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The Wilhelm Blog

Cummins transforms Indy’s former Market Square Arena site

Posted by April Parsley on July 1st, 2016


Cummins Exterior with Interns

Soon, a project that broke ground on a soggy day in the spring of 2015 will wrap up in downtown Indianapolis, leaving an entire city block transformed.

In collaboration with designer, Deborah Berke Partners, F.A. Wilhelm crews began construction on Cummins’ new global headquarters for its Distribution Business Unit on the former Market Square Arena site in February of last year.  Foundation work began in June and crews finished installing the top level roof deck a week before Christmas, just in time to decorate a tree for the “topping-out” ceremony.

Jeremy Ayres, Wilhelm’s Operations Manager for the project, said crews are now finishing up the exterior of the building, and the project will be complete before the end of the year.

Wrapped in glass, the nine-story building makes a visually dramatic statement about Cummins’ commitment to downtown Indianapolis.

Ayres said the glass curtain wall that graces the building’s façade was designed to be more than a decorative feature.  He said its unique design incorporates sustainable building principles, including aluminum sunshades and sun-fins to block out the heat while letting in sunlight. “You don’t want everyone keeping their shades down during the day,” Ayres said. “This allows people inside to enjoy the natural sunlight without increasing cooling costs.”

Cummins Exterior Looking Up From BelowAyres said the “green” thinking that went into this project extends well beyond the building to the grounds surrounding it. He said one of the most unique things about the project is the amount of green space the Cummins campus will include, explaining that the building itself is relatively small in comparison to the site on which it is located. “The project occupies an entire city block,” Ayers said, “and, more than an acre of it will be open to the public.”

The campus will include 70,000 square feet of public space landscaped with grass, trees, flower beds and other plantings with benches and other hardscaping throughout.  The green space will run along the west side of the property bordering the city’s Cultural Trail.

Bordered by Market, Alabama, Washington and New Jersey streets, the Cummins building and the green spaces it will provide the public are located in the middle of the bustling Market East cultural district.

Miranda Fox, Project Manager for Cummins’ Global Integrated Services and Facilities, said that the Cummins campus was designed to provide a balance to the more active public spaces in the surrounding blocks. “We wanted the space on our campus to provide a place where employees and the public can take time out to sit and relax in a quiet space.”

Ayres said Wilhelm’s crews finished installing the curtainwall a couple of months ago and are now finishing up the trim work. Soon, they’ll turn their attention to transforming the grounds into the kind of space Fox and other Cummins leaders envision – one that Ayres says will provide a public space unlike any other in the downtown area.

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Women are changing the face of the construction industry

Posted by April Parsley on July 1st, 2016

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women made up only 8.9 percent of the almost 10 million people working in the construction industry as of 2014. While that may be low for this day and age, consider this – total number of women in the industry has actually grown by more than 80% in the last 30 years.

Philip Kenney, president of F.A. Wilhelm Construction, said, “Looking back decades ago, the only female you’d find at a construction company was the one that greeted you at the front door. Everyone else in the office was a male, generally. Now, we have a better mix.”

Kenney said companies need to embrace diversity in order to respond to changing demographics that are and will continue to affect construction going forward. “We need to get out in front of that for the future of the industry,” he said.

F.A. Wilhelm Construction leads the way in its commitment to diversity. In the first of its three-part series on diversity in the construction industry, Wilhelm examined cultural diversity in construction, exploring the benefits and challenges of building a more ethnically and culturally diverse workforce. In this article, four women on the Wilhelm Team share their thoughts on gender diversity in construction and how women are changing the face of the industry.

When Mary Minor, a safety coordinator for F.A. Wilhelm Construction first started in the business 16 years ago, seeing a woman on the construction site was an extremely rare occurrence. “Back in the day, a lot of the older gentleman didn’t think a woman had any place on the work site,” Minor said.  “That used to be a huge challenge for me because they didn’t think I should be out here. That’s just the way it was.”

April Parsley, Vice President of Corporate Marketing for Wilhelm, explained that traditionally, pulling from a diverse work force has been difficult, in part, because of the lack of diversity available in construction trades. “It’s a complex issue,” she said.

This rings true to Mandi Welch, a business development manager at F.A. Wilhelm Construction. Growing up with a dad who worked in construction she spent a lot of time around his fellow union workers. And, none of them were women. “Back then,” Welch said, “it was unheard of to have women work in construction, except for office related duties.” She said, “I think it was due to the stigma that construction required massive amounts of strength as well as being thought of as a dangerous trade – at least more dangerous than desk work.”

Quotes Vertical Final FinalMinor and Welch both said that there still isn’t a lot of women on construction sites but that’s beginning to change. “A lot of those older people are retiring,” Minor said.  “For the newcomers out here, it’s more normal now for them to see women in these roles.”

Attitudes about women in the field appear to be changing, too. Minor said she doesn’t meet the same resistance she did earlier in her career.  “Being a female out here,” she said, “the majority of the men, they listen to me, and they respect me.” She does get pushback from time to time. But, she said it’s not a gender thing. “They push back on men, too,” she said and then with a bit of a laugh added, “They’re just a little more polite with me because I’m a woman.”

Rachel Hobson, a risk manager with Wilhelm said she would like to see more women in the field. ”I think it would be good to have more women on site because they have different perspectives,” Hobson said, “Different ways to solve problems.”

Welch believes that emphasizing the demand for people with skills in the trades and showing that they can offer a rewarding career is one way to get more women into the field. “I think showing longevity in a trade would get all people more excited and involved.”

Parsley said that mentorship is important too. And, when it comes to great mentors for women in the construction industry, she said they don’t necessarily have to be women. “I’ve certainly been influenced and supported by strong women leaders,” she said, “But, the two mentors that have helped me most in my career have been men.”

Hobson said she’s noticed a marked increase in the number of women entering the industry since starting her career at Wilhelm just three years ago. She said the industry as a whole is opening up to different people and is becoming more aware of what women bring to the table. She added that at Wilhelm, this is reflected in the company’s recruiting practices. “It’s about casting a wider net when recruiting.”

Welch agreed, saying that attracting a diverse work force has been a high priority for Wilhelm the entire time she’s been with the company.  “During the time I was helping Wilhelm bring on more talent to keep up with the needs of our industry, it was quite impressive to see how many females occupied the candidate pool – I’m sure much more than even 10 years ago if I were to have been searching for the same type of talent back then.”

Welch said women also now occupy higher positions within her company, taking on roles like project management, preconstruction and estimating. “We also have a very strong accounting and marketing department at Wilhelm, both of which are largely made up of very strong, smart women.”

Parsley said that diversity is not only good for the industry but necessary in order to be responsive to client needs. “Buyers are changing, too,” she said. “We’re building for an increasingly diverse public. So, our buildings have to work for all kinds of people,” Parsley said, “Because we’re building things like schools and hospitals, it’s important to make sure we talk to a lot of different people to understand their needs and perspectives.”  That’s easier to do when you’re working with a more diverse group of people, Parsley said. ”The clients benefit, and we benefit, too.”

Parsley said one of the biggest benefits of fostering diversity in the workplace is creativity of thought. “I work with a lot of different teams every day. Part of my job is to mold creative thinking. That’s harder to do when you’re working with people who all think alike.

In order to reap the benefits of a diverse workforce, Parsley said a company needs to be committed to creating a culture of diversity. “Without executive leadership buying in, it’s hard to achieve meaningful change,” she said.  Parsley admits that Wilhelm is probably a bit of an anomaly in the industry where diversity is concerned. She said she feels very fortunate to be a part of a company that has embraced it so fully.

Welch does, too. “The world is changing,” Welch said, “especially in the way we view women. Luckily I work with many people who are keeping up with that change.”

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Team work and value engineering reduces the costs and helps Citizens Energy Group meet a regulatory deadline

Posted by April Parsley on July 1st, 2016

Citizens Energy Group turned to Consulting Management Inspection Design, Inc. (CMID) and F.A. Wilhelm Construction to meet a state-mandated deadline for bringing the new sampling station for the Belmont Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) Plant  online. Together, CMID and Wilhelm engineered a plan to significantly reduce the cost of the project and still keep it on schedule.

Larry Maddux, Engineering Project Manager, said the timeline was tight because they were working under a state-mandated compliance deadline of June 1 to have the station up and running. He said the compliance schedule was the result of new, stricter state requirements for copper and zinc at the Belmont   AWT Plant .

Mr. Maddux said in order to show the treatment facility is meeting the new requirements, it required automatic samples to  be collected 150 feet downstream of the original structure to be more representative of the quality of treated water discharged into the White River. This meant building a new structure.

The new sampling station is a below ground structure  that allows safe access to the main pipe, which runs underground, transporting treated water from the facility into the White River. Both automatic and manual samples are collected from the pipe to ensure that the water discharged into the river meets state water quality requirements for not only metals but other conventional pollutants found in the wastewater from local industries and homes.

Jason Windholtz, Wilhelm Project Manager, said the project initially involved building a “basement” around the 10-foot diameter pipe to support the structure above. This plan called for excavating around the existing pipe while installing the necessary pipe support and shoring. The preconstruction team of Tyler Blank, Mike Bouchey and Wayne Feng evaluated these risks and were able to help CMID develop a revised proposal for submission to Citizens Energy Group that benefited the entire team.

Larry Maddux QuoteMr. Maddux said that Wilhelm assisted CMID with value engineering and together, developed a structural design, taking advantage of an H-pile deep foundation system to significantly reduce the cost of the structure. With this type of foundation, which involves driving large piles into the ground for support, the need for costly excavation is minimized. Instead of building a concrete mat slab under and subsequent basement walls the new system using the 10 H-pile beams allowed the foundation system to start towards the top of the pipe significantly reducing potential risk, cost and schedule issues.

Changing the design of a project with an already-tight timeline is never easy. But, Wilhelm’s superintendent on the project, Dustin Cody, was able to manage the day-to-day operations to help meet the June 1 deadline.

Formerly a laborer with Wilhelm, this was Cody’s first time in taking the lead on a project. Mr. Maddux said he was impressed with how he handled all the complexities associated with this project. “Cody was very conscientious in meeting our needs, coordinating all the deliveries and making sure all the necessary changes were handled,” he said. Mr. Maddux added that Cody also kept everyone involved with the project well informed and made sure there were no loose ends. “I would give him very positive reviews,” he said.

Mr. Maddux also said that the whole team came through on this project. He said CMID and Wilhelm engineers collaborated with Citizens Energy Group to get the structure built for less than the original bid. He added that CMID was also very pleased with the assistance Wilhelm provided with value engineering and the construction of the sampling station within the required timeline.

“It was very important to us to get the sampling station done and turn it over to operations by the June 1st compliance date,” Mr. Maddux said.  “My compliments to everybody working together as a team.”

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Wilhelm welcomes 2016 summer interns

Posted by April Parsley on July 1st, 2016

Every summer, Wilhelm Construction is fortunate to welcome a group of students to our company for our summer internship program. This program is a great opportunity for the company as these bright, young minds always bring a fresh perspective to our workplace, and the students are able to return to school with real-world experience. These interns are hard at work on a very diverse array of projects across the company, and they help us to accomplish many goals. We are thrilled to introduce our newest group of interns for Summer 2016!



Senior, Construction Engineering/Management major at Purdue University, Jacob Bower, joins Wilhelm’s internships program for summer 2016. This summer, Jacob will be focused on assisting with projects at Purdue University.

In his free time Jacob enjoys playing golf and basketball.







Wilhelm welcomes Victoria Correll, sophomore at Indiana University South Bend, to its accounting department. As a project accountant in Wilhelm’s summer 2016 internship program,  Victoria will be working with different projects coordinating billing and servicing invoices.








Sarah Curts joins Wilhelm’s summer 2016 interns as an administrative assistant for a confidential pharmaceutical client. Sarah is a junior at Purdue University studying elementary education. During this internship she will be supporting construction efforts on the jobsite by assisting with day-to- day operational tasks.

Sarah loves to be with her family, explore the outdoors and take pictures.





Frech, NelsonNelson Frech

Purdue University Senior, Nelson Frech, joins the Wilhelm internship program for summer 2016. He is a construction engineering/management and political science major as well as a management minor. This summer, Nelson will be working side by side with Wilhelm’s resource group in Lafayette. In this role, Nelson will be working with various projects for Purdue University and at Subaru.

Nelson enjoys reading and running in his free time.





Kenney, PatrickPatrick Kenney

Wabash College Junior, Patrick Kenney, returns to Wilhelm for his second internship. Last year Patrick joined the estimating team working with the bid process. This year Patrick will be assisting the accounting department.

This summer Patrick will be working with clients such as University of Indianapolis and Purdue University supporting the construction efforts through accounting activities such as billing and invoices.

Patrick enjoys playing golf as well as fishing.




Koos, MalloryMallory Koos

Wilhelm welcomes Mallory Koos to its marketing team for the summer. Mallory is a senior at Indiana State University majoring in communications. Through her internship she hopes to expand her professional network by meeting new people as well as gaining knowledge about the industry.

Mallory will be working alongside the marketing department to strategically plan communication methods with the company and its customers as well as assist with event planning and help develop the CRM database.

Mallory enjoys traveling in her free time. Her favorite vacation destination is Hawaii.




Quinton, BryanBryan Quinton

Bryan Quinton, Senior at Purdue University joins operations department this summer. Bryan comes to Wilhelm from Purdue University where he majors in building construction management. This summer he looks forward to gaining field experience. In particular, he will be working on projects for Purdue University.

In his free time Bryan enjoys playing basketball and doing small wood working projects.






Ramsey, Kiran - newKiran Ramsey

Kiran Ramsey, Syracuse University Junior, joins Wilhelm this summer as a graphic design intern. As an information management and technology major with a concentration in web design, Kiran enjoys learning about the hardware involved with technology as well as mastering her design skills.

Kiran will be working alongside the marketing department to assist with marketing material creation, the company newsletter, and Wilhelm’s website.

In her free time, Kiran enjoys photography and hiking in upstate New York.




Sutton, Daniel - newDaniel Sutton

Ball State University Junior, Daniel Sutton, joins Wilhelm’s summer 16 internship program. During his time at Wilhelm, Daniel will be working with a confidential pharmaceutical client. This summer he is looking forward most to growing his skills and knowledge of the construction industry.







Vodacek, Molly

Molly Vodacek

Wilhelm welcomes Molly Vodacek, Senior at Purdue University as a summer 2016 intern. Molly is majoring in computer graphics with a focus in Building Information Modeling (BIM) minoring in art and construction management.

Molly is excited to combine her passion for art and construction. Through her internship she will be gaining experience with BIM and coordinating construction projects.

In her spare time Molly enjoys artistic activities such as drawing and painting.

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F.A. Wilhelm Construction – Building on a Culture of Diversity

Posted by April Parsley on June 1st, 2016


Graphic if the other doesn't workAccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2022, every industry in the United States will feel the effects of demographic shifts happening throughout the country. The construction industry will enjoy some of the fastest growth; however, will also be challenged with changes in the workforce that require new ways of thinking about the issue of diversity in the workplace.

Philip Kenney, President of F.A. Wilhelm Construction agrees. “Our industry is changing,” he said. “And, we are responding to that.” Kenney said that while construction has historically not favored an inclusive labor force, it will have to become much more diverse in order to attract and retain the workers necessary to support projected growth. He said, “We need to get out in front of that for the future of the industry and our company.”

Wilhelm has been leading the way to a more diverse workforce for a long time. Several years ago, Wilhelm established an internal diversity committee, which continues to meet regularly to promote diversity inside and outside the office. Kenney said. “We try to make our company’s diversity mirror our community.”

One of the committee’s goals is to keep diversity top-of-mind when contracting with other companies and filling open positions within Wilhelm. “We hire people for their skills,” Kenney said, “not their gender or their race.” Diversity is important, he said, “But, it has to first be about what they bring to the team.”

Kenney said the main purpose of the committee is to build awareness. And, that doesn’t happen overnight. “It’s like any other initiative or topic,” he said. “The more you keep the information out in front of people, the more they react to it.”

This will become even more important in the future as many different faces begin to appear in construction company offices and on work sites. In the first of a three-part series on diversity in the construction industry, Wilhelm will explore the benefits and challenges in creating a more ethnically and culturally diverse workplace. In the next issue, Wilhelm will take a closer look at the impact women are having on the industry. And in the last part of the series, Wilhelm will examine the changes that generational shifts in the workforce will require for construction companies to survive and thrive in the future.



Cultural diversity translates into creative solutions and happy staff

The business case for building more diversity into the construction industry is clear. With a projected 2.8 percent increase in the number of new construction jobs each year between now and 2024 and a labor force projected to grow at only 0.5 percent, companies can expect to have a tougher time filling open positions.   And, the labor force is changing, too. By 2050, the number of Hispanics, Asians and Black workers combined will make up almost half of the workforce in the United States.

What impact will these changes have on the construction industry? Philip Kenney, president of F.A. Wilhelm Construction, believes they will bring improvements in the industry, particularly with regard to problem solving.Quote New

According to Kenney, multiple perspectives lead to better and more creative solutions. “We’re always promoting the idea that everyone needs to use their imagination. When you have different perspectives on a project team, you think of things you might not otherwise have considered.”

Wenguo (Wayne) Feng, a senior engineer with Wilhelm agreed, saying that as a company, cultural diversity gives you a competitive edge. He said companies that embrace cultural diversity are able to more effectively address a wider range of problems for their clients. “Diversity offers a different kind of thinking – different perspectives to get problems solved,” Feng said. He added that different people with different backgrounds sharing their ideas in a team environment stimulates creativity, often resulting in a more effective solution.

According to Feng, employing people from other cultures also Increases a firm’s ability to better understand some customers’ needs, particularly where global clients are concerned. Feng noted that Wilhelm has many large, international clients. Having a workforce that mirrors that of Wilhelm’s clients can better help in understanding and addressing their needs. For example, “In proposals, they may ask about requirements that local, less diverse companies may not understand,” Feng said. He compared diversity in the workplace to a balanced ecosystem, adding that without it, “your perspective is narrowed, and your presence [in the market] is not well rounded.”

Despite these benefits, building more diversity into the construction industry is not without its challenges, though. Attracting and retaining qualified workers is becoming increasingly difficult, especially for companies that don’t embrace cultural diversity.

Feng came to the United States for his graduate studies and has worked here since. He’s been a minority at most of the places he’s worked at during his career. In one of his previous jobs, he was the only Asian in an office of 60 people.

Feng said he felt pretty isolated at times, noting that communication was sometimes an issue. At times, he wanted to remind his coworkers “we’re not from another planet, just another country.” Still, he understands how workers from other cultures can become isolated in a workplace that doesn’t value diversity. “It happens naturally,” he said. “It’s nothing personal. You can’t force people to be patient.” Nonetheless, Feng said that experience taught him to make workplace diversity a priority when seeking employment. “I don’t want to work for firms that don’t make an effort to be inclusive and tolerant.”

Feng has worked for engineering consulting firms for most of his career, some of which were large, global corporations. So, he wasn’t sure what to expect when he came to Wilhelm.

Feng admits that he was surprised by the welcoming atmosphere he’s enjoyed since coming to Wilhelm. “They make me feel very comfortable. Although my English is not the best, I can offer other contributions to the team. They value my opinions.” Feng said that it does take longer to communicate sometimes. But, his colleagues at Wilhelm are patient – they make the effort to understand him and help him understand them.

“Being open-minded is very important for the future, for the next generation – the cultures are mixing together,” Feng said. Phil Kenney, President, said he’s ready for the changes that this mixing will bring to the construction industry and welcomes all the new talent that will come with that. “At Wilhelm,” he said, “we were all taught a long time ago to appreciate everybody.”

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Projects receive high ACI Indiana Chapter honors

Posted by April Parsley on June 1st, 2016


Rabbit Run Combined Sewer Overflow is Project of the Year awarded by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Indiana Chapter at last month’s Annual Meeting and Awards Program. Congratulations to the City of Huntington, the consulting firm Greeley & Hansen and F.A. Wilhelm Construction on this recognition.

Located in Huntington, Indiana, the Rabbit Run Combined Sewer Overflow project consists of a 2,500,000 gallon sewer storage tank constructed to help alleviate the chance for a sewage spill into Indiana waterways during severe weather.

Wilhelm’s construction of the tank consisted of blasting over 23,000 cubic yards of rock. The base mat was 2-feet 6-inches thick while the cast-in-place walls were 5-feet 3-inch thick, 35-feet high and were poured in one continuous lift so there were no horizontal construction joints. Each of these wall pours averaged 550 cubic yards of concrete. The elevated deck presented a unique issue in re-enforcing steel placement as it required the use of #18 rebar, the largest that is manufactured.

Other improvements to the facility consisted of new screening equipment, pump improvements, and electrical/controls upgrades. Prior to entering into a contract with the City, the project team was able to reduce the construction costs by over $700,000 through initial value engineering. Additional savings will be realized by the City following completion of construction.

In addition to the Rabbit Run, several other Wilhelm projects were recognized by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Indiana Chapter for Outstanding Achievement in Concrete in 5 categories.

Outstanding Achievement in Concrete – Category: Sustainable Concrete

Wilhelm’s work on Stout Field Joint Force Headquarters constructed for the Indiana National Guard included a steel-framed structure featuring slab-on-metal deck construction with a 40,500 square-foot renovation and 77,100 square-foot addition. Wilhelm served as the general contractor and self-performed concrete and site work. An estimated 4,765 cubic yards of concrete were used.
The new, two-story headquarters features an impressive limestone entrance with a curved metal paneled roof. The auditorium is constructed of stained wood panels and high end mill work. Special care was also taken so existing trees on site were protected and any damage to them prevented during construction. The project is under review for LEED Silver Certification.

Outstanding Achievement in Concrete – Category: Transportation 3

The Edge Parking Structure in downtown Fishers, Indiana is connected to a medical office building. F. A. Wilhelm’s responsibilities include both the concrete in the parking structure and the platform for the medical office building. The four-story structure is cast-in-place post tension concrete, using 4,400 cubic yards. The post- tension decks were cast using a 5000 psi performance mix supplied by Irving Materials. The performance mix reached a tensioning required strength of 3000 psi within 18 hours allowing Wilhelm to expedite the schedule of the structure. The architectural appeal of the 327-car garage came from the cast-in-place reveals on the bumper walls. The reveals gives the bumper walls a boxed out appearance and are painted.

Outstanding Achievement in Concrete – Category: Commercial 3

Wilhelm partnered with Kremers-Urban to build a pharmaceutical warehouse at their Seymour plant. The unique structure consisted of 117,000 square feet of precise temperature controlled environments with strict humidity control.

Outstanding Achievement in Concrete – Category: Institutional and Cultural Spaces

The Lilly Recreation Center at DePauw University is a LEED Gold Certified 25,900 square foot renovation with a 37,700 square foot addition. Wilhelm was the construction manager on this expansion and self-performed structural steel.

Outstanding Achievement in Concrete – Category: Specialty Concrete

Cummins Seymour Technology Center is a two-story addition with office space, dinning, a new plant entrance and plant services. The 89,400 square foot addition consists of exposed white concrete walls requiring a very specific mix design and a highly complex forming system to create the desired look. The mix design used 634 pounds of white cement, produced by Federal Cement.

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Congratulations to Bob and Larry on your impressive milestones

Posted by April Parsley on August 27th, 2015

Hunter, Larry - color - web35 Years – Larry Hunter, Superintendent

“Wow, 35 years. When I went to work for F.A. Wilhelm, at the IUPUI Natatorium project in 1978, I had no idea I would still be part of this company in 2015. I did leave for a few years in 1988, but I realized that this is the best construction company to work for, and returned in 1990. Wilhelm has an outstanding reputation, so when someone asks me who I work for, I proudly answer ‘F.A. Wilhelm Construction Company’. It feels good to work for a company that when the owners stop by to walk the jobsite they will go out of their way to look me up, shake my hand, and ask about the family.

Working for the Wilhelm organization has been quite a ride, a real pleasure. I will certainly miss everyone when I decided to retire.”


Shackelford-resume-color30 Years – Bob Schackelford, General Superintendent

Reflecting on the 30 years, there’s not one moment that sticks out, but there has been a lot of change. The people have changed and the company has really grown. It has been remarkable to see, especially to be part of the progress.

There was about a three year stretch when I worked on the Honda manufacturing facility, Indiana [Grand] Casino and the Yum! center I very much enjoyed; they were all big, fast-paced, exciting projects. I still enjoy going back to the casino and the Yum! center.

This is my job; I don’t require recognition. I hope I keep growing and continue to see the company grow. For the next generation in the family, if you work hard, communicate, and are loyal, you have the support you need to succeed.

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Neighboring projects in Muncie, Indiana bring Wilhelm trades closer together

Posted by April Parsley on August 27th, 2015

F.A. Wilhelm offers construction services as a trade contractor for Earthwork, concrete, masonry and steel in addition to its construction management services.  As a result of this versatility, Wilhelm’s trade services teams work on all sorts of projects. But, it isn’t every day they all get to work together on the same project.

When Garmong Construction Services was contracted to build the Arc Innovations Training Institute and Teaching Hotel and a new city parking garage next door in downtown Muncie, Indiana, Wilhelm was hired to provide construction trade services on both, giving all four of Wilhelm’s trade teams an opportunity to work together.

Arc Hotel at night

Photo courtesy Schmidt Associates

The Arc Innovations Training Institute and Teaching Hotel is being developed by Arc of Indiana in partnership with several public and private partners, and the City of Muncie is funding the construction of the parking garage. The hotel is the first of its kind in the nation, providing employment and training in the hospitality and food service industries for people with developmental disabilities and training for human resource professionals in hiring people with disabilities. It will also offer people with disabilities an opportunity to own small businesses in the hotel. In addition to benefitting people with disabilities, these projects are an important part of Muncie’s continuing economic development in its downtown area.

Dustin Frye, Division Manager for Garmong Construction Services said that the proximity of the two projects – located just 60 feet away from each other – presented the opportunity for more logistical efficiency. “We felt there was really added value in using Wilhelm’s trade services on both of these projects,” Frye said. “Bringing on a company capable of doing multiple things was beneficial,” he said, noting how Wilhelm was able to share crews between the two jobs.

Wilhelm Project Manager Aaron Tague said that with these projects, Wilhelm’s trade services were able to coordinate in a way that is not typical – and it served Garmong’s needs well.  Tague explained that normally, Wilhelm is in the driver’s seat, managing several subcontractors from different companies. Normally, these subcontractors work independently with limited consideration to other trade teams. “In this case,” Tague said, “Wilhelm teams were able to work together internally and optimize opportunities on the project.”

Wilhelm provided four spokes of the wheel that kept these projects rolling smoothly, including site work and structural steel for the hotel, masonry on both projects, and all the concrete for the parking garage.

Frye said both projects are going as planned and will be complete later in 2015. But he added that they haven’t been without their challenges.  Frye said the work got off to an interesting start when during the excavation, the Wilhelm team found an old basement left over from a previous structure that had been backfilled and covered up. Not a problem for Wilhelm, he said, but certainly a surprise.

Tague said one of the challenging aspects of the garage was pouring the concrete in the winter. He explained that in cold weather, concrete becomes more costly due to the admixtures, heating, and blanketing necessary to cure it. Tague said, “Imagine having to heat the underside of each floor of a parking garage to keep it warm in below-zero temperatures.” He described “putting the decks to bed each night” by laying large blankets over 100,000 square feet of newly poured and heated concrete to keep it warm, adding that this kind of work requires an enormous amount of labor and cost.

Frye said that in addition to Wilhelm’s ability to provide expertise in several trade areas, the company is also able to bring a lot of manpower to get the job done. “They have a large labor force,” Frye said. “Working through the winter, there aren’t a whole lot of subcontractors that can bring together the people you need for projects of this size.”

Tague enjoyed getting to work more closely with his colleagues in the different trade groups within Wilhelm – a rare treat for the trade services teams that are usually working on different projects at any given time. “Wilhelm is a big company,” he said, “It’s nice that we have the resources to collaborate internally to help our client meet its needs.”

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Students already talking about Purdue’s new Honors College residence halls to open in 2016

Posted by April Parsley on August 27th, 2015
Honors College

Photo courtesy Messer Construction

The Honors College is just one of the university’s more recent projects. But, these two buildings have people talking – on Twitter and on a blog devoted to the project – chronicling the construction with project updates to keep readers informed of what’s happening on the site and how it may affect them.

Catharine Patrone, Purdue Honors College  Director of Student Services, said that with any construction project, there’s always a lot of interest but it is often more concern on the part of students and staff about how that project will affect their ability to get around on campus, how they will get to work or class.  “Using a blog is one way to harvest the energy regarding construction projects around campus in a positive way, to get information out in front of it,” she said.

The two new buildings, located on the southwest corner of 3rd and Russell streets, will provide Honors College students their own community residences on campus connected through an underground hallway. The ground floor will house faculty offices, classrooms, a couple of labs, and a restaurant.

Messer Construction is managing the project, and selected F.A. Wilhelm Construction’s bid to provide concrete services.

Work started in January 2015 and it wasn’t long before the project was faced with very challenging weather conditions – rain that seemed to have no end.

When Wilhelm crews were placing the cast-in-place structural concrete this spring, dry days were indeed few and far between. According to the National Weather Service, the longest dry streak in the Lafayette, Ind. area lasted only six days. Derek Carlson, Wilhelm Project Manager, said all the rainy days made for a tight timeline.

Ron Moeller, Senior Superintendent for Messer agreed and said that Wilhelm worked hard to help keep the project on track. “Even with all the rain, the Wilhelm team wouldn’t go home. They always had a fall back plan to stay productive. During the rain, they’d go back down under the deck and do work there,” he said.

Honors College

Photo courtesy of Messer Construction

Moeller said it’s common for projects on college and university campuses to operate under a tight timeline. “They always want the building open for their next class,” adding that all the rain in June made that a bit tougher for this project.

Moeller said that working with Wilhelm has made a difference for this project, “In the construction business, everybody needs everybody else. There’s so much work out there right now, it helps to have companies like Wilhelm to help out.”

“You can get anybody,” Moeller said. “Make a phone call, and they’ll be here. But, it’s the level of talent that you get that makes the difference. Wilhelm brings the talent.”

The buildings are scheduled to be completed in time to welcome students in the fall of 2016. Wilhelm’s work on the project is now complete. Other work on the project continues, fortunately now with weather conditions far more favorable for construction.

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Summer interns leave with a bit of advice from industry professionals

Posted by April Parsley on August 19th, 2015

As summer comes to an end, the company says goodbye to the summer help. Throughout the summer F.A. Wilhelm Construction, Industrial Electric, Poynter, and Freitag-Weinhardt had interns serving in roles across the company. To say goodbye, a panel discussion was held at Poynter’s new headquarters in Greenwood, Ind., where interns received advice for their future careers from professionals in the industry. The panel featured American Structurepoint’s Jared Plank, Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf’s Jonathan Hess, City of Anderson’s Pete Heuer, University of Indianapolis’ Andrea Newsom, Eli Lilly and Company’s Earl Lamson, and moderated by Debra Kunce of CORE Planning Strategies.

tour-webTo start the event, Poynter’s president, Joseph Lansdell, gave the group a tour of its new facility. He showed them the state-of-the-art laser and described how the machine works to cut specific designs into pieces of metal. Lansdell discussed some of the projects the company is working on, including, handrails and a silo that would later be shipped to a site and assembled to store corn starch. The group was amazed at how the employees and machines worked to assemble common items seen in buildings everywhere and the wide array of the company’s capabilities.

After the tour, the group reconvened for lunch and a discussion about future careers and how to work toward goals in their careers and personal lives. Kunce led the discussion by asking the panelists questions about the worst job they ever had, what benefits to ask for, and setting goals for a career path as well as giving a bit of advice herself from her own experience.

hess-webHess told the group upon graduation, he wrote down a list of goals he wanted to accomplish in the next twenty years. He described how he was able to accomplish everything he wrote down, but looking back the most important things he’s been able to accomplish that make him the happiest, like a wife and family, weren’t on the list. He said, “When you put your goals into writing and say them aloud you are more inclined to accomplish them. But, know that not everything on that list is going to fulfill you.”

Kunce later opened the discussion up to the audience and asked, “What was one piece of advice you received from a mentor?” F.A. Wilhelm’s Operations Manager Mike Kerr answered, “Every day is an audition.” While it seems simple, people forget how their daily actions mold their opportunities in their work and personal lives. He described how his daily interactions have led to opportunities and connections.

group-webThe panelists offered keen advice to the interns to take with them in the following years as they continue their studies and begin looking for jobs. The advice also served as a reminder to the other professionals in the room and was useful for anyone in any industry.

Our companies would like to thank the interns for all their hard work this summer and remind them as F.A. Wilhelm Construction Company President Phil Kenney said, “you are the future”.

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