Weitz to Receive Eagle Award of Excellence for Ozark Mountain Poultry Project

The Weitz Company will be presented an Eagle Award of Excellence by the Minnesota Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) for its help constructing the Ozark Mountain Poultry feed mill facility in Batesville, Ark.

The Minnesota ABC will honor Weitz with the first place award at its Awards of Excellence Banquet in Bloomington, Minn., on January 26, 2017. By winning the state award, Weitz has qualified to participate in ABC’s national competition that will present awards in March 2017.

Ozark Mountain Poultry was built by Weitz Industrial and had a scope of services that included project development, engineering, permitting, site development, civil, structural, mechanical and millwright installation. The signature feature of Ozark Mountain Poultry is the main mill structure that has a roof elevation of 189 feet. Weitz erected it using the slipform method of concrete construction.

In addition to the ABC Awards of Excellence, Weitz was also recently recognized by ABC with the following:

  • 2016 ABC STEP Platinum Award: The Safety Training Evaluation Process demonstrates the highest safety standards, the best safety practices and a proven track record of impeccable safety programs and performance.
  • 2016 ABC AQC Certified Contractor: An Accredited Quality Contractor is determined by a stringent and thorough set of criteria that demonstrate commitment to five key areas of corporate responsibility: Quality; Safety; Employee benefits; Training; and Community relations.

Weitz Delivering Nation’s Biggest Student Housing Project Ahead of Schedule

It’s the largest student housing project the United States has ever seen developed through a public-private partnership (P3) and The Weitz Company is turning units over early. The primary reasons: A fast-track design-build approach, great customer advocacy and heady strategic decisions.

A little over one year into the construction process, Texas A&M University students are already occupying a portion of Park West in College Station, Texas. Weitz has completed six out of 12 flats buildings on the project, opening 80 units and 144 beds in August with another 40 units and 72 beds delivered at the end of September. This initial milestone is validating the trust project developer Servitas had in selecting Weitz to build more than 1,300 units and 3,400 beds in the housing complex that will span 2.2 million square feet.

“Early turnover was not part of the original deal, but we uncovered how important it was to Servitas through good customer advocacy,” said Kevin McClain, president of Weitz’s Commercial business. “The advantages of early occupancy were expressed to us and we’ve worked collaboratively to accomplish it.”

To help Servitas attain this stretch goal, Weitz immediately went to work in preconstruction to identify critical schedule milestones and then implemented a fast-track methodology to achieve them. Some key factors included subcontractors design-build packages and subcontracting of major specialty items like large wood frames.

With firm commitments to Texas A&M for the project, Servitas approved this design-build delivery method as it enabled Weitz to provide cost certainty early in the process and minimized schedule risks for itself. While this approach was a significant gamble for both Weitz and PGAL (the architect for Park West) in the design phase, it allowed Servitas to seek optimal financing and begin construction sooner than what would have been possible in a construction management or hard bid delivery.

“Our previous experience with Servitas and transparent dealings that led to a fair contract gave us confidence in this plan and were key to getting a productive start on Park West,” McClain said.

Had Weitz not executed on its commitment to being good customer advocates, the opportunity to fulfill early occupancy may not have been possible since the original contract was for the project to be turned over all at once.

“Everything is relationship-based, understanding the customer and being a partner with them,” said Weitz Vice President Shane Bauer, who oversees senior living and student housing projects. “If we did not take the time to discover what was important beyond cost, quality and schedule, then it would have become very challenging to meet this expectation.”

Early occupancy was one of the top goals for Park West, which has a scheduled completion date of August 2017, but it was not the only ancillary project objective deemed valuable within the P3 between Servitas and Texas A&M. Customer advocacy also: 1) Identified the appropriate balance between local and national resources needed to drive the project efficiently; 2) Led to tailored communication within the P3 process Servitas and Texas A&M had structured; and 3) Created an engagement strategy with the students and potential residents of Park West. The net results have been resoundingly positive.

From a construction management perspective, it has enabled Weitz project executives to make swift, strategic decisions in a handful of situations because they already know what’s most important to the clients. It is also keeping uncontrollable variables like Mother Nature from hindering the project (there were 33 lost rain days in the first year that could have easily derailed the timeline). And it’s opened the door to several educational opportunities with Texas A&M engineering students via Oculus virtual tours, on-site classroom training and internship programs.

“The success of this project is measuring beyond the number of beds, types of amenities and square footage associated with it,” said Weitz Senior Project Manager Frank D’Ascanio. “We’re executing an elevated standard for building with a first-of-its-size housing project that is exceeding our clients’ expectations. That is the ultimate accomplishment.”

Weitz Named Best General Contractor in Des Moines for 19th Straight Year

Best of Des Moines and The Weitz Company are remaining synonymous for the 19th straight year.

The Business Record recently announced its 2016 Best of Des Moines winners, and Weitz was again recognized as the top general contractor in this market. It’s an honor the 161-year-old company takes great pride in receiving considering the readers of the weekly publication vote via an online poll for the businesses, people and events they believe are elite and first-rate.

“Earning this award is a great testament to our employees and the way they conduct themselves both professionally and personally,” said Weitz President and CEO Leonard W. Martling. “They consistently strive to be the very best in our industry, and they execute their jobs at a very high level to support Weitz, our customers and the communities in which we work and volunteer.”

Some of the biggest construction projects in central Iowa are routinely entrusted with The Weitz Company. In the past six years, Weitz has been the general contractor for major builds such as the Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield headquarters, Athene USA (formerly Aviva USA) headquarters, Jack Trice Stadium south end zone for Iowa State University and Veterans Memorial Auditorium renovations.

Weitz is currently working on a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) building for Drake University and has been performing the renovations of the historic Wilkins Building (part of the old Younkers store) in downtown Des Moines. But the most anticipated job under construction is the Hilton Des Moines Downtown hotel, which also made the Business Record’s Best of Des Moines list as a runner-up in the category of Best Thing That Will Happen to Central Iowa in the Coming Year.

Due to open in April 2018, the 330-room hotel will be attached to the Iowa Events Center and is expected to help elevate the types of concerts, events and conferences that will both appeal to residents in the Greater Des Moines Metropolitan Area and support economic development.

“The Weitz Company played an instrumental role in the development of the new Hilton Convention Center Hotel,” said Greg Edwards, President & CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission. “Their vision and creative expertise will ensure a first-class product for our region that will rival our competition, attracting more conventions and events to the metro.”

Visit Weitz at the AIA Iowa Fall Convention

Ad final

Weitz will be at the AIA Iowa Fall Convention next Thursday and Friday, September 22 – 23. Stop by Booth #6 to meet our team and learn more about how we Build A Better Way.


Pre-Harvest Checklist: A guide through the preparation process

Are you ready for harvest? Planning for a safe and successful harvest in advance of harvest is essential for a successful season ahead. Avoiding delays or breakdowns will save you and your customers time and money. Here are some important reminders to help guide you through the planning and preparation process ensuring an effective operational and productive season.

Eric Sill

Have Questions? Contact: ERIC SILL, Market Sector Leader of Agriculture – Seed, Grain & Feed

Safety First

  • When was the last time you performed a safety audit?
  • Have you tested your hazard monitoring systems?
  • Did you repair those deficient safety items?

Evaluation of Previous Season

  • When was the last time you performed a safety audit?
  • How did last season go?
  • Any problems or delays?
  • Can they be resolved

Equipment Service and Maintenance

  • Have you completed preventative maintenance on equipment?
    • Hazard Monitoring
    • Conveyors
    • Probes
    • Scales
    • Dusts Suppression Systems
    • Bucket Elevators
    • Dryers

Spare Part Inventory

  • Do you have all your necessary spare parts?
    • Belts
    • Drive oil
    • Hydraulic oil for probes
    • Bucket elevator cups