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Blending new with old

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Aircraft giant entrusts Walbridge

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95 years in business

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12 / 2011



BUILT FOR GOOD FROM THE BEGINNING. WE WERE FORGED IN DETROIT IN 1916 Integrity. Honesty. Character. Doing what is right. Words with great meaning that don’t seem to mean anything anymore. Well they mean something to us. They form the foundation of a company ninetyof responding to crisis and managing risks others wouldn’t touch. WE ARE WALBRIDGE


This Issue 12/2011




From our leadership


University of Michigan Law School




Fort Stewart


Raleigh Michigan Studios


95 years in business


Walbridge Industrial Process


News items


Awards I Commmunity I People


15 Built For Good is a publication of the Walbridge Group, Inc. Forward any comments or questions to Mark Marymee at Š 2011 SM

Built For Good I 3

From our W

elcome to ‘Built For Good.’


This is the inaugural edition of Walbridge’s new customer newsletter. With it, we want to deliver relevant information about our projects, our people and the processes we use daily. We also want to tell you how we leverage our experience, technology and innovative spirit to create positive outcomes for our valued customers. ‘Built For Good’ is more than a newsletter or a slogan, it describes the soul of our company and how we construct and manage our projects and relationships. It exemplifies our approach to business and how we conduct ourselves. What we build is good, especially the relationships we form and maintain with our clients. Thank you for your interest in learning more about Walbridge and our commitment to building things that matter. John Rakolta, Jr. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Walbridge Detroit, Michigan

4 I Built For Good

Blending new with old HERITAGE IS GOOD.

(Above) The new South Hall (left) stands near Hutchins Hall (Below left) Lecture hall (Below right) Hallway at South Hall


ne thing the University of Michigan Law School is noted for is the distinctive English Gothic architecture of its buildings, each constructed between 1923 and 1933. So, when Walbridge was hired to guide the first significant additions made at U-M’s Law Quad in more than 75 years, the biggest challenge was to match new construction and renovated space with the timehonored look of adjacent buildings. A big part of the $65 million project is South Hall, a new four-story, state-of-the-art academic building offering the latest technology. This 100,000-square-foot building houses new classrooms, meeting spaces, and faculty and administrative offices. It had to blend indistinguishably with Hutchins Hall, its neighboring building across the street. “South Hall is unique in that we had a building that was like a mockup,” Walbridge Project Manager William Matthews said in reference to Hutchins Hall. “It was like a Rembrandt painting; we had a direct comparison standing side-by-side.” A key element in South Hall’s construction was finding granite for its exterior that would match the 75-year-old “skin” of Hutchins Hall.

“In 40 years of constructing buildings, this is the nicest I’ve ever built.” - William Matthews, Walbridge Project Manager

The project team visited a number of quarries and even built 10-foot mockup walls before settling on rock from the same Massachusetts quarry used for the original construction of Hutchins Hall. As a result, the exterior of South Hall is hardly distinguishable from its neighboring buildings. “Hutchins Hall set our quality standards extremely high,” Matthews said. “If South Hall wasn’t of the exact same quality, it would stick out like a sore thumb.” Also a part of the overall project was a major renovation of Hutchins Hall, which included transformation of an unused outdoor courtyard into a two-story,16,000-square-foot enclosed commons area (Robert B. Aikens Commons). Walbridge and its project partners also added a new entrance to the building, removed a metal skyway between buildings, and replaced a metal façade on the Law School’s “Stacks” – a wing that houses stacks of historic books. Walbridge choreographed the work around a fully functioning law school, whose daily operations couldn’t be disrupted. The team addressed the challenge with extensive pre-planning, constant communication and by working evening hours and through holidays to get the job done on time.

A study area inside newly renovated Hutchins Hall Built For Good I 5

Embraer’s new 27,000-square-foot paint building in Melbourne, Florida

6 I Built For Good          

Aircraft giant entrusts Walbridge TRUST IS GOOD.


mbraer’s newest jet aircraft complex is functional, easy on the eyes and, most importantly, it’s the company’s first manufacturing site on North American soil. When it decided to expand production of commercial and executive jet aircraft beyond its home base in Brazil, Embraer needed a construction partner with manufacturing facility experience and one capable of careful execution. Embraer chose Walbridge to build its new facility in Melbourne, Fla. One key challenge was meeting requirements for timely construction issued by the state of Florida as part of a multi-million dollar tax incentive package. The aircraft giant put its trust in Walbridge to erect steel structures by a certain date. If Walbridge failed, it could have cost Embraer $10 million.

Embraer, one of the world’s largest aviation manufacturers, serves more than 35 carriers globally. Exceeding expectations was of utmost importance to Walbridge, which served as construction manager-at-risk.

Not only did Walbridge meet the deadline, the project team also used value engineering to identify cost savings that returned $1.9 million in shared savings to Embraer. “The shared savings with the owner enabled them to expand and make changes in some of the facilities as we went along,” said Walbridge Project Manager Rodney Ross. “The president of Embraer was very pleased. It felt gratifying when he complimented us during the project.”

Main entrance

Production floor

Production floor

Lunch area


Rodney Ross

The new complex is nestled on a 25-acre site within Florida’s famed Brevard County Space Coast, not far from NASA. It includes an 80,000-square-foot production hangar, a 27,000-square-foot state-of-the-art paint building and a 76,000-square-foot delivery and design center, which allows customers to preview planes in person and select interior designs. Walbridge incorporated sustainable elements into the project, including low-emission materials, and air quality monitors were used to ensure a healthy environment inside and out. Embraer’s Melbourne paint shop is its first to use an innovative system of down-draft forced wind tunnels that receive and filter paint fumes before re-circulating the air back over the plane. The result is better air quality inside the paint shop and clean air returned to the outdoors. The new North American manufacturing facility will produce Embraer’s Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 executive jets. The highend onsite delivery and design center serves as a showroom. The project was carried out in phases with the production hangar being turned over in February 2011 and the paint building reaching completion two months later. The design and delivery center was finished and turned over in October 2011.

Built For Good I 7

Building new

Army `town` is no small task COMPLEXITY IS GOOD.

Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility (TEMF)

“Our infrastructure phase was very strong. We did very well on that part of the schedule.” - John Walker, Walbridge Project Manager

B Staging area

uilding a new 500-acre team complex for an Army infantry brigade at Fort Stewart was no small task. The massive amount of infrastructure that had to be designed and lowered into or built on top of land in eastern Georgia challenged Walbridge like no military project it had ever undertaken.

osmosis system, which is a pressurized filtration system that removes large molecules and ions from water, built closer to where it was needed was a better alternative. Still, it required digging a well, testing the water, erecting a tower, building a pump house and installing a holding tank. The three small TEMFs and three medium TEMFs Walbridge built at Fort Stewart total 159,870 square feet. Adjacent to each of the six TEMFs are the COFs, which are similar in function but unique in the accommodation of their readiness modules and administrative areas. The six sites are aligned on the southwestern edge of the compound, across the street from living and dining quarters.

TEMF interior

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hired Walbridge to design-build what amounted to a small city at Fort Stewart. As part of a $150 million contract, Walbridge was responsible for bringing all utilities and infrastructure support to the new complex, including electricity, natural gas, water and sewer services; concrete and asphalt for roadways, parking, tank trails, walks, curbs and drains; security lighting, signage and information systems; landscaping, fencing and gates. To prep the area for the IBCT complex, Walbridge completed roughly 525,000 square-feet of clearing, grading and utility installation, and laid 1.5 million square-feet of hard-surfaced area used to park military vehicles – the equivalent of 25 football fields. The team also installed box culverts into two onsite basins – home to a few alligators – on the northeastern edge of the compound, and put in an entirely new drainage system.

Equipment lockers

The team also built six tactical equipment maintenance facilities (TEMFs), six new company operations facilities (COFs), as well as supporting storage and parking areas. “This was a huge infrastructure job,” said Walbridge Project Manager John Walker. “The site was heavy with trees. We had to clear large sections, lay underground utilities and get the building pads ready within deadlines so the general contractors could start work and meet their schedules.” Challenges came at the team from multiple angles. For example, plans called for tapping into a remote well water system. Team members determined that a reverse

Drainage system riprap and box culverts 8 I Built For Good

IBCT at Fort Stewart, GA

The goal for the new complex was to create an area that the IBCT members would not have to leave for everyday activities. The men and women stationed there can dine, go to work, train and head to the gym without having to get in a car. While it usually takes decades to build a city, Walbridge and its construction partners completed the infantry brigade’s new town within two years. In that time, the project team received four consecutive quarterly safety awards from the USACE – one of the company’s best safety performances on a military project to date.

Lights, camera, action PRECISION IS GOOD.

America’s newest motion picture studio is home to Disney’s ‘Oz, The Great and Powerful’


he new $80 million Raleigh Michigan Motion Picture Studios, built on a fasttrack schedule over 10 months, occupies the site of a former General Motors assembly plant in Pontiac, Michigan.

in order to eliminate vibrations from transformers and air handling units. Specialized sound-suppression materials were used throughout the studio buildings.

Walbridge teamed with architect Harley Ellis Deveraux on this design-build project, which is comprised of two production buildings offering seven column-free soundstages, ceiling heights of 45 feet, full lighting grids and the latest in soundsuppression technology. The three largest soundstages can be combined to create a single 90,000-square-foot space that rivals anything found in Hollywood. An adjacent 360,000-square-foot office building has been renovated to provide space for production and post-production companies, and related services firms.

The facility was designed and built to meet stringent demands of a major motion picture studio. During preconstruction, Walbridge representatives visited a studio in Hollywood to fully comprehend electrical needs, load-bearing capabilities of roofs, and complex wood lighting grids and catwalks. Raleigh Michigan Motion Picture Studios has more available electrical power than a nearby 650,000-square-foot hospital.

The project required precision with the transportation, on-site handling and installation of 371 individual precast concrete panels, each weighing 85,000 pounds. They formed the walls of the new production buildings and were shipped 145 miles one-way from a manufacturing facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Pontiac. Walbridge and panel maker, Kerkstra Precast Inc., worked closely to ensure production timing and deliveries met a “just in time” schedule which called for installation of 12 to 18 panels per day. Walbridge connected the studio’s two production buildings with a covered canopy that doubles as an isolated location for mechanical and electrical equipment. This elevated mechanical space was insulated using custom-fabricated floor joist seats that utilized neoprene pads

The new studio’s first tenant is a big one. Disney is producing the major motion picture, “Oz, The Great and Powerful” at Raleigh Michigan. Directed by Michigan native Sam Raimi and starring Academy Award nominee James Franco as the Wizard, this “prequel” to “The Wizard of Oz” is scheduled for release in spring 2013.

Raleigh Michigan Motion Picture Studios • Built on site of former GM assembly plant • 175,000 sq ft production space • 360,000 sq ft office space • 65-foot tall precast concrete wall panels each weigh 85,000 lbs • Seven column-free soundstages • Roof can support single-point load of 5,000 lbs • 35,000-lb concrete “elephant doors” allow easy movement of scenery, equipment

“To have new construction and a new industry in this city that has been hit so hard by the auto company decline is very special.” - Mark Corey, Walbridge Senior Project Manager

Mark Corey

Built For Good I 9

Built for good, built to last LEGACY IS GOOD.


eorge Walbridge and Albert Aldinger, each an experienced constructor in his own right, joined forces in Detroit in 1916 and created a company that would become one of the largest private construction firms in America. As Walbridge observes its 95th year in business, company leaders and employees have had the opportunity to reflect on key attributes and beliefs that remain as strong as ever. Trust. Integrity. Safety. Accountability. Those same core values instilled by the firm’s founders drive the business today.

Albert Aldinger

George Walbridge

“These men established a culture of skill, responsibility and integrity,” said John Rakolta, Jr., Walbridge Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “I always like to say there’s something in the water, and what I mean by that is there’s a history of this company that we all feel committed to. That’s our legacy. That’s why we honor them and maintain values they believed in.” Walbridge and Aldinger first worked together in Chicago in the early 1900s at the Burnham architectural firm. After that, Aldinger moved west to Winnipeg, Canada, where he formed a construction company. Walbridge moved to New York and worked for the Fuller Construction Company, which later sent him to Detroit. After reconnecting in Michigan, the two men incorporated their new construction company in March 1916. Walbridge-Aldinger quickly assembled an impressive list of construction projects, including office buildings, sports and entertainment venues, railroad terminals and auto assembly plants. The two men remained partners for 26 years. The relationship even survived a decision by Walbridge to resign during World War I and join the U.S. Reserve Engineer Corps, which supported the Army Corps of Engineers. After the war, Walbridge returned to the firm and led it to some of its greatest achievements. Aldinger served as Chairman until his death in 1942. Walbridge remained with the firm until his death in 1955. For more information go to

Detroit Orchestra Hall - 1919 10 I Built For Good

Selfridge Air Force Base- 1917

Olympia Stadium - 1927

United Artists Building - 1928

University of Michigan Women’s Dormitory - 1940

Women’s City Club Building - 1923

Good Humor Ice Cream Addition - 1930

Fort Street Union Station - 1948

Bank of the Commonwealth - 1950

Rouge Steel Hot Strip Mill - 1973

Chrysler Tech Center - 1994

Lincoln Motor Company - 1917

Walbridge Employee Photo - 1966

Delta Dental - 2011

Harvest Wind Farm - 2009

Ford Rouge Heritage - 2002

Univ. of Michigan North Quad - 2010

Built For Good I 11

Introducing Walbridge Industrial Process NEW IS GOOD.


albridge has created a new unit, Walbridge Industrial Process, to better serve the needs of customers, especially in the energy and heavy process-related industries. The new group draws on existing internal expertise in project design, engineering, estimating, procurement, construction management and equipment installation. Its objective is to offer a one-stop resource that delivers quality industrial process solutions safely and on-time. Walbridge Industrial Process offerings include conceptual design, civil construction, process line installation, construction management and commissioning. Its work in the areas of power generation, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and manufacturing give Walbridge Industrial Process a highly refined skill-set to both construct facilities and install equipment in the most complex environments. Heading the new unit is Joseph Castellano, a construction industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in industrial construction and project management. Walbridge Industrial Process is based in Detroit and maintains office locations in Pittsburgh; Aurora, Ill.; and LeClaire, Iowa.

12 I Built For Good

More about Walbridge W

albridge is one of America’s largest privately owned construction companies. The company has expertise in several market segments, including: airports, automotive, commercial, education, federal government, healthcare, industrial process, manufacturing, power and energy, and water/wastewater. We’re an industry pace-setter in development of new ideas and methods for quality, staying safe, enhancing sustainability, lowering cost and maximizing long-term project value. For example: • • • •

In 1998, Walbridge became the first construction company in North America to register under ISO-9001 standards. Walbridge was honored in 2010 as one of the safest in America with the AGC National Willis Construction Safety Excellence Award. Our proprietary GreenWISE program measurably reduces environmental impact during construction by instituting 18 recycling and conservation practices. Since 2008, Walbridge has proposed nearly $670 million in savings opportunities to project owners using its value analysis/value engineering knowledgebase.

In 2011, Walbridge reached No. 47 on Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 400 U.S. Contractors, based on 2010 revenue of approximately $1 billion. Walbridge has 1,000 employees and maintains operations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America and the Middle East. Headquarters: Telephone: Website:

777 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226 313-963-8000

News items


asonry work on the Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Headquarters project at Ft. Benning, Ga., headed by Walbridge and McCarty, received a 2011 Project of the Year Award from Masonry Construction magazine.

Chrysler Group selected Walbridge as construction manager of a new 950,000-square-foot body shop at its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Mich. Western Michigan University selected Walbridge as construction manager for its new School of Medicine, to be built at a former Pfizer Inc. laboratory building in downtown Kalamazoo. Walbridge-Amason, a joint venture of Walbridge Southeast and Tuscaloosa, Alabama-based Amason & Associates, has begun construction on a multi-year expansion of a Mercedes-Benz manufacturing facility in Vance, Alabama. In the latest ranking of large “green” contractors in the United States, Walbridge was the highest-ranking Michigan-based company at No. 73, according to Engineering News-Record.

Sales contacts Contact one of our sales executives to discuss your project requirements. Randy Abdallah Senior Vice President – Get Work 313-442-1295

David Hanson Senior Vice President – Corporate Sales Leader 313-442-1267

Built For Good I 13

MIOSHA grants second Star safety award W

albridge received its second Star Award for safety and health excellence this fall from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). MIOSHA Director Doug Kalinowski presented the award to Rick Haller, Walbridge President and COO, at a special ceremony on Sept. 16 at Alice Lloyd Residence Hall on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Michigan Voluntary Protection Program for Construction (MVPPC) Star Award recognizes worksites that provide outstanding safety and health protection for their workers. Walbridge was commended for its exemplary safety program and practices at the Alice Lloyd renovation project. In 2010, Walbridge received the state’s first MVPPC Star Award for its safety program and performance at the nearby Couzens Hall renovation project.

Hank Baier, U-M

“The Michigan Voluntary Protection Program for Construction recognizes the best of the best,” Kalinowsi told the audience. “There are only 30 companies that have received this award across the state and this is the second Star Award for Walbridge. “Another great thing about Walbridge, they positively change the cultures of the subcontractors that work with them,” Kalinowski said. “It changes all of you. That’s great, because people need to go home every day just the way they came to the job.” Hank Baier, Associate Vice President, Facilities and Operations for the University of Michigan, stressed the importance of safety on U-M construction projects. “We continue to emphasize to everyone that safety is our number one issue of importance,” Baier said. “ We appreciate the leadership Walbridge brings to safety on this project.” Front row (l-r): Rick Haller, Walbridge; Cinda Ferrier, U-M; Hank Baier, U-M; Sheila Ide, MIOSHA; Patty Meyer, MIOSHA; Marina Roelofs, U-M Back row (l-r): Doug Kimmel, MIOSHA; Paul Wrzesinski, MIOSHA; Steve Clabaugh, Walbridge; Doug Kalinowski, MIOSHA; Mark LaClair, Walbridge.

Corporation of the Year – Construction


he Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) named Walbridge as Corporation of the Year in the Construction category at its 28th Annual Awards Dinner in October.

Walbridge’s extensive supplier diversity program has driven procurement opportunities to minority business owners for many years. Among numerous entities that have recognized Walbridge for its diversity efforts are MMSDC, formerly the Michigan Minority Business Development Council (MMBDC), and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America. “When opportunities are expanded for minority-owned and women-owned businesses, our company benefits and our communities are enhanced,” said John Rakolta, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Walbridge. “We remain committed to helping these businesses advance, thrive and succeed.” MMSDC is a privately funded, non-profit, corporate services organization that has provided unique procurement opportunities to corporate members and certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) for more than 30 years.

14 I Built For Good

Student workers gain experience in Detroit COMMUNITY IS GOOD.


tudents and recent graduates of the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) participated in the 2011 DPS Student Summer Work Program. Students ages 16 and older were hired to work onsite at one of nine district schools for $250 a week. They gained experience working on a major capital improvement project. In November 2009, Detroit voters approved $500.5 million for school improvements. The Walbridge Joint Venture – comprised of Walbridge, Brailsford and Dunlavey, and Fanning/Howey Associates – is managing the sizeable project, which involves work on a total of 19 individual construction projects.

U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Jr., (front) with DPS students at a recognition ceremony

Student hardhat

Students lifting a door

The Student Summer Work Program combines classroom instruction with onsite experience in construction trades. The 135 students who participated in the 2011 program were recognized at a ceremony in August at Renaissance High School.

Celebrating the 2011 program completion

Florida employees participate in Teach-In


albridge professionals in Florida volunteered during the annual Great American Teach-In at schools within the Hillsborough County Public Schools district. The Teach-In, held Nov. 17, was designed to bring professionals into the classroom to give students a personal look into a variety of different opportunities. Armed with goody bags, Walbridge team members made presentations on careers in construction and talked about recently completed Walbridge projects in the area, like the Tampa Bay History Center and North Port City Hall and Police Station.

People news Rick Haller, Walbridge President and Chief Operating Officer, is completing a year of service as Chairman of the Construction Industry Institute (CII). CII is a national consortium of more than 100 leading owner, engineering-contractor and supplier firms from both the public and private sectors. The latest Walbridge employees to achieve LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council are: Adam Shepherd, Green Associate; Alyssa Hepker, Accredited Professional; Joseph DeLobel, Accredited Professional; and Michael Pitts, Accredited Professional. Scott Penrod, Vice President of Estimating at Walbridge, has been elected to serve a three-year term as a Member-at-large on the Board of Directors of the Engineering Society of Detroit. Tim Sewell is now Assistant Vice President, Deputy General Manager of Walbridge’s Florida operations and has responsibility for Estimating, Sales and Operations in the state. Built For Good I 15

777 Woodward Ave, Suite 300 Detroit, Michigan 48226 313.963.8000 Aurora, Illinois I Charlotte, North Carolina I Chattanooga, Tennessee (JV) I Columbia, South Carolina Detroit, Michigan I Kokomo, Indiana I LeClaire, Iowa I Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania I Salt Lake City, Utah San Antonio, Texas (JV) I Oakland, California (JV) I Tampa, Florida Mexico City, Mexico I London, Ontario (JV) I Windsor, Ontario Dubai, UAE (JV) I Abu Dhabi, UAE (JV) I São Paulo, Brazil (JV) Have a Walbridge project you’d like to see featured in our next newsletter? Send an email to:

Built For Good - Winter Edition - 2011  

This is the inaugural edition of Walbridge’s new customer newsletter. With it, we want to deliver relevant information about our projects, o...

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