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Paul Schaum

COO for Pretzels, Inc. Technology @ Work

Virtual Design Austin’s Legacy of Innovation

The Golden Circle, developed by Simon Sinek, is a simple, but powerful model to help answer the question “Why?”


EDITORIAL STAFF Nicole Rosario, Megan Bishop, Luzon Hunnicutt-Thomas (Freelance Writer) ART DEPARTMENT Tamara Zupancic, Brittany Scheckelhoff





DELIVERING AUSTIN’S PURPOSE So much of what The Austin Company does transcends the technical side of planning, designing and building. Communication. Listening. Understanding client needs – not only technically, but also organizationally and culturally – are keys to the success of a project. Beyond our Mission, Vision and Values statements, we have a purpose as an organization. Why we do what we do. A popular author and speaker, Simon Sinek, talks about the Golden Circle. The concept is that any organization can describe itself in three basic ways: what you do, how you do it, and why you do what you do. Sinek reasons that in a competitive world, the key differentiator is not the what or how – it is the why. It is the why that drives us. The why drives the passion and excellence behind what we do every day. Our passion, our why, is delivering facilities for our clients that are critical to their purpose, their whys, such as defending the nation, putting food on tables, providing life-saving medications, and more. To Austin, projects represent significant milestones in our clients’ businesses. These projects help our clients deliver their why. Understanding the why of a project focuses the Austin team on the client’s organization, culture and reason for making the investment. At the onset of a project, Austin Directors of Project Planning and Project Managers are encouraged to invite the client to our offices so they can tell our team about their company, their culture, their customers and why this project is important to them. This creates an enhanced understanding of their why – enhanced contextual awareness that improves decision-making and focus through the entire project lifecycle. To help us maintain this focus, The Austin Company regularly evaluates and implements tools to support our continuous improvement. One of these tools is our Project Execution Plan, or PXP. The project team develops the PXP at the beginning of the project to establish the foundation for continuous improvement, quality, and reducing waste through Lean design and construction practices throughout the entire project. In addition, Austin recently launched the Client Feedback Tool – a survey process that solicits feedback from project team members at various milestones of progress. Initial results from this tool are exciting and confirm its true intent to foster open, regular communications and ensure we are meeting expectations. A client recently told me that what sets Austin apart from competition is how we respond to issues: “You don’t let them fester and become bigger than they need to be. You tackle them head-on and get them resolved.”

WE BUILD THE FUTURE. We are a family of professionals engaged in the creation of better environments in which our clients grow and prosper. Our success depends on our clients’ success in their facilities. We depend on specialty trade partners and our teams of providers of equipment and materials, and we invite you to join us in creating these success stories on our projects. Success starts with safety. Every activity has risk that can be avoided by safe practices.We are all accountable to each other for a safe project. Austin is NEVER satisfied with our safety record. EACH PROJECT WILL BE THE SAFEST PROJECT YET. Success depends on quality. Quality depends on continuous learning. Quality does not just happen. It takes planning and intention. Austin is NEVER satisfied with our quality. EACH PROJECT WILL BE OF BETTER QUALITY THAN THE LAST. Success depends on value received.Value is dependent on safety and quality.Without them, the solutions we develop and construct are tainted. In our competitive marketplace, we must always strive to improve the value we deliver.We do this through continuous learning – getting better each day. The formula for success is simple:

SAFETY + QUALITY + LEARNING +VALUE = SUCCESS This is how we deliver our purpose and how we build the future. This brings me back to Austin’s purpose, our why. Simply put, our “We Build the Future” statement helps every Austin employee deliver our purpose to our clients.

Mike Pierce, President Mike Pierce was named President of The Austin Company on January 1, 2011, and is responsible to Austin’s clients for the successful execution of all projects.





President’s Pen 1 Delivering Austin’s Purpose by Mike Pierce Spotlights 3 Hospitality: Experience The Austin Legacy 4 Meat & Poultry: Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative 6 Baking & Snack: Pepperidge Farm Oven Study 8 Pharmaceutical: Maintenance Management Solutions 10 Manufacturing: Sigma Aldrich Production Upgrade 23 Healthcare: Harlingen Medical Center Phase II 24 Austin Consulting: Shovel-Ready Site Certification Features 12 Snipchat: Quotes from Paul Schaum, Chief Operating Officer for Pretzels, Inc. 14 Technology in Construction: Virtual Design & Construction Blog Log 18 Austin’s Legacy of Innovation: Maintaining A 140-Year-Old Start-Up Culture Global Gallery 26 Pictures from Across Austin

Published: June 2018






The Austin Legacy



The Austin Company is a vertically integrated, multi-disciplined design-build firm, offering a comprehensive portfolio of services, including planning, site location, architectural design, engineering, construction management and general contracting.

Austin was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1878 and today serves clients from five offices across the United States and Mexico: Irvine, California; Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Mexico City, Mexico. Now, 140 years later, we continue to build long-term partnerships with our clients, delivering the best value and service possible in a collaborative approach – just as our founder, Samuel Austin, intended. When developing facility solutions, Austin draws from our deep pool of professional talent and financial resources to deliver results for all projects, regardless of size or complexity. Austin’s breadth of experience includes hospitality, multi-unit, mixed-use, healthcare and senior living properties, restaurants, and higher education facilities, as well as industrial and other commercial projects throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Each member of the Austin team, whether in the field or the office, aims to exceed all project expectations, including cost control, schedule control, quality control, subcontractor management, communication and safety. Austin meets our clients’ vision for their project through a commitment to solutiondriven teamwork, fast-track construction, quality finishes and proven expertise in our industry – providing the foundation for excellence.

Interested in learning more about our hospitality-focused construction services? Reach out to Ken Payne at 661.979.8481 or via email at 






Owner: Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative - Hinton, VA | Facility Type: Poultry Processing | Project Size: 90,000 SF Addition Solutions Provided: Architectural Design, Building Engineering, Process Engineering, Construction, Start-Up & Commissioning The picturesque farmland in the Shenandoah Valley of Hinton, Virginia, is home to the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative (VPGC). Some 65 years ago, Virginia Valley Processors opened a facility that processed turkeys. Eventually, the facility was sold to Pilgrim’s Pride, who, in 2004, announced it was closing the plant. In an example of grit and determination, the growers joined forces to purchase the plant, which has been operating ever since. But when consumer demand began to surpass production capabilities, maintaining their position as one of the nation’s largest suppliers of organic and antibiotic-free turkey products seemed impossible. Such was the situation facing VPGC in 2016. In addition to outgrowing its poultry processing facility, the company needed a more humane and economic way to harvest turkeys, with emphasis on minimizing concerns of cross contamination during processing. For direction, VPGC turned to Austin’s Project Executive Ed Wright, an industry expert and long-time adviser, who began to assist in formulating the best strategy for optimizing their objectives. Wright’s knowledge and insight resulted in Austin being awarded a contract in October 2017.



Tasked with building a new, 90,000 square foot addition connected to VPGC’s existing processing facility, Austin was driven by two major goals — doing so without disrupting plant operations and keeping everyone on the active site safe through the process. Because VPGC’s employees would be working and moving around an active construction area, site control and communication proved crucial. Orientations and daily updates for both VPGC and Austin’s project team were coordinated to keep everyone abreast of respective work schedules and their restrictions on activity. A compressed construction schedule added to the pressure. The total project—from concept and process design to move-in ready— was 14 months. The fast deadline stemmed from VPGC’s need to have the plant up and running during the Christmas and New Year break, when production was planned a year in advance to be slow. “In the poultry business, you must plan your pullet deliveries up to one year in advance and then maintain your production schedule based on your plan. We could not miss that window of opportunity,” stated Jim Ashworth, Senior Project Manager.

Austin relied on Lean Design and Construction principles to minimize risks in achieving the schedule and to reduce waste on the project. The contract specified a March 17, 2017, building completion. Despite major challenges, Austin delivered. Key among VPGC’s aspirations was a new, state-of-the-art processing plant – one that would incorporate the latest technology into their processing operations. That, combined with addressing consumer demand, growth requirements and safety concerns, made for substantial challenges.

“In the poultry business, you must plan your pullet deliveries up to one year in advance and then maintain your production schedule based on your plan. We could not miss that window of opportunity.”  

eliminated and are now process steps that can be accomplished by anyone. This helped increase production and improved worker satisfaction. To complete the project, new process equipment had to be connected, thoroughly tested and everyone properly trained – all without disrupting existing plant operations. A four-day shutdown offered a window of quick transition without any interruption in operations.

Jim Ashworth Senior Project Manager The Austin Company

The first challenge dealt with proper handling of the offal byproducts. As part of the new system, rotating screens were utilized to de-water the offal. This required drilling deep into the earth, where the construction team encountered major rock layers. Dynamite was required to excavate, which slowed progress. Connecting the old facility with the new one posed another challenge. A pedestrian bridge connecting the two facilities was built, and another was required to transport the finished products from one building to the next. This elevated conveyor belt system extended from the new addition to the existing facility, where, after processing, finished products were shuttled for further processing, packaging and shipping. “Maintaining proper sanitation was a critical part of the new processing system,” Wright said. “That meant continuing the separation of the actual harvest process from further processes to address cross-contamination concerns.” This new system also proved beneficial to VPGC workers as those jobs that were once designated as “labor intensive” were

“The key to the project was making the addition tie-in to the existing facility without a hitch. Many moving pieces and crowded work conditions were challenges, but the turkey bridge work was successfully completed over a four-day shutdown that included 158 individuals working 24 hours a day. The existing evisceration and offal areas were demolished, bridge steel and concrete floor were placed, IMP walls and ceiling were installed, and transfer conveyors were completed. All work took place without any safety violations and was finished with top quality, despite the fast-track performance of the trades. The client expressed amazement with the speed and quality of the work,” stated Ashworth. Today, Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative operates a state-ofthe-art harvest facility that will serve them well in maintaining their competitive position in the turkey processing industry. By automating much of the harvest process, they can more easily fill all positions and process the required number of birds in all seasons. Ultimately, the new poultry processing facility took the effort of the VPGC staff, the expertise of Austin, the collaboration of personnel in the field, and the trust of 165 poultry growers. The result is a modern and more efficient facility built for a small town feeding America.




Owner: Pepperidge Farm, Inc. Location: Denver, PA Facility Type: Bakery Production Project Size: 30,000 SF Solutions Provided: 3D Laser Scanning, Design Study


Line-Oven Study

When Pepperidge Farm, Inc. considered a major capital improvement to its active bakery in Denver, Pennsylvania, it needed to evaluate the most efficient, cost effective method to analyze geometric fit of the new equipment while minimizing the impact to ongoing production. By applying its 3D laser scanning technology, The Austin Company delivered the owner the best option for its existing conditions within two weeks. Among other bakery items, the 611,000 square foot facility is the company’s exclusive cookie producer. Seven lines manufacture more than 40 varieties, including Brussels and Milano®. When increased product demand led to the need to increase throughput on a high-speed production line, the company considered replacing its line oven with a larger single-level or double-stack model. Accurate data capture of the existing plant’s oven line, packaging area, utility drops and mechanical systems was crucial to determining the feasibility of replacing the line oven.



275 scans

30,000 SF detailed point cloud data captured


weeks to virtually “walk” through the plant



The owner released Austin to provide a faster and more accurate solution to collecting data on the plant’s as-built conditions. However, scheduling scans in a busy, 24/7 manufacturing plant provided an early challenge. The team worked with the owner to pinpoint windows of low production during normal operating hours. Austin also successfully coordinated with the owner to educate employees about the scan process and assure them of its safety. Over a period of four days, 275 scans were conducted, capturing detailed point cloud data on 30,000 square feet of existing manufacturing space. After three to four days of post-processing and iteration clean up, the team delivered a Navisworks model including a laser scan of the plant’s existing conditions and a 3D scan of new oven line options.

The scan and model revealed that the plant’s existing mixers and roof would provide the biggest spatial conflicts, and the single-level oven design would prove most efficient and least intrusive to the plant’s employees and overall operations. Barry Rogers, Project Manager, explains why high-definition laser scanning provided the best graphical solution for this owner.

“Just by ‘walking’ around the plant on the computer screen, they knew exactly what the issues were and what the impact of each upgrade would be.” Barry Rogers Project Manager The Austin Company

“They never thought the double stack would fit, but we showed them that we found a way to make either oven option successful. Just by walking around the plant on the computer screen, they knew exactly what the issues were and what the impact of each upgrade would be.” The entire process took two weeks, compared to traditional methods, which would have taken 50% longer. Brian Zuzik, BIM Coordinator, emphasizes why laser scanning means higher-quality deliverables in less time. “Laser scanning has allowed us to make better, more informed decisions earlier in the planning and design process because the data gathered is accurate, reliable and provides designers

the full picture as to what actually exists. In this instance, laser scanning eliminated the need to model or draft the existing conditions based on time-consuming, incomplete field data. Instead, it allowed us to focus our efforts on the impact our designs would have on the existing facility and production lines and provide our recommendation to the owner as to which would have the least effect on operations.”

Rogers adds, “Use of scanning allowed very quick definition of the existing conditions in 3D, enabling us to develop the two options and present them in complete and thorough detail to the owner. Because of the ‘picture’ quality of the work, it was easily understood by company decision makers, leading to a quick decision on the plant upgrade, and the decision had a high level of confidence due to the completeness and 3D nature of the presentation.” The owner is still contemplating whether or not to implement the design upgrade, but laser scanning provides the confidence needed to move forward in the future without the worry of unexpected, costly construction delays and down time.





Pharmaceutical Company Maintenance Solutions

Owner: Pharmaceutical Company - Midwest Plant Type: Packaging | Project Size: 60,000 SF Solutions Provided: Maintenance and Small Cap Projects


This leading pharmaceutical company is expected to have a world-class maintenance system. Yet, unexpected downtimes and extended shutdowns stemming from equipment failures threatened the maximum profit potential of its Midwest packaging plant.

The Austin Company was selected to apply its maintenance expertise to evaluate and retool its maintenance program to improve equipment uptime. Austin’s leading expert, Jeff Peck, Maintenance Operations Manager, was dispatched to oversee the project. The first step in what became a three-phase project was to evaluate the plant’s existing model to identify key problem areas, followed by recommendations for improvement. Within four weeks, Austin delivered its discovery: the plant did not meet best practice standards required by the industry. Peck explained the findings and their growing implications on overall production: “Even though the company purchased this small pharmaceutical plant within the last ten years, it continued to operate in the same fashion it had prior to being purchased. With this status-quo mentality increasing equipment outages and extending scheduled shutdowns for up to two weeks, they recognized dramatic changes had to be made.” The 60,000 square foot facility employed 60 employees, working a single shift, five days a week.



Most maintenance activities were based on problems encountered over the years and not on recommended industry practices. Many activities were performed by experienced technicians based on their “tribal knowledge,” and often undocumented. With this approach, equipment breakdowns were occurring far too often, causing loss of production. The owner needed a more formal, disciplined approach to managing maintenance activities. This included the need for a dedicated resource to plan and schedule all maintenance work, which Austin provided. “The plant’s program was out of step with its sister plants and we applied good practice standards in an industry that demands it,” Peck said. “This allows them to do all the right things for their equipment, at the right time. So, they can detect and fix most problems before a part fails, which increases productivity and improves results. It’s the type of high-level performance expected by the FDA.” Leaving little to chance, the company General Manager saw another opportunity — retaining Austin to manage its two annually scheduled shutdowns in November and May. Reassured by initial results and Austin’s past performance for them, the General Manager released Austin to perform the work. Austin brought in one of its experienced maintenance shutdown managers who was tasked with shortening the shutdown activities from the historic two-week period to a single week. By employing Austin’s standard project management and maintenance techniques—including the use of comprehensive planning and scheduling tools and tracking systems—Austin completed all work and successfully shortened the shut-down period, resulting in one

additional production run. The plant was ready for production as needed, despite several last-minute delays. The owner also retained Austin to continue to implement its recommendations, the third and final phase of the program. Currently, Peck is actively working to manage a plan that addresses the owner’s comprehensive maintenance program. The efforts will continue throughout 2018 with the expected result of a world-class maintenance program by year-end.

“Despite its small footprint, the plant contributes $100 million to its company’s global earnings each year. If you divide that by 365 days in a year, you can see how much a day’s downtime would cost...” Jeff Peck Maintenance Operations Manager

Peck explains the decision. “Despite its small footprint, the plant contributes $100 million to its company’s global earnings each year. If you divide that by 365 days in a year, you can see how much a day’s downtime would cost them in production and the benefits from one additional week of shut-down” This dramatic turnaround is a testament to the impact of good maintenance solutions on a owner’s overall performance.

P zer Global Supply



Imagery ©2018 Google, Map data ©2018 Google

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Sigma-Aldrich, recently acquired by MillaporeSigma, was challenged with an aging process cooling system that slowed heat removal from its raw materials and the capacity to manufacture more product. The Cleveland, Ohio, chemical manufacturer needed a faster, more efficient way to maximize capacity. However, an increase in output also meant an increase in safety concerns, which is why the plant’s fire suppression capabilities needed to be upgraded as well.

Owner: Sigma-Aldrich Location: Ceveland, OH Facility Type: Chemical Manufacturing Facility Solutions Provided: Design-Build

The Austin Company was selected to design-build a new process cooling system and, under a separate contract, implement construction upgrades to its fire suppression system. Although Austin was hired to execute two contracts, the projects were combined to ensure the best price and maximum coordination for the owner. This decision led to an appropriation surplus, which the company applied toward improvements to its two-story office building and site. Operating multiple shifts, seven days a week, posed a logistical challenge. The owner issued a six-week, scheduled company shutdown from February to April, and released Austin to perform the work while the plant was empty, with emphasis on completing the process cooling system, first. Karl Mews, Construction Manager, explained Austin’s approach to the fast-track schedule: “Basically, the owner said, ‘we’re shutting down operations for six weeks for work to be completed.’ We knew that operations could resume after the shutdown without the glycol [cooling] system installed, so, before the shutdown, we spent two months preplanning the work and prepping areas to ensure maximum project lead time. This was tricky and took a lot of coordination because the plant was at full capacity.” The team also relied heavily on Lean construction practices, such as Pull Planning meetings with all trade partners and weekly Last



Planner meetings to stay on schedule and guard against delays. The first phase dealt with the design-build of the new cooling system. Fluctuating, improper cooling temperatures slowed the system’s heat-reaction process and the company’s production capacity. Austin designed and installed a system using new air-cooled chillers to boost capacity.

Jim Neveu, Project Manager, explained the difference. “The new design was able to take the water temperatures down to the desired temperature, removing heat from the owner’s raw materials much faster and more efficiently than the older system, enabling the company to double production.” A new 4,000-amp transformer, electrical service and switchgear powered the process and the rest of the factory. Next, the team focused on upgrading the plant’s ability to control and quickly extinguish fires. Water-based systems were installed in the company’s warehouse, two-story office building, and maintenance building. And a high-density, foam-based upgrade replaced the water-based system in the general production plant. The plant’s Tank Farm – its highest hazard area – required a different kind of suppression system to ensure quick, effective fire suppression. Consisting of six, large open alcohol storage tanks surrounded by a five-foot retaining wall, the team equipped the Tank Farm with a foam deluge extinguishing system. Neveu explained the rationale: “Flammable liquids in two- or three-dimensional structures such as this must be controlled and extinguished quickly to minimize damage and prevent the further spread of fire. This system is designed to quickly control and extinguish flammable liquids by forming a blanket over the tanks’ surfaces, preventing oxygen

from getting to the fire and smothering vapors that could ignite in the air.” To support the delivery system’s hydraulic design demands, installation of a new diesel water pump began and the team built an 800-square foot pump house to contain it. Managing safety risks in a chemical plant surrounded by hazardous materials was a difficult and constant challenge. To guard against incident and exposing workers to danger, Austin implemented a “Target Zero” safety program. Mews explains the added precaution: “Many staff on site were not familiar with working in a chemical plant. And, there were many potential hazards that could serve as a potential ignition source – even a cell phone, for example. So, before any trades professional performed a task, we had our safety representative ensure it was done properly to guard against issues.” Neveu added: “Meeting such a difficult deadline was tough enough, without the restraints and limitations of working in a hazardous environment. To complete the work during the shutdown, everyone was working 12 or more hours a day, but we had to carefully monitor workers to determine if they were exhibiting unsafe behavior due to fatigue, so that added to the difficulty of getting it all done.”

This safety-minded culture was driven by both Austin and the owner. Orientations were coordinated daily and each contractor’s participation recorded to ensure 100% participation before site access. Safety meetings were conducted prior to working in new buildings or areas to point out potential dangers and discuss safeguards. Fire-resistant gowns, smocks and other clothing were mandatory. Despite the challenges, by the end of the shutdown, Austin successfully installed the new process cooling system.





Pretzel s, Inc.

Baking Production Facility - Plymouth, IN Quotes by Paul Schaum - Chief Operating Officer, Pretzels, Inc.



On June 4, 2016, we experienced a devastating fire in our Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania plant. We lost the entire plant, and there was a need for us to completely rebuild. Because our product was going to go dark on the market, we had to do it rather quickly.

Project Size: 45,000 SF | Solutions Provided: Site Location, Design-Build

“ “ “

“ “ “ “

There are only two companies in the United States that make a peanut butter filled pretzel, and we were one of them. It was going to cause us to lose production and we needed to get back in business as quickly as possible. So, I contacted The Austin Company for their assistance. I’ve known Austin to be a very thorough, quick and professional group. They were actually the first name that I thought of when I was asked if I knew anybody that could do this work. Austin presented us 22 separate building [site location] opportunities across three states, and that started our process for a site search. The search culminated into the purchase of a site in Plymouth, Indiana. At that point, we had several design-build meetings while we were searching for a site, so that when we found the spot we eventually ended up in, we were able to react quickly.

“ “ “

I went to Cleveland and met with a group of 12 engineers for a day, and together, we laid out a computer-designed plan in about 24 hours. Through their technology and ability to go through, ‘How do we set this piece of equipment in place? What if we move a wall here?’ we were able to lay out the plan in this shell building on paper. And about 90 percent of it was complete. On October 14, we took the keys to a shell building that was four walls, a roof and a dirt floor. On November 15, we had the first slab poured. In December, we had the first equipment start to be delivered.

From start to finish, it was nine-and-a-half months. From the point where we took over the building and went into full production, it was five-and-a-half months. Some of the things that Austin brought to the table were how to design a plant and what the new techniques were that could help speed it along. Austin also brought in ideas on how to isolate our raw material from our processing room, our processing room from our oven room, the ability to do air handling systems, and the ability to cool product prior to it going into packaging. We were at a point where we needed somebody to help us and Austin demonstrated everything I thought they were going to.





Virtual Design and Construction Austin’s approach to innovation is one of continuous improvement. We are always looking for ways to introduce new technologies and software solutions to further advance our ability to deliver results and provide the best solution for our clients. Chief among these solutions are laser scanners. Used in combination with upgrades to our 3D-based BIM (Building Information Modeling) software, this tool is optimizing the quality, accuracy and efficiency of our design-build process like never before.


Laser Scanning is not new technology or new to the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) industry by any means. Yet, advances in the quality of scanners and middleware software have helped streamline the process from start to finish. Unlike traditional methods, laser scanners provide fast, high-definition, highly accurate details of every aspect of an environment’s “as built” or “existing conditions.” They work by emitting lasers over the surfaces of objects in an existing building or site. Scanners capture details from multiple angles to measure width, depth and height, and identify object’s spatial relationship to and distance from one another. Then, the scan data or “point clouds” of the objects can be studied in 3D to accurately detect and identify areas of potential conflict within a new design much earlier in the design process. For added perspective, laser scanners also come equipped with HDR cameras, which can provide matching photos of the scans and add realistic texture and color.

“These advantages are revolutionizing the way we approach and execute projects and communicate the process to our clients,” said Brian Zuzik, BIM Coordinator.

“This ability to link a laser scan into our 3D design environment has allowed us to minimize the amount of time it takes to validate potential design options, enabling us to move projects ahead much quicker than in the past. We now can quickly model new design elements, and in this hybrid environment, determine the design’s impact without needing to model the existing conditions,” Zuzik said. This translates into being able to verify potential issues undetected by team members during an initial site visit, and being able to fix them — with computer technology — before they reach the field.



“It sounds complicated, but it’s all about being able to virtually ‘walk’ in an existing building or site to detect potential problems early in the process,” said Zuzik. “This saves both Austin and our clients time and money because it’s much less expensive to spot an issue by reviewing a 3D model, meeting to determine how to resolve it, and making that change on a computer, rather than trying to engineer a fix once it reaches the field,” he explained. Plus, laser scanning also limits the number of job-site visits because, after the initial visit, most changes can be made to the 3D model on the computer. “Traditionally, depending on the project and our team’s time out of the office and other associated costs, the ROI was minimal,” Zuzik said. “We can scan the entire space with lasers, simultaneously take pictures, and gather infinitely more information in the field than ever before, and it’s within 1/16th of an inch accurate.” This is a major advance in the AEC industry, which strives to minimize interferences and unforeseen problems in the field that can delay project delivery. Newer laser scanners also come with built-in GPS receivers, which make it faster and easier to “stitch” together scans from multiple locations to create one unified point cloud. Before now, the scan data had to be post-processed in another application to register and index all of the points. This manual, tedious task was often very time consuming, especially considering some of our past scans had up to 80 million points.

“We have only just begun to unleash the potential impact these technologies can have on our business. They’re changing the way our projects are designed, constructed and operated. And they’re helping to improve decision making and performance across the construction lifecycle.” 


Brian Zuzik, CM-BIM BIM Coordinator The Austin Company

Today, the GPS feature, coupled with advancements in scan processing software, tie the scan positions together in almost real time, and can register all of the points before returning to the office. This offers another means of streamlining the AEC process. These advancements, along with major advancements in scan software, have saved hours, if not days of post-scan work. Another major advancement in laser scanning is the option for automating the conversion of point cloud data into a working Revit model. This means being able to produce various deliverables for clients, including floor plans, elevations, detailed topographical maps and fully integrated 3D models. “Before, a designer would have to ‘trace’ the point cloud to get the ‘as-built’ information into the Revit environment,” Zuzik said. “However, using complex algorithms, software companies have found ways to automate much of this work.” These algorithms can identify complex shapes and patterns and match them against known, industry standard catalogs of pipe diameters, structural sections and others to create the ‘best fit’ for the cloud data.

This type of automating not only increases the accuracy of the model, but allows the design team to focus on the task at hand, rather than modeling documenting existing conditions. With the implementation of these workflows, Austin aims to keep the design teams in the office, rather than at the site with a tape measure and camera, saving time and travel costs while immersing the design teams into readily available, reliable data.

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VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY TOOLS Austin patented one of the original virtual reality/simulation viewing devices in 1988. Given this fact, it’s only natural that we pursue the use of other visualization technologies, such as new Augmented and Virtual Reality tools. We are currently using virtual reality goggles, along with 3D modeled virtual environments, to help owners realize their designs before we build them. We also use these goggles to help our design team immerse themselves in point clouds so they can virtually visit sites without physically doing so.

Continued advancement in these technologies suggest that they will only become more mainstream and readily available. And, the day when an entire building can be built without the use of a single tape measure may not be far off.

“We have only just begun to unleash the potential impact these technologies can have on our business,” Zuzik said. “They’re changing the way our projects are designed, constructed and operated. And they’re helping to improve decision-making and performance across the construction lifecycle.”









Maintaining a 140-Year-Old

Start-Up Culture By Brandon Davis Originally published on Austin’s blog:


his year, The Austin Company celebrates 140 years in business. From the beginning, we’ve been innovators, disruptors and industry leaders. As such, we commit this mindset to the forefront of everything we do. It’s driven our business from the very beginning and is at the core of who we are. Although the years have passed and the company has grown, we will continue to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and energy of a new business — Samuel and Wilbert Austin’s start-up business, to be precise. That’s why I like to refer to Austin as a 140-year-old start-up business, driven by a 140-year-old start-up culture. Yet, how can a company, born of the Industrial Revolution, consider itself a start-up after more than 100 years in existence? Furthermore, why should one as old as Austin commit to such a notion? Fortunately, we don’t let our history, growth, success or failures alter our values, drive, energy and innovative spirit. Instead, we aspire to emulate the teams that came before us — those who set the bar high — with the expectation of future generations rising to or exceeding their high standards. Embracing our 140-year-old start-up culture means we don’t become complacent, lose interest, slow down or stop, but remain abreast of our industry and work to maintain the start-up spirit of enterprise that has shaped our success. We don’t settle into success because we’ve achieved it, but keep reaching for more. INNOVATION At the core of a start-up is displacement, disruption and solving real problems with true innovation. This aptly describes Austin’s culture. It’s who we have been since our foundation and who we continue to aspire to be. We innovate not for the sake of it, but to solve real-world problems. We aren’t in laboratories, but in the world, designing, building and maintaining plants and facilities.

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Dreams, passion and sweat — not money — fuel start-ups, their success and mission. This tends to impassion start-up employees rather than compensation. Plus, they’re excited and motivated by peers, rowing in the same direction as part of a collaborative team.

Most successes in life hinge upon the persistence to face and overcome challenges amid adversity. For new businesses, persistence and perseverance are perhaps their life’s blood.

The work we do at Austin is literally changing the face of the earth. Projects designed and built by us feed, transport, inform, save, improve the quality of life and defend the freedom of millions. We must never let daily tasks allow us to lose sight of the impactful work we do. ACTION Start-ups are driven by bold action, while older companies are less motivated, with more to lose. They tend to sit back, evaluate and build consensus while start-ups act, disrupt and surpass them. Austin’s culture promotes action, which stems from Samuel and Wilbert’s courage to challenge tradition. Their novel approach led to better, faster and higher-value project delivery, and the entire industry followed their lead. We must keep those ideas and actions embedded in who we are. Inaction and indecision simply don’t work for us.

Despite potential obstacles and hard road, they commit to “getting it done” because they realize there’s no other option. Their ability to transform into stable, successful companies is driven by a heavy dose of persistence — the commitment to stick with it — no matter how hard, complicated or overwhelming things get. This mindset is hardwired into the start-up DNA. Sustained persistence sustains success. At Austin, we get this, which is why, despite 140 years in business, we remain a start-up at heart. We promote the importance of persistence in attaining client objectives and resolving challenges with every project and every innovation. We realize with each comes challenges and roadblocks, yet, we view them as opportunities, knowing that the right ideas, attention and hard work lead to the right outcome. TEAMS Without effective, collaborative team players, the prospect of success can be dim. Nothing worthwhile gets done without them. Project success requires the right people in the right positions.

LOVE OF CUSTOMER Start-ups strive to do whatever necessary and feasible to meet the needs of their customers. Their key to success and survival hinge upon going above and beyond to ensure their products or services exceed customer expectations, what’s currently accessible in the marketplace, and provide true value to the customer’s mission and vision. These values have been a part of Austin’s DNA from the beginning.



Teams that work well have the right players with well-aligned visions and personalities. Its players welcome intense collaboration and understand the value of getting the right result — as opposed to doing what’s right for them. We are seeking to build an all-star team, not a team of all-stars. For start-ups, getting teams right is key to getting results. Whether your company is one year old or 100 years old, maintaining a start-up culture takes constant vigilance. The Austin Company has managed to sustain such vigilance. Has your company managed to do the same? 

Recent Innovations by our Family of Companies ◊ The development of a device for measuring concrete leveling for super-flat floors, solving a gap in available technology. ◊ Invention of an oil damper that provides unprecedented improvement in seismic control performance stopping vibrations using earthquake energy. Useful in buildings, bridges and urban infrastructure. ◊ Early development of automated integration between a separate design platform and Revit. ◊ Development of the “Cut & Take Down” building demolition technology, and the first in the world to use this demolition methodology, which quietly dismantles buildings from the ground floor, resulting in less noise, less dust, improved recycling of materials, improved safety environments, and improved efficiency in the mobility of workers and equipment. ◊ Patenting of a new plant design for the food and pharmaceutical industries that integrates the process and FDA/USDA safety practices directly into the facility design. ◊ Development of some of the most advanced real-world uses of automated autonomous construction machinery, allowing massive construction and earthwork machinery to be controlled remotely with GPS. ◊ Investment in and one of the first industrial project uses of masonry robotics technology, allowing for the elimination of some of the “back breaking” work associated with the trade and improving the quality of life of masonry workers. ◊ Investment and development underway as part of a 15-year program to advance in-house autonomous construction machinery software so it can be used on Mars. This will include machineto-machine communication to avoid repeat work and collisions with other equipment – something that will be necessary due to the delays in sending signals from Earth.






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Plant operation and maintenance consulting to help you realize your short- and long-term visions. Austin engages with clients to identify gaps in the key areas of their manufacturing business, provide recommendations and share best practices that could resolve critical issues. We are not out to reinvent the wheel, rather to bring proven solutions to today’s issues.




The Austin Company was awarded the design-build of a 26,000 square foot expansion and renovation within Harlingen Medical Center’s emergency department in Harlingen, Texas. Phase II at the 112-bed Harlingen Medical Center, consists of a newly renovated, 11,250 square foot, state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab and CT imaging suite. The renovation also includes an ultrasound room, storage rooms, men’s and women’s locker rooms, and staff showers.

Owner: Harlingen Medical Center | Location: Harlingen, TX Facility Type: Healthcare Facility | Project Size: 26,300 SF | Solutions Provided: Design-Build The first phase of the project, a 14,990 square foot emergency department addition, was completed June 2016. Phase II construction followed the completion of Phase I. Design for the Phase II renovation was completed in early June 2016—and the owner was still considering equipment needs and selection during framework installation. This presented an early challenge for Austin to coordinate ceiling and room infrastructure upgrades without access to equipment support needs. Chris Henry, Project Executive, explained the dilemma and resolution, “It’s difficult to keep moving when you don’t know what’s next. We know the duct work, amount of air conditioning required, by code what’s required with exhausts and lead lining. But, you get to a point where you’re almost at a standstill. Ultimately, it took a lot of coordination between our project management team, the field staff, subcontractors and the owner and their staff to synchronize all of this.” Since the renovation is adjacent to the newly expanded emergency department, temporary walls were completed to guard against disrupting surgeries and other hospital activities during backfill and ongoing construction. Austin also successfully coordinated with the owner to redirect traffic and monitor air pressure in the newly renovated rooms. These important measures are crucial toward meeting ICRA (Infectious Control Risk Assessment) requirements to guard against the spread of disease. Henry emphasized their significance in the healthcare setting: “Stirring up dust during renovation projects can release harmful contaminants into the air, which can be transferred to other areas through HVAC systems and foot traffic, among other ways. Our monitoring devices track pressure levels and signal an alarm if pressurized levels are not maintained. This wasn’t a challenge with the new emergency room addition because the construction was done on the outside of the hospital, but anytime work is completed inside a hospital space, ICRA regulations apply.” Lean construction practices, such as Pull Planning meetings with all trade partners and weekly Last Planner meetings, enabled the project team to manage these changing conditions and mitigate their impact on the project schedule. Austin was selected by Prime Healthcare in May 2017 to provide design and construction services for this project, involving six consecutive phases of work to be completed by October 2018. Renovation work on the next phase of the project will begin after equipment is delivered and properly inspected by Siemens and Toshiba.

Harlingen Medical Center


Phase II: Cardiac Cath and CT Suite Renovation






NORTHWEST OHIO SITE CERTIFICATION Many food processing companies have operating plants in Northwest Ohio. Among them, big-name brands such as Heinz, Smucker’s, Campbell’s Soup and ConAgra. Hoping to capitalize on this trend, American Electric Power (AEP), in conjunction with Regional Growth Partnership (RGP), engaged Austin Consulting to certify several Northwest Ohio industrial sites as ready for immediate food processing development. This partnership resulted in five new food and beverage shovel-ready site certification designations in Bucyrus, Findlay, Lima, Tiffin and Van Wert. AEP and RGP help communities position themselves for new business, specifically spurring economic development in Ohio’s northwest communities. The goal is to have an inventory of qualified sites that are ready and waiting for other food processing companies who are looking to expand in the region. “Though Austin has certified sites for various industry sectors for more than a decade, AEP and RGP have earmarked designations for food processing because it continues to be a growing segment of the U.S. economy,” said Jonathan Gemmen, Director. “Site certification gives a competitive edge to local governments, economic development organizations and utility providers as they work to attract food and beverage operations to the communities that they serve.” Austin’s food and beverage site certification program helps ease decision-making by ensuring prospective companies that the selected sites have gone through a comprehensive documentation and vetting process. This process consists of nailing down more than 200 critical risk factors in six different categories:


Property Information

Ownership Information



Environmental Information

Community Information


“The bottom line is that by going through our certification documentation on these sites, which is a virtual notebook, prospective companies will have at least 80% of their questions answered and resolved about these locations.” Frank Spano Managing Director Austin Consulting

This is appealing to prospective companies because most of the due diligence on these sites is completed during the certification process. Therefore, locating on a certified site reduces due diligence time frames and corporate risk, allowing for quick and efficient decision making. “Extensive documentation has been completed on these properties,” Gemmen said. “And, because much of this work has already been done — the environmental studies complete, the utilities in place, the documentation compete, the site ready to go — this translates into a company’s operation getting up and running quickly.” This strategy has proven successful for the region and Campbell Soup Company, who already has multiple production facilities in Northwest Ohio. It recently chose to expand on an Austin-AEP certified site in Findlay, where it is building a 740,000 square foot distribution center that is expected to be completed in spring 2018.

“The bottom line is that by going through our certification documentation on these sites, which is a virtual notebook, prospective companies will have at least 80% of their questions answered and resolved about these specific locations,” Frank Spano added. “This prevents an 11thhour impasse. For example, when everything is moving full steam ahead, then, suddenly, they can’t get clearance from a particular regulatory agency.” However, this type of pay-off is not without challenges. According to Austin, site certification for food processing can be a long process, often taking up to a year to complete. To ensure that a site is certified without delays, buy-in from local communities is critical. “I call this process an all-skate — where nearly every key local government official needs to participate to keep the process moving — from the city’s mayor, to city or county engineer, to director of public works, to the person in charge of permits and zoning,” Gemmen said. Ohio is not the only state in which Austin is working with communities to certify sites for food and beverage development. For the past decade, Austin has certified an inventory of industrial sites for communities in Indiana, Tennessee and South Carolina. In fact, Austin is well positioned to perform site certification services across the country for years to come; a result of more than 70 years providing site location assistance on more than 1,700 site selection projects.

To learn more about the unique expertise in site location that Austin Consulting provides, call Frank Spano at 216.544.2687 or visit 





Management and sales team gathering in Cleveland for the annual Sales and Marketing retreat.

DBIA Award for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence Building 100, St Augustine, FL.

Kajima Operations Managers meeting in Newport Beach, CA.

Virginia Poultry project Lessons Learned meeting helps us succeed in the future.

Celebrating Arbor Day, a team of volunteers from the Cleveland office worked with local 1st graders to clean up Lander Elementary School’s outdoor spaces.

Receipt of the Florida Department of Transportation MAA Award for the 2017 Commercial Service Airport Project.



Celebrating Jim Wagner’s 30+ years of service with The Austin Company. Thank you, Jim for your years of service!

Austin’s Irvine business unit provides architectural design, engineering and construction services to build a 42,000 sq. ft. bakery in Springfield, OR.

A Managers’ Meeting held in February focused on new opportunities to serve our clients.

Congratulations to Kalamazoo’s Cement Mason Foreman Jack Galloway who retired after 22 years of service!

A surprise thank you greeted all Cleveland female team members for Women in Construction Week.

Cleveland held its first Annual Chili Cook-off. 15 entries, 1 winner (Amy Hewis) selected as the best!

Working and covering labor costs for Portage (Kalamazoo) Thrift Center; profits help support International Living Waters.

The Cleveland office celebrated Engineer’s Week with a Lego® building contest.

Family Fun Day with whirlyball, laser tag, and bowling beats the Winter doldrums in Cleveland.





Ernie Navarro receives a Certificate of Loyalty for 5 years with Austin.

Irvine staff enjoy an evening of appreciation during their annual Employee Appreciation Dinner.

Let the House Sorting Begin! Irvine put a creative twist to their Employee Appreciation Dinner with a Harry Potter theme.



The Austin Company recently participated in the Kajima USA Safety Summit along with AON, Liberty Mutual, Batson Cook, KBD, and HDCC.

The Zoetis project team in Kalamazoo received First Aid training.

Steve Lotz - Austin Regional Safety Manager for Kalamazoo was caught on camera teaching an Asbestos Awareness Training Classes for one of our valued clients.

The Cleveland office held CPR certification training.

Atlanta team members will receive their OSHA 10 certification cards. Congratulations!

Dave Oshins receives fire extinguisher training from Tyco Simplex Grinnell/Johnson Controls during a Safety Week lunch and learn program.

Safety training is ongoing... Congratulations to these Austinites for completing OSHA 30 training and receiving OSHA 30 cards.





Results Magazine  

Results Magazine Volume 2 Issue 1 Spring/Summer 2018 is a publication by The Austin Company.

Results Magazine  

Results Magazine Volume 2 Issue 1 Spring/Summer 2018 is a publication by The Austin Company.