Results Magazine | Winter 2019

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Innovations Issue | Winter 2019








Special Feature:




PUBLISHER Brittany Scheckelhoff

EDITOR IN CHIEF Tamara Zupancic

INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED BY Denise Reynolds Outside The Lines Creative Group Jenny Campbell Campbell & Co. Cartooning

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jim Cathcart Austin’s Critical Five When Building a Future Factory Brandon Davis New Production Facility for Plant-Based Proteins Kyle Johnson Tech Tools to Map Locations Omar Sheikh Exclusively Innovative; Exclusively Austin Mike Pierce Building Women. The Other Face of Construction Charles (Chas) Hammond Zoetis | Phase 2 Nirav Mehta Engineering Going Lean with Touchplan

ART DEPARTMENT Brittany Scheckelhoff and Tamara Zupancic


Rounded square Only use blue and/or white. For more details check out our Brand Guidelines.



President’s Pen 2 The Austin Method Always Leads to Results Spotlights 10 Exclusively Innovative; Exclusively Austin 18 Zoetis | Phase 2 20 Engineering Goes Lean With Touchplan 22 New Production Facility for Plant-Based Proteins Features 6 Austin’s Critical Five When Building a Future Factory 8 Tech Tools to Map Locations 12 Building Women. The Other Face of Construction Blog Log 4 Celebrating 100 Years of the Austin “Pretzel” Logo Global Gallery 26 Pictures from Across Austin



Proven Then. Proven Now. The Austin Method Always Leads to Results By Mike Pierce

The Austin Company has transformed over the past few years with the addition of new leaders, pursuits in new markets, growth in our services, and the launch of a new business management system known as EOS®. Those familiar with EOS will know the Vision Traction Organizer™ (VTO for short). Part of the VTO requires the leadership team to identify an organization’s proven process. What is Austin’s proven process? As Austin’s leadership team discussed this question, our knee-jerk response was The Austin Method®. But was that the right answer? I believe it is. So, what is The Austin Method?

DEFINING THE AUSTIN METHOD For my entire career here, The Austin Method has been depicted by a bar chart showing Step 1/Step 2 of our Design-Build approach. To be sure, the Step 1/Step 2 process has been a proven success when followed. And yet, we have acknowledged for many years that most projects, especially those with our most valued repeat clients, do not follow this described approach. It begs the question is there value in The Austin Method for clients not using a Step 1/Step 2 approach, or not using our full-service capabilities that make Step 1/Step 2 possible? These questions prompt us to take a more in-depth look into The Austin Method and its value to the marketplace. First, no records exist that Samuel or Wilbert Austin mapped out the Step 1/Step 2 approach. And, the term “The Austin Method” existed long before the bar chart graphic was developed.



The contracting method commonly used in Samuel and Wilbert’s time was primarily a design|bid|build approach. Samuel felt this method both frustrated owners and brought discredit to the contracting industry, an industry he had passion for as a master craftsman carpenter. For Samuel and Wilbert, The Austin Method was a way to better serve clients by assuming single-source responsibility to design and construct a building. For The Austin Method to work effectively, Austin needed to control the resources required to execute the scope of work. A 1907 ad in Cleveland newspapers defined The Austin Method as “a square deal way of planning, erecting, equipping and maintaining buildings. It makes you your architect, engineer, and builder, plus our specialized knowledge, experience, and facilities.”

The Austin Method Step 1/Step 2 bar chart

Samuel was committed to a square deal approach and placed the highest priority on ethics in his business. His great-grandson, Richard, told me that Samuel was a profoundly religious man who was considered a Primitive Methodist, a conservative sect of the Methodist faith. Richard went on to explain that the name The Austin Method—not process or approach— indicates that Samuel had a religious conviction to create a better way of serving clients. A Step 1/Step 2 bar chart was not at the forefront of his business strategy.

What was at the forefront of his strategy was to offer comprehensive services and solutions to deliver projects with Results, Not Excuses®. No finger-pointing. No blaming other contracted parties. Just results. Again, our motto—Results, Not Excuses®—showed up in our history long before the Step 1 /Step 2 charts.

We can better understand what comprehensive solutions mean by looking at an auto repair shop that advertises to offer full service. The repair shop must have all the assets—tools in the toolbox—to take care of whatever a customer’s needs may be. If the necessary vehicle lifts, alignment machines, or diagnostic computers are not in the toolbox, then it’s not a full-service shop. Of course, every tool is not needed on every job, but for a master mechanic to be successful in a full-service shop, all the tools have to be available. Samuel and Wilbert Austin approached the world of construction with this same concept of full service: complete responsibility, with a full toolbox of resources. Today, The Austin Company’s toolkit includes our broad range of technology and expertise, and it is one of the most significant benefits we offer our clients. To be sure, one way of using Austin’s resources effectively is with our stepped approach. Still, we continue to create other modes of applying The Austin Method to provide undivided responsibility while catering to the individual needs of each client. From site location to planning, project layout, budgeting, design, estimating, scheduling, project implementation, and facility maintenance, The Austin Company has all the tools necessary to take a project from a whisper in the wind to concept, completion, and beyond. Because of our comprehensive toolbox—let’s call it The Austin Method—we are better equipped to solve a client’s project challenges no matter what service they are requesting of us. Transformation indicates change, but change doesn’t always mean doing something new. Sometimes change leads you to revisit foundational philosophies, return to religious roots, or reexamine the beliefs that have defined an organization for more than a century. And so, The Austin Method is not about a bar chart or stepped approaches. The Austin Method is not an either/or system. It is a pliable, all-encompassing, full complement of services (aka tools) that are utilized either together or a-la-carte at any phase of a project. The Austin Method will always lead to a successful result. Why? Because it is a proven process that works as well today as it did back in the days of Samuel and Wilbert Austin.

An Excerpt from East of Cleveland…

The symbol over the doorway stood for creative design and engineering, for skilled management, and unparalleled moral integrity. Samuel Austin applied his faith to this craftsmanship. His son, Wilbert J. Austin, released an outpouring of technological innovation that remained within the compass of his father’s business ethics. A unique fusion of technology, management, and ethics became The Austin Method that would propel Austin to become the leading industrial construction company of the early twentieth century. Indeed, the application of this “method” to a continually changing society illuminates some of the moral possibilities within America’s industrial culture. East of Cleveland, Moral Imagination in Industrial Culture 1820-1940 © 2004, by Richard Cartwright Austin





Celebrating 100 Year s OF THE

By Brandon Davis


I once had a marketing consultant I respected greatly tell me “the brand specifics really don’t matter that much; you can make your name and logo whatever you want and then build a story and a reputation behind it.” He followed this by providing several examples of solid brands with little thought behind their original logo, or who’s operations today bare little relation to their original purpose or branding. And yet, the brands remain strong through company performance, their products, and the values built around the brand. At Austin, our performance, reputation and values were built first. The Austin logo was developed with a significant amount of thought and meaning. Austin’s branding –our logo – was created to help tell the story that was already in place, and that story continues today. For many, when we first saw The Austin Company logo we spent a bit of time trying to figure it out. We could see the “A” for Austin maybe, but what about the rest of it? Where was the “C” or “Co” for company? Eventually, we would give up and move on, until someone shared the Austin logo story with us later. The Austin logo—the “pretzel”—was diligently thought-out by our founder, his son, and some of the original team members of Austin. The design is an “A” and an “M,” representing The Austin Method®. The Austin Method® being the first and most critical of many innovations brought to our industry by The Austin Company – and what launched the Company into becoming a contractor powerhouse across the United States and globally. The word “Method” was chosen by Samuel and Wilbert Austin to pay homage to their strong roots in, and respect for, the values of the Methodist Church. The logo was styled to resemble “Alpha” and “Omega”—the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet— paying homage to The Austin Company’s unique approach for taking ownership, providing accountability and responsibility for the successful delivery of projects from beginning to end. The Alpha and Omega is also another reflection of the Austin family’s deep connection to their religion and core values. Basic values instilled in them through their faith, and that they wanted to be sure were applied to the way business was conducted at their company. The

spacing, sizing and layout were also diligently thought out, and as you have seen around our office, were formally laid out in a diagram for the official trademark on today’s date 100 years ago – February 20, 1917. While versions of the “Austin pretzel” logo had been in use since the early 1900s, in 1917 it was critical for Austin to secure its position and brand. The Company had been achieving significant growth in the several years leading up to the detailed layout of our logo in that design, and to Samuel and Wilbert changing the name of the company from The Samuel Austin & Son Company (which was still the name on February 20, 1917, as you can see on the trademark diagram) to The Austin Company in October 1917. Our founders laid the groundwork for our brand and for this great company. In that simple logo they embedded methodology and procedures (consistency in practice), innovation, ownership and accountability, commitment to family, honesty, integrity, fairness, and doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. Then over the past 100 years they, and many other teams of people since them, including all of us here today, went about backing up and building on that brand and those commitments with our performance and our leadership in the community and industry. We are proud of our legacy, our work, our team, and our values—all of which are represented in our brand—and we represent that brand in everything we do; every day. We continue to live the Austin logo story and Austin legacy today. Some interesting side facts: First versions of an Austin Method logo are documented as early as 1903. Although the “Diagram of Austin Trademark” drawing is dated 1917, the first formal approval of Austin’s trademark by the U.S. patent and trademark office is recorded as 1923 – so it appears it took our predecessors a little bit of time to file and get formal approval / registration of the mark. Calling our logo “the pretzel” is not a modern invention; company newsletters as far back as 1926 refer to the company logo as “the pretzel” or “our beloved pretzel.”

Originally published on Austin’s blog:


to all our men and women on reaching a



+ Million hours without lost time A C C I D E N T RESULTS MAGAZINE





Critical Five

when Building a Future Factory

For decades, the aerospace industry’s advances have been the very essence of innovation. This industry’s continual progress requires cutting-edge manufacturing environments or future factories as commonly referenced. For clients like The Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, and Aerojet Rocketdyne, choosing the right construction partner is critical. We sat down with Jim Cathcart, Austin’s director of project planning for aviation, aerospace, and defense to find out what Austin considers the crucial focus areas when constructing a manufacturing facility, often called a “future factory” for an aerospace industry client. “First,” says Cathcart, “the thought and creativity Austin invests in constructing these facilities are related to the way current aircraft and spacecraft components and assemblies are manufactured.” From there, five critical areas must be considered when designing and building a future factory.

1. CLIMATE-CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT There is a demand for temperature and humidity-controlled environments over a large volume of space, such as highbays. “Composites, polymers, and lightweight non-metallic materials are sensitive to environmental conditions in maintaining critical tolerances during the assembly process. And that’s a challenge,” says Cathcart. The aerospace facility must sustain a consistent interior environment, which means designing for anti-static and climate-controlled areas, clean rooms, infrastructure and utility flexibility, as well as security for Department of Defense programs. “The temperatures, humidity, and air quality inside the facilities must be consistent around the clock every day of the year, even if there’s a monsoon outside,” he adds.

2. MANUFACTURING AUTOMATION Demands for cutting-edge ideas aren’t limited to designing, engineering, and constructing these facilities. Technological advances in the methods of assembling spacecraft, airplanes, rockets and satellites have also required Austin to plan for new systems and techniques.



Cathcart explains, “Today’s sites must support automation and robotics, as well as additive manufacturing like rapid prototyping. In many cases, the manufacturing process begins with a powdered metallic or non-metallic material which is built up from there.” Specialized spaces and environments are not necessarily common in general manufacturing, but in these cases, they are necessary. With potentially fewer humans involved in the manufacturing process and assembly floors occupied by robotic equipment such as AGVs and Air Bearings, Austin has to support these new assembly and material handling technologies. As an example, Cathcart cites the need for super flat floors in assembly plants where massive aircraft or spacecraft are moved throughout the facility using these material handling systems.

3. STRUCTURAL REQUIREMENTS Austin also adapts traditional features of aerospace buildings to meet the industry’s ever-evolving needs. Newly constructed and renovated facilities are designed to meet current manufacturing needs, but often include the flexibility to adapt to future program requirements as well. Cathcart says the use of trenches is one example. “The trench is nothing new in aircraft facilities; it has been used since World War II,” he explains. “However, the evolution of trenches for utility distribution has been remarkable.” Creating utility networks in a trench system enables the manufacturer to move processes quickly within the space because they can tap into the utilities in any part of the plant as needed. In certain situations, especially in super flat flooring applications, trenches may not be advisable, so utilities are run underfloor in a grid formation. Utility pop-up stanchions are provided throughout the manufacturing floor to produce electricity, compressed air, and other services as needed. A retractable lid covers the stanchion keeping the floor smooth.



In addition to meeting the structural requirements of manufacturing in the aerospace industry, Austin works with clients whose hardware, software, and communication channels must be secure without fail. Austin’s aerospace clients include defense contractors for the United States government whose security needs are particularly extensive. Cathcart says, “Austin must deliver solutions that keep clients’ facilities secure from both cyber-attacks and espionage.” Austin’s team members undergo extensive training to maintain compliance with ICD-705 requirements and other national and international mandates, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

Modernizing manufacturing campuses has become a unique and intriguing aspect of renovating aerospace facilities. Austin plans and designs its clients’ facilities to entice the engineers and STEM talent that will be attractive to their clients’ potential workforce.

“We comply with the federal government classified requirements,” Cathcart goes on. “Our solutions enable our clients to maintain the highest security to meet SCIF requirements and by addressing redundancy in systems such as backup generators and batteries. Even in an earthquake, these facilities cannot have any interruption in power and security. Our clients’ data centers are critical. Much like protecting our country’s physical borders, we make sure our clients can protect their cyber borders.”

“Until five-plus years ago, most aerospace campuses were stuck in a time warp of antiquated buildings,” Cathcart says. “We’ve been modernizing facilities with mindfulness to employee retention and attracting talent. Through innovative design, engineering and construction, the renovated buildings are becoming exciting places to work and collaborate, “ he adds. From creative solutions in the physical environment to creating spaces that are both efficient and appealing, The Austin Company will continue to meet the needs of its aerospace clients in the future and beyond.

For more than 100 years, The Austin Company has made enhancements in the design, engineering, and construction of aerospace manufacturing and assembly facilities to meet the needs of the aviation, aerospace, and defense industries.


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Johnson also uses ESRI to map existing site features that will impact clients. “We can identify railroads and highways, which is helpful to our clients. But we can also locate our client’s competitors relative to a site,” Johnson added. “What other manufacturers might be nearby? We map those, too. An adequate workforce, as well as the local competition for that workforce, are always big considerations.”

location, location, location

To say that Austin Consulting is all about the location is to state the obvious. However, for Location Consultant Kyle Johnson there is more to location than meets the eye. Johnson’s real-time, in-depth information on potential site locations provides clients with the data necessary to make important site selection decisions and gives them an edge to get the project deliverables quicker than ever before. To do this, Kyle has mastered technology tools such as ESRI, EMSI, and CoStar. The valuable information these applications provide gives Austin the tools to advise clients quickly on everything from geological information to local labor market conditions to the property listing specifics of potential locations.

esri™ ESRI is spatial mapping software, explained Johnson, “In layman’s terms, it’s a human-made system with which you are deciding how far you are from other things in terms of physical space. Like, from this spot on the map to a river.” Using ESRI, Johnson can see a complete picture of the physical site, including topographical information. “We can look at the contours of hills, or whether the site is flat. We also look at utility locations because the client will need access to water, electricity, gas, and sewer to be operational.”



That’s when Johnson will employ another software program known as EMSI. This program is a labor market analysis tool that provides Austin a valuable snapshot of the local workforce.

emsi EMSI analytics focuses on general population demographics like education, age, income and wages, and population and employment changes. But, said Johnson, it takes a much deeper dive into labor, specifically in determining how many people in a particular industry are employed in a specific region. This sort of information is crucial to site selection, Johnson added. “We look for the location of a potential workforce physically. Maybe the nearest population center is within 15, 30, 45 minutes or an hour. We’re determining whether or not there are enough people to meet this facility’s needs. If they need 2,000 workers, selecting a site near a town of just 10,000 people may not provide our clients with sufficient workers to operate their facility.” Johnson explained further, “A lot of this information is just not readily available to the average researcher. If we secure detailed data on workforce populations based on legitimate labor statistics, we can give our clients quite an advantage.” EMSI also offers a deeper dive into workforce parameters by providing job-posting information. “We have real-time postings,” said Johnson. “So, we can tell our clients which businesses are hiring, how long it takes that employer

to hire, and how many positions they’re looking to fill. Whatever info our client needs can be on the screen in front of us and presented to them in a matter of minutes.”

costar™ In addition to ESRI and EMSI, Austin has added CoStar to its technology arsenal, which Johnson described as “The property listing database. It’s what real estate brokers use.” Thanks to CoStar, Austin’s site location team is now able to access valuable property information in a matter of minutes. “Before CoStar,” said Johnson, “Austin depended on individual communities to provide property information, which could not be delivered as quickly. “This allows us to see all the same information that a broker sees: transactions on a property, square footage of a building, how quickly it sold, how long it was on the market, and other site information. We can also learn about the acreage, how

many floors the building has, and special features like the presence of a crane inside the structure. This information gives us a detailed snapshot upfront of what’s available.” ESRI, EMSI, and CoStar have changed the landscape for Austin’s site location team, as well as for its clients. Working with these new tools is an ongoing task for Johnson. “I constantly keep an eye on new programs and technology being released to see if any of them can increase the advantage we provide to our clients in site selection.” “I’m continually figuring out what’s going to be costefficient as well as beneficial for us,” he added. And most importantly, “All of this is proving to be immensely valuable to our clients. With the addition of these technologies, we are now able to provide more accurate information to clients more quickly than ever before.”

Get to know Kyle Johnson, Location Consultant Kyle brings over nine years of valuable experience in location, community, economic development, and real estate consulting to the Austin team. He maintains a strong background in research and he developing strategies for complex economic issues, including trade, supply chains, industry competitiveness, and business intelligence. Kyle has performed work in the food and beverage processing, agriculture, general manufacturing, consumer products, business services, healthcare, and public safety industries.







EXCLUSIVELY Out on the west coast, The Austin Company has created a new process that provides comprehensive and accurate data to preconstruction and estimating teams early in the project. Omar Sheikh, Austin’s chief structural engineer, is making Austin’s design-build jobs easier using a procedure called “Structural Estimate Streamlining”. “I provide data to the preconstruction team that will help create an accurate estimate of costs by answering questions such as “How much steel will be needed? How much concrete?” Sheikh does this by implementing a particular procedure that uses a 3D structural analysis model, a custom estimating program, and an automated estimate summary sheet. This Structural Estimate Streamlining procedure was created and developed by Sheikh based on his experiences

1. 3D STRUCTURAL MODEL 3D structural models are developed in ETABS or STAAD. A structure analysis is performed and primary super-structure member data is generated. Excel section and tonnage lists can then be extracted.


at Austin. It provides the preconstruction team an accurate estimate of the project’s structural scope, which is especially crucial during the fluid and highly scrutinized beginning stages of a project. “A building is in its infancy at the time,” Sheikh said, “and project scope is in flux. However, the client still expects accurate cost estimates.” With the Structural Estimate Streamlining procedure, repetitive tasks of the estimating process are automated to provide real-time material estimate summaries. The project team may decide to investigate a significant scope modification, such as adding another building story or removing bays in the plan. A process that is comprehensive and expeditious is critical to allow Austin to provide meaningful estimates to the client.

2. DETAILED ESTIMATE CALCULATOR Input salient 3D model data ,as well as project parameters not included in the 3D model (i.e., concrete foundations, connections, crane-related, partitions, wind girts, etc.) and formulas, embedded into spreadsheet, will auto-calculate.

3. STRUCTURAL ESTIMATE SUMMARY Concise and comprehensive, the Structural Estimate Summary is automatically generated by the Detailed Estimate Calculator (above).

According to Sheikh, who’s been with Austin for 11 years, “The first step is to model the primary super-structure in a 3D structural analysis computer model. This allows us to capture the sizing and cost of the main building components. We have set up templates for different types of buildings – such as steel and concrete.” The next step in the process involves a custom-coded program Sheikh has named the Detailed Estimate Calculator. “We use our program to capture every structural item other than the primary building components—such as wind framing, foundations, masonry partition walls, connections, crane support framing, etc.” The Detailed Estimate Calculator automatically generates a document that Sheikh calls the Structure Estimate Summary. The final step is to simply review the summary. The summary, condensed to a single-page for clarity, includes line-item data detailing the structural components of the building.

“It gives very accurate information,” said Sheikh. “And our estimating teams love it.” “Before this procedure was developed,” says Sheikh, “we used a lot of rules of thumb. If a structure has specific square footage, then we can multiply by an industrystandard factor to get the concrete volume, for example. In complex projects which need numerous iterations of accurate estimates however, it can be a Herculean task to provide these estimates accurately. So, we developed the procedure and our custom program.” This streamlined procedure aids Austin in securing accurate numbers very early in the project, which bolsters the client relationship. “Obviously,” says Sheikh, “we are constantly refining the procedure to get better numbers. The program will continue to evolve and improve with time.”





BUILDING WOMEN THE OTHER FACE OF CONSTRUCTION By Mike Pierce In preparation for this article, I recalled a quote I read from an Austin Board meeting sometime around 1942. At the time, Austin’s sales were peaking at $285,000,000. The company grew from a staff of 571 employees to over 49,000 employees in just two years. The quote I remembered referenced workforce shortages and then complimented the resourcefulness of our construction executives, where “you will now find ‘girls’ working on our job sites.” What an interesting perspective on how times have changed. Austin’s historic Fort Worth Bomber plant was likely where many of these “girls” worked. Coincidentally, Fort Worth was the birthplace of the National Association of Women in Construction just eleven years later. In 1991, I sold a project at the Denver Airport. Austin was selected by the City and County of Denver to be the architect and engineer for a hangar, cargo facility, flight kitchen, and ground support equipment facility. Instrumental in our winning this work was the advice and counsel of Ginger Evans, who was the assistant director of aviation for the airport in charge of a $16B program. Ginger was one of the most impressive, genuine, and down-to-earth professionals with whom I have ever dealt. As this was early in my career, I had no preconceptions about women in construction. After working with Ginger, I knew without a doubt that women belong in this profession. It is encouraging to see the continued growth of women throughout our projects and our company. I recently visited the Project Palladium site with Kajima USA Chairman Nori Ohashi. Project Palladium is one of the most complex, process-heavy jobs we have undertaken since the 1980s. Giving us a complete review of the project was Site Safety Engineer Daphnie Sharp; Design Team Captain for Mechanical and Process Engineering Sara Simpson; Area Superintendent April Harmer; and Document Control Specialist Ashley Shugar. Project Controls Manager Sandi Shubert was unable to join us that day. All of these team members—these women—bear the responsibility of wearing the Austin hard hat and continuing our legacy of Results, not Excuses®. They are a strong, cohesive team dedicated to the successful completion of one of our most challenging projects.

Some Observations to Ponder • You cannot attend a conference in almost any

industry without hearing about the shortage of qualified people to do the work. Women can help fill this gap.

• It has only been 18 years since the STEM (Science,

Technology, Engineering, and Math) program was adopted by schools in the United States to draw students to these fields.

• The U.S. Dept. of Education states that only 16

percent of high school students are interested in STEM education.

• Women account for just 25 percent of STEM

graduates but constitute a higher percentage of college graduates.

Last quarter, we awarded our first round of value coins. Value coins go to individuals who have been recognized by their peers for living one of Austin’s values in the work they perform. Those values are: Committed to Service, Passion, Innovation, Get It Done, Team Builders, and Own It. 25 percent of those first-round coins went to female team members for exceptional dedication to their roles at Austin. All told, Austin’s female workforce totals about 20 percent of our ranks. When I began working at Austin in the early 80s, most women in the company were in administrative, clerical, or accounting roles with an occasional architect or engineer thrown in. Today, almost 75 percent of our female workforce are in technical or professional positions in engineering, preconstruction, construction, marketing, and accounting. And, at the mid-management level, we have many women holding leadership roles in engineering, project management, and marketing. No doubt, these rising stars will change the leadership landscape in the years to come. The design and construction industry needs to increase its efforts to educate and attract more women to participate in the creation of buildings and infrastructure. Just as it was in 1942, workforce shortages are a challenge we face today. By necessity, this shortage will force an end to old preconceptions and create many new opportunities for women to have an increasing impact on the future of our industry. There is no room for the old preconception that this industry is not for women. Here at Austin, it most certainly is.


Deborah Chavez NOMINEE

Outstanding Women in Construction Award Construction Business Owner magazine The Austin Company Project: Hampton Inn-Homewood Suites Lake Forest, CA An excerpt from the nomination letter: “...Vice President and General Manager William Lee, along with Manager of Construction Dan Guesman and Document Control Administrator and Engineering Specialist Kathy Vermersch wish to nominate Deborah Chavez for this award because we, and so many others, are able to do a better job, build a better building, get a better night’s sleep, and reap better rewards knowing that she is in the trailer at the job site doing what she has become so very adept at doing: keeping the wheels turning and the rungs of the ladder strong.”





ANCA AMAIEI Architect Q: WHERE DID YOU EARN YOUR DEGREE? A: T he G.M. Cantacuzino Faculty of Architecture and “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture & Urbanism – Romania

Q: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO TO BECOME LICENSED IN ROMANIA? A: T he registration process is administered by “The Architectural Order of Romania.” After obtaining your Bachelor of Architecture from an accredited program, the candidate has to be enrolled in the Internship Development Program (IDP). If you have a bachelor’s the IDP is two years; for a Master’s the IDP is one year. After the IDP is done the candidate submits an application and a portfolio of work to The Architectural Order of Romania, and he/she is scheduled for an “in-person” interview. The interview is based on the submitted portfolio and the legislation. There are four sessions every year. If the candidate is not admitted at the first interview, they have the right to apply again during another session of examination.

Q: WHAT DO YOU DO AS AN ARCHITECT IN THE US VS. AS AN ARCHITECT IN ROMANIA? A: I n Romania, as a design architect, I was more involved in the artistic side of the project: sketching freehand, making initial computer-generated images of the project and putting together presentations for the clients. In the United States I’ve been working as part of the production team and this gave me the ability to understand how a building is built, and how the details fit together. As an architect at The Austin Company, I divide my time between preliminary design and analyzing the existing conditions, code and materials research, production of construction documents, answering questions the field might have, and visiting the job site.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING AN ARCHITECT? A: I love being an architect because of the tangible results. Anyone who has ever seen a building that they worked on getting built knows exactly what I am talking about. I love coming up with a design on paper, showing it to the client, incorporating their feedback, and seeing their ideas come to life. I’ve been able to see several projects in which I worked closely with our clients, from the conceptual stages through construction and finally being inhabited by our clients. It truly is a great moment when you find yourself physically walking through a building that was once an idea in your mind.

Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT? A: M y father is a structural engineer with a Ph.D. in seismic engineering and my mom is a geotechnical technician. Both of them worked their entire careers for the same engineering and construction firm. Additionally, it was the only firm of its kind in Bacau; a company that houses all architects, structural and MEP engineers in the county under one roof. I grew up with blueprints, drawings, models and soil samples, dreaming that one day I will be able to join them, and be among the best. Growing up, the best architects I knew were women. As a teenager I understood and admired the amount of talent and dedication they were bringing to their job and I considered it an honor and a challenge to pursue a career that one day will take me to become like them.



JULIA CARROLL Manager of Engineering and Design Q: WHERE DID YOU EARN YOUR DEGREE? A: University of California Berkeley

Q: WHAT DO YOU DO AS MANAGER OF ENGINEERING AND DESIGN? A: A s the Manager of Engineering and Design I am responsible for the complete design effort from concept to construction. Austin is multi-disciplinary and our team provides all aspects of building design including architecture, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and process engineering. We also coordinate with outside consultants including civil, landscape, and geotech. My job responsibilities include quality control, team leadership and motivation, innovation strategies and individual mentoring. Leadership of highly talented technical experts producing multiple projects in a competitive environment requires me to constantly provide just-in-time work processes while maintaining project continuity and team moral. Every day is exciting and challenging.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING THE MANAGER OF ENGINEERING AND DESIGN? A: Creating a collaborative environment and mentoring the architects and engineers to reach their full potential.

Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHOOSE THIS CAREER? A: I was very interested in fine art and also good at math, so the logical thinking was to marry the two fields together and pursue a career in Architecture and Engineering. I came from a family of engineers and I’m proud to continue that tradition through the architectural field.

Q: WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING/MEMORABLE PROJECT YOU HAVE COMPLETED PROFESSIONALLY? OR WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF AND WHY? A: M icroVention Project: MicroVention is a lifesaving medical technology that protects people from aneurysms and heart attacks through the usage of catheter-based, minimally invasive, neuroendovascular technologies. I’ve always been drawn to the industrial projects and believe engineering is a greater good for the world.


Assistant Project Manager

Q: WHERE DID YOU EARN YOUR DEGREE? A: Crafton Hills Community College

Q: WHAT DO YOU DO AS AN ASSISTANT PROJECT MANAGER? A: I’m positioned at an active job site where I monitor and facilitate the processing and tracking of submittals, RFIs, and subcontractor daily reports along with a variety of miscellaneous construction documents. I assist the Project Manager on various activities such as the buyout process, subcontractor scope, schedule preparation, pre-planning and resource forecasting. I also organize and oversee safety orientation, QAQC, ordering equipment, and the onboard training of new employees to use Procore® and Touchplan®, both comprehensive construction software applications. continued on next page





Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING AN ASSISTANT PROJECT MANAGER? A: O ne of my favorite things about being an assistant project manager is relieving some of my project manager’s load regarding change orders and contracts, which leads to interacting with the subcontractor’s project manager. And just keeping things rolling to move the project forward to completion.

Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHOOSE THIS CAREER? A: I owned a sand and gravel company with my late husband, and this is what sparked my interest in construction. I kept the books and he would bring home the pictures so I could see the progress of the projects. I also worked for a block manufacturer, therefore working with a lot of subcontractors. I appreciated the architect’s innovative designs and since then, have loved “the build” ever so passionately.

Q: WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE PROJECT YOU HAVE COMPLETED PROFESSIONALLY? A: I would say the most memorable and challenging project was the McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas. It comprised of the new Air Traffic Control Tower, over 52,000 SF of base building and a parking structure. The tower stood 352 feet and was the second tallest tower in the nation at its dedication. My company supported the FAA with engineers and administrative support.

DONNA LORENZEN Lead Mechanical Engineer Q: WHERE DID YOU EARN YOUR DEGREE? A: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Q: WHAT DO YOU DO AS A LEAD MECHANICAL ENGINEER? A: I am responsible for the interpretation of design programs, criteria, and client input. Donna’s duties include supervision of engineering design and construction document production to assure conformance with project requirements, good engineering practice, codes, standards, regulations, and quality assurance.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING A MECHANICAL ENGINEER? A: T he variety of project work that comes through the doors, and I enjoy that there is not just one way to provide a solution to a client.

Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHOOSE THIS CAREER? A: I was always good at math and science and when I went to the placement center at my local high school, I chose the engineering discipline with the longest list of things to do. I get bored easily so the variety under mechanical engineering appealed to me. I also loved and was pretty good at thermodynamics, so my professors encouraged me to take a path in HVAC.

Q: WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING PROJECT YOU HAVE COMPLETED PROFESSIONALLY? A: B oeing ULA Delta IV: This project was the most exciting for me because I got to work and coordinate with four district offices within Austin, and work with multiple consultants as a mechanical coordinator. It is the biggest project I’ve been on, and I worked with all disciplines while living in Decatur, AL for 16 months. I also started as a design engineer in the conceptual design phase and then rotated to a field engineer when the project was ready for construction. I enjoyed this because I was able to see the entire project life cycle.




Senior Electrical Engineer

Q: WHERE DID YOU EARN YOUR DEGREE? A: Case Western Reserve University

Q: WHAT DO YOU DO AS AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEER? A: I work on everything from medium voltage substations, motors, machines, low voltage power, control systems and custom control panels, lighting, communications systems, fire alarm control panels, etc. Soup to nuts! One of the most important aspects is our role as integrators of all of the pieces of equipment that are supplied by HVAC, process, and facilities. We make all of the pieces work together. We also help everyone work safely­—automating hot, dirty, and dangerous processes, limiting exposure to electrical hazards, and helping everyone get out safely in the event of a major problem.

Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME AN ENGINEER? A: I ’ve always been one to void warranties by taking things apart to find out how they work since I was a kid. Applying science and technology to solve practical problems was a way I could make a difference in the world, to contribute what I could. Not everyone gets to be an astronaut.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING AN ENGINEER? A: E very project is different, and there are always new challenges. I get to keep learning almost every day. The profession has also given me a larger perspective of the world. I’ve done international projects for facilities on every continent except Antarctica. I am still waiting for that opportunity! It is a great pleasure to meet people, learn a little of the language, learn more about the culture, and help them solve whatever problems they are addressing. Engineering touches nearly every part of our daily modern lives, and it’s great to be part of it.

Q: WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING THING YOU HAVE DONE PROFESSIONALLY? A: One of the most exciting episodes happened in Akron in May of 2006. I was working for a company, who was a client of The Austin Company, that gave me an opportunity to take care of the building known as the Akron Airdock. Goodyear used the building to produce blimps for the Navy starting in 1929. Corsair airplanes were built there during World War II. It’s a big part of aviation history in this region. Nearly a quarter mile long, it was the tallest free-span building in the world for many years—the equivalent of 22-stories high. A fire broke out during renovations, and the flames spread quickly. Firefighters responded with ladder trucks, but weren’t able to reach the full height of the building that was already ablaze. There are fire nozzles mounted on the roof, but it’s a very long climb to get there, and the pumps to pressurize the nozzles have to be started. The electrical system is old, the pumps and their controls are cantankerous, and there are angled elevators that could be used to get personnel and equipment to the roof if only they could figure out how to work them. I ran out to see if I could help, and was quickly wading in water and soot up to my shins. There were flying fragments of burning fabric, and the stench of burning rubber which was part of the coating of the building. Once I understood what they needed, I was able to start the fire nozzle pressurizing pumps, start the elevators, and isolate the rest of the electrical system safely. It all happened very fast. The firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control, and the damage wasn’t disastrous. I was just so happy that such an important piece of history was going to live on in its usefulness. A few days later I was stunned to receive thank you letters from the City of Akron, my company, and Lockheed Martin. I didn’t expect any of that. It was such a satisfying thing to be able to help in a time of need, and just another chapter in the long, interesting history of that building. Proof that you can never tell where your engineering knowledge might take you!





Zoetis | Phase 2 PROJECT SIZE

22,000 SF

Throughout The Austin Company’s history, teams have regularly developed innovative engineering, design, and construction solutions to keep clients in full production while building or renovating structures. While such challenges are routine for Austin, Phase 2 of the Zoetis project is a standout example of the creative problemsolving skills of Austin’s construction management team.


Zoetis’ Kalamazoo facilities were all built by The Austin Company. At the project site, Zoetis employs more than 300 people and expects to add 45 new positions when the new building is complete.

Zoetis, a global leader in research and manufacturing of veterinary medicines, vaccines, and diagnostic products, is known for a variety of widely-recognized medications and treatments such as Revolution®, Simpartica™, and Vanguard®. Zoetis’ newest product, an oral medication, required an additional 22,000 SF at their Kalamazoo, Michigan facilities.




Kalamazoo, MI

THE CHALLENGE The additional space was to be added to an existing 540,000 SF operational facility. Adding space to existing facilities is not an unusual request for our construction management team to handle. However, this particular request came with a unique challenge: the new 22,000 SF structure had to be constructed within a courtyard at the project location. And, like most courtyards, this courtyard was landlocked.

Adding to the challenge, active fork-truck transportation corridors surrounded the project site had to remain operational to accommodate the storage of production materials and the subsequent shipping. So not only was construction access to the courtyard a challenge, the existing manufacturing and transportation routes within the campus had to remain fully operational.

Ted Walters, Austin’s lead construction manager for the project, says the size of construction equipment and the client’s ongoing operations didn’t allow for a ready-made solution. Always ready to solve complex challenges, Austin’s team went to work to develop a viable solution with Zoetis involved in all the day-to-day planning.


equipment. Augured pile equipment is much larger than the construction equipment originally planned.” As a result, the team had to revise the plan. Walters says, “We were demolishing the section sooner than expected, which affected the trucking corridor. They’re an active veterinary pharmaceutical company. We needed to make sure their logistics and operations continued uninterrupted.”

The team decided to demolish one of the active transportation corridors so that construction equipment could access the courtyard and operational traffic could be re-routed around the site. For the collection of all raw production material, a new location was identified. This solution allowed Zoetis to continue to move trucks between their manufacturing areas and warehouses.

Back at the problem-solving table, the team quickly developed a second solution which permitted the more substantial construction equipment to access the courtyard, and still enabled Zoetis’ trucks to move to and from the warehouses.

Austin’s team was thrilled that the collaboration with Zoetis personnel led to such a robust solution. The obstacles were cleared to move forward, and demolition could begin. Or so it seemed.

Austin completed underground storm relocation and underground piers for the new building during the summer of 2019. Walters says Austin expects the entire project will be complete by the end of 2020, thanks to a collaborative client relationship and a creative construction management team.



Unluckily, soil borings taken during the engineering phase of the project revealed that changes would be needed for the design of the building’s foundation. According to Walters, “Changing the foundation required different construction





ENGINEERING GOES LEAN WITH TOUCHPLAN® TOUCHPLAN ® Time is a valuable commodity. For design-builders with single-source responsibility, mapping out the time it will take for each component of the project and having an organized plan are crucial to meeting the client’s needs.

Touchplan is a web-based collaboration tool based on lean construction principals. The tool transforms the traditional sticky note pull planning process and connects the team digitally, providing real-time updates for greater efficiency and communication.

Nirav Mehta, Austin’s Western Operations architectural and engineering design project manager, believes that the 30/60/90 day deliverable schedules developed at the start of a new project only tell part of the story. With the pressure to get projects completed as soon as possible, especially those with quick turnaround deadlines, engineering schedules are often compressed.

Mehta has found the program is excellent to help design teams—as well as construction teams—identify critical milestones, define a work plan, look ahead to identify potential constraints, increase accountability, and focus on continual improvement.

At first glance, the accelerated 30/60/90 day milestones can seem overwhelming to an engineering team. Mehta explains that the introduction of new software called Touchplan allows engineers a more practical focus on the individual tasks within those milestones, especially those they can begin immediately. “Our general manager has already used this tool on a construction project with great success,” he says. “We were excited about adapting its capabilities to engineering.”



Austin’s Western Ops has used Touchplan for several months now, and team members are becoming more adept at maximizing its features. The Weekly Work Plan and the Percent Promised Complete features are particularly helpful to engineers, Mehta states. The Weekly Work Plan is a report of To-Do tasks that are to be completed before the next weekly meeting. Mehta says the report serves both as a meeting recap and to identify specific tasks for each team member. The Percent Promised Complete report keeps track of the number of promised tasks that are complete. This report helps identify whether a team is meeting its deadlines or if it needs additional support to do so. It also reveals when a team is ready to assume other tasks. Weekly Touchplan meetings promote communication between individual members of the team and the client.

Using the tool to review task lists allows the engineers to see the sequence of events required and where communication can move the project ahead. Mehta gives the example of an electrical engineer who might need to determine the placement of outlets in a room. To accomplish this, the engineer must have a layout of the room. However, the room layout cannot be sent to the electrical engineer until the client approves it. Touchplan allows the engineer to see on screen this opportunity for communication to move the project ahead. Typically, delayed tasks are identified through these weekly meetings. As a result, a separate meeting can be held to determine how the engineering team can work to get the project back on schedule. By identifying the delay, the team can craft their solutions to reach the milestone date. “Team members are encouraged to login daily to update tasks. Then during the weekly meeting, you can check off completed tasks. And for the tasks that are still open, you can determine if other issues have come up or if you’re waiting on information,” Mehta continues. “Once you know that, you can then plan tasks for the next week. Touchplan helps keep things on track. If you see things slipping, you schedule the necessary meetings to stay on track.” Mehta feels that adapting this new program to engineering provides new opportunities for the team to fine-tune their processes. “Austin is always focused on meeting and exceeding clients’ expectations. Touchplan is another tool to help us do that on every new project.”





New Processing Facility for the Production of


Big projects, food production projects, and fast-track projects fall right into The Austin Company’s wheelhouse of project types. But engineering, procurement, construction (EPC), installation, and starting up a plant to produce a new food ingredients product—one that is scaling from bench to full commercialization level production—is a unique endeavor. Now add to that a fast-track schedule so the owner will be first to market with this new product, and you have the type of “It Can’t Be Done!” project on which Austin teams thrive. Think of it as Austin’s Results, not Excuses® attitude. Selected in late 2018 as the EPC design-build contractor for a new plant-based protein production facility, Austin is breathing new life into a shuttered food plant in the Midwest. The scope of work includes EPC services to demolish existing process equipment, piping, and an existing interior fit-out. This is followed by constructing a new interior fit-out, installing process equipment, piping, advanced process control systems, building multiple building additions, and making site infrastructure improvements. “The selection process was extensive. The owner started with a large group of potential contractors—more than 15— and slowly worked their way down to five firms, requesting detailed EPC approaches and pricing. Five turned into three, then to two, then to us,” said Brandon Davis, Austin’s vice president and general manager for eastern operations. “After receiving the project award, the owner told us how important this project was to their overall business strategy, which is why they made the partner selection process so extensive and took it so seriously. In the end, they shared that they

selected Austin because of our team. Our team demonstrated strong skills in process engineering and installation, showed a commitment to quality, and a dedication to moving fast and working with that can-do attitude. The general feel of Austin’s culture, they said, felt like an honest, family-based, hard-working company and team. Someone they would like to work with,” continued Davis. Once awarded, Austin immediately got to work designing the equipment, process, and controls necessary to bring this product and plant into commercial production. In partnership with the owner’s principal subject matter experts, an integrated team was developed to work together to overcome the project’s many technical challenges. These challenges included designing a facility for a new product not currently available in the marketplace. There was no previous design in place. Other challenges were the many unanticipated modifications to the preliminary process designs, as well as laying out a process that was efficient and effective while operating within the boundaries and constraints of an existing facility. Minimal modifications to the facility and infrastructure added another layer of complexity to the process layout design. In the end, many innovative designs were developed—from new production systems (one of which is in the early stages of being patented in the United States) to the complicated routing of more than 40,000 linear feet of process piping through an existing facility and dense production operations. “It is hard to explain the number of complications that exist with this type of project. There aren’t a lot of “go-by’s” to

reference. We searched for other industries and other types of production operations for commercially-available systems that would fit our needs. We couldn’t find anything that worked,” said Sara Simpson, the project’s design team captain and one of Austin project engineers. “In those cases, our process engineers and designers had to develop something new, design new systems to serve the needs of the project.” Because of the owner’s need to get the product into production, facilities and infrastructure design started simultaneously with the process design. To meet the owner’s demand, close coordination focusing on the significant areas where facilities and infrastructure design could be completed—without waiting for complete process design—was required. In most cases, as the process design progressed in each area, facilities and infrastructure were also developed. In the end, the production and existing warehousing facility was completely renovated, three new buildings were added to the site, a part of the plant was demolished to create the 60-foot tower necessary to support some of the production equipment and operations, the site was significantly modified, and a rail spur for raw material shipping and receiving was added. At the start of the project, Austin’s project manager for this project, Dan Healy, and some of his crucial construction personnel were located in Austin’s Cleveland office. This location allowed Dan and the team to plan the overall project and construction in close collaboration with the Cleveland-based design team. Once the design was well defined for the start of demolition, the construction team mobilized to the site, and Dan followed shortly after that. The owner also embedded several project leaders and

SMEs in Austin’s Cleveland office so that everyone could work together, move fast, and get decisions and direction rapidly. The owner’s personnel maintained a presence in Cleveland until late Spring of 2019, then they, too, mobilized to the project site. Construction crews moved swiftly. To achieve the owner’s production planning needs, the team had to coordinate with Austin’s engineering and design team so that construction, process equipment, material procurement, installation, and other field activities could move rapidly. All this had to occur without compromising quality or safety. “This project has a lot of complexities because of the process and the existing conditions that had to be dealt with. All of which is complicated by the tight schedule,” said Healy. “Although it is not a mega project, it has to be treated like one because of the compressed schedule and overall complexity.” Currently, this project is moving full steam ahead toward its completion date target. “It’s a tough project, for sure,” says Healy. “The only way we get something like this done is by having a strong and capable project leadership team, and I am lucky I have just that with both the engineering and construction teams, and in many of our trade partners and suppliers.” Davis added, “This is a challenging and special project. It’s complicated, and it’s fast. There are a lot of people making this thing happen. But what makes it so challenging is also what makes it so rewarding and something of which we can all be proud.”



Found on Very rare, vintage/antique The Austin Company, The Austin Method, Construction Company, commercial developer, Cleveland, Ohio, Fiberglass Hard Hat from the 1940s. The interior band and cushioning are in excellent shape. No cracks or breaks in the helmet. Across the top, it says “The Austin Co” and the Pretzel on the front with The Austin Method directly under. The band inside the helmet is marked with the manufacturer name “Willson Geotec™, Made in USA.” Also marked on band: adjustable hat sizes. Bill Lee, general manager for western operations, purchased the hat and brought it home. Next time you visit our Irvine office, check it out!





A team from Austin’s Eastern Ops attends the Cleveland Engineering Society Annual Meeting

Eastern Ops Interns enjoy a field trip to a project at Pfizer

Spanning more than 46 years Dan Guzik’s contributions to engineering and the built environment live on in 27 states and 3 foreign countries. Congratulations to Austin’s “Godfather of Process Piping” on your Retirement!



Austin volunteers help build the wall that heals. Special thanks to Paul Dempsey and Joe Dachtler for their assistance in bringing The Wall that Heals to Orange County.

New Hire Draft Day for Eastern Ops

Interns and Austin Consulting visit the Pepperidge Farm project

Enjoying National Ice Cream Day is our team from the West Coast

Eastern Ops Family Picnic





The Austin Company’s Western Michigan team partnered with Jacobs, CRB and Sodexo to thank all of the construction workers at our Pfizer projects in Portage, Michigan.

Members of Austin’s site location team tour Gulfport, Mississippi

Scariest costume: Billiejo Lesage as (gulp) Mike Myers (and she could have won an Oscar for staying in character!) Most Original Costume: Bob Tuckerman as Mr. Austin | Best office decorating goes to Western Ops



Members of Austin’s MarCommTribe (Matt Eddleman, Brittany Scheckelhoff and Nicole Rosario) share stories during the MarComm Summit

Austin’s site location team tours Virginia

Congrats to Lessons Learned Winner, Inna Pivovar

“Way to Be Creative” shout-out to our Western Ops teammates for the clever way they celebrate the change of seasons--with an indoor custom-made puttputt course. Those of us not in California can’t help but suspect this is more about enjoying an afternoon away from work rather than a change of seasons!

Our sales team was busy this year, meeting and greeting clients but still had time for a little fun.

Picture taken from Austin’s Western Michigan Operations, Zoetis project during Phase 1. Learn about Phase 2 by turning to page 18.



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