MANITOWOC, WI: Brody Kiekhaefer has signed a letter of intent, committing to work in the field of commercial construction at A.C.E. Building Service in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The Signing Day took place at Reedsville High School last May. Brody was accompanied by his biggest fans, family, and friends. “Throughout Brody’s Youth Apprenticeship with us, he showed how he was a team player and an integral part of our team,” stated Field Superintendent, Max Maigatter. “He exhibits a great work ethic, which led to him becoming a permanent part of our team.”
A.C.E. Building Service has been constructing pre-engineered metal buildings for over 60 years; 46 of those years as a Butler Builder. I’ve been working with Butler Manufacturing and pre-engineered metal buildings for over 14 years, myself, and I’d like to let you in on a few secrets I’ve come to learn along the way. We’ve seen numerous types of roof systems, profiles, and fastening methods; we’ve witnessed the effects of expansion and contraction, time and wear, as well as, the Wisconsin weather that has given its fair share of influence on these roof systems. And one thing has become abundantly clear, all metal roofs are not created equal.
Constructing a new manufacturing plant or expanding your current facility can be an exciting, and sometimes frustrating, process. There are plenty of challenges that can arise along the way, so it’s a good idea to be as prepared as possible. It is helpful to have a fairly good understanding of the different steps required to plan and manage your construction project—steps that lead up to your being handed the keys and the O&M manuals. By understanding the process and by choosing the right industrial contractor to be your building partner, you will be well on your way to a successful project that will meet your expectations, stay within your budget and finish on time.
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WSC) named October Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin and hosted a number of events to help raise awareness about the largest contributor to our state's economy. As we look back, we are pleased to see organizations throughout our state celebrate and promote the manufacturing industry. According to the WMC Foundation, manufacturing in Wisconsin employs more than 460,000 people and creates $56 billion in economic output; and Wisconsin is poised to grow its manufacturing base. The Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP), another organization helping to promote a strong manufacturing base, optimizes stakeholder value for Wisconsin manufacturers by expanding their capabilities to grow, be innovative, and achieve operational success. According to the WMEP, although there are currently significant challenges within the industry, the outlook is good. “Labor is tightening. Technologies are changing the way work is done. Tariffs are creating a level of uncertainty. Better, faster, cheaper, cleaner, and ‘right now’ are the mantras of key customers. But the pros outweigh the cons and this environment favors the bold...”
One of A.C.E. Building Service’s favorite projects of the year was an office renovation for our friends at Schaus Roofing and Mechanical Contractors. Established more than 90 years ago, Schaus is one of our longtime trusted trade partners. The firm, located at 2901 Calumet Avenue in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, hadn’t enjoyed any office updates since 1970. So it was time for some refurbishment—and a bit of creative fun, too. This project involved the renovation of existing offices with the goals of optimizing the space and creating a contemporary working environment for the company’s staff.
I was recently invited to meet with a prospect who is looking for a build-out of commercial space in Northeast Wisconsin. When I arrived, the owner was meeting with another contractor who had also been invited to do a walk-through and to discuss the impending project. I soon found out another contractor would be walking in my same footsteps just a couple of hours later. The owner was doing what he thought was best—getting three bids. This has been a standard practice for decades among owners who feel that, in order to get the best deal on their construction project, they should create competition among contractors. They believe this will allow them to leverage the three bids to their advantage. Here is why getting three bids is the worst thing you could do:
When students returned to classes at the St. John/St. James Lutheran School in Reedsville, Wisconsin in January 2018, excitement was in the air. Students, staff and parents lauded the new facilities, made possible by the demolition of an outdated building originally constructed in 1903 and the construction of a 16,500-square-foot addition to the church. The project was funded by a $2 million commitment from the church community that owns and operates the school. St. John–St. James provides quality education to students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Now students can enjoy the new amenities, including a new gymnasium with main and practice courts for basketball and volleyball, a commons area, a kitchen, private offices, locker rooms, and renovated bathroom facilities. The addition also created something the church school community had long wanted: a physical link between the church and school that eliminates the need to exit a building to move between either space. The expansion also creates the necessary space to expand its early childhood program. The school, located at 223 Manitowoc Street in Reedsville, drew a lot of attention in this small, tight-knit community. There was an audience for the demolition work that removed the original structure, making room for new construction. The school's prominence in the community meant that construction also garnered much attention.
Founded in Brazil in 1911, Tramontina brought its business to the U.S. in 1986. The company has been manufacturing cookware at the Wisconsin facility since 2005. The plant is one of the facilities made available when the former Mirro Co. cookware plant shuttered its operations in 2003. “At a time when cookware manufacturers were moving operations abroad, Tramontina revived a cookware factory in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, reemploying local laborers and bringing its aluminum production to the U.S.,” notes Tramontina’s corporate website. “Reviving this plant allowed a skilled local workforce to keep their jobs and allowed the town of Manitowoc to retain its long-established identity of craftsmanship in aluminum cookware manufacturing.” Today, Tramontina manufactures more than 25 million pieces of cookware each year in the United States. In early 2017, Tramontina US Cookware invited the A.C.E. Team to make improvements and help expand the company’s Manitowoc manufacturing facility.
Our recent work for Skana Aluminum Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin was tons of fun – literally. More than six tons, in fact. In 2017, A.C.E. Building Service was tasked with a casthouse expansion project for a new 21,500-square-foot facility. The expansion is part of a multi-phase project at Skana Aluminum initiated to replace its 1960s-era melting furnaces. The additional square footage made way for a new, state-of-the-art furnace and expanded raw material storage area. It is designed to accommodate a new furnace as one of the future stages in the overall project. Eventually, a total of three 50,000-pound capacity melt/hold/tilt furnaces and a new casting pit will replace the existing furnaces and casting pit. A Business and a Building Steeped in Tradition Skana is in a business — and a building — steeped in tradition. By the 1890s, aluminum was widely used in jewelry, everyday items, eyeglass frames, and optical instruments. Aluminum tableware was produced by the late 19th century and gradually supplanted copper and cast-iron tableware in the first decades of the 20th century. It wasn’t long before aluminum foil was invented, a mainstay of modern kitchens. Aluminum is soft and light, making an ideal material for a multitude of uses. It was soon discovered, however, that alloying it with other metals could increase its hardness while preserving the low density — a factor which led to even more uses for aluminum.