San Antonio Construction News November 2019

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Covering the Industry’s News

Texas Style

P.O. Box 791290 San Antonio, Texas 78279-1290


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CONSTRUCTION NEWS The Industry’s Newspaper H (210) 308-5800 H Volume 19 H Number 11 H NOVEMBER 2019


Restoring faith

The picture of Damon Gray

Carranza Restoration LLC’s Charles Carranza

Damon Gray, owner of Damon Gray Custom Millworks, in front of his wine cellar at The Pearl

harles Carranza was on a path to become a math teacher when he discovered that working in the construction industry would add up to a great future for him. “Some quick life events acquainted me with a gentleman during a time when I needed to focus more on working than pursuing my education,” Carranza says. “He got me a job cleaning carpets and working with a mitigation company doing cleanup when houses catch fire or flood. I think I was 19 years old, and I just stayed there.” A few key management people took notice of Carranza and encouraged him to learn more about mitigation. As he worked there 10 more years, he began learning about “tearing things out”


he Sabinal Group was established in early 2005 to better serve the local (San Antonio Region) real estate/ end user community through professional minority general contracting services. The company’s vast knowledge and expertise is led by the founders, Danny Benavidez and Mark Wohlfarth. Together these individuals have over 60 years combined experience. They have worked on myriad projects and continue to do great things for great clients. “We do not want to classify ourselves as interior or core / shell contractors. We will do “whatever it takes” to get the job done and done well for our clients! If our client wants us to paint a wall or build a new corporate headquarters, we will do either and do it with professionalism, quality, and client satisfaction. Again, we will do any project, small or large, for our clients. We do not chase projects, we establish life-long relationships,” say

before moving to Albuquerque and becoming a sales manager. When his family began missing home, he moved them back to Texas and continued his mitigation work but began to learn about rebuilding and estimating. “For me, the natural evolution of growing was learning the backend after something has been torn out – it has to get put back together,” Carranza says. “I started getting really immersed in that and even finding a better satisfaction being done with a rebuild project.” In 2012, his industry friends began nudging him to create his own restoration company. Even though Carranza says he “didn’t know a lick about what starting a business entailed,” he did some research continued on Page 24


hen Damon Gray opened Damon Gray Custom Millworks in Jan. 2013, he had to get insurance like all contractors. It’s a good thing he got it from an agent who was a professional and not from someone like himself. He hated working in insurance, which is what he did as a late teen, working for his father. It was “the most boring thing I could ever dream of not doing,” Gray said. When he left the insurance world and entered the construction industry, Gray found his calling. “I had a knack for it and was able to pick it up pretty quick,” he said. He is both self-taught and a good student, learning from the men with whom he worked over the years.

When it comes to becoming his own contractor, Gray laughed and said, “I tried to go out on my own probably six or seven times.” While working for one cabinet shop, the owner let Gray do side jobs in it on the weekends. They worked four 10-hour days, and Gray always had three-day weekends. While working alone one day, Gray got injured. “I ripped my bicep off,” he said. “Basically, both parts just came apart on my arm. I had to have surgery. I couldn’t do anything with my arm for six months.” Gray solved his workload problem by hiring a guy to do the work while he supervised and did all the paper and office work. This proved fortuitous because Gray was able to pick up the business side of his continued on Page 24

A touch of Mexican culture Benavidez and Wohlfarth. Construction of the Mi Familia Restaurant, owned by Familia Cortez, began in April 2019 and was completed in October 2019. The new ground-up project was overseen by Senior Superintendent David Salinas. The project was designed by Sprinkle and Co. Architects The project consisted of millwork, demolition, countertops, earthwork, waterproofing and damp proofing, soil treatment, fireproofing, erosion control with temporary fencing, building insulation, drilled piers, EIFS, site utilities, shingles and roofing tiles, asphaltic concrete paving, membrane patching, pavement markings, caulking and sealants, chainlink fencing and gates, doors, frames, hardware, windows, landscaping, irrigation, hardscape, wood doors and hardware, turn-key concrete work, special doors, stone benches, overhead doors, Mi Famila interior dining room.

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San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019


ow does the thought of experiencing all the Rockies have to offer sound to you? Wouldn’t you just love to take a six-day Journey through the Clouds excursion to some of the most breathtaking places in Western Canada on the Rocky Mountaineer? Visit the scenic towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper? Explore Canada’s largest National Park on a guided tour? This could be yours. All it takes is your participation in this year’s Construct A Kid’s Christmas Grand Gala Raffle. You could be the one lucky winner to experience fabulous destinations by train and motor coach in Western Canada with luxurious hotel stays in Vancouver, Kamloops, Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. Enjoy the first-class Gold Leaf service aboard the Rocky Mountaineer train with its bilevel glass dome coach and gourmet cuisine while traveling through the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Canada. The Grand Gala Raffle will be drawn during the evening at the 19th annual Construct A Kid’s Christmas Gala, Dec. 5, which will be held from 5:30-11pm at the Freeman Coliseum Expo Hall in Exhibit

Experience the Rockies

Hall C. For a complete listing of this trip of a lifetime, see the ad on page 24 of this issue of Construction News. Unwrapped gifts, toys and gift cards are collected at the gala and the annual

Construct A Kid’s Christmas Toy Drive, which will be held the next day, Dec. 6, from 10am-2pm at the Construction News office, 4047 Naco-Perrin Blvd. These gifts benefit the Friends of the

Bexar County Child Welfare Board, who works with Child Protective Services to distribute the unwrapped toys and gifts to Bexar County foster children. Early registration/payment pricing for sponsorship is: Diamond $2,750, Corporate $1,750, Gold $600, Program $275. A table for 10 is $800, and individual tickets are $90 each. Early registration prices are only available until 10/31/19. $1,000 Beverage and $1,000 Casino sponsorships are also available. A sso ciations participating in the 2019 gala include the American Subcontractors Association (ASA), Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC), Associated General Contractors (AGC), Black Contractors Association (BCA), Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), Hispanic Contractors Association de San Antonio (HCA de SA), Mechanical Contractors Association Sheet Metal & A/C National Association (MCA-SMACNA), National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors (PHCC), the Surety Association of South Texas (SAST) and Texas Air Conditioning Contractors of America (TACCA). –cmw

Husband + Wife + Quint


n September 28, Chris Christians IV, Lynwood Building Materials and Ashley Fousek tied the knot at Lady Bugg Farm just outside of Sutherland Springs.

Chris, Quint & ➤ Ashley

Officiating the ceremony was Leslie Christians Rosales, Chris’ sister. The wedding ceremony had an added component when the bride asked that Chris Christians V (Quint) be brought up to the couple. As Ashley held Quint in her arms and repeated words especially written for this occasion, she was marrying him too and promising her love, devotion and caring. A very touching moment. Great wedding (about time) with a dinner and reception afterward. The couple will be taking their Honeymoon Axis Hunt on Oct 25-27 where most likely she will come back with the best buck. Photos to follow. Best wishes to you three. -bd

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

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San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

A clear favorite

Animal house

t was a real ZOO at the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) San Antonio Past President’s Fundraiser at the Petroleum Club. There were lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) along with a monkey, coyote, Lorax, snowy owl and a sloth. Funds were raised to support Lone Star Construction Trades Training, a 501(c)(3) offering free hands-on electrical training to encourage women and transitioning veterans to enter the trade. -cmw

Happy Birthday NAWIC! ➤


Tony and Karen Ridout were just passing by when they heard the bungle in the jungle!

Michael Gehrmann and Chris Martinez

he Electrical Design Solutions (Gehrmann Martinez LLC) team enjoys meeting every electrical need, from new construction, remodels and service. That said, the company does have a favorite task. “What we really like to do is turn-key generators,” Chris Martinez, the company’s co-owner, says. “If a customer needs a generator installed, not only do we do the electrical side of it, we coordinate everything. If it needs to be on the roof, we do whatever it takes to get it installed so that the customer can come to one place and not worry about finding all of the different trades required to do it. It makes it a little easier on the customers.” Electrical work in general has clearly been Martinez’ favorite, ever since he studied the trade as a junior at San Antonio’s MacArthur High School. That’s also around the time he met his current business partner and company co-owner Michael Gehrmann, who has worked alongside Martinez in every job he’s had. In 2016, the two teamed up to form the

company, and have been amazed at its quick success. “It’s grown quite a bit the past two years,” Martinez says. “Our first year, Michael and I were going after and doing the work and invoicing. Now we have some good guys on board and we’re able to stay at the office, keep the guys busy and grow a bit. It’s been good.” Martinez says that regardless of the type of project his team works on, the work never fails to keep him interested. “I like that it’s always changing and there is something new,” Martinez says. “There is a lot that we can still get into and that’s exciting when there is always room to grow and learn. It keeps you on your toes. We can always improve and expand into other areas. We’re still so young and I think there is a lot we can still do.” Electrical Design Solutions (Gehrmann Martinez LLC) is a full-service electrical company specializing in turn-key generator installation for commercial and residential customers. –mjm

Water way

Who let the animals in?


Derek Wray and Pam Delaplane (not pictured) do water in a better way.

am Delaplane noticed something different about the water when she moved back to Texas from New York in 2008. It was hard, and the amount of detergent needed to clean and the build-up on her appliances was difficult to ignore. She began researching local water problems, but it was Delaplane who would soon have the problems; in two years, she started experiencing liver, kidney and blood issues, caused by heavy metals. After treatments removed the metals from her body, she tested her water sources – every single water source had levels of heavy metals and other contaminants, even though the water tested at “safe” levels. Seeking a solution, Delaplane enlisted the help of Derek Wray. As a facilities director for many major companies, Wray had encountered similar water issues in the commercial appliances, plumbing and drinking water at his work. As they both got quotes from local experts, they realized the “fix” would cost over $6000, would not actually fix anything, and in fact would

create more plumbing problems. Deciding they could do better, they founded Central Texas Water Softeners to help people understand and resolve water issues by installing the right solution at a better price. “We realized that these solutions, properly installed, needed almost no maintenance for years,” Delaplane says. “The customer needs to put in a bag of salt every so often … and there are “Quick Connect” filters that will need to be changed on the Reverse Osmosis. Very soon, we will launch the app that monitors the control valve; everything is visible on the app and we can offer eService, if needed. “This company is our passion. It is about helping our neighbors ensure that we all have the greatest, purest water quality and that we all have plenty of water, conserved for the proper uses,” Delaplane says. “The only way to do it is to have great products, engineered solutions and it must be affordable.” Central Texas Water Softeners is in Boerne. –mjm

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

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Breaking into the industry

Industry FOLKS Aline Yoldi, AIA, RID, LEED AP BD+C. Architect Pfluger Architects San Antonio, TX


The Arrow Glass Industries team


ince Brian Soberalski began working for Arrow Glass Industries last year, he jokes that he’s learned a thing or two. “I learned glass breaks and it’s sharp!” laughs Soberalski, who works in outside sales for the San Antonio region. “Tempered glass, which we mostly use, can break into a thousand pieces.” Okay, Soberalski already knew this about glass, but he still loves to sell it for Arrow Glass Industries. If it were a few decades earlier, he would be selling a different product altogether: The company founder, Joe Kinsella, originally established Arrow in 1994 as a shower and countertop marble supplier. Marble’s unpleasant odor changed Kinsella’s mind on that, as did the industry’s challenges. “We found that it was easier to maintain quality in the glass industry,” Soberalski says of Kinsella’s decision to focus solely on producing glass. “We went from less than 50 employees to over 200 employees. Our service area is Dallas metroplex, Austin, San Antonio, Houston and everything in between. We also have a few offshoots. We do wholesale glass under a company called Brick Glass, which is owned by his wife. Then we own a company called City Glass where we can do emergency services, and that is usually portioned out of the Dallas area. We also do emergency services in all of the major Texas cities.” Soberalski says his work, despite glass’ sharp qualities, is very hands on. “I am part of every step of the process,” he explains. “I go out there with my team that measures frequently and

San Antonio

makes sure that we’re getting everything that needs to be done. I load and unload the trucks. I get to know the builders as well as the purchasers. It really becomes a family in some of the communities.” Soberalski says he is proud to be a part of Arrow Glass Industries because of the reputation it has built over the years. “We are the fastest custom glass company in the industry,” he says. “[It takes us] three to five days from measure to install on standard glass for showers, mirrors and things like that. On insulated glass it takes longer, just like it does for everybody else.” He is also proud to be a part of the company because of its involvement in the industry and the community. “We have done some of the Greater San Antonio Builders Association events; we recently won a chili cookoff for them,” Soberalski says. “We also hold blood drives at our facilities, come together for holidays and donate gifts for different charities.” As for the company’s future, Soberalski says that Arrow Glass Industry is always seeking sharp (no pun intended) people to add to the team. “We are adding more commercial teams and hope to grow more into the commercial area,” he says. “We’re also wanting to get more emergency services from some of the larger companies so that way we can be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with them. If something happens to a door or a window, we can fix it for them.” With locations throughout Texas, Arrow Glass Industries offers glass and mirror products for commercial, multi-family and residential projects. –mjm


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Free Monthly Digital Subscription The San Antonio Construction News (ISSN 1547-7630) is published monthly by Construction News LTD., dba San Antonio Construction News, and distributed by mail to construction-related companies of record in Bexar and 7 surrounding counties. All submissions should be mailed to our editorial offices. We reserve the right to edit any materials submitted. No fees for materials, copy or photographs submitted will be due unless agreed upon in advance in writing. Submissions will be published at our discretion on a space available basis. Construction News, Ltd. , dba San Antonio Construction News, will not be liable for errors in copy or in advertisements beyond the actual cost of space occupied by the error. Publisher reserves the right to reject any advertisement at any time. ©2019 Construction News, Ltd.

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line had an adventurous childhood. She was born in Paris, France, lived a few years in New York City and spent most of her upbringing in Mexico City. “I had a very happy childhood. My parents’ home had a nice backyard with a pool where we used to celebrate many birthday parties and family gatherings. We also enjoyed taking weekend trips to many interesting neighboring towns such as Cuernavaca, Taxco, Valle de Bravo, San Miguel de Allende, Acapulco, etc. “ Aline attended a French School in Mexico City, Liceo Franco Mexicano, from first grade until high school. She attended a private university in Mexico City called Universidad Anahuac. College life was out of the ordinary because their classes were in the evening from 4pm until 10pm. The Architecture Design Studios required for them to spend many nights working late which allowed the students to form deep bonds with their schoolmates. “Several of them ended up getting married or starting a firm together,” says Yoldi. Yoldi got her Bachelor in Architecture and says, “I had wanted to be an architect since I was 4 years old living in New York City. I would dream about designing skyscrapers and wonderfully intricate buildings. Later, while in Mexico, I fell in love with the colorful and serenely poetic designs of Barragan and Legorreta. I never thought about studying anything else. “I studied architecture and am fortunate to work at an architectural firm where we can design and then assist

with the construction of projects primarily for school districts and universities. I am a registered architect working as a project manager for higher education projects. I am also a registered interior designer that uses her abilities for selecting interior finishes and furniture. “Architecture is not an easy profession, requiring many long hours performing detailed work. However, the best part of the job is when you finally get to see the finished product and the cheerful faces of the kids bursting with excitement at the school opening ceremony. At that moment, all your hard work pays off and you are left with the feeling that you accomplished something good in this world. “ Additionally, Yoldi is the founder and chair of the Women in Architecture Committee for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in San Antonio. She started the committee four years ago to help support, empower and promote women in the profession and showcase their work. In 2018, Yoldi was named “Master Builder” by the Freemason Grand Lodge of Texas for her work as architect and project manager for the E.L. Turbon Student Center renovations at St. Philip’s College. This is the first time in the Lodge’s 181-year history that a woman receives this title. -cmw

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San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

End-of-year tax savings Steven Bankler, Owner Steven Bankler, CPA, Ltd. San Antonio, TX


axes may be the last thing on your mind as the holidays roll around, but they shouldn’t be. There are unique tax-saving opportunities only available before year’s end. For just a moment, set down your pumpkin spice latte and roll up your sleeves. The following tips could truly make this the most wonderful time of the year when it comes to tax savings. Consider selling stock If you lost money on certain stocks this year, selling off corresponding longor short-term shares that performed well could offset your capital losses. Conversely, if you experienced gains, you might want to consider selling losses to offset those gains. While you can’t replace stock sold at a loss within 30 days (“wash sale” rule), you can replace it with similar investments. For example, if you sold a hospital stock, you could replace it with a hospital exchange-traded fund, a mutual fund specializing in hospital investment, or a different hospital company. However, that rule only applies to losses, no such rule exists for repurchasing stock gains Give money to loved ones Individuals can give up to $15,000 annually to other individuals tax-free (married couples can gift $30,000). These limits include property (such as land, a car, or a collectible, for example) valued at an indisputable present worth or fair market value, and must be a “present interest” gift. For example, a gift of a life insurance policy could be a gift of a “future interest” as it is contingent on a future event. While giving to other individuals, in general, will not directly lower your taxes immediately, doing so annually over time is a good way to avoid future gift taxes or estate taxes on a larger lump sum. Future income taxes could also be reduced if the “gift” will appreciate over time and the recipient is in a lower tax bracket. Also, keep in mind that tuition and medical expenses for close relatives are not considered gifts and might be deducted. Give money to charity Giving money or other assets to charity is a great way to reduce your tax bill. Charitable giving is an especially great option if you’re 70 ½ or older because you can donate up to $100,000 from your IRA as part of your Required Minimum Distribution. You just need to follow certain IRS guidelines for your contributions to be considered tax deductible. First, you must be giving to a qualified organization that is a 501(c)(3) in good standing. You cannot deduct contributions made to individuals, political organizations and candidates. And if you receive a benefit in return such as merchandise, tickets to a ball game or other goods and services, then you can deduct only the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received. Unsure of which charity you wish to support? That’s OK. You can create what’s called a Donor Advised Fund. Contributions made to the fund are immediately deductible, even if they aren’t given to a charity until a future year.

Make deductible business purchases This part requires careful planning with a tax advisor since new tax code opportunities haven’t yet been defined by IRS guidance. Changes like the newly increased Section 179 expensing and the ability to take 100% bonus depreciation for purchasing used qualifying purchases could mean that businesses can write off these purchases even faster. Companies considering capital expenditures in the first quarter of 2020 should consider acquiring these assets before the end of the year. The new 20% small business deduction and a doubling of the standard deduction limit mean small business owners of pass-through entities could save immensely on their tax bill, too. Keep these changes in mind as you consider business purchases both large and small through the end of the year, from splurging on a company jet to stocking the break room with pens. And if you’re in the construction industry and have long-term contracts (contracts that will be completed in the following year), consider the new tax law which now allows businesses with less than $25 million of average gross receipts for the last three years to automatically elect switching to the completed contract method of accounting for tax purposes. Consider deferring income Business owners who want to reduce taxable income and use the cash method of accounting can defer being paid until next year. You can consider delaying the invoice or payment in order to push receipt of the money into January instead. There are other steps you can take to reduce your taxable income like funding a retirement account, recharacterizing IRA contributions, and, if applicable, carrying forward business losses. The bottom line It’ll be a tax season filled with changes and uncertainty, so the earlier you plan, the better. Don’t wait until spring to find out how the new rules affect this year’s tax bill. Many of these opportunities are only available before the New Year arrives. Steven Bankler has more than 42 years of experience in the accounting industry. Steven’s expertise lies in consulting, planning, tax, and asset protection as well as exit strategy services for closely held businesses. He also provides litigation support (both as a testifying expert witness and a consulting expert), business negotiations and estate planning. Visit for additional tax strategy tips and to learn more about Steven Bankler, CPA, Ltd.

Subcontracts — Insurance coverages Mark Gaskamp, Sr. Vice President Marsh Wortham Austin, TX


properly executed subcontract agreement between an owner and contractor or contractor and lower tiered subcontractor is vital to ensure a successful project. After all, it outlines the responsibilities for each party, the scope of work, payment structure, and the indemnification provisions. It should also include detailed insurance requirements to help ensure there is financial protection in the event there is an unforeseen event leading to a claim. Over the past several years insurance company underwriters have begun to dictate very specific requirements in these subcontracts to help ensure proper risk transfer is in place and mitigate potential claims costs for their insureds. The primary reason is that most all insurance provisions now include the verbiage “as required by contract”. So if the wording is not in the agreement the subcontractors’ policy may not respond. These requirements start with adequate insurance limits. Below is an overview of these coverages, their importance, and typical limits required for each line of coverage. The Commercial General Liability (CGL) is a very broad coverage offering and is designed to cover bodily injury or property damage that the insured is legally liable to pay. It does not cover every type of liability event, but it does provide the foundation for the liability exposures an organization might face. There are three key limits provided on this policy that should be referenced in the subcontract agreement. The “Per Occurrence” limit which applies to bodily injury or property damage under Coverage A of the policy (primarily third party claims arising from activities on your premises), the “General Aggregate limit” which is the maximum amount payable during the policy term for Coverage A claims, and the “Products/ Completed Operation” limit which is the annual aggregate limit for damages arising from the products or your completed operations exposure (e.g. a building or electrical work in a building). The expectation of most insurers is that the subcontractors should maintain $1 million per occurrence, $2 million general aggregate and $2 million products/ completed operations limits. Some contracts also include a requirement for “Personal and Advertising” coverage, typically at a $1 million limit. This addresses exposures outlined under Coverage B of the policy including defamation, slander, or copyright infringement. Some contracts may reference higher limits of coverage, depending on the nature of the risk and the specific insurance company they may offer a higher per occurrence, general aggregate or products/ completed operations limit, but for most insurors the standard offering is $1M/ $2M/ $2M limits. Higher limits are secured through an excess or umbrella policy, which “sits on top” of the CGL limits. The CGL excludes coverage in several areas which then warrant securing policies to address these exposures. The CGL specifically excludes bodily injury to an “employee” of the insured arising out of employment or in the course of performing their duties for the insureds business, therefore a workers compensation policy must be secured to address this exposure. The workers compensation policy has two coverage parts. Part 1 is “statutory” workers compensation coverage which are prescribed by the State. It provides coverage for lost wages and medical bills for an injured worker. It has no limit other than by statute, the policy responds for the total lost wages and medical bills no matter the cost. Workers compensation coverage is an “exclusive remedy” for work related injuries, meaning an employee cannot sue their employer if injured on the job. State work comp laws provide an exception to the exclusive remedy if there is gross negligence on the part of the employer and the injury is severe (in Texas it pretty much requires a fatality to trigger the employers liability coverage). This

exposure is addressed in Part 2 of the policy, the “employers’ liability” coverage. This coverage has a defined limit, similar to the CGL. Contracts typically require $1M in limits, occasionally we see a requirement for $500,000 limits for lower risk trades. Both coverage parts should be outlined in the subcontract agreement to help ensure proper coverage is in place. The CGL also specifically excludes bodily injury or property damage arising out of the ownership, maintenance, use or entrustment to others of any auto, therefore a commercial auto policy must be secured to address legal liability arising from owned, hired, or non-owned vehicles used in the course of work. We typically see a requirement of $1 million limits, again, higher limits would need to be addressed via and excess or umbrella policy. Many contracts require higher limits of coverage due to the nature of risk or the exposures associated with the work. This is achieved through the aforementioned umbrella or excess liability policy. This policy is designed to increase the limits of coverage for each of the policies mentioned above. The umbrella policy should be “following form” to help ensure continuity of coverage from the primary policy to the excess policy. The CGL also excludes environmental / pollution exposures (although some policies provide a sublimit for sudden and accidental pollutants) aircraft (including drones), and professional liability. Depending on the nature of work, separate coverage may be required to address these exposures and should be spelled out in the contract accordingly. There are many other nuisances and complexities related to the insurance provisions required in a subcontract agreement, but hopefully this information provides a good overview of the coverages, policy limits, and why they are each important to help ensure financial responsibility to respond to an unforeseen event. Mr. Gaskamp is responsible for developing partnerships with clients to implement risk control strategies to reduce the organization’s overall cost of risk. He has over 25 years of insurance and risk management experience and is very active in the safety and risk management community. He is a national faculty member of the National Alliance Certified Risk Manager’s program and serves on the safety committees for the Association of Building Contractors, Association of General Contractors, Texas Aggregate, Concrete Association (TACA) and the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) Construction Specialty Practice. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Risk Management and Finance degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Mark can be reached at mark.

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

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Avoid the Sunk-Cost trap in Disputes: Make mediation effective R. Carson Fisk, Shareholder Andrews Myers, P.C. Austin, TX


n the architecture/engineering/construction industry, where disputes on a variety of matters are all too common, mediation often offers much promise as a means of dispute resolution. At its core, mediation is simply a facilitated negotiation by which a neutral third-party—the mediator—works to help parties find common ground. Where binding forms of dispute resolution such as litigation and arbitration involve someone deciding who wins and who loses, mediation is based on voluntary decision-making. There is no resolution unless the parties elect for there to be a resolution. This resolution usually takes the form of an agreement, preferably written, that is binding on the parties. Resolution in mediation may also involve non-monetary aspects, by which existing and potential business relationships may be better preserved. But for parties involved in disputes, to maximize the benefits that mediation offers they must not enter mediation blindly. Success—or certainly increasing the likelihood of success—is tied to a number of factors, some of which are discussed below. Choose the Right Attorney. As with many professions and industries, attorneys often have a specific practice focus. Construction law is a well-recognized practice area, with a specialty area in Construction Law even being recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. There is even a well-established Construction Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and numerous local bar associations also have their own sections focused on construction law. Just as an architect, engineer, or contractor would be selective in the subconsultant/subcontractor that it hires to perform a specific scope of work, so should it be selective in seeking legal advice. An attorney who was efficient and effective in a nonA/E/C setting may be less so when faced with a design or construction related dispute, where applicable laws and standards may be very different. A lack of familiarity with the applicable laws and standards can unnecessarily increase legal costs, in addition to serving as a barrier to negotiations. Additionally, many construction lawyers deal with each other regularly, which often leads to more productive discussions earlier based on knowledge and experience of the facts and law at issue. All of this, of course, translates into a savings of time and cost. Be Open-Minded. A successful mediation often requires flexibility. What might seem to be the driver of the dispute may give way to issues previously viewed as minor or not considered at all. Having a locked-in, predetermined resolution in mind or an unyielding monetary floor or ceiling may be a hindrance. The use of a “best and final offer” can be an effective negotiation tool, but thought must be given as to what it is, and that value itself may change at any given point in time. Also consider the prospect of interim relief, where if a complete settlement is unattainable an agreement may be reached that offers a partial resolution or a more streamlined process moving forward. Be Reasonable. Being reasonable can be difficult to maintain, particularly when the perception (or reality) is that the other side is entirely failing in the effort. Nevertheless, reasonableness—including having realistic expectations and acknowledging weaknesses—is central to success. Efforts

to procedurally game the process by being obstinate, are often met in kind and can lead to a premature collapse of the mediation as the parties become frustrated and the mediator is hindered in his or her efforts. Be Prepared. Preparation is key to success in mediation. Valuable time is lost when parties have given little thought as to what a preferred resolution looks like for them. One trick to address this is to prepare a draft settlement agreement in advance. This forces parties and their counsel to think through the necessary issues, avoiding surprises at or after the mediation. Additionally, if the positions being taken have limited objective support or cannot be plainly articulated, otherwise valid positions may be ignored. The information needed to support points and counterpoints should be organized and available to the parties so that it may be effectively used in mediation. Exchanging information with the other side in advance may also be helpful, particularly with respect to what each side may want from the other. Avoid Artificial Constraints. Mediation is a process. It takes time. If the parties are unwilling to dedicate the requisite amount of time, they are setting themselves up for potential failure in what otherwise might be a successful resolution. Some conflicts are unavoidable, but for those within the control of the parties—such as initial selection of the mediation date, departure times, etc.—consideration should be given to avoid artificial constraints on time that might restrict or even stop productive negotiations. In essence, trying to cram an 8-hour process into a 4-hour block of time is not always feasible. With these tips in mind, parties in mediation will be in a better position to maximize the potential for successful resolution. This, in turn, has numerous benefits, including avoiding time-consuming, distracting, and expensive legal fights where the outcome is decided by others. R. Carson Fisk is a construction attorney, mediator, and arbitrator and shareholder at Andrews Myers P.C. in Austin, Texas. He may be reached at

Nail gun safety Joann Natarajan Compliance Assistance Specialist OSHA Austin, TX


ail guns are used every day on many construction jobs. They boost productivity but also cause tens of thousands of serious injuries each year. More than half of reported nail gun injuries are to the hand and fingers.4 One-quarter of these hand injuries involve structural damage to tendons, joints, nerves, and bones. After hands, the next most often injured are the leg, knee, thigh, foot, and toes. Less common are injuries to the forearm or wrist, head and neck, and trunk. Serious nail gun injuries to the spinal cord, head, neck, eye, internal organs, and bones have been reported. Injuries have resulted in paralysis, blindness, brain damage, bone fractures, and death. Full Sequential trigger This is the safest type of nail gun trigger. This trigger will only fire a nail when the controls are activated in a certain order. First, the safety contact tip must be pushed into the work piece, then the user squeezes the trigger to discharge a nail. Both the safety contact tip and the trigger must be released and activated again to fire a second nail. Nails cannot be bump fired. Also known as single-shot trigger, restrictive trigger, or trigger fire mode. OSHA recommends six practical steps that contractors can take to prevent these injuries. These are: 1) Use full sequential trigger nail guns; 2) Provide training; 3) Establish nail gun work procedures; 4) Provide personal protective equipment (PPE); 5) Encourage reporting and discussion of injuries and close calls; and 6) Provide first aid and medical treatment. Here is a list of topics for training: 1) How nail guns work and how triggers differ. 2) Main causes of injuries – especially differences among types of triggers.

3) Instructions provided in manufacturer tool manuals and where the manual is kept. 4) Hands-on training with the actual nailers to be used on the job. This gives each employee an opportunity to handle the nailer and to get feedback on topics such as how to load the nail gun, how to operate the air compressor, how to fire the nail gun, how to hold lumber during placement work, how to recognize and approach ricochet-prone work surfaces, how to handle awkward position work (e.g., toe-nailing and work on ladders), how best to handle special risks associated with contact and single actuation triggers such as nail gun recoil and double fires, and what to do when a nail gun malfunctions. For example, coach new employees on how to minimize double fires by allowing the nail gun to recoil rather than continuing to push against the gun after it fires. NIOSH offers free videos in English and Spanish on nail gun safety which can be located at: 512-374-0271 x232

20th Annual HCA de SA Golf Classic Photos courtesy of Joe Ramos Photography. -cmw

1st Place

20th Annual HCA de SA Golf Classic participants.

Page 8

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

Doyle Benton

Owner Hollywood-Crawford Door Co. San Antonio, TX


ixty years ago, Doyle Benton began working as a garage door installer at Hollywood-Crawford Door Company. Through his hard work and dedication, he took ownership of the company in 1979. Today, Hollywood-Crawford door is a multi-million-dollar success story, with one of the largest garage door and garage door opener showrooms in the country. Despite its enormous growth and success, Benton is still at the door greeting customers and personally handing out payroll checks to employees. Share about your background. I was born in Florida in 1936. The Air Force brought me to San Antonio in the 1950s, where I met my wife Ruby; we have been happily married for more than 60 years. I was assigned at Wilford Hall but was actually detached to Ft. Sam Houston and was a correspondence clerk. How were you introduced to the garage door industry? Faith is a big part of our lives; we have been members of Parkhills Baptist Church since 1971. Prior to that, we

attended Lovera Baptist Church, where we first met Harry and Merle Crosland. The Croslands had started HollywoodCrawford Door Co. in 1947, installing and servicing garage doors and garage door openers. When I completed my Air Force service in 1958, Harry asked me to come work for him at Hollywood-Crawford. I originally started installing garage doors and soon moved into the office, handling many duties, including sales. While working full-time and raising a young family, I still found time to attend St. Mary’s University and earn my bachelor’s degree in business administration. Harry and I worked well together for 20 years, sharing a common goal of putting our customers’ happiness above all else, which remains one of the company’s core values to this day. When Harry was ready to retire in 1979, I bought the company from him. What was your experience like working for Harry Crosland, and what did you enjoy about the work? There was a learning curve. I enjoyed working in the outdoors, moving to different job sites and meeting people. What qualities did you admire in Harry? He was a good Christian man who was patient, caring and trustworthy. When Harry prepared to retire, did you feel ready to take on the responsibility of running the business? We had prior discussions and I was basically already running the company before Harry retired. Since I was already doing most everything, it felt natural and I didn’t have any second thoughts. Since you took over the business in 1979, how has the business evolved? Back in the ‘70s, we were installing wood garage doors. Then, in the ’80s, steel garage doors became popular, but only one style and color were originally available. Now, there are hundreds of

Hollywood-Crawford Garage Door Co.’s owner Doyle Benton in his new showroom.

different styles of garage doors available in a variety of colors. The company has grown to employ approximately 50 dedicated team members, with revenues expected to exceed $10,000,000 this year. HollywoodCrawford Door Co. is the only garage door company in the San Antonio area to have earned the coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award every year since 2007. We’re a member of the Greater San Antonio Builder’s Association and we are currently the only door dealer to be accredited by the Institute of Door Dealer Education and Accreditation (IDEA). Hollywood-Crawford also opened one of the largest garage door and garage door opener showrooms in the country in August 2018, located at 11234 Gordon Road in San Antonio. It displays more than 40 beautiful garage doors, including ones that allow homeowners to monitor and control their garage doors from their smart phones. What has been the most exciting part of this journey? Meeting and working with the many different personalities along the way. What lessons have you learned in the past 60 years? To manage a business, you must be prepared to accept the bad times with the good. Does it seem like 60 years have passed? They’ve gone fast but the challenges of life have been very rewarding. What advice would you give to those interested in a career similar to yours? Prepare your knowledge and realize things will not always run smoothly.

Even after 60 years in business and enormous success, Benton is still a humble and hands-on leader of the company.

Has your family assisted with the business? Over the years, my wife, two daughters, two sons, a couple of sons-in-law, a

daughter-in-law, several grand-children, a niece and a nephew [have helped in the business]. They played different roles in the company from washing trucks [to serving as a service technician, a customer care representative, warehouse assistant, sales consultant, human resources team leader, accounts receivable manager, accounts payable/ payroll manager, service team leader, safety/quality control team leader, operations team leader, vice president, then president. Currently, my son-in-law Randy and daughter Becky handle dayto-day operations. My daughter-in-law and three grandsons work at the company part-time, plus I have a grandson and two granddaughters that work part-time. How do you spend your weekdays now? My main focus these days is greeting employees, serving on the company leadership team and helping with annual planning. I still do the banking along with signing and handing out payroll checks to employees each pay period. What are your hobbies and interests outside of work? I am blessed to have a caring and giving family with a mind of their own. I like to create things of value from discarded items – many of which are from old garage doors. I enjoy playing FreeCell [Solitaire Card Game] on the computer and I watch sports on TV. What are your personal and professional plans for the future? As long as I am able, I will do some traveling and remain a part of the company. Hollywood-Crawford Door Company offers a complete line of residential and commercial overhead garage door and openers. –mjm

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

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Pour ’em and hold ’em


he American Subcontractors Association (ASA) held their annual Pour-Off, Texas Hold ‘Em & Salsa Taste-off at Aggie Park. The highly popular event was held on Sept. 26. Photos courtesy of Mary C. Haskin Photography. -cmw

KCM Cabinets Inc. – 1st Place Frozen

KCM Cabinets Inc. – 1st Place Non-Frozen

Gardner Law – 1st Place Salsa

MEMCO – 1st Place Best Decorating/ Bar Set-Up

1st Place Texas Hold ‘Em – Edward Pape, Vaquero Group

Crane Operator Jered Seaman, Americrane Rentals, lowers the boom of his crane for the removal of an air conditioning unit atop the Henry S. Miller Brokerage offices. -cmw


rom Minute Maid Park: Buyers Barricade shared this photo from Minute Maid Park. Buyers Barricade provided the Houston Astros with 600 Water Barricades and Fencing to help with protecting the fans as well as controlling the contraflow of post season pedestrian traffic throughout the 2019 MLB Playoffs. They also provided 12 message boards and 10 different lane closures throughout downtown to also help with the contraflow of vehicle traffic. It took over 20 Buyers personnel to do the set-up and about 80,000 gallons of water to fill all of the barricades up. -cmw

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San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

Halt deine Lederhosen fest!


t’s Oktoberfest, Terracon style. Once again, friends, clients and associates of Terracon Consultants Inc. filled Aggie Park for Terracon’s 8th Annual Client Appreciation & Casino Night. The festive affair, Terrafest, was held on Oct. 10. Over 300 of Terracon’s friends were in attendance at this year’s event. Keeping true to Oktoberfest traditions, food, beer and music was aplenty. Six vendors including UTSA’s Success Center were on hand to display their services. Additionally, the vendors provided door prizes and gave a quick elevator speech at the drawing of their donations. A fundraiser held for the Fisher House raised $1,000 from Terracon, clients and subs of Terracon. All guests had a great time winning raffle prizes, trying their luck at the gaming tables and enjoying the delicious spread catered by Schilo’s. You had to be there for the root beer and the strudel! -cmw Casino winners: 1st Place: Rene Hernandez, GVEC 2nd Place: Darrell Nichols, Christus Health SystemRetiree 3rd Place: Keith Moore, East Central ISD

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

Page 11

What’s Trending in Unmanned aerial vehicles

Drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) in the construction industry are here to stay!


ver the last decade, we have seen some people and various industries that are afraid of change or adapting to new technology. In the construction industry, we see some of the seasoned project managers viewing drones as toys or a nuisance. Whereas the younger project managers enter the construction industry bringing new ideas and tools and who see the benefits of drones as a valuable tool. The drone that was once thought of as a toy is now evolved into an advanced piece of equipment for many industries. Drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) in the construction industry are here to stay. Monitoring a construction project is always one of the biggest challenges for construction management. This is where drones UAVs become an extremely valuable tool. They have the ability to fly over the whole worksite and report back to the main office faster and with more accurate data with more efficiency than on-site personnel. Project managers can constantly monitor the development of the project and correct any mistakes promptly. Drones can be equipped with stateof-the-art equipment like radar, thermal cameras and laser-based sensors which can improve the surveillance of a worksite and detect any abnormal activity. Cameras and other electronics can collect data and complete safety inspections. Surveyors use them to create a 3D mapping that later can be used to depict

tremely vulnerable to theft of expensive equipment and materials. The use of drones can be a powerful tool for those who are responsible for the safety of the site when the construction work stops. It is extremely important to monitor the entire location effectively. On every working site, there are some locations where the security level is lower. This is where drones can help provide the security team with information in realtime. The use of drones or UAV’s during your work site inspection process can be cheaper and faster than the current inspection methods you’re using now, which allows a project manager to do more frequent inspections and provide a safer construction site. Thanks to drone inspections, there is no need for workers to inspect dangers in unapproachable locations of the construction worksite. After serving 22 years in the United States Army and as the First Sergeant of the Army’s Unmanned Aircraft System Operators/Master Trainers Course, Joe Baker started Sky Soldier Drones LLC.

Sky Soldier Drones, LLC is making its mark in Texas providing construction and development companies drone services that include providing aerial imagery and video for projects with monthly and quarterly cycles as well as marketing videos for companies. Sky Soldier Drones also offers an 8-hour Drone Flight Training Course that focuses on teaching basic drone operation and safety and an 8-hour FAA Part 107 Course that focuses on FAA rules and regulations. All pilots are licensed and insured. If you’re in the construction industry and in the need for drone services, Sky Soldier Drones LLC is ready to help you with your construction project needs. Joe Baker at 210-627-5671. View our website for samples of work and training schedules at:

an area. Not only are drones used as surveying tools, they are also used as a marketing tool, as they can record the actual progress and conditions of a project during a specific moment. Presenting those images of your construction site is valuable on so many levels. It allows for progress reports to be sent to your foreman, investors and potential clients, as well as perform asset management and inspect elements all from your desktop. Drones play a critical role in site security. Keeping track of equipment on the work site of any size can be a challenge. At night, construction sites can be ex-

Dove hunt


t was the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) South Texas Chapter’s first annual dove hunt. The first ever event was held at the Howell Crane Ranch on Sept. 28. “This is our first annual dove hunt. We are very excited. The purpose of this fundraiser is to gather funds to further our outreach. We want to start a more solid fund that will give us an opportunity to go to the high schools, in addition to offering free safety training to our members,” says ABC Workforce Development Director Tamara Schmoekel. “The proceeds from this event are going to provide free safety training for members as well as some materials and opportunities to provide OSHA 30s and some educational classes to some high schoolers and help get them some internships and get them in our industry.” Approximately 150 individuals participated in the day’s activities that started out with a clay shoot, lunch, vendor showcase followed by an evening of dove hunting. -cmw

Taylor Marshall, JE Dunn Construction

ABC members and guests take part in clay shoot portion of ABC’s dove hunt event.

Miguel Medina, Central Electric Contractors

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San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

92 years young

Bucket list

riends and family gathered together at the L.C. Mosel Mechanical Contractors headquarters to celebrate the 92nd birthday of Louis Mosel, the company’s second owner. There was cake, good wishes, party poppers and very tacky birthday cards aplenty as this great occasion was noted. -dsz

L-R: Doug McMurry, Vice President of the Board Luis Berumen, Albert Gutierrez and Dirk Elsperman, 2019 President


Louis Mosel blows out the candles on his birthday cake

Celebrating Louis Mosel’s 92nd birthday are family and friends (back row, L-R): Jean Mosel, Keri Mosel, Donna Specia, Deborah Kubecka, Kurt Mosel; (front row, L-R): Woody Eisenhaur, Louis Mosel

embership award? Check. Community Service award? Check. AGC of America Diversity and Inclusion award? Check. Chapter of the Year? Check. The Associated General Contractors San Antonio Chapter received the final item on AGC Executive Vice President Doug McMurry’s bucket list – Chapter of the Year. The AGC San Antonio Chapter was presented the honor of Chapter of the Year at the AGC National and Chapter Leadership Conference. “While we will always continue to improve and look for ways to better serve the members, in terms of national recognition, this is the final accomplishment. It was quite an honor for us to receive this award and be recognized for our outstanding service to our members in 2018,” says 2018 Chapter President Blaine Beckman, F.A. Nunnelly General Contractor. “it is a great compliment to the San Antonio Chapter to be selected. It was very competitive. AGC San Antonio ought to really pat themselves on the back for being selected the best of the best,’ says

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Executive Vice President AGC of North Dakota Russ Hanson. The award was presented to the AGC San Antonio for its comprehensive overview of all of the facets of association management. “It was really based on our government relations program, our education program and some of the work we do at our networking events. I wouldn’t rule out membership growth, and I wouldn’t ignore some of the community service work that we’ve done. But I think, in general, all of those things led the panelists to conclude that we were the best in this category,” says McMurry. “It really comes down to teamwork. It takes a lot of effort and many hands to keep this little AGC machine humming. It is really a testament to the work of the committees and the board of directors.” This award doesn’t represent just one year, but many years of our membership and our different board of directors and executive directors over time continuing to improve our chapter and our industry,” adds 2019 AGC Chapter President Albert Gutierrez, Guido Construction. -cmw

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San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

Page 13

like a snag or maybe just like added weight or pressure on the line. In these conditions, I tell my customers two things: when in doubt, set the hook, and if you are not hanging up or feeling the bottom, you’ re fishing too fast. Cold water doesn’t seem to effect redfish like it does trout. If you can find them, reds may hit any time of the day. Trout, on the other hand, may wait for the water to hit a certain temperature to turn on. This means that on some occasions, the best bite many be late in the day. If you are interested in fishing this fall or winter, feel free to give me a call or shoot me a text. I will also be guiding some whitetail deer hunts on the renowned Chaparrosa Ranch in South Texas. To schedule your next bay fishing trip or hunting trip, give Capt. Steve Schultz a call at 361-813-3716 or e-mail him at Good luck and Good Fishing.

Winter weather still good for fishing by Capt. Steve Schultz Sponsored by: Waypoint Marine, Shoalwater Boats, Evinrude Outboards, Fishing Tackle Unlimited, Shimano Reels, E-Z Bel Construction, Costa Sunglasses, Simms Fishing, ForEverlast Fishing Products, PowerPro, Interstate Batteries, MirrOlure, JL Marines Power-Pole, AFW and AFTCO Clothing


ovember has arrived and many of you are thinking of crawling into a deer stand and looking for that buck of a lifetime. I’m not saying that’s not on my mind also, but there is still some great fishing to be had. Typically, our winters are mild until late December and into the New Year. Many people put away their rods and reels in the winter, but if you like to fish you are really missing out. Yes, sometimes it’s cold and the fish can be hard to find, but the cold never stopped you from sitting in a deer stand for hours or sloshing through a marsh to put out decoys for an early morning duck hunt. Dress appropriately for the weather, learn the differences between warm and cold weather fishing and go give it a try. Last year, we had a very mild winter and the fishing never really even slowed down. At times, it was even great. In October and November, we had several days with limits. We found fish in areas that usually don’t turn on until March or April. Who knows, the fish might stay around because they still have to eat.

I typically fish Bart and Debra Johnson of Brownwood several times a year. This last trip in October they requested redfish and were not disappointed. Limits of reds have not been uncommon this fall. Photos by Steve Schultz Outdoors.

As the old saying goes: to catch fish you have to be at the right place at the right time. Knowing the right time and place is the key. Weather and temperature has got to be a prime consideration. You definitely don’t want to be out in the bay during a screaming north wind, but if you time your trips between fronts, the fishing can be great. When the north wind blows and the temperature and tide levels are both falling, usually the fish will move. Understanding these movements will help you locate the fish. Both game fish and bait fish will retreat to deeper water when a front hits. They seek the security and comfort of the deeper water – deep enough to keep them from being stranded on the shal-

Submitted to Construction News

A hunting I will go

While his buddies were pitching washers after a full day of deer camp maintenance, Stanley Rothman, Ahern Rentals, decided he was going out to hunt rattlesnakes. Five short minutes later, his buddies heard a gunshot, jumped into a Polaris and found Rothman with this 4ft. 4in. rattler in hand. -cmw

low flat and deep enough to insulate them from the harsh temperatures above. Deep is a relative term. It could mean as little as a couple of feet or up to 12 feet. The severity of a front should be taken into consideration. A moderate front might just move them into a deeper hole in the bay, while a severe front may make them drop into deep channels and guts, which contain soft mud. When fishing in cold conditions, you must really slow down your retrieve. Being the cold-blooded creatures that they are, a cold stunned fish is not going to chase a lure. Work your lure slow and close to the bottom. Don’t expect to have the kind of strike like you would have during the warmer months. The bite will feel

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San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

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

Fall and Winter Fishing Time!


ost of the time as fall arrives, I start talking about hunting. Hunting seasons are opening up and that and the holidays tend to capture our attention for a while. If you notice though, after you bag yourself some fresh game and the deer and turkey remember all their best hiding tricks, the new can kind of wear off. Not to worry. Fall and winter can be some of the best times for fishing! Our stripers and hybrids had a long hot summer to endure, but that is finally over and now the water temperatures are falling back into their optimum range. Since stripers are from the Atlantic, they and their hybrid cousins can go fairly dormant in the Texas heat, but our winter temperatures are just what they need. They begin to move around and go back to chasing bait fish and feeding hard in large schools so they can be at their fat-and-sassy best for spring spawning time. The best time for us to catch

them is when they are hungry and ready to feed, and after not feeding well in late summer and early fall, they are hungry now! All too often, we get lulled into timing our behavior by what we see around us. Halloween stuff starts appearing in the stores and we start thinking about football, hunting season and pumpkins spice everything. Pumpkins and turkeys

lead us into Thanksgiving, good food and travels. Christmas lights and decorations and decked out trees bring us to all the Holiday celebrations. We do these things because it’s time.

The same is true of the fish! The cooler weather has them out there kicking into high gear about now, but we have forgotten to think about fishing in the fall and winter. We don’t see fishing decorations everywhere; has somebody come up with a pumpkin spice worm or jig? This all comes to mind as I’m flipping through pictures of our catches in past years. We had a lot of clients that made a habit of fishing in the fall and winter. Not so much in recent years. Are we getting soft? Are we just out of the habit of winter fishing? We don’t even have to drill a hole in the ice here in Texas…just go meet the fish at the lake! Cool weather fishing trips have a less crowded lake, better availability for guides and lodging and the sunrises and sunsets over the lake are more colorful than at any other time. The weather still has some of the most pleasant days of the year yet to come. If it does turn off cold, just wear your hunting or skiing clothes to go fishing, (the fish won’t notice!). We have some people that will combine a fishing trip with their hunting plans, because you just can’t beat a fresh fish fry at the deer camp! Best of all, fishing is a nice addition to your holiday plans, especially if you have relatives and guests looking for something to do. Just think about it! The fish are still here and they don’t take holidays!

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019


Page 15

Predator trifecta

athan Wiatrek, son of Herc Rental Branch Manager Chris Wiatrek, hit the trifecta earlier this year taking three area predators for trophies. The young, but experienced, hunter used a Fox Pro Caller to lure his prey. All three were shot with a .17 HMR. Congratulations, Nathan! -cmw

While in Floresville, TX, young Nathan shot this gray fox.

Nathan shot this beauty of a bobcat in Falls City, TX.


On the same day in Floresville, Nathan shot a coyote.

Heavy stringers

t was time to hit the water for the Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association’s (TACCA) annual fishing tournament. Twenty-nine teams made up of members and guests of the air conditioning community set course for Doc’s Waterline in Corpus Christi Sept. 13-14 for the 26th annual tournament. -cmw

1st Place Heavy Stringer: Trout Slayers, 22.8 lbs.

Heavy Trout: Black Sheep Posse

Page 16

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

Embracing a safety culture


OSHA Area Director, Alex Porter addresses the group of attendees.

or the fourth straight year, safety professionals from across the city joined forces with local construction associations and companies in an effort to decrease construction fatality numbers. The 4th Annual Safety Summit was held Oct. 2 at the Alamo Colleges Workforce Center of Excellence with the hopes of keeping safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind, whether on a construction jobsite or not. After opening remarks, Mark Bakeman, Sundt Construction took the podium to read a poem that hit hard at the

heart of the matter. OSHA Area Director, Alex Porter, followed discussing the continued importance of safety in construction. The seven-hour event included sessions on Ensuring Accountability at all levels; Empowering and Involving Employees; Engaging Employees to Optimize a Safe Productive Culture for Business Success; followed by a Q&A with OSHA. ESC Safety Consultants, Midco Sling of San Antonio, OSHA, Zachry Construction and the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) hosted the event.–cmw

L-R: Dave Roberson, Zachry Construction; Mike Grendell, Midco Sling of San Antonio; Alex Porter, OSHA Area Director; and Ted Dunnam, ESC Safety Consultants.

100 plus attend the 4th Annual Safety Summit.

Page 17

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San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

Combatting hunger


nce again dedicated architects, engineers and contractors teamed up to construct canned food masterpieces. The San Antonio chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Society for Design Administration have partnered together, for the past decade, to bring to life this creative community event. The beautifully constructed creations were on display at North Star Mall from Sept. 9-21. Six teams competed for awards in categories such as Structural Ingenuity, Best Use of Labels, Best Meal, Juror’s Favorite and Best Use of the Color Orange. Two Honorable Mention Awards are also given. The teams drew inspiration from popular movies, environmental issues, milestone anniversaries, and iconic local architecture, turning over 16,000 canned goods into unique works of art. At the conclusion of the event, all canned goods are donated to the San Antonio Food Bank to benefit the Food Bank’s ‘Go Orange to Fight Hunger’ campaign. -cmw

Best Meal and Most Cans: “Mission to End Hunger” by Rogers-O’Brien Construction

Best Use of Labels: and Broadway Bank Winner (they will build in lobby following CANstruction exhibit at North Star) Intergalactic Energy “Astronaut” by San Antonio College Best Use of Orange: “Blast Hunger out of this World” (Space Shuttle) by RS&H Architecture, Engineering & Consulting


Structural Ingenuity: “Under the Seafood” by Alamo Architects & Turner Construction

Hey batter, batter

rchitectural Division 8 took first place at the CLC Construction Cup softball tournament. The round-robin format tournament was held Sept. 6-7 at Rusty Lyon’s Softball Field. This team building industry event was put on by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) of the San Antonio Chapter of Associated General Contractors (AGC). -cmw

UTSA celebrates 50 years.

Best Original Design: “Hakuna Matata by RVK Architects/ Lundy & Franke Engineers/ F.A. Nunnelly General Contractors

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

Page 19

What is your favorite store and why? REI. They have good selection for camping and outdoor stuff. Mark Resendez, Alpha Insulation & Waterproofing Inc. It would have to be Academy because they are all over. I can swing in, get what I need and get out. Mike Grendell, Midco Sling of San Antonio Academy. They have everything I need. Mike McGinnis, Allen & Allen Co. Bass Pro Shop. Why? It’s obvious. Toby Martinez, Bexar Excavating & Hauling LLC TJMaxx because I can buy all the clothes without breaking the bank. Audrey Perez, KCM Cabinets Inc. Northern Tool & Equipment. They have sausage-making equipment. Tom Walthall, Gardner Law Firm Bass Pro Shop. It has all the fun stuff for outside. Duane Hannasch, Fire Alarm Control Systems Inc. For the kids it would be Academy because they all play sports. For me, I love Clothes Mentor. I can find great bargains on clothes. Heather Osborn, MEMCO Marshalls. I don’t believe in paying full retail price. Victor Ruiz, Markel Surety My favorite store is Amazon! It comes right to my door and I can shop in my PJs. Jennifer Swinney, ASA My favorite store and why? Academy! They have everything. If they sold food, you wouldn’t need to go anywhere else. Chris Miles, Texas First Rentals

Industry FOLKS Angela Hines Director of New Construction GW Mitchell Construction

My favorite store is Ross. I can buy everything a lot cheaper than Macy’s. Ross is my “go-to” store. Elaine Buchhorn, People Ready

San Antonio, TX


My new favorite store is Sundance in Quarry Village. They have so many awesome things - clothes, jewelry, shoes–the things women love the most. Melanie Geist, Ridout Barrett & Co PC.

ngela Hines, a true “Alamo City” native, was born and raised in San Antonio. She attended Clark High School and later graduated from UTSA. She did not experience the typical “college life” scene. She dated and then married her husband while attending college. Extremely committed to her education, especially during her last two years, she focused on getting good grades in her field of study, obtaining and keeping her scholarship. For Hines, San Antonio was an awesome place to grow up, but after graduating she felt she needed a change. “After college and my first project here, I felt I needed to get out and explore other cities,” she says. And so, she did. After graduating with a BBA with an emphasis on Building Development, Hines worked for the general contractor working on the BAMC replacement hospital. She then moved to Houston and Honolulu where she worked with several large general contractors. Angela was drawn to construction inadvertently through her father who was an aerospace engineer. It was through him she became drawn to science and math. For her, construction was a nice compromise between construction management, architecture and engineering. Angela and her husband Les, whom she met through friends, have two children. Son Dylan is 22 and daughter Abby is 9. They have two dogs: Brownie who is a rescued Australian shepherd mix from the Honolulu Human Society and Daisy, a miniature long-haired dachshund who loves to

My favorite is H-E-B. H-E-B has everything! Nick Metcalf, BizDoc It has to be Bass Pro Shop because I hunt and fish a lot! David Robles, Alamo 1 Bass Pro Shop. They have everything I need. Miguel Medina, Central Electric Contractors My favorite story would have to be Cabellas, because it’s by my house and I go there all the time. Taylor Marshall, JE Dunn Construction Academy. I spend a lot of money there and it gets me into trouble every time. Marshall Burton, Fastenal I’d have to say H-E-B. I love H-E-B. Amy Castillo, Vulcraft San Antonio Cabela’s. I love to shop the gun section. My wife and I love to go to the range and shoot. Johnie McDow, Southwest Electrical Contracting Services My favorite store is Bath & Body Works. I love their lotions and perfumes. Staci Mendez, Rexel Electrical Supply

No shank zone


he construction industry hit the fairways on Sept. 13 for the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) South Texas Chapter Fall Golf Tournament. The popular event was held on the Oak Course at TPC San Antonio. -cmw

dig, bark, bark and bark some more. As Director of New Construction, Hines oversees GW Mitchell’s ground-up construction group which can include renovations or tenant finish outs of specific GW Mitchell projects. Prior to her current role with the company, she was a senior project manager managing multiple projects and teams at different stages of construction at a time or large commercial construction projects. “I’m really happy working for GW Mitchell. We have a great group and I feel like what I do matters. I have a voice in the direction of the business and I’m an important part of the company.” When asked if she had a mentor, she had this to say. “Actually, I have several with Manhattan Construction, Dave Gorrell, Barnie Edwards, Jimmy Twilley (all Superintendents), and Tom Kramer, Duane Duffy and Bob Postma (Managers). They all mentored me in my early career and I often reflect on the lessons learned while I worked for them and, how even though I was a woman in construction in the 90’s, when there weren’t many, they treated me with respect. As long as I did my job, they didn’t care about my genetics. “ When it comes time to relax, Hines enjoys the great outdoors, mainly hiking and golf, kids sports and Girl Scouts. She is a member of Koko Fit Club, and most importantly to Hines, she loves spending time with friends and family. -cmw

Silver anniversary fishing


t was a record year the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors (PHCC) 25th Annual Memorial Fishing Tournament. Two hundred fisherman and ladies turned out to compete in the annual tournament which was held Sept.28 in Rockport, TX. Approximately 250 total participants and guests were in attendance. Dennis Ashley, Ashley Plumbing; Ted Rigdon, Culligan Water Treatment and Vincent Gillette, Gillette A/C we recognized during a memorial at the event. -cmw Tournament winners: 1st Place: Guarantee Plumbing & HVAC - 210 Anglers Team, 12.99 lbs. 2nd Place: A&A Plumbing, 12.63 lbs. 3rd Place: Ferguson Enterprises, 11.96 lbs.

Heavy Redfish: Primo Plumbing, Team Bonifide - 8.86 lbs. Heavy Spotted Trout: Moore Supply, 4.05 lbs. Heavy Flounder: You Name it Specialties, 3.25 lbs.

Most Spots on Redfish: Primo Plumbing, Top Water Team - 15 spots Junior Division: 1st Place: J. Kilhorn, 3.86 lbs. 2nd Place: T Guerra, 2.90 lbs. 3rd Place: J Weems, 1.26 lbs.

➤ Junior

Fisherman Division group photo

1st Place

Tournament winners: 1st Place: Cadence McShane Construction Co. LLC 2nd Place: D. Wilson Construction 3rd Place: Metropolitan Contracting Co. LLC Ladies Longest Drive: Kristin Savage Men’s Longest Drive: Sean West Closest to the Pin: Chris Beard (Hole in One!)

Hole in One

1st Place Team: ➤ 210 Anglers Guarantee Plumbing L-R: Angel Garza, Ruben Montoya, Ruben Montoya Jr, Louie Celestine

Page 20

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

THIS TH MON Jan: Construction Forecast Mar: Construction Education May: Concrete Industry July: Electrical Industry Feb: Construction Safety Apr: Women in Construction Jun: HVAC & Plumbing Aug: Service Providers

The Return of Function Corey Squire, AIA Director of Sustainable Architecture Positive Energy San Antonio, TX


rchitecture has always been about uniting form with function. The architectural maxim, “Form follows function” was coined by Louis Sullivan in the late 19th century, but he was just re-popularizing a concept going back to Vitruvius’ three essential qualities of architecture: firmitas (durability/strength), utilitas (utility), venustatis (beauty). The concept of form following function makes sense. Designing and constructing a building is a time-consuming and resource-intensive endeavor. After all that effort, clients want something that looks great while serving their needs, even those needs they haven’t yet anticipated. Sometime in the 20th century, there was a breakdown of the relationship between form and function. Technological optimism led to the international style of architecture and its emphasis on form. The introduction of inexpensive electric light bulbs divorced the form of a building from its ability to provide occupants with light. This led to deeper floor plates and lower ceilings. The introduction of air conditioning divorced the facade materials and orientation of a building from its ability to provide thermal comfort, resulting in expansive glass curtain walls. New advances in technology seemed limitless and since electricity would cover the functional aspects of a building, architects were freed to focus purely on form. Though the international style came

to an end in the 1970s, many elements of the movement remain entrenched in today’s architectural practice. While no longer seeming limitless, electricity is still leaned on by architects to solve problems that would be better addressed through design. This attitude seems to finally be coming to an end as three broad societal trends are leading to the reemergence of function as central to good design. The first trend is cheap and easy access to information on the outcomes of architectural design. In the past, a client who expected high-quality, healthy indoor air would have no way of determining whether or not this outcome had been delivered. Today, anyone can buy a home air quality monitor for less than 100 dollars. Foobot, one manu-

QA Survey: Key for Success Shri Eathalapaka, PE LJA Engineering Inc. Irving, TX


eavy highway projects tend to put a lot of emphasis on design, construction quality, schedule and utility coordination while not placing a lot of importance on the accuracy of construction surveying. Survey has been important since the beginning of civilization and one of the primitive applications was to measure and mark boundaries of land ownership. Over the years, its importance has progressively increased with ever-growing demand for various maps and to accurately establish line and grade to manage and monitor construction services. Accuracy of a construction project is as good as its survey information. In the modern age of Global Positioning Systems being used to accurately provide survey points for constructing roads and bridges, it is of primary importance to have a quality assurance survey team crosscheck the accuracy of the data prior to commencement of construction to re-

duce redo’s and to avoid costly errors. For heavy highway projects, The QA survey team should start checking the accuracy of the data during the utility relocation (third-party franchise utilities) phase prior to construction so that the utilities are accurately relocated and don’t pose a constructability issue during the actual highway construction activities. Constructabili-

Quality ‘n fishing

Top L- R: Sean Hilbrandt, Chris Loeffler, Gene Vogelman, John Young, Gary Walker, Jonathan Rodriguez, Corbin Harrison, Glenn Watts, Brandon Coble, Schain Hoover, Richard Teran, TJ Howard, Jon Hess, Danny Caballero, Jeff Holt, Jeff Mills, Marcus Cantu, Craig Noto, Sean Bates and Ram Garcia show off their catch at the Quality Fence & Welding Annual Fishing Trip, Sept. 21. -cmw

Architecture & Engineering Sept: Green Building Nov: Architecture & Engineering Oct: Specialty Contractors Dec: Construction Equipment

facturer of these monitors, uses the slogan, “See what you breathe.” This could not be closer to the point; the democratization of information allows clients to “see” aspects of architecture that were previously invisible. How a building performs on air quality, energy conservation, occupant health, resilience, and many other formally invisible attributes of design will now be just as visible as the building’s form. The second trend is a shifting expectation of design in consumer products, both in terms of how they look and the personal benefit they provide. Tesla is an example of how this industry has fully embraced a reunification of form and function. Tesla doesn’t ask consumers to choose between an aesthetically beautiful option and a high-performance option, as clients often feel they must. The Tesla’s form was fine-tuned for aerodynamics in a wind tunnel, meaning that the same design moves that lead to the sleek appearance also reduce drag, conserves energy and extends the battery range. On top of this, Teslas have proven especially safe during crash testing and HEPA filters keep cabin air clean by filtering out road pollution. In the recent past, architecture rarely reached this level of system integration, with equal attention paid to beauty, health, and efficiency. These multiple integrated outcomes are demanded by consumers in other industries. Clients have begun to expect holistic performance from architecture as well.

Finally, the last trend is a universal recognition that the climate is changing and that the impacts – both expected and unexpected – will continue to be felt by everyone in the short term. Recent examples include a record high temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit in Paris in the summer of 2019, a city where less than 10 percent of households have air conditioning and, during the writing of this article, a tropical storm is forecast to make landfall in Ireland. The built environment needs to perform the same functions that we expect today in an increasingly uncertain future. High summer temperature, droughts, extreme rainfall events, smoke, and utility grid shortages are coming with increasing frequency. Clients expect their architects to consider these challenges and design in resiliency features, whether they were explicitly asked for or not. The AIA has been leading on this issue nationally. This past September, The AIA Board of Directors unanimously adopted a new “Framework for Design Excellence” that encompasses ten equally important measures, including Design for Economy, Design or Energy, and Design for Change. In the past, these efforts were categorized under “sustainability,” a catch-all phrase that can be politically charged. Today, topics like energy conservation, indoor air quality, and resiliency can be broadly defined as the return of function as an essential element of design excellence. -cmw

ty issues due to utilities being relocated incorrectly due to bad data has major cost and schedule implications on the project and on the owners. Accurate SUE survey eliminates a lot of future constructability issues as the existing utilities are taken into consideration during the design phase, eliminating potential construction issues. During construction, the team must ensure that there is constant coordination between the contractor’s survey team and the QA survey team to eliminate errors. Prior to commencement of construction, the CE&I team should develop a QA survey implementation plan which should include all elements of construction with varied levels of priority that require accurate QC/QA survey. The CE&I team must act like ring leaders and ensure that high-priority items are checked, and accuracy confirmed before the contractor is provided the go-ahead to proceed with construction. High priority on accurate survey should be emphasized while relocating city utilities like water and wastewater in congested construction areas where a survey bust of a few inches could result in potential damages to the existing line or pose delay due to conflict with underground bridge drill shafts and foundations. Below are a few instances where accurate survey and relocation could have avoided potential conflicts and delays: • A fiber communication line was relocated during the utility relocation phase to

avoid potential conflict with proposed bridge drill shafts. Due to inaccurate survey the fiber line was not accurately relocated and during the utility locates process for drill shaft construction it was discovered that the steel encased fiber line was in conflict with one of the proposed drill shafts. The utility line was relocated again which resulted in a six-month delay to the project which could have been avoided if a QA survey was performed. • Incorrect survey resulted in a bridge column and bent cap being built two ft too high which resulted in demolition of the cap and chipping down the column to reconstruct to the correct height. This caused a major delay to the project as the bridge was on the critical path. Survey QA check could have avoided this issue resulting in overall savings to the project. • Existing fiber duct bank was lowered to avoid being within the roadway pavement section, however, the line was not lowered enough (due to bad survey information) and the contractor damaged the fiber line resulting in huge damages and schedule delays. In closing, CE&I team coordination with survey is important for successful completion of heavy highway construction projects and having a QA survey team cross check the contractor’s survey data saves time and money. LJA Engineering is an engineering firm with 29 locations across the United States. -cmw

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

Page 21


Construction Equipment

To represent your company in an upcoming FOCUS, contact 210-308-5800

Strategic Hiring for Competitive Labor Markets Wade Cleary, PE., Managing Principal | CEO Cleary Zimmermann Engineers San Antonio, TX


ike many of our AEC industry colleagues, Cleary Zimmermann Engineers has experienced substantial project portfolio and staffing growth in the past five years. The industry has remained strong across all sectors and current market indicators lead us to believe that there will be plenty of opportunities for new work for the foreseeable future. With these conditions in mind, we continue to see a tight labor market. With the construction market growing and unemployment rates low (3.7 percent at time of publication), AEC firms must remain vigilant in hiring the right people for our organizations. Quickly hiring people based on resume qualifications alone is arguably ineffective and downright risky. While the occasional new hire will meet your expectations in terms of skill and company compatibility, these hasty hires often soon become regrettable decisions. In response to these challenges, five years ago we established an interview strategy that has helped us hire quality employees and increase retention. Fortynine percent of our staff has been with

the firm five years or more, while 26 percent of our staff has been with the firm for 10 years or more. We have a multistep interview process that we undertake for every candidate. We follow this process without exception; no matter how impressive a candidate looks, how well they shine in the first interview, or how highly recommended they come. Step 1: Initial Interview The initial personal interview is our opportunity to get to know the candidate. In this interaction, we are not necessarily trying to understand if they have the technical skills required for the position, but instead, are truly more con-

In memoriam…


or nearly 28 years, Sam P. Gooden, Jr. ran work as a superintendent for Lyda Construction Company. Known for his hard and fast work, he set the bar high on the job, both literally and figuratively. He was one of the first in Texas to work with flying forms, which was a new technique in building suspended floor slabs for high rise buildings. In fact, he flew to New York, where they were first used, to learn to build them. He was instrumental in scraping San Antonio’s skyline. On April 10, 2019, Sam Gooden passed from this earth, but his legacy still lives. -cmw

Shadow day

Eighty-seven students enrolled in the architecture and engineering programs at San Antonio College (SAC) and spent the morning of Oct. 4 at one of 20 local firms as part of the Sixth Annual SAC A/E Job Shadow Day. Eight of those students visited O’Connell Robertson’s office and toured a jobsite of one the firm’s design. -cmw

cerned about assessing whether they will fit with the culture of our firm. Do their values align with ours? We also encourage the candidate to ask a lot of questions. We want them to get a sense of our firm’s personality, environment, and mission. This process is a two-way street. Step 2: Personality Assessment If we feel from the initial assessment that the candidate would be a good cultural fit, the real work begins. Next, the candidate takes an on-line personality assessment and we examine the results in depth to try to understand their motivations, communication styles, and whether they will work well within our organization. Step 3: Technical Interview We follow this personality assessment with a technical interview. The technical interview is conducted by two senior-level employees from the candidate’s practice area. We have refined our questions and the technical problems we ask them to solve to best illuminate each candidate’s capabilities. In this session, we ask probing questions and test to ensure the candidate’s technical capabilities fit the skill set we need. Step 4: Key Performance Expectations To conclude the interview process,

we have another principal the candidate has not yet met review the key expectations for the position. This final meeting provides the candidate written metrics that define successful outcomes for their position. These key expectations are also the standards we use to measure performance during annual reviews. Step 5: Consensus Once we have completed the interview process, we assemble all the interviewers and openly discuss our observations of the candidate. Any interviewer has a veto, and if anyone has reservations regarding a candidate, we pass. We have learned this truth the hard way; every time we have looked past a concern, we have soon regretted the decision. The Takeaway The key lesson we have learned from implementing this robust hiring process is simple: Do your homework, follow your instincts, and don’t fall into the trap of moving forward with a risky hire simply because you’re overloaded with backlog and desperate for help. Cleary Zimmermann Engineers is a consulting engineering firm specializing in Building MEP, Industrial MEP, IT/Security and Commissioning services in San Antonio, Bryan/College Station, and Houston. –cmw

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San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

Submitted to Construction News


JQ is pleased to announce the addition of: Erlath W. “Trey” Zuehl III, PE has joined the firm as the civil engineering lead. He brings 30 years of civil engineering experience in civil site design, utility and infrastructure design hydrological and hydraulic analysis and design, construction management and project management. Zuehl earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University. – cmw Brett Bechtel joins JQ as a senior technician and civil designer with 20 years of experience as an engineering technician producing design documents across numerous project types. He is proficient in AutoCAD Civil3D and able to take projects from initial survey to final plan preparation. Bechtel holds an Associate of Applied Science degree from Southeast Community College in Milford, NE. -cmw Christina Taylor has joined the Sundt team as a business development representative. She has spent the past 15 years working in marketing and business development, bringing experience in generating leads and opportunities, client relationship management and strategic pursuit planning. -cmw

Matt McCabe joins the firm as a civil/survey technician with more than six years of experience in computer aided drafting and design using AutoCAD, Revit and Microstation, as well as surveying field work. McCabe holds an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Aided Drafting from Aims Community College in Greeley, CO. -cmw Skanska USA is pleased to announced Ryan Aalsma has been promoted to Executive Vice President and General Manager, overseeing regional operations in the Greater San Antonio area. Aalsma, an industry expert with more than 20 years of experience in construction, will drive the firm’s services in the market, overseeing the account management team and cultivating new opportunities and customer and stakeholder relationships in the area. -cmw

Round-Up Submissions

Brief company announcements of new or recently promoted personnel, free of charge, as space allows. Submit Info & Photo: (210) 308-5800

McMillan James’ statewide expansion


hen Mark McMillan founded his HVAC manufacturer’s rep firm in 1987, he says he was a “one-man band who focused on niche market segments.” Specializing in natatorium and geothermal heat pump systems, the company soon became widely known in the Dallas/Fort Worth market – but the Grapevineheadquartered company wouldn’t stay local for long. By the late ‘90s, McMillan James Equipment Company began adding more product lines to offer a complete lineup of products to its customers and began evolving into what it is today. Now, McMillan James is a full-service manufacturer’s rep in the Dallas/Fort Worth market. Over the past five years, McMillan James Equipment Company has Bryan Sublett, McMillan James Equipment expanded geographically across the Company’s VRF Sales Specialist, helps lead the state, with their most recent company’s recent expansion in San Antonio expansion into the Austin and San Antonio market in 2018. McMillan James presence, start hiring more people and Equipment Company’s most recent Austin/ bringing in more product lines from there.” San Antonio expansion is also known as the Attention on the customer is paracompany’s Central and South Texas office. mount to the company’s success. Sharing the regional responsibilities are “One of our overriding cultural themes Bryan Sublett, who is a VRF Sales Specialist is service before and after the sale,” McMillan located in San Antonio, and David Beyer, says. “We don’t just sell equipment and walk who is the VRF Business Director located in away, we’re there to support the designer up Austin. front, the mechanical contractors during the “When we expand into a new market, installation of the project, and the owners we kind of use the model that our DFW once the project has been installed. We’re office started with, which is very niche- there for the long term and taking care of oriented,” McMillan says. “In the DFW mar- our customers is task No. 1 for us.” ket, we represent close to 40 manufacturers; With a presence throughout the state, in San Antonio, we represent six manufac- McMillan James Equipment Company is turers with our primary focus on VRF techn- ready for its continued growth across all ology. We have partnered with Samsung offices. and are the representative for the entire McMillan James is a full-service HVAC state. Along with that, we have a business manufacturers’ representative specializing in unit within McMillan James that is dedi- creating custom heating, ventilation and air cated to this technology. The plan is to conditioning (HVAC) systems and engineered develop that market, establish our local solutions. –mjm

Industry FOLKS Johnie McDow Director of Purchasing & Logistics

Southwest Electrical Contracting Services San Antonio, TX


ust a good ol’ boy, Johnie McDow got into the electrical arena due to unforeseen circumstances. He was born in Dilley; grew up in Waco where he attended University High School, watched Baylor Bears football, and enjoyed dirt car racing on Friday nights. After high school, McDow attended McClennan Community College until he had to withdraw after a death in the family. As a result, he went to work on the family farm in Carrizo Springs. But farming was not for him and he later returned to Waco where he went to work for a local electrical distributor. After almost 30 years in distribution, McDow decided to get a job in the electrical construction industry. He used his knowledge and talents from the distribution side when an opportunity to work for a company starting up in San Antonio, Southwest Electrical Contracting Services, presented itself. This gave him an opportunity to not only purchase materials but use his warehousing and administrative talents to help them grow. As director of purchasing and logistics, McDow handles purchasing, the direction of two buyers, tools and logistics for jobs, in addition to maintaining vendor relations. “I enjoy the diversity and my ability to use my 45 years of knowledge to help the company and our guys in the field. It’s customer service at its best. The electrical industry continues to morph into something new and different every day. Sometimes it’s funny explaining the novelty of having a fax machine, why I keep my first cell phone in a shoe

box, or even the changes in products that we have seen to the younger guys. It is never boring,” says McDow. He gives credit to a gentleman named Robert “Bob” Murphey as his mentor in the business. “Mr. Murphey, as we like to call him, took me on when I was 20 years old and looking for a career. He taught me the value of customer service, being ethical in business, and that the price of something was not its value. He helped me grow as a manager of people as well. Because of him, I was given the opportunity to be in sales, operations, warehouse, an automation specialist and branch management. Throughout that time, he was there to guide and teach me. He was tough but fair and I owe him a lot for my experiences in the business.” McDow also managed a local youth association in Schertz. It is here where he met his wife of 10 years, Sarah. Between the two of them, he and Sarah have seven children and four grandchildren ranging in ages from 8 to 34. McDow enjoys serving his community. He is the City of Schertz’s Volunteer of the Year for his years of community involvement with the City and BVYAW. He is honored to be on the Wall of Fame for the Schertz-CiboloUniversal City ISD (SCUCISD) district for community involvement. Additionally, he likes people to know that his grandfather taught him how to shoot a deer rifle and drive a tractor at the age of 5. -cmw

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

Page 23

Trap, skeet & rifle


ept. 25 was an exciting day for the Mechanical Contractors Association Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning National Association (MCA-SMACNA). More than 150 participants attended the 42nd Annual MCA-SMACNA Hunter’s Symposium held at Bexar Community Shooting Range in Marion, TX. Members, associate members and guests participated in a skeet, trap and rifle shoot. They enjoyed a catfish dinner and won some amazing raffle and door prizes. Photos courtesy of Mary C. Haskin Photography. Rifle Shooting winners: 2nd Place Guest Rifle: Matt Landrum, NEISD 3rd Place Guest Rifle: Marcos Bresson 1st Place Associate Rifle: Chuck Baumgarten, PMI 2nd Place Associate Rifle: Jared Peterson, Mechanical Reps 3rd Place Associate Rifle: Andy Chantos, PMI 2nd Place Member Rifle: Mark Zinsmeister, SMG 3rd Place Member Rifle: Kyle Pennington, AJ Monier Ridiculous Rifle: Rodney Halbardier, Petrin

Trap Shooting winners: 2nd Place Guest Trap: Roy Jackson, Retiree 3rd Place Guest Trap: Adam Vega, CHRISTUS Health 2nd Place Associate Trap: Andy Waggoner, All-Tex Pipe & Supply 3rd Place Associate Trap: Frank Tuttle, Texas Air Systems 2nd Place Member Trap: Ben Christian, M&M Metals 3rd Place Member Trap: Todd Hartman, Mueller & Wilson Terrible Trap: Tim Wheeler, Brandt Companies Skeet Shooting winners: 2nd Place Guest Skeet: Brian Keller, Cleary Zimmermann 3rd Place Guest Skeet: John Scott, Retiree 2nd Place Associate Skeet: Aaron Caldwell, Texas Air Products 3rd Place Associate Skeet: Doug Reeves, Larry Wunsch & Assoc 2nd Place Member Skeet: Deborah Wertheim, LC Mosel 3rd Place Member Skeet: Richard Schmidt, Brandt Companies Shoddy Skeet: Alyssa Saldivar, IMEG

1st Place Guest Rifle: Brian Goebel, MS2 Consulting

1st Place Member Rifle: Eric Rice, AJ Monier

Expert Trap: Devin Maine, NEISD

1st Place Guest Trap: Phillip Allen, Ackerman

Jonathan Wilson, M&M Metals

Expert Rifle: David Bugge, PMI

1st Place Associate Trap: Ken Brothers, Siemens Industry

1st Place Member Trap: Kaeden Bostwick, All-Tex Pipe & Supply

Expert Skeet: Rick Barrera, IMEG

1st Place Guest Skeet: Clint Ulman, SpawGlass

1st Place Associate Skeet: Mike Manis, PMI

1st Place Member Skeet: Hayward Decker, AJ Monier

Photo bomb

Industry icons L-R: Kirby Whitehead, Kurt Mosel, Jerry Pruitt and Sam Pascal



Lo and behold, even charity events are not safe from photo bombers. SpawGlass hosted a charity golf tournament Oct. 4 at Olympia Hills Golf Course. Proceeds from the event benefit Chosen, an organization that helps children heal from trauma due to abuse, neglect and abandonment, and strengthens their families. -cmw

Page 24

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

Association Calendar

Content submitted by Associations to Construction News ABC

Associated Builders & Contractors

Nov. 7: Sporting Clay Shoot, National Shooting Complex, 5931 Roft Rd., Checkin 12pm, Shooting begins 2pm. Nov. 21: Volunteer Appreciation Happy Hour, Oak Hills Lanes, 7330 Callahan Rd., 5-7pm. For more info, call 210-342-1994 AGC

Associated General Contractors

Nov. 14: Casino Night & Construction Awards Dinner, The Club at Sonterra, 901 E. Sonterra Blvd., 6-10pm. Nov. 20: Lean Coffee, AGC Chapter Offices, 10806 Gulfdale, 7-9:30am. For more info, call 210-349-4921 AIA

American Institute of Architect

Nov. 5: COTE: Lucifer Lighting Tour, Lucifer Lighting Company, 3750 I-35, 4-6pm. Nov. 8: WiA, Fall Panel Event, CBI Showroom, 12626 Silicon Dr., 6-8pm. Nov. 10: Frank Harmon, FAIA Lecture + Book Signing, TBD Nov. 19: People + Place Celebration Design Awards, McNay Art Museum, 6000 N. New Braunfels Ave., 6-10pm. Nov. 25: Chapter Meeting, Mission Branch Library, 11:30am-1pm. For more info, call 210-226-4979. ASA

American Subcontractors Assn.

Nov. 6: Safety Session Multi-Employer, ESC Safety Consultants Office, 12758 Cimarron Path #127, 8:30-10am. Nov. 19: Lunch & Learn, The Petroleum Club, 8620 N. New Braunfels, #700, 11:30am-1pm. For more info, call Jennifer Swinney at 210-349-2105 ASCE

American Society of Civil Engineers

Nov. 11: General Branch Meeting, Anne Marie’s at Devonshire, 12475 Starcrest, 10:30am-1pm. For more info, go to ASSE

American Society of Safety Engineers

Nov. 18: Chapter Meeting, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Rd. 11am-1pm. For more info, go to www. CFMA

Construction Financial Management Assn.

Nov. 19 : CFO Roundtable, The Petroleum Club, 8620 N. New Braunfels, 7:309:30am. Member $35, Non-member $45. For more info, email cfmasatx@gmail. com GSABA

Greater San Antonio Builders Assn.

Nov. 7: Casino Night Member Appreciation, GSABA Ballroom, 3625 Paesanos Pkwy. #100. For more info, contact Feliz Morin at HCA de SA

Hispanic Contractors Assn. de San Antonio

Nov. 20: Monthly Meeting/Mixer, The Quarry Golf Club, 444 E. Basse, 5pm. For more info, call Tracy Burns at 210-4441100 or go to


Independent Electrical Contractors

Nov. 16: First Aid/CPR Class, IEC Training Center, 5511 Ingram Rd. 8am-3pm. For info, contact Julie Tucker at 210-431-9861 or email MCA-SMACNA INC

Mechanical Contractors Assn. Sheet Metal & A/C Nat’l Assn.

Nov. 13: Regular & Associates Meeting, The Petroleum Club, 8620 N. New Braunfels, 7th Flr., 11:30am. Nov.14: Sheet Metal Apprentice Graduation, Dave & Busters, 440 Crossroads Blvd., 5:30pm. Nov. 20: Joint Industry Fund Meeting, MCA-SMACNA office, 12500 Network Blvd., #410, 11:30am. For more info, call Sandee Morgan at 210-822-3763 NARI

National Assn. of the Remodeling Industry

Nov. 15: 2019 Evening of Excellence, TBD, 6-10pm. For info, email Angela Parks at angelas@southwestexteriors. com NAWIC

National Assn. of Women in Construction

Nov. 6: General Meeting, The Petroleum Club, 8620 N. New Braunfels. For more info, call Eloina Benavides at 210-2678800 or email tonecustomsigns@gmail. com PHCC

Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors

Nov. 14: Annual Business Meeting & 2020 Board Elections. The Petroleum Club, 8620 N. New Braunfels, 11am. For more info, call Heidi Trimble at 210-8247422 or go to SAMCA

San Antonio Masonry Contractors Assn.

Nov. 20: Membership Meeting, Pappasitos Cantina, 10501 I-H 10 W, 12pm. For more info, contact Debi at 210-347-2423 or email TACCA

Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Assn. Greater San Antonio

Nov. 21: Member Meeting, Old San Francisco Steakhouse, 10223 Sahara Dr., 11:30am. For more info, call Dawn Thompson at 210-901-4222 TSPS

Texas Society of Professional Surveyors

Nov. 10: CST Exam (Paper), Transglobal Services LLC, 1100 Macon Street, Midland, TX, 8:15am-4pm. For more info, email Garrett Smelker/Dempsey Hannah at Nov. 22: Abilene Annual Seminar, Abilene Civic Center - Upstairs Conf. Rm., 1100 North 6th St., Abilene, TX. For more info, email

continued from Page 1 — Carranza Restoration LLC and took a leap of faith, opening Carranza Restoration LLC in San Antonio that year. “When I first started it, it was a oneman show,” Carranza says. “It was crazy because, even though I know everything that I’m doing, I’m only one person, and there are all of the different facets that are required to run a successful claim or a job. Sometimes I’m out there throwing up drywall and tearing out carpet and then there are times when I’m sitting down in an insurance office discussing why a supplement is valid and should be paid, and then all of the other things that are in between. It was really challenging.” A year and a half ago, Carranza decided to invest in himself and his business by hiring employees and acquiring a building. Today, the full-service company is in full swing, mitigating water damage, fire restoration, repairs, and total builds for all of San Antonio, from New Braunfels to San Marcos. Currently, he is focusing on developing the company’s roofing division, which is tailored more to the retail side and is showing great promise.

“It’s fulfilling. I kind of live for the accolade at the end. I love our customer reviews,” Carranza says. “I think, above all, that sense of getting people a product that they hoped for that and that even surpassed their expectations, is great.” Also fulfilling for Carranza is working alongside his three sons Charles Jr., Anthony and Alex. “We’ve always been close and it’s a joy to see them learn things. It’s great that we get to spend more time with each other,” Carranza says. With the company’s success established, Carranza is looking forward to building its future. “I plan to keep a stable company where the people that are here with us now can enjoy saying that they enjoy working here and that they helped build something,” Carranza says. “I love that we’re a service company. I don’t have any larger goals other than to be a successful mitigation company.” Mitigation subcontractor Carranza Restoration LLC is in Cibolo, TX. –mjm

continued from Page 1 — Damon Gray Custom Millworks work. “That’s pretty much how Damon Gray Custom Millworks got started.” He started his own business for good this time. Work was steady. “Those little jobs have turned into big jobs,” he said. “I enjoy doing different, out-of-thenorm stuff,” he said. When people show him a picture of something they like, Gray works with them to find the happy medium between what they want, what they can afford, and what works best. He tells homeowners, “You show me a picture of it, and I’ll build it.” “I draw everything up on a computer, in a 3-D rendering,” Gray added. Customers will either say, “That’s exactly what I want,” or the back-and-forth will begin. Sometimes what customers want may not make any sense or be cost-prohibitive. “I really pride myself on customer service,” Gray said. “I never tell a customer no. I may tell him, ‘I’m not sure about that, but I’ll figure out a way to make it happen.’” Gray doesn’t do a lot of commercial work, although he did do a bank remodel in Bandera recently. “I would say it’s a mixture of new residential and remodel,” he said. “We do it all.” Gray will work with the other trades should his work involve them. “Typically, when it comes to builders,” he said, “I try

and get to know the other trades because I’m of the opinion that if we all work together, we can create something that works.” In his repertoire of the items he makes, Gray said, “It’s funny because it comes in waves.” He said he might do nothing but kitchens and bathrooms for six months “all of a sudden, I’ll get a wine room coming in.” This will lead to another wine room, then another. Gray has four other guys in his shop and his wife Alisha running the office. “She keeps me sane,” he said. Gray’s sister-inlaw built his website, but Alisha keeps it up with finished, show-ready pictures. (She doesn’t like pictures of works in progress.) Gray wants to expand and build another shop next to his current one, while adding on a couple more guys. “I’m hungry,” he said, but he doesn’t “want to grow too big, too fast. When you take on too many projects at once, you tend to make mistakes.” Gray will make your project happen. Just give him a picture, and he’s off and running. Damon Gray Custom Millworks is a family-owned cabinet and custom woodwork shop in Boerne. -dsz

continued from Page 1 — The Sabinal Group limestone and porphyry pavers, stainless access panels and doors, Ventanas and CMU, glass and glazing, structural steel fabrication and erection, lath and plaster work, miscellaneous metal fabrications, drywall, rough carpentry, ceramic tile, prefabricated wood beams, wood/LVT/ carpet flooring, mechanical work, fire extinguishers and cabinets, painting and wallcoverings, food service equipment, toilet accessories, audio/visual equipment, signage removal, window treatment, plumbing, telephone/data cabling, fire protection, fire alarm, electrical and security systems. The project endured a lot of changes throughout its construction phase such as the usual change of color, tile and material. Regardless, nothing was not done to satisfy Sabinal’s client and completing the project to the client’s complete satisfaction. The owner’s concept of a Mexicanculture-touch made this project exceptionally unique. The details the owner put in made this restaurant eye catching in every way. Throughout construction, the relationship between the owner, architect/ engineer and The Sabinal Group team was a typical business relationship. “We agreed and disagreed but like any business contract, we deliver to our clients and just make it happen,” says Sa-

linas. “This sure was an all-around fun, challenging and rewarding project for us. We look forward to working again with the Cortez family and as well the Sprinkle architects in the near future.” The Sabinal Group is a full-service general contractor in San Antonio. -cmw

Front entrance

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019


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Luau on the fairgrounds

loha oe, aloha oe…The Associated General Contractors (AGC) had a phenomenal turn out at their 26th Annual Safety Fair & BBQ Cook-Off. This year’s affair hosted an island flare inspired by their Luau theme. Twenty-nine teams competed in this year’s cook-off while 1,100 people attended the event to enjoy food and fun activities throughout the day. Photos courtesy of Mary C. Haskin Photography. -cmw Barbeque Cook-off winners: 2nd Place Chicken: Quality Fence & Welding 3rd Place Chicken: National Trench Safety 2nd Place Ribs: Crownhill Builders Inc. 3rd Place Ribs: Alamo Crane Service Inc. 2nd Place Brisket: T & D Moravits & Co. 3rd Place Brisket: Quality Fence & Welding 2nd Place People’s Choice : Alterman Inc. 3rd Place People’s Choice: Rogers-O’Brien Construction 2nd Place Showmanship: T & D Moravits & Co 3rd Place Showmanship: Galaxy Builders

1st Place People’s Choice - Atwell, LLC with their pork sliders served on glazed donuts

Safety Award recipients: Safety Specialty Contractor Category 1: Rosenden Electric Inc. Safety Specialty Contractor Category 2: Alterman Inc. Larry Westbrook Safe Superintendent of the Year Award: Paul Morrow, Skanska USA Inc. Safe General Contractor Category 1: Bartlett Cocke General Contractors Safe General Contractor Category 2: Skanska USA Inc. 1st Place Ribs - Safety Supply, Inc.

1st Place Chicken & 1st Place Brisket - Atwell LLC

1st Place Showmanship – Guido Construction

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San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019


Keep on truckin’

he Blue Book Building & Construction Network along with BlueBonnet Ford Commercial Truck Center host the “Trucking Into Fall Event” on Sept. 19. Attendees connected with Austin and San Antonio general contractors to discuss upcoming projects and develop new relationships. Guests were treated to raspas, catered food, drinks and door prizes. -cmw

The Blue Book

San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019


Page 27

Grand re-opening

Cure for the common IT

lectrical wholesaler Rexel Electric Supply hosted a grand reopening on Oct. 3. “We’ve been here a long time. We’ve refreshed everything, added new inventory, done some remodeling and we just want to thank our customers. As a company, we’re trying to grow and become the No. 1 distributor in San Antonio,” says Branch Manager Staci Mendez. The event was held at their Brockton location where they have been since 1979. Customers and guests were treated to a fish fry, drawing and a vendor tradeBranch Manager Staci Mendez receives proclamashow. -cmw tion from the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. The Rx Technology team at an Aiding Security Professionals in Need (ASPIN) event.


Ribbon cutting ceremony at Rexel’s grand re-opening

hen Nathan Rizzo thinks back on his start in IT, he suddenly transports back to his 8th grade year, when he and a pal would sip on Cherry Cokes, rock out to Green Day and assemble 50 computers at a time. Nathan’s dad Mark Rizzo, owner of IT management/construction company Rx Technology, had a contract selling a school district computers and Nathan was an important part of the company – not that he had a say. “When you’re 14, you don’t have much of a choice when it’s your father’s company!” Nathan says with a chuckle. Still, Nathan has nothing but fond memories working for his dad and, despite the family connection, still had to climb the ladder to success – literally. “At some point, maybe the next summer, I was out on a ladder pulling cable,” Nathan says. “So, I have personally been under, around, and on top of just about every building type that you can imagine.” Nathan’s years of experience come in handy now as he prepares to helm Rx Technology. The 25-year old company has come a long way from its “flyer advertising” and “get-a-free mouse-withevery-computer-purchase” days. “We have two divisions,” he says. “One is the low voltage side, where we do things like cabling, physical security, and AV. The other is managed IT, which runs the gamut from full-staff IT service. Then, we have contracts with municipalities and enterprise clients where we do the help desk or engineering and program management. “Our full scope of services, in no uncertain terms, is if you go buy a building, I am the only person you need to call to do all of your IT and low voltage inside that building,” he adds. “We can negotiate the ISP contract, install the fiber on the outside plant, inside plant cabling, access control, physical security, data centers, switching, wireless, distributed antennae systems, desktops, email hosting and migration. We’re not an IT security company, but we apply all

of the attack vectors.” Nathan, an MBA graduate from University of Dallas, has learned watching his dad fight “tooth and claw through every change” the business has experienced. As Mark eases up on his daily duties, Nathan enjoys having him and mom Joan Rizzo, Rx’s president, “sitting 30 feet away.” “[My dad is] starting to wind down, but when I hit those inevitable problems, the things I haven’t seen before, the things I haven’t failed at – I can just walk to the office next door, and that guy has absolutely seen it, done it and gotten the t-shirt.” As Nathan steers the company, he also strengthens his relationship to his staff. He says that treating them well is the key to achieving top levels of customer service. One way he shows his dedication to his employees is by supporting the organization Aiding Security Professionals in Need (ASPIN) to ensure his security staff can apply for financial grants in case of injury. Nathan looks forward to the next 25 years and serving all sizes of clients, insisting that “there is no such thing as a small customer at Rx.” “The goal is to move further into the enterprise work that we’ve been doing; everything from the internet company to the keyboard, we handle. We have a ‘BHAG’ – ‘a big, hairy, audacious goal’ – but as [author] Jim Collins says, get the right people on the bus and then let them help you determine strategy. We try to be extremely self-aware about the things we aren’t good at, and then put them in order of triage. I’m willing to become a lawn care company next year if that what the team wants! “I love helping people,” Nathan continues. “When someone has a computer issue, we can be courteous and make them feel heard and like someone isn’t talking down to them. I love to sit in that seat! We’re not a typical IT company.” Subcontractor RX Technology is in San Antonio. –mjm

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San Antonio Construction News • NOV 2019

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