Get to Know: Gage Brothers Drafter Laurel Lioi

Laurel is one of the recent additions to the Gage Brothers drafting department. The Sioux Center (Iowa) native graduated from Western Christian High School before attending Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City. She studied Architectural Construction and graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science.

Laurel relocated to Texas in the 1980’s to find a job and settled in Plano, just northeast of Dallas. She has worked in the field of concrete for the duration of her career, from forming and shoring, to precast concrete. She moved back to the Midwest last August just in time for that long winter that never seemed to end.

Laurel lives in Sioux Falls with her mother and daughter, Tara. She enjoys working at Gage Brothers and living close to her family once again.

We’re glad to have Laurel as a member of the Gage Brothers team!

Get to Know Laurel:

Q. Where did you grow up?

Laurel Lioi

A. Sioux Center, Iowa.

Q. How did you get into this line of work?

A. I have always enjoyed drawing, so this was a logical next step for a career.

Q. What are you looking forward to the most working at Gage Brothers?

A. Learning new things about precast concrete and learning Revit.

Q. What is your favorite (or one of your favorite) things about your job?

A. Using Revit during the drafting process.

Q. What is your dream vacation spot?

A. I would love to visit Ireland, it looks so beautiful.

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?

A. Art was my favorite subject.

Q. What are your hobbies?

A. I enjoy playing on my iPad.

Q. What is your favorite movie?

A. Any film that was directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Q. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?

A. I’ve eaten calamari, which was pretty chewy.

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Bunkers promoted to Gage Brothers Vice President of Operations

Joe Bunkers has been promoted to the position of Gage Brothers Vice President of Operations, effective July 1, 2019.

Bunkers has achieved ongoing success for Gage Brothers in his past leadership positions within both the quality control and preconstruction departments. Prior to this promotion, Bunkers served as Vice President of Preconstruction for the past six years. 

Joe Bunkers

“Joe is an impactful leader within Gage Brothers, and this was a natural next step for him,” said company president Tom Kelley. “His disciplined focus on consistency in providing the highest quality precast products to clients while also fostering an environment of development and collaboration for all Gage employees makes him an invaluable member of our executive team.”

Bunkers joined Gage Brothers as a drafter in 1999. His quickly advanced at the company, and he transitioned to quality control in 2001, where he expanded his understanding of the on-site aspects of the precast industry and gained experience and a thorough working knowledge of Gage Brothers processes and products.

Bunkers was promoted to Vice President of Preconstruction in 2013, where he was responsible for all construction bids along with projects in the preconstruction phase.

As Vice President of Operations, Bunkers will oversee Gage Brothers’ drafting, engineering, project management, sales and production departments.

“With his successful track record of managing complex projects, we are confident in his ability to develop and grow client relationships and help drive market growth for Gage Brothers in our new manufacturing facility,” added Kelley.

 “We’re thrilled he’s accepted the role of Vice President of Operations.“

– Tom Kelley, Gage Brothers President

To ensure quality for Gage Brothers customers, Bunkers has achieved Quality Control Personnel Certification Level III from the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI). He is an active member of the Leadership PCI Committee and immediate past chair of PCI’s Architectural Precast Concrete Services Committee.

“Gage Brothers has been home to me for the past twenty years. Honesty, commitment to quality and a longstanding history in the region has made Gage Brothers one of the most reputable companies in the industry, and those are the things that keep me here,” said Bunkers.  

“I am honored to be a part of the company’s future growth and am grateful for this incredible opportunity to help take Gage Brothers to the next level as we continue to transition into our new manufacturing facility.”

– Joe Bunkers, Gage Brothers Vice President of Operations

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Employment Opportunities

Gage Brothers is currently seeking qualified applicants to fill positions at various levels of the precast concrete engineering process. For a current list of openings available at Gage Brothers, visit our careers page here.

About Gage Brothers 

Gage Brothers Concrete Products Incorporated (gagebrothers.com) was established in 1915 by members of the Gage family and now employs more than 260 employees in its new $40 million manufacturing facility located in northeastern Sioux Falls. Employee-owned since 2008, Gage Brothers has a proud tradition of crafting a quality experience for our team and our clients by providing valued solutions. Architectural and structural precast products manufactured by Gage Brothers can be found throughout the upper Midwest, including projects throughout Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The Midwest’s premier precast concrete company registered $45 million in sales last year. 

Get to Know: New Gage Brothers Engineer Jordan Twedt

Please join all of us in giving a warm welcome to Jordan Twedt, who was recently hired as an Engineer for Gage Brothers.

Jordan Twedt

Jordan joined our team last month after graduating from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Jordan has previously interned with the South Dakota DOT and American Engineering Testing where he has performed site inspections, bridge inspections, and concrete testing.

Welcome to the Gage Brothers team, Jordan!

Get to Know Jordan:

Q. Where did you grow up? Tell us about your hometown.

A. I grew up on a small family farm near Hendricks, Minnesota. Hendricks is a small town in southwestern Minnesota best known for Lake Hendricks, the large lake it sits on the shore of which is also the source of the Lac qui Parle River.

Q. How did you get into this line of work?

A. I have always enjoyed building things, from toys and models as a kid to bigger projects with my dad and brother. This, coupled with an enjoyment of math, led me here to Gage Brothers.

Q. What are you looking forward to the most working at Gage Brothers?

A. I would probably say the variety of interesting projects that I will be able to work on or with others in the engineering department.

Q. What is your favorite (or one of your favorite) things about your job?

A. Well so far, I have really enjoyed the work atmosphere here.

Q. What is your dream vacation spot?

A. Anywhere on a beach by the ocean, that’s all I would need.

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?

A. I had a really fun and interesting science teacher in high school and he made all those classes really enjoyable, so probably science.

Q. What are your hobbies?

A. I enjoy woodworking, reading, playing video games, and spending time at the lake.

Q. What is your favorite movie?

A. Definitely the Avengers movie series.

Q. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?

A. I would have to say octopus for sure.

Get to Know: New Project Manager Eric Schierholz

Please join all of us in giving a warm welcome to Eric Schierholz, who was recently hired as a Project Manager for Gage Brothers.

Eric joined our team last month.

He has a variety of construction experiences— ranging from erecting grain bins, climbing cell phone towers, surveying, building bridges, and railroad track maintenance management. Eric has always been committed to safety. His safety achievements include Union Pacific Railroad’s lowest injury rate in its 150-year existence and serving as the safety lead during his bridge construction time.

Eric holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from South Dakota State University. 

Welcome to Gage Brothers, Eric!

Q. Where did you grow up? Tell us about your hometown.

A. Salem, SD. Small town of 1300 people. 

Q. How did you get into this line of work?

A. My dad has always been a handy man around the house and when I was growing up, I would always help on various projects.  When I was in college, I poured concrete during the summers

Q. What are you looking forward to the most working at Gage Brothers?

A. Good company culture, the people are very nice and welcoming. 

Q. What is your favorite (or one of your favorite) things about your job?

A. I like to interact with people and be part of a project that comes together on time.

Q. What is your dream vacation spot?

A. Egypt, I have always been fascinated by the pyramids. 

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?

A. Math

Q. What are your hobbies?

A. Golf, Camping, and Softball

Q. What is your favorite movie?

A. Shawshank Redemption

Q. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?

A. Raw bird egg at a sushi restaurant

Winner, winner! Gage Brothers wins Hermes Award

Gage Brothers has been recognized with a 2019 Hermes Creative Award.

The Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. Hermes Creative Awards recognizes outstanding work in the industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals.

The Sioux Falls-based company competed with international brands and Fortune 500 companies to secure a win in the electronic media category.

Gage Brothers received a Gold Award for its overall Facebook presence (facebook.com/GageBrothersConcrete). Specifically, the company was acknowledged for using the social media site to showcase the Gage Brothers brand and its employees.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for the immense effort that goes into sharing our story in the digital landscape,” said Gage Brothers president Tom Kelley. “I think our use of social media creates a sense of community within Gage Brothers, not only increasing engagement internally but also creating an attractive employer brand externally.”

Gage Brothers is dedicated to developing creative content and using social media to share stories that convey the dedication and agility that their employees use every day to build communities and provide valued solutions to clients.  

These efforts have helped cultivate a growing presence for Gage Brothers across the social media landscape. The company’s Facebook following has more than doubled in the past two years. Other electronic media accolades for Gage Brothers include 2019 & 2018 AVA Digital Awards and a 2016 Excellence in New Communications Award.

Hermes Creative Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (www.hermesawards.com).The AMCP have coordinated and judged the awards for more than 20 years. Entrants contend for Platinum and Gold statuettes – wings from the mythological Herme’s cap and sandals, elegantly etched to evoke the shape of the letter H.

EnGage: Who’s that guy? It’s Caleb!

Caleb Merrick was hired in June 2016 for Quality Control, he is now a Quality Control Lead I and will be transitioning over to the new plant this month!  You might recognize him from the Blink365 posters where he models perfect stretching form or as the guy in the plant who wears a Santa hat and Christmas tie around the holidays.   

When he isn’t testing concrete and verifying form accuracy, Caleb enjoys playing pool competitively two nights per week, a hobby that he started when he met his coworker, John Akins here at Gage. He also enjoys competing as a runner, coming up he will be running a 6-mile relay in Minneapolis. 

Last year he ran the Sioux Falls Marathon (26.2 miles!)  He said it was long and tiring and it was not a good idea to work the next day. He had to train for 9 months for it and does not plan to run another marathon. Completing this goal was one of his Bucket List items.  Caleb’s Bucket List is extensive: he would like to see the Northern Lights, take a hot air balloon ride, and has plans to go skydiving this summer. Some of the things he has already scratched off his list are scuba diving in Lake Superior and visiting another country. He took the opportunity to stay in the rain forest of Costa Rica for 1 1/2 months studying the topography pattern of leaf cutter ants and the paths they carve into the earth. He did this through the University of Minnesota where he majored in Environmental Biology Conservation and Entomology (the study of insects). 

Caleb has always been interested in insects, specifically ants and bees. They interest him because they occupy the same space as humans but in a very different way, he also enjoys how they have civilizations and even raise livestock. He documented his studies and was even published a few times.  

Here are some facts about Caleb:

  • He HATES cheese.  Ever since he was a little kid, he has hated the taste and texture of all cheeses. He even eats pizza without the cheese.  He has NEVER even eaten a Dorito!
  • Caleb does not have any pets, but if his building would allow them, he would choose either a tortoise or to rescue a dog from the shelter.
  • Favorite Movie:  Tommy Boy, comedies are the best and he always enjoys a good Christmas Claymation.
  • If Caleb could go anywhere, it would be Madagascar where he would study animals.
  • His spirit animal (animal he identifies with the most) is an Arctic Fox.  He likes their personalities and how they jump in the air and bury their heads in the snow to catch a meal.
  • Burger King is his favorite fast food restaurant and he is most likely having a Whopper.
  • Cast as Horton from Horton Hears a Who, Caleb was the star of his high school’s production of Seussical the Musical, though his singing parts were performed by someone else.
  • Despite six years of piano lessons and being a percussionist, he never mastered an instrument and cannot keep a beat.
  • His parents are his role models because, “they seem to be doing well.”
  • Favorite childhood memory: Going to the Omaha Zoo and going inside the Komodo Dragon exhibit and being allowed to touch it. He also fed the crocodiles. 
  • In his Netflix queue: Daredevil, New Girl, the Office and Parks & Recreation.
  • Most ridiculous thing that has ever happened to him: He thought he was going on a fishing trip with his friends, instead they took him to a friend’s wedding where he had to DJ the event! He facilitated the activities for the night and played all the music. When asked how it went, he just replied that the couple is still married. 
  • While Caleb seems to be a fun-loving, funny guy, he is a serious intellectual. He has plans to re-read his favorite books, Theory of Everything and Physics of Evolution.  
  • Planet Earth is typically playing as background noise when Caleb is at home.  
  • He believes the micro-chip is the most important technological advancement because it allows computers to process faster giving us more information.
  • When Caleb says he listens to all music, he is not kidding. His current Pandora shuffle plays: Eric Church, Blink182, Mozart, swing, Scott Joplin, 80’s rock, and Slipknot to name a few.
  • If a movie was made about him, Caleb would be played by Ben Savage.  
  • One thing that cheers Caleb up on a bad day is looking at pictures of turtles eating fruit with their little mouths. 
Ben Savage = Caleb?

Show Caleb you read about him and think he is rad by bringing him his favorite beverage, an original Sunkist!  

Gage Brothers wins 2018 PCI Design Award

St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery – Chapel & Mausoleum

Gage Brothers has added another award to its trophy case.

St. John’s Lutheran Chapel and Mausoleum in Columbia, South Dakota, has been selected as the winner in the Religious Structures category in the 56th Annual PCI Design Awards Program.

A widely regarded industry program, the PCI Design Awards honors design excellence and construction quality in buildings and transportation structures that use precast concrete. The program demonstrates how designers continue to use precast/prestressed concrete construction to achieve sustainable, cost-effective, resilient and aesthetically versatile projects.

PCI reviews notable projects by PCI certified plants across the country when designating this award. An independent panel judges the complexity, quality and innovation of each applicant.

The three juries named a total of 17 winners and 6 honorable mentions of equivalent awards, including a winner for the Harry H. Edwards Industry Advancement Award, a winner for the All-Precast Concrete Structure Award, and a winner for the Sustainable Design Award.

“These awards represent the highest achievement in our industry and are a testament to the dedication and teamwork of all our employees,” said Gage Brothers president Tom Kelley. “I’d like to personally congratulate the entire design-build team responsible for St. John’s Lutheran Chapel.”

Mekus Tanager was the architect of record for the $2 million project. Aberdeen-based KyBurz Carlson Construction served as the construction manager.

Gage Brothers produced 5,200 square-feet of precast wall panels and architectural and hollowcore plank (48 total pieces) for the chapel and mausoleum.

St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery – Chapel & Mausoleum

Situated at the corner of two county roads, St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery is a small local cemetery, and the new chapel and mausoleum building will be available to the local community for gatherings, memorial services, and to serve as a final resting place for church and community members.

A private client hired Mekus Tanager to design St. John’s new chapel and mausoleum building. The owner wanted a sustainable chapel with the look of a prairie church—a building that his father, a former town mayor who took care of the cemetery decades ago, would be proud of.


“We find it very gratifying for our clients and their projects to receive this kind of recognition from our peers, our toughest critics, who understand deeply what we all, as a team, work hard to accomplish.”

Tom Kelley, Gage Brothers President

The use of precast made it possible to achieve these high-performance goals—the chapel resembles an old white church that was built by early settlers; however, it is a state-of-the art structure that honors the past and will last decades into the future.

St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery – Chapel & Mausoleum

The new chapel and mausoleum building are designed to minimize maintenance and last as long as possible. To that end, exterior walls are precast concrete panels simulating wood clapboard lap siding, with metal stud framing on the interior. The roofing is made of lead and was installed by skilled artisans from Europe. In fact, the lead roof is just the third of its kind in the United States.

The front canopy utilized precast elements to simulate a wood structure with columns and white precast truss features. The structure required load-bearing architectural finished wall panels to carry roof loading and in a portion of the structure, the walls also supported a hollow core plank mezzanine. 

Interior features include exposed heavy timber trusses, porcelain tile floors, and painted gypsum board walls and ceiling to create a bright yet tasteful environment. The building envelope is sprayed with closed cell insulation, utilizes a geothermal heating and cooling system, and is lit with LED lighting and fixtures throughout.

Other precast materials required for the chapel and mausoleum included a removable solid slab for a floor crypt and two thin walled boxes for wall couch crypts.

A grand opening was held in the spring of 2017.

Gage Brothers will accept the award at the 2019 PCI Convention and National Bridge Conference in Louisville, Ky., on March 1.

“We find it very gratifying for our clients and their projects to receive this kind of recognition from our peers, our toughest critics, who understand deeply what we all, as a team, work hard to accomplish,” added Kelley.

A Legacy of Success

Gage Brothers is no stranger to the PCI Design Awards program. Here is a list of the company’s most recently honored projects:

2018 PCI Design Award
Honorable Mention
Government and Public Buildings
Minnesota Senate Building
St. Paul, Minn.

2014 PCI Design Award
Best Healthcare/Medical Building
Sanford Heart Hospital
Sioux Falls, S.D.

2013 PCI Design Award
Best Justice and Correctional Building
James F. Battin United States Courthouse
Billings, Mont.

2011 PCI Design Award
Best Stadium/Arena
Target Field

2011 PCI Design Award
Honorable Mention: Stadiums/Arenas/Sports Facilities–Craftsmanship
TCF Bank Stadium

2011 PCI Design Award
Honorable Mention
Rapid City Regional Airport Rescue & Fire Fighting Station

2011 PCI Design Award
Honorable Mention
University of Minnesota Science Teaching & Student Services Building