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F E AT U R E S COVER STORY PAGE 18 Builders, Designers, Engineers Collaborate to Transform Danforth Campus’ East End BY KERRY SMITH

PUBLISHER Michael Chollet 314.956.0753 EDITOR Kerry Smith 618.225.2253 PRODUCTION Tripp Co. Creative, Inc. SALES Gene Keeven Advertising 314.368.7357

ISSN 1045-3792 CNR St. Louis Construction News and Review, as the Voice for the Construction Industry in the St. Louis Trade Area, has nearly 4,000 subscribers with an average of eight readers per copy. No material in this publication may be reproduced in any fashion without explicit written permission from the Publisher. CNR St. Louis Construction News and Review (ISSN: 1045-3792) (USPS:988-340) is published bimonthly for $32.00 per year by Visio, LLC. Back issues are available for $5 per copy. Periodicals-class postage paid at High Ridge, MO and at additional mailing offices.


ASA Midwest Council Celebrates Winners


Commercial Painters Coating Projects with Water-Based Alternatives


Construction Industry CPAs Say Smaller Firms Are Also Tapping Into Benefits of New Federal Tax Law


ADR Offers Construction Clients Options Other than Those Leading to the Courtroom


PROJECTS + COLUMNS + DEPARTMENTS Perspective: Building a Legacy: The Vision Continues


By Michael Chollet


By James R. Keller

05 06

Law: Court Rules for and Against Contractor and Subcontractor

Sales: Is Traditional Marketing Dead? By Stephanie Woodcock

Ballpark Village Phase 2 Progressing with Paric Leading Multiple Projects at Park By Kerry Smith

POSTMASTER: 1038 Walnut Terrace - Byrnes Mill, MO 63049


Crews Work Nonstop to Complete The Muny’s Renovation in Time for 101st Season

​ ditorial material under bylines E expresses the opinions of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the policy or opinions of this publication. Acceptance of advertising does not imply endorsement of the product advertised or listed nor statements concerning them.




By Kerry Smith

IT: Is Your Business’s Faith in Technology Its Undoing? By Joe Balsarotti

©2019 Visio, LLC

The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


Where Quality Matters

ELECTRICAL • VOICE • DATA • VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS • WIRELESS SYSTEMS SECURITY • RENEWABLE ENERGY ADVANCED MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES ENERGY AUDITS/EFFICIENCY STRATEGIES To power all your commercial, industrial, institutional or residential needs depend on the #1 source for quality Electrical & Communication Contractors. Go to the Electrical Connection to find the best electrical professionals affiliated with the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association. NECA contractors deliver superior results and value by partnering with the highly skilled and trained electricians & communication technicians of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1.

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Building a Legacy: The Vision Continues Washington University in St. Louis has played a unique role my life. Though I was never registered there as a student, I spent a large part of my youth on its storied campus. Our cover story in this issue features a transformative $280 million project called “Campus Next” which is focused on the east end of the Danforth Campus at Washington University. Growing up in University City, my family home was about five blocks from that area, but back then it was known as the Hilltop Campus. As a kid, I thought the Hilltop Campus moniker made a lot of sense given the elevation of the property and the steep hill which extended from the north side of the athletic complex down towards the old Channel 9 building and Forest Park Parkway. My siblings and I called that stretch of landscape “suicide hill” and it was our favorite destination for sledding. When we needed to thaw out between sledding runs, we found the perfect spot in the lower level laundry rooms of the married resident housing. Every Spring, our entire neighborhood crew looked forward to the annual Thurteen Carnival fundraisers. The rest of the year (assuming the statute of limitations for trespassing has run its course by now) I confess that we pretty much ran wild, exploring campus buildings, galleries, tunnels and engineering facilities. Those were much simpler times. In my twenties, I found a more legitimate excuse to hang out on campus when I took a job as a manager of the Whittemore House, a wonderful old mansion built in 1912 on Forsyth Boulevard which serves as the faculty club for professors and staff of the University and the medical school. The five years I spent at Whittemore House ultimately laid the groundwork for what turned out to be a rewarding 30-year career in the hospitality industry. During my time there, I was privileged to meet many of the great people who helped make WashU what it is today and whose names now grace buildings across the campus.

In a roundabout way, I could even credit WashU for the existence of my two wonderful children, since the campus is where I met their mother Debbie. In the late 70s, she took a job waitressing at the faculty club to help finance her graduate studies in the engineering department. As she neared the completion of her degree, Debbie began her job search. Always one to aim high, she reached out to William Tao, one of those great people who helped to write the University’s story. Tao was a true giant in the local engineering community, a member of the Washington University governing board and, conveniently enough, a Whittemore House member. Debbie likes to say that his written response to her resume, in which he thoughtfully provided suggestions for some other companies that she might consider, was the kindest rejection letter she ever received. Soon after the letter arrived, Debbie was working a club party when she spotted Tao and his wife Anne and approached him to thank him for the letter. After a five-minute conversation, they agreed to meet again later that week to continue their discussion. Charmed by her intelligence and tenacity, Tao hired Debbie as his assistant. She worked for William Tao & Associates for more than eight years and in the process built a lifelong friendship that continues to this day. Washington University has always been a dynamic part of the St. Louis landscape, and its reputation as one of the premier educational facilities in the world is a diamond in our city’s crown. Over the decades, the University’s visionary leadership has provided the St. Louis building community with a continuous supply of challenging and innovative projects and we look forward to continuing our role as documentarians of the University’s the next chapter. As for me, my sledding days may be over, but the WashU campus will always hold a special place in my heart.

The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19



BY J A M E S R . K E L L E R

Court Rules for and Against Contractor and Subcontractor Missouri’s Eastern District Court of Appeals decided for and against a contractor and its subcontractor. The opinion offers significant legal rulings on everyday construction issues including change orders for extra work, lien waivers and attorney fees. The case is Parkway Construction Services, Inc. v. Blackline LLC, 2019 WL 1344401 (March 26, 2019). The court placed the victory with the subcontractor, however, finding it to be the prevailing party. This finding allowed the subcontractor to recover attorney fees under its subcontract. The fees exceeded by 11 times the amount awarded on the subcontractor’s claim. The Eastern District directed the trial court to reconsider these fees considering the overall dollar value of the recovery. The project was the renovation of two apartment buildings at 28042820 South Compton Avenue in St. Louis, MO. Magnolia Halliday, LLC owned the property. Magnolia hired Blackline as the general contractor. Blackline entered into a subcontract with Parkway to do the plumbing work for $96,000. Blackline agreed to provide shower valves, faucets, tubs and sinks. Parkway’s scope of work included reworking existing drains lines, waste drains and vents (DWV). This improvement would allow for new fixtures. The contract described Parkway’s objective was to provide a complete working plumbing system. But Parkway was unwilling to accept the risk of replacing all the DWV piping. Thus, the parties stipulated that Parkway would be responsible for repairing or replacing up to a maximum of 50 percent of the DWV piping. This 50 percent threshold was not clearly defined. The contract did expressly define extra work, however, as requiring prior written authorization from Blackline. Extra work is work not in the original contract scope. The contract also contained an attorneys’ fee provision stating that the prevailing party was entitled to its reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses. The contract did not define “prevailing party.” The project quickly fell behind schedule due to factors beyond Parkway’s control. Blackline continuously pressured Parkway to stay on schedule. During the project Parkway emailed Blackline that it had reached the point of having repaired 50 percent of the stacks without any additional costs. It asked Blackline for direction going forward. Parkway stated it was a “tough job with a ton of additional costs we could not have foreseen.” Blackline responded three days later. It disagreed that the 50 percent threshold had been reached. Blackline contended that the entire job should be completed without exceeding the 50 percent allowance. Parkway created two change order forms. One form related to the extra DWV work. The other form related to extra shower valve work. Parkway submitted the shower valve change order form to Blackline before starting the work. Blackline approved in writing the extra work for $1,051. Parkway submitted the DWV change order form only after completing the work. Parkway did not detail the precise hours spent on each task. It also did not receive in advance oral authorization to do the work.


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When Blackline refused to grant the DWV change order request for extra work, Parkway stopped work. Blackline then had to hire another plumbing contractor to complete the work. As a partial attempt to resolve the DWV piping issue, Parkway executed a lien waiver in return for Blackline’s payment of $25,200. The waiver waived any claim for work through the date of the lien waiver. Blackline also tendered to Parkway a check for $8,712.97. Blackline calculated this was the remaining amount due to Parkway after subtracting Blackline’s costs for hiring a second subcontractor to complete the job. Parkway did not accept the check as payment, fearing this would preclude its claim for extra work. At trial, Blackline admitted it owed Parkway $1,051 for the extra shower valve work and $8,712.97 under the contract as the remaining balance due. Parkway sought $79,449 relating to its extra work claim on the theory that Blackline benefitted from the work and if it did not pay it would be “unjustly enriched.” Missouri case law supports recovery for work performed that was requested, but no formal contract was in place to cover the work. The claim is for quantum meruit or unjust enrichment. The trial court found Blackline’s tender of $8,712.97 as final payment of the balance due to be a conditional settlement offer that Parkway did not accept. The court also noted Blackline’s behavior as “employing sharp practices to pressure Parkway to complete the project” and at the same time being “purposefully unresponsive to Parkway’s attempts at communication.” Blackline prevailed on the DWV extra work claims. Blackline did not request the work as extra work. The trial court also found that Parkway released its DWV claims by signing the lien waiver. Parkway did recover on its contract balance and shower valve extra work claims. The work apparently was not subject to the lien waiver. Finding Parkway to be the prevailing party, the trial court awarded attorney fees of $103,234.31. Both parties appealed parts of the trial court’s rulings. The appellant court decided that the lien waiver was enforceable and precluded Parkway from seeking any money for work it performed before the date on the lien waiver. The appellant court also decided that Parkway should have ceased work until it obtained written authorization pursuant to a change order to exceed the 50 percent threshold. Despite these rulings, the appellant court found Parkway to be the prevailing party. The court noted there are many varied definitions and interpretations under Missouri case law as to who is the prevailing party. In this case the court noted that Parkway’s evidence generally related to all its claims. Thus, success on one was enough to be the prevailing party. The Eastern District sent the matter back to the trial court to reexamine appropriate attorney fees and to make certain they were not excessively awarded given the success by the parties on various claims. James R. Keller is counsel with Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard, P.C., where he concentrates his practice on construction law, complex disputes, real estate and alternative dispute resolution. He also is an arbitrator and a mediator. Keller can be reached at (314) 446-4285,



Is Traditional Marketing Dead? Cold calling is dead. The days of the “hard sell” are behind us. Thank goodness, right? However, this places the onus on the marketing departments to support sales even more and create a united front of messaging and brand positioning. Both departments need to work in tandem with each other with the new trend of “soft selling,” a trend that is here to stay. If your company depends heavily on referral work and repeat business, you’ve been in business for a while and you have salespeople and project managers who possess years of relationships and experience in their field, chances are you are already employing the soft sales approach. How do we increase its effectiveness? We engage Marketing. Yes, you – Sales – will not get rid of us. You need us. The hard sell is going away, but we – Marketing – are here to stay. Companies lose important sales opportunities when they don’t engage Marketing. They don’t understand this new relationship between marketing and sales. In the old way of hard sales, Sales could act more independently through cold calls, forceful sales letters and unsolicited pitches. The customer knows he or she is being sold to. There is no gray area. Marketing was able to act more independently as well, while employing more traditional, straightforward marketing techniques that didn’t need the salesperson’s collaboration. The buyer persona is changing. Buyers are more aware, more informed, doing their own research online, choosing when they buy and preferring to order online with a few clicks on their keyboard or mobile device rather than picking up the phone. Because this customer/sales dynamic is changing with a new, softer approach, Sales and Marketing need to work together to strategically find ways of informing customers rather than pressuring them. This type of selling focuses on the relationship-building aspect of sales and finds less aggressive ways to show customers the solutions they need. Enter Marketing. Marketing should support the sales effort with a brand image and message that delights and informs the customer. Useful and creative messaging that captures the customer’s interest and information is the key to growing your sales pipeline. While Sales engages customers, builds relationships and becomes trusted advisors, if Sales doesn’t have the brand, messaging and marketing expertise to back up this soft sell approach, Sales misses out on major low-hanging fruit opportunities. It’s actually more than a soft sell approach. It is a creative and strategic partnership between Sales and Marketing that connects the customer base with the identity of the company. Many undermine or dismiss marketing’s importance because it is more difficult to measure. I was recently asked, “Are print ads in industry magazines really worth it?” Why was I was asked this? Because it is difficult to measure results and the bottom-line value. My answer is simple: If your customers are reading that magazine, if you want to position your company as a premier, experienced expert in your industry… then yes, they are worth it. And guess what? You can measure an ad’s effectiveness. While the main point of print ads, billboards, commercials and

more are to position and elevate your brand, they can be measured through analytics. A customized website link can be printed on the ad that directs traffic from that ad to a monitored landing page. Image is power. You are presenting an image of your company that helps support your sales effort. Both traditional and non-traditional marketing techniques are needed to accomplish a cohesive strategy. The older, more traditional way of marketing will not properly reach those newer buying types and is being reinvented to remain relevant. Landing pages, digital marketing, analytics and SEO/SEM are all part of this reinvention. These non-traditional methods are becoming an integral piece of the marketing playbook. The key is for Sales and Marketing to develop a strategy that uses the best of both traditional and non-traditional marketing. So how do we accomplish this? I sit down with marketing teams to discuss and create strategic approaches. How-to videos, white papers, social media engagement, search engine optimization, electronic newsletters, lunch n’ learns and digital engagement are just a few of the marketing tools my clients use to become the go-to source for their customers. My clients also still use traditional marketing techniques such as print ads, billboards and press releases – but these traditional techniques have been reinvented. Traditional marketing is not dead. It is reborn. Billboards call attention to creative website URLs to increase traffic and SEO on a mobile website. Press releases link to blogs and white papers on the company’s website. Print ads have call-to-action links to increase online engagement. In softer, strategic sales, we shape the narrative. Because the soft sales approach relies on expertise and relationships, our marketing position plays an important role. More importance is placed on the marketing team to help facilitate the soft sales process. It’s no longer a transaction between a salesperson and a customer. The whole company’s image is becoming part of the transaction. Website presence and traffic, search optimization, digital tools and electronic marketing are all essential in a comprehensive communication strategy. If the brand and message of Marketing isn’t in line with the values Sales is presenting, then the relationship with the customer – and the customer’s trust – is at risk. How do you increase your marketing efforts and image? Each company and industry need a customized approach. The good news: There are so many tools in our arsenal now to make an impact. The bad news: Learning how to master each takes more skill and a team of people to facilitate. I find that companies are still struggling to get sales and marketing departments on the same page. They each go their separate ways, as if their paths do not cross. Whether you know it or not, your paths cross. Your customers see what the marketing department sends out and then they see the salesperson. The two need to be unified in their approach. Get a good team of people, work on a strategy, solidify your identity and work together. Marketing and Sales need each other. It’s “’til death do us part.” Stephanie Woodcock is president of Seal the Deal Too, a St. Louisbased marketing, creative & communications firm. She can be reached at

The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19



Components of Ballpark Village phase two in downtown St. Louis – a $220 million venture – are on schedule to wrap up in 2019 and 2020.

Ballpark Village Phase 2 PARIC Leading

Multiple Projects at Park


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The project represents a partnership between Baltimore-based developer The Cordish Companies and St. Louis-based general contractor PARIC. Phase two broke ground in December 2017. Included in the 700,000-square-foot phase two are: a 29-story, 297-unit luxury apartment tower, a Live! By Loews hotel, a three-story retail building, an 11-story Class A office structure and a Field of Dreams outdoor concert venue. That 11-story office building – known as the PWC Pennant Building, to be completed in August – presented a challenge during construction, according to PARIC Project Director Tim Vaughan. “We had built our way up four stories of what will be the parking garage when PWC asked us to build an amenities deck on the top of the building,” Vaughan said. “The first seven stories are cast-in-place concrete that is post-tension, and then atop the seven stories is a four-story steel structure. As we were pouring the concrete, the steel structure had to change in order to hold the amenities deck on the roof, and we needed to modify plans so that the elevator could also reach the roof. These changes had to be completed in time to adjust the steel beams, so in effect we were providing just-in-time project delivery,” he added. Another unique construction challenge associated with Ballpark Village’s phase two office building, Vaughan said, involved PARIC’s decision to build and install the glass and glazing that encircles the tower’s top floors prior to building the garage’s precast and metal panels for the bottom four floors. “Generally, a project is built from the ground up,” said Vaughan, “but our goal was to ensure that the top floors were watertight first so we could complete the PWC interiors package faster. To this end, we accomplished the glass and glazing work first and then tucked everything else (the precast work) in underneath.” A high-tech collision avoidance system, one that prevents the project’s two 250- and 280-foot-tall tower cranes from colliding with each other, is a definitive project safety component. Vaughan said one tower crane is positioned near the office building, with the other stationed near the hotel construction site. Since the footprint for all the phase two projects is compact and multiple builds are occurring simultaneously near an active Busch Stadium, technology such as this is necessary to ensure safety. “We had to figure out which of the two tower cranes would be raised higher and exactly how the swings were going to go,” Vaughan said. “The system is programmed to enable each crane to swing in specific directions and at specific speeds, and the top crane is able to swing over the lower crane. The system prevents either crane from swinging into a structure.” There is a third tower crane that is currently 220 feet tall and it will undergo several “jumps” to reach a height of 440 feet before construction is complete, Vaughan said. As with all large-scale, multi-phase construction projects built in urban environments, laydown areas and accelerated project schedules demand expert logistics. Ballpark Village phase two is no exception. Vaughan said carefully thinking through vertical transportation for all these building projects and managing crews to work safely yet swiftly remains a key challenge with these related jobs. “One example of this is building a buck hoist, an external (temporary) elevator that brings workers and materials up each floor of the building as it is being built. That has been vital,” he said. “We’re building on the equivalent of a postage stamp in terms of very small laydown areas.” To improve visitor access to phase one of Ballpark Village, PARIC removed its construction trailers to open the street. “Property here is scarce and valuable,” Vaughan said, “so many times we’re precisely delivery times so construction materials can be picked up off the truck and put into use immediately. There isn’t the space to store materials on site.” The Field of Dreams portion of Ballpark Village phase two, an entertainment venue with a stage for live concerts and a giant scoreboard and video screen for watching the Cardinals games just outside the stadium, is on track for completion by mid-July.

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The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


“This project required significantly more concrete strength than is typically specified.”

A separate hardscape package that includes concrete pedestrian walkways, benches, pavers, statues, stairs, bleachers and a VIP section, is also being built by PARIC. What visitors to Ballpark Village won’t see is all the materials testing work and construction observation expertise that has taken place in order to build out Ballpark Village during phase two. Geotechnology, Inc. Quality Control Testing Manager Matt Melly said ICC (International Code Council) special inspection work specific to building integrity included looking at rebar being

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installed on site. Geotechnology worked on what is now known as One Cardinal Way, the 29-story luxury apartment tower as well as the office building and hotel. “We performed the role of post-tension inspector for this phase of the project,” Melly said. “Rather than building a deck with reinforced concrete, the method of engineering and building with posttension cables was employed. This requires a lot less rebar and less steel as well.” Geotechnology’s scope of responsibility was inspecting foundational elements during its construction and testing three sets of concrete used in phase two. “This project required significantly more concrete strength than is typically specified,” he said. “It required more than 8,000 PSI (pounds per square inch) compared to a typical 6,000 PSI. Our work involved monitoring and testing materials during construction to verify that they met the requirements.” The higher strengths of concrete used during phase two, Melly said, helps decrease the number of concrete columns needed in the apartment tower. Due to heavier structural load inherent in a building with 29 floors, Geotechnology opted for a concrete foundation support to support that load. Rather than employing drilled concrete piers, construction utilized a combination of auger cast concrete piles and H piles – dimensionally square structural beams measuring up to six feet in diameter – driven at depths of 50 to 100 feet. Melly said this was done because soils in the project area are softer yet need to support the weight of the tall structure. Another instrumental component of Ballpark Village phase two is the electrical contracting. Guarantee Electrical Co. has been the primary electrical contractor on the project’s hotel and apartment tower, according to David Gralike, president of GECO’s Missouri branch. In addition to Gralike, the GECO team included Project Executive Jason Wiegand, Project Director Tom Wischmeyer, Project Manager Dillon Wischmeyer and Superintendent Rich Kuchem. Bell Electrical Contractors, Inc. performed as primary electrical contractor for the office and retail components of phase two. Also assisting on Ballpark Village phase two is Onsite Companies. The firm performed ground thaws on the project with Ceco Concrete Construction and provided five 1 Million BTU heaters to

Edwards-Kamadulski LLC

Leonard Masonry Inc.

Slab Masters, Inc. (dba Helitech)

General Contractor: PARIC

Fitzgerald Construction Inc.

Lindberg Waterproofing Inc.

Spectra Painting Co., LP

Fixture Contracting Inc.

Loomis Brothers Equipment Co.

Staat Inc.

Flooring Systems Inc.

McCarthy Holdings Inc. (dba Castle Contracting LLC)

St. Charles Acoustics L.L.C.

ABNA Engineering, Inc.

Ford Hotel Supply Co.

Acme Fireproofing & Insulation

Frisella Nursery

Bell Electrical Contractors Inc.

Gartland Company Plumbing Heating & Power Piping

Berra Specialty Contractors (dba Missouri Terrazzo)

Geissler Roofing Co. Inc.

NGG Ltd. Incorporated

Bi-State Roof Systems, Inc.


Niehaus Building Services LLC

Blakely Sheet Metal, LLC

Guarantee Electrical Construction Co.

O’Neill Painting II Inc.

BlueBoat International LLC

H&G Sales Inc.

Boelter LLC

HKS Inc.

BrandSafway Services LLC

Hord Coplan Macht

Brockette Davis Drake Inc.

Hufcor Inc.

Buchheit Construction Byrne & Jones Enterprises

icon Mechanical Construction & Engineering LLC

CECO Concrete Construction LLC

Industrial Steel Fabricators Corp.

CK Power

JB Fence & Fabrication Inc.

CSI/Commercial Services, Inc.

John J. Smith Masonry

Collins & Hermann Inc.

J. West Electrical Contracting, LLC

Construction Specialties

J.W. Bommarito Construction

DH Pace Company, Inc.

KB Install L.L.C.

DeLuca Plumbing LLC

Kinder Contracting LLC

DiPrimo Fabricators Inc.

KMeier Roof Systems

dormakaba USA

Kuesel Excavating Co.

Mechanical Solutions, Inc. Mid America Precast Inc. Negwer Materials Inc.

Stock & Associates Stonetree Fabrications Superior Contracting Corp (dba Aladdin Insulation) Superior Waterproofing & Restoration Co., Inc. Supplied Industrial Solutions

Optimal Engineering Solutions Inc. Otis Elevator Company Ozark Steel Fabricators

Tao + Lee Associates, Inc. Temp-Air Inc.

Ballpark Village Phase 2 Project Partners

Owner: The Cordish Companies

T.J. Wies Contracting, Inc. Total Enclosure Solutions LLC

Penn Services LLC Phillips Interior/Exterior Systems Inc.

United Fire Protection LLC United Rebar Inc.

Piros Signs, Inc. Premier Demolition Inc. Pro-Bel Enterprises Limited Ravensberg Incorporated Richard Goettle Inc.

Vee-Jay Cement Villa Lighting Supply Weber Fire & Safety Equipment Co. Inc. Western Specialty Contractors

Right Line Striping, L.L.C. Roberts Loading Dock Equipment Rosch Company L.L.C.

Wm. J. Zickel Co. Won-Door Corporation Zumwalt Corporation

Schindler Elevator Corp. Simms – Industrial JV


For more than four decades we’ve led award-winning healthcare, education, commercial, hospitality, and senior living projects throughout our community. As one of the largest construction firms in the St. Louis region, we look forward to continue leading this effort and are committed to building excellence in our community.


WWW.PARIC.COM The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


Celebrates Winners The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) Midwest Council – a construction trade association comprised of quality specialty contractors and suppliers serving the St. Louis MSA whose purpose is to improve the construction process through active participation in education, advocacy and cooperation – announces its award winners:

2019 General Contractor of the Year Category A: BSI Constructors, Inc. Category B: Kozeny-Wagner Construction Category C: BEX Construction Services


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2019 Outstanding MEP Subcontractor Category A: Guarantee Electrical Company Category B: Kaemmerlen Electric


2019 Outstanding Specialty Subcontractor Category A: Flooring Systems Inc. Category B: AME Constructors


2019 Service Provider/ Supplier of the Year J.D. Kutter

Honored to have been chosen ASA Midwest Council 2019 Legacy Award Winner.


Charter member of SITE Improvement Association

The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


Thank you

ASA Midwest Council for recognizing

BSI Constructors as 2019 General Contractor of the Year (Category A)

ASA Legacy Award Joe Hoette, Hoette Concrete Construction


GC Field Employee of the Year Terry Meyer

GC Field Employee of the Year Terry Meyer, BSI Constructors, Inc.


CNR St. Louis Construction News and Review -

ASA Safety Cup George McDonnell & Sons Tuckpointing Co., Inc. 2018 Safety Award Winners Division I – Murphy Company Division II – Vee-Jay Cement Co. Division III – Bell Electrical Contractors

GC Office Employee of the Year

Division IV – Hayden Wrecking Corp.

Alex Sherfy, Musick Construction

Division VI – Pipe and Duct

Division V – Drilling Service Co. Systems, LLC

The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19




CNR St. Louis Construction News and Review -

Crews Work Nonstop to Complete The Muny’s Renovation in Time for 101st Season When The Muny raises the curtain June 10 on its 101st season in Forest Park, those on stage, behind the scenes and in the audience will recognize a greatly enhanced amphitheater that blends history with the latest advances in production technology. Tarlton Corp., The Muny and project partners embraced the ambitious, seven-month construction schedule that began on September 1, 2018, just after the final performance of its 100th season, and concluded in late April 2019. Muny Director of Operations Sean Smith said the $33 million stage renovation project is part of an overall $100 million, five-year capital campaign – the first ever for The Muny – $50 million of which is dedicated to capital improvement. “It will be the biggest thing we ever do out here at The Muny,” said Smith. “This is year one of a two-year project that’s specific to the stage. Through the years, technology was added on and patched. With this project, we’re creating a better, more comprehensive infrastructure. All the components for putting on a live show will be ready this season when we open, and additional improvements will be completed in time for our 102nd season.”

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The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


H3 Principal Design Architect Ariel Fausto said a critical design goal was maintaining The Muny’s unique identity as a true St. Louis jewel within Forest Park and finding inspiration from the venue’s classic art deco history while updating its functionality. “We sought to create a place that doesn’t have an obligation to the historic imagery of this place, but rather offers a nod to nostalgia while being completely contemporary and being very mindful of all the needs of a contemporary outdoor theatre that performs seven shows over the summer at breakneck speed,” Fausto said. “Everyone knows and loves The Muny because it’s a place that builds community around performance. You can feel that sense of community when you’re there. Very few places in the world exist where the architecture of the place works in concert with the work on stage to create a unique identity for both the organization, its patrons and the city. The Muny is one of those rare places,” he added. Among the host of updates is a brandnew stage that replaces the one installed in 1930. “We’ve made improvements to the stage through the years,” said Smith, “but with this project, everything the audience will see is brand new.”

Prior to the 2018-2019 project, The Muny’s performance stage had been a permanent installation, exposed to the elements year-round. Every three years, Smith said, it would have to be torn out and replaced. “Our new stage is a removable deck system,” he said. “When the season is over, we’ll be able to remove the turntable, lifts and track system to put them in storage.” The stage turntable, deck and track system’s 158 parts were delivered to the construction site via 10 tractor-trailers, Smith added. The new stage deck’s track system enables sets to be locked in place and programmed to move automatically on and off the stage rather than requiring crews to manually switch out set features during a live production. A new stage lift allows performers closer access to the audience. A larger, climate-controlled orchestra pit that doubles as an indoor rehearsal space is another new component of The Muny’s redo, as are dedicated warm-up rooms and instrument locker space for musicians. “The new orchestra pit takes unpredictable St. Louis weather out of the performance equation,” Smith said. Other back-of-house improvements include the East tower (stage left), which

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houses electrical and mechanical systems and light controls, and the West Tower (stage right), which houses sound and props and another mechanical room. All-new LED lighting replaces a lot of older fixtures, offering a broader range of lighting color options for productions. One of the improvements audience members will likely notice the moment they take their seats in the 11,000-plus seat venue is the airflow distribution. Tarlton Corp. Senior Project Manager Cameron Denison said the audience blower system – which had limited speeds and required a trade-off of operational noise versus comfort – are being replaced by state-of-the-art diffusers, 70 on each side of the stage, fed from 12 fans/ blowers on each side. “These diffusers will provide better, quieter, more targeted air distribution for our audience,” Denison said. McClure Engineering designed The Muny’s diffuser system. New theatrical equipment including the turntable, orchestra pit lifts, track system, trap door system, stage deck and more was provided by TAIT. The new lighting equipment was provided by Bandit Lites. The light bridge, which was a catenary or cable suspension system that had been in place since 1935, is being replaced with a permanent steel structure, Denison said, that will allow The Muny more flexibility for lighting, sound and projection. Remote control spotlights are also being added. The light bridge alone was trucked to the site in seven sections, each totaling 9,000 pounds. When the Muny produced its first show of that first season back in 1919, young oak trees – indicative of those remaining throughout Forest Park – were part of the ambience of the venue. Smith said in the early stages of the construction project, arborists examined the root structure of the last remaining oak tree at the site and discovered that its root system was no longer viable. For safety reasons, the oak had to be removed but project partners found a way to preserve its essence as a feature of the newly improved Muny. “We’re creating what we call an oak room,” Denison said. “It will be a generalpurpose space for performers, akin to a green room. We’re reclaiming the wood of the great oak that stood at stage right for a century and repurposing it to create a signature art piece that actors and performers can appreciate for years to come.” As Tarlton and project partners work

Names provided courtesy of The Muny

j6 Owner: The Muny

Langhorst Construction Mayer Landscaping McClure Engineering Phillips Interior/Exterior Systems, Inc.

Construction Manager: Tarlton Corporation

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The Muny at Forest Park Renovation Project Partners

24/7 on double shifts to complete the project, Smith said lighting, sound and automation engineers and others have been trained in how to embrace and leverage the abundance of new technology. “Tarlton has completed more than 40 projects for The Muny within the last 22 years,” said Smith, “including a stage replacement in 1996, an amphitheater renovation, house lighting, concessions, Lichtenstein Plaza improvements, fan installation, concrete repairs, sidewalks, security and more. They’re a great partner for us.” Geotechnology, Inc. performed subsurface exploration for Tarlton Corp. during the pre-construction stage of the project, providing geotechnical work in preparation for the removal of the old stage, the addition of a basement 12 to 15 feet below the new stage, and replacement of surrounding structures with multiple stage decks and stage floor tracking. Phase two work on the project will commence after the season ends on August 11 and reach completion in time for the 102nd season’s start in June 2020. Phase two includes planting of new trees and work on the amphitheater’s shell. Phase three will include the buildout of backstage support stages.

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The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


Builders, Designers, Engineers Collaborate to Transform Danforth Campus’ East End By KERRY SMITH

A cadre of design firms, specialty subcontractors and related project partners paired with McCarthy Building Companies to transform the east end of Washington University in St. Louis’ Danforth Campus with a common vision and purpose of equipping instructors, researchers, staff and students for their next era of academic excellence. 18

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Thank you!

Washington University, McCarthy Building Companies, and Waterhout Construction for the great project!

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The East End Transformation of the Danforth Campus, also known as Campus Next, has been a two-year, $280 million project that began the day after commencement ceremonies in May 2017 and is reaching substantial completion by mid-May 2019. McCarthy Project Director Ryan Moss said coordination of complex details and phasing differentiates this project from many others. The East End Transformation represents the largest capital project ever undertaken on the Danforth Campus. “This project is segmented into eight

components,” said Moss. “The last piece of this entire transformation is McKelvey Hall. We didn’t break ground on that project until October 2018, so it will be completed in 2020.” Ann and Andrew Tisch Park, Anabeth and John Weil Hall, Henry A. and Elvira H. Jubel Hall, James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall, Gary M. Sumers Welcome Center, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum expansion, Craig and Nancy Schnuck Pavilion, and the underground parking garage comprise the components of the East End Transformation. Three brand-new

What Is Success?

Before we start any project, we ask ourselves the question, “What does success on this project look like?” Two epiphanies evolve from that question: 1.) We realize that success, whether that’s a satisfied customer or meeting a tough deadline, is a process, not a destination. 2.) We recognize that we need to savor, and applaud the smaller victories of our team along the way, as well as acknowledging shortfalls and acting to improve the process. It’s human nature to believe we’ll be more successful later than we are at any given moment. We should always be growing and trying to be better than we were before. Tony Robbins calls it CANI: Constant And Never-ending Improvement. At Drilling Service, we’ll celebrate all our team’s successes in 2018 – not just the big ones. As always, we’ll own and learn from our mistakes and have the courage to try new things. Our future and that of our customers, depends on it. Number two in “Murphys’ Laws,” the creed under which we operate is: “Plan for success before we ever set foot on the job.” | PHONE: (314) 291-1111


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academic buildings and two new multi-use pavilions are included in the project scope, as is new, expansive landscaping. “The University’s vision was to complete all of these projects as one master project within its master plan rather taking on each individual building one at a time,” said Moss. “University Architect Jamie Kolker did a phenomenal job orchestrating this vision. McCarthy is honored to partner with him and with the University.” During Summer 2017, when the project’s mass excavations were occurring in preparation for the series of new builds, McCarthy was directing more than 1,200 dump trucks daily. “This equates to one dump truck leaving campus every 60 seconds,” said Moss. “Negotiating that amount of heavy vehicular traffic through an active campus – with students, staff and the public walking in front of those entrances – was a big challenge. Two flaggers from Castle Contracting played a critical role in this because they were the face of the project for many students and faculty who passed the project daily. We refer to these individuals as our rock stars.” When the harsh conditions of Winter 2019 hit, McCarthy elected to erect a large outdoor tent – 300 feet long by 80 feet wide – so that work to landscape Tisch Park could continue. “We kept the tent up for nearly two months and equipped it with lights and heaters so we could continue work on this portion of the project,” Moss said. Except for Jubel Hall, the buildings constructed as part of the East End Transformation all share structural foundations, Moss said, posing the puzzle of which piece needed to be built next to make the conglomeration of connected structural foundations work. “A lot of it was solved through 3D coordination,” he said. “Five years ago, this critical 3D building technology did not even exist to accomplish this project of this scale in this time frame.” Sustainability has been a top priority for the University through all facets of the East End Transformation. The University is seeking LEED Gold certification for the new structures. “Efficiency in building design was paramount, as was using sustainable products and materials whenever possible,” Moss said. Both Sumers Welcome Center (25,500 square feet) and the (18,000-square-foot) Schnuck Pavilion have an all-glass façade from end to end. “The glass on those buildings is 18 feet tall by four feet wide,”

Moss said. “When we first bid out the project, it wasn’t possible to buy glass that large domestically. But by late 2017, we were able to have it fabricated in the U.S. We took some major temporary measures to enclose the buildings before the glass arrived so that construction of the buildings’ interiors could proceed.” Subsurface exploration for the project was performed by Geotechnology, Inc. Joel Weinhold, regional manager for the firm’s Central Region, said soil borings, lab testing and engineering to assist with foundation design and more was included in Geotechnology’s scope of work. “Excavations on this project reached 40 feet in depth,” said Weinhold. “In comparison, a typical basement excavation may only be 15 feet deep.” He added that the firm worked closely with the structural engineers to provide foundation design for the project. “We performed 51 soil borings to obtain data to assist in the foundation design,” Weinhold said. “The draining system was also a big priority on this project. We analyzed groundwater flow and assisted with overall groundwater and surface water management.” Testing and working with the University’s variety of subsurface limestone and bedrock – each with different capacities and abilities to support structures – was another facet of Geotechnology’s East End Transformation scope of work. Speaking of subsurface elements, the 790-space subsurface parking garage has been designed by BNIM and KieranTimberlake with features that make it unusually adaptive to the future needs of the campus, as the demand for parking single-occupancy vehicles declines. “When visitors enter the parking structure, the first thing they’ll notice is the sheer size of the parking decks,” Moss said. “Typical heights would range from 6 feet 10 inches to 7 feet 2

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inches, just tall enough to accommodate a vehicle. At its highest points, the garage’s decks are 18 feet in height.” BNIM CEO and Principal Steve McDowell said the garage is bathed in natural light, even the two levels below grade. “We’ve been working on the planning and design of this garage for six years,” McDowell said. “The parking structure serves as a gateway to the Brookings Hall arch, which is truly the symbolic front door to the historic hilltop campus. Our design challenges included creating a structure that is very gracious

and welcoming, one that enhances first impressions of the campus. Being easy to navigate with flat floors so one has a clear view of all of the garage on each layer when one is inside the structure was essential.” The dramatic slope of the campus is accommodated by the parking structure, whose slope increases by 12 feet as visitors navigate to the west side. Perhaps the most unusual feature of the structure is its ability to be converted into classroom or office space as needed in future years. “The University is very forward-thinking,” said McDowell. “They

Waterhout Construction is an equal opportunity employer

Ballpark Village The Muny Renovation Washington University East End Expansion


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truly focus on how to maintain the greatest value over the long term and be prepared for future learning environments and demands.” KPFF is the structural engineering firm of record for six of the East End Transformation projects. KPFF Managing Principal John Miller said specific project challenges included engineering the cantilevered corner on the northwest exterior of Weil Hall. “It’s pretty amazing to see the corner hovering over the welcome court,” said Miller. “At approximately 45 feet by 30 feet, that cantilever is really a spectacular piece of engineering because it has nearly no visible means of support. We have a truss that’s made with very high-strength steel – a tension rod that’s barely visible. It was a creative structural solution,” he added. Perkins Eastman designed the 86,150-square-foot McKelvey Hall, which will be the new home to the University’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Senior Associate Shefali Raichaudhuri said Lead Principals James Butterfield’s and Steven Gifford’s design reflects the masonry Collegiate Gothic exterior of the surrounding buildings, while the courtyard-facing exterior is a multi-story curtain wall providing a dramatic window into the contemporary, state-of-the-art computational research spaces. Moore Ruble Yudell Design Partner Buzz Yudell said his firm has been working for Washington University in St. Louis for nearly a decade on design projects including Hillman Hall, considered the first project of the East End Transformation. “While that project was happening, the campus was searching for how to transform and further develop the East End from what had become parking to become a strategically and academically important zone of the campus. Creating a gateway leading to the hilltop campus all the way from Skinker Boulevard is part of that strategy,” Yudell said. “The goal really started with the academic vision of increasingly supporting more interdisciplinary work. Transitioning from the traditional, Collegiate Gothic architecture of the campus’ core to a more modern look as you move to the east was a principal challenge,” he added. “Landscape is the piece that unites everything.” Taking primary and secondary pathways from the historic area of the campus and threading them into the

Center, both of which flank Brookings Hall, to appear as contemporary glass jewels, mimicking the more modern look of Weil Hall and the newly expanded Kemper Museum, which KT also designed. KT’s work unites the University’s graduate and undergraduate art, architecture and design spaces into one building. Michael Vergason Landscape Architects Ltd. led the design of site and landscape for Tisch Park to integrate planting and paths to weave the entire project together. MVLA Senior Associate and Project Manager Beata Boodell Corcoran worked in tandem with Vergason. “It’s an important central landscape that emphasizes people, not vehicles,” said Vergason. “Developing a sense of place, building connections between structures on the East End while creating a strong eastward connection to Forest Park was central to our scope of work. Our talented team of multiple design firms integrated a strategy of sustainability that builds on the 1900s plan originally executed by architect Cope & Stewardson. Everything we’ve done builds on the principles of the University’s vision to create a better tie to Forest Park,” he added. Landscape that allows for an active, strong central green and deciduous trees replete with bicycle and pedestrian paths, Corcoran said, encourages students, faculty and staff to linger. An allee of native trees frames the new greenspace focused on Brookings Hall. A total of some 17 acres of new landscape has been created via this project. “More than 20,000 cubic yards of soil have been designed for this project to ensure the long-term health of the landscape,” said Corcoran. Specialty subcontractor Winco Windows supplied windows for Jubel Hall and McKelvey Hall as part of the East End Transformation effort. Winco Owner and Architect Gantt Miller said the company’s collaboration with the University has roots dating back decades. Winco’s expertise in developing and providing the window panning system for the University allows for a clean, tight window installation while preserving and enhancing the look of each structure, said Miller. Golterman & Sabo Architectural Products President Herb Golterman said his firm fitted the buildings with acoustical wall panels, specialty ceiling systems, motorized window shading and custom markerboards.

“The transformation of the east end of the Danforth Campus creates a more connected experience for our community, providing a physical environment designed to enhance the University’s core missions of teaching, learning, discovery, inclusion and impact,” Kolker said. “Implementing this vision would not have been possible without the talent, creativity and dedication of the design teams and contractors.”

Washington University in St. Louis East End Transformation Partners

University’s quadrangles – from the engineering district to the north to the Arts on the south and unifying it with the big green that connects to Brookings Hall, the campus’ original building built in 1902 – was led by Michael Vergason Landscape Architects. MRY’s work included designing Jubel Hall, which houses the McKelvey School of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science. “Designing a blend of materials such as local stone like that used to build the University’s original buildings with transitional, more contemporary materials and integrating a broader use of natural light in the new structures was a focus of our work in emphasizing collaboration and sense of community across this historic campus,” said Yudell. Even the subgrade level of Jubel Hall is flooded with natural light, he added. The 80,600-square-foot building features classrooms, faculty offices, 15,600 square feet of research lab spaces and 3,350 square feet of maker space where future engineers can build prototypes and experiment with robotics. Mackey Mitchell Architects Senior Associate Daniel Schneider partnered with MRY Architects & Planners on design of Jubel Hall. The late Gene Mackey worked extensively on design aspects of the project before his passing in late 2016. The 80,600-square-foot Jubel Hall houses the School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science. Maker spaces, where students build metal engineering parts with their hands, are designed into Jubel Hall. “We designed concrete floors that are 16 inches thick to minimize vibrations,” Schneider said. Themed accent designs are etched into the walls to signify the engineering specialties house therein including a sine wave and fluid mechanics symbols. One notable challenge, said Schneider, was having to shift the design for the garage tunnel connecting Jubel Hall with Uncas A. Whitaker Hall (for Biomedical Engineering) by a foot and a half. Architecture firm KieranTimberlake’s scope of work on the East End project included designing the all-new, 80,670-square-foot Weil Hall, which houses graduate studios, classrooms and digital fabrication spaces. KT also designed the two small pavilions, Schnuck Pavilion (which offers café dining with an outdoor terrace) and the Sumers Welcome

Owner: Washington University in St. Louis Construction Manager: McCarthy Building Companies Architects: BNIM KieranTimberlake Mackey Mitchell Architects Michael Vergason Landscape Architects Ltd. Moore Ruble Yudell Design Perkins Eastman Tao + Lee Associates

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The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


Commercial Painters Coating Projects with Water-Based Alternatives Innovations in commercial painting products continue to evolve in favor of coatings that contain little to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), yet still get the job done in terms of coverage and durability. Brian Osterried, product marketing manager for the PPG paint brand, said interior/exterior waterborne acrylic paints, such as the PPG PAINTS™ BREAK-THROUGH!® product, offers commercial contractors and subcontractors an option that is durable and formulated to bond to some of the most difficult substrates and dry quickly. “The unique and versatile technology provides excellent adhesion, hardness and block resistance, drying to touch in 17 to 20 minutes,” Osterried said, “for fast turnaround and increased productivity.” Osterried said it’s important to consider air quality, green building initiatives and certifications, carbon footprint and LEED v4 (the newest version of LEED) attributes while understanding the product performance qualities that are important to painters and building managers. “Environmentally conscious and low-VOC is no longer a specialty product offering,” he said. “It’s a musthave option for all brands in the space.”


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The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


“We’re working on a large job in Alabama and are performing dry fall painting on a major scale. With dry fall, we can spray a metal deck or joist ceiling and by the time the paint hits the floor, it’s dry. Then we’re able to just sweep away the excess rather than dealing with wet paint.” It’s important to note the distinctions between low-VOC and zero-VOC coatings. Low- VOC paints meet the threshold of fewer than 50 grams per liter of volatile organic compounds. But although their name suggests no VOCs at all, zero-VOC paints may contain fewer than 5 grams per liter of VOCs yet still earn a position on the shelf within the zero-VOC section. The small quantity of VOCs contained within a coating dubbed as Zero-VOC often emerges during the tinting process. Additionally, colorants added to base paints may increase the VOC level depending on the specific color choice. Walter Bazan, Jr., owner of BAZAN Painting Co., said waterborne, environmentally-friendly coatings are greatly



expediting field work as opposed to their traditional petroleumbased counterparts. Dry fall painting is one example of a product that has gained widespread acceptance over traditional spray painting, he said. “We’re working on a large job in Alabama and are performing dry fall painting on a major scale,” said Bazan. “With dry fall, we can spray a metal deck or joist ceiling and by the time the paint hits the floor, it’s dry. Then we’re able to just sweep away the excess rather than dealing with wet paint.” Low-odor and no-odor paints continue to be products of choice for commercial and industrial jobs at sites that are occupied and operational 24/7 such as hospitals, Bazan said. “With these no-odor or very low-odor paints, we can expedite project delivery because we’re able to paint while there are occupants working in the building,” he said. Paints that provide scuff and burnish resistance are also readily used by commercial painters such as Meyer Painting Co. Owner Scott Meyer said innovations in epoxies are evident in the industry, too. “We use a product called ‘pre-cat (pre-catalyzed) epoxy,’ which is a step up from HP (high performance),” Meyer said. “Pre-cat is great for doors and frames or where there are high traffic areas. It has the durability of epoxy without the mixing of two parts.” Precat’s advantages also include being water-based and specially formulated for block, drywall, masonry and concrete. Meyer said pre-cat products also have the durability to withstand repeated cleanings. The number and variety of waterborne interior lacquers is also increasing, according to Don Dwyer, owner of Dwyer Custom Painting. Dwyer’s firm is working on a multifamily remodel























CNR St. Louis Construction News and Review -

project in Midtown St. Louis. “Latex paints have come a long way,” said Dwyer. “They’re a dependable alternative to traditional solvent-based lacquers.” Vapor blasting – an alternative to traditional sandblasting – is gaining in popularity on projects that involve historic restoration. Meyer said the advantages of using an abrasive blaster over dry sandblasting are numerous. “The top benefit is that you’ll eliminate up to 92 percent of airborne dust while also saving on cleanup and disposal costs,” he said. “And compared to slurry (wet) blasting, you’ll use far less media and water. More importantly, you won’t damage substrates when blasting, which makes this an ideal alternative for restoring historically significant structures and buildings.” Concrete staining and polishing are other major facets of many large commercial painting operations. According to Bazan, planetary floor grinders that leverage diamond tools to grind, hone and polish floors are increasingly in demand by commercial clients looking for an alternative to replacing carpet on a frequent basis due to heavy traffic patterns. “We have six units and one is an operator ride-on unit,” Bazan said. “Polished concrete is a popular look. The concrete flooring looks great for a long time. You can leave the polished floors with a natural look or stain them. You can even stain a company’s logo into them.” Safety standards are paramount on commercial painting jobs, according to Joseph Ward Sr., president of Jos. Ward Painting Co. Clients’ own safety policies often supersede fall protection requirements mandated by OSHA. “The OSHA standard for tying off is six feet,” Ward said. “But at the University of Missouri in Columbia (Mizzou), it is four feet…anything above that, you have to be tied off.”



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Construction Industry CPAs Say Smaller Firms Are Also Tapping Into Benefits of New Federal Tax Law Whether a company is organized as a C corp, S corp. LLP or LLC, business owners in construction and real estate continue to be impacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), area CPAs attest. Section 199A, also known as the qualified business income deduction or QBI, replaces what had been known as the Section 199 domestic production activities deduction which was repealed. The QBI, according to Mueller Prost Partner and Director of Real Estate Teri Samples, was enacted as a provision of the TCJA to provide tax relief to small businesses that do not operate as C corporations. “Because C corporation tax rates were significantly reduced under the TCJA from a top rate of 35 percent to a flat rate of 21 percent (permanently), the QBI or Section 199A was introduced to provide tax relief to smaller businesses such as S corps, partnerships and LLCs,” Samples said. “These smaller businesses have a 20 percent exclusion and are now only taxed on 80 percent of their qualified business income, beginning with the 2019 tax year.”


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The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


Because companies that are not C corps flow their business income through to their personal tax returns, business owners of S corps, LLCs and partnerships whose business income would place them in the highest individual income tax bracket, 37 percent, can tap into the QBI deduction and be taxed at a reduced rate of 29.6 percent, which equates to 80 percent of the original tax bracket, according to Samples. Schmersahl Treloar & Co., PC Partner Mark O’Donnell said for most companies that anticipate building value over time, it’s generally better to do business as an S corp or partnership rather than a C corp. “The issue remaining with C corporation status is that at the sale of the company there is double taxation, once at the corporate level and again at the individual level,” O’Donnell said. Rules guidance continues to emerge from the IRS, nearly 17 months after the new tax law was enacted. “Even though the TCJA was passed in mid-December 2017, regulations pertaining to the QBI deduction and more weren’t announced until February 2019,” said Samples. “We’re still looking for guidance on other sections within the Act.” One of these sections, according to

RubinBrown Partner Chris Coleman, who is vice chairman of the firm’s Construction Services Group, states that the cash or completed contract method of accounting is available for taxpayers who have up to $25 million in annual average gross receipts – for example, a construction company or specialty subcontractor. Holding inventory is allowed under this TCJA small business provision, Coleman said, and the percentage of completion method is no longer required for construction contracts that are expected to be completed within two years’ time. “Ordinarily, prior to TCJA, a contractor was required to use the percentage of completion method,” said Coleman, “and we’d expect revenue based upon costs incurred to date in relation to the company’s total project costs. Construction firms are very good at calculating revenue in this fashion, recognizing income on a job as they perform their work and can continue to do so for book purposes. But for tax reporting, under the new law, companies can elect to be on a completed contract method. Instead of recognizing revenue and expense – or net income – as they perform the work, they recognize it all at the end

of the project,” Coleman added. “This can provide a significant (temporary) deferral to a future period…if the contractor defers it and the job is completed the following year, it allows the company to defer the payment of cash. Cash is king among contractors.” O’Donnell agreed. “In addition, electing the cash method of accounting allows the company to defer payment of income tax until it has generated the cash to pay for it and is a sizable advantage to many in the construction industry,” he said. The new 100 percent bonus depreciation is another key deduction available to small contractors under TCJA. Coleman said prior to the new tax law, there was a 50 percent cap on depreciation, and it was only allowable with the purchase of new assets. Now the law allows 100 percent depreciation on new and used assets. “Most construction equipment has a fiveyear tax life,” he said. “If you paid cash for a $300,000 excavator or if you’re on a note for a large piece of equipment, you’d like to be able to deduct that up front and get the tax benefit from it.” Another major tax law change is the type of property that qualifies for Section 179. “This is certainly a significant

“Even though the TCJA was passed in mid-December 2017, regulations pertaining to the QBI deduction and more weren’t announced until February 2019. We’re still looking for guidance on other sections within the Act.”


CNR St. Louis Construction News and Review -

income tax deferral in years when qualifying purchases are sizable,” O’Donnell said. “There are some conditions, but generally new roofs, HVAC units, fire and alarm systems and nonresidential security systems qualify. This not only helps the contractor with large deductions, but may well give many customers of roofing, mechanical and fire alarm contractors an incentive to purchase.” Samples said another real property nuance of the TCJA is a change in the alternative depreciation system recovery period of residential rental property. “For property placed in service after 2017, the recovery period is 30 years,” she said. “Prior to the new tax law, it was 40 years. The Section 179 deduction applies to tangible personal property such as machinery and equipment purchased for use in a trade or business, and – if the taxpayer elects – qualified improvement property.”

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The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


ADR Offers Construction Clients Options Other than Those Leading to the Courtroom By KERRY SMITH


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Rather than opting for a full-blown trial, firms doing business in the built environment have other less formal routes to travel in attempting to resolve their legal disputes. Arbitration and mediation, subsets of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), are often available to project partners as an option rather than or before heading to a courtroom to litigate their differences.

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Arbitration – a process that’s more formal than mediation – involves an arbitrator who hears each party’s argument and then decides the outcome of the dispute. Arbitration takes two forms. It can be binding, meaning the parties waive their right to a trial and agree to accept the arbitrator’s decision as final, or it can be non-binding, meaning the parties can request a trial if they don’t accept the arbitrator’s decision. James Keller is counsel with Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C. and has practiced mediation and arbitration collectively for more than 20 years. “Arbitration is my passion,” Keller said. “I’ve spent more than half of my adult life in court litigating more than 100 cases, so I was comfortable adapting to ADR. With construction-related cases, arbitration can become uniquely complex because we line item damages. We don’t come up with a lump sum number. If the claimant has 10 claims, we’ll come up with 10 numbers. If the respondent has 20 claims, we’ll come up with 20 numbers.”


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The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


In contrast with mediations, which tend to take place over just one day, arbitration can last for days and sometimes weeks or months depending upon the issues at hand. Keller said ADR is commonplace in the design and construction realm because AIA (American Institute of Architects) provisions and contracts include a requirement to try ADR before pursuing formal litigation. “Arbitration is challenging because the number of zeros has nothing to do with the complexity of the case,” said Keller. “You could have a $2,000 dispute that has $1 million worth of legal and factual issues.” Mediation, an ADR option that is less formal than arbitration, cedes control of the outcome to the parties themselves. A mediator helps the parties in trying to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of their dispute. “I always tell clients that although the number-one goal in mediation is to get the case settled, if we don’t settle, they’re still going to learn so much about the other side’s case and about their case as well,” Keller said. “I tell them that as the mediator, I will have jumpstarted their dispute in a way that will likely save countless days of discovery (in court) later on.” Kenneth Slavens, partner with Husch Blackwell, has been both an arbitrator and mediator for nearly 30 years; his entire practice focuses exclusively on construction industry clients. Slavens said parties and their legal counsel often overlook the opportunity to mediate in sincerity. “Too often I see parties who are contractually required to do mediation who say, ‘We’re just checking the box,’ and that’s unfortunate,” said Slavens. “When mediation is done properly and people are committed to the process, it’s a great way to get disputes resolved. Mediation has the potential to salvage the business relationship. If you sit across the table telling the other party what they’re doing wrong, what are the chances you’ll ever shake hands on a future deal?”

Parties entering mediation need to understand that unlike arbitration, the mediator is not going to instruct them in what to do. “As a mediator, it’s not your role to evaluate the case for your parties,” Slavens said. “But it is your role to do some evaluation and to share that with the client. You want to give the client some things to think about,” he added. Even if mediation fails, Slavens said the parties may learn each other’s points of view. “In mediation, you’ve got to listen to what they’re saying and think, ‘How will this sound if we put this in front of a decision maker (judge or jury)?’” Mediating early in the course of a dispute could save parties money that they would otherwise have to spend on legal representation in a trial down the road, Slavens said. “Most often, the dispute occurs after the project is over or nearly over, but it has taken staff and management away from what they do best and from other clients’ projects. It’s a huge time commitment for a party to be in litigation. Spending time with your lawyer and away from your business at hand is not what companies want to be doing.” Andrew Manuel, shareholder at Greensfelder Hemker & Gale, P.C., worked as a licensed professional mechanical engineer and project manager for 10 years prior to entering the legal profession. “That project experience was really valuable for me,” he said. “Historically the construction industry was an early adopter of the concept of using arbitration as an alternative to litigation to solve disputes. That made sense then and it makes sense now for a number of reasons,” Manuel said. One reason, he said, is that often times the arbitrators assigned to construction-specific disputes have working experience within the built environment. “You have the ability to pick arbitrators who have either technical backgrounds or work experience within


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the industry so that when you are presenting a case to them, you don’t have to explain the construction process like you would to a jury. You get to the real issues more quickly in arbitration. And often times the real issues are technical, so you want people who understand that to make your decision,” he added. “I have often found in ADR that you come away with a rational decision that you can at least understand. I think that happens more often with ADR than it happens with litigation.” Arbitration, compared with litigation, is often less costly, according to Manuel, because there’s usually less discovery – fewer depositions, fewer exchanges of documents, which is what normally drives legal costs upward. Although Carmody MacDonald Attorney Kevin Cushing, who concentrates in litigation and construction law, is not an arbitrator or a mediator, he represents clients when either process is necessary. Cushing said he recommends parties try mediation before arbitration or litigation to try to resolve their differences. “However, if mediation does not resolve a dispute, there are significant reasons why litigation is more advantageous than arbitration,” said Cushing. “Although arbitration is potentially quicker and can be favorable if it is facilitated by a lawyer who is versed in construction law, litigation is generally a better option because 1) the amount and quality of discovery information is not as limited as when using an arbitrator; 2) the cost of a filing fee with the court is less than the cost of arbitrators; 3) unlike arbitration, the rules of evidence apply; and 4) there are more options for appeal.”

The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


C O M PA N I E S Tarlton Corporation, a St. Louis-based general contracting and construction management firm, has won one of the construction industry’s highest honors – the 2019 JLT Build America Award. The award recognizes Tarlton’s work on the $8 million restoration project of the Stephen and Peters Sachs Museum for the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. The project was chosen from a highly competitive field of entries nationwide. The JLT Build America Award is sponsored by the Associated General Contractors of America, the nation’s largest and oldest construction trade association. IWR North America, headquartered in St. Louis and one of the longeststanding building enclosure contractors in the United States, expands into the Southwest, announcing the opening of its new office in Garland, TX. Keith Myers, general manager of IWR North America’s Southwest Division, will oversee the new office. St. Louis-based architecture and design collaborative Arcturis designed the Ameren Illinois Corporate Center in Collinsville, IL. The 46,000 square-foot, two-story structure, which accommodates 225 Ameren employees, is the latest ground-up construction project in Arcturis’ portfolio. IMPACT Strategies recently completed its first and second projects in the Fenton Logistics Park. In just over two months, IMPACT finalized improvements of a 78,000- square-foot space within a 170,000-square-foot warehouse for the relocation of BASF’s agricultural services division in Fenton, MO. This facility will produce and store pest control products, specifically for termites. The second project, also concluded in two months, was a 52,000-square-foot space for Nexius’s Missouri office. IMPACT worked with M+H Architects and Scott Rakonick of US Capital Development on both projects. Wiegmann Associates has completed HVAC work for the new $8.3 million retail and office building at the Streets of St. Charles development in St. Charles, MO. Wiegmann served as the mechanical contractor and provided value engineering services for the 60,000-square-foot building. The general contractor was Brinkmann Constructors. The architect was Oculus Inc. KAI has acquired woman-owned Fratto Engineering Inc. based in Arlington, TX. Founded in 1997, Fratto Engineering specializes in mechanical, electrical and


plumbing engineering and has more than 40 clients that include higher education institutions, hospital systems and healthcare centers, local municipalities, architectural firms, electrical contractors, general contractors and other institutions. Under the acquisition agreement, Fratto Engineering’s staff will complete its current contractual commitments to its clients, with all new opportunities as of Feb. 1, 2019 moving forward as KAI Engineering LLC. Restoration St. Louis has entered into a Letter of Intent to acquire the 17-story Chemical Building, 721 Olive Street, for the purpose of renovating and restoring it to its previous grandeur as an extension of its newest neighbor, the Louis Sullivandesigned Hotel Saint Louis at 705 Olive. The two buildings will be linked by a street-level pedestrian walkway and feature an additional 84 guest rooms, 72 luxury apartments, a ballroom, restaurant and a rooftop bar. Work is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2019. Murphy Company has been honored by the American Subcontractors Association Midwest Council with the ASA Safety Award for Division 1 (more than one million man hours worked). It reflects the company’s outstanding safety performance in 2018. The award was presented at ASA Midwest Council’s Mad Hatter Awards Gala, at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown St. Louis. Rick Reams is Murphy Co.’s corporate safety director. Throughout its history, the Macon County Courthouse in Decatur, IL has inhabited a variety of buildings, from a log cabin built in 1829 where Abraham Lincoln practiced law to a stone and brick four-story building with a clock tower built in 1892 to its current location – a five-story limestone building constructed in 1939. Façade expert Western Specialty Contractors’ Springfield, IL branch recently restored the historic courthouse’s 80-year-old façade to like-new condition, which involved extensive cleaning and repair of its damaged limestone. Partnered with BLDD Architects, Western’s team began the façade restoration process by identifying, removing and re-tuckpointing damaged mortar between the limestone for a total of 10,000 linear feet or 25 percent of the building. Crew members then cut out and recaulked the perimeter of all the building’s windows, doors and coping stones, which totaled 9,200 linear feet. The Next NGA West project, a new campus for the National Geospatial-Intelligence

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Agency in north St. Louis city, has been awarded to the design-build team of McCarthy HITT with Black & Veatch Gensler JV and Akima LLC. The total project budget of roughly $1.7 billion includes the McCarthy HITT contract of $711.7 million, land procurement, postconstruction outfitting of the building and small business set-aside construction projects. Funds are appropriated through the Pentagon’s military construction budget and Congress has authorized spending over several budget cycles. Kadean Construction has been awarded the interior build-out for developer Trammell Crow Company of a new 202,800-square-foot building at KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre, a major distribution and logistics park adjacent to Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, MO. A new luxury apartment community is slated to open this summer in St. Peters, MO. Developed by Propper Construction Services, 5300 Centre Apartments will feature 265 units in a four-story, twobuilding complex at Mexico Road and St. Peters Centre Boulevard. Designed as with town square concept, it will fully capitalize on its proximity to the St. Peters City Centre Park and its 78 acres of green space, athletic fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, the Veterans Memorial, Arts Centre and St. Peters Rec-Plex. This year marks the 40th anniversary of local contractor PARIC Corporation. The company has grown from two employees to today's 300-plus team. After opening an additional office last year in Kansas City, the company continues to expand both in size and revenue. Last year PARIC reported $522 million in revenue, making it one of the largest privately held companies in the Midwest. PARIC was founded in 1979 by Paul J. McKee Jr., and his wife Midge, and by Richard F. Jordan and his wife LaVona. The name PARIC is an acronym for the combination of the first names of the founders: Paul and Rick’s Company. HDA Architects completed a tenant build-out for Airport Terminal Services in Maryland Heights, MO. The 16,166-square-foot office in Westport Plaza spans two stories. Design features throughout the space include colorful accent walls, quartz waterfall countertops, reclaimed wood statement walls and geometric acoustical clouds. PARIC was the general contractor on the project.

A S S O C I AT I O N S The Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) student chapter from the University of MissouriColumbia presented in the Final Four Competition and St. Louis-based Integrated Facility Services received a National Safety Award at the MCAA national convention in Phoenix. Thomas Walsh, a student presenter, received a $5,000 scholarship from the Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation at the convention. All three awards, including $2,500 won by the UMC Student Chapter, were announced by E. Timothy Decker, president of C&R Mechanical, who serves as president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Eastern Missouri, sponsor of the student chapter. St. Louis Developer Paul McKee Jr. and his NorthSide Regeneration development have named Team 6 from Metro Academic and Classical High School as the Gold Winners of the 6thAnnual Project Design Challenge. Team 4 from McKinley Classical Leadership Academy was named the Silver Winner and Team 3 from St. Mary’s High School received the Bronze award. Six teams representing four St. Louis City high schools participated in this year’s competition, which challenged students to design an interactive urban park within the NorthSide Regeneration development. More than 100 Missouri contractors and staff from the Associated General Contractors of Missouri attended the Associated General Contractors of America national convention in Denver. Two of their own assumed national leadership roles in the 26,000-member organization, member companies throughout the state took home national awards, and AGCMO was recognized with special

chapter awards for diversity and inclusion and for community service. Dirk Elsperman, executive vice president and COO of St. Louis-based Tarlton Corporation, was installed as 2019-20 president of the AGC of America’s board of directors. Kyle Phillips, vice president of Herzog Contracting Corp., based in St. Joseph, MO, assumed the role of vice chairman of the organization’s highway division at the AGCA convention. The St. Louis Cardinals launched its 2019 season with the Electrical Connection as a major sponsor, one whose members also brightened Busch Stadium. The IBEW/ NECA partnership is seen throughout the stadium on ribbon boards, the giant outfield video board and the Electrical Connection sponsorship of the starting line-up at every home game.

Eva Randazzo, a Columbia College freshman, sponsored by Bobcat of St. Louis; and Macy Sample, a Jefferson High School senior, sponsored by J. M. Marschuetz Construction Co. The Urban Land Institute St. Louis is wrapping up the second year of a high school education program designed to empower students to more fully understand and participate in land use decisions. UrbanPlan is part of a larger ULI community initiative to address equity issues in real estate development detailed in the landmark Ferguson Commission report. To date, ULI volunteers have taught more than 100 students in the Ferguson-Florissant School District how land use decisions impact their communities, empowering them to have a voice in how development takes place.

The St. Louis – Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council is investing in a start-up company that is building ultra-energy-efficient homes on a tract adjacent to the future National GeospatialIntelligence Agency headquarters in North St. Louis. Al Bond, executive secretary-treasurer for the Carpenters, said the project is another visible example of efforts to reenergize property on the city’s north side. The homes are located at the corner of Montgomery and 20th Streets. The Carpenters have invested $1.2 million in NetZero LLC, the start-up that is building three display homes within the footprint of the NGA site. The Carpenters have also invested in the factory that is manufacturing the panels for these homes.

The SITE Improvement Association has awarded a total of $15,000 in scholarships to six deserving St. Louis area students to further their education in college or technical schools in 2019. High school seniors and college students with a parent employed by one of the 200 SITE member companies are eligible for the $2,500 scholarships, which are based on students’ academic achievements, involvement in the community and financial need. The 2019 SITE college scholarship recipients include: Morgan Bova, a Troy Buchanan High School senior, sponsored by Millstone Weber LLC; Hannah Breitenstein, a senior at Oakville High School, sponsored by Retaining Wall Solutions Inc.; Amy Heffernan, a Maryville University junior, sponsored by R. V. Wagner Inc., Lily Horstmeyer, a freshman at Southeast Missouri State University, sponsored by Sandberg, Phoenix & von Gontard P.C.;

The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19


PROMOTIONS Color Art announces the promotion of long-time employee Jennifer Graham from vice president of workplace strategies to executive vice president of workplace strategies and design. Color Art also added Laura Kirk as its new director of architectural solutions. LaTonya Jackson, formerly leader of the Midwest BankCentre Friendly Temple branch, has been promoted to community partnership business development officer. Brinkmann Constructors has promoted Nikki MacDonald to controller. In her new role, she is responsible for supervising all the accounting activities and processes within Brinkmann Constructors. Ryan Gierer of Villa Ridge, MO has been promoted to senior project manager at Knoebel Construction. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of select retail center, restaurant, grocery and retail store construction projects, both in St. Louis and nationally. Gierer joined Knoebel Construction as project manager in 2014.

Sam Welge has been promoted to the position of manager – automation and energy solutions at Murphy Company, the area’s largest mechanical contracting and engineering firm. Welge, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the industry, has served in several roles at Murphy since 2009.

Bryon Muir of Saint Peters, MO, has been promoted to senior project manager Knoebel Construction. Muir is responsible for overseeing all aspects of select retail center, restaurant, grocery and retail store construction projects, both in St. Louis and nationally.




Since 1969, St. Louis Construction News and Review has been providing in-depth news and analysis of the St. Louis commercial construction industry. Our readers consistently say they depend on CNR for the information they can’t find in any other publication.












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Tarlton Corp. has promoted Denise Korte to human resources manager. Korte has more than 17 years of experience in the human resources industry. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources and Society for Human Resources Certified Professional with expertise in implementing policies and strategies, serving as a point of contact for staff and stakeholders and providing multiple human resources services and functions. Korte joined Tarlton in 2017.

Brian Vaughan has been promoted to senior engineer at Murphy Company. Vaughan began his career as an engineering intern at Murphy, joining the company full-time as an engineer in July 2011.


Bangert Inc. announces the promotion of Dirk Ochs to general manager and integrator.

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HONORS Cass Commercial Bank has formed a new division focused on financing equipment purchases for businesses, nonprofit organizations and municipalities through capital and municipal leases. Recruited to lead the new division is George Hoeffner, senior vice president. Hoeffner joins Cass with 28 years of experience in equipment finance.

IMEG Corp. of Rock Island, IL has earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ 52nd annual Engineering Excellence Awards for its role in the renovation and expansion of the Gateway Arch Museum in St. Louis. IMEG provided mechanical, electrical and telecommunications design for the $108.9 million, 50,000-squarefoot addition and 100,000-square-foot renovation project, located underground beneath the Gateway Arch.

Roeslein & Associates Director of Business Development Ron Ragan received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Latamcan show. This award honors those who have made an extraordinary contribution to the can-making industry.

Brennon Vogt has joined AAIC as an architectural intern. He is a Southern Illinois University Carbondale alumnus.

St. Louis-based Haberberger Inc. announces the addition of Jeremy McKinney, Ed Schaffer and Michelle Scott to the mechanical contracting firm’s growing team. McKinney is a project manager, where he will be responsible for overseeing projects and project estimation. Schaffer is a service project manager. In his new role, he will be working with building owners and facility end-users to deliver engineered HVAC-R mechanical solutions and services. Scott is a service administrative manager. She is responsible for dispatching service calls, providing administrative support to the service department and overseeing customer service.

HIRES David Coleman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, has joined HOK as a regional leader for the firm’s Science + Technology practice. He brings nearly 25 years of experience designing college and university projects, with a specialty in strategic facility planning, programming and conceptual design. Guarantee Electrical Company recently announced the hiring of a new market development manager, Nick Arb, for its offices in Missouri, Illinois, Colorado and California. Arb brings 10 years of experience in the electrical and construction industry. Zig Piwowarski has rejoined LANDCO Construction as a project executive. He brings more than 20 years of experience in the local construction industry, with a focus on client relations. Piwowarski originally joined LANDCO as a project manager and estimator back in 2002, after beginning his career as a union carpenter in the field. He spent 10 years at Cushman & Wakefield/Cassidy Turley/ Colliers as a senior manager in project and development services. Piwowarski then served as vice president in project and development services in the St. Louis region for Jones Lang LaSalle. Paul Cermak has joined AAIC as a construction observer/inspector. He brings 28 years of experience in the architecture/engineering/construction industry.

IMPACT Strategies has hired Terry Midgley as a senior project manager and Justin Eilermann as a project manager. Midgley is a 39-year industry veteran with an extensive and varied construction background. Eilermann has 12 years of experience in construction, including field experience and project management. Jasminn Jones of Florissant, MO has joined Kwame Building Group, Inc. as a project engineer. She is responsible for managing submittals on the firm’s $450 million SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital project. Castle Contracting has hired Jeremy Wood as a project manager/estimator. In this position, he pursues project opportunities, manages project estimating activities and oversees the day-to-day operation of projects within Castle’s MEP Civil and Utilities market.

Oculus Inc. has hired Ali Summerford as the interior design director. In her role, Summerford will oversee interior design services for clients in the healthcare, corporate and education sectors, as well as support business development for the interior design teams in the St. Louis, Dallas and Portland offices.

Tim Shackelford has joined Murphy Data Center Services as a service account manager. He is certified as both a data center and energy management associate, and as a CISCO collaboration sales expert.

The Voice for the St. Louis Construction Industry May – June ‘19




Is Your Business’s Faith in Technology Its Undoing? There’s evidence of it all around us. Teens can’t make change at the drive-thru window. Drivers blindly follow GPS right into a lake (if they take the wheel at all). Cursive writing has become a lost art. Surveys show that people losing their smartphone rank that experience just one point below a terrorist attack in regard to the level of stress it would cause. As technology does more and more for us, the adage “use it or lose it” has begun to prove itself a law of the universe. Just as the prevalence of auto-pilot use caused the FAA to increase simulator time for pilots due to falling reaction times, we see what used to be common knowledge has become foreign to the younger generations – or lost to those who don’t make use of the skills they once had. Maybe map reading, making change or flying planes aren’t required for your business, but the same causes and effects are probably starting to creep into your business processes. After all, we purchase and use technology in our companies to increase productivity and lower costs. However, blind trust in the technology – with staff now unable to verify or recreate the results without the ‘black box’ – should be of concern to any business owner or manager. All technology eventually fails. We back up, surge-protect, virusprotect, firewall and scan. We sync data and for mission-critical systems, we include redundant elements and have spares at the ready. Is your company ready for when the systems “which can’t go down” do go down? Does your business have a documented plan in place to start from scratch in case of a major disaster? Where are the license keys, contracts and warranty information for your equipment, software and services? Is your answer, “On the computer?” If so, you now see the problem. The old POTS (plain old telephone service) was unbelievably resilient. New VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phones are anything but. You can’t just grab a $10 extension phone at Radio Shack like you used to, plug it into the wiring closet and at least get a line out. Now the internet line needs to be up, the switches, routers, firewalls and VoIP servers need to be in place, powered and configured to achieve that same basic dial tone. That’s the price for the cost savings and flexibility of VoIP, and there’s no choice as phone companies slowly turn off those POTS services.


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Fire, flood, earthquake, alien invasion or zombie apocalypse – all could render all your technology infrastructure useless. You say, “It’s all safely in the cloud” and that’s fine, assuming you can get to that cloud. What many forget is that if you can’t get to your account information, license keys, contracts and the like, you can’t gain access. With encryption being the norm for backups nowadays (for good reason, as I’ve discussed in previous columns) that also means if you lose the key, the data is rendered useless and unrecoverable. What’s a business owner or manager to do? Follow the words of President Ronald Reagan, “Trust, but verify.” • Take the steps to back up locally and offsite in the cloud. • Put redundant elements in place where critical. • Regularly maintain and update not only the hardware, but the software also. • Make sure there are hard copies of your contracts, licenses, keys and other critical information locked up in a fire safe both on-site and off-site. • Have a contact list for emergencies and a calling order to wrangle the staff together. • Drill your staff to make sure they can keep basic business functions running without the cool technology. • Check your insurance coverage to verify you have cyber coverage as well as contents coverage. • Speak to your IT provider about what services it can offer in event of an emergency. The United States Small Business Administration found that more than 90 percent of companies fail within two years of being struck by a disaster. Unfortunately, it’s these basic non-technology pieces of the technology puzzle which elude so many business owners and become the death knell after a disaster strikes. Use these tips and apply common sense business practices to make sure your business doesn’t become a statistic. Joe Balsarotti is President of Software To Go and is a 40-year veteran of the computer industry, reaching back to the days of the Apple II. Keep up with tech by following him at or on Twitter @softtogo.




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