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The Wilhelm Blog

Dedication and ribbon cutting at Joint Force Headquarters at Stout Field

Posted by Brooke Lock on April 14th, 2015


Among the distinguished guests were Indiana National Guard leaders, Maj. Gen. Cliff Tooley, Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, Gov. Mike Pence, and Brig. Gen. John McGoff.

The two-level addition and remodel consolidates the operations and more than 900 civilian and military personnel.

umbarger-webAccording to an Indiana National Guard press release, other improvements to adjacent structures will accommodate 500 part-time drilling personnel, and routinely support the administrative and logistics requirements of 20 full-time personnel associated with four Indiana National Guard units.

Additionally, the 38th Infantry Division Band now has a home and remarkable auditorium for concerts.

Governor Pence said this new Joint Force Headquarters will make it possible for [the Indiana National Guard] to be more prepared to defend our nation and support our people.

The projected added 80,000 square feet to building 1, and renovated 76,000 square feet of existing space in buildings 1, 3, and 9. Also included were site development and utility upgrades.

F.A. Wilhelm President Phil Kenney said the newly renovated building is a “landmark”.

“This is a landmark. And it’s not because of the dollars it cost or the impressive interior. The men and women who work here and serve the citizens make this building a landmark,” Kenney said.

Upon the retirement of Umbarger, the second longest serving TAG, at the end of May 2015, Governor Pence announced on April 9th, the new Adjutant General will be Brig. Gen. Corey Carr.


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Congratulations to Bill Spitler, Mark Dodson, and Debbie Gee on reaching impressive milestones

Posted by Brooke Lock on April 12th, 2015

25  Years

Spitler, BillBill Spitler, Project Manager
Wow, 25 years. It seems like it was just a few days ago I came on board at F.A. Wilhelm Construction. Working here has been great. My colleagues and the opportunities Wilhelm afforded me have the best anyone could ask for. We should be proud of the variety of projects and the unique aspects of each that we are asked to tackle due to our expertise and abilities. Whether it was the grand opening at Union Station, pouring raker beams at the [Hoosier] Dome, watching the plant control board as we produced 245,000 gallons/day of bio-fuel at the refinery, listening to the incessant singing of 2200 slot machines at the Indiana Grand Casino or starting up the new Cummins Headquarters in downtown Indianapolis, Wilhelm is a leader in our field and I am already looking forward to the next big project.


Dodson,MarkMark Dodson, Senior Estimator
My career at F.A. Wilhelm construction has allowed me to work on several monumental projects. It is an honor to work here because there are no other contractors in the area that do what we do. It’s a blessing after all of these years to wake up every morning and still enjoy what I do, and that has a lot to do with all of the talented and gifted people I have had the opportunity to work with.


10 Years

Gee, DebbieDebbie Gee, HR Coordinator
Wow, has it been ten years? Time flies by when you really love your job and F.A. Wilhelm Construction. I have too many great memories and stories (that may or may not be true) to put on paper. I love working with my co-workers and management. The most rewarding project I have been a part of is Wilhelm ACTS (Actively Contributing Through Service) a veterans-focused home modification services program made possible by employees and their families. Our company is filled with generous employees and management who are always willing to help whether it’s a community cause, a colleague who has experienced a tragedy, or colleagues who may be going through a rough patch in their life. It seems as if I am giving my goodbye speech, but don’t worry I will be here a few years longer!

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French Lick opens event center six weeks ahead of schedule

Posted by Brooke Lock on April 10th, 2015

Hoosier_D6A2235-WEBAs if the French Lick Resort in southern Indiana didn’t offer enough amenities for the business and pleasure of attendees, it now offers a newly completed addition to its Meeting and Event Center.

F.A. Wilhelm Construction served as general contractor for $8 million of this $15.5 million project. Wilhelm was responsible for foundations, structural steel, the outside enclosure, interior drywall and finishes. The addition is 58,000 square feet and built between the existing parking garage and French Lick Event Center.

The best part of the entire project, according to project manager Kurt Schlebecker, was completing the project early. Wilhelm Construction managed to complete the project a solid six weeks ahead of schedule, allowing French Lick to begin using the event spaces early.

Considering the challenges the project team faced in this project, an early finish date is impressive.

“We experienced several unique challenges almost immediately,” Schlebecker said. One of these challenges was putting the addition in a very tight space, leaving virtually no laydown area. Workers were right up on the west property line of the resort, wedging the building onto the back end of an existing facility.

Eisenhower_D6A1594-WEBAnother challenge was executing construction next to an occupied resort that continued to hold conferences.

“Merging this building with a new one required expert coordination,” Schlebecker said. “We were careful to not distract them with our construction activity.”

Schlebecker credited Wilhelm’s extensive experience to the successful navigation around these problems.

“Wilhelm has a history of working through these types of challenges” Schlebecker said. “We expanded the Indianapolis Museum of Art for three years while it was still in full use to the public. We have vast experience adding onto existing facilities, and these experiences help us exceed owners’ expectations.”

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Employee volunteers on her lunch break

Posted by Brooke Lock on April 9th, 2015

Most office employees might pack a sack lunch or head to a restaurant on their lunch break. One day a week, Proposal Coordinator Megan Young does something a little more unconventional on her lunch break: she volunteers.

Young, MeganYoung volunteers with a group called Girls Inc., a non-profit dedicated to inspiring all girls to be “strong, smart, and bold,” according to its website. Girls Inc. provides programs that give girls the tools they need to achieve goals and resist peer pressure. Once a week, Young drives to Beech Grove Middle School to work with a group of twelve 7th graders over the lunch hour.

Last summer she attended the Touchstone Awards banquet hosted by Girls Inc. because F.A. Wilhelm Construction sponsored a table. The banquet honors female leaders in the community while also showcasing exhibits hosted by Girls Inc. summer campers.

Young was intrigued by the girls’ projects and asked for more information on volunteering and decided to teach a Girls Inc. course. Young has been volunteering with Girls Inc. since January 2015.

The curriculum Young teaches is called “Redefining Beauty.” Using activities and conversation-starters provided by Girls Inc., Young and a co-facilitator teach the girls about the important of self-worth.

“This time gives female students the opportunity to share their stories and opinions or struggles with us,” Young said. “It’s the only time out of their school day that they get to talk about what they want to talk about.”

Young said each week the class has a different focus and provides the girls opportunities to think through real world issues affecting them. Examples of topics include eating disorders, what “real” women look like, and valuing their bodies.

Young also uses her position at Wilhelm to demonstrate female leadership to the girls.

“As a continued supporter of the organization, I feel empowered as a woman to show young girls what it’s like to be a leader in the workplace,” Young said. “This shows them that there are many other career paths available as they decide areas of interest.”

She says volunteering with Girls Inc. is an eight-week commitment with long-term rewards, and more volunteers are needed, particularly on the Southside of Indianapolis. If you or anyone you know is interested in reaching more girls, feel free to contact Hazel Owens at Girls Inc.

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Wilhelm wraps Florida healthcare facility

Posted by Brooke Lock on April 8th, 2015

Ketterman_150131_1104-webThe obstacle of distance didn’t keep F.A. Wilhelm Construction from successfully completing a state-of-the-art medical office building in Jacksonville, Florida, for Landmark Healthcare LLC, owner and developer of the project.

Wilhelm Construction took part in a joint venture with Perry-McCall Construction. The project was completed ahead of schedule in December 2014.

The six-story 210,000 square-foot medical office complex houses multiple services and physicians. The first two floors include an emergency department, urgent care, imaging services, women’s health services operating rooms suites, and interventional rooms. The top four floors house the University of Florida Health and community physicians.

To complete the project, Wilhelm Construction Project Manager Mitch Davison moved to Florida while other Wilhelm staff members traveled back and forth throughout the project.

Mike Kerr, operations manager, said the joint venture team was extremely beneficial in completing the project.

“The partnership with Perry-McCall went very well,” Kerr said. “We were working out of town in an unfamiliar area, and they had local knowledge of the area which made it a very successful project.”

UF Health North Jacksonville healthcare facilityBoth Wilhelm and Perry-McCall have completed successful healthcare projects with Landmark. Specifically, Wilhelm performed general contracting work for Landmark on IU Health’s Neuroscience Center in Indianapolis. This past experience made for a cooperative team that worked easily through challenges and ultimately completed the project ahead of schedule.

Despite a demanding schedule, Wayne McCall, president of Perry-McCall, credits the team with a job well done.

“It was a very collaborative project between our team, Landmark, the design team, and Wilhelm,” McCall said. “When challenges arose, we worked together to find solutions and the result was a high quality project delivered ahead of schedule to a very satisfied client.”

Ketterman_150131_1035webStuart Armstrong, Landmark’s senior project manager for construction development, said this project will allow Landmark, as well as the University of Florida Health, to enter into a new and growing market in north Florida.

“University of Florida Health is a pioneer in that market,” Armstrong said.  “There is not a hospital in that area and they will fulfill that need.”

Armstrong was extremely pleased with this project and raved about Wilhelm’s experience and work ethic.

“My experience working with Wilhelm was a great one,” Armstrong said. “They are very approachable on all levels. I am most proud of maintaining the project schedule, and that is compliments of Wilhelm.”

Photo credit: Ketterman Photography

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New statue at IND will commemorate Hoosier aviation hero

Posted by Brooke Lock on April 2nd, 2015
Col. Weir Cook dedication

Family member of the colonel admires the statue

On Thursday, April 2, the Military / Veterans Coalition of Indiana unveiled a seven-foot tall bronze statue in the likeness of Col. Harvey Weir Cook at the Indianapolis International Airport.

Cook was a pioneer of commercial and military aviation in Indiana who helped found the city’s first principal airport, the Indianapolis Municipal Airport, in 1931. It is today’s Indianapolis International Airport (IND).

Col. H. Weir Cook was born in Wilkinson, Ind., in 1896 and died in New Caledonia, South Pacific in 1943 on a training mission. He was a member of the Hat in the Wing Squadron with Captain Eddie Rickenbacker and was an Ace with seven credited air victories in World War I. Col. Cook also worked on many industrial-related aircraft projects, including building cabin ejection devices in planes.

The statue is placed on prominent display at the center entrance to the Ticketing Hall of the Weir Cook Memorial Terminal.

Col. Weir Cook dedication

Bill Wolfe, Artist

Artist Bill Wolfe, from Terre Haute, Ind., worked on the sculpture for more than two years. Wolfe also created an artistic representation of Larry Bird at Indiana State University.

Sincerus foundry, located on the east side of Indianapolis, used an investment casting process, also known as a “lost wax process”. Anything wax becomes metal, in this case bronze.

The waysides and kiosks depicting Col. Cook were produced by Coppinger Exhibits, located on the north side of Indianapolis.

Col. Weir Cook dedication

Family members of Col. Weir Cook unveil the statue at IND

Due to concern in an extreme circumstance the sculpture could topple over the glass railing behind it to the baggage claim area, it was recommended to secure the statue in place. However, the airport requested the statue be secured in a way that it could be removed if ever needed.

The airport recommended F.A. Wilhelm Construction to assist with the installation.

The stone block alone weighs 1,000 pounds and the statue is nearly 500 pounds.

Wilhelm Construction superintendents worked with the airport engineer and building inspector, and CSO Associates to design the anchorage.


Col. Weir Cook dedication

Bob Nester, MGen (Ret), USAF Weir Cook Memorial Project Chairman

There was concern for the unknown where the team needed to drill. The team first investigated beneath the floor for anything visibly in the way of the proposed drilling area. Then, Wilhelm’s Quality Control department scanned the floor from the top to check for reinforcing or electrical conduit that could be hidden within the floor. The area checked was clear so the plan could move forward.

Onsite, overnight  installation occurred after several emails, phone calls and meetings of planning. The stone, carved by Indiana Limestone Fabricators, and statue were set into place with a gantry crane and chain fall.


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Marian University unveils sculpted brick nativity scene

Posted by Brooke Lock on March 31st, 2015

Marian University nativity unveilingOn March 25, 2015 Marian University unveiled the final touch to its Alumni Hall: a 16-foot nativity scene made completely from brick and installed by F.A. Wilhelm Construction.

The impressive display adorns the outside of the building and was sculpted by artist Jay Tschetter, president of Images in Brick in Denton, Nebraska. He was commissioned by the university to create this piece after he created the St. Francis and the Leper mural for the Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences. Since Wilhelm Construction constructed Alumni Hall, the University sought Wilhelm’s masons out for installation of the artwork.

Wilhelm provided two masons and a hod carrier to help install the display. Mike Berrisford, Wilhelm Construction’s masonry general superintendent, said the process was tedious.

“We really didn’t know what we were getting into,” said Berrisford, “But it was very impressive. Tschetter was here while we installed it and worked right along with us.”

Marian University nativity under constructionTschetter originally stacked brick sizes pieces of clay then carved the sculpture in its entirety, drilling holes in each piece so they were as much like brick as possible. He then sent the bricks to Yankee Hill, a brick manufacturer, to have them fired. Once the pieces were sent back to him, Tschetter reconstructed the display to make sure colors were right and everything fit. He etched each piece with a number and a letter corresponding to how they fit together (such as 1A, 1B, etc.), packaged the pieces in sequential and numbered crates, and shipped the bricks to Marian University. Tschetter then departed to help Wilhelm’s masons install the artwork.

“We unloaded the brick, built the scaffold and prepared for him,” Berrisford said. “We had already installed a cast stone frame, so when Jay arrived, he worked right along with us, laying the brick, piece by piece. It’s something those guys will remember forever.”

Each piece had to be quickly and precisely laid, both to account for the quickly drying mortar and the contour levels of the scene’s surface. The Nativity includes 768 bricks, all different and fitting together like a giant puzzle.

Marian University Nativity unveilingMike Shaw, Wilhelm Construction’s superintendent for Alumni Hall, remembers first hearing about the project when he looked at a rendering of the display.

“It’s really amazing.” Shaw said. “It looks exactly like the rendering. It was quite a process.”

Shaw recognized how special it is that a construction company had the chance to use their skills to construct such a beautiful display.

“The University is overwhelmed by how it turned out,” Shaw said. “They couldn’t believe it was a masonry product. It’s one of a kind. These opportunities don’t come along very often. We as Wilhelm are very proud to be part of it.”

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Welcome to our new hires in estimating, accounting, scheduling

Posted by Brooke Lock on February 3rd, 2015


Adriann Rhoades, Preconstruction Manager

Adriann says she keeps very high expectations of herself and those around her. Landmark projects she has been part of include Purdue University’s Mackey Arena and student recreation center, IU Health Saxony Hospital and the Indianapolis International Airport.

A graduate of Ball State University, earning her bachelor’s degree in technology/construction management and master’s degree in business administration, Adriann currently serves on the university’s Construction Management Industry Advisory Board. Additionally, she is a LEED accredited professional.




Ryan Gallagher, Estimator

A Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology graduate, Ryan earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He gained experience as a project manager and estimator in the cell tower industry prior to joining F.A. Wilhelm Construction.





Morse,-Marquez-300x300-webMarquez Morse, Project Accountant

Marquez is currently finishing his bachelor’s program in accounting at Indiana Technical Institute. Prior to joining F.A. Wilhelm Construction, Marquez gained project accounting experience at another construction firm. What he enjoys about accounting being able to see tangible results of his work.






Doug Correll, Corporate Scheduling Manager

Doug joins F.A. Wilhelm Construction Company’s operational leadership team to further develop the planning and scheduling department. Doug will provide support and guidance to proposal and management teams planning, developing, updating and analyzing project schedules. From bidding and proposal collaboration through commission and turnover to the owner, Doug’s 20 years of experience will strengthen and advance Wilhelm Construction’s project controls.





Landon Sturgeon, Scheduler

Landon’s experience includes project scheduling, cost tracking, engineering development and validation for a major wireless carrier, construction machinery and equipment manufacturer, water and wastewater treatment plants and the power industry. He excels at schedule development for proposals as well as transitioning the schedule to the field, facilitating updates upon award. Landon enjoys scheduling because it allows him to be an integral part of the project team.




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Alumni Hall, the living room experience Marian University desired

Posted by Brooke Lock on February 3rd, 2015
Alumni Hall

Photo: ©Abstract Photography, Inc.

As students headed back to Marian University for the 2014-2015 school year, F.A. Wilhelm Construction wrapped up construction management of the university’s new Alumni Hall. First, the new campus bookstore opened when school started, and then three weeks later the Starbucks opened within the hall.

“It was a very exciting day,” Curtis Sattison, Wilhelm project manager said. “It was great to see students walking the corridors between the bookstore and Starbucks. With the space fully occupied, students are using the space as a living room for personal studies.”

That is exactly what Marian University envisioned for the new building, to have Alumni Hall be the living room of the university. In addition to Starbucks, the Alumni Hall Food Court features a Papa John’s and Grill Works.

“The space provides a spot where students can hang out and enjoy food and coffee,” Audra Blasdel, Marian University’s project representative and the University’s Director of Projects and Procurement said. “They can interact with their peers as well as faculty and staff, outside of the classroom, providing a sense of community to their experience at Marian University.”

Sattison explained the university had expectations of what the space needed to be for banquets and alumni events but also recognized that those events are not the everyday need on campus. He said the university knew that “students being in there Monday through Friday was the important thing.”

In order to accommodate the varying needs for this 18,500 sq. ft. space, flexibility stayed at the forefront of RATIO Architects’ design. Expenses for the project centered on the functionality and proper use of the spaces.

“The university was very selective about where to spend money to allow the flexibility of the space while maintaining a very attractive building,” Sattison said. “They focused on functionality.”

That functionality derived from investing in quality Skyfold® partitions that divide the open space into two spaces, allowing banquet functions and student activities to take place simultaneously. Finishes were kept in mind to maintain budget, according to Sattison.


Photo: Josh Humble

The biggest challenge for this project, like most projects last year was getting through the winter.

“We were still outdoors during the harsh winter and we lost work days,” Sattison said. “We used the spring and summer to get back on track.”

Additionally, some of the functional materials had longer lead times and required detailed coordination. For example, the Skyfolds® and the Hufcor® bi-fold doors in the banquet area, the 6-foot access floor, which allows flexibility of outlets and furniture, the 23-foot ceiling with fabric acoustical panels all demanded special installation and coordination.

“Once we had the floor down, we couldn’t bring in lift equipment,” Sattison explained. “We nearly had to go to day-by-day and hour-by-hour to schedule contractors in the space without another waiting and on top of one another. We had very elaborate ceiling and floor space on this project, and both couldn’t be happening at the same time.”

Marian University made it a point to add energy efficiency anywhere possible. Working with RATIO and Wilhelm, the university was able to do that without exaggerating the cost of the project. Certain challenges arose during construction that required adjusting design elements. Sattison said this project stayed on track through the collaborative team of Marian University, RATIO and Wilhelm.

“We really did all work together to make sure that the functionality, design and construction schedules we taken care of. This really was a fun project team to work with throughout the process.”

Marian University kicked off its Homecoming Weekend with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Alumni Hall last fall.

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President reviews 2015, strategic initiatives progress

Posted by Brooke Lock on January 30th, 2015

Kenney, PhilI hope you and your families enjoyed the holiday season as we at F.A. Wilhelm Construction Company closed out a safe and successful 2014. I am thankful for the hard work and commitment all of our employees contribute to the success of our companies. Now it is back to work for us in 2015, and we have a lot of work to do!

We will focus on Leading Indicators throughout the year as part of our safety culture. Reporting on safety concerns, issues and violations we see in the office, fabrication shops and our project sites will support this focus as we drive toward our corporate goal of zero incidents.

We will continue to emphasize our goal of limiting rework in all our daily tasks. The education of all employees on the definition of rework is going very well as we continue to gather cost and schedule data on this subject and see the effects of reducing it.

Project opportunities continue to be plentiful throughout our work area, and we recognize we must perform at our best to take full advantage of these opportunities. That is why the elimination of rework and promotion of safe worksites is so critical – these lead to success for our employees and clients alike.

Service to our clients will remain our daily focus, whether we are in the role of construction manager, general contractor or trade contractor. All of us within the Wilhelm companies realize that this will require flexibility and adjustments to the way we work. We will never allow ourselves to get stuck in the old way of doing things. We will always ask the question “why do we do it this way?” With hard work and an open mind to change, we will continue to improve the services we provide.

I am confident we will share many great successes in 2015 and look forward to working with all of you to make these successes happen. Thanks for all you do to support F.A. Wilhelm Construction.

– Phil

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