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Cummins to bring sustainable building design to former Market Square Arena site

Posted by Brooke Lock on June 30th, 2015

DSC_2221-reduced-webOn a very soggy April 9, Cummins  Inc. officials joined Mayor Greg Ballard, Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Congressman Andre Carson and Indianapolis city council members to break ground for its new global distribution headquarters in downtown Indianapolis at the former Market Square Arena site.

With the help of F.A. Wilhelm Construction, Cummins will soon transform part of the historic site – former home of the Indiana Pacers and where musical giants Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson once performed – into a building and campus that embodies the engine manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability and future growth.

According to Sally Leyes, Indiana Corporate Services Director for Cummins, the new facility in Indianapolis will help Cummins meet new environmental sustainability goals for more efficient operational logistics. According to the company’s Sustainability Progress Report for 2014-2015, environmental sustainability, along with corporate responsibility, safety, diversity, and employee development are all important factors in the company’s continued success.  The new facility in downtown Indianapolis is being designed with all of these factors in mind.

The entire campus will cover about four acres. Part of that will provide space for an employee parking garage to ensure the Cummins facility doesn’t place an additional burden on the existing public parking available in the area. The current plans also devote an acre to green space with grass and trees and landscaping intermingled with public gathering spaces.

Cummins_Recap-Street---9-stories-reduced-webThe building itself will be a modern design, with nine floors surrounded by windows and full of light, and about 155,000 square feet of office space. Leyes said the floor plans are still being finalized but they will be based on ideas that have contributed to Cummins’ success. “We’re very intentional about our space and creating the right environment for our employees. We think about our space from a diversity perspective. We want to create a diverse set of work environments so that all employees can find the right kind of space that meets their needs to be productive,” she said.

Leyes described a floor plan that includes both focus areas to provide individual spaces for quiet concentration and places for “group huddles” where a number of people can actively collaborate. There will also be small group areas to facilitate private conversations. Social places are important too. Leyes said, “We know that often, just as much work gets done in chance meetings as in offices.” She added that the conference center will address a critical need for large meeting spaces and training facilities. The first floor will house retailers, which Leyes said will benefit not only Cummins employees but also the surrounding community.

“Thinking in new ways about what makes employees productive is just one part of Cummins’ success,” said Leyes. Environmental sustainability is also a key factor. “We have such a long history that Cummins seems like a very traditional company. We started from humble beginnings in a small town.  But our changing technology has helped us embrace the other kinds of changes needed to be successful.”

“You can see in our sustainability report we have a strong focus on sustainable initiatives like recycling and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Leyes. “We also use a lot of LEED principles in terms of environmentally responsible design.”

Cummins’ focus on sustainable design is one of the reasons Wilhelm Construction was selected for this project. “We interviewed a number of construction companies,” Leyes said. Noting the versatility of services Wilhelm can provide, she added, “We really like to partner with other companies whenever possible. Wilhelm was able to do the preconstruction work, participate in the design process and do the actual construction.”

Bill Spitler, Wilhelm’s project manager, said the site has presented some logistical challenges, but Wilhelm is prepared to handle them. He said the biggest challenge has been working in such close proximity to the three other large construction projects currently underway on the north, south, and east sides of the Cummins site. “We’re reasonably well contained right now,” Spitler said. “But, on any given day, we might have 200-250 workers onsite. And, with three other projects having workers onsite, getting equipment and materials onto the site can be challenging.”

The building is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. Having worked with Wilhelm on other projects, Leyes said that she’s confident Wilhelm will be able to meet the costs and quality requirements of the project as well as the schedule.  “We’re really just getting started,” she said. “And the project is going very well.” Leyes said she’s excited for both Cummins and the city. “This campus is an opportunity for Cummins to have more of a front door in Indianapolis.  It’s going to be great for our employees, our customers, and our guests.”

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University of Indianapolis ushers in a new age in learning

Posted by Brooke Lock on June 30th, 2015

When students return to University of Indianapolis this fall, they’ll be checking out more than books when they visit the Krannert Memorial Library. They will have an all-new library to explore thanks to a major renovation project that’s taking place this summer – one that according to Andrea Newsom, University Director of Facility and Space Planning, will completely transform the old building into “a library for the next century.”

The $5.5 million renovation is part of the University’s Vision 2030 Strategic Plan, which calls for an array of capital projects and educational enhancements to benefit students, faculty and staff and the surrounding community.

The new library, originally built in 1977, is a key component of the university’s vision for the future. The 36,950 square-foot renovation will completely transform its interior. A three-story glass curtain wall on the exterior of the building on its east-side will provide lots of natural light and a dramatic view of the campus. Newsom said with this renovation, the library will become a major focal point for the campus, “No matter where you go, you will see this beautiful building.”

“Our vision for this library is more than the building,” Newsom said. “It’s also the programming and the learning opportunities that go along with dynamic space. We’ve taken everything we know about how students learn and engage now and have incorporated that into the design.”

There are still places for traditional learning, quiet areas for individuals to study. But, there will also be collaborative learning spaces where students can gather to work together on their projects. “Students now are active learners and they are digital,” Newsom said. “They need new kinds of resources to support variety of learning styles.”  She added the new 24-hour study lab will be outfitted with computers and areas where students can come anytime, day or night to study and work together.

Krannert_Library_Wallbreaking-Group-Photo-Sledge-Hammers-webThe Krannert Library renovation will create “a truly transformative space” for students, faculty and the surrounding community, Newsom said.

When asked why University of Indianapolis selected the Wilhelm and RATIO team for this work, Newsom said, “We’ve worked with Wilhelm before. But with this project, they just got it. Their proposal showed us how well they work together; they completely understood our vision and what we were to trying to achieve here.”

Wilhelm has completed the demolition and is a little more than a month into the renovation now, and Newsom is very happy with the progress. She said that renovating an old building can present challenges but she has confidence in the Wilhelm construction team and no doubt that the library will be ready in time for students returning in the fall.

Doug Curts, Wilhelm’s construction operations manager, credited the company’s partnership with the University of Indianapolis and RATIO Architects for getting the project up and running quickly and smoothly. Curts said, “The design process was very collaborative and all the team members were fully engaged so all important decisions were made very quickly.”

Curts added that Wilhelm had recently finished a project with RATIO at Marian University. He said, “This really translated well for the knowledge of both firms, allowing us to work together to cut down on the design time for a complicated project like this one.”

“We all put a lot of effort into identifying the issues ahead of time,” Curts said. “And, that put us in a great position. We were able to get started just two days after the University’s graduation ceremonies this year.”

For safety reasons, the university decided to close the library during construction. Newsom said it was important to make sure students have access to the resources they need during the summer session. She explained that the library staff identified the most important and commonly used resources to make them directly available to students from another building on campus. The rest of the collections are currently stored elsewhere on campus and are being made available by request.

According to Curts, the project is going very well, and the building will be open for the start of the school year. He said the only work remaining at that time will be the glass and metal curtain wall (the exterior of the building), which will be complete shortly thereafter.

Newsom said she sees something new every day albeit from a different vantage point on campus. Her office was originally located in the library and won’t be accessible until the project is finished. When we caught up to her, she was hanging out in a classroom in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center.

“They demolished my office,” she said with a laugh. “So, I’m moving around a lot.” She doesn’t mind, though, and was happy to sacrifice her office for the renovation. Watching the project take shape day-by-day has been exciting and “walking around in a hard hat is kind of fun, too.”


Roberts Hall – University of Indianapolis expecting a full house

Roberts-Hall-webThis fall, when students start moving into their rooms on the fourth floor of Roberts Hall, they’ll find they have new neighbors upstairs. The fifth floor of the building, which has been vacant since it was built in 2012, will soon be home to 40 more students. Students on the fifth floor will enjoy amenities such as a fitness area, common areas in which to relax and hang out with other students, and shared kitchens.F.A. Wilhelm constructed the original building and was happy to send its team back to finish out the fifth floor, which will be complete in time for students returning this fall.

Newsom explained that the university originally didn’t need the space but planned for future growth. But now, with enrollments on the rise, this has changed, “It’s a great problem to have” she said with a laugh.

Roberts Hall is one of the newest residential facilities on campus. “Students love the space,” Newsom said, predicting a full fifth floor when the fall 2015 semester begins.

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Wilhlem lends knowledge to national construction association

Posted by Brooke Lock on June 30th, 2015

kerker-300-webWhen Wilhelm Operations Manager Tom Kerker began his career in construction thirty years ago, he did not foresee himself contributing to a major construction safety research initiative and improving the entire engineering and construction industry as a result. However, in 2015, Tom is part of one such research team, working together with other members of the Construction Industry Institute (CII).

“The basis of the research project revolves around one deceptively simple question,” Kerker explained. “Can a sustainable step change in safety performance be achieved through an enhanced culture of rigorous operational discipline, also known as performance excellence? In other words, can we achieve operational excellence in safety by ensuring we do the right thing, the right way, and every time – even when no one is watching?”

Based at The University of Texas at Austin, CII is a consortium of more than 130 leading owner, engineering-contractor, and supplier firms from both the public and private arenas. A learning organization with a wealth of knowledge and information, CII is unique in the engineering and construction industry. Its purpose, “to measurably improve the delivery of capital facilities”, is accomplished by educating industry professionals about best practices spanning all areas of engineering and construction.

“It is gratifying to play a role in eliminating injuries in the workplace,” said Kerker. “The members of our research team are from a variety of backgrounds, but we all share in the goal of building a safety model that will be an effective tool for the entire industry.”

Kerker has been an active contributor to CII since 2013, and serves on the 317th research project conducted by the industry-leading organization.

“Phase one of our efforts was a two-year commitment,” Kerker explained. “By carefully examining the practices of our industry’s safest companies, we will provide practical how-to resources we can all employ to advance our companies to zero-injury.”

Several safety drivers being investigated include employee engagement, training and competence; risk awareness, management, and tolerance; human performance; transformational leadership; and shared values, beliefs and assumptions.

The work conducted to date has been so successful that CII has requested Kerker’s team further its research into the next phase, which requires additional focus through 2017.

Kerker finds it satisfying that after two years of work, CII has asked the team to advance to phase two research. “There is no question that this work is worth the time. This work is valued by the top industrial owners and contractors worldwide,” he said.

Kerker says he hopes he can bring best practices for continuous safety improvements back to Wilhelm Construction and its affiliate companies through this process.

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2015 Summer Interns – Matt Hall

Posted by Brooke Lock on June 25th, 2015

Matt Hall-webWilhelm welcomes Purdue University Senior Matt Hall to our internship program. Matt will be graduating from Purdue in December with a bachelor’s degree in building construction management.

Matt will be working on various jobsites this summer assisting the layout crew. Specifically, he is tasked with calculating where foundation objects will be laid out and where there are conflicts between the foundation and other parts of the building. This helps ensure foundation layout and construction run smoothly by addressing potential problems before they arise. Studying the architect’s drawings and making these calculations helps Matt familiarize himself with the project for other tasks he may be assigned.

Through his internship, Matt hopes to learn more about Wilhelm’s operations. He is also interesting in learning about construction in and around Indianapolis.

“The projects Wilhelm does are exactly what I wish to work on in the future. They are an interesting variety of commercial and healthcare projects.”

Outside of school and work, Matt enjoys reading, hiking and playing bass guitar.


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2015 Summer Interns – Patrick Kenney

Posted by Brooke Lock on June 24th, 2015

Patrick KenneyWilhelm welcomes back Patrick Kenney for his second summer internship. Patrick is a physics major at Wabash College and will be a sophomore this fall. This summer, he hopes to learn the basics of the estimating process and ultimately how to create a bid.

Patrick will be working alongside our estimating department for the duration of the summer. Specifically, he is tasked with estimating the cost of various projects by identifying materials and labor needed and their respective costs. Patrick will also assist with placing bids for projects to learn how the process is carried out in the construction industry.

“I chose Wilhelm because I wanted to learn from the best in the industry and see how they operate.”

Patrick enjoys watersports and golfing during his free time.

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2015 Summer Interns – Aaron Smith

Posted by Brooke Lock on June 23rd, 2015


Purdue University Senior Aaron Smith, studying building construction management, is joining Wilhelm for the summer. Through his internship, he hopes to learn the daily roles of project managers and supervisors because he has worked on the labor side of the industry for two years.

This summer, Aaron will be located in Indianapolis assisting project engineers and managers with the Cummins Distribution Unit Headquarters. There, he will be in charge of managing requests for information and submittals, organizing data, and attending various meetings to gain a better understanding of the construction project and process.

“I came to Wilhelm because of its reputation around Indianapolis and my exposure to the progression of the many projects the company works on.”

Aaron supports the Indianapolis Colts and enjoys camping and being outdoors in his free time.


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2015 Summer Interns – Austin May

Posted by Brooke Lock on June 19th, 2015

Austin MayWilhelm welcomes Purdue Senior Austin May to our internship program. Austin will be graduating from Purdue in December with a Bachelor’s Degree in building construction management.

Austin hopes to learn how a self-performing contractor balances all trades and management tactics in the field before launching a career in the construction industry.

This summer, Austin will be assisting Project Manager Justin Lawhorn with two renovations on the University of Indianapolis campus, Krannert Memorial Library and Robert’s Hall. Austin’s tasks will change with the schedule of the project due to the fast-paced nature of the two projects. However, Austin is primarily tasked with updating project documents, coordinating the submittal process, attending coordination meetings, and other daily tasks necessary to keep the projects on schedule. This will expose him to many different stages in the construction process of a commercial building.

“I would love to see all stages of a construction project and see the problems that come up be solved by the experienced members of Wilhelm.”

Austin enjoys fishing, hunting and being outdoors.


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2015 Summer Interns – Jacob Bower

Posted by Brooke Lock on June 15th, 2015

Jacob Bower-webPurdue University Junior Jacob Bower joins Wilhelm Construction this summer to work with the project team in West Lafayette. Over the course of the summer Jacob hopes to learn more about estimating and scheduling so he can apply it to his studies in construction engineering management.

Primarily, Jacob will be working on the Myers Bridge and Reihle Plaza Pedestrian Bridge. In addition, he will assist with other projects on Purdue’s campus. Specifically, he will be submitting and tracking submittals and requests for information.  He will also manage correspondence between the architect, engineers, and field workers to ensure the project is going as planned. Additionally, Jacob will perform small quantity take-off and estimating throughout the summer.

“I chose Wilhelm because it was the first company I interviewed with that showed a lot of interest in bringing me along.”

Jacob hopes to build a few projects of his own this summer when he is not busy with work.

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Midwest Balance + Service clears the air

Posted by Brooke Lock on June 14th, 2015

Midwest Balance & Service, an affiliated company of Wilhelm Construction, balances the flow of air and water in HVAC systems. While Midwest works in any commercial setting, the strictest requirements are for laboratories and hospitals as these facilities require as many as a dozen air changes an hour to ensure that air is free of harmful germs. Hospitals in Indianapolis, Columbus, Greenfield and Lafayette are among those that entrust their needs for clean air to Midwest Balance.

For example, at Henry County Hospital in New Castle, Midwest Balance set up the airflow in the remodeled surgery suite.

Bill Hatfield, maintenance systems supervisor at the hospital, says, “Midwest Balance is critical to the surgery suite. You’ve got to control the air, and you can’t do it without the proper balance. Midwest Balance was on top of everything.”

Henry Count’s orthopedic surgery team – Drs. Damion Harris, Thomas Mathews and Lindsey Rolston – attracts patients around eastern Indiana. Their specialties include shoulder, hip, and knee repair and replacement. Dr. Rolston developed an alternative to knee replacement that is now used in other countries.

Dr. Harris says, “It is imperative that we as surgeons have a sterile environment in the OR to prevent infection. While we may not be aware of good airflow, we certainly would know if we didn’t have it.”

A Wilhelm affiliate since 2007, Midwest Balance is one of the largest companies of its kind in Indiana with expert technicians.

Originally featured in our Winter 2010 Newsletter

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2015 Summer Interns – Dustin Nivens

Posted by Brooke Lock on June 12th, 2015

Dustin Nivens

IUPUI Senior Dustin Nivens has joined F.A. Wilhelm Construction for the summer. Dustin is majoring in construction engineering and management and through his internship he looks forward to learning how to manage and control a project. Dustin enjoys all things motorcycles.

Dustin’s main project focus for the summer is assisting with the renovation of Krannert Memorial Library at the University of Indianapolis. While on the jobsite, Dustin will aid the project superintendent; ensuring the materials and labor are available and onsite. He will also ensure the project is flowing in a sequential order to complete the project efficiently and on time.

“Wilhelm covers many facets of the construction process and will provide an insight into project management.”

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