The Wilhelm Blog
The once-considered remote land of Minot, N.D. recently experienced a boom in the area. Due to oil and gas wells situated in the Bakken formation of the Rocky Mountains to the west, the Minot population doubled with an influx of oil workers and support services to the area. Until the increased oil and gas well work in the area, the Minot Air Force Base mostly only populated Minot. NexCore Group, a Denver-based healthcare developer, identified the need for additional medical services for the growing community and broke ground on the St. Alexius Medical Plaza (SAMC) in June 2014.
“The new Medical Plaza will allow SAMC to recruit additional physicians to the Minot community and provide specialty services that patients want closer to home,” John Duncan, senior vice president of development and construction at NexCore Group, said.
With extreme North Dakota winters scheduled to begin in October, the Wilhelm construction management team prepared for unique circumstances in the area. The northern Minot location presented challenges to construction planning for the 62,733 square-foot facility, which includes a concrete foundation, structural steel frame and precast concrete wall panels with brick inlays.
Wilhelm had to address construction labor shortage in the area by enlisting workers from Fargo, Bismarck and Minnesota in addition to Minot locals. Though somewhat distant, Kent Forman, project manager for Wilhelm Construction, said these workers are local by Minot standards. Work crews started long hours for the summer to make up for work that can be missed in the long winter months.
Due to the extreme cold, the precast panels were designed to extend four feet below the finished floor slab, and the underground water requirement was a minimum of six feet. Additionally, the Wilhelm team anticipated the need for strategic material delivery to negate delays from road weight restrictions during spring thawing conditions, which impact deliveries from March to June.
“We’re using precast wall panels,” Forman said “They are pretty heavy and deliveries are limited to the summer months.”
Designed to include a clinic of 54 exam rooms and six procedure rooms, an optical center, laboratory, imaging, pharmacy, therapy and administration, the St. Alexius Medical Plaza is scheduled for July 2015 completion.
“The project design will foster cooperation among providers, which is intended to promote positive patient outcomes and increase operational efficiencies,” Duncan said. “The design supports an operational model that SAMC adopted after undertaking LEAN planning exercises to eliminate waste and improve clinical performance. For example, the larger floor plates of the facility will enable the primary care and full-time specialty physicians to practice on the same floor while the open plan of each care module will foster collaboration among staff and providers.”posted in
Lisa Wilde, F.A. Wilhelm Construction Union Payroll Administrator, took the stage at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, June 28, 2014 to lead the Big Red Bash Zumba® class, an event hosted by the Little Red Door Cancer Agency to bash cancer. The event, free and open to the public, featured three workout routines. The Zumba class assembled in an attempt to be the largest group class in the country.
“It was astonishing to see how many people committed to the challenge to bash cancer for the people in their lives,” Wilde said. “The amount of participation, whether it was in one of the three exercise formats, the kids zone or just to gather information was awesome.” An estimated 6,500 people attended the event throughout the day, according to Wilde.
Joined on stage by Zumba peers and teachers, Wilde led the dance-like cardio routine to Latin-inspired music. She said the energy in the crowd was amazing, and the routine was the fastest hour of her life.
“I was so humbled to be asked to lead on stage for the Big Red Bash,” Wilde said. “I was on stage with people who taught me Zumba. I was honored.”
Several people approached Wilde after the event to find out where she teaches, and that they plan to incorporate her routine into the Zumba classes they teach.
“The highest compliment was to have peers tell me that I killed the routine and having other instructors borrow my routine,” Wilde said. “Being on stage with people I admire and then to have them say ‘job well done,’ was amazing.”
When Wilde joined Wilhelm 13 years ago, she looked and felt different than today. Those employees who knew her from day one saw the transformation she made from Woman’s size 22 to a Misses’ size 10. After discovering health issues, her doctors recommended significant weight loss to reduce her pain levels. Wilde found a coupon for one free dance class and tried ballet. At the age of 39 she signed up for a year of ballet, hip-hop and jazz. In one year with three hours of exercise each week, Wilde lost 55 pounds. By continuing her commitment to exercise and watching what she ate she maintained the weight loss and continued to tone her body.
When the dance studio closed, she searched for a new cardio class. That is when she discovered Zumba and six months later she became a licensed instructor.
“Zumba has done wonders for my stress level,” Wilde said. “Most of us go home, sit down and have a hard time getting back up. But it’s important to make ‘me’ time.”
Wilde said Zumba, a mid-level impact exercise, could burn up to 1,300 calories depending on the length and intensity of the routine. The important thing is to find an exercise outlet that inspires you, so that you will continue to do it.
“It doesn’t matter what you do, but all you need is 30 minutes each day,” Wilde said. “That will benefit you in the long run. Walk. Step in place to music. It doesn’t matter what intensity as long as your body is moving and your heart rate is up.”posted in
The Indiana Chapter of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) is hosting its annual scholarship golf outing!
DATE: Wednesday, October 8, 2014
TIME: Shotgun start @ 11:30 a.m. (registration begins @ 10:30 a.m., breakfast seminar @9 a.m.)
LOCATION: Plum Creek Golf Club / 12401 Lynnwood Boulevard / Carmel, Indiana
COST: $150/person for golf outing (includes golf, unlimited range balls, lunch, prize fund, after-round appetizers and drinks
For more information or to RSVP, contact John Krupski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.523.0176.
Enter for a chance to win a wheelbarrow full of fine wine, craft beer, and top shelf liquor. Purchase one ticket for $!0 or two for $15. Available at event or in advance by contacting John Krupski. *Must be 21 to enter.posted in
The community asked for help, and F.A. Wilhelm responded. With a call to action to help Central Indiana families gather basic supplies to start the 2014 school year, Wilhelm donated an office-full of backpacks, colored pencils and other school supplies to Indy BackPack Attack’s School Supply Drive.
The donation effort was a collaboration of local businesses, organizations and non-profits, whose mission is to collect school supplies to provide children the tools they need to succeed in school. It is reported that 80 percent of Central Indiana families cannot afford basic school supplies their children need. On average, many teachers spend over $500 of their own money to supplement student supplies.
Aside from the financial burden experienced by families and teachers, students with inadequate supplies suffer unnecessary struggle to keep up with peers. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard proclaimed June 23, 2014 as Indy BackPack Day to increase public awareness of this need. Wilhelm participated in the drive and received outstanding response from employees.
As of early August 2014, an IndyBack Pack coordinator reported more than 257,000 supplies were collected for this year’s drive. During the course of two weeks, over 400 volunteers across Indianapolis worked to count, sort, and package the school supplies. Indianapolis Public Schools social workers then distribute the supplies to children in need throughout the community.
With the help of community members and local businesses like Wilhelm, Indy BackPack attack has collected over 3.5 million school supplies since 1999. In addition to school supplies, the drive collected basic hygiene products like deodorant and soap for the students.posted in
Join us in our form shop for a free program on floor flatness and leveling, brought to you by the Indiana Chapter of the American Concrete Institute.
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Time: 7:30am registration / breakfast
8:00-9:00 am program and demonstration
Cost: FREE! Sponsored by F.A. Wilhelm Construction
PDJ Units: Attendees will earn 1 PDH for attending the program.
Location: F.A. Wilhelm Construction Form Shop, 4327 Prospect Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
This informative program will include the following information of FF/FL numbers:
- FF/FL number explanation
- Form set-up
- Impacts of finishing and curing
- Gaps in specifications
- Myths and facts
- Problem areas
- Alternate ways to measure
- ASTM test method and procedures
- Demonstration of test equipment
About the speakers:
Ryan Decker, Quality Assurance Manager, F. A. Wilhelm Construction: Ryan is responsible for developing and implementing Project Specific Quality Plans, and managing onsite quality assurance managers. He reviews contract documents and specifications to ensure quality requirements are met. His duties during construction include direct oversight of testing and testing agencies for compliance with ASTM standards and resolutions of non-compliances and reviewing contractor installation to ensure conformance with the contract documents.
Charlie Scheuermann, Senior Project Manager, Patriot Engineering: Mr. Charlie Scheuermann, LEED® AP, is the Operations Manager for the Construction Materials Testing Division at Patriot Engineering and Environmental, Inc. in Indianapolis, IN. In his nearly 16 years in the industry he has performed and supervised flatness and levelness surveys for hundreds of commercial and industrial projects. Mr. Scheuermann is an Associate at Patriot and also served on the Board of Directors for ICACI from 2009 through 2012.
Contact email@example.com or 3217.733.1903 for a registration form by July 25th!posted in
NexCore Group out of Denver, Colo. recently broke ground on a medical complex in Minot, N.D.
According to a release by St. Alexius Medical Center, the state-of-the-art medical plaza features 40 primary care and 20 specialty care exam rooms as well as a same-day surgical center. Additionally, it will provide imaging (diagnostic radiology, MRIs, CTs, ultrasound, mammography, and DexaScan), physical therapy and laboratory services. For patient convenience, an eye clinic and pharmacy are also available.
The 62,733 square-foot facility includes a concrete foundation and structural steel frame.
Based on prior work with an employee of NexCore, Wilhelm was invited to submit on the project and was awarded the construction management contract.
Wilhelm will have to address the shortage of construction labor in the area and because nearly all subcontractors travel, they are not tied to the local community. Another major challenge Wilhelm faces is to enclose the project before the northern winter hits.
NexCore Group has developed and acquired more than 4.7 million square feet of facilities according to its website. With its growing portfolio, it offers hospitals and healthcare systems competitive capital structures and effective business strategy insights.posted in
After 30 years with Wilhelm Construction, Operations Manager Chris French retires. Seasoned project manager, Jeremy Ayres, has been promoted to operations manager.
French began his first Wilhelm project, an addition to the pro-insulin building for Eli Lilly and Company, in 1984.
He has tended to more than 200 projects, valued over $2 billion, ranging from parking structures and museums to institutional facilities for life sciences and higher education. These include monumental projects such as Belterra Casino, the Indiana State Museum, Indiana University Health Arnett Hospital, and more recently OneAmerica’s parking garage and pedestrian bridge.
As French reflects on his most memorable project, the Indiana State Museum in 2002, he recalls a great team on a complicated project with a very tight schedule.
The project was unique in that it incorporated several different materials like concrete, stainless steel, limestone, sandstone, glass, brick, terrazzo, and terra cotta.
“I was able to take my two boys, who were 9 and 11 [years old] at the time, on a tour of the project the day before the grand opening. It was a proud moment to show them what their dad had helped build,” says French.
The biggest change in the industry in his tenure has been technology. When French started, purchase orders were completed on electric typewriters, fax machines were just introduced, digital beepers were distributed for communication and lay-out was performed with “basic transits and dumpy levels”.
“Now everyone has a smartphone, we build off of electronic drawings and 3-D models; emails have replaced letters, and lay-out is programmed in robotic total stations,” says French.
Several of French’s colleagues have served alongside him much of his 30 years.
Doug Curts, operations manager, shares his sentiments regarding French’s retirement, “I am saddened to see Chris retire, but very happy for him to be able spend more time pursuing his interests and spending more time with his wife and family. Chris has always been a reliable source of inspiration and knowledge to our company, and I have often sought his advice when faced with difficult decisions. His leadership and talents will be missed and difficult to replace.”
Given the opportunity to go back and advise his younger self, French shares that he would remind himself to not be so hard on himself when challenges arise.
“When you are in the middle of a big problem, that at the time you couldn’t imagine any way to resolve it without major negative repercussions to the project…I would tell myself, ‘to stay calm and remember that you have been in similar situations in the past. And somehow, some way, found a way to resolve it and successfully complete the project.’ Maybe I would have less gray hair if I practiced this.”
“It has been an honor and pleasure to work with Chris French over the past 19 years. Chris has been a loyal and dedicated partner at Wilhelm. He has always had the Wilhelm team members at heart, along with upholding the reputation of Wilhelm and servicing its customers. I will miss Chris and his ‘Franklin Planner’,” says Mike Kerr, another Wilhelm operations manager.
French concludes those he has met in the construction industry are some of the “finest people” he has met. “As a whole, I’ve found them to be down-to-earth, hardworking, give the shirt off their back people who take pride in what they do. And with Wilhelm Construction, I was blessed to be surrounded by the ‘best of the best’ people in this industry for the past thirty years.”
Moving up into the operations manager role, is current Wilhelm Project Manager Jeremy Ayres, LEED AP.
“With Chris retiring it looks like I am taking his place. However, considering the depth of experience, knowledge, and compassion Chis has demonstrated over his career, I am not taking his place, but moving into a new role with big shoes to fill. I have heard from many people how much Chris is respected and that he will be missed when he is off in retirement.”
Ayres, a graduate of Purdue University’s structural engineering program, has 17 years of industry experience, 11 of which with Wilhelm. He recently wrapped up three projects on Purdue’s campus, his last as project manager prior to taking on the new role.
In the years Ayres has been with Wilhelm, he has completed more than a dozen projects, valued over $300 million.
Notable projects he has completed include the Indiana University Health Neuroscience Center, Indiana Grand Casino, and the recladding of Regions Tower. His projects have received nearly ten awards including the top national honor by America’s Best Buildings of the Year (ABBY) for the IU Health Neuroscience Center in 2013.
“Jeremy has proven to be a driven, conscientious and successful project manager on some of Wilhelm’s most challenging projects that are now monuments for our customers. He has the knowledge and drive to serve Wilhelm’s customers well. Jeremy will set a great example and be a good leader for his team members,” says Kerr.
Ayres feels Wilhelm has prepared him for this role by the diverse work it performs, serving multiple markets. Additionally, he has turned to his peers for guidance when needed.
“I have had the pleasure of working alongside so many talented people over the years.
Oftentimes when facing a problem, I will ask myself, ‘how would he have solved it?’ I continue to pull from the experiences and lessons taught by others at Wilhelm,” says Ayres.
One of Ayres’ biggest challenges up until now has been concerning clients and owners consistently shortening schedules; however he expresses Wilhelm’s reputation has set a standard for meeting client needs.
“Wilhelm has always stepped up and met the challenges and our commitments with schedules to meet our clients’ needs. With the compression of project schedules we have to work harder to ensure we are maintaining the quality in our product that we always strive to achieve,” says Ayres.
Wilhelm’s large amount of self-perform work has also provided Ayres better depth and understanding of actual construction requirements, sequencing, and scheduling. He believes greatest challenge moving forward will be time management and the ability to work with multiple project teams.
“For several years I have been focused on single projects and the day-to-day details. My new role will require me to modify this focus, to step back to continue to look at bigger picture,” says Ayres.
This new role will allow him to interact more with owners, clients, and designers, something he is “very much looking forward to”.
Wilhelm President Phil Kenney is encouraged by Ayres’ new leadership role. “I am confident that Jeremy will do very well as an operations manager. He has the work ethic, communications skills and imagination necessary to be very successful.”
So, what can Wilhelm’s clients expect from him?
“I hope to bring a fresh perspective into my role as well as a positive attitude and energy into every task I work on. I hope to continue the teamwork and “can-do” attitude that Wilhelm has always possessed,” says Ayres.posted in
More than a decade ago, the Grace Assembly of God in New Whiteland, Ind. was recognized as one of the fastest growing churches in the Assemblies of God. Since then, the church has continued to experience steady growth; today the church has approximately 11,000 members. In order to sustain its growth, the congregation decided to expand its current 16,000-square-foot, multi-use facility by building a new sanctuary onto the existing structure.
In summer 2009, the church purchased property south of its facility to make room for the expansion. Several months later, the congregation began the Higher Capital Campaign to raise money to build a new sanctuary. The campaign lasted more than three years.
On Sunday, May 4, 2014, the congregation saw the fruits of its labor realized when the church hosted its first service in a new 24,000-square-foot sanctuary.
“At our first service in the new sanctuary, we were at 80 percent capacity,” said Jim Burris, the owner’s representative. “The construction turned out great and the congregation is very pleased. It definitely has the wow factor.”
F.A. Wilhelm Construction, construction manager for the $6.5 million addition, broke ground in May 2013. Wilhelm Project Manager Ryan DeLong said the new building provides 1,250 seats, doubling the church’s previous seating capacity. Additionally, every seat has a view of the main stage with new stadium seating installed.
“We built the structure from the ground up including the main sanctuary and front lobby. In the sanctuary, we installed precut construction stadium seating, which can be difficult to do with the concrete,” said DeLong. “The systems and seating were provided by the owner; however, Wilhelm managed the whole project from start to finish.”
“The sanctuary is designed to be like a performing arts center,” added Burris. “One of the goals was for it to be very media driven with state-of-the-art AV technology.”
The congregation also had specific goals for the structure’s exterior, including increasing the church’s visibility from U.S. Highway 31.
Four boundaries, including U.S. Highway 31, the existing, and two existing utility easements presented challenges to the project.
“We needed to build the structure as large as possible within these boundaries. This building handled those challenges. The new sanctuary has a definite presence, especially from U.S. Highway 31.”
The Grace Assembly of God congregation is looking forward to many more services and other activities held in its new sanctuary. Summer services are held every Sunday at 10 a.m. Beginning in the fall, the church will offer two services at 9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.posted in
Each year, the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Indiana Chapter invites companies to submit concrete projects to compete for awards under ten different categories such as commercial, public works, and residential. A selection committee awards one winner per category. The winners of each category go on to compete for the “Project of the Year” award. This honor is presented to the best overall project from the ten categories.
On April 23, 2014, F.A. Wilhelm Construction received three awards for outstanding achievements in concrete from the Indiana Chapter of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) at the chapter’s annual banquet and awards ceremony.
In the Health Care/Life Sciences –Hospitals category, Wilhelm came out on top with the Sydney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital core and shell project, which went on to receive the coveted “Project of the Year”. Wilhelm performed multiple projects at the Eskenazi Health Campus in Indianapolis. The $105 million concrete superstructure for the main hospital required more than 35,000 cubic yards of concrete.
Wilhelm also received outstanding achievement in the Transportation 2 – Parking Structures category for the OneAmerica Parking Garage and Pedestrian Bridge project.
For Jason King, who served as the project manager for both projects, the awards validate the quality work that Wilhelm provides its clients.
“The Eskenazi project was a tough concrete structure job, so it was wonderful to have it recognized as the Project of the Year,” said King.
Chris Wilhelm, general superintendent and head of Wilhelm’s concrete division, accepted the awards on behalf of Wilhelm Construction.
“Winning an ACI award, especially for ‘Project of the Year’, stands out to the building community including architects, engineers, and contractors,” said Wilhelm. “It shows that Wilhelm Construction is still leading the way. It’s a pat on the back from our peers and a reminder we are doing a good job.”
Nearly 14,000 cubic yards of self-performed concrete were used on the OneAmerica Parking Garage and Pedestrian Bridge. Wilhelm served as general contractor with the developer, Flaherty and Collins, in constructing the six level, 1,237-car, post-tensioned parking structure in the heart of downtown Indianapolis.
“It is always an honor to have your projects recognized,” said King. “Wilhelm performs a great deal of large-scale concrete projects, so it is a significant opportunity to showcase the work we do.”
The American Concrete Institute develops and distributes consensus-based standards, technical resources, and educational programs to organizations worldwide that are involved in concrete design, construction, and materials. The Indiana Chapter represents the industry throughout the state, and its membership includes owners, engineers, educators, ready-mixed suppliers, material suppliers, precast fabricators, contractors, testing labs, and among others.
For more information about the ACI Indiana Chapter and its annual awards competition, visit its website at www.indianaaci.org.posted in
Professional peer advisory groups can serve as an outlet for the sharing of best practices, resolution of common challenges and development of key growth strategies.
While much attention has been focused on the benefits of peer collaboration by small businesses, larger established corporations are realizing the advantages of structured interaction with businesses similar to their own.
“Peer collaboration assists companies by allowing them to learn from each other; and it drives innovation,” says Brian Swenty, Ph.D. P.E., professor and chair for the mechanical and civil engineering program at the University of Evansville.
Dr. Swenty serves as a practicing engineer, professor and adviser to tomorrow’s construction and engineering leaders. He understands the importance of a collaborative spirit in today’s business environment.
“Peers understand the short- and long-term challenges a company faces, especially economic, environmental, and societal factors. Peer-to-peer collaboration benefits all parties,” says Dr. Swenty.
Phil Kenney, F.A. Wilhelm Construction Company president, experienced the success of peer groups when he served as president of Freitag-Weinhardt, Wilhelm’s mechanical contracting affiliate. Kenney knew applying the concept to F.A. Wilhelm Construction would only strengthen the company.
“I found my involvement with the Mechanical Contractors Association to be of great value and really experienced the benefits of peer collaboration,” says Kenney.
F.A. Wilhelm Construction Company made the decision to harness the power of peer-to-peer partnership in 2002 when it joined a national peer group with six similar construction firms from California, Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.
When the leaders of the member companies first met, their initial goal was to provide in-depth reviews of each company’s operations, share best practices and seek avenues of continuous improvement.
Kenney recalls the satisfaction that came with initial successes of the peer group. “The early years of this effort achieved outstanding results. The sharing of information among the firms provided real opportunities for measurable process improvements. These opportunities have multiplied as our companies increase the commitment to the process.”
A key part of the peer group process is the trust among its members, both personally and companywide. As financial information, people and processes are freely exchanged between peer group members, confidentiality is essential to the success of the group.
“There is always a fear that sharing “best practices” with potential competitors will result in a loss of market share, but exposure to best-practices fuels innovation,” says Dr. Swenty.
Wilhelm has seen this innovation in action at all levels of the company. From risk management and trends in insurance plans to contract language and surety rates changes, the peer companies on the east and west coasts have provided “lessons learned” before affects seen in the Midwest.
New software and improved information technology procedures have been implemented based on feedback from peer group members. Reviews of payment software and revisions to financial report language have been discussed in accounting following receipt of information from peer companies.
Operations has rolled out the use of Bluebeam software, technology to create, edit and markup PDF files. Wilhelm Project Engineer Justin Lawhorn networked with a project engineer from a peer group company in California on the advantages of Bluebeam.
Safety processes and procedures have improved. The free exchange of people, equipment and best practices have been part of the continuous improvement managed by Doug Taylor, Wilhelm’s corporate safety director, and our safety managers.
Estimators have collaborated on databases and building information modeling, implemented a benchmarking process where unit and material costs for typical buildings are included, and even shared bid schedules.
“Peer reviews of estimates allow us to be more competitive and increases cost-certainty,” says Andy Lock, Wilhelm’s chief estimator.
The business development groups have found benefits in leveraging each other’s industry experience. Instead of viewing each other competitors, the companies have come together to collaborate on project opportunities.
The evolution of Wilhelm’s peer group experience resulted in the formation of National Construction Solutions Group™ (NCSG™).
The NCSG™ member firms participate in all construction market segments. As an active member of NCSG™, each firm has access to similar state-of-the-art project historical cost data, delivery systems, means and methods, preconstruction value and systems analysis, as well as project personnel with specific expertise. When coupled with each firm’s experience and assigned project staff, the group offers a value added, unique perspective to the planning and execution of projects across the United States.
Wilhelm has been introduced to healthcare and warehousing opportunities through the peer-to-peer alliance. And conversely, Wilhelm has supported peer partners with parking, pharmaceutical, and museum experience.
“Doug May, Wilhelm project superintendent, was instrumental in assisting our peer company in Wisconsin land a contract with the Milwaukee Art Museum based on his success at the Indianapolis Museum of Art,” says Kenney.
Dr. Swenty sees a greater emphasis on peer collaboration among companies compared to 20 years ago. “Company mergers and buy-outs occur daily, but companies that are leaders focus not simply on survival but on opportunities for growth…and often this is driven by collaboration with peers. Failure to engage in peer collaboration limits a construction company’s ability to expand professional contacts, engage in joint ventures, and collaborate on other business. Change can be daunting, but peer collaboration removes some of the fear and equips companies to grow and thrive.”
“If we do not stay involved with the peer-to-peer process, we will be left behind the rest of the industry, becoming old, tired and stagnate. I will not allow Wilhelm to become just another construction company. We will remain leaders in our industry,” says Kenney.posted in