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Winter 2014



The really, really big chill


Former research center transformed


Expanding KCAP for Ford


we build you transport passengers, provide parking, rent cars, guarantee security, sell souvenirs, serve food, de-ice, fix planes and make sure Aunt Lucy’s luggage arrives intact.






This Issue



From our leadership


Walbridge’s Mister BIM


Design-building the really, really big chill


Former research center transformed


Expanding KCAP for Ford


What we’re building



Cover: Inside the new medical school under construction at Western Michigan University. Built For Good is a publication of the Walbridge Group, Inc. Forward any comments or questions to Mark Marymee at © 2014 SM

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hroughout its history, Walbridge has always been on the leading edge of developing the next “big thing” in the construction industry. These pivotal points have created new processes and procedures that consistently deliver world-class quality, exemplary safety programs, and best-value solutions to our clients. We’ve never been afraid to look ahead at oncoming trends, and then direct the energy and zeal of our leaders and employees into creating programs that raise the bar. Our New Business Development team is no exception and has been at the forefront of identifying emerging markets, prospective clients and new geographic areas to serve. A great example of this came to light recently when two of the world’s largest automakers announced plans to develop and produce popular truck models with significant amounts of aluminum. Nearly three years ago, we drew on our close relationship to the automotive industry’s advanced material and design leaders to gain insights into future uses of aluminum. Walbridge quickly became educated on its benefits, especially its weight-reduction properties and how that could help automakers respond to new, more stringent corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. In turn, we developed a multi-directional strategy that targeted aluminum suppliers as well as our existing automotive clients. Today, Walbridge remains No. 1 in automotive facility construction and process installation, and is, arguably, also the leader in automotive growth aluminum where we have established solid footing as an experienced and highly capable resource to the primary stakeholders in this emerging market. Additionally, we’ve initiated changes to the deployment of some of our business development resources in order to identify more “big things” in the form of new business opportunities. Part of that includes creation of a Strategic Market Planning and Development team, which analyzes and targets new markets, services and locations to pursue. There are exciting opportunities ahead and we look forward to offering our skills and expertise to new customers around the world. Randy Abdallah Executive Vice President Walbridge | Detroit, Michigan Randy is Executive Vice President and has more than 33 years of experience in the construction industry, including the past 17 at Walbridge. He is responsible for Estimating, Procurement and Business Development, as well as supervision of the Diversified Procurement Suppliers Program.

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Most customers don’t look at drawings for a living, so it’s difficult for them to look at a 1D or 2D drawing on a piece of paper and really have a good visual of what’s going on in that room. But we can take this in 3D and show it to them and instantly they are very impressed and very happy to see in real time the model of every room, every corner in the building.

“ Don Windsor

Don Windsor is a Walbridge construction superintendent with 40 years of industry experience. At Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., he carries an iPad loaded with building information modeling (BIM) files and shares them with trades supervisors and customers alike.

Walbridge’s Mister BIM How were you introduced to BIM?

I learned about it in 2012. I was using my iPad for other things – shop drawings and regular drawings. John Golden of Walbridge installed the application on my iPad. BIM models are sent to me through Outlook, so when I open the new model drawing it automatically becomes part of my BIM file for future use.

What does BIM help you do?

We can look at the ceiling and at in-wall mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection services before and during construction. It’s very helpful with sequencing the installations and avoiding clashes between services, ceilings, walls and owner furnishings.

Describe how you use BIM and your tablet here at OU.

A few minutes ago I resolved a conflict with a cable tray which was not in the model. I showed the electrician on the model what was going in the area. He agreed his cable tray would have to move over. No problem. If I was trying to explain and he couldn’t see it, he might have said there’s plenty of room up there because another service installation wasn’t complete. When he looks at the BIM model, it’s easy to see where his tray will fit and what has to be installed above it for sequencing.

What’s another benefit of using BIM on site?

It helps us keep on track. This program right now is advanced for the construction industry. But really, it’s just the tip of the iceberg where we can come in and go through and look at items on the 3D model, tap them as complete or incomplete. If there’s a problem with it, you can circle the problem, put

a note on it, bring it back and send it to the contractors and say, “Hey, there’s an issue right here.” We can email it right out to them or transmit it here in the field and they can resolve the problem. I also have all the contract drawings, specifications, subcontracts and submittals/shop drawings for quick reference. We are also set up on Walbridge’s Prolog mobile system for punch list items and observations.

How have customers responded?

It helps the customer visualize the job and see it. Most customers don’t look at drawings for a living, so it’s difficult for them to look at a 1D or 2D drawing on a piece of paper and really have a good visual of what’s going on in that room. But we can take this in 3D and show it to them and instantly they are very impressed and very happy to see in real time the model of every room, every corner in the building. Owner service departments are very interested in it as they can see what’s behind walls and above ceilings.

How have trades people reacted to your iPad?

The tablet, iPad, is starting to catch on out here in the field. I’ve been training different foremen who’ve been getting iPads on how to use them. How to do their daily reports on them. It’s functional for them. I’ve also been showing them how they can keep all of their shop drawings on an iPad. It’s the equivalent of carrying 50 pounds of drawings around with you all the time.

Any final thoughts?

The iPad set-up is really great and saves me a lot of time. I’m much more effective in the field because when I go out on site and people ask me questions, or if I see something that may not be correct, I can check it on the spot and, if necessary, mark up a drawing or take a photo, write comments on it and send it to the responsible person.

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Design-building the really, really big chill The Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., is one of the most technically advanced U.S. Air Force test facilities, operating the largest complex of rocket and turbo engine ground testing in the world. In a recent two-step design-build project at the installation, Walbridge replaced and upgraded the base’s turbine engine dry-air capability and replaced two large refrigeration systems. As a result, the AEDC is now home to the largest brine refrigeration machines in North America, which utilize compressors that are some of the largest in the world. But the project didn’t come together without challenges; the first being to carry out work around a fully operating facility that relied on the very aero-propulsion test system infrastructure Walbridge was hired to replace and upgrade. The solution involved intense coordination. Because of client requests for one month’s notice for shutdowns lasting a week or more, the project team had to be constantly mindful of where it would be in the construction schedule three months ahead of time. In total, the team organized 10 planned shutdowns during the three-year project – five shutdowns were a few months long, the rest ranged from a few days to

Twenty-seven of the AEDC’s test units have capabilities unmatched in the nation. 6 I Built For Good

a few weeks. The shutdowns allowed the team to work at a pace that met client expectations and resulted in a successful completion. Another obstacle was the project’s environmental hazards – specifically, in the removal and replacement of existing low-temperature coils (filled with a very volatile material), as well as working in environments containing airborne lead particulate. Measuring approximately 150 feet in length and 42 feet in diameter, the cooler, a confined space, provided freezing conditions in the winter and sweltering temps in the summer. At the project peak, upwards of 30 pipefitters, ironworkers, field members and environmental consultants – all clad in chemical hazard suits – were working inside the small chamber. Walbridge removed and replaced roughly 250 coils for the job, each requiring an independent exit from the cooler; on a good day, the team was able to remove 10 per shift. Working two 10-hour shifts, six days a week, the team completed the cooler work in eight months. The upgraded cooler now provides cooling process air at variable flow rates from 300-1,200 pounds per second, at pressures from 25-50 pounds per square inch and at temperatures ranging from -24 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nearly all top priority aerospace programs have benefitted from AEDC testing.

AEDC is named for General of the Air Force Henry H. “Hap” Arnold.

Included in the project scope was the demolition and replacement of two low-temperature brine refrigeration systems that feed the new coil assemblies inside the cooler. The new systems provide approximately 6,600 tons of cooling to 21,000 gallons per minute of brine flow. Walbridge’s contract included the design and installation of 5-foot diameter, stainless steel, high-pressure bypass ducting to allow for greater aero-propulsion testing capabilities at the campus.

Walbridge Industrial Process was enlisted for the demolition of old systems and equipment at the AEDC – some weighing up to 100,000 pounds apiece – as well as for support in removing coils from the cooler. The scope included installing all new custom equipment, some of which produced perplexing vibration issues. With the help of AEDC engineers, onsite field personnel and designers, the matter was resolved, creating a successful story of client-contractor teamwork.

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Trades workers continue to renovate a former pharmaceutical research facility. A new three-story atrium ties in to the existing building.

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Former research center transformed L

ater this year, Western Michigan University will welcome students into its brand new School of Medicine, located in a former pharmaceutical research building in downtown Kalamazoo, Mich. The transformation is being made possible, in part, through MPI Research’s donation of the eight-story building, the participation of local teaching hospitals Borgess Health and Bronson Healthcare, through donor gifts and endowment income, and WMU’s commitment to expanded programming. WMU hired Walbridge to convert the 330,000-square-foot structure into a state-of-the-art academic and research facility under a two-year construction management contract. Walbridge gutted 60 percent of the building’s interior while keeping utility systems operational. The team added a seven-story stairway, constructed a three-story atrium that ties the existing facility to a new three-story coned-shaped addition, and added a 22,000-square-foot medical simulation laboratory. The new addition will hold two tiered team-based learning lecture halls. Achieving its unique design has been the most challenging aspect of the project. Due to the proposed cone and elliptical shaping, Walbridge and the architect turned to building information modeling (BIM) to construct the circular lecture halls inside the addition space and align the intricate combination of wall and ceiling paneling with each room’s 16-foot projection screens. Once framing was erected, the team laser scanned the steel structure to ensure accuracy of the addition’s foundation and structure, which was critical to proper installation of its skin and build out.

Students and faculty will arrive this summer.

The addition’s striking façade is comprised of glass and zinc panels and composite metal panels; while the glass panels were straight cut, everything else is curved both vertically and horizontally, calling for precise and careful execution. The team removed 20 percent of the building’s existing façade to build the addition. Existing laboratory space has been converted into classrooms and floor plates were opened up to create the School of Medicine’s two-story auditorium, featuring stadium-style suites for supplemental sitting space and conference presentations. When the overhaul is complete, four levels of former laboratory and administration space will have been converted into instructional space, student life space and new administrative office space. The building’s seventh floor will hold a 12-cadaver anatomy lab and pathology suite, as well as a medical examiner’s office fully-accredited by the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME.) The renovated building allows more daylight inside than ever before, contributing toward the renovated portion of the building being designed and constructed to meet LEED® Silver certification. Walbridge is on track to complete the project this spring. On March 11, WMU announced that the new medical school will be named the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. See more photos of the renovated WMU School of Medicine >

New instructional space. Built For Good I 9

Expanding KCAP for Ford I

t’s been called the largest automotive manufacturing plant in the United States for the amount of units produced on its assembly lines. Ford Motor Company’s Kansas City Assembly Plant (KCAP), located in nearby Claycomo, Mo., is best known for its turnout of Ford’s flagship pickup truck, the F-150. With the addition of a new stamping plant and upgraded paint shop in 2012, KCAP is now in the business of also producing the all-new Ford Transit van. Walbridge has been building facilities at KCAP for more than 20 years. In addition to the new stamping plant and paint shop renovation, Walbridge recently built a new material sequencing center (MSC) at the complex. Before building the 434,750-square-foot stamping plant, Walbridge completed extensive site work and infrastructure construction, installed all needed utilities to support the building’s incoming machinery, and constructed foundations to support an extensive press, process equipment and various mechanical and electrical support systems. With that project, Walbridge installed a four-slide JIER press line – the very first in the United States.


FEATURES Four body styles

Wheelbases from 130” – 178” Roof heights from 83.6” – 110.1” 10 colors, from School Bus Yellow to Vermillion Red Flex-Fuel and Alternative Fuel capability Lane-Keeping System available 10 I Built For Good

Transit photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company.



Walbridge has constructed facilities for the Ford Motor Company dating back to the 1920s. From the United States to Canada, and from Mexico to India, our firm has built assembly plants, paint shops, stamping facilities, test tracks, and a host of other facilities for Ford.

Ford Rouge Redevelopment Program Dearborn, Mich.

Ford Dearborn Stamping Plant renovation Dearborn, Mich.

Ford Hermosillo Stamping & Assembly expansion, Hermosillo, Mexico

The 522,790-square-foot paint shop upgrade, which supports production of the Transit, included four new additions and upgrades to three areas of the shop that support a new paint process system. Extensive steel removal, building and utility connections, truss reinforcing, multiple levels of retrofitting and intense material staging were required for that job. During the work, operations at the paint shop remained uninterrupted. Most recently, Walbridge constructed the new 347,500-square-foot MSC Building while facing very challenging logistics and an extremely tight build schedule. The building was a pre-engineered structure with a sloped standing seam metal roof. Due to other construction activity and daily operations at KCAP, the team had to keep several continuous access ways open during the construction. The building was constructed in three sequences and before each sequence could be started, the team had to demolish existing structures, including a trash handling building. They also had to raise the MSC building pad 10 feet to meet the

elevation of the tie-in to the existing plant floor. As part of the mass fill effort, the team transported 100,000 cubic yards of soil from another location on the KCAP property to raise the building pad. The team also constructed a new fire pump house with a 500,000-gallon water tank, brought a five-bay addition to the stamping plant, built a 6.5-acre vehicle storage parking lot and constructed a new trash handling facility as part of the scope. Along with some other miscellaneous projects that were awarded, Walbridge was responsible for working in nine totally different areas at the KCAP site during the MSC project. The new MSC was a design-build project with original completion slated for October 2013. Due to the challenges of moving existing facilities out of the way and owner changes, the start of construction was approximately two months late. The client was able to start moving equipment into the building on time, thanks to collaborative sequencing. The entire building was turned over in January 2014.

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What we’re building RECENTLY AWARDED




Hillsborough County Courthouse Renovation

Gerdau St. Paul Caster Install

Oakland University Engineering Building

A Bird’s Eye View of New OU Building

Walbridge’s Florida Group was recently awarded a construction managementat-risk contract to renovate the Hillsborough County Courthouse Annex and Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa, Fla. The upgrades involve both interior and exterior renovations and include replacement of HVAC equipment, roof and windows, as well as furniture and equipment coordination. Both buildings will remain in use during construction, which is scheduled for completion in December 2015.

Walbridge Industrial Process is overseeing the mechanical installation of a new five-strand caster at the Gerdau Caster Mill in St. Paul, Minn. Gerdau is investing nearly $50 million to replace a continuous caster at the mill, which is expected to increase Special Bar Quality capacity by 20 percent and bring the mill’s total capacity to 550,000 short tons. Completion is expected in Spring 2014.

Walbridge is nearly 65 percent complete with the new Engineering Building at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. Roughly 90 percent of the building’s exterior curtain wall is complete. Drywall, tape and sanding are in progress on floors three through five with final finishes beginning on the third floor. Roughin is proceeding on the first two floors and in the mechanical penthouse. As construction manager-atrisk, Walbridge is expecting to turn over the five-level, 149,879-square-foot facility in August 2014.

Shooting video of projects with an airborne drone is something new for Walbridge. One of our first attempts was with the new Engineering Building currently under construction at Oakland University. The view from up high provides a look at the overall scope of the project, its position on campus, and the more than 40,000 square feet of glass used to complete the exterior curtainwall. You can view it now by clicking on this video screen.

People T

his past quarter, several Walbridge employees were promoted. Don Greenwell, Jr., P.E., is now Executive Vice President and continues to head the company’s commercial unit. Mark McClelland has been promoted to Vice President of new business development for the company’s Industrial group, focusing on projects in the automotive, tiered supplier, industrial and manufacturing sectors. John Rakolta III has been elevated from Director of new business development to the position of Executive Director of Strategic Market Planning and Development. George Dobrowitsky has been promoted to Assistant Vice President – Technical Estimator. He recently served as Director of Technical Estimating. In January we closed out the 2013 Walbridge Mentoring Program and recognized the mentors and protégés who

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demonstrated commitment to the program. The program pairs more experienced employees with those who are eager to learn more about the industry. Each mentor and mentee pair is responsible for identifying goals and a plan to achieve them in the duration of a year. Mike Hubert, a Senior Mike Hubert (left) and Jason Lyngklip Superintendent, was honored with 2013 Mentor of the Year; his protégé was Shelly CheckFurtaw, Process and Benchmarking Manager. Walbridge Estimator Jason Lyngklip was recognized as our 2013 Protégé of the Year; his mentor was George Dobrowitsky.

The season of giving

Building a talent base



ur Project Controls Department organized a massive, week-long “Warmth for Winter” garment collection on behalf of Walbridge back in December. The drive was open to anyone who heard about the drive and wished to donate. Containers holding more than 840 gallons worth of coats, hats, gloves and scarves were filled during the drive. Everything was donated to the Detroit Rescue Mission charity. Walbridge Senior Cost Analyst Lori Bankovich, Process and Benchmarking Manager Shelly Check-Furtaw, Assistant Vice President of Project Controls Christine Nowak, Project Controls managers Kathy Schuler and Jonathan Stewart, and Cost Analyst Jason Van Pelt organized the drive.

ach year, a handful of Walbridge Florida Group employees participate in career day events at schools throughout the Tampa region. This past November, Walbridge Senior Project Manager Cranston Harris, Technology Manager Chris Prokop and Superintendent Timothy Barrs presented at schools in Hillsborough, Brevard and Pinellas counties, respectively. It was Harris’ fifth time participating in the Hillsborough district’s Great American Teach-in, where he talked about his career as a construction manager and shared a presentation on local Walbridge projects. Senior Project Manager Cranston Harris poses for a photo with a group of students at Sligh Middle School.

Awards In January, Healthiest Employers, a leader in employee health analytics, best practices and benchmark data, named Walbridge among the “2014 Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America.” Ranked No. 48, Walbridge and peer award-winners were recognized for achievement of “remarkable and sustainable success through a broad range of corporate wellness programs and employee wellness initiatives.”

Walbridge was recognized for outstanding safety performance in 2013 by the AGC of Michigan at its annual meeting on Feb. 14 in Kalamazoo. The firm was presented with a Gold Award in Division V, which covered large construction companies logging the most total work hours.

Contact us

Connect with us:

SALES | Randy Abdallah, Executive Vice President 866.331.6585 |

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Abu Dhabi, UAE(JV) | Aurora, Illinois | Charlotte, North Carolina | Columbia, South Carolina Cordoba, Argentina | Detroit, Michigan | Doha, Qatar(JV) | Kalamazoo, Michigan Kokomo, Indiana | LeClaire, Iowa | Manama, Bahrain | Mexico City, Mexico Oakland, California(JV) | Orlando, Florida | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | San Antonio, Texas(JV) S達o Paulo, Brazil(JV) | St. Louis, Missouri | Tampa, Florida 777 Woodward Ave, Suite 300, Detroit, Michigan 48226

Built For Good Newsletter - Winter 2014  

Learn about Walbridge construction projects, people and achievements in our quarterly Built for Good Newsletter. In this edition, read about...