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The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Opens Four Winds Casino South Bend

Posted by April Parsley on January 19th, 2018
Leadership of Pokagon Band and Four Winds cut ceremonial ribbon

Leadership of Pokagon Band and Four Winds cut ceremonial ribbon

Ceremony included tribal drumming, presentation of flags and a ribbon cutting

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – January 16, 2018 – The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and its Four Winds Casinos are pleased to announce their newest property, located on 166 acres of tribal trust land in northern Indiana and the first casino in the state of Indiana owned and operated by a Native American tribe, officially opened to the public today at 4 p.m.

The casino, Four Winds South Bend, shares the Four Winds brand with other Pokagon casino locations in New Buffalo, Hartford and Dowagiac, Mich.

More than 300 invited guests joined John P. Warren, Chairman of the Pokagon Band, Frank Freedman, Chief Operating Officer of Four Winds Casinos and Ernie Stevens, Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association at a ribbon cutting ceremony that took place today at 12 p.m. EST. Tribal members performed drum songs as part of the grand opening celebration, and tribal veterans posted flags, prior to an invocation and remarks by invited guests.

Then, at 4 p.m., the doors were officially open to the public.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for all of us and we’re pleased to have you here today,” Freedman said. “This ribbon cutting signifies the work of hundreds of people over the course of the past 13 months. We’re proud to cut this ribbon today for the first tribal casino in the state of Indiana and the fourth Four Winds property.”

“This will be an entertainment destination for the region,” Freedman continued. “We’ve hired and trained over 1,200 of the best people to provide the same superior level of quality and service our guests have come to expect from the Four Winds brand. We offer more than just gaming; we’re excited to bring four new dining experiences to the South Bend region— including Copper Rock Steakhouse, The Buffet, Kankakee Grille and Timbers.”

“From the moment of groundbreaking through this ribbon cutting, the positive support from local, county and state governments has been extraordinary,” said John P. Warren, Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. “We could not have done this without the support of many people and agencies. We also extend our gratitude to the Pokagon Elders Council and Pokagon Gaming Authority, along with the entire Tribal Government. Without their knowledge and guidance, we would not be here today.”

Partners supporting the Pokagon Band and Four Winds Casinos in the construction of Four Winds South Bend include architect, HBG Design, Memphis, Tenn.; civil engineer, Wightman and Associates, Benton Harbor, Mich.; construction management company, F.A. Wilhelm, Indianapolis, Ind.; and owners representative, Kramer Management Group, Lansing, Mich.

Four Winds South Bend has 175,000 square feet and includes 1,800 games, four restaurants, a players lounge, a coffee shop, three bars, a retail outlet, and approximately 4,500 parking spaces including an enclosed parking structure. The casino has hired more than 1,200 people to date. The casino is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

About The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ sovereignty was reaffirmed under legislation signed into law by President Clinton in September of 1994. The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation for its approximately 5,000 citizens. The Pokagon Band’s ten-county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana. Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Mich., with a satellite office in South Bend, Ind. In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., followed by Four Winds Hartford in 2011 and Four Winds Dowagiac in 2013. Four Winds South Bend opened January 16, 2018. It owns and operates a variety of business via Mno-Bmadsen, the tribe’s non-gaming investment enterprise. More information is available at www.pokagonband-nsn.gov, www.fourwindscasino.com and www.mno-bmadsen.com.

About Four Winds Casinos
Four Winds New Buffalo, located at 11111 Wilson Road in New Buffalo, Mich., Four Winds Hartford, located at 68600 Red Arrow Highway in Hartford, Mich., Four Winds Dowagiac, located at 58700 M-51 South in Dowagiac, Mich., and Four Winds South Bend, located at 3000 Prairie Road in South Bend, Ind., are owned by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Four Winds New Buffalo offers 130,000 square feet of gaming with more than 2,600 slot machines, 50 table games, five restaurants, entertainment bars, retail venues, a pool, and a 415-room hotel, making it the premier gaming resort in the Midwest. Four Winds Hartford features more than 550 slot machines, nine table games, a 74-seat restaurant, and a 15-seat bar. Four Winds Dowagiac features 400 slot machines, seven table games and one restaurant. Four Winds South Bend has 55,000 square feet of gaming space, 1,800 games, four restaurants, three bars, a players lounge, a coffee shop, and a retail outlet. Please play responsibly. You must be 21 years of age to gamble. For more information on Four Winds Casinos, please call 1-(866)-4WINDS1 (866-494-6371) or visit www.fourwindscasino.com. Additionally, be sure to like Four Winds Casinos on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fourwindscasino and follow on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/fourwindscasino.

Media Contacts:
Melinda Pierce, Big Idea Company, (574) 257-4332, melinda@bigideacompany.com

Jill Klinedinst, Big Idea Company, (574) 257-4332, jill@bigideacompany.com

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Team Collaboration Achieves Schedule Milestones for Anticipated Four Winds Casino in South Bend

Posted by April Parsley on January 8th, 2018
Photo by HBG Design

Photo by HBG Design

From the inside out, the new Four Winds Casino in South Bend, Indiana, reflects the Four Winds brand and pays tribute to the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Maintaining the Four Winds Casino brand was very important to the design of this project and incorporating design elements relating to the South Bend market. An earth tone palette and cultural symbolism are incorporated into the facilities from the entryway’s weaved and ribbon-like design in the rotunda to the hearth room representing the Band’s heritage as “keepers of fire.”

“The Pokagon call South Bend ‘ribbon town,’” said Nathan Peak, AIA, Lead Architectural Designer and Principal at HBG Design. “Known for arts and crafts, tribal symbolism is connected to unique patterns and artwork as well as the location’s origins along the river and water.”

The Pokagon Gaming Authority chose F.A. Wilhelm Construction as construction manager for their first Four Winds Casino in Indiana. This full-service gaming venue will feature 1,800 electronic gaming machines, three bars, and six restaurants including the signature Copper Rock Steakhouse. Strategically creating a destination of options, this casino offers more private dining than in each of the other three Four Winds properties.

Preplanning through preconstruction from the early phases of development enabled the team to determine optimal timing for mobilization. Jeff Clay, Senior Vice President of Development for Four Winds, said the planning process for a new casino can be a long and complex process. He said Four Winds worked for five years to bring this facility to South Bend.

“We used that time wisely,” Clay said. “Wilhelm stepped up with its preconstruction team, to pre-order materials so everything was set, waiting for the flag to drop. When it did, we were ready and we’ve been flying ever since.”

Wilhelm’s Contract Manager Mitch Davison enjoyed working through the preconstruction process and seeing the plan come together.

“We all worked together for two or three months before the project started and had a good plan looking down the road and anticipated challenges before they became problems,” Davison said. “Being proactive was the key to staying on schedule.”

Schedule continues to be a driving force behind construction to prepare for the grand opening in early 2018. Achieving the expedited timeframe Mike Morgan, Kramer Management Group and Owner’s Representative for the Pokagon Gaming Authority, attributes it to Wilhelm’s ability to effectively manage the schedule.

“Wilhelm knows how to manage the schedule,” Morgan said. “We have a lot of quick collaboration. These are the things that keep the job going.” Davison echoes these statements attributing schedule achievements to a solution-focused mindset.

“The Pokagon Gaming Authority and Four Winds were open to our solutions to expedite the schedule because they were committed to opening the project as soon as possible,” Davison said. “We were given the decision-making authority to achieve that goal considering what was best for the project and the budget.”

In Davison’s 27 years in the industry, he said this was the ‘smallest, big jobsite’ he has encountered because not much of the 166-acre site was initially usable as construction began in Indiana’s coldest and wettest months. This challenged the project team as weather changed from snow to rain continuously changing site conditions. A considerable amount of soil remediation was necessary to ensure the site was stabilized to begin groundwork at that time of year.

When an expansive parking structure was added to the project, logistical challenges were overcome by quickly adjusting the overall site logistics plan and constructing certain areas ahead of schedule. In addition, close coordination with HBG Design and preplanning enables the simultaneous completion of both the parking structure and the casino.

“It’s very aggressive to design and build a 3,000-car parking garage, with a custom skin, in only 12 months. That is typically unheard of,” Paul Bell, AIA, Project Manager and Principal at HBG Design. “[Wilhelm] had an aggressive schedule; our design team understood that. We have developed a good partnership working through the needs of this aggressive schedule.”

As milestones are achieved on this fast-tracked schedule, the team is getting excited about the new venue to open. Mike Kerr, Wilhelm Operations Manager, is proud of many things on this project including the architectural beauty, the quality of work and the jobs it is creating for both tribal members and the South Bend community.

“I’m most proud of the number of people the project has employed and the relationships we have made with Pokagon Band members,” Kerr said.

Forty-three tribal members or their spouses have been engaged in this project through the Tribal Preference Program which provides the tribal community with first-preference for open positions on the project. Currently 420 people are onsite working 12-hour days, six days a week to ensure the casino opens on January 16, according to a Four Winds press release. Opening this casino creates nearly 1,200 new jobs for the South Bend community.

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Supporting the “10 Thousand Trees” Initiative

Posted by April Parsley on January 8th, 2018

Planted Trees

Three groups came together for a common cause – to plant trees. The Citizens Energy Group, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and Indianapolis Department of Public Works team worked to better the community, one arbor at a time.

The trio sponsored an event that brought people together from all walks of life and organizations to plant trees on the near east side. This effort was part of the 10 Thousand Trees initiative to plant arbors in support of CEG’s investments that will nearly eliminate combined sewer overflows to area rivers, waterways and streams by the year 2025. The result also beautifies the neighborhoods.

In the prevention of sewer overflows reaching waterways, Citizens Energy Group will invest roughly $2 billion dollars by 2025 as they build the DigIndy Tunnel System, expanding wastewater treatment plants.

“This initiative is great for the community as it allows people to take pride in their neighborhoods and at the same time minimize the overall cost of improving our waterways through green infrastructure projects,” said Derek Davidson, a Wilhelm Construction volunteer.

Citizens Energy Group, Wilhelm Construction, Greely and Hanson, as well as several high school students contributed to the efforts. Roughly 75 people gathered, planting 96 trees along Grant Street between 9th and 10th streets.

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Justin Lawhorn Receives DBIA Certification

Posted by April Parsley on January 8th, 2018

Justin Lawhorn

Justin Lawhorn of Wilhelm Construction successfully completed the requirements for the nationally recognized Assoc. Designated Design-Build Professional™ certification (Assoc. DBIA™).

This certification comes from the completion of coursework and a formal exam in all aspects of design-build project delivery from project procurement through post-award. Lawhorn can now display “Assoc. DBIA” after his name and will be required to complete a minimum of 24 hours continuing education credit every two years to maintain the credential.

“We’re extremely proud of Justin. He’s a strong client advocate and hard worker and we believe this credential will allow him to continue excelling his career in the A/E/C industry,” said Doug Curts.

The Assoc. DBIA™ certification demonstrates a commitment to design-build done right having mastered best practices associated with the entire design-build process—from project procurement through post-award. Justin’s commitment shows he is a great asset not only to Wilhelm, but the A/E/C industry.

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Doug Pickering – Operation Manager

Posted by April Parsley on January 8th, 2018

Doug Pickering

Doug joined F.A. Wilhelm Construction as Operations Manager with a focus on expanding the industrial business segment of the company’s operations, leveraging his experience in industrial, power, chemical, and renewable energy to serve Wilhelm’s diverse clients and their individual needs. Prior to joining Wilhelm, Doug held leadership positions at a national power and engineering company in engineering, project management, and construction operations on multiple pursuits and projects across North America. While at both AMEC and Duke Energy, Doug worked with Wilhelm on development and execution of numerous successful ventures.

Doug has a MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Doug is active in Construction Industry Institute (CII), has previously served on the board of the Gibson County Habitat for Humanity, and participated in several Habitat house builds in both Gibson and Vanderburgh counties. Doug’s spare time is focused on family, notably activities with his wife and children.

With Doug’s position, industrial and manufacturing clients can expect a personalized experience based on comprehensive and specific industry insight.

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Children’s TherAplay Offers Wilhelm a Different Kind of Project

Posted by April Parsley on January 8th, 2018

Children's TherAplay

When F.A. Wilhelm crews rolled up to The Children’s TherAplay Foundation construction site with their bulldozers and backhoes – heavy equipment with loads of horsepower – they were greeted by a different kind of horsepower – one that builds ability and independence in children with special needs.

Children’s TherAplay, located in Carmel, Indiana, is a not-for-profit healthcare facility unlike any Wilhelm Crews had worked on before. The clinic specializes in hippotherapy –incorporating the movement of horses into pediatric physical and occupational therapies – for approximately 170 children, ranging in age from 18 months to 13 years, with special needs.

Hillary McCarley, Executive Director of Children’s TherAplay, said Wilhelm’s offer to build the facility’s new Meyers Family Stable came completely out of the blue. When it was time to find a company to do the work, she called her friend and Wilhelm President, Phil Kenney for advice on how to choose a general contractor. “I knew a project like this was small potatoes for a company like Wilhelm. But, I respect his opinion and knew he would steer me in the right direction,” McCarley Said.

McCarley told Kenney that, like the children they serve at Children’s TherAplay, this project also had special needs. She explained that they needed to keep the facility open during construction to avoid disrupting the treatment schedules of their young clients, which would require extra precautions to keep everyone safe. And, of course, the horses needed to be considered. Heavy equipment and loud noises can frighten them. McCarley needed a contractor willing to coordinate with her staff on various construction activities to ensure everything went smoothly.

“After explaining this to Phil, he said, ‘Hillary, I don’t think there’s anybody that can do it better than Wilhelm.’ I was floored. I told him I didn’t expect that and was happy to hire a general contractor. He said, ‘No, I’m going to have to do it myself.’” According my McCarley, Kenney wanted to assist in finding the right vendors for the project, and two days later he came out to the facility to get the ball rolling.

Mike Shaw, Wilhelm Superintendent, said that the project was unique not only in terms of its type and size – a horse stable is not the usual sort of project the company gets involved in – but also in that many of the materials were donated. “Normally, we get all materials and contractors lined up ahead of time,” Shaw said, adding, “It was a bit of a challenge working with all the different contributors to get the materials there when we needed them. But, they all came through.” The biggest challenge, he said, was the narrow window of time in which the work needed completed, “We started in early February and had to be finished by the last week of April.”

Shannon Wade, Children’s TherAplay’s marketing programs manager, said the new stable was a critical need. “Our program is limited by the number of horses we have, and the number of horses we have is limited by the barn.” She said Children’s TherAplay is also one of the few hippotherapy clinics in the region that is open year-round. “Imagine if your child needed a life-changing medical treatment yet you’re told you can only come a few times a year,” said Wade.

During construction, Children’s TherAplay was able to relocate its horses to a farm next door, allowing them to continue providing services as Wilhelm’s crews were building the new stable. McCarley said Wilhelm worked to make sure the noise didn’t bother the horses, taking extra precautions to prevent frightening them. “The only time we had to stop hippotherapy was when they had to use the jackhammers,” she said.

The old barn had only 11 stalls. The new stable is a pre-engineered, 3,600 square-foot wood building with 16 stalls. Each stall has special doors. Instead of having an opening at the top of the door, which is the standard design for horse stalls, the new doors are custom-designed with open grills at the bottom that allows the children to see the horses without having to be picked up. The stable also has a climate controlled tack room with a washer and dryer, and an indoor wash stall. And there’s plenty of room to store hay in the loft. Shaw noted that most horse barns have dirt floors, but for this project, Wilhelm poured concrete floors to make cleaning the stable easier. The team also installed glycol tubing prior to pouring the concrete to provide radiant heat and prevent the floors from freezing in the winter time.

“I hope everyone at Wilhelm knows what their partnership means for children with special needs and their families,” McCarley said. “Wilhelm saw our vision and immediately were on board. I don’t think you find partners like that as a nonprofit so easily.”

“Our entire staff realizes the impact that Wilhelm has made on this organization,” said McCarley. She explained that 59% of each child’s treatment is funded through donations, and the in-kind contribution Wilhelm provided correlates to a significant number of treatment sessions.

Wade added, “With Wilhelm’s help, we have become more sustainable which means that many more children can benefit.” McCarley said currently, Children’s TherAplay currently has 47 children on its waiting list for occupational therapy and 34 on the list for physical therapy. With the new stable they will be able to increase the number of horses they currently have and also allow them to live out their lives on the property when they’re ready to retire.

In comparison to other healthcare facilities Wilhelm has constructed, Children’s TherAplay was probably the smallest project in the company’s recent history but certainly was one of the most rewarding for its team. “It’s a real treat to build a facility that cares for children and horses,” Shaw said.

McCarley said she could tell that this project made an impact on Wilhelm’s crew, too. “Scott Gibbs and Mike Shaw are these big, tough construction guys,” she said, “However, you put them on a project like Children’s TherAplay and their toughness fades away when they see our kiddos waving at them.”

Shaw admitted, “It’s been a very rewarding experience for sure, being able to witness the daily activities, the reactions of the children and the smiles on their faces.”

“The Wilhelm team has been so remarkable,” McCarley said. On day one, they told us, ‘This is our area of expertise and we’re going to make sure you have everything you need,’” she said. “It’s been a dream come true for us.”

People interested in learning more about other fundraising events at the facility are encouraged to check out the Children’s TherAplay events calendar at www.childrenstheraplay.org/2017-calendar.

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Welcome Wilhelm New Employees

Posted by April Parsley on January 8th, 2018


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IU board approves design of the new Regional Academic Health Center

Posted by April Parsley on August 24th, 2017

IU Health and Indiana University reveal design of new Regional Academic Health Center. Opening in 2020, this new hospital and academic center includes inpatient and outpatient services, classrooms and other instructional spaces. Learn more about this project at iuhealth.org/BloomBuild.

Approved Rendering 081417_for website

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Robert Ramey leads Wilhelm’s productivity improvement initiatives

Posted by April Parsley on February 6th, 2017

Robert Ramey

Through insightful analysis and fostering a culture of communication, idea sharing and innovation, construction firms benefit from better methodologies and bottom-line savings when it comes to improving productivity.

Performing studies, collecting/analyzing data and planning changes are the easy aspects of productivity improvement according to Wilhelm’s dedicated Productivity Improvement Manager Robert Ramey. The challenge lies in changing states-of-mind and in convincing everyone not to overlook the small issues that oftentimes provide the most value in achieving results.

In just one year, F.A. Wilhelm Construction implemented small adjustments on four projects that equated to a $250,000 savings for clients. Identifying minor issues and making incremental changes not only saves money, it also makes the jobs of craftspeople easier, safer and, ultimately, more enjoyable.

Ramey focuses on improving workflows, project site processes and prefabrication solutions. For nearly a decade of experience, he leads innovative LEAN initiatives and is strictly committed to minimizing waste, reducing rework and implementing modern practices throughout the Wilhelm organization to reduce cost and increase productivity.

Demonstrating an early knack for process improvement and building things, Ramey attended Ball State University receiving a degree in construction management. He began his career as a Wilhelm intern on a large Indiana ethanol plant and, upon graduation, joined the firm permanently serving research and life sciences clients in a variety of industries. Ramey’s well rounded-knowledge and experiences led him to the helm of Wilhelm’s productivity initiatives to identify and remedy inefficiencies. By actively searching for leading indicators that signal upcoming issues, teams are able to take alternate actions that both alleviate inefficiencies at the project level and inform the organization for duplicative effects across multiple platforms.

Currently Ramey oversees project-specific prefabrication which helps control quality, mitigates trade-stacking, and removes field labor hours to shorten schedules on a project. Prefabrication also provides value enhancement solutions to deliver projects within stringent budget restrictions. Information collected and shared to inform practices and behaviors yields quantifiable savings to clients and their projects. Ramey has evaluated and refined project delivery for many of Wilhelm’s largest clients resulting in both strengthened processes and enhanced productivity for their teams.

Through implementation of efficient construction processes, Ramey’s work not only positively impacts Wilhelm’s clients, but also the industry as a whole – challenging them to work differently. He employs time and resources to develop and test methods of innovation and Lean Construction and shares his findings through Peer Groups and industry organizations.

“Once you can show someone a different viewpoint and then prove that it works – making their job easier and saving money – it tends to become infectious. Next thing you know, the process is applied to everything,” says Ramey.

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Two winners of Wilhelm Construction 31 Answers Scholarships Announced

Posted by April Parsley on February 6th, 2017

Newsletter gfx3

F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co., Inc., and Independent Colleges of Indiana teamed up to offer two middle- or high-school students a $5,000 scholarship each to use at any one of Indiana’s 31 private, nonprofit (ICI) colleges and universities at which they matriculate after graduation. The two winners are Anna Pierce, senior at Marian High School, and Drew Schultz, senior at Adams Central High School.

More than 1,000 students ages 13-19 entered to win the Wilhelm Construction 31 Answers Scholarships at the conclusion of ICI’s fall video campaign, 31 Answers to Your Questions About College. Each school day from mid-September through October, a new video answer was posted to www.indianacolleges31.org, along with English and Spanish transcriptions of the videos and links to additional resources.

To enter to win the scholarships, students were asked questions about what they learned from the campaign. Two winners were randomly selected from the pool of eligible entries.

“By watching the 31 Answers videos, I learned about staying on track, making sure that I am doing the things that I need to do to become successful, and preparing for college,” said Schultz.

The 31 Answers project was born out of conversations with high school guidance counselors who indicated a need for a one-stop resource for the most common questions students and their families have when thinking about college. ICI filled this need by creating a web portal with video answers by students and staff from its member colleges.

31 Answers is a resource that high school guidance counselors, students, and parents have sought,” said Richard Ludwick, president and CEO of ICI. “We’re happy to provide easy-to-understand answers to sometimes hard questions. We’re in the business of meeting students’ needs by making college affordable and easy to navigate.”

The 31 Answers website and videos remain available as a resource for students and parents.

Independent Colleges of Indiana serves as the collective voice for the state’s 31 private, nonprofit colleges and universitiesICI member institutions enroll some 100,000 students (approximately 17 percent of all undergraduates statewide) and annually produce 32 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in Indiana. Information about ICI is available at www.icindiana.org.

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