.  On Oct. 10, Aimee caught the biggest fish of her life, a 200lb striped marlin, which she released back into the ocean as he was a magnificent creature. –cw

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Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Ken Milam’s Fishing Line Since 1981, Ken Milam has been guiding fishing trips for striped bass on Lake Buchanan in the Texas Hill Country, You can hear Ken on the radio as follows: The Great Outdoors: 5-8 am Saturday on 1300, The Zone, Austin and The Great Outdoors: 5-7 am Saturday on 1200 WOAI San Antonio The Sunday Sportsman: 6-8 am Sunday on 1300, The Zone, Austin All on iHeart Radio

Make your escape!


sip, and our phones and computers run our lives. I wonder about this technological prison we seem to be making for ourselves. Even old school me sometimes forgets that I can just put the device down, and back away from the screen.

he campfire crackled and I gathered my jacket closer around me. Granny was getting to the part where her great grandma Josie and her sister spied the Indian in the tree at the watering hole. Those girls turned tail and flew home as fast as their high-buttoned shoes could carry them, and they could hear the Indian behind them just about falling out of the tree laughing at them! They lived to tell the tale and we still tell it to this day, a century and a half later.

We are so blessed to be in Texas! We have access to just about any kind of place you can imagine to get out and explore and play. Go west for mountains and desert sands. Up north you’ve got prairies and Canyonlands. Central Texas has hill country, wildflowers and BBQ to die for. East Texas has forests, lakes and swamps and south Texas has big old deer and beaches…did you say beaches? We have the whole gulf coast to play on! Texas has 94 State Parks that give you access to all of this!

If you have ever shared a campfire with someone, you can probably relate to what a special experience it is. It doesn’t matter if it is a deer camp cooking fire or a wiener roasting beach fire, it doesn’t take long for everyone to come close for the warmth and company. Tall tales and outright truths all take on a new life as your gaze is drawn to the flames. We need to do more of this.

Anything you want to do is right outside the door. Fishing and hunting are always popular, but then you have birding and stargazing. You can hard or take it easy, waterski or go kayaking, or just float a lazy river. Make it your own kind of adventure. And most importantly, take a kid with you if you can!

Now we are finally getting to the time of year when a fire feels good and we get to see friends and family during the holidays and hunting season. Try to get in a little fireside time if you can. It is an elemental part of who we really are and where we have come from. We have come a long, long way from needing fire to survive. It has chased away our fear of the night, cooked our food and kept us warm, but we largely have gotten over it. Now television tells us stories, the internet gives us our gos-

Kids today have not known the preelectronic world. If you don’t help them discover the rest of the world they are about to inherit, how can they understand the importance of caring for it and about it. This holiday season, the most important gift you can give might just be the gift of your time and the outdoors. We need to remind ourselves and teach our youth that we are so much more than the devices that entertain and enslave us. Happy holidays! Have some fun and we’ll see you next year!

Half or Full Day Fishing Trips All Bait, Tackle & Equipment Furnished Your catch Filleted and Bagged for You Furnish your TPWD Fishing License & Refreshments, and WE DO THE REST!

Ken Milam Guide Service (325) 379-2051

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Treating them right

Page 11


Go Team Gibson!

ibson Concrete in Pflugerville sponsored a team in the 2016 Texas Mamma Jamma Ride this year in Martindale, TX. on Sept 24. More than 400 riders participated in the annual event.  Wanda Gibson says this event is very personal to her, as she recently (and gratefully) became identified as a cancer survivor. Way to go! –cw


akerTriangle’s Austin foreman and lead men were treated to a fishing trip Oct. 2223. They went to Bluffs Landing Marina & Lodge in Corpus Christi. Awesome highlights included a two-night stay, 10 guided fishing boats, steak dinner the first night and a fresh fish dinner the second night with fish they caught. L&W Supply partially sponsored the trip and Ryan Gillenwater, Curt Jenkins and Zach Zouzalik joined the group for the weekend. Many memories were made and it was a fun for everyone! Pictured below, Javier Gomez and Rafael Lopez were the big fish winners! –cw

The Gibson fundraising team, consisting of Kim Bankston, Ellen Nelson, Wanda Gibson, Jackie Shaw, Jack Shaw and Brock Gibson, raised nearly $4,000.

Wanda Gibson and Ellen Nelson arriving at the finish line!

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Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Page 13

Remodeling royalty


he Austin Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) hosted the Contractor of the Year (CotY) Awards Nov. 10 for remodeling projects that stand out in the industry. Contractors from five counties in central Texas entered their projects within 37 categories for the annual awards ceremony. Judging is based on problem solving, functionality, aesthetics, craftsmanship, innovation, degree of difficulty, and entry presentation. In a fun-filled casino themed event, the Austin NARI chapter presented the local CotY, Buzz and Tour of Remodeled Homes awards to members at the Norris Conference Center. Emcee Mike Cottrell, an Austin NARI Board of Directors member, welcomed guests and announced new Austin NARI members, the 2017 Austin NARI Board of Directors and thanked all of the event sponsors. –cw

Contractor of the Year: Soledad Builders LLC

Austin NARI 2017 board of directors

Residential Bath $50,001 to $75,000 Soledad Builders, LLC Residential Bath $25,000 to $50,000 CG&S Design-Build

(Photos by David Brendan Hall) Residential Kitchen Under $30,000 RRS Design + Build Residential Kitchen Over $150,000 Realty Restoration, LLC with Team Member Twelve Stone Designs Residential Kitchen $60,001 to $100,000 Top-Notch Renovations Residential Kitchen $30,000 to $60,000 Avenue B Development Residential Kitchen $100,001 to $150,000 Realty Restoration, LLC Residential Interior Under $75,000 Austin Impressions Residential Interior Over $150,000 RRS Design + Build Residential Interior Element under $30,000 Austin Impressions Residential Interior $75,000 to $150,000 Adams Company, LLC

President Jeff Bullard and President Elect Jason Crabtree

Residential Historical Renovation/ Restoration $250,000 and Over Avenue B Development Residential Exterior Under $100,000 CG&S Design-Build Residential Exterior Over $200,000 Soledad Builders, LLC Residential Bath Under $25,000 Austin Impressions Residential Bath Over $100,000 Top-Notch Renovations Residential Bath $75,001 to $100,000 CG&S Design-Build

Residential Addition Over $250,000 Avenue B Development Residential Addition $100,000 $250,000 Clark Richardson Architects Landscape Design/ $60,000 and Over CG&S Design-Build



Entire House Over $1,000,000 RisherMartin Fine Homes Entire House $750,001 to $1,000,000 Soledad Builders, LLC Entire House $250,000 to $500,000 Realty Restoration, LLC with Team Member Twelve Stone Designs Grand Award - (Overall Best Score) Soledad Builders, LLC


Construction News JOB SIGHT

Christmas Subaru

Changing of leadership


respin Guzman, PE, MASCE, has been executive director of the Texas Section of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) since 2010, but he recently handed the reigns over to Lindsay A. O’Leary. Guzman retired from the City of Austin in 2003 after 27 years of public service with both the City of Austin Public Works Department and the Water Utility. His private sector experience in civil engineering consulting began in Brownsville in 1971 soon after graduation from the University of Texas at Austin with a BSCE. He returned to the private sector after his retirement from the city and worked with Claunch & Miller Inc./HDR until 2008 and Klotz Associates until July 2010. He has been recognized for his leadership and service to many organizations on various occasions throughout his engineering career. Crespin and his wife, Maria, raised five children. With their nine grandchildren, their church and community work, a variety of outdoor activities, some travel, the homestead, TAME, and TCEF will make every day a new adventure for them in retirement. O'Leary is a civil engineer with 10 years of experience, providing a range of civil and environmental engineering consulting services to private and public sector clients. She has been involved with ASCE in many capacities, including serving on the Austin Branch Board as a Younger Member director, as well as The Austin Branch Younger Members Forum president and treasurer. "We are pleased and excited to welcome her into the role," said ASCE Texas Section President Craig B. Thompson, PE. "The Section will benefit from Mrs.

Brannon Hedgcoth, left, Efficient Electric, and Allen Walters, right, superintendent for Austin’s McComb Construction Company Inc., stand in front of McComb’s current project, Austin Subaru on Austin Road. The project should be finished by Christmas. –cw Lindsay A. O’Leary

Crespin Guzman

O'Leary's exuberance and drive, with her paving the way for an influx of fresh ideas and perspectives in the many facets of running a successful non-profit professional association.” –cw

Page 14

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Electrifying barbecue


Plumb sweet

Grand Champion

he CenTex Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) BBQ and Family Fun Day was well attended this year with 25 companies competing for trophies and the Grand Championship. Over 400 electricians and their families attended the annual event Oct. 8 at Camp Twin Lakes in Cedar Park. It was an awesome event full of great food and family activities. Congrats to the winners! –cw

Winners: Grand champion: VA Electric Showmanship: Beckett Electrical 1st place brisket: Allied Electric 1st place ribs: Now Energy 1st place chicken: Summit Electric Supply 1st place beans: Beckett Electrical 1st place Dutch oven dessert: Randall Electric 1st place blind category: Bowne Electric

Brisket winners


Wayne Angell, Melissa Welch and Jayson Angell continue the family-owned legacy started by Wayne in 1980.

amily-owned and operated Angell Plumbing has been in business for 36 years. Started by Wayne Angell in 1980, it has become a family affair. His son, Jayson, has been with the company for more than 11 years and currently runs the day to day operations, while his daughter, Melissa Welch, handles the accounting department alongside his wife of 38 years, Cindy. Wayne says he got his start in the business while in high school, working half a day for a plumbing company. After high school, he went to work for a couple of contractors, and then decided to go out on his own. “We have numerous customers we have had for many years,” he says. “We value our relationships with our customers and it results in repeat business.” Some of his 40+ employees have been with the company for 15 years. “We treat our employees as family,” he says. “We value our employees and in

return they perform quality work. They are committed as we are as a family, through the good and bad times. ” Working primarily commercial construction, a few of the company’s projects include Gold’s Gyms, LA Fitness’, FedEx, The Cheesecake Factory in both Austin and San Antonio, and most recently, The Grand Lux Cafe in The Domain, not to mention a dozen other projects in the domain currently. In fact, the company has been booked on projects throughout the summer and currently into next year. When he’s not working, Wayne enjoys collecting and restoring antique cars. You can find him at the local car show on the weekends showing off his most prized possessions. Angell Plumbing specializes in commercial construction and services ranging from shopping centers to restaurants to office buildings. –cw

Shooting for the clay


1st Place Team, 
L-R: Allen Rhoden, AHI Supply Cast Stone;
Josh Abel, AHI Supply; 
Eddie Hell, AHI Supply;
James Golke, Lehigh White Cement


entral Texas Masonry Contractors’ Association (CTMCA) held its 5th annual Sporting Clay Shoot on Oct. 27 at Capital City Trap and Skeet. Seventy-five shooters participated.  The Shooting Team from UT was on hand to provide assistance.  The raffle included many great hunting items, including a 12-guage Benilli shotgun. Congrats to the winners! –cw Winners:  First place team: Allen Rhoden, AHI Supply Cast Stone;
Josh Abel, AHI Supply; Eddie Hell, AHI Supply;
James Gohlke, Lehigh White Cement Winning Individuals:
First Place Shooter:    Allen Rhodes, AHI Supply Inc.;
Second Place Shooter: Dixon Matlock, Intertech Flooring; Third Place Shooter: Kent Bounds, Brazos Masonry Inc.;
Last Place Shooter: Steve Morris, ACME/Featherlite Building Products Inc.

First place shooter: llen Rhoden, AHI Supply Inc.

Card Game Winner of XD9 Handgun:
Allen Rhoden, AHI Supply, Inc.

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Page 15

Construction Equipment Working to solve workforce problem Brian P. McGuire, President and CEO Associated Equipment Dealers Shaumburg, IL.


s you are aware, there is a shortage of skilled technical workers, and the construction industry is in dire need of qualified technicians. AED is making strides to quantify this issue and change it for the better through a workforce study in collaboration with the College of William & Mary. Acknowledging that our industry has a problem is the first step. There are many job openings and not enough people to properly fill them. Fifty percent of the responders in AED’s workforce study stated that the inability to find skilled workers hinders business growth and creates inefficiencies in their organizations. This generates a huge domino effect, causing major problems in these businesses.

The impact of this skills gap is great. Businesses affected by it may be losing as much as nine percent in yearly revenue. The ramifications of this calculation, if true for both manufacturers and distributors, will be profound impact for both sectors. It could lead to losses of as much as $2.4 billion for distributors and $180 billion for manufacturers. AED does, however, have an idea why these issues are arising. There have

been a lack of certification and accreditation programs ensuring that college and technical school students are getting the proper education. To remedy this, The AED Foundation Accreditation program is trying to reach as many technical schools and college technician programs as possible to ensure that the necessary education is made available. Our accreditation program assures that students are well prepared for a technical career right out of school and that dealers get workers who are ready for the challenges these careers hold. Continuing education is also important. Technology in this field is ever and quickly changing, and workers must constantly adjust to the new technology. Professional development opportunities such as webinars, self-study courses and seminars provide vital information to keep workers ahead of the curve and prepared for changes in the industry. The AED Foundation provides these opportunities for workers in any depart-

ment of a business, so there are options for everyone. Our researchers at the College of William & Mary are already working to help us further improve career educational programs nationwide. AED’s next study – due out in early 2017 – will investigate what’s happening on at the state level (where all federal career technical education dollars, along with state funds, are managed). By reviewing policies, charting investment levels and documenting the condition of skills-based training in our secondary schools, the new report will provide tools that we can use to bolster and maximize the value of workforce development programs. This industry-wide issue is one that needs to be resolved quickly, and one that AED is aiming to help resolve with our continuous work. If you care about the future of our industry and this issue specifically, AED would appreciate your involvement in our association. –cw



he most popular frame size in Bobcat history got a new upgrade. Operators already familiar with the 700 and 800 platform loaders tout the performance, comfort, visibility and machine protection of the machines. Now, the M-Series lineup is more complete, from the radius lift path and all-around versatility of the S510 to the extra power, vertical lift path, excellent reach and large, high-flotation tires of the S590. Premium M-Series cab has new positioning for better visibility; increased cab space, best-in-class pressurized interior and reduction in cab sound levels provide the ultimate in comfort. Stronger hydraulics and more than 20 percent improved attachment performance increase attachment productivity. The model offers increased performance; convenient, easy-to-use controls and many other features to save you time and effort on the job. A host of M-Series machine protection features simplify daily maintenance and prevent damage to the machine. Of course, the hallmarks of Bobcat performance remain in the new 500 platform: construction, smart cooling and a maintenance-free chaincase. Horsepower ranges from 49 in the s510 to 66 in the S590. Travel speed in the 2-speed option tops out at 11 mph in all models. Rated operating capacity ranfges from 1,650 lbs to 2,100 lbs. An Auxiliary high flow option in the S550, S570 and S590 powers the hydraulic system to 26.7 gpm. For more information, contact Bobcat of Austin at 512-251-3415





ohn Deere’s 1050K Crawler Dozer crawler dozer was designed with customer feedback. A dealership focused on customers first. Sounds like a solid onetwo punch, right? It is, and you can have both with the John Deere 1050K from RDO Equipment Co. John Deere designed the 1050K with additional weight and power to meet customer requests for more productivity. Other enhancements include an EPA Final Tier 4 (FT4)/EU Stage IV diesel engine and new EcoMode that regulates engine rpm to burn up to 25 percent less fuel. It’s the biggest and the best in the John Deere Crawler Dozer lineup. Just as John Deere didn’t take customer demands lightly when designing

the 1050K, RDO Equipment Co. knows customers need the best equipment offerings and deserve the best in service and support. The RDO Promise™ – Uptime Guaranteed, is the company’s exclusive commitment to delivering the best by going above a standard equipment warranty and typical customer service. With the RDO Promise, value-added benefits and optional opportunities like customized GPS monitoring and tailored preventative maintenance programs are all part of the package. Get to work with the John Deere 1050K from RDO Equipment Co. Call RDO Equipment Co. at 844-551-5597 or visit to see more offerings and find the store near you.

eica Geosystem has introduced the world’s first self-learning MultiStation Robotic Total Station. The Leica Nova MS60 brings together all available measurement technologies in one instrument, including 3D scanning, robotic total station capabilities, and GPS connectivity. To further meet the demands of ever-changing work sites; the MS60 multistation combines the latest measurement technology with the world’s first selflearning targeting recognition environment, ATRplus. With the use of dynamic laser control, history logs of reflected laser targets and tighter sensor synchronization, Leica’s ATRplus technology ushers in the latest generation of robotic total stations and the one and only MultiStation capable of continuously adapting to a changing environment. For more information contact Easy Drive at (512) 447-9879. San Antonio  Austin  Dallas/Fort Worth  Houston

Page 16

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Construction Equipment Link Belt



he TCC-1100 110-ton has been well received and is the third in a growing lineup of Link-Belt telescopic crawlers, cementing the company’s presence in the market. Its design focuses on robustness, simplicity and reliability for the general contractor or bare rental fleet owner. It offers an impressive capacity chart at radius that rivals even lattice crawler cranes with a similar base rating. Its full power boom, fabricated from ultra-highstrength steel and formed in Link-Belt’s own facility, makes it fast and east to operate. The main boom is 150 feet (45.7 m) long and incorporates Teflon wear pucks to eliminate boom grease.

For more information on the TCC-1100, contact HOLT Crane & Equipment at 877714-0978.



he new Snorkel S3219E provides 19feet of platform height from a 32-inch wide chassis and can lift 550 lbs. Nonmarking tires and saloon-style entry gates are fitted as standard. It is part of the new Snorkel hydraulic drive electric slab scissor lift family that was launched earlier this year. The family includes four models: S3219E, S3226E, S4726E, and S4732E. Designed for the rental industry, the S3219E is packed with innovative features that benefit both the rental company and the operator. The new dual shear design scissor stack features oversized pins to increase stack rigidity and increase the life of the machine. The platform is made from 12-gauge diamond plate, eliminating the need for grip tape. The S3219E’s 36-inch roll-out deck extension has telescopic rails meaning that the operator can utilize the maximum floor space of the platform whether stowed or extended. Upper controls are hard mounted to reduce theft and the lower controls are positioned in the rear of the chassis, allowing easy access when machines are parked side-by-side. A control panel for loading is located on the external toe board of the machine, allowing the operator to ‘walk’ the machine onto a truck without needing to be inside the platform. The lifts have a gravity-actuated, over-center active pothole protection system that does not rely on springs or hydraulics. The kingpins have been enhanced by a factor of eight, to eliminate breakage, especially from forklifts when moving the machines. The S3219E has a 90° steering design. Efficient maintenance is an important factor for rental companies, and the Snorkel scissor lifts feature an ‘inside-out’ twin door tray design which makes ser-


aterpillar introduced its new 304.5E2 XTC (Xtra Tool Carrier) into the MiniExcavator lineup, delivering industry leading innovation. The addition of a Skid Steer Coupler Interface offers unique worksite versatility by giving the ability to attach a Skit Steer Work Tool onto the 304.5E2 XTC. The 304.5E2 XTC enables operators to achieve multiple tasks at a single jobsite, using a single machine. With the addition of the Skid Steer Coupler the operator is able to improve productivity in material carrying applications and reduce backfilling times. Recommended Work Tool Attachments include: MultiPurpose Buckets, General Purpose Buck-

ets, Blades, Forks, Power Box Rakes, Brooms, and Trenchers. Standard features include automatic two-speed travel, pass code protected security system, 100% pilot controls, superior 200 degrees of bucket rotation, front shovel capability and blade float. CAT Lease Rates to highly qualified buyers begin at $865 per month for a 2017 well-equipped 304.5E2 XTC with open canopy and includes a Hydraulic Thumb, 72” Multi-Purpose Bucket and 24” Digging Bucket with CAT’s Dual Lock Pin Grabbing Coupler. Contact HOLT CAT at 888-705-4619 or visit

Ditch Witch

vicing the equipment light work. The smaller door trays also carry less weight, meaning less strain on the door hinges. The tray is housed in heavy-duty ¼ steel that provides additional protection to the machine’s electrics. The chassis features a solid plate underneath it to protect the undercarriage and a flat top to ensure that any debris falls onto the ground during power washing and does not remain within the machine. With 25% gradeability and a long duty cycle per charge, the new Snorkel series of electric slab scissor lifts are designed to deliver a long working life with minimal downtime and low maintenance costs. The lifts are now in production and are available to order. To find out more about the Snorkel S3219E, contact Ahern Rentals at 800400-1610 or visit


itch Witch customers asked for more power to perform all functions at once. Both the JT30 and its counterpart, the JY30 All Terrain, are the most powerful and quietest drills in their class – by a long shot. And both are products of direct customer feedback from years of experience in all types of job conditions. You asked for a drill that tackles the toughest conditions, from solid rock to cobble and hard dirt. You wanted a compact design to operate in the tightest spots. You needed a patented, inner-rod design to save you time, and a mechanical drive to save you money on drilling fluid and transporting water. We delivered it all, and much more, with the Ditch Witch® JT30 All Terrain Horizontal Directional Drill. A comfortable operator is a more productive operator, which is why we’ve

equipped the JT30 All Terrain Horizontal Directional Drill operator's station with a cutting-edge design. It features: • Open-top vise wrenches are angled toward the operator for an excellent view of the tool joint when making up and breaking out pipe. • Industry-exclusive, double-pivot drill frame allows steep entry angles without raising the tracks off the ground; enhances operator comfort because operator’s station stays level. • Optional cab features climate-controlled heat and air, for greater operator comfort and productivity. • Operator’s station features intuitive joystick that controls all drilling functions, ergonomic seat, color LCD engine display, and an excellent view of all drill functions. Call Ditch Witch of Central Texas for more information at 512-837-2766.

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Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Page 17

continued from Page 1 — Out with the old engineers, superintendents, PM’s and estimators is essential to get all expectations aligned.  From there to project completion, the system keeps all parties informed and allows the project to run smoothly. The system, which is finally starting to find it’s place in the industry, consists of a workplace based in Cloud computing. No viruses, no servers, no down time and real-time backups. A project spreadsheet and file system is available from any device anywhere in the world where all people involved in the project, who have been invited by the Datum team, can access daily notes and updates about the project and insert their own comments, concerns and summaries. This includes the owner of the project, who also has access to the financials. All projects are updated daily, not on a whiteboard, but on a 60” flat screen. Updates come from any or all team members, through the Cloud from anywhere. All projects can be evaluated and discussed, anytime, anywhere by any and all involved parties.  And that leads to another difference at Datum: Cost-plus contracts rather than the traditional stipulated sum contract (bidding) for a project. “Cost-plus is the golden egg of contracting,” Sean says. “About 75 percent of our projects are cost-plus projects. When you have to bid a project, you have to build in an amount to cover unforeseeable events. Projects typically come in at a lower cost with better subs as a result. You won’t hit a homerun on cost-plus contracts, but you will build long-standing relationships and repeat business with clients. Think long-term, not just about the here and now. Cost-

plus additionally removes the financial risk associated with stipulated-sum contracts.” The process by which Datum starts and finishes its projects is making use of the latest technology. “We have 15 projects ongoing with only three full-time office employees and five superintendents,” Sean says. “The emphasis is on working efficiently and we preach transparency, honesty and integrity.” The small team is a laid-back, smart and fun group who enjoy what they are doing and it shows. Recently, Josiah Vance was added as a project coordinator and office manager. “It’s a laid back and fun place to work,” Josiah says. “It makes you want to come to work.” “Everybody works very well together, the environment is team oriented with everyone helping everyone. We really feel we have a special thing here,” Nicole says. In the near future, Datum will be moving to a larger office (and out of their Regus office) in one of the projects the firm is currently working on – a sixbuilding, design build office complex exterior remodel. Additionally, Datum has built or is currently building five Planet Fitness gyms in three states. They’ve just started on Zips Dry Cleaners, a one-stop spot that contains the actual dry cleaning plant and is planning many new locations in the southwest. Datum Commercial Contracting is 100 percent commercial. It specializes in tenant improvement, Class A office space, industrial and large and small retail. –cw

continued from Page 1 — Cool rules! What makes him feel great is when he can help a customer out. “I like to leave them with a smile,” he says. “Literally every customer I’ve come across has called me their guardian angel and/or Superman! When someone is burning up in their home, it’s the best thing you can do. They are happy

customers!” Most of his jobs are from word of mouth, and Espinoza wants to expand his company. With two children, his spare time is taken up with attending church and spending time with his family. –cw

continued from Page 1 — Surf’s up in Austin!

Round-Up Lori J. Drake, CBA, has been re-elected as president and chairman of the Texas Statewide Construction Credit Group (TXSWCCG) for 2017-2019. Drake is currently credit manager for Lone Star Materials Inc. in Austin and has served the TXSWCCG for the last nine years. Bautex Systems has expanded its management team with the addition of vice president of sales and business development Chris Noone, who joins the company after more than a decade in senior sales management roles at Oldcastle, Inc. He brings experience leading sales efforts across a four-state region including Texas, serving architects, engineers, contractors and building owners via direct and indirect sales. Noone holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree from Kansas State University and is certified by the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) and Interlocking Concrete Paving Institute (ICPI). William F. (Bill) Kelm, PE, president and co-founder of Pickett, Kelm & Associates Inc., Austin, received the 2016 SEAoT Distinguished Service Award at the Structural Engineers of Texas state conference in October. Kelm served as SEAtO state president (2006), chaired the Awards and Recognition committee (2007-15), and served on the Professional Activities and Legislature Liaison committee since 2007. With over 35 years of professional experience, Kelm obtained his MS from the University of Texas at Austin.

Round-Up Submissions

This is a monthly section for brief company announcements of new or recently promoted personnel, free of charge, as space allows. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Email (w/digital photo, if available) by the 15th of any month, for the next month’s issue (published 1st of each month). Email info to appropriate city issue, with “Round-Up” in the subject line: –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– San Antonio There are a variety of levels for surfers, ranging from beginning to professional.

project-management firm Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) represented Coors in the construction of the park. RLB’s Austin office, led by resident manager Ruben Rodriguez and supported by senior project manager Don Miller, acted as owner’s representative in all stages of the project, leading teams responsible for NLand’s design and construction. Working with a proactive owner, RLB provided tailored and flexible strategic cost planning during pre-construction as well as multiple cost milestones and project management throughout construction and close out. RLB’s role included advising on construction contracts, preparation of bid packages to seek a contractor, analysis and recommendation of contractors and completion of engagement of the design team. “Hands down, this has been the

most challenging and fun project I’ve ever been affiliated with,” Miller says. The lagoon is self-sustaining and captures rainwater from the property. The owners will use a water treatment system that uses bio-filtration, permanent media filtration, ozone and chlorine to maintain a specified water quality. Coors, the park’s founder and chief executive officer, said in a statement the park had been a dream of his for the past 20 years. White Construction Company, founded in 1971 by Charles N. White, is a family-owned construction business with offices in Austin and Houston, as well as Ridgeland, MS. Services include general contracting, management and design/build with public and private customers. The company has 120 employees. –cw Austin Dallas/Ft. Worth Houston

Construction management firm Structure Tone Southwest has added two professionals to its growing Austin team: director of operations Matt Mazurek, and director of business development Bert Schnoebelen. Mazurek, a graduate of Texas State University and a central Texas native, returns to Austin after spending eight years in Structure Tone Southwest’s Oklahoma division. In his over 15 years in the industry, he has worked on a broad range of interior and ground-up building projects, from highly technical data center facilities to corporate office interiors. S chn o e b e l e n joins Structure Tone to help Mazurek and the Austin team better hone their strategy for growth. He entered the constructed industry 10 years ago after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. His focus markets in Austin include both ground-up and interior work for commercial, healthcare, hightech and residential buildings across the region. Schnoebelen is active in the greater Austin community, serving as project manager for the construction of the Austin Sunshine Camp's new facility in Zilker Park.

Studio8 Architects announced the following new team members in Austin: Jingqi Li, Associate AIA, has joined Studio8 Architects’ Austin office as an architectural designer. Li comes from China, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design at Shandong University and has recently received her Master’s in Architecture from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Justin Scanio, AIA, is an architect at Studio8’s Austin office. Scanio received his Masters of Architecture from the University of Texas – San Antonio. Scanio has been practicing architecture for six years and has successfully assisted in several prestigious projects in residential, cinema, office, restaurant and manufacturing ranging from 2,500 sf to nearly 1M sf.

Page 18

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Always building

At the November Meeting, three new members were officially welcomed to the Austin Chapter with a traditional Rose Ceremony. L-R: Stephanie Hayes Cook, with Andrews Myers Attorneys at Law,  Ann Kozial with Vanguard Fire Systems, Tracey Skrasek with Contractors Access Equipment and Toni Osberry, with AGC, NAWIC Austin Chapter president.


ational Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Austin Chapter’s Community Involvement Committee is collecting professional attire, shoes, purses, and/or accessories. All items will be donated to Dress for Success, whose mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support,

Association Calendar

Content submitted by Associations to Construction News ABC Central Texas


Associated Builders & Contractors

Nat’l Assn. of Women in Construction

Dec. 6: Lunch and Learn, 11:30am-1pm, at ABC office, 2600 Longhorn Blvd. Ste. 105. Topic: Construction material reuse and recycling ordinance Dec. 7: Holiday Party, 5-8pm, at Abel’s On the Lake, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd. Bring toys and/or non-perishable food for the donation box. Contact Amy at or 512-719-5263 for more info. Dec. 8: Train the Trainer, 8am to noon, ABC office. Breakfast provided at 7:30am. Safety professionals discussion. First 30 to RSVP get free admission. RSVP to Stephanie Nelson at or call 512-719-5263

Jan. 4: Chapter meeting, 5:30-8pm, at Big Daddy’s Burgers & Bar, 9070 Research Blvd., #101. Marny Lifshen will speak about Communication Barriers. For more information, contact Sandra Johnson at 512-853-9647

professional attire and development tools ACEA to help them thrive in work and in life. Austin Contractors & Engineers Assn. Anyone who wishes to donate can drop off items at Edge Electric, 100 Precision Dec. 8: Membership luncheon, 11:30am Drive, Suite 205, Buda.  Or contact amy@ at Dave & Busters to have a NAWIC AGC member pick up donations.  The clothing drive will run through December. –cw Associated General Contractors Dec. 14: Holiday Party at The Long Center of Performing Arts, Kodosky Lounge, beginning at 5:30pm

CTSA Central Texas Subcontractors Assn.

Dec. 13: Holiday party and monthly meeting, 5:30-8pm. Embassy Suites at 5901 N IH 35

RCAT Roofing Contractors Association of Texas

Dec. 8-9: RCAT licensing Boot Camp. Includes CEU’s, exam prep and exam. Call 512-251-7690 for more info

TSPs Texas Society of Professional Surveyors

Dec. 2 & 3: Tyler Seminar, Tyler Junior College - RTDC Campus - Tyler, TX. Contact Bob Matush at 903-258-3686 ext 1 or for more information or visit: seminar Dec. 3: Riverine Adventure Seminar, Crowne Plaza Northwest - Houston, TX. Contact Brenda Null at 512-327-7871 or for more information or visit: Dec. 3: Land Surveying Ethics and Rules Applied to Satellite Surveying Technology Seminar, DoubleTree by Hilton DFW Airport North - Irving, TX. Contact Brenda Null at 512-327-7871 or BrendaN@tsps. org for more information or visit: www.

Construction News ON LOCATION

One stop roof shop Congrats to the NAWIC Austin Chapter for winning first place in the Addi’s Foundation charity fundraising event at the South Central Region Annual Fall Conference. The Austin Chapter raised over $1,090 for the mission of ending childhood cancer.

David Hendrix, far left, branch manager of Roofing Supply Group on Lamar Blvd., and his crew are ready to help customers find the perfect supplies for their roofing needs. –cw

Submitted to Construction News

Recruiting for the work force

Doug’s Plumbing in Smithville recently visited 11th graders at Smithville High School to show what the plumbing trade is all about. –cw

Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Page 19

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Austin Construction News • Dec 2016

Construction News JOB SIGHT

Storage story


On the spooky side

id you notice something (or someone) spooky creeping around cubicles and haunting the hallways on Oct. 31? Some of our Austin companies did and managed to record the activity with their ghost hunting equipment (okay, their cameras). Behold, a glimpse into our industry’s darker side! –mjm

Rob Pickett and Rob Pugh, Structura Inc., supervise the company’s project of a mini storage complex consisting of two four story buildings. The project should be finished in January. –cw Jason Smith, project manager at ICON Plumbing, Heating & Air Ltd., and his wife attended a Halloween party on the Bernard River in Brazoria dressed as Peter Pan and Tinker Bell (Jason was Tinker Bell!).

The BakerTriangle Austin team went on a spooky safari on Halloween! Bottom row, L-R: Kevin Klohs, Suzette Read, Ashley O’neil, Maria Mancilla, Abel Bernal and Sergio Montoya; top row, L-R: Jared Smith, Paul Lester, Kevin Dragoo, Richard Bell, Austin Reyna and Garrett Rutledge; front: Jerry Smith

Raba Kistner’s Richard T. Shimono, EIT, graduate engineer went as Cheech and Devin Williamson, corporate development, played sidekick, Chong.

Bilt Rite Scaffold co-owner Jeff Kelley with girlfriend Courtney Haynes and daughter, Robyn Kelley.

Studio 8 Architect’s Austin office was haunted by a clown, a saloon girl and Cleopatra. L-R: Deanna Bounds, Sandy Flynn and Laurel Dundee

Rogers-O’Brien Construction employees went all out for the annual costume party.

Austin Construction News December 2016  

Monthly publication covering the construction, design and engineering industries in the Austin, Texas area.

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