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C A P TA I N S O F I N D U S T RY
CONSTRUCTION LEADERS www.constructionleaderstoday.com
This mid-sized NY based firm maintains excellence in everything from homes in the U.S. to villages in Rwanda
Schneider Heating p127
Mark Schneider explains why going green is worth spending the extra green.
PTC, Inc. p26
CEO Dawn Kori shows that the only woman-run post-tensioning company in the nation can take on huge projects. Lake Tahoe is the inspiration for the log home masterpieces of
A Richards Built Home p72 Spring 2010
06 Editor’s Note Todd Weaver talks about Congress’s March 24th job creation bill and what it means for the construction industry. PLUS: The NBA’s New Jersey Nets and New York state break ground on their own 22-acre job creation project.
Corporate Profiles INTERNATIONAL
8 B3CG Interconnect
The Canadian electrochemical and electrical assembly powerhouse is sparking with strong roots in the US and features an impressive portfolio across North America.
14 Hamon Custodis
Years after forging new territory in the chimney industry, Hamon Custodis remains an innovative leader in the industry with over 10,000 completed projects around the world and a commitment to excellence.
40 Deep Run Renovations Featuring over 30 years of combined experience in residential design/build consulting and management, Deep Run aims for a comfortable and personable approach to remodeling.
42 GA Johnson
“You name it, we do it.” This can-do attitude has allowed GA Johnson to exhibit strong, consistent growth even in a rough economy.
46 Farmside Landscape
Inspiration comes standard at Farmside. Its naturally beautiful and harmonious designs are perquisites for all clients and landscaping excellence is a guarantee.
48 Sioux Falls Construction President David Fleck leads Sioux Falls in a bold, new direction with modern technological improvements while maintaining continued success in civil and heavy engineering projects.
54 Freeland Construction With a bold commitment to general contracting for industry, utilities, and military projects, Freeland Construction is moving forward with exponential success. 4 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
32 Dewson Construction’s top-notch designs
and quality craftsmanship have made this Wilmington, Del. company renowned for its prestigious custom homes.
56 Villager Construction For Richard Clark and Villager Construction nothing could be more essential than exceeding expectations. Commitment to visionary projects and construction distinction makes Villager stand out.
64 Yarco Companies Business for Yarco is not just increasing the bottom line but making sure that people are helped. It is this spirit of philanthropy that makes Yarco excel.
Trade Association Spotlights POST-TENSIONING INSTITURE
20 CCL USA
Mark Khoury and CCL USA create extraordinary structures that rise above the industry standards for post-tensioning construction.
Construction Leaders Editor-in-Chief Todd Weaver Editor Diana Doyle Executive Editor Jonathan Mack Assistant Editor Joseph Orange Creative Director Art Director Photography Director Video Director
Emily Detoro Stephanie Hess Ian Palmer Susan Maybach
Editorial Director Kate Darling Editorial Production Michael DeMatteo Content Directors Aaron McGaskey (SW) Juan Stewart (NE) Brandon McBride (W) Steve Peters (Nation) Juan Orellana (Intnl) Vendor Relations Director Diana Stephens Vendor Relations Todd Rogers Eric Banner Patrick Storm Advertising Sales Director Peter Jostens Advertising Sales Moe Kazemi Steve Stone David Levi Publisher Steve Reed
26 Post Tensioning Cables, Inc. CEO Dawn Kori takes post-tensioning to an entire new level with PTC, Inc. and shows that the only woman-run posttensioning company in the nation has the gravitas to take on huge projects with excellence.
LOG HOME COUNCIL
71 Log Home Legacy
President of the Log Home Council and owner of PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes, Jim Young, explains how log homes are the original green building and how their heritage are still appreciated today.
72 A Richards Built Home Incorporating stunning natural scenery and impressive Lake Tahoe views, Alan Richards builds classic masterpieces that are both traditional and environmentally friendly..
80 Timberpeg East Timberpeg East understands that timber homes should stand the test of timeâ€”its stylish homes feature both bold features and classic designs for homeowners that last a lifetime.
oZ WORLD MEDIA, LLC 1330 New Hampshire Avenue Suite B1 Washington D.C. 20036 www.constructionleaderstoday.com Construction Leaders Today is a quarterly B2B trade journal that services the construction industry in solar, geothermal, hydro/tidal/wave, natural gas, wind, nuclear, oil, biofuels, coal & electric, and new technology sectors. CLT has a readership of 100,000 C-Level executives within the construction industry. We do not accept subscription requests from the general public, however, an abbreviated version is available on our website.
Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 5
Trade Association Spotlights (continued) GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP CONSORTIUM
126 A Growing Geoexchange John Kelly, GHPC Executive Director, talks about the current and future state of the growing geothermal heating/cooling industry to kick off this special geothermal feature section.
127 Schneider Heating With a concerted effort in promoting and expanding the geothermal industry, co-owner Mark Schneider assures clients that going green is well worth the initial investment.
130 All County AC
For over 20 years, All County AC has been committed to continued excellence in the field of environmentally friendly and new tech solutions for the general HVAC customer ensuring that both the earth and your wallet can be greener as well.
134 Skillings & Sons This third generation progressive New Hampshire company makes environmentally friendly geothermal wells about 60 percent of its business and proves to be extremely popular with New England clients.
140 Green Energy Geothermal Solutions/Premier Indoor Advancing friendly customer service and assuring clients of geothermal excellence are the tenets behind GGES and Premier Indoor Comfort System’s 10-year history in the greater Atlanta region.
146 Air-ease Geothermal
With a focus on diversified heating and cooling, Air-ease proves that going green not only can be beneficial for your return but extremely easy to set up.
153 AWEB Supply & Slim Jim AWEB captures repeat business by ensuring that the Earth remains a place of beauty and sustainability through the use of its high-tech products like WaterFurnace® and Slim Jim® geothermal equipment.
154 Huntington Heating Bob Zahm, President of Huntington Heating guarantees a huge return on investment with new, environmentally friendly HVAC solutions and continued excellence in customer service for the greater Indiana region.
Special Features ARCHITECTURE
82 SPG Architects
With innovating styles and superior project designs, SPG maintains excellence in everything from homes in the US to villages in Rwanda.
90 Studio 5 Partnership
110 WASA/ Studio A
has taught the community at large with their 120+ years of design excellence that they are a continually evolving company with dedication to quality buildings through integration.
116 Architectural Design Consultants Inc. ADCI continues to make a huge splash in the water park and leisure sectors with over 50 percent market share in the United States alone. 6 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
The architectural firm of excellence lives up to its name, acquiring loyal clients and lasting relationships in LEED design, planning, and administration for the general construction industry.
96 Lessard Group
Burgeoning success comes standard for Lessard Group. With new offices in Abu Dhabi, UAE and Ahmedabad, India and experience in 10 countries, international expansion may be in the designs for this firm.
104 Khalsa Design Studio This award winning design firm includes adaptive reuse and historic renovations in everything from residential and multifamily to government projects.
ust one full day after healthcare reform was signed into law, the U.S. House resumed job-creation efforts. The March 24th passing of a small-business incentives and construction subsidies package was stifled in mainstream media by reports of unprecedented violence towards Democratic U.S. Representatives for passing healthcare reform. The jobs bill’s goal is to decrease unemployment before the midterm elections by encouraging small business owners to hire new employees and by expanding subsidies for state and local construction bonds. This may be one of the last chances Democrats have to salvage some of the seats they are destined to loose in November. Also included in the bill is additional support for staterun welfare-- a priority for a handful of representatives who, for whatever reason, believe “Congress has not done enough to help those who were most impacted by the recession.” If you’re scratching your head thinking that this last part seems counterproductive and completely unrelated to the main goal of the bill, join the club.
In addition to our usual content including residential and nonresidential construction, this issue of Construction Leaders Today includes four feature sections. One is dedicated to geothermal climate control. We partnered with the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium’s president John Kelly to select 6 of the best geothermal companies in the industry. Another feature section revolves around the intricate world of architecture where the disciplines of art and engineering become one. We focused on architecture firms that are based in the Northeast, but work in multiple regions, including internationally. Our focus on the Northeast, coupled with the U.S. House’s job creation bill, brought my attention to a large project in the New York City area. Ground was finally broken in early March for the Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn—the future home of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. This 22-acre, 675,000 sq. ft. facility is expected to bring 16,000 construction jobs and 5,500 permanent jobs to New Yorkers. Despite 34 eminent domain lawsuits filed by residents, Gov. David Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the project must proceed due to potential economic returns. Desperate times call for desperate actions. Despite tumultuous political times and the impact it’s having on the construction industry, we can’t deny that some progress is being made in the public works sector. However, it is still difficult to forecast how private construction companies that are not involved with these governmentally subsidized projects will do in 2010. We will continue to monitor this carefully and report back next quarter.
TODD WEAVER firstname.lastname@example.org
Joan’s experiences as a writer have taken her on journeys that wouldn’t have been possible in other careers. Her success is evident in the many awards and recognitions her writing has received nationally, regionally and locally.
Rebecca enjoys a career of writing about critical issues and prominent business leaders of our time. Her work has been recognized both locally and on a national level.
Jane Caffrey earned a B.A. from Carleton College in Minnesota. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she writes for a variety of print and online publications both in Europe and the United States. Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 7
corporate profile | international
B3CG by Rebecca Rodriguez
HARNESSING POWER IN THE U.S. B3CG Interconnect Inc. of Canada has planted new roots in the United States. And those roots are growing strong. While B3CG Interconnect’s 40,000 sq. ft. flagship production facility is in Quebec, its new plant in Plattsburgh, NY is gaining momentum as a U.S.-based supplier of complex electrical cables and harnesses. It is a manufacturer of cable assemblies and harnesses, including electrical, electromechanical and electrical connector assemblies. And there are not too many companies that specialize in what they do. “We don’t have much competition,” said Stefan Baumans, President and
8 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
CEO. What keeps the company on its toes is the realization that they must expand into new areas outside Montreal and the Province of Quebec in order to grow financially. Which is part of the reason B3CG set up shop in Plattsburgh. “We have to be close to the customer. Proximity is key,” Baumans said. Its biggest customer is Nova Bus, part of the Volvo Bus Corp., the world’s second largest motorcoach and transit bus manufacturing group. Nova Bus also opened a manufacturing plant in Plattsburgh in 2009. The 140,000 sq. ft.
Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 9
corporate profile | international
We offer technical, logistical, and material resources to meet the needs of a customer looking for a simple harness supplier, but also we can satisfy more sophisticated needs of a new technology designer who is in the midst of product development. Stefan Baumans | President and CEO
international | corporate profile facility produces urban transit buses for cities throughout the United States. The company has strong ties to Nova Bus and is their sole supplier for cable and harnesses. “We’re kind of an extension of Nova Bus,” Baumans said. B3CG, whose primary focus is on the transportation and medical fields, ventured into the United States for the first time in 2009, opening a 20,000 sq. ft. production facility in Plattsburgh, N.Y., that is now using state-of-the-art technology. The new technology involves using inkjet and UV rays to imprint cable with numbers. It has streamlined and increased productivity. The new technology is leading the way in the U.S., as it is not yet available at the company’s main factory in SaintEustache, PQ. The company was founded in 1993 under the name of Orbtech and supplied cables to the communications sector. Orbtech was acquired in 2001 by Triton Electronik under the name of Triton Cable. It moved to St. Eustache and changed over from the communications sector to the public ground transport and medical equipment sectors. In 2008, Baumans and four other Triton managers bought the company and renamed it B3CG. Baumans is trained as a lawyer and is experienced in business development and in negotiating commercial and strategic alliance
agreements. The company has maintained its annual growth of 20 to 30 percent per year and boasts revenue over 25 million. It has 175 employees at its Canadian facility and 55 in Plattsburgh. The Plattsburgh plant is now up and running at full steam and Baumans attributes much of the success to its employees. “Things are progressing nicely,” he said. “We’re pleased by the quality of people we have here, and in our business supply chain and manpower is everything.” The production is very labor intensive, he stressed. “Up to a certain point we rely on machines, but you need to have good employees to succeed,” he said. “People are important. They contribute so much to the success of a company. It’s our main asset.” B3CG is able to automate and mechanically assist human handling of products particularly when it comes to cutting and covering of electrical cables. The company prides itself on meeting tight deadlines and being able to be intimately involved in product design. “We offer technical, logistical, and material resources to meet the needs of a customer looking for a simple harness supplier, but also we can satisfy more sophisticated needs of a new technology designer who is in the midst of product development,” Baumans said.
We wish to take the opportunity to congratulate B3CG Interconnect for its current and future success.
From your partners in business, Demers Beaulne LLP.
Demers Beaulne is a Canadian based public accounting firm offering a full range of services: • Canadian, US and International Taxation • Scientific Research & Experimental Development (R&D Tax Credits) • Assurance (Audit) • Business Valuation • Corporate Financing • Mergers & Acquisitions • Investigative & Forensic Accounting • Occupational Health and Safety Management • Recovery & Reorganization Gerry De Luca, CA email | email@example.com telephone | 514 878-0294
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Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 11
corporate profile | international The company offers technical support, drawings, documentation, prototyping, and special projects. B3CG seeks to meet the customer’s needs with innovation. The company’s customer service is unique in that it uses a “cellular” approach. “An entire manufacturing and customer service cell is created for each client to avoid navigating through the company’s various departments,” Baumans said. A typical cell includes a buyer, research assistant, and account executive. The company’s production includes sophisticated machinery and employees are cross-trained and can multi-task. ‘It allows us flexibility,” Baumans said, adding that it increases productivity times. The company prefers hiring staff with an engineering background and trains for three weeks, sometimes flying employees to the Canadian facility for additional support. Although telecommunications was an area of production in the past, Baumans said they are steering away from it presently. It is difficult to compete with companies in Asia and Mexico in terms of pricing and quantity, he said. ‘We are better with low quantity, more complex products,” Baumans said. “Bus wires and harnesses are very complex. The big harnesses have hundreds of wires and connections.” B3CG is focusing on projects like the one with Montreal’s public transportation system where they act as a contract manufacturer of components for a system where people can rent a bicycle at a public station and pay with a credit card to an automatic teller. It is a viable alternative to buses or metro lines, Baumans added. It is one of the ways B3CG sees itself as going green. Public transportation is inherently a green industry, Baumans explained, adding that the company is looking into wind power for its Canadian plant. American soil has been good to this thriving Canadian company and customers like the fact that there’s a U.S. presence. Baumans hopes the future of the company remains strong in the United States and expects to hit the $40 million mark within five years. An impressive goal for an impressive company. CLT 12 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 13
corporate profile | international
A Century of Leadership by Jane Caffrey
Years after forging new territory in the chimney industry, Hamon Custodis remains an innovative leader in today’s construction market
4 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010 1 14 Construction Leaders Today Winter 2009
Over one hundred years of experience; 10,000 completed projects. This claim cannot be made by many businesses, yet it defines excellence achieved daily at Hamon Custodis. The New Jerseybased company has set the standard for chimneys since its inception at the turn of the 20th century. Today, they are the largest chimney constructor in the world, second to none. “Our experience is extensive with a proven track record of safe and quality chimney erection projects,” Kevin Gibbons, Eastern Regional Manager, said. “Hamon Custodis has always been at the forefront of the chimney business, and to this day continues to be an industry leader.” Alfons Custodis was a German immigrant who initially founded the chimney company. During an era when low-set buildings in industrial cities generated a thick blanket of smog and infiltrated streets with air pollution, Custodis carried the chimney industry to a new level with the invention of the radial brick. “It was a design innovation, which allowed chimneys to be built taller,” Gibbons said. “Back in the early 1900s, it was quite the engineering feat to build
international | corporate profile
Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 15 Winter 2009 Construction Leaders Today 15
international | corporate profile such a tall structure. As you increase the height of a chimney, the localized air quality is better, because the flue gas is less concentrated.” Nearly a century later, in 1998, Custodis was acquired by Hamon, an international engineering and contracting company that services heavy industries. This led to the birth of
the current Hamon Custodis, which serves all fifty states and Canada’s ten provinces. Hamon Custodis is headquartered in Somerville, New Jersey, where its in-house engineering division and OEM project and construction management teams are based. Because the Hamon Custodis business model strives for widespread achievement by being close to their customers, the company’s 100 non-manual resources are strategically located in four regional offices in the contiguous U.S. and one office in Canada. “Having the regional offices enhances our projects and overall service, because we are able to focus in on one specific state or territory. Each regional office Innovative Fiberglass Solutions for Chimney Liners, Scrubbers, is acutely aware of the needs of its customer base,” Gibbons said. Pipe, Duct, Tanks and Plant Services. This wide distribution also allows Hamon Custodis to execute superior aftermarket services once a project is completed. Such services are part of the corporation’s strong commitment to a full-service approach. “When its Hamon Custodis, it’s really one stop shopping. We like to stress to our customers that it’s a true turnkey operation,” Gibbons said. AFC can address all of your fiberglass requirements. Hamon Custodis remains committed to each project through engineering www.augustafiberglass.com ph: 803.284.2246 | f: 803.284.2309 design, procurement, budgeting, final construction, and maintenance after
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22432 US Route 11 • Watertown NY 13601 • Ph: 315.782.8247 Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 17
corporate profile | international completion. mousetrap. On a recent project one originally anticipated. This resulted Once a new chimney is completed, of our engineers developed a solution in more than several million dollars Hamon Custodis offers aftermarket for a major utility that resulted in a savings in capital cost”. services that include full-service much smaller chimney diameter than The corporation’s direct involvement inspection, structural and functional evaluation, repair, upgrade, maintenance, renovation, and demolition services for chimneys, stacks, and silos. Using their turnkey approach, the corporation is able to deliver maximum 724.865.8091 724.865.8095 www.chimneytower.com on-site efficiency, while also minimizing costs for clients. “We have five different aftermarket offices throughout the USA and Canada, and where few have after building a chimney, gone before. a commitment to a proper maintenance program is crucial to ensure longevity of the structure,” Gibbons said. Hamon Custodis remains the premier chimney company in the world, even a century after it first set the standard in the industry. Today, they serve both industrial and electric power clients as well. With the world’s largest staff of in-house engineers, the company pioneered reinforced concrete chimneys. Hamon Custodis specializes in both jumpform and slipform concrete chimneys, and offers a variety of lining systems that include FRP, C-276 clad and solid plate, stainless steel, carbon steel, coated steel, glass block, refractory, and acid resistant brick. Such flexibility in design allows Hamon Custodis to address www.scanada.com varying weather conditions email@example.com and construct energy efficient structures. Additionally, the full-service staff utilizes stateSLIPFORM & of-the-art computerized design HEAVY-LIFT EQUIPMENT software that reflects the latest Design, Engineering, Rental, in industry standards, codes, Job Site Supervision and technology. The technical team of Hamon Custodis is always looking for innovative cost saving solutions. “You 8 Robinson Road 2950 Botham Street would think that after 100 Bow, New Hampshire Montréal, Québec years a chimney would be U.S.A. 03304-3601 CANADA H4S 1J1 a commoditized product” Te l : Te l : (514) 336-5895 (514) 336-5895 Gibbons mused. “The reality Fax: Fax: (514) 745-5895 (514) 745-5895 is that our engineers are always looking for the better
18 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
international | corporate profile
and active participation with chimney committees like ACI, ASCE, STS, and CICIND keeps Hamon Custodis up to date on the latest standards and practices governing chimney design and construction. And often, the company sets regulations that are then adhered to around the globe. The results of engineering know-how and proven construction expertise are durable, top-quality chimneys. One such example is a large-scale retrofit project that the company completed in May 2009, in St. Marys, Kan.. A twoyear project for Westar Energy, Hamon Custodis embarked on a “dry to wet” conversion of three 600’-0” existing brick lined chimneys to facilitate the change in flue gasconditions due to the addition of new air pollution control technology. Although a world leader in chimney design, construction, and maintenance, Hamon Custodis also produces storage silos and steel stacks. Since the 1970s, the corporation has been actively involved in silo design and construction for coal, fly ash, and lime
storage, as well as storage for other bulk materials. Hamon Custodis is also a world leader in steel stack design, with a full-service steel stack contractor and more than 1,000 installations worldwide. Well versed in all aspects of steel stack design, engineering and erection, the company can meet the demands of any project no matter how small or large. Strong commitment to projects pairs with commitment to customer service, which is the core of business philosophy at Hamon Custodis. “Our company vision is to strive for excellence throughout the organization to better serve our customers,” Gibbons said. “We endeavor to be creative and innovative with the technology and design services we provide to our customers.” The company sees repeat clients, and often creates formidable relationships with large corporate conglomerates. Despite the difficult economic market now, Hamon Custodis has a number of projects in line for 2010 and anticipates further bookings next
year and into the future. A groundbreaking company more than a century ago, Hamon Custodis remains a leader in the industry today, with a full-service approach to projects, expertise in engineering, aftermarket services, and of course, new chimney construction. This is a trait that has defined the company throughout the years. With an ongoing commitment to innovation that translates to state-of-the art chimneys, Hamon Custodis will confidently meet client needs today and tomorrow. “The chimney industry is always changing,” Gibbons said. “We are constantly evolving to remain experts on new technologies, and the power industry. Adapting to market conditions to provide innovative and cost effective solutions is vital given the current economic climate. Hamon Custodis is well positioned to meet these challenging market conditions, while continuing to consistently provide safe and quality workmanship to our customers.” CLT Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 19
spotlight | post-tensioning
The Scope of Expertise CCL USA carries the knowledge and experience of a post-tensioning giant to North American clients by Jane Caffrey
Post-tensioning—the coupling of steel cables with concrete slabs to create high strength structures—is an ever-evolving aspect of the construction industry. Yet there is one company that became involved in the field more than seventy years ago, and today serves as an industry leader on the global level. As early as 1935, CCL Group began producing wedges and cable. Early textbooks on post-tensioning mention the innovative CCL wedge product and certain elements of the post-tensioning method are creations of the corporation. Since its foundation, CCL Group has transitioned into post-tensioning design and service, and the company has grown to become a brand name that is recognized around the globe as a leader in the design and implementation of high quality pre- and post-tensioning systems. Furthermore, with the acquisition of SD Post Tensioning, which became CCL USA in December 2007, the international company has recently made a spectacular entrance into the United States. “Our vision is to establish CCL USA as a platform,” Marc Khoury, President of CCL USA, said. “CCL Group is present in 40 countries at this point. We are very involved in Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Africa and Asia. But the Group has never been directly involved in North America or South America. Our goal was expansion, and this was the main reason for the acquisition. Our vision is to become a model company for this industry in the United States.” According to Khoury, CCL USA and CCL Group 20 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
spotlight | post-tensioning
post-tensioning | spotlight remain highly interconnected, with the new branch employing the latest technologies and experience of the parent company. The Group’s systems and expert advice are applied to high-caliber buildings, towers, bridges, and tank projects completed by CCL USA. In fact, shortly after its foundation in 2005, CCL USA became involved in the $600 million Gaylord National project. With this high profile project, CCL USA applied its systems to an 300acre convention center and hotel located in the Washington D.C. area. The company began with 8.5x11 design sketches and worked closely with Perini/Tompkins JV(Joint Venture), a D.C. area contractor. Today, the completed structure holds two million square feet of CCL post-tensioning slabs and beams, with both unbonded and bonded systems. “It was a major undertaking for us. It was our baby,” Khoury said. “We showed a lot of people what we are made of. At that time not many people had heard of us, and we were a surprise company coming into this market. People didn’t understand why such a large project was given to a company with so little experience in the U.S. market. They didn’t know that we came from a large company that had a great deal of experience with very big and very challenging projects around the world. We did fantastic job on this project, and basically it immediately put us on the map in the United States.” CCL is a member of the Post-Tensioning Institute Trade Association (PTI). The organization is recognized as the worldwide authority on posttensioning, with members from the major posttensioning and pre-stressing materials fabricators in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Europe. Originally headquartered in Boston, CCL USA opened additional offices and a PTI certified plant in Jessup, Maryland. At the end of 2007, the U.S. owners also collaborated with the CCL Group by bringing the group as a majority owner in the business, further embedding the relationship between CCL USA and its mother company. Today, CCL USA sees annual revenue of $10 million, and serves the area surrounding the Northeastern U.S. from Ohio to North Carolina. CCL USA offers diverse building options to clients, including one-way and two-way slab construction and both unbonded and bonded systems. Company achievement is evidenced in the application of these systems in parking structures, residential and commercial buildings, slab-on-grade foundations, industrial structures, and transfer slabs in a number of successful projects. The Wilmot Cancer Center in Rochester, N.Y., completed in 2007, utilizes the CCL bonded flat slab system, with 140,000 sq. ft. of PT slabs and CCL bonded flat slab anchors and ducts. For The River House condo building in Grand Rapids, Mich., CCL USA collaborated with the engineer of record to develop a special vertical post-tensioning system for the shear walls. For the Natick Mall Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 23
spotlight | post-tensioning
Deck D project in Natick Mass., CCL USA used a combination of 0.5” and 0.6” unbonded fully encapsulated tendons for the 200,000 sq. ft. of PT beams and slabs to alleviate the rebar congestion on the project due to high structural loads. While the CCL Group approaches posttensioning with a design and service model, CCL USA caters to the American construction market by emphasizing the service aspect of the business. The company recognizes that in serving a distinct U.S. market, it must provide a high level of technical post-tensioning knowledge paired with quality service. “We decided that we needed to start from the top down, meaning that we needed to have enough talent on board initially to show who we are,” Khoury said. “It is about the whole team, and to demonstrate how knowledgeable we are in this industry. We have quality service. 24 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
If clients need to get things done fast, we come in and we develop the product. But we’re also very close to our clients in terms of service. We have their back when it comes to post-tensioning.” The CCL USA staff consists of 20 highly qualified employees, many of which were on board soon after the foundation of the company. The corporation hires in-house engineers, senior engineers, and drafters with architectural backgrounds, each of whom actively engages with clients to facilitate the construction process. Service at CCL USA is highly driven by the company model entitled PRIMA, which represents the central values of Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Meritocracy, and Agility. “This is our core, and we started building our team on what we believe are our core values,” Khoury said. “There’s a whole vision that we worked on that put
us on the map and showed our clients that we’re not just a contractor trying to get a couple projects,” Khoury said. The CCL USA team is also acutely aware of a progress trajectory for the corporation, focusing on significant advancement within the next 30 years. Like the broader CCL Group, CCL USA aims to serve as an industry leader in posttensioning systems and services. Khoury believes that the Group has achieved this goal on the global level. Locally, he says, the primary objective is to fully serve clients and guarantee successful projects. “CCL did not start with the idea of keeping it a regional business,” Khoury said. “The plan is still to be a national company. We want to be present in all of the USA. We want to be a leader in the design and execution of post-tensioning projects. Our vision is to become a model company for this industry.” CLT
spotlight | post-tensioning
26 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
post-tensioning | spotlight
Stepping Out Dawn Kori breaks new ground with an innovative construction method, and by heading the only woman-run posttensioning company in the nation by Jane Caffrey
Although it was invented years ago, post-tensioning remains somewhat of novel concept within the construction industry. With this method, a network of steel cables are laid out to provide high tensile strength to a structure, and are then covered with concrete to ensure compressive strength. Once the concrete hardens, the cables are pulled by a hydraulic jack and held in place by anchors, creating a reinforcing system commonly used on parking garages, sky rises, tanks, bridges, and residential fountains. “Post-tensioning is a real niche service, and not a lot of people know what PT is,” Dawn Kori, President of Post Tensioning Cables, Inc., said. “There are some new construction companies that have never done post-tensioning, so they don’t know the scope of our work. We want them to know we’re there for them, with a focus on service and quality.” Beyond assisting with advanced technology and a unique method, Kori breaks new ground in the construction industry by serving as the only female president of a post-tensioning company in the nation. “Right now, PTC is the only womanrun post-tensioning company in the Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 27
spotlight | post-tensioning
United States, and maybe the world,” Kori said. “It’s interesting to go to PTI [Post-Tensioning Institute] meetings and be the only woman sitting on the board.” Yet this entrepreneur claims the situation is not unusual for her. “It’s part of my background. I was never in the typical
woman’s job,” she said. Kori became involved in the construction industry as a child. Her father, Carl Bumpass, originally worked as a building contractor and an architect in California, but started Post-Tensioning Cables, Inc. (PTC) in Everett, Washington
L L C
www.foundationspecialistsllc.com | 253.531.6745 w Commercial Schedule 3 Concrete w Post-Tension Slabs w Suspended Concrete w Flatwork w Foundations w Detention Vaults w Retaining Walls w Tilt-up Construction
Congratulations to PTC from your partners at Foundation Specialists
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28 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
during early 1994. “He learned everything he needed to know about post-tensioning right away,” Kori said. “He researched, learned what he could, made contacts with suppliers and manufacturers, and brought all components together for PTC.” As Kori helped her father throughout her teenage years, she realized that her gained experience was very valuable. “I learned a lot about construction, just by helping out as a kid,” she said. As an adult, Kori originally worked as a fish biologist, designing structures for stream restoration with a volunteer work force. Then Bumpass, who had planned on retiring in Washington but instead found himself running PTC, asked Kori if she wanted to take over his business. “I was working, and my dad called me up one day and asked if I wanted to run PTC,” Kori recalled. “I said, ‘Well, that sounds like fun. What do I have to do now to do that?’” Kori returned to school to obtain a degree in civil engineering, and in 2001 she started learning about posttensioning, meeting with engineers and contractors, and going out on jobsites. Today, she runs a successful business that serves Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, California, and Alaska. “Now my dad is really retired,” she laughed.
post-tensioning | spotlight PTC specializes in post-tensioning services and barrier cables. The company offers both mono-strand and bonded post-tensioning products to meet the needs of all clients, and project delivery includes calibrated equipment, product certification, and concise installation drawings created with the latest technology. As a certified PTI plant supplier, the company provides the highest quality materials from the top of the line system for all bonded projects, as well as Decon Studrails® that meet ICBO/ ICC standards. PTC obtains mono-strand materials from General Technologies, which have an exceptional anchoring system. Kori also offers consulting and repair services, and they review plans for constructability issues to ensure that projects get off the ground. PTC is currently part of the PostTensioning Institute Trade Association (PTI), established in 1976 as the worldwide authority on post-tensioning. Kori serves on the PTI board, yet she also strives to educate other industry professionals about post-tensioning through her own business. Engineers who design posttension slabs recommend PTC to clients, due to its excellent reputation and its knowledgeable 10-member staff. “Engineers actually call us now to ask for expertise on what they should be doing for preliminary designs. We have owners that also call us out of the blue, that we’ve never worked with before,” Kori said. “We like to work directly with them because we can be more responsive. But it’s a changing field; you don’t read one book and know it all.” Since its foundation, PTC has successfully completed more than 1,000 projects around the Pacific Northwest. The company has been involved in various levels and scopes of projects, ranging from a three story parking structure in Redmond, Wa., a mixed-use space in Westlake, Wa., and two towers in Bellevue, Wa. —the tallest structures in the city. They have supplied commercial, mixeduse, and parking garage projects, as well as private, public, state, and government installations like bridges, floating boat ramps, breakwater items, and state colleges and universities. Yet the company’s crown jewel is Bellevue’s Bravern Building, scheduled for completion in 2010. This multi-million dollar project will provide high-end retail and 450 new condos to the city and PTC has provided the post-tensioning, barrier cables, and bonded beams to help Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 29
spotlight | post-tensioning
complete the structure. The company has also produced detailed drawings that were updated with each design revision, facilitating the installation of the posttensioning system. “That was a really challenging project,” Kori said. DCI Engineers originally designed the entire project. There was no occupant for the two northern towers, and a typical deck was scheduled to be built. However, after Microsoft chose to relocate their Bellevue office to the building, several changes were made to the original design to meet the special needs of the company. Special designs were prepared by DCI and then forwarded to the suppliers for changes to shop drawings that had already been prepared and approved. “Going up to the towers, there was one point when every single deck on the way up had to be changed,” Kori said. “The 30 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
design changes would be made on a Wednesday, when we were scheduled to make a delivery on Thursday. We would have to make changes to our drawings overnight, and then get materials to the jobsite in less than eight hours.” The project serves as a prime example of the adaptability of PTC. When project designs are altered, the business can replace materials in the field in less than twenty-four hours. This strong emphasis on exceptional service emerges from the company philosophy of honesty and moral ethic. “At the end of the day you have to live with yourself and you have to know that you’ve honestly done the best for your customer,” Kori said. “That rolls down the hill to our employees too. We want them to feel that they’ve done important, quality work in aiding customers.” As a
small, independently run business, the company staff is seen more akin to family than employees. The most definitive attribute of PTC is that it is a family run business, which Kori remains acutely aware of in her daily tasks. Passed down from father to daughter, PTC may remain in the family for generations to come. “I have two daughters, and the oldest, Hali, came to work with me for the first three and a half years of her life,” Kori said. “She sat in a little chair, and had her own calculator, copies, prints, and faxes. Now she’s in first grade, and a few months ago when I picked her up from school she asked, ‘Mom how old do I have to be to come work at PTC and do your job?’” From one generation to the next, PTC will remain committed to the values of utmost customer service and excellence. CLT
Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 31
corporate profile | northeast
Built IN Quality With homes marked by “Old World” craftsmanship and modern technology, Dewson Construction will maintain a solid reputation for high-end custom homes for years to come by Jane Caffrey
At Dewson Construction quality, craftsmanship and value are built in-- never added on. For this reason, the General Contractor and Construction Management firm based out of Wilmington, Del. stands out as a renowned custom home construction business on the east coast, having completed an assortment of top-notch projects that speak for themselves. Specializing in new construction, renovations and additions to custom homes, Dewson Construction consists of a highly qualified team of skilled craftsmen that remains solidly committed to exceeding customer expectations. “What sets us apart in the area is that we work more aggressively to gain closure and value with our clients. We have the craftsmanship and creativity, we meet the highest levels of expectations, and we have the highest quality standards,” Tim Dewson, President and Owner of Dewson Construction said. Dewson initially founded the construction company in 1993 with John McMahon, who today serves as Director of Operations and Vice President. With extensive experience in both residential and commercial construction, the business partners quickly moved Dewson Construction forward. “We started off with three people. Since 1993, we’ve grown to be a company of about 65 people,” Dewson said. The business 32 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
now maintains three satellite offices in southern Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey to better serve clients in the east coast area. “We’ve expanded our operation and we’re working in different areas. We have four separate offices so we can manage work in four states,” Dewson explained. The company regularly completes projects in Delaware (Wilmington, Greenville, Centreville, Hockessin, Lewes, and Bethany Beach), Pennsylvania (Chester County and the Main Line), New Jersey (Ocean City, Avalon, Stone Harbor, and Wildwood), and Maryland (Chesapeake Bay area). With small, medium, and large projects, ranging anywhere in price from $2500 to $10 million, Dewson Construction offers a full range of services to clients. Such services include searching for unique and exclusive properties on which to build custom homes or perform renovations at existing sites, selecting a contractor, designing floor plans with an architect, choosing an interior designer, and developing upscale communities with custom built executive homes. The company typically works on 15 projects in the four regional areas at one time, and currently sees annual revenues of over $20 million in construction and $10 to $15 million in real estate development. While
Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 33
corporate profile | northeast
completing a small amount of commercial construction, Dewson Construction is particularly recognized in the area for very high-end custom home construction and renovation. The strong commitment to quality workmanship at Dewson Construction has been sufficiently noted with a multitude of awards over the last two decades. Most recently, the company received the 2009 and 2008 Construction Excellence Awards from the State of Delaware Department of Administrative Services and the Delaware Contractors Association, as well as the 2008 Regal Award presented by the Home Builders Association of Delaware. Yet in addition to this formal recognition, success is evident in a high number of repeat clients. Numerous customers return to Dewson Construction for additional projects, knowing that they will receive exceptional quality and service, and the majority of projects that the company undertakes spring directly from
34 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
client, architect, and designer referrals. Business philosophy is motivated by the belief that each client deserves the finest performance, and that excellent execution of projects ensures solid, long-term client relationships that help grow the business. “There’s a high expectation of what we produce, but in our company we are family oriented versus corporate oriented,” Dewson said. “Each team member is accessible and accountable for ensuring that every project is a success.” Yet the company pledge for client satisfaction and superior craftsmanship is most clearly manifested in Dewson Construction’s diverse projects, from newly constructed estates to renovations. One custom designed French Country Manor in Greenville exemplifies Dewson Construction custom craftsmanship, featuring an exterior of stone and brick and an open interior floor plan with a two story foyer
northeast | corporate profile
Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 35
corporate profile | northeast
36 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
northeast | corporate profile and spiral staircase. The custom kitchen boasts a tile backsplash, “his” and “her” islands, and specially designed cabinetry. In the same county, the company completed a modern Chateau Country Contemporary home, resting on five acres of ground overlooking some of the most pristine property in the area. Dewson Construction has also made renovations to kitchens, butler’s pantries, baths, family rooms, and sunrooms in historic estate homes; completed multiphase renovations that allow families to remain in their homes throughout the construction process; and remodeled the lower levels of upscale homes to include game rooms, media rooms, full bars, kitchens, fitness centers, baths, reading areas, and stone fireplaces. Dewson believes that the most unique project recently completed by the company is a 9,000 sq. ft. cedar shake Nantucket style home, resting on the ocean at Rehoboth Beach, Del. The home features “Old World” craftsmanship with reclaimed stone and brick and a stately fireplace featuring stone details, driftwood pieces, and floating marble hearths. A pool, pool house, and guest house are set behind the estate. “The level of finish within the home was probably one of the finest I’ve ever seen,” Dewson said. “Hand scraped floors, mahogany doors, inlaid ebony, it just goes on and on. All the finishes within the home were the absolute
highest in their class.” Dewson Construction meets the “Old World” standards of skilled craftsmanship in all projects, affording special focus to the quality of material and utilizing reclaimed materials that enhance the authenticity and style of each home. Yet the company combines traditional values with modern technology. Dewson Construction increasingly implements geothermal heating and cooling systems, solar panels, and computer systems that allow homeowners to control heating and cooling from off-site. “We have the capability to work with the latest in technology, which impacts the efficiencies in running and managing a home,” Dewson said. “Computercontrolled homes are the wave of the future for people that are technologically advanced and want to make that investment.” Green building is becoming progressively more important for the company as well, which already largely supports conservation efforts. Dewson Construction additionally addresses change within the industry by meeting customer demand for smaller, high-quality living spaces. While the company used to build five to six large estates per year, that number has now dwindled to three large homes annually, while contrarily, smaller home construction is up from 5 to about 10 construction projects each year. “In the last three years, we’ve seen
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northeast | corporate profile this major shift. People are feeling more comfortable in refined smaller spaces,” Dewson said. “Efficiencies in managing a home and size are the main thrust of where we’re headed these days. The most important goals are for us to remain on the cutting edge of both technology and what people are looking for from their builder.” The dedicated team at Dewson Construction remains fully devoted to addressing industry changes while continuing to exceed client expectations, ensuring that the company brings a high level of expertise and creativity to every project. “The most important aspect for our company is to continue to educate ourselves, be financially strong, plan out the next five years, and care about our people,” Dewson said. “We are looking out for each other and trying to provide our clients with the most high quality work.” Dewson Construction has claimed success thus far and plans to continue to build its reputation on one satisfied client at a time. CLT
Mr. Shower Door “Mr. ShowerDoor’s vision has always been to bring together meticulous craftsmanship and materials of the highest quality in order to deliver the finest shower enclosure possible”, states owners Ron and Jean Taylor. “Our showroom and knowledgeable sales staff provide an environment that enables our clients to envision their frameless showerdoor in their home.” “For over 20 years we continue to design, build and professionally install long-lasting products. The majority of our business stems from referrals”. “Our reputation for excellent service from the first phone call to the final installation and beyond is unsurpassed and continues to be the hallmark of our business”.
spotlight | east
Where Quality Runs Deep by Rebecca Rodriguez
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Deep Run Renovations located in Richmond, Va., is built on the premise of providing outstanding craftsmanship and superior customer service. Offering new construction and design/ build remodeling, the company is committed to customer satisfaction for any project large or small. Whether it’s a new 3,500 sq. ft. colonial home, a 2,000 sq. ft. addition, or even a modest 200 sq. ft. addition, the employees at Deep Run Renovations are ready to accommodate. “At Deep Run Renovations we understand that home remodeling comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and budgets. Our goal is to provide excellence in workmanship and unparalleled customer service regardless of the size of your project,” the company’s website states. The company’s workmanship is guaranteed for 12 months, backing up the company’s dedication to customer satisfaction. After a project is complete, customer referrals are used as a measuring stick of success. New business by word of mouth is something the company strives for. “We want your business, but we want your neighbor’s as well,” the website states. The company, founded in 2002, serves central Virginia and has enjoyed strong business. Last year the company grew by about 13 percent despite the recession. The largest budgeted project for Deep Run was a $260,000 renovation of an 1810 farmhouse. The company has completed extensive, big-budgeted interior and exterior remodeling projects. But they also tackle the smaller kitchen, bathroom, porches, and deck additions. Dedicated to a positive customer experience, Deep Run is responsive to customers, including keeping them updated on progress. “We treat our customers the same regardless of what neighborhood they live in or the budget for their project,” the website states. CLT
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corporate profile | midwest
Building With Diversity and Strength by Rebecca Rodriguez
With a “you name it, we do it” objective, company president Corey Johnson has made G.A. Johnson Construction, Inc. into a business that has exhibited strong, consistent growth. And customer satisfaction through honesty, integrity, and competitive pricing is what has propelled the company into a business that is successful as a jack-of-all-trades. “We have happy customers,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of experience. We’re hands-on, well-educated, and well-rounded people. Our carpenters are the best in the business.” The Sioux Falls, S.D., company’s projects range from small residential renovations to multi-million dollar complexes. Its slate of offerings include commercial, industrial, and residential projects, including jails, schools, hospitals, restaurants, banks, and high-end custom homes. Repeat customers make up about 40 percent of the business. “We like doing anything. We’re big on value engineering and can make projects cheaper than most folks,” Johnson said. One such large project is the Hughes County Jail overlooking the Missouri River in Pierre, S.D. The $10 million juvenile detention center is a 180 bed facility and is in its final stages of completion. Johnson Construction has a host of local subcontractors they work with, but also bring in specialty subcontractors from as far away as Florida and California. “We know a lot of the industry suppliers in the areas we
go in and we know who’s doing quality work,” Johnson said. “A lot of our clients pay to have the right people on the job.” Johnson stressed the importance of saving his clients money. “We work hard and we work smart,” he said. “We’re saving our clients money and they’re happy; and with the economy the way it is, we are all looking for a way to save a dime without sacrificing quality.” The company completes between three and five custom homes a year ranging in price from $300,000 to about a million. “We’re trying to do top-notch, high-craftsmanship work,” he said. Johnson, active in the The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the Home Builders Association (HBA) of South Dakota sees staying on top of legislation part of what makes his company strong, especially in the area of home building with new government laws being passed down. “Home building is huge with helping the economy and the more houses you build, the more schools you need,” Johnson said. “We watch for laws coming out. Some could cost us a lot of money.” A recent project involving a 40,000 sq. ft. addition to the Freeman Elementary School in Freeman, S.D., presented some challenges. The crew had to work around underground aquifers and erect structural steel in minus 20 degree weather with 40 mile an hour winds.
Corey Johnson | President of G.A. Johnson Construction, Inc.
We work hard and we work smart. We’re saving our clients money and they’re happy; and with the economy the way it is, we are all looking for a way to save a dime without sacrificing quality. 42 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 43
corporate profile | midwest “We don’t stop,” Johnson said. Getting a project competed efficiently and at low cost while maintaining quality is the company’s signature objective. A million dollar project in Rapid City, S.D., which entailed building a Sonic drive-in restaurant was completed in 65 days -- a company record. Johnson’s company has built several Sonics in the Midwest. “Trustworthiness is big in our line of work. We need to be on our ‘A’ game all the time and that’s why people like us,” Johnson said. The company came out strong in 2009, with revenues at about $28 million. And it tackles projects in the multi-state region, including Wyoming, Nebraska, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Branching out is something Johnson has his sights set on. The company is currently looking into a project in Arkansas. “We’re starting to do a lot of out-of-town jobs. We’re not afraid to travel,” he said. The family-oriented company started in 2002 when Johnson joined forces with his father Gerald Johnson, CEO of the company and his brother Michael Johnson, who acts as vice president. Gerald Johnson spent more than 26 years managing a top 500 Architectural, Engineering and Construction firm where he was president and CEO of the construction division. Corey Johnson said he and his brother grew up surrounded by the construction business and likes to say he was born with “a hammer in one hand.” Before 2002, Michael Johnson ran his own contracting business. Corey Johnson worked his way up completing various jobs,
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such as carpenter, plasterer, estimator, and project manager. It helped groom him for his position of president of the company. Johnson graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in construction management in 1998. In 2007, Corey Johnson was promoted to president and oversees the company’s operations. Corey Johnson said it was always in their sights for the father and two sons to form their own company. “We joined forces. We knew it would happen sooner or later,” he said. Johnson said he wakes up every morning looking forward to going to work and feels lucky to be able to work with family each day. “Not everybody can do that,” he said. With about 30 employees, the company is striving to grow each year. “We want to be one of the top general contractors in Sioux Falls and we keep moving up each year,” Johnson said. With last year being an “outstanding” year, Johnson strives to continue the company’s growth. “Our goal is to match it (revenue) or beat it. That’s my goal every year,” he said. Johnsonsees2010asbeinga“challenge”fortheindustryingeneral. ”But I think things will bounce back soon. I’m on the positive end of thinking,” he said. And Johnson has a lot to be positive about. His company is seeing consistent growth and his customers are happy and keep coming back for more. CLT
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midwest | corporate profile
Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 45
spotlight | specialty
Blending Nature and Design by Jane Caffrey
At Farmside Landscape & Design, inspiration arises from natural beauty: “There is harmony in nature, blending the beautiful with the purposeful. We bring this same concept to every design we create.” A full service landscape contractor, Farmside Landscape & Design strives to accentuate the splendor of nature with every landscaping project. With a full range of services and vast knowledge in design, horticulture, and construction, Farmside Landscape & Design creates plans that are tailored to the lifestyles and budgets of individual clients, environmentally sound, and aesthetically stunning. Miles Kuperus, the CEO of the company with a background in landscape architecture, founded Farmside Landscape & Design in 1986. While the business began by focusing on design-build and snow removal, it quickly incorporated additional services, such as both residential and commercial design-build and turf maintenance for home and business owners or athletic fields. Today, the company has 30 employees and sees annual revenue of just under $3 million. Based out of Sussex County, New Jersey, Farmside Landscape & Design provides premier landscape design and maintenance to the Tri-State region of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. The company is a certified landscape professional and arborist, and is a member of diverse trade associations including PLANET, a professional landcare network. At Farmside Landscape & Design, a team of skilled and experienced professionals transform client visions into reality. For clients with varying needs, the company offers a plethora of services—including shrub & tree care, lawn care and maintenance, snow removal, and landscape design and installment. Accents such as fire pits, outdoor kitchens, and gazebos adorn residential areas, while the company provides walkways, patios, and benches to commercial lots. Farmside Landscape & Design ensures healthy lawns and plants for clients three seasons of the year through careful maintenance, and in the winter off-season, the company swiftly removes snow to allow businesses to function despite inclement weather. Thus Farmside Landscape & Design blends that fine line between nature and design year round, caring for natural scenery and sculpting it to reach its utmost aesthetic potential. CLT 46 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
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corporate profile | midwest
Sioux Falls Co. soars by Rebecca Rodriguez
through the times 48 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
Dave Fleck, president of Sioux Falls Construction Co., Inc., is proud that his company has been around for 100 years. And as much as the company stretches back in time, Fleck is stretching it forward with projects that are state-of-the-art and use the latest green-building technology. The company has an impressive website that features a web cam allowing visitors to view a job site at any time – a jolting reminder of how the company and technology has transformed through the decades. Fleck explained that customers can now view projects in real time, panning in different directions and zooming in or out. It is a quick and convenient way to keep customers abreast of progress. Customer satisfaction - getting a project done on time and within budget – is the primary goal of his company. Smaller components of customer satisfaction are tools like the interactive website. Fleck’s company completes a wide range of projects, including facilities, sports stadiums, and highway work. It has constructed many of the medical facilities and churches in Sioux Falls, S.D., and areas in surrounding states. During the past 15 years an increase in volume of projects has kept Fleck’s company within a 150 mile radius of Sioux Falls. But now the company is venturing farther out to places like North Dakota, eastern Minnesota, and northwest Iowa. Before Sioux Falls boomed, Fleck’s company was completing projects 300
Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 49
corporate profile | midwest
We are focused on satisfaction. We de on the budget the Dave Fleck | President
to 400 miles out. Now the company is growing strong enough to venture out again, he said. The company’s current major project is the Avera McKennan Cancer Institute, the largest private project built in Sioux Falls history. The building facilities will offer the latest technology in cancer treatment with an eight operating room, state-of-the-art outpatient surgical center. The building shell will be more than 260,000 sq. ft. and is slated for completion in the fall of 2010. The building is being constructed with 1,900 tons of structural steel, 1,100 tons of reinforcing steel, and 14,000 cubic yards of concrete. “The healthcare market is expected to move foreword,” Fleck said, explaining that the aging baby boomers are causing hospitals, clinics, and medical office buildings to expand. The owners of the Avera facility are repeat customers for Fleck. “We get a lot of repeat work,” Fleck said. “We are focused on customer satisfaction. We deliver on time and on the budget the owner has set up.” Fleck said the past five to seven years have been medical and church work. The company has had three church jobs every year for the past seven years. But they are not the only projects Sioux Falls Construction has tackled. The Augustana Kirkeby-Over football stadium with a recessed all-weather playing field can be viewed on the company’s website, www.sfconst.com, as a slideshow presentation. Also on the company’s website is an interactive timeline of the history of Sioux Falls, including a interesting tidbit that President Theodore 50 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
midwest | corporate profile
customer liver on time and owner has set up.
Roosevelt visited Sioux Falls the same year the company got started. “We use the website as a marketing tool,” Fleck said. We refer people to our website.” Web site tools are not the only things that Fleck is doing to keep the company forward-thinking. Nearly every project Fleck begins now is “green.” There is a three-tiered rating system for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for building projects. Fleck said his company is aiming for the highest rating with the Avera cancer center. It can be difficult to make the commitment to build green, Fleck said. “The up front costs are higher for green, although over time you save money,” Fleck said. “But sometimes the owner isn’t able to get the financing up front.” Typically, to make a project green, up front costs can range from 1 to 5 percent higher, Fleck said. “I think we all need to be better stewards for our environment.” Fleck believes building green is important despite the pressure put on customers and builders. Business is strong for Fleck’s company, but not as strong as it could have been if last year’s economic downturn hadn’t hit. “We had been heading toward 100 million,” Fleck said. On average during the past five years, the company’s annual revenue has been between 60 to 75 million. Ten years ago those number were 30 to 50 million. The company’s projected revenue for next year was the upper part of 50 to 75 million, but now it is coming out to be toward the lower range. Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 51
corporate profile | midwest
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midwest | corporate profile “It all depends on opportunity. We’d like to grow,” Fleck said. “But if the work isn’t there, we won’t grow. We need the economy to take off.” Going back to 1910, three businessmen started the company, one of which had an affiliation with a company in Chicago. Fleck said he has been researching the beginnings over the company he now presides over. A Frank Boyce from Chicago joined the group in 1915 and worked there for 35 years. Then his son, Leonard Boyce worked from 1949 to 1999. But this family-owned business was cut short when Leonard’s two sons were not interested in running the company. The company was then sold to Fleck and his four other management partners. The company has 12 stock holders. For a company with so much history, Fleck is forging ahead setting his own tone. One of success and quality. CLT
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spotlight | southeast
Freeland Construction by Rebecca Rodriguez
building long term relationships, one project at a time 54 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
southeast | spotlight
reeland Construction Co. Inc., a general contractor in Charleston, S.C. is quickly expanding into government contracts, specifically for the military. The company’s expansion is a strong factor to its growing success. Formed in 2001, the company has completed about 80 projects ranging in size from about $5,000 to $2.5 million. It specializes in government, industrial, utility, and institutional work. Mechanical and electrical projects have been completed for the military, institutional, federal, and state facilities. The company also has the capability of performing mechanical, electrical and plumping work for renovation projects. Freeland rehabilitated the main barracks for the U.S. Coast Guard Sector in Charleston. It has also done work for naval weapons stations, air stations, national park services, and federal prisons. Extensive renovations were also completed for Roper Hospital in Charleston, S.C. Kenneth Canty, president and CEO of Freeland states on his website that the company specializes in facility renovations that require special operating procedures, such as security, cleanliness, health concerns, and tight scheduling. “We will get the job done with minimal disruption to operations,” Canty stated. “We take pride in specializing in the difficult jobs and enjoy working through the difficulties to get the job done.” The company has design/build capabilities that can address needs with minimal design/engineering cost because of experience in the field. The keys to the company’s success include a solid relationship with customers and unique craftsmanship. It also includes retaining customer-friendly and competent, on-site management, ensuring competitive proposals, tracking progress of each construction project while assuring that scope, cost, and schedule are maintained, and partnering with subcontractors and suppliers. The company plans on expanding into more government contracts, even within the department of homeland security, Canty said. Freeland’s growth and expansion are testaments to the company’s determination to continue to succeed while offering quality projects. CLT Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 55
corporate profile | northeast
northeast | corporate profile
NSTRUCTION c earing the way to a reusable future
by Joan Tupponce
Villager Construction’s nod for the 2008 Contractor Environmental Quality Recognition Award brought to light something that Villager’s founder has known for years: the importance of exceeding expectations. Villager’s exemplary reputation stems from the leadership of its founder, Richard Clark. “Dick has relationship building skills with everyone from vendors to employees,” observes A. J. Osborne, recycling division manager. “He is a visionary. When he believes in something, he commits to it.” Clark established Villager in 1977, after serving in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and then working in the industry for several years. Clark originally started a part-time venture, Clark Excavating, after purchasing a backhoe, bulldozer and dump truck. During the early 1970s, Clark Excavating handled a variety of residential and commercial excavation projects for water and sewer. By 1975, the company was involved in municipal, state and federal bonded construction work. In 1988, Clark dissolved Clark Excavating and merged its assets with Villager. A full-service municipal contractor, Villager Construction works with all phases of street and road construction including excavating, paving, milling, sewer reconstruction and installation, waterline installation and concrete work. Other specialties include storm sewers, sanitary sewers and airport runways. Over the years, the company has added a mechanical deep pump division as well as an aggregate recycling division. Villager also owns American Equipment, LLC and has sold equipment around the world. “The company started out doing water and sewer pipeline work,” Osborne explains. “Once we got comfortable with the municipal side of the business we started working at the state level with water and sewer as well as street and road construction.” Road reconstructions represent Villager’s largest projects dollar wise. The company currently has a $14 million project to reconstruct the New York State Thruway between Exit 42 Geneva and Exit 44 Canandaiqua.
A. J. Osborne recycling division manager
Dick Clark loves the work we do in that area because it is more challenging. He takes pride in having staff that allows Villager to do work other companies won’t even consider. Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 57
Today Winter 2010 2009 8 Construction Leaders Today Spring 5
northeast | corporate profile Villager’s steady, strong growth pattern broadens each time the company develops new areas of expertise. For example, when Villager contracted for milling work and was disappointed with the results, the company bought a milling machine and began milling operations. “We recognized a huge void in the market for a quality contractor,” Osborne says. Today, Villager is the second largest milling contractor on the East Coast and owns the largest fleet of Wirtgen milling machines in the country. Requests for Villager’s milling services have increased as interest in the green movement continues to grow. “People find it more economical to mill out an entire road,” Osborne explains. “The guys in our milling division are among the best in the industry. They have recently completed factory training at the Wirtgen training facility in Tennessee and they milled over 28 million square yards in 2009. That’s equivalent to milling the entire New York State Thruway twice.” Villager offers it milling and aggregate recycling services in all states east of the Mississippi, from Florida to Maine. Currently the company only provides water, sewer and road reconstruction services in the state of New York. It hopes to
move into Pennsylvania soon. Villager also has a division that specializes in pump stations run by President Jim Bell Jr. and Project Manager Jerry Meade. “Dick Clark loves the work we do in that area because it is more challenging,” Osborne says. “He takes pride in having staff that allows Villager to do work other companies won’t even consider.” The scope of the projects in the mechanical deep pump division can be daunting. Villager is one of only a few companies that can handle 50-foot deep pipeline jobs. Its water division also goes beyond the normal distribution lines and is currently installing 42- and 48-inch transmission lines into the City of Rochester. “Only a handful of guys can bid on this scope of projects,” Osborne says. Villager’s newest offering is aggregate recycling. The company decided to add this service after traveling to Europe to get an indepth look at the recycling process. “Europe is far ahead of us in recycling,” Osborne says. Since starting its recycling division in 2008, Villager has become the contractor of choice for government, private and institutional projects. The company’s 2008 award stemmed from
Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 59
corporate profile | northeast The company started out doing water and sewer pipeline work. Once we got comfortable with the municipal side of the business we started working at the state level with water and sewer as well as street and road construction ... We recognized a huge void in the market for a quality contractor.
A. J. Osborne | recycling division manager
60 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
northeast | corporate profile a recycling project that included reconstruction of a portion of Route 15A in Monroe County, N.Y. The project required significant quantities of sub-base and select granular fill material as well as the disposal of large quantities of surplus material. Rather than purchasing or mining new road building materials, Villager reused existing materials that would otherwise have been taken to a landfill. During the project, Villager crushed existing concrete on-site and milled or crushed existing asphalt pavement and reused both as road sub-base. The existing gravel sub-base material was stockpiled and reused as select fill for drainage and waterline backfill. Existing stone curb was stockpiled and reset. By reusing existing materials, Villager not only reduced the
amount of natural minerals that was extracted from the earth but also the number disposals of surplus material by reusing 27,800 tons of material. Environmental benefits go beyond the landfill. Recycling helps reduce fuel consumption as well as diesel emissions and traffic congestion by lessening trucking needs. “In about four months on one project we took 1,200 truckloads out of the urban traffic,” Osborne says. “Statistics show that construction vehicles have a higher rate of accidents so it makes for safer roads.” Recycling also helps lower the carbon footprint and reduce the expense of disposing old materials and importing new ones. “It costs from $10 to $15 a ton for disposal and from $5 to $10 a ton to import new materials,” Osborne says. “You can recycle for a fraction of that cost.” Because recycling is such a hot topic in the industry, Villager routinely offers demonstrations to groups of potential customers, including municipalities and contractors. Additionally, Villager Construction Inc. is in the process of putting together a symposium in New York that would feature ambassadors from Austria and Germany to speak on how recycling has benefitted their countries and the European nations. The symposium would also feature speakers from The European Construction Materials Recycling Association and the Austrian Materials Recycling Association who will discuss the process of writing and maintaining quality control standards for recycled aggregates. The conference will be aimed at policy makers, including politicians, state engineers and purchasing agents for cities and counties.Over the years, Villager has recognized the
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corporate profile | northeast
importance of safety in all of its projects. To alleviate any problems, the company became a certified instructional facility for field and classroom training and began offering a certified apprenticeship program. Villager wouldn’t be where it is today without its dedicated employees and division managers. The company’s employee count currently stands at 300, up from 200 two years ago. Many of Villager’s project managers have lengthy tenures with the company. Almost all of its division managers have owned their own companies, including Osborne. “We recognized the prestige of being part of something great,” he says, explaining why he and other business owners have joined Villager’s ranks. “Each of us has a strong sense of what the industry is. People recognize the team that Villager has to offer. Companies believe in us and our guidance. It’s that shared experience that has made us successful.” CLT 62 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
Winter 2009 Construction Leaders Today 63
corporate profile | midwest
64 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
midwest | corporate profile
Yarco: Better Buildings, Better Lives by Rebecca Rodriguez
For Yarco Company, business isn’t just about properties and profits, it’s about people. And it is in this spirit that the company has thrived both philosophically and financially, providing its business partners with exceptional returns on their investments while giving back to the community. Yarco is a full-service real estate firm based in Kansas City, Mo., and among their specialties is the rehabilitation of affordable housing apartment units. Yarco has active operations in 11 states throughout the Midwest and Southwest with 12,000 apartment homes and a portfolio value of about $600 million. The company was founded in 1923 by Harry Cohn and Norman Yarmo, brothers-in-law, offering professional property management services. Harry and Norman combined their passion for business and their last names to form Yarco. In addition to property management, over the years Yarco added complimentary components of real estate development, brokerage,
syndication, consulting, accounting, property maintenance, IT support, and governmental compliance services to its offerings. Twenty years ago they added general construction to their menu and they have completed more than $90 million in award-winning construction activity, building or rehabilitating 6,000 apartment homes. “We wanted to dramatically improve results for us and our partners by taking control of the construction component,” said Jonathan Cohn, CEO. “Our objective is to do the most we possibly can to create great places to live based on the owner’s objectives.” Always at the forefront is how to maximize a property’s value, deliver ontime, and stay within budget. “It’s about providing a highly marketable, quality product and keeping the cost down for the developer,” said Lynn Lang, Director of Construction. Lang has been with Yarco for the past ten years, having previously worked for a not-for-profit organization. Working for Yarco has been similar in that they are both committed to giving back to the Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 65
before 66 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
midwest | corporate profile community. “Yarco is mission-driven and shares certain values with community-minded not-for-profits,” Lang said. Cohn said Yarco manages several
properties where total household incomes average less than $7,000 per year. “Our customers often times need more than a roof,” he said, “they need a real community.” A decade ago, the company’s principals founded Phoenix Family Housing, a now fully independent not-for-profit public charity whose mission is to empower people living in lowincome housing communities with
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the on-site support they need to gain stability and achieve self-sufficiency. “The heart that drives our management and construction companies is to deliver exceptional value to our partners and clients while we help increase the quality of life for the people in Yarco-managed communities,” he said. A 128-unit apartment complex in central Missouri received more than 1300 police calls the year before Yarco acquired the property and began their renovation process. “We cut police calls down by more than 90 percent after reinventing the property and turning around the operation,” Cohn said. The local police department was among many who were pleased. “It’s now a safer place for residents to raise
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corporate profile | midwest their families. They truly enjoy participating in a revitalized, supportive community.” The company has twice been recognized with the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing. “An award is nice. We like the pat on the back,” Cohn said. “But the real reward is the smiles on the kids’ faces.” Prior to the apartment renovation, moms in the communities didn’t want their children going outside to play, and now the children are going to the after school program and computer lab at the new community center. And the moms are getting help earning their GEDs and getting support through the on-site food pantry. Phoenix Family Housing delivers hundreds of programs like these monthly at dozens of properties in order to improve lives, Cohn said. In the 1990s Yarco began to take part in renovations for properties receiving low-income tax credits. As a result, the construction division has hard-earned experience and valuable expertise in improving real estate connected with
Our company was founded to be an environment open to innovative ideas, and we have always been true to that. Any company who thinks they have nothing left to learn is a company in decline - Jonathan Cohn,Yarco CEO affordable housing programs. Yarco’s construction team devises innovative solutions for rehabilitation projects, something similar companies might not have the experience to do as effectively. “Renovation work requires a special skill set,” said Lang. “It’s not just about putting something back together. It has to be done properly so that the property’s life is extended, its value is enhanced, its operating costs are conserved, and the result needs to be highly marketable,” he said. Clients are attracted to the company’s
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Her accounting system only tracked gross wages, so she accounting system only wages, accounting system onlytracked tracked gross wages,sososhe leftHer labor burden off her invoice. Then,gross she double-paid ashe labor left laborburden burden off offher her invoice. invoice. Then, she double-paid left she double-paid sub and never discovered it. In addition, her progress billsa a sub and never discoveredit.it.InInaddition, addition,her her progressbills sub and never were wrong and wrong itdiscovered took months to get paid.to getprogress bills were and it took months were wrong and it took months to get paid. paid. Julie’s experience is painfully real for plenty of construction Julie’s painfully realshe for plenty construction may not beisreal, but her experience a painful Julieexperience business accountants, even though is not aofisreal person. reality for plenty of though businessshe accountants. business accountants, even is not a real person. Why trust your profitability to off-the-shelf programs? Why trust tooff-the-shelf off-the-shelfprograms? programs? Why trust your email Call or toyour getprofitability aprofitability quote onto Sage Accounting Solution. Call or toget getaaquote quoteon on Sage Sage Accounting Accounting Solution. Call or e-mail email Solution. 800-458-7369 firstname.lastname@example.org 800-458-7639 or email@example.com 800-458-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org 68 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
long history and dedication to quality and financial outcomes. “Owners working with us come to get the best ideas on the table in determining how to prioritize and address the current needs of the real estate, so that together we can maximize the property’s value,” Cohn said. Cohn strives to provide property owners and business partners exceptional returns on their investments. “We look for clients that are interested in long-term relationships and who are committed to doing excellent work and creating real value of all different
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We look For clients that are interested in long-term relationships and who are committe d to doing excellent work and creating real value of all different kinds, - Jonathan Cohn, Yarco CEO Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 69
corporate profile | midwest kinds, financial or otherwise. Great relationships create great opportunities.” Cohn added that they look for clients who will benefit from the specialty services Yarco offers, and who have something to offer in return. “Part of our success comes from the fact that we continue to grow, and we are always hungry to learn. Our company was founded to be an environment open to innovative ideas, and we have always been true to that. Any company who thinks they have nothing left to learn is a company in decline,” he said. Part of what makes Cohn’s company strong is his quality staff. When Cohn hires, he looks for people with the same values his company upholds. “When hiring we consider attitude just as important as experience. We can train for desired skill sets. Beyond that, we want solutionminded colleagues in our workplace who are eager to actively engage themselves in the building of a meaningful and productive company. We want people who are willing and able to have fun while they are working hard,” he said. The company has received the Best Places to Work in Kansas City Award and the Kansas City Business Ethics Award, and experiences turnover that is below average from their industry. “People rarely leave because they’ve found a better place to work,” Lang said. As Yarco flourishes internally, external market forces are creating some turmoil. When looking at the state of the economy and real estate market there doesn’t seem to be a “quick end to the present storm,” Cohn said. “An economic upturn will probably be slow at best, and right now companies are changing the way they do business seeking more value in services like ours. We have invested in the right people and infrastructure and we are wellpositioned to respond to the new needs of our current and future clients,” he said. Cohn looks to the future with optimism. “Our plans at the moment include continuing to grow our construction division and work for third party customers,” Cohn said. 70 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
Recently, Yarco has been enhancing their marketing efforts to expand their client base. “We’ve been a really well kept secret and we’re ready for more people to know what we can accomplish,” he said. The values the company adheres to make them an attractive business partner, Lang said. “Who we are is as important as what we do.” For this Kansas City company, it’s not just about building; it’s about building better lives. CLT
Our customers often times need more than a roof, they need a real community. - Jonathan Cohn, Yarco CEO
log homes | spotlight
Responding to Our Past and Present Log Homes Continue To Stand As an Iconic Staple of American Living by Jane Caffrey
Owning a log home provokes an emotional sentiment. This is perhaps because the log home is rooted in the American past, recalling the heritage of the pioneers and the frontier. Several aspects of log home living contribute to the recollection of a simpler life; the warmth of the wood, the feeling of comfort and security inside, and the beauty of log home structures. Yet even while providing these sensations of comfort, log homes also respond to the present in the United States. With a variety of styles and designs, log homes can be an economical living option. They are also completely natural and the most sustainable form of building, at a time when people are increasingly gravitating towards environmentally
conscious decisions. All of these factors will contribute to a robust market for log homes in the foreseeable future, as homeowners embrace both the past glory and the modern benefits of a log home. Jim Young, President of The Log Homes Council, sends a word of advice to those seeking to realize the dream of log home living: â€œPeople want a retreat; a home that represents an escape from the chaos of daily life. The Log Homes council is an available resource for those looking to begin the process of realizing that dream.â€? Responding to both our past heritage and our present necessities, log homes continue to offer a welcoming, heritage-rich, and sustainable way of life. Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 71
72 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
log homes | spotlight
Mountain Inspiration l
by Jane Caffrey
Colossal mountains stretching into low clouds; sweeping jade forests; pristine waters of a glasslike lake; and the expansive dome of blue sky on crisp days. These are the scenes that embody Lake Tahoe, the country’s large freshwater lake nestled at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Yet they also form the base to a fountain of inspiration for Alan Richards, Founder and President of A Richards Built Home. A deep love of nature led Richards into a career of producing mountain and lodge style homes that boast both classical beauty and environmental sustainability. With his work, Richards strives to give justice to the stunning mountain ambience of his community. “I live in this beautiful mountain environment, with a bright blue sky, forests, no pollution. To me, Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful settings in the world. Having a great attitude about where you live and work has allowed me to create beautiful houses,” Richards said. The splendor of natural settings drew Richards from a young age. After serving in the military during the Vietnam War and then earning a B.A. in psychology from California State University, Sacramento, Richards explained that, “I just wanted to get out in the woods.” The young graduate got a job on a trail crew in
At A Richards Built Home, the stunning natural scenery of Lake Tahoe inspires mountain and lodge style homes that are both traditional and environmentally sustainable
We think green, green, green. We spend a lot of time on that. It’s the big shift, and we’re doing a lot of research on this ... We’re looking to use greener products, and overall we want to create more selfsufficient homes It’s really about being sensitive to the environment that you live in and to planet Earth. Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 73
74 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
log homes | spotlight
Sight & Sound Technologies
392 Suite B Dorla Ct. Zephyr Cove, NV | 775.588.4348
Yosemite National Park, and spent three years in the backcountry re-carving trails and building bridges. During the winter off-season, he began helping a contractor friend with carpentry work. “I love working with my hands, and I thought maybe I should learn a trade because it’s always good to have a trade,” Richards said. “I said that I would give myself three years to learn the trade of carpentry, then go back to the route of psychology and teaching. It ended up that I was a carpenter for 15 years, learning all aspects of building a house, and I really enjoyed it.” After 15 years of working on conventional homes, Richards decided to break out on his own and start a general contracting business. He built his first log home for his own family on Lake Tahoe, and after later constructing an additional log home for a friend, Richards’ company took off. A Richards Built Home was founded in 1988 and based in Richards’ Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 75
spotlight | log homes hometown of Incline Village, Nevada. “I thought, after being in Yosemite and enjoying the beauty of nature, that when I started building houses on my own I really wanted them to fit into the environment, to almost feel like you’re living outside,” Richards said. “I was going to do something unique, and that was to build log homes because they fit so well into this environment. Even at that point, I knew that they were so ecological.” Two decades later, A Richards Built Home continues to serve the Lake Tahoe, Reno, and Carson areas, and sees annual revenue of approximately $7 million. While the company has built several stunning contemporary homes over the years, its specialty are the rustic log homes in mountain and lodge styles. As a focused, hands-on contractor, Richards undertakes a limited number of projects each year, to ensure that each home is distinguished by fine craftsmanship, artistry, and attention to detail. “What sets us apart is attention to detail. Clients will say, ‘You’re a perfectionist.’ I really know the whole process, after working 80 hours a week to do my full time job in the past, and then building additional houses on the side. That’s a huge advantage.” Arched trusses, wooden stairways, wide porches, and the natural beauty of log material define artistry and fine craftsmanship in each A Richards Built home. Yet these stunning structures find place in the mountain environment not only for
their natural beauty, but also because the company remains devoted to the construction of sustainable homes rated by LEED standards. Adam Robb, Alan Richards’ 28-year-old son and business partner, has been at the head of this wave of green building. After graduating from St. Mary’s College, Adam Robb began working in construction with his father as a LEED certified professional. “We think green, green, green,” Richards said. “We spend a lot of time on that. It’s the big shift, and we’re doing a lot of research on this, particularly my son Adam with his LEED certification. We’re looking to use greener products, and overall we want to create more self-sufficient homes.” Sustainability manifests in Richards’ homes in the forms of foam insulation, geothermal heating systems, solar energy, and earth sod roofs that allow homeowners to grow personal gardens. Careful to protect the clean waters of Lake Tahoe, the company also prevents erosion both during construction and by implementing rock trenches around houses so that dripping water does not cause dirt to slide into the lake. “It’s really about being sensitive to the environment that you live in and to planet Earth,” Richards said. The company has completed a multitude of green projects, including a LEED Silver Certified, 2,500 square foot Frank Lloyd Wright hybrid home. Yet the crown jewel for this company is a stunning log home constructed eight years ago. Dubbed “The
78 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
log homes | spotlight Secret Cabin,” this 10,000 square foot house rests on the eastern slope of Lake Tahoe. All logs utilized in the home were cut from dead-standing forest, and a Vermont slate roof promises durability and energy efficiency. The home was also designed with passive solar to take advantage of the southern exposure that the lot it rests on affords. “Everybody just put everything into this house. The clients were very supportive of every creative decision and every practical decision, and they were not afraid to spend money to go over the top. We stretched all of our creative abilities to make it the most beautiful house at that time,” Richards said. Featured in several national magazines around the country, “The Secret Cabin” bolstered the reputation of A Richards Built Home as an exceptional contractor. Paying due tribute to the spectacular natural environment, the completed masterpiece offers panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. The mountain environment at Lake Tahoe not only inspires beautiful and sustainable natural structures, but also exceptional service from A Richards Built Home. “Being a contractor in a small town where everyone knows everyone, you really can’t make any mistakes. We really strive for and provide clients with excellent services,” Richards said. Incline Village has a population of just less than 10,000, and A Richards Built Home
maintains a strong reputation within the community due to its commitment to honesty and integrity. Richards is dedicated to superior service to clients in this friendly town, and that extends to former customers. If a client has a problem at any point, even years after a home was constructed, Richards will respond in less than an hour. “If a something doesn’t work, if for example a door knob is sticking, I’ll go up there and fix it, pay for the door knob, and do the labor for free. We back our product, with the knowledge that clients might call 10 or 15 years down the line. You’ve got an extended warranty when you build a house with me,” Richards said. Honesty and integrity remain at the heart of company philosophy, as does producing handsome homes that pay justice to a breathtaking natural environment in terms of both beauty and efficiency. In upcoming years, the company plans to remain on the forefront of green building. As Adam Robb increasingly takes on more responsibility, preparing to one day run the business independently, research on sustainable construction will persist. Thus, A Richards Built Home will continue to produce stunning houses into the future with green features that will protect the remarkable environment that inspired such homes in the first place. CLT
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80 Construction Leaders Today Winter 2009
log homes | spotlight
Artisans of Post Beam by Jane Caffrey
In terms of beauty and practicality, timber homes have stood the test of time. Yet today, Timberpeg East, Inc. produces these classic structures with fresh qualities Incorporating fully custom designs for individual homeowners and the latest facets of green building, Timberpeg homes prove breathtaking by the standards of both timeless beauty and modern practicality. With more than 35 years in the industry and 5,000 timber frame homes designed and manufactured around the nation and internationally, Timberpeg East offers a myriad of frame and floor plan options—from quaint cottages to stately luxury homes. Yet the company prides itself on flexibility, and the award-winning design apartment customizes nearly every home to match the varying budgets, lifestyles, and visions of distinct homeowners. Timberpeg holds four regional offices to serve the needs of clients across the county, and employs a team of specially trained Independent Representatives that are spread coast to coast, who work closely with homeowners during the design and building process. Homebuilders can bring their visions to reality easily at Timberpeg East, which offers simple and stylish floor plans, a plethora of truss designs, creative ideas for special occasions and varying sites, and flexibility. Yet the splendor and practicality of timber building goes beyond the home, and the company has completed several light commercial structures as well. Successful projects range from community centers and churches to lodges and golf clubs. Although Timberpeg East imparts classic elegance in each timber structure, the company maximizes the most functional aspect of wood in today’s world: environmental sustainability. By nature, wood is a recyclable and renewable resource that proves durable for centuries. Yet beyond simply utilizing a natural material, Timberpeg East remains committed to producing energy efficient and environmentally responsible buildings.
Timberpeg collects Douglas fir and eastern white pine from blow-downs or local producers; utilizes green materials from environmentally responsible suppliers; implements continuous insulation systems for built-in energy savings; and recycles during every stage of production. The company adheres to the strict guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has earned an Energy Star Certification for several homes, meeting today’s latest environmental standards. The juxtaposition of experience and modernity extends to the employees at Timberpeg East as well. While the company continuously seeks fresh faces, several employees have remained with the business for as many as thirty years. Timberpeg East relies on the integrity and experience of its staff, and dedicated employees have become the most critical asset in making homeowners’ dreams of stunning timber structures an exciting reality. CLT
Lawrence R. McCoy & Co. would like to congratulate Timperpeg on their many years of success. McCoy, supplying a variety of wood products, has partnered with Timberpeg for 3-decades and look forward to the next decade.
www.lrmccoy.com | 800.346.2269 tel Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 81
features | architecture
S P G architects by Joan Tupponce
SPG Architects brings innovation and individual style to each of its projects-everything from multi-million dollar homes in the United States to a village compound in Rwanda. The mid-sized architectural firm, based in New York City, is headed by Caroline (Coty) N. Sidnam and Eric Gartner. Sidnam opened the firm in 1980, focusing on residential design throughout the Northeast. Gartner came aboard in 1989 and became a partner in 1993, bringing with him a valued relationship with Polo Ralph Lauren. The retail clothing giant became familiar with Gartner’s abilities when he worked on the design of the company’s Polo Sport flagship store in Manhattan. The affiliation with Polo Ralph Lauren gave SPG an entry into the retail marketplace, helping it to immediately diversify its offerings. Today, the company serves a wide variety of clients with regional, national and international projects that include co-op and condominium apartments, urban townhouses, second homes, corporate offices and retail establishments as well as free-standing houses and residential compounds. Corporate clients range from Polo Ralph Lauren and Time Warner to COTY Beauty and America Online. SPG takes a modernistic approach to all of its designs, using light and form to create tactile and visual experiences. The firm’s designs represent not only current architectural thinking but also current methodologies and materials. “We enjoy the process,” Gartner says. “We have our
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Winter 2009 Construction Leaders Today 83
features | architecture
e want to be part of the leadership of that
84 Construction Leaders Today Winter 2009
architecture | features
in terms of embracing different w a y
s o f how people think and work.
” -Eric Gartner
heart in our mission.” Part of that mission includes the company’s commitment to the environment and sustainability. Gartner, a LEED Accredited Professional, is currently heading up a multi-building project in Rwanda for the not-for-profit organization Kageno Worldwide. The project includes building a community center as well as health care, educational and eco-tourist facilities. The modern, forward-thinking concept for the project had an intentional message for the community – a better future is coming. “We wanted to help them fill a need that existed,” explains Gartner. “For example, the nearest health care was a four- to six-hour walk. This is an area that has AIDS issues as well as malnutrition and other health concerns.” Health care is just one component of the project. It also focuses on expanding classrooms for orphans and children of orphans and building a community center where women of the village can learn skills and crafts. “The center will also function as a community gathering area,” Gartner says. “It has a computer center and a library.” The final component of the project will be an eco-tourist center situated near a large national park with a primate population. “It’s an ideal place to bring in cash flow,” Gartner says, adding that the people of the village are committed to the entire project. “They have donated land and will be staffing the facilities. They are building a community. It’s all very exciting.” Sidnam is also vested in conservation and health-related issues. She is a trustee of the Wildlife Conservation Society as well as the Mayday Fund (a medical foundation) and a longtime supporter of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Her interest in these types of issues has led the firm to undertake both paid and pro bono architectural projects. In all of its projects, SPG uses Computer Aided Drafting technology combined with handcrafted drawings and models. Construction documents are created by computer in order to maximize costeffectiveness, flexibility and precision. This state-of-the-art technology, however, is just one aspect of the design process.
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architecture | features “It’s not just about technology,” Gartner says. “We integrate a real sense of tactile, natural materials. We juxtapose natural and manmade materials in our designs.” In one project, for example, SPG juxtaposed horizontal wood siding with a Corten steel façade that allows for natural aging. A project for America Online, placed wood framing elements next to stainless steel and luminescent acrylic panels. “We like to use translucency to provide light beyond the room you are in,” Gartner explains. To highlight its commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of its projects, SPG uses energy resources to their maximum end use and efficiency, relying on alternative energy sources such as geothermal systems for domestic hot water and interior heating and cooling, solar energy and hydropower. The firm also uses everything from Low-E glass and green roofs to diminish heat gains to water reclamation and recycling. “We just completed a huge house in Costa Rica that is off the grid,” Gartner says. “It’s self-sufficient in terms of energy
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features | architecture and water use. It’s fully powered by solar panels.” The Rwanda project is also off-thegrid. All waste and electricity is dealt with onsite. “We have three significant projects that address sustainability and are appropriate to their locations,” says Gartner. “They are all very diverse.” SPG realizes that it is part of an industry that needs to change and has to change when it comes to being environmentally conscious. “We want to be part of the leadership of that in terms of embracing different ways of how people think and work,” Gartner says. “We tell our clients that this is an important aspect of what we do.” The company works on projects of all sizes. Its largest in terms of square footage and pricing was a project involving the offices of COTY, Inc. The 100,000-squarefoot build space ended up being a $10 million to $12 million project. Most of SPG’s residential projects range from $1 million to $4 million. One recent undertaking, a huge 18,000-square-foot home in Costa Rica would have cost around $12 million if it had been built in the United States. “We built that house above the ground plane of the rain forest,” Gartner says. “The entire house was elevated.” SPG is constantly expanding its areas of expertise. Other specialties include interior design and furnishings, healthcare facility planning and feasibility studies, multi-family design and master planning. One of the company’s largest master planning projects was the approximately 56-acre South Corvallis Riverfront in Oregon with 550,000 sq. ft. of potential development In the future, Gartner would like to see the company add more institutional building projects such as small universities and museums. “It’s a logical step for us,” he says. “It would also be logical to do small multi-family units or complexes.” The company’s success stems from its commitment to quality. “We follow through on every level so that we complete a project on the highest level,” Gartner says. SPG has kept its personal touch by remaining small in size. “We like to stay in boutique size so Coty and I can be engaged in the process,” Gartner explains. “We want to grow in a controlled manner so we can offer our clients the same level of quality no matter where or how big a project is.” CLT 88 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
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e follow through on every level so that we c om
plete a project on the highest level.
â€? -Eric Gartner Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 89
5 Partnership 90 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
This company lives up to its name, forming lasting relationships within the architectural firm and acquiring loyal clients
architecture | features
by Jane Caffrey
“To have a successful practice you need two things: great employees and great clients. We have both,” said Allen Weitzman, Founding Partner of Studio 5 Partnership Architects/Planners, LLC. As a full-service architectural firm, Studio 5 Partnership specializes in architecture and all related aspects such as planning, interior design, LEED design, and construction administration for various market sectors. The company is committed to improving the community by designing projects that exceed the expectations of clients and enrich the lives of people who ultimately use
the buildings. Yet more than designing notable architectural structures, the company remains devoted to overall excellence and integrity. The capabilities and experience of a 25 member staff offer the depth of service generally associated with large firms, but Studio 5 Partnership provides the personal service and attention to detail of a small firm. This arises from the emphasis placed on “partnership,” the core of business philosophy. “My main goal is to treat our clients well, treat our employees well, and treat my partners well. They are all great,” Weitzman said. Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 91
features | architecture
The concept of bonded partnership perhaps arises from a long history of professionals and clients working together. Although Studio 5 Partnership was founded five and a half years ago, the company is the outgrowth of a different architectural firm that Weitzman ran. After Weitzman and his former business partner split in 2005, he founded Studio 5. Weitzman offered partnerships to four associates, hence the name Studio 5 Partnership, and was followed by 20 employees and several clients from the former firm. Thus,
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Weitzman initiated Studio 5 with a team of colleagues that he had been working with for years and with a group of loyal clients. “We started life as a 25 person firm, with clients, employees, and billing in tact,” Weitzman said. “We didn’t go through the typical start up problems. We started with some big projects, and then continued.” A testimony to enduring business relationships, Studio 5 Partnership regularly sees repeat clients. One example is the company’s 12-year work history with the Port Authority of New York and
architecture | features We do not specialize, we do anything and everything. We try to keep ourselves diverse, so that no one segment of the market dominates. New Jersey. The firm serves clients in both the residential and commercial sectors in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. “We’ve established relationships, and we have our share of work because it just keeps coming,” Weitzman said. “That’s an incredible history; to have a client that keeps coming back to you when they can go to anybody they want.” Weitzman claims that the secret to business success are his employees. “Employees will stay with you if you treat
them well. They’ll stay with you through the good times and the bad. There is only so much I can do as the founding partner. People are our most important product,” he said. With a 25-person staff, 50 percent of which are women, Studio 5 Partnership is made up of a dedicated group of individuals, including 11 licensed architects, two professional planners, one certified interior designer, and four LEED accredited professionals. Working with clients, colleagues, and construction professionals, the staff at Studio 5 strives to offer excellence, responsiveness, and commitment to the profession. Decades of collective experience and knowledge results in design conceptions with high levels of visual and technical quality. The talented professionals at Studio 5 Partnership offer a broad spectrum of architectural and interior design services, from feasibility planning to construction administration to code compliance and coordination. Yet according to Weitzman, the firm is not limited to one specialization. “We do not specialize, we do anything and everything!” he said. “We try to keep ourselves diverse, so that no one segment of the market dominates.” The company has therefore completed a varied assortment of projects, serving the commercial, education, government, industrial, interiors, religious, and residential sectors. Studio 5 Partnership has also taken on a number of LEED projects and promotes sustainable practices both in the office and on jobs. In October of 2009, Studio 5 Partnership completed Hoboken, New Jersey’s newest cinema complex: a 20,000 sq. ft., two-level structure featuring five movie theatres with leather seating and other amenities. The architectural firm has also recently been commissioned to complete the design and construction drawings for a new 11,000 sq. ft. clubhouse at the Morris Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 93
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Yacht and Beach Club, on the tip of City Island, New York. The building design will feature a ballroom, bar, and expansive outdoor deck spaces overlooking the water, while an internally lit “lantern” element on the roof will be visible from miles away at night and act as an identifiable landmark for sailing vessels. Currently, Studio 5 Partnership is working on the design of the new 150,000 sq. ft. Mill Basin lifestyle center in Brooklyn, New York. A combination of retail, residential, and entertainment space, the center features 90,000 sq. ft. of a two-story retail anchor paired with 50,000 sq. ft. of single story multi-tenant space. The design will create an enlivened storefront, aimed at 94 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
enhancing the pedestrian experience and inviting the public to enjoy both the natural beauty of the area and a pleasant shopping experience. Studio 5 Partnership continues to take on such innovative projects despite a downturn in the United States economy, maintaining that with preservation and qualified professionals the company can endure the slump. “Our game plan is to try to get through this down cycle, and so far we’re doing pretty well two years in,” Weitzman said. “We will be ready when things hit the ground running again, and they will. We will be flexible as well, because when it hits the ground again it might not be the
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same. We have to be adaptable.” With wide-ranging projects underway, numerous repeat clients, and a dedicated staff, Studio 5 Partnership continues to prosper. “Great partners, great employees, great clients. How bad is that?” Weitzman asked. “I wake up every day and look forward to going to work. I’m still learning. Never stop learning, and always do something you love, because you’ll be doing it for the rest of your life.” For Weitzman, a career with Studio 5 Partnership translates into forming tightly bonded partnerships that lead to solid business and exceptional architectural designs. CLT Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 95
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e h T
s e L
d r a s
p u o
by Joan Tupponce
When Lessard Group realized the growing demand for architectural and planning services in the Middle East and Central Asia, it took action, opening international offices in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Ahmedabad, India. For Lessard, it made perfect sense to expand into these burgeoning areas. “We’ve been tasked with more and more international work and this way we can immediately serve our clients in these regions,” explains President Chris Lessard. “We’re still very much an American firm but this way our D.C. office can concentrate on our U.S. work while our new offices can address our increasing international needs.” Lessard Group’s leaders have experience working in more 96 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
than 10 countries with projects in the Americas and Europe as well as Asia and the Middle East. The company started its presence in India and the Middle East two years ago. “There are still pockets of under served markets in the Middle East,” Lessard says. Lessard was recently selected over several international architects by the government of Saudi Arabia to design two new office buildings in the prestigious Diplomatic Quarter of the country’s capital city of Riyadh. The firm competed and was selected by the U.S. Commercial Service to participate in the first-ever U.S. trade mission to Libya and Algeria. Jay Khoriaty, the firm’s Principal in charge of International Practice, just
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returned from the trade mission with several new prospects in hand. Khoriaty says “the North African market appears to be growing.” In addition to its high-rise building and resort projects, Lessard is able to provide high density residential design solutions that work well in heavily populated cities in the Middle East and Central Asia. “Our expertise in planning urban projects around the greater D.C. Metro area as well as major markets across the United States offers developing markets the advantage of our experience,” Lessard says. In addition to its U.S. headquarters, the Washington-DCbased architectural and planning firm also has offices in
New York City. Lessard founded the company in 1986. Since then, the company has grown exponentially into a 125-person architectural design, urban planning and interiors firm. “Our company is entrepreneur driven,” explains Lessard. “Each of our five principals has a specialty area. We keep those areas defined so they can stay focused.” Lessard Group’s focus on entrepreneurial thinking is a specialty itself. “I think people take that for granted,” observes Lessard. “We see things from the perspective of the client. We know how to create partnerships and get financing. Every economic downturn has been a growth period for us. We think differently and that helps make our clients successful.” Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 97
features | architecture
We see things from the perspective of the client. We know how to create partnerships and get financing. Every economic downturn has been a growth period for us. We think differently and that helps make our clients successful. Chris Lessard | President When the company started 24 years ago, it was designing single family townhomes only. Today it’s known as a “onestop-shop” firm that will take a project from concept through to construction. The multi-disciplined firm provides a variety of professional services including architectural design, master planning and urban design, site analysis, feasibility studies, real estate development expertise and HUD financing expertise. “We have a keen understanding of HUD financing,” Lessard says. “We have done so many HUD-financed projects. We understand when we are designing the project what the implications will be. We work with the developer to plan a 98 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
design that gets the most out of the financing available.” The company’s practice spans several market sectors and project types, including residential buildings, everything from townhomes to luxury condominiums; hotels with ballrooms, meeting rooms and exhibition space; resorts; casinos; spas; offices; retail/entertainment; affordable housing; military facilities and housing privatization; student housing; transitoriented developments; green design; and urban and town planning. The firm’s experience proves valuable in tough economic times. “The challenge now is that people have to meet the goals
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The environment is a more important component in building today. Arlington County, for instance, mandates LEED certification. Other municipalities offer tax incentives of which developers are taking advantage. Chris Lessard | President and needs of the financing world,” Lessard says. “As a company, you have to evolve into what’s needed. That’s what brings a lot of people to this firm.” Lessard Group has a depth of expertise in wood, steel and concrete that can’t be matched by many firms. That’s why clients look to Lessard to provide insight. One of the company’s latest niches is helping developers with projects that are at a standstill because of the economy. “We’re helping make the economics work so the project can move forward,” explains John Jenkins who heads Lessard’s High-Rise Multi-Family Group. “In the last year we have been brought into large scale projects that have stalled.” Projects include a 56-acre master plan in Glen Cove, Long Island with an 860 mixed-unit development and a 10- to 12-story high rise building. “We are coming up with solutions
that will make it more affordable to build,” Jenkins says. “We are going to break it down into smaller bite-size pieces so building can start.” The company’s larger urban planning projects include a 6,500 acre multi-use project in Prince George’s County, MD with thousands of residential units as well as commercial and office space. “A normal project for us runs around 1,000 units,” Lessard says. “We have done jobs with up to 5,000 units.” The company enjoys complex undertakings such as mixeduse projects where they create an all-inclusive environment with both residential and commercial components. Lessard Group has successfully designed numerous mixed-use projects including Trump Plaza in New Rochelle, New York and Trump Parc in Stamford, Ct. Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 101
“It’s the tallest building in Stamford,” Jenkins says. “It’s a highrise luxury tower that is setting the bar for high-rise living.” Several of the company’s projects are transit-oriented developments situated around train and metro stations. The Rhode Island Metro project in Washington, D.C., for example, features retail and parking designed in a main street boulevard setting as well as 274 residential units totaling 70,000 sq. ft. Currently, the company is working on several architectural and interior design projects such as a two-tower Ritz Carlton residence and hotel in Connecticut that will include retail and restaurant space. “We have a number of high rise jobs going up in Metro D.C.,” says Jenkins. “We are preparing to begin working drawings for a 16-story apartment building in Arlington called Tellus. It will be the first LEED Gold Certified building in Arlington County.” The project will provide affordable housing and $75,000 in public art contribution to the community. The architectural industry is trending toward green building. “The environment is a more important component in building today,” observes Jenkins. “Arlington County, for instance, mandates LEED certification. Other municipalities offer tax incentives of which developers are taking advantage.” As part of its LEED portfolio, Lessard Group designed the Hope VI Capitol Quarter at Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg residential community in Washington, D.C. which consists of new townhomes, affordable workforce homes and rental apartments. The townhomes achieved Silver LEED for Homes certification and together make up the nation’s largest “LEED for Homes” community. One of the company’s larger projects, New York’s Hudson Harbor, is a 27-acre, LEED Platinum-designed mixed-use development that includes residential, retail and recreational uses with green spaces and a river walk. “That project includes innovative green technology,” Jenkins says. “It utilizes geothermal heating and cooling.” The company also has much experience teaming up for design/build projects, real estate development RFP’s and privatization contracts. Lessard Group has a keen understanding of the requirements and agendas of all parties to public-private partnerships which is critical to achieving consensus in the project’s planning and design when there are conflicting ideas and goals. They are especially adept at evaluating divergent ideas and synthesizing them into a tangible, actionable proposal for all parties to understand and agree. Lessard’s proposed redevelopment plan for the 67-acre Hill East district in Washington, D.C. is one such example. Lessard is teamed with Hunt Development, competing for the development rights to more than 3 million sq. ft. of commercial, civic and residential uses on the east side of Capitol Hill around the green, open spaces of the Anacostia River. Lessard’s military housing privatization work has greatly expanded in the past 5 years with more than 2 million sq. ft. of Lessard’s designs now built, and several more buildings currently under construction or in design. Lessard Group has numerous LEED Accredited Professionals on staff can offer LEED consulting services to clients. “That’s a growing part of our business,” Jenkins says. “There is demand for it both domestically and internationally. That’s one of the key reasons we are working overseas. People are hiring us for our expertise in green.” CLT 102 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
architecture | features
features | architecture
Preserving America One Project at a Time by Joan Tupponce
We provide ways to design and detail a building so that it’s efficient and cost effective to build and maintain. 104 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
When it comes to specialized projects that involve adaptive reuse or historic renovation, developers and contractors look to Jai Singh Khalsa for his seasoned expertise. Khalsa, a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, heads Khalsa Design Inc., an award-winning design firm specializing in everything from adaptive reuse and historic renovations to residential and multi-family projects. Areas of expertise also include affordable housing and government projects as well as institutional designs. “We tailor our services to the specific needs of each project,” Khalsa says. Khalsa started the company in 1984. The 12-employee firm is now a go-to firm for not only its innovative, efficient designs but also for its staff ’s depth of knowledge. In addition to architectural and interior design, the company provides mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection services. Eighty percent of the company’s work is generated by self-performing developers, builders and contractors. Projects include everything from charter schools to shopping plazas. The majority of the firm’s work falls into the multifamily category and is centered in the Northeast and Southwest sectors of the United States. Some of Khalsa’s most lauded projects are in the adaptive reuse category. The
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features | architecture company’s Oxford House re-use project won the 2007 Builder’s Choice Award from Builder Magazine. The project is also being highlighted in a coffee table book titled Perspectives on Design New England that will hit bookstands in April. A former Christian Science church in Newton, Mass., Oxford House now contains 11 high-end condominium residences in two levels of housing – Khalsa added two additional stories to the church. The building, which served as a meeting house, contained an attractive window pattern that Khalsa used to highlight his design. “The exterior of the building was preserved through a historic easement granted to the City of Newton. In the interior, we were able to save some of the original trims and large dental moldings,” he says. The attractive units include soughtafter 16-foot ceilings and special detailing. Khalsa was able to use the church’s steeple in the design of one of the units, creating a two-story library. “These units have experienced a high absorption rate into the market,” he says. Khalsa Design is currently working on two adaptive reuse projects. The first, the Sacred Heart Project in Lawrence, Mass., is now under construction. Khalsa is partnering with Beacon Communities on Sacred Heart, which also comes under the affordable housing and historic tax credit categories. The campus includes a rectory, church, two brick school buildings and a stucco convent. “We are turning the convent and the two schools into housing for adults age 55 and older,” Khalsa says. “The church continues to serve as a church and the rectory is still a rectory.” Khalsa is retaining as much of the interior finishes as possible and including them in the units. The community room in the new complex, for example, will house the building’s original stained glass windows. “We have made efforts to restore and preserve the fine period detailing,” he says. The first phase of the second project, Dana Park Place ( formerly Blessed Sacrament Church) in Cambridge, Mass., is now complete. The urban project includes 44 units. The property originally included a rectory, convent, school and church. “The convent, which had no historic 106 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
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significance, was demolished,” Khalsa says. The rectory building was sold and the school and church were converted to residences. The church building now houses five levels of residences and two levels of parking. Before construction could begin, the interior of the church had to be taken back to its foundation. “We built a multi-story building within the shell of the church,” Khalsa explains. Because churches are notoriously dark in their design, Khalsa had to cut holes in the church to allow for adequate light. Khalsa recalls the first adaptive reuse project he tackled: an elementary school that was transformed into 50 units of housing in a seaside Massachusetts town. The 1950s/1960s-style building had a flat roof and unattractive orange panels on the exterior walls. “We added a pitched roof which resulted in an extra story and a half,” he says. “We added exterior staircases which provided the project with a nautical theme. It is consistent with a seaside appearance.” The company’s 2006 Cypress Street Lofts reuse project in Brookline, Mass. included reusing the historic circa-1880s Ritchie building where the first nautical compass was made. The 80-unit project turned out to be extremely complex. The original building was built at ground level, however, when the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority upgraded a crossing, a bridge was built in front of the building that opened into the third level. Before construction, the building had to be jacked up so that two stories could be built underneath the current structure. “In addition, the building was maximized on the site which resulted in a very irregular slope,” Khalsa says. “There wasn’t a right angle on the project.” The work of Khalsa Designs received praise in 2009 when the company won the Best Conversion Silver Award during the Builder’s Association of Greater Boston’s Prism Awards The multi-family project, Bigelow Court in Brighton, Mass., was an adaptive reuse project that turned a former nursing home into approximately 24 units. Several of Khalsa’s reuse projects also come under the affordable housing banner. Khalsa’s first affordable housing project was Sumner Street Housing, a 10unit project in Dorchester, Mass. through the City of Boston Public Facilities. The city had taken back 747 parcels of land for Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 107
features | architecture tax purposes. Those parcels were offered to developers to build low to moderate income housing. Khalsa Design served as architects and developers on that project. One of the firm’s current affordable housing projects is in Rye, New Hampshire. The farmhouse-style units were marketed to people 65 and older. The one-story attached homes featured farmer’s porches and two- to four-car garages connected to clusters of units. “We worked with The Housing Partnership of New Hampshire on that project,” Khalsa says. “They are one of our favorite clients.” Khalsa also has worked with the Department of Housing and Community Development in Massachusetts on several tax-credit projects. They include a 100-unit assisted living, modular construction project as well as a 72 unit elderly housing project. “All of these tax credit projects generally have affordable components,” Khalsa says. The company has recently partnered with a certified service disabled veteran as the design portion of his design-build business. “We will be going after publically advertised jobs in the area,” Khalsa says. “We will be working with the federal government and that is a new market niche for us.” Khalsa, who was a real estate developer, and his staff bring a deeper sensitivity to the ramifications and construction costs of a project. “We provide ways to design and detail a building so that it’s efficient and cost effective to build and maintain,” he says. Currently, the company, a member of the National LEED Building Council, is working on three LEED projects. “Just about all the projects we do could be LEED certified in terms of how they are detailed and managed,” Khalsa says. “We offer high-efficiency appliances and high-efficiency construction detailing. We build to a LEED standard regardless of whether the developer elects to receive certification.” Since opening, Khalsa Design has become a sought-after firm. What sets it apart from its competitors is the company’s detail in design. “We bring added value to the table. We offer buildability,” Khalsa says. “Our designs are detailed so they can be built affordably but have superior aesthetics for the marketplace.” CLT 108 Construction Leaders Today Winter 2009 108 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
Statewide Mechanical Services has been in business since 1998. Our installation department has worked on many up scale condominium projects, schools, elderly housing and office parks. We work hand and hand with the architects to give the owners exactly what they are looking for. Our design build team makes certain that all the system we install are the most up to date and efficient in the industry. With our help the last up scale condo building we worked on achieve Silver LEED Certification. Statewide’s service department makes sure everything runs clean and efficient with their custom tailored maintenance programs. With the equipment always changing we keep our staff educated and up to speed. Knowing that air is one of the most important parts to being comfortable we have certified air balance personnel and air quality experts. Here at Statewide we always say: “Do what you said you would, The way you said you would, When you said you would!”
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features | architecture
A Legacy of Design
In n o v a t i o n With more than 120 years of experience, WASA/Studio A continually evolves to better serve clients and produce quality buildings through integrated design
by Jane Caffrey
The most talented architects of the Gilded Age, the Art Deco era, and the Modernist movement found an outlet for innovation at WASA/Studio A. Established more than a century ago, the New York architecture and engineering firm has undertaken some of the nation’s most complex projects throughout its hundred year history. The company’s longevity arises from its flexibility in incorporating the latest technology and meeting the changing standards of the profession. As a result, WASA/Studio A has entered the 21st century as a multidisciplinary design firm integrating architecture, engineering, interior design, building preservation, and project planning. Offering a unique, holistic approach to design, the firm today combines nuts and bolts with intelligent design to produce the highest quality structures. “We’re proud 110 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
to say that we’re in our third century of practice,” Leonard Franco, Senior Partner at WASA/Studio A, said. “I believe that the key to our success has always been to be responsive in service of our clients’ needs, and we endeavor quality design solutions to meet their various building challenges. We have survived three centuries by being diverse.” One of the oldest continuously operating architecture and engineering firms in the nation, WASA/Studio A was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed and Allen Stern. These Gilded Age architects, who originally designed civic structures and mansions in St. Paul, Minnesota, relocated to New York City in 1903, upon winning a competition to design Grand Central Terminal. The firm evolved under Fellheimer & Wagner during the Roaring Twenties and the rise of Art
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Deco, and its architects won the AIA Gold Medal for the Cincinnati Union Terminal. Yet the company soon tread the path towards Modernism with prominent designer Roland Wank, who later became the chief architect for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). “He was a real Modernist, who was responsible for bringing power to rural America,” Franco said. The firm was renamed Wank Adams Slavin Associates, LLP, in 1961, and reflecting Roland Wank’s accession to partnership, Modernist architects and engineers began to work on major infrastructure, higher education institutes, and corporate parks. A separate preservation discipline was added in 1979. The firm eventually evolved to WASA in 1986, when it earned the reputation as a multi-disciplinary company with great technological expertise. Ultimately, in 2005, the company re-embraced design with the addition of an architectural studio, Studio A, and today functions as a top
integrated building design firm, WASA/Studio A. With six partners, including four architects and two engineers, and approximately 85 additional employees, WASA/Studio A now also serves an assortment of clients in both the public and private sectors. Although headquartered in New York City with small branch offices in New Jersey and Connecticut, the firm has completed diverse projects from coast to coast. “We really believe that it’s a blend of both public and private sectors that has sustained our company through the peaks and valleys of marketing conditions,” Franco said. At WASA/Studio A, design philosophy is characterized by an integrated approach. A seamless collaboration between architecture, engineering, interiors, preservation, and planning enables all aspects of a project to be coordinated by a single in-house team. In a context where diverse ideas and approaches lead to better designs, a wide range of possibility
We’re proud to say that we’re in our third century of practice. I believe that the key to our success has always been to be responsive in service of our clients’ needs, and we endeavor quality design solutions to meet their various building challenges. Leonard Franco | Senior Partner at WASA/Studio A
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architecture | features Great buildings do not exist in a void. Rather, great buildings come from strong partnerships between team members, an insightful understanding of the task at hand, and a meaningful dialogue between the fields of architecture and engineering Leonard Franco | Senior Partner at WASA/Studio A
opens to clients. The WASA/Studio A Planning Group offers comprehensive pre-design services, such as programming, planning, and feasibility studies, while the Architecture Group and Engineering Group then transform these visions into reality. An Interiors Group is guided by the notion that interior space is profoundly critical, and utilizes spatial relationships, color, and lighting to tailor to each client’s aesthetic tastes. WASA/Studio A also maintains the reputation as one of the nation’s leaders in historic preservation firms. Some of the most important preservation projects that the company has completed in the last two decades include Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and residential Fallingwater, the historic Breakers and Chateau-sur-Mer mansions in Newport, Rhode Island, and Louis Sullivan’s Bayard-Condict building in New York.
Maintaining a comprehensive perspective of building design, WASA/Studio A utilizes the latest in technology to ensure coordination and integration among the trades. Computerized Building Information Modeling (BIM) enables professionals at the firm to collaborate on projects. Members of the design team utilize Autodesk REVIT Architecture and MEP Software to simultaneously work on models, and ultimately deliver better projects to clients. “The projects we’re most proud of are the ones where we have all the groups of designers working simultaneously,” Franco said. “These can be adaptive reuse projects, such as a 150 year old church in Jamaica that we just completed and turned into a performing arts center. Our architects get involved along with preservationists, engineers develop systems, and the interior group helps with the finishing. It’s
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architecture | features that type of interactive collaboration between the various groups in this office that has made me so proud to be a part of this organization.” WASA/Studio A has received ample recognition for these collaborative projects with a series of awards. The Jamaica Performing Arts Center received the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award, while the firm’s interior design work on Northstar Capital, LLC was honored with the Design Award, Interiors Category from the Society of American Registered Architects. WASA/Studio A also received a numerous awards for preservation of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, including the Award for Excellence in Preservation from the Preservation League of New York State and the Honor for Architectural Excellence in Historic Preservation from AIA New York State. As a company that believes that building designs must address environmental sustainability, WASA/ Studio A is also recognized for adhering to LEED standards. McVickar Hall at Columbia University was awarded LEED gold status, while work on the Pratt Institute is a candidate for LEED GOLD and the Jerome Robbins Theatre at the Baryshnikov Arts Center is a candidate for LEED Silver. Yet while the firm’s unified team follows the LEED road map, it does not allow it to constrain the design process. Instead, sustainable building is approached with another integrated philosophy, as designers strive to optimize the relationship between environmental sustainability and aesthetic quality. Iconic structures including theatres, courthouses, academic buildings, and museums around the nation are standing evidence of the legacy of excellence upheld by WASA/ Studio A. Yet the legacy continues to evolve as the firm gravitates towards more diverse markets and advanced technology. Change will be backed by an integrated team of professionals, committed to upholding a history that represents centuries of excellence and collaboration. “Great buildings do not exist in a void,” Franco said. “Rather, great buildings come from strong partnerships between team members, an insightful understanding of the task at hand, and a meaningful dialogue between the fields of architecture and engineering.” CLT Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 115
features | architecture
ADCI: by Rebecca Rodriguez
As a leader in the water park resort design industry with more than 50 percent of the top U.S. water parks in its portfolio, Architectural Design Consultants, Inc. (ADCI) has made a big splash as a major player in the entertainment and leisure industry. They are behemoths in the water park resort business and hope to grow even bigger in the future, both nationally and with plans to head overseas. With two corporate bases in Lake Delton and Verona, Wis., most of the development has been regional, but they are now growing across the country with projects from New York to California. “As we’ve reached our saturation point locally, a lot of developers are looking at other locations around the country and that exposure leads us to exposure to other new developers,” said Jason Sorci, partner and CFO. Much of ADCI’s business comes from repeat customers, but that is changing as their geographical base expands, he explained. The company also provides a full range of nationwide architecture and interior design services, including residential,
features | architecture
Where Success Flows Like Water
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features | architecture
Retractable Roof Enclosures & Operable Skylights OpenAire designs, manufactures and installs retractable roof structures and operable skylights worldwide. These energy efficient enclosures are capable of spanning 140 ft. and beyond. At the touch of a button, motorized panels retract to open up 50 percent (or more), of the roof area. OpenAire specializes in custom designs (domes, barrel vaults, telescoping and bi-parting skylights, complete retracting skylights etc.), using its exclusive maintenance-free, thermally broken aluminum framing. The result is an extraordinary environment of natural light and fresh air. Use your imagination and then give us a call to make it happen. 118 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
features | architecture
We like to tell our clients ‘when we design a product for you, you don’t have to pay an ignorance tax’. The design and construction of these resorts are extremely intricate and operations need to flow. Robert Nagel | President and Founder
commercial, educational, municipal, industrial, and mixed-use. “As the water park industry continues to grow strong, it is important to stay diverse,” said president and founder Robert Nagel. “Water parks might lose their popularity 20 years down the road, but there will always be a need for projects like banks and schools.” While the central thrust of the company’s expansion in the national market is hospitality and leisure, the company has its sights set on global expansion as well. “There are strong markets overseas and new developers have searched us out,” Nagel said. “We’ve done more of these water park resorts than anyone in the world and our reputation precedes us.” The company doesn’t need to conduct much advertising as ADCI is known as a leader in the industry. “The water park community is a relatively small one,” Nagel said, adding that they are “happy to say” they rely mostly on word of mouth and repeat clients. Expertise and experience have put the company at the top of their game. “We like to tell our clients ‘when we design a product for you, you don’t have to pay an ignorance tax’,” Nagel said. “The design and construction of these resorts are extremely intricate and operations need to flow,” he explained, adding that their experience in the field allows them to supply the best quality project that will not require maintenance 10 to 12 years down the road. “It’s not something that’s taught anywhere. Experience really becomes extraordinarily important,” Nagel said. The company seems poised to hold a monopoly on water park resorts throughout the country. And that strength and reputation could place them at the top of the list internationally as well. “We’re trying,” Nagel said with a chuckle. Inquiries have come from countries such as India, China, and Nigeria. “We haven’t found the right opportunity yet, but expect to within the next calendar year,” Sorci said. 120 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
architecture | features
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features | architecture The economy has slowed down prospects both internationally and nationally. “We continue to get strong interest from developers, but it’s a hard time to get financing,” Nagel said. “It’s a reflection of the economy. The lack of financing has stymied a lot of work.” A lot of projects are “shelf ready” and just waiting for financing to come through, he added. “But resorts that are well-positioned, do extremely well, especially when the economy is not humming away,” Sorci said. “People still need to get away, even if they’ve been laid off. They might not go to Florida or out west, but within an hour or two drive, people are still going.” One such project that is humming along despite the downtrodden economy is the company’s Kalahari Resort in Fredericksburg, Va. It’s their largest project yet at $250 million and 1.1 million sq. ft. The 11-story resort features a 200,000 sq. ft. waterpark, 80,000 sq. ft. indoor theme park, 830 African-themed guest rooms, and a 100,000 sq. ft. conference center attached to the existing Fredericksburg Expo Center. There will also be a luxurious spa, immense event space and a variety of dining, night life, and retail offerings. The complex will be part of the
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Robert Nagel | President and Founder
We’ve done more of these water park resorts than anyone in the world and our reputation precedes us.
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features | architecture “Celebrate Virginia” tourism district, a 2,400-acre residential and commercial development along Interstate 95, approximately 55 miles south of the nation’s capital. This is the third major location for their client, Kalahari Resorts which has two others in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and Sandusky, Ohio. “This project has quite a lot of moving pieces and parts to it,” Nagel said. “Kalahari Resorts are aggressive developers and they don’t pull punches,” he said explaining his client’s ambitious and extravagant goals. But the expertise of ADCI expands beyond the structural. Five years ago, the company decided to expand into interior design. “Our clients kept asking us for that service,” Nagel said, adding that it is an unusual but attractive addition to a company such as theirs. “These are highly-themed resorts,” Nagel said. “It flows into interior design. It just made sense to do that,” he said, noting the African-themed Kalahari resort. Nagel approached Sorci about joining the company four years ago after having worked as a structural consultant for the firm for several years. Sorci joined ADCI as a project manager and has been in his current position for the past year. Nagel grew up
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in the business and in the Lake Delton area, helping his mother and father in the motel business. He founded the firm in 1987. ADCI decided to go into the water park side of the business around 1993 designing a 7,800 sq. ft. water park for Wilderness Resorts. Water park development peaked around 2005-2006, which gave the company its biggest growth years. As the 20-employee company looks five years ahead, company leaders see themselves going global, a vision that hinges on the economy. “We’re making in-roads into our long-term diversification strategies,” Sorci said. “To diversify in a shrinking market is difficult to do. There are not a lot of safe harbors at all. But going overseas seems to help us balance some of the risks in the business.” Where it will take the company is difficult to say, Sorci said. “But we want to be in a global market in hotels, leisure, entertainment, and water parks. It’s a large goal of ours,” Nagel said. And for a company known for building water parks that thrill, a hop over the Atlantic could be a wild and successful water ride of its own. CLT
architecture | features
Jason Sorci | Partner and CFO
To diversify in a shrinking market is difficult to do. There are not a lot of safe harbors at all. But going overseas seems to help us balance some of the risks in the business.
by Rebecca Rodriguez
Neuman Group, a builder of large-scale water entertainment attractions creates destinations for people of all ages that seek the thrill of adrenaline-pumping water coasters, tube slides, wave pools, multi-person rafts, lazy rivers and water playgrounds. And it’s the company’s unique design/build construction process that makes it attractive to prospective clients.
A stream-lined package that integrates design-phase planning and engineering with build-phase construction, provides clients with a turnkey design/build solution for the development of commercial indoor and outdoor waterpark projects. The turnkey approach means lower costs and faster completion. The design and construction staffs collaborate constantly from the projects inception, providing flexibility and efficient problem solving during every phase. “This integration encourages reliable early cost commitments, eliminates general contractor mark-ups, and limits the risk of unwelcome surprises late in the project,” the company’s website notes. Neuman, located in Beaver Dam, Wis., has completed more than 70 large-scale attractions across the country. Some of the attractions include Cedar Fair Entertainment Water Features, Great Wolf Lodge waterparks throughout the USA and outdoor waterpark for Marriott Resort and Spa in Antonio, Texas. And customers are pleased with the results. “We have worked exclusively with Chuck and Randy Neuman for all our waterpark work in Wisconsin Dells and see no reason to use any other team. Neuman Group builds phenomenal parks, is very supportive of our needs, and does a fantastic job for us,” noted Tim Gantz of Noah’s Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
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spotlight | geothermal
John Kelly, Executive Director of Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium
Things are Heating Up for the Geothermal Industry Word is spreading: Geothermal systems are in high demand. Energy companies are starting to see big revenue coming from geothermal heat pump systems and more of their business is shifting in this eco-friendly direction. Many companies say it is due to a more informed customer base that cares about going “green” and saving on their utility bills. But the companies themselves are noting that it is satisfying to invest in a technology that is beneficial to the environment and also attracts more customers. Some companies involved in geothermal are members of the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium (GHPC), a non-profit trade association for the geothermal heat pump industry. Its job is to promote industry growth by educating consumers and advocating for related federal and state legislation. The group’s website: http:// www.geoexchange.org/ allows visitors to search a database of members in any area of the country. It is an effective online marketing tool aimed at consumers. “The website directory is for consumers to find
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firms to design and install heat pumps as well as provide updates as to what is going on in the industry,” said John Kelly, executive director of GHPC. The directory’s categories include heating and cooling companies, driller/loop installers, designers/engineers, manufacturers, utilities, architects, and builders. The group keeps members abreast of the latest news in the industry, such as the Obama stimulus bill that has enabled a 30 percent homeowner tax credit for the installation of a geothermal heat pump. This tax credit has generated increased interest in geothermal systems, companies report. The legislation also expanded the Dept. of Energy’s geothermal research. Geothermal is booming and homeowners across the country are discovering the high level of comfort such a system can bring while significantly reducing energy use and saving money. The technology has enabled everyone involved to benefit, not to mention the Earth from which geothermal is made possible.
geothermal | spotlight
Running 3 Generations Strong by Rebecca Rodriguez
Serving western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota, the Schneider Heating & Air Conditioning company has been growing strong as a family business since 1937. Run by two brothers, Mark and Rick Schneider, the company is on its third generation with the brothers’ father and grandfather having run the company before them. Their father retired ten years ago, and Mark and Rick have been running operations ever since. The company has two corporate offices, one in Onalaska, Wis., and the other in Winona, Minn. Its major customers are residential, home builders, and commercial contractors. And they don’t take their customers for granted, one factor of their success. “Customer service is huge for us,” Mark Schneider said. “We take care of a problem right away and we really have a ‘take care of the customer’ philosophy.” The company relies on repeat customers and referrals, Schneider said. The largest budgeted project completed by the company was $425,000 for a new grocery store, he said, commenting that the company completes a lot of commercial work. Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 127
The company has also ventured into geothermal systems, Schneider Heating and Air Conditioning is the only company having completed a $100,000 project for an auto dealership. within a 60 mile radius of their headquarters that is International Large geothermal projects have also been completed for some Ground Source Heat Pump Association certified to do complete office buildings and large new homes. install and service of Ground Source Heat Pump systems. They The company’s building itself have been installing GeoComfort runs on a geothermal system. systems since 1996 and have We’re putting a concerted effort “We’re putting a concerted been recognized and awarded the effort into the geothermal GeoComfort Gold Sales Club. into the geothermal business. business,” Schneider said. “Our Mark Schneider said he sees mindset and philosophy is to the geothermal market for his Our mindset and philosophy is to promote energy efficiency and company growing by about five promote energy efficiency and help to ten percent a year during help the environment while helping our customers on their the next few years. The federal the environment while helping our utility bill.” government’s tax credits and The savings can cut utility bills rebates from utility companies are customers on their utility bil. by nearly half, he said. making it an attractive alternative. The company handles the full “I think people are getting more Mark Schneider | Co-owner installation of the geothermal educated and doing research systems with about 60 percent of the jobs completed fully about the green market,” he said. “The utility costs are volatile by them with looping and piping, and 40 percent of the jobs and they’re looking for options.” subcontracted out. The vertical looping is what is subcontracted Currently geothermal makes up about five percent pf the out the most. company’s sales. 128 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
geothermal | spotlight
The company advertises its geothermal systems at trade shows, local home shows, and on its website. The company is also looking into new markets, specifically domestic hot water solar systems. Utility rebates and tax incentives also make solar attractive to customers. The solar component is currently under five percent of the company’s business, but Mark Schneider would like to see that number grow. “It’s a niche offering we have,” he said. “We’d like to make solar more main stream.” The company has about 50 employees and continuous training, especially in the area of geothermal is important, Mark Schneider said. In addition to continuous training, the company goes out of its way to show its appreciation of its staff. “We retain good staff by treating them fairly and recognizing what they’re doing. We try to make it a family environment,” he said. The company gets many of its new hires from Western Technical College in LaCrosse, Wis. “We start them in the business and do on-site training. We teach them how to conduct themselves by the philosophy we
run our business,” he said. The company’s philosophy is what sets them apart from their competitors, he added. “The service we provide is top notch. Our professionalism and attention to detail comes with every service and installation,” he said. “We bring a lot of attributes to the table.” March Schneider said the industry has bottomed out during the past few years and he sees it springing back slowly. The biggest area of growth will be geothermal, furnace, and air conditioning replacement markets, he said. “The residential and commercial work will come back, but it will take a few years to get back to normalcy,” Schneider said. As far as the future of the company goes, Mark Schneider just hopes for modest growth. The company has no plans on spreading geographically. “We’d just like more customers to take care of,” he said. That combined with retaining the “quality staff and employees that work for us” is all Mark Schneider and his brother Rick desire for the future. A fourth trip to the state championships for Rick Schneider’s high school basketball team that he coaches, wouldn’t be bad either, he said with a chuckle. CLT Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 129
spotlight | geothermal
All Kinds of
Jamie Dennis never intended to be involved in the family business. Now as general manager of All County Air Conditioning, he works alongside his father, Pat Dennis, who started the company in 1989. He wouldn’t have it any other way. Pat Dennis, who has 30 years in the air conditioning and heating industry, opened All County after selling his first business, P. F. Dennis & Co., a successful venture that demanded most of his time. “We never saw my dad,” Dennis recalls. “He sold that business and downsized when he opened All County so he could have more family time.” Jamie Dennis got his first real taste of the business when he was a teen, helping out at his father’s company during summer vacations. Determined to find his own calling in life, he began searching for careers after his high school graduation. That quest led him to the HVAC program at NoVa Community College where his father taught. Pat Dennis now serves as assistant dean of the HVAC program. Ironically, it was Dennis’ father’s class that prompted Dennis to join All County in 1995. “I enjoyed the class and I enjoyed the work,” Dennis says. Not wanting to fall back into the same pattern as his first company, Pat Dennis purposely kept All County a manageable size. When Jamie Dennis joined the company, there were only three employees, counting him and his dad. “We wanted to stay 130 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
small,” Dennis says. “We handpicked our customers.” Growth has been steady and controlled. Over time, Dennis and his father added employees, bringing the total to eight. Instead of broadening their territory, they concentrated on their local Northern Virginia area, handling mostly referral business from customers, power companies and supply houses that recognized All County’s expertise and exceptional customer service. All County offers its customers a complete HVAC package, everything from heat pumps and furnaces to solar water heating and geothermal heat pump systems. All of the company’s employees have either completed or are working on degrees from NoVa Community College. “Education is first and foremost in our company,” Dennis says. Most of All County’s work is residential in nature. The company does some light commercial work, as well. Many of the homes they service were built in the 1950s and 1980s. Recently, the company has seen a boon in service calls from homeowners who purchased houses built by tract builders in 2000. “They were poorly constructed homes,” Dennis says. “They used cheap products and materials. The HVAC systems need lots of service and repair. There is a big market for that type of work.” As part of its philosophy toward energy conservation, All County started touting energy efficiency before it was a buzz
east | corporate profile
word. “We did geothermal Not all of Dennis’ customers There is a certain type of person who jobs and retrofits in the have the financial means to go wants to install it for the right reasons. It’s early 1990s for high-end green. “Twenty to 30 percent customers,” Dennis says. [and can get] something a person who looks ahead and knows the want “In those days, geothermal green,” he says. “Seventy was extremely expensive.” rate of return and the added value that it’s percent would love to do their Albeit expensive, part but aren’t able to afford it.” putting into the home. It’s the people who geothermal is attractive to All County offers a variety homeowners because of of options for customers who want to reduce their carbon footprint its high-efficiency ratings. want to save energy, everything Dennis is seeing a growing from high-efficiency boilers Jamie Dennis | All County AC General Manager interest in geothermal to solar water heating. The thanks to the federal tax credits that are currently in place. company has been selling dual-fuel hybrid heating systems “Some states also have aggressive financing programs in place which combine a heat pump with a fossil fuel furnace since from power and utility companies,” he explains. “I think we will the 1980s. “We have always strived to make sure no matter see more of this in the future because power companies are what budget you are on that you can get the highest efficiency trying to reduce their cost of producing energy.” component you can afford,” Dennis says. “We try to rationalize Even though there has been a positive marketing push toward and figure out customer needs based on their budget, energy geothermal, the product’s customer base is still very specific. needs and comfort level.” “There is a certain type of person who wants to install it for the The dual-fuel option helps customers combine energy savings right reasons,” Dennis says. “It’s a person who looks ahead and with comfort by using a heat pump system that is three times knows the rate of return and the added value that it’s putting more efficient than a fossil fuel furnace when temperatures are into the home. It’s the people who want to reduce their carbon above 40 degrees. “That can help you save 30 to 50 percent of footprint.” your energy costs,” Dennis says. “From a comfort standpoint, Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 131
spotlight | geothermal heat pumps struggle below 40 degrees. When temperatures drop below 40 degrees, you use your fossil fuel furnace so you will have a toasty house.” Dennis sees geothermal and dual-fuel as growth areas for the company, which now has $1.4 million in annual sales. “We are targeting those areas,” he says. In addition to energy efficiency, one of the growing trends in the industry is indoor air quality. “Filtration, purification and humidification are all important to consumers,” Dennis says. “It’s amazing what kind of effects these types of products can have on the home.” For example, a whole house humidifier can help raise humidity levels during the winter when they normally run as low as10 percent. “That’s like the desert,” Dennis says. “You need those levels on average to be in the mid-20 to 30 percent range for health reasons. In the last four or five years, manufacturers have done a lot to improve indoor humidifying systems.” Many products that help bolster indoor air quality are add-ons to a homeowner’s current system. “They can be fine tuned to meet the needs of homeowners,” Dennis says. Meeting the needs of homeowners is always top priority at All County. “We want to make the consumer comfortable. Whether that’s in the way we do business or the services we provide or the systems we offer,” Dennis says. All County is often called upon to correct problems that others can’t or don’t fix. “When we fix that type of problem, we know we have a customer for life,” Dennis says. “That is what makes me feel good about what I do.” The company’s success is reflected in its high number of referrals and return customers. “We come in and take the time to make sure our customers get everything they want and inquire about,” Dennis says. “We make sure that our customer service is full service. We handle everything in house. There are very few technical jobs where there is a problem that we can’t fix very quickly.” As part of its options, All County offers its customers preferred customer contracts that include scheduled maintenance visits. “We are trying to come up with a creating selling strategy that will make these plans affordable for everybody,” Dennis says. “It’s a way to make sure everything is running as efficiently as possible so that customers don’t have to worry about anything.” CLT 132 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
Baltimore: 410-247-4580 Capitol Heights: 301-333-6050 Alexandria: 703-658-5124 Winchester: 540-542-6670 Herndon: 703-709-6900 Be more comfortable at home, save on your heating bills, receive up to $1,200 in Customer Cash Back from Rheem® and quality for to a $1,500 Federal Tax Credit in one cool investment. 3620 Commerce Drive Suite 705 | Baltimore, MD 21227
spotlight | geothermal
by Rebecca Rodriguez
This third-generation, family-run water systems company in Amherst, N.H. got its start in 1970 drilling wells. But since then, it has expanded into a largescale company that offers all areas of design, installation, and maintenance of water systems, including drilling, pumps, water treatment, filtration, water testing, hydrofracking, and especially geothermal wells. The environmentally-friendly geothermal wells have become “very popular” and account for about 60 percent of the company’s business, said company president Roger Skillings. “People understand that oil and gas are vulnerable to pricing. Geothermal uses electricity,” he said. “It’s like a refrigerator. It can run for a long time and has low maintenance.” The geothermal system involves using the natural thermal temperature from the earth surrounding a house as an energy source. Heat is extracted from the water out of the ground to heat, cool, and provide hot water for a singlefamily home, multi-family home, or business. Even though the ground water temperature is around 50 degrees, the heat pumps can convert energy so that temperatures can be maintained at levels as high as 70 to 80 degrees without a secondary heating source, Skillings said. This is a point that his company makes to consumers who are considering the system. A tax credit of 30 percent on new geothermal heat pump systems that is part of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill, is also an incentive Skillings mentions when advertising the system. The geothermal market is what helped keep Skillings company in the black during the economic downturn when the housing market dropped. In 2008 the company experienced a 10 percent loss 134 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
in total revenue. “The geothermal market came around and really helped out numbers,” Skillings said. Skillings is the “go to” company for geothermal in the Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and southern Maine areas. The company serves about a 75 miles radius. After a Google search of geothermal and drilling, Skillings’ company “pops up pretty quick,” he said. But Skillings is not keen on having his company rely so heavily on business from geothermal systems. Skillings felt it had
been a mistake to depend too heavily on the home building market trying to maintain drilling between 700 and 800 wells a year for domestic homes. “I learned not to depend on all home builders because I lost my shirt,” he said. That translates to the geothermal business. By diversifying into other fields and growing horizontally, Skillings hopes to avoid the downfall which can come from putting all your eggs into one basket. Specifically, Skillings’ is looking into electric motor drives for well drilling
geothermal | spotlight
Progressive Thinking at Skillings & Sons
Eco-friendly systems and exploring new technologies are the secrets to growth and success for Skillings & Sons, Inc.
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spotlight | geothermal equipment. The motors work at variable speeds and are more efficient. They have a “soft start” so there is not a rush of current which means the equipment lasts longer, he said. The motors also use less electricity and could save money in the long run. The technology is still in its beginning stages, but Skillings put a panel together in February to look into it. “There’s not a lot of players in it,” Skillings said of the electric motor drives. “A lot of our competitors play catch-up to us.” Skillings’ company had the foresight in 1991 to add water filtration to its many offerings. It currently makes up 10 to 15 percent of the business. That translates to a million in sales for this company which listed revenues of about $10 million last year. Water filtration proved to be a lucrative part of the Skillings’ business since the EPA began setting more stringent water quality standards. “We do a lot of community water systems,” he said. “There’s a lot of water issues to solve. It’s what our customers needed.” Skillings said among his competition, his company is usually the one to set the trend. “It involves coming up with ideas and spending the money to do it,’ he said. An example was when Skillings’ company decided to switch to using box trucks as a way of cutting out the need to go to a supply house for parts. “We used to go out with crane trucks and I said. ‘this is a waste of time.’ You can only carry so much on a crane truck,” he said. The decision has “paid big dividends” and the customers appreciate the complete and immediate service, Skillings said. “People want it now,” he said. And making sure customers are happy with the end product is part of what makes Skillings’ company so successful. “I want to know: Did we do a good job? Were my guys polite, professional, and on time?” he said. Keeping customers informed during a job is important as well. “As a job goes on, it’s very important that the guys tell the customer what’s going on and give a knock on the door,” he said. “Customers don’t like surprises.” Workers are trained to talk to customers as the job progresses, he said. Training for employees is on-going. Every other week employees are attending 136 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
geothermal | spotlight
GILL ROCK DRILL CO., Inc. 903-905 Cornwall Road Lebanon, PA 17042
(717) 272.3861 Ph. (717) 272.4141 Fax
Roger Skillings President
I see our company becoming more and more of a service company than new installation. We want to diversify and go into the electricity and plumbing part of the business. Anything related to water.
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spotlight | geothermal
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geothermal | spotlight seminars on different aspects of training, such as new equipment, water filtrations, and geothermal pumps. In addition to seminars, Skillings encourages employees to pair up as they work. On one occasion a service technician worked beside a salesman to learn more about his job. “It gets them to communicate and understand each other,” Skillings said. “And this way it lets them get out and get a bit of a taste of another job.” Skillings said he tries to promote within the company and this pairing up helps employees learn which trades they might like to move up into. Some of the company’s 50 employees have been with the company for more than 20 years and Skillings said the way to keep a good employee is to trust them and pay them well. “I put a lot of trust and faith into my employees,” he said. “I know what I expect of them and they know that.” The company is on its third generation as a family business with Skillings taking over as president in 1989. Skillings’ son is currently water filtration manager and his daughter is office manager. His brother, Norman, is part owner and has been with the company for more than 30 years. Hopefully the company will stay family-run far into the future, Skillings said. “As long as all the cousins can get along,” he said with a laugh. Looking into the future, Skillings said he sees the domestic well-drilling business as slow to grow due to the delayed development in new construction. But geothermal, he noted, will grow strong, especially as fuel prices rise. For Skillings & Sons, Skillings sees his company heading in a new direction five years down the road. “I see our company becoming more and more of a service company than new installation,” he said. “We want to diversify and go into the electricity and plumbing part of the business. Anything related to water.” It’s that one-stop-shop idea that Skillings identifies as growing “horizontally” in the future. ”I’d love to be able to provide that for my customers,” he said. Skillings & Sons prides itself on always doing the best for its customers, a credo Skillings keeps in mind as he looks to the future growth of his company. CLT Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 139
GREEN Energy, By Rebecca Rodriguez
140 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
geothermal | spotlight
When Tyson Swann saw geothermal installations begin to make up the highest percentage of business for his heating and air conditioning company he knew it was time to start a new sister company: Green Energy Geothermal Solutions. Swann, president of Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, LLC, based in Ball Ground, Ga., said geothermal installations currently make up 50 to 60 percent of Premier’s business, with a backlog of jobs on the books. “I can’t complain in these times,” Swann said. “Our drilling is about one to two weeks backlogged and our looping is one month out.” Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 141
features | manufactured
geothermal | spotlight “My main focus is to grow the geothermal side,” he said. “I’m ecstatic because it’s really booming.” Premier, located about 30 miles north of Atlanta, was founded in 1999 by Swann and has grown to be a successful, wellestablished business within the Atlanta region. Geothermal is taking it to its next step. “There’s a very strong future in it,” said Swann of the technology that moves heat energy to and from the earth to heat and cool an indoor environment. Compared to traditional systems, geothermal technology can save about 50 to 60 percent on monthly energy bills, Swann said. Ground source heat pumps are electrically-powered systems that use stored solar energy from the earth and use the earth’s relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for homes and commercial buildings. For every unit of electricity the system uses, it provides four units of heating energy, giving a geothermal system about a 400
percent efficiency rating. People are interested in learning more about geothermal systems and Swann has beefed up the company’s marketing campaign. Through utility company magazines distributed to customers, Internet marketing, and direct mail, Swann is getting the word out. “A lot of people don’t know about this (geothermal), but things are going more green,” Swann said, explaining that people are going online and researching “green” energy options. “They’re realizing there are great savings and a way to protect themselves against increasing utility rates by using a renewable resource. They feel better about themselves,” Swann said. When people do become educated, they generally get excited about the system which can last two to three times longer than traditional systems. “They spend more money now, but protecting themselves 10 to 12 years down the road when the (geothermal) unit is still kicking,” he said. Premier and its geothermal offshoot are becoming a strong presence on the Internet and when “geothermal” and “Atlanta” are typed into the Google search engine, Swann’s companies are one of the first to pop up. The geothermal company also has its own small website apart from Premier: http://www. greenenergygeothermalsolutions. com/. Premier’s website is: http://
www.premierindoor.com/ Swann has also worked in the Atlanta area for more than twenty years and has made many contacts with architects and remodelers who bring up geothermal options to their customers. The company’s greatest growth area for geothermal is with existing homes. “It’s also about networking,” Swann said. Premier is a leader in the geothermal arena in the downtown Atlanta area, but they are expanding geopraphically into north Atlanta, south Atlanta, and the east side of Atlanta. Also on the horizon is an expansion farther south of Atlanta and North Carolina. “We’re known as one of the premier providers in the Atlanta market for geothermal, especially with high-end stuff,” Swann said. “When people want the best and the highest quality, we’re in the mix. We attract more of the big business. And you get what you pay for rather than trying to save a dollar,” Swann said of the quality of the company’s services. All of the company’s trucks have global positioning systems and the dispatcher knows where all the trucks are thoughout the city, Swann said. All the phones on the trucks have Internet capabilities and the history and site notes of each customer is immediately updated when a call is finished. An invoice can even be printed on site. The truck’s inventory is also automatically updated through the system. “We invested early on (in technology). We’re very efficient,” Swann said.
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spotlight | geothermal When people want the best and the highest quality, we’re in the mix. ... you get what you pay for rather than trying to save a dollar. Tyson Swann | President The company invests a lot in its employees and training is ongoing. Every Friday technicians attend product update meetings so that the company is at its “most qualified to serve customers,” Swann said. Swann started the company in 1999 after having been in a related business with his grandfather and working for local companies in the Atlanta area where he worked his way into management positions. In June of 2008, Swann took on two partners, Steve Samson and Andy Lewis to help with the expansion and growth of the companies. Samson works as general manager at Premier Indoor and Lewis heads up Green Energy’s installation business. Both Samson and Lewis were veterans of the industry and have owned successful HVAC companies in the past. After ten years, Swann has grown the company into a business with 40 employees and 30 vehicles. “We grew very fast, especially the first year. We did $1.2 million in gross sales,” Swann said. Last year the company’s revenues were about $5 million and capped at about $7.3 million a few years ago before the economic downturn. Swann said he sees continued growth for his companies despite the economy. “We’re getting ourselves in front of the public eye and not cutting on advertising,” he said. The company is spending more on advertising than it ever did before, making up about 5 percent of spending. “We’re getting through it (economy) and are for the most part very stable. We’re managing the storm and geothermal has a lot to do with that. Without a doubt,” Swann said. A green technology is generating a lot of green for Swann’s companies. A reward Swann has worked hard to achieve as he’s grown his business into one of success and strength. CLT 144 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
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spotlight | geothermal
Economic Ecological Savings
The geothermal systems installed by Air-ease Geothermal Heating, Cooling, & Refrigeration lead to drastic cutbacks on both utility bills and environmental costs by Jane Caffrey
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geothermal | spotlight Clean, efficient, and affordable. These are the three rousing reasons that more and more home and business owners are utilizing geothermal heating and cooling systems in their houses and buildings. Geothermal systems are clean, without relying on gas or fuel; they are efficient, producing four units of energy for every one unit used; and they are affordable, with homeowners seeing annual savings of 50 to 60 percent on utility bills. Both the economic and ecological savings associated with such systems, therefore, are increasingly significant during a period of national economic struggle and global environmental concern. Yet Air-ease Geothermal Heating, Cooling, and Refrigeration, an Illinois-based company, has been aware of the benefits of geothermal systems for decades. “Air-ease installed our first geothermal system twenty-four years ago, long before the word ‘green’ meant energy savings,” Robert Feliszak, owner of Air-ease, said. “Our goal today is to educate our customers on a new way of thinking when it comes to heating and cooling. There is so much energy underneath our feet, no matter where we are, no matter if it’s sunny or snowing. Geothermal is the most consistent of the renewable energies.” Air-ease, a family-owned business headquartered in Tinley
Park, is the realization of Feliszak’s dream. Feliszak served in the army from 1971 to 1973, before studying heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration at the Community College of Florida. Upon graduation, he began working on yacht air conditioning in Ft. Lauderdale. In 1979, Feliszak’s roots drew him back to Chicago, where he founded Air-ease with his wife and father. The company began with the fabrication of custom sheet metals and by servicing residential furnaces, boilers, and air conditioners, and quickly grew to become a recognized name in the industry. Later becoming involved in commercial heating and air-conditioning, Air-ease worked on hotels, restaurants, and municipal facilities. Ultimately, the business began working with the energy saving geothermal systems that are its specialty today, installing its first system in 1986. “I became aware of the need to ‘look outside the box’ and began learning and searching for more efficient ways to provide heating and cooling,” Feliszak said. “The geothermal side of Airease has doubled in recent years. We consider ourselves leaders in the geographic area of Chicago.” After gaining a solid reputation in Illinois and outgrowing its offices two times as the client base expanded, Air-ease
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For the past 31 years we have been leaders in whatever we’ve done since we understood the benefits of sustainability; in particular geothermal source heat pumps.
relocated to a steel structure that the company itself built in Tinley Park. Today, Feliszak, his wife, two sons and staff serve a 70-mile radius around Chicago, specializing in the most efficient HVAC products available, particularly, geothermal heating and cooling systems. Geothermal systems, contrary to ordinary furnaces or air conditioning systems, collect the Earth’s natural heat through a series of loops installed below the surface of the ground or submersed in a pond or lake. The loop is connected inside the structure to the geothermal unit that houses the heat exchanger, compressor and fan. In the winter, water and anti-freeze Robert Feliszak | circulates through the earth loop, absorbs heat from the warmer earth and carriers it to the geothermal unit where it is extracted, compressed to a higher temperature, and distributed throughout the structure. In the summer, the unit removes heat from the structure and transfers it to the fluid circulating in the earth loop, where it is dispersed into the cooler ground. 148 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
Since the subsoil temperature of the earth remains constant and moderate throughout the year, every structure is surrounded by its own source of free energy. Air-ease provides vertical loop, horizontal loop, and pond loop geothermal systems, using Louisianabased AWEB Supply as its primary pond loop vendor. These geothermal systems outperform fossil fuel systems with a co-efficient of performance (COP) of 4.0 (400 percent) versus .95 (95 percent) while producing zero emissions. This energy source is free, renewable, clean and environmentally-friendly. “For the past 31 years we have been leaders in Owner of Air-ease whatever we’ve done since we understood the benefits of sustainability; in particular geothermal source heat pumps,” Feliszak said. “As worldwide energy consumption continues to grow, a significant part of our strategy must include a means to conserve energy and provide greater efficiencies in the HVAC industry. A geothermal system is an investment toward an eco-
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We strive for 100 percent cus both optimized performance friendly and efficient way to produce energy without the use of fossil fuel.” Beyond environmental sustainability, Feliszak also points to several economic benefits of geothermal systems. Although such systems can be costly to install, a geothermal system ultimately saves money by reducing energy costs by up to 60 percent. Homeowners who install geothermal systems from now through 2016 may be eligible for a 30 percent tax credit as provided by the Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency. Similarly, a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per sq. ft. is available to owners or designers of new or existing commercial buildings that save at least 50 percent of the heating and cooling energy of a building that meets ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001. The geothermal systems require little maintenance, keeping service costs down, and Air-ease furthermore offers a Preventative Maintenance Agreement that is customized to individual needs of the owner. “When faced with the purchase of a new heating, cooling or water heating system, there are two choices: either burn money with an ordinary system or save it with geothermal heating,” Feliszak said. Beyond offering efficient and costeffective geothermal systems, Air-ease is also a diversified heating, cooling, and refrigeration contractor, with a custom sheet metal facility. Additionally, the company can design and custombuild steel structures, maximizing the inherent strength of the material to meet the clients needs. Other services available through Air-ease are indoor dehumidification for aquatic rooms and commercial refrigeration. Technology and qualified professionals both play crucial roles in the success of Air-ease. A staff of factory trained, IGSHPA certified technicians design and install all systems, utilizing state of the art equipment which service technicians keep operating properly. “Technology continues to change and Air-ease keeps up to date with 150 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
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tomer satisfaction in terms of and installation appearance. Robert Feliszak | Owner of Air-ease
these changes,” Feliszak said. “My staff participates in continued education within our industry and attends training on the latest technology advancements in energy efficiency and ways to perfect our skills. My staff thrives since they have the ability to learn new skills and know that each day can bring a new challenge.” Those challenges for professionals at Air-ease consist of wide array of both residential and commercial projects. One major project that the company is currently undertaking is a 20,000 sq. ft. custom home in Homer Glen, Illinois. When completed, the home will utilize an IntelliZone comfort zoning system that enables the homeowner to precisely control temperature levels in every room. The optional desuperheater function
will provide free hot water heating to the home as well, further helping the homeowner save on their energy costs. The systems will require little or no maintenance beyond period checks and filter changes. Although the Homer Glen home is clearly a milestone project, Feliszak maintains that all the company’s projects are successes. “We strive for 100 percent customer satisfaction in terms of both optimized performance and installation appearance,” he said. “Our greatest success has been diversification and realizing that you must change to grow.” In upcoming years, Air-ease Geothermal Heating, Cooling, & Refrigeration plans to remain a leader on the front of
geothermal heating and cooling systems. The field will be increasingly lucrative and beneficial in the future; a recent MTI report shows that a mere 2 percent of the heat below the continental United States is more than 2,500 times the country’s total annual energy use. “It’s very important that we look at our environment in a new way that’s different from the past and present,” Feliszak said. “We need to reduce our carbon footprint. We need to conserve energy and reduce our dependency on foreign energy sources. Otherwise, what will be left for the next generation?” Air-ease will remain the forerunner in drawing on this renewable resource, fostering tremendous cost benefits for clients and the environment alike. CLT Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 151
SLIM JIM – GEO LAKE PLATE
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geothermal | spotlight
Boosting Efficiency, Protecting the Environment
by Jane Caffrey AWEB Supply is based out of Baton Rouge, La., but this family-run business meets geothermal equipment needs across the nation. With more than two decades of experience in geothermal technology involving residential and light commercial applications, AWEB Supply offers a full-line of geothermal products and is the exclusive distributor of the Slim Jim and Geo Lake Plate Heat Exchanger. Founded in 1984 by Alan Watts, AWEB Supply is now a proud member of GeoExchange, the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, and the Louisiana Heat Pump Association. The company is run by the Watts family and a small staff, with two Certified GeoExchange Designers available to assist with geothermal projects. The gem of the geothermal merchandise offered by AWEB Supply is the Slim Jim and Geo Lake Plate Heat Exchanger. The company designed and developed this innovative technology which consists of Slim Jim and Geo Lake Plate Heat Exchangers submerged in a
body of water while coupled with Geothermal Heat Pumps. This technology is used to heat and cool homes and commercial buildings. A labor friendly alternative to the polyethylene lake loops, the Slim Jim and Geo Lake Plate Heat Exchanger can be constructed of grade 304 and 316 stainless steel or titanium. It has an approximate heat transfer rate of 100 BTU per square foot of transfer surface for each degree of temperature change in a still body of water. Any current accentuates performance, allowing for a closer grouping of multiple plates in river applications. An easy-to-install, cost-effective system, the Slim Jim aims at reducing energy use and protecting the environment. AWEB Supply is also the WaterFurnace Residential Distributor and Commercial Factory Representative for Southeastern Louisiana and Southeastern Texas. Slim Jim and Geo Lake Plate offer the highest quality and best value at a reasonable price for GeoExchange. They make GeoExchange as simple as can be while helping it grow. Both “Slim Jim” and “Geo Lake Plate” are registered trademarks of AWEB Supply. Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 153
ob Zahm, President of Huntington Heating & Cooling, Inc., is familiar with the concept of giving. The company often donates to local charities in the Huntington, Indiana area, at chamber expo events where community members vote for an organization of choice to receive funds. “It becomes somewhat of a buzz around the community,” Zahm said. “Instead of $100 here and there, we’re giving up to $350 to various charities. I like to give locally, because I think that if you don’t start at home you don’t get anywhere.” Indiana organizations that have benefited from the generosity of Huntington Heating & Cooling include Habitat For Humanity, PBS, the Huntington University Athletic Program, and the Volunteer Fire Department, among many others. Yet while corporate consciousness is clear via these donations, Huntington Heating & Cooling also gives back to the community through its products and services. With an 154 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
advanced assortment of geothermal systems, the company helps clients save hundreds of dollars on utility bills, while also offering clean and sustainable heating and cooling options. Huntington Heating & Cooling, Inc. was originally founded as an LP supplier in 1959, an independent business started by Zahm’s parents Leo and Harriet. Soon after, the Zahms added appliances and central heating systems to the company, and in the mid-sixties they sold the LP business and focused on heating and cooling systems. Richard Zahm, Bob Zahm’s older brother, purchased the corporation in 1966 and changed its name to Dick’s Home Improvements. During this time, Bob Zahm completed his education and attended available training sessions for comfort technicians. Currently he holds RSES, NATE, ACCA Manual J & D, Geothermal Loop, and WaterFurnace Service & Installation certifications, among others. Zahm and his wife Leslie purchased the current Huntington Heating & Cooling in 1978, which became incorporated the following decade, and they
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reat Returns by Jane Caffrey
Geothermal systems by Huntington Heating & Cooling, Inc. make returns to the environment and clients’ wallets, while the business gives back with donations to local charities. have been running it ever since. Today, ten company employees including comfort specialists, comfort technicians, installation managers, and service managers execute the installation of more than 200 heating and cooling systems each year. The $1.7 million company serves Huntington, Indiana and the surrounding counties. Its office, shop, parts room, and warehouse are located in multi-level space totaling 6,600 square feet, and an additional showroom houses the expo events. With the increasing significance of sustainable energy, the company has also made a major commitment to designing and installing geothermal systems. “We’ve been doing geothermal since 1984, and we’ve got several geothermal systems installed” Zahm said. These geothermal systems are environmentally friendly, with technology that does not burn fossil fuels, but rather relies on the free, completely renewable supply of energy just a few feet below the earth’s surface. Efficiency ratings for the systems are up to five Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 155
spotlight | geothermal times higher than those of conventional heating and cooling systems. Savings extend to monetary benefits as well. The affordable and cost-effective technology can save clients as much as 70 percent on utility bills compared to conventional systems. Due to the 2009 Energy Improvement and Extension Act, homeowners that invest in residential ground loop or ground water geothermal heat pump installations are also eligible for a 30 percent tax credit of the total investment, with no maximum credit for one residence. Huntington Heating & Cooling completes the paperwork, and ensures that these savings reach clients’ wallets directly. Dedicated to providing high quality products to clients at affordable prices, Huntington Heating & Cooling is affiliated with Indiana-based companies Bryant and WaterFurnace. The WaterFurnace Envision series geothermal unit, for instance, combines heating, central air conditioning, and domestic hot water in one compact unit. The most energyefficient system available, the unit produces up to $5 worth of heat for $1 worth of energy, and cuts monthly bills by as much as 60 percent. “I like new technology, and I want to be certain that we always pick the right technology. We don’t go into anything lightly, because we stand by whatever we sell customers and back it up,” Zahm said. Along with these product lines, Huntington Heating &
Founded in 1976 as a family business, Kaufman Well Drilling, Inc. is still owned and operated as a family business. Current owners Mike and Shelly Kaufman have seen the company’s growth over the last decade and look forward to expansions into the future. Currently operating with one drilling and pump crew, Kaufman Well Drilling, Inc. is always eager and willing to take on any job. We currently hold licenses in Indiana and Ohio and are members of the National Ground Water Association and the Indiana Ground Water Association of which Mike is immediate past president.
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WaterFurnace geothermal systems tap into the clean, renewable energy in your own backyard to provide savings of up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water. For more information, contact your local WaterFurnace dealer or visit waterfurnace.com.
Visit us at waterfurnace.com | (800) GEO-SAVE
With more than 25 years of geothermal experience and over 300,000 units installed, WaterFurnace has proven itself as the leading manufacturer of geothermal heating and cooling systems. WaterFurnace geothermal systems tap into the clean, renewable energy in your backyard to provide savings up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water.
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Cooling offers a variety of geothermal loop systems to meet clients’ diverse preferences and needs, including earth loops, open loops, and pond loops. A horizontal dug earth loop features a 6-pipe system in a 300 to 400 ft. trench, which can be installed below concrete or blacktop sidewalks and driveways. To preserve the majority of the landscape, the horizontal bored earth loop consists of loop piping pulled into a bored hole averaging 8 feet deep. The company establishes open loop geothermal systems as well, with piping that brings water to units and later carries it away. It has also installed more than 100 pond loops in the Huntington area, and gages the number of coils needed based on detailed measurements of heat loss and gain for each home. Huntington Heating & Cooling technicians are all NATE certified, and assist clients in determining the most advantageous aspects of the geothermal heating and cooling systems available. Company professionals then complete all aspects of a project, from design to layout and ductwork to installation. 158 Construction Leaders Today Spring 2010
“I think one of the things that helps set us apart is that we offer whole house diagnostics,” Zahm said. “In doing so, it allows us to see what an efficiency of a home is and what changes we can offer to a client in order to improve their efficiency and lower their operating costs. Clients find peace of mind knowing that our company is going to do all of those things for them, and they only have to make one phone call.” Huntington Heating & Cooling has successfully installed more than 500 geothermal systems around Indiana, consisting of several notable projects. For the recently constructed Bates Community Church, for instance, the company installed five geothermal closed loops systems. The completed project consisted of 6,000 feet of two-inch header pipe and 30,000 feet of one-inch loop piping. Twenty-four tons of cooling were replaced with five smaller systems. “The owners of the new church actually just called me, and told me how tickled they were with how low their energy bills are and how comfortable they are in there,” Zahm said.
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In addition to top-notch geothermal systems that save money and energy for Indianans, Huntington Heating & Cooling offers other heating and cooling services such as a customerâ€™s choice comfort plan, attic insulation, automatic whole house generators, 99 percent fuel efficient fireplaces, and whole house comfort checkups. The company is investigating solar energy as it relates to heating and cooling, and anticipates penetrating the solar market in upcoming years. Yet the top priority at Huntington Heating & Cooling remains acquiring and keeping customers, which is not a difficult task for one company that returns so much to the community in energy, dollars, and service. The effort has not gone unrecognized. In November of 2009, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels presented Huntington Heating & Cool with the notable Indiana Half Century Business Award. The award, which was bestowed to the Zahms for their extensive volunteer work, is a fitting honor for a business run by one family that has continuously given back to the community for 50 years. CLT Spring 2010 Construction Leaders Today 159
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