Get to Know: New Architectural/Structural Engineer Jharna Pokhrel

Please join all of us in giving a warm welcome to Jharna Pokhrel, who was recently hired as an Architectural/Structural Engineer for Gage Brothers. Jharna joined Gage Brothers in August 2018. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Tribhuvan University (Nepal), and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree with an Emphasis on Structures from South Dakota State University.

Welcome to Gage Brothers, Jharna!

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

A. I grew up in Kathmandu, Nepal. Kathmandu is a beautiful valley surrounded by hills/mountains. It is almost the size of Sioux Falls, but much more populated and polluted. Besides pollution, its natural beauty is outstanding with numerous cultural heritage sites and a sub-tropical climate.

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

A. Buildings/structures always fascinated me. Later, my interest led me to the field of Civil Engineering.

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

A. At Gage Brothers, everyone seemed welcoming, cheerful, extrovert, and full of life. I am overwhelmed by the amount of dedication everyone has when it comes to working.

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

A. It is impressive to have such a strong engineering team here at Gage Brothers. I like the idea of how something designed on paper will be used in a real structure.

Q. What is your dream vacation spot?

A. Santorini, Greece.

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?

A. Mathematics.

Q. What are your hobbies?

A. I like reading novels, sketching, and sometimes trying out do-it-yourself projects.

Q. What is your favorite movie?

A. Recently, I binge watched ‘The Godfather’ series.

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

tismoA. While in Nepal, I ate ‘tisyo’ (which is solid bites of buffalo’s spinal cord fluid) thinking it as a mushroom. It tasted good, but it is something I would never ask for again.


Gage Brothers awarded Hard Rock Casino/Sioux City parking ramp

Gage Brothers was recently awarded the precast contract for a four-story parking garage in downtown Sioux City, Iowa. The $11 million parking structure will span across Third Street and connect directly to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Hard Rock parking ramp rendering east side
Architectural rendering

“We are ecstatic to be part of a design-build parking project of this scope,” said Gage Brothers president Tom Kelley. “Precast concrete was a critical aspect of the design team’s strategy to build a superior parking venue that will serve the Hard Rock Casino and Sioux City for decades to come.”

The contract adds to Gage Brothers’ extensive resume of parking facility builds, which includes Tru-Hotel and Parking (Deadwood, S.D.), Rapid City Regional Parking Ramp – Phase 1 (Rapid City, S.D.), Pennington County Ramp Addition (Rapid City), Heritage Parking Ramp (Sioux City) and the Avera McKennan Hospital Parking Facility (Sioux Falls).

Since 1963, Gage Brothers has manufactured precast products for more than 300 projects in Sioux City and the surrounding area. Other projects include the Tyson Events Center, American Popcorn Company, Interbake Foods, and several builds for both Tyson Foods and the Kind and Knox Gelatine Company.

The Project Team

Gage Brothers was chosen by general contractor W.A. Klinger of Sioux City, a design-build contractor that will be celebrating its centennial next year. Gage Brothers and W.A. Klinger have worked together on more than 120 building projects since the mid-1960’s, the majority of which are in Sioux City and the surrounding area.

“Gage Brothers has developed a great relationship with W.A. Klinger over the past 50-plus years,” said Kelley. “We think of our relationship as more of a partnership.”

Most recently, W.A. Klinger installed 300,000 square feet of Gage Brothers precast for Royal Canin’s new pet food manufacturing plant in North Sioux City, S.D.

Gage Brothers also fabricated 60,000 square feet of double-tees, smooth grey and insulated panels for the $22 million GELITA AG Collagen Peptide plant expansion, another W.A. Klinger project. The 30,000-square-foot addition will adjoin current facilities at its Port Neal facilities near Sergeant Bluff, where Gelita has its North American headquarters and operates three separate production facilities.

DESMAN Parking Specialists will provide architectural and engineering services for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino parking ramp. Since the firm’s inception in 1973, DESMAN has provided planning, design, and restoration services for more than 5,000 parking projects.

This is the second parking structure in Sioux City for DESMAN, W.A. Klinger and Gage Brothers.

Heritage Parking Ramp

The group also collaborated on the Heritage Parking Garage, a four-level, 300 space precast structure located in the heart of the downtown Sioux City that serves primarily as event parking for the neighborhood convention center and multiplex theater.

The architectural precast façade utilized brick, cast stone and terracotta accents in keeping with the context and charm of the historic downtown area.

According to Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott, “The Heritage Parking Ramp has provided the City of Sioux City with an attractive alternative to the traditional cookie cutter parking facility.”

The $5.7 million structure was completed under budget in 2008.

“The parking ramps help to alleviate parking concerns in the popular Historic 4th Street area of Sioux City,” he added. “Design elements were included to allow the ramp to complement the area.”

The Project Details

Hard Rock parking ramp rendering
Architectural rendering

The $11 million parking structure at 205 Pearl St. will be a joint project between the city and Hard Rock, with both entities sharing the cost. The parking structure will sit on a 1.2-acre plot of land owned by the city, which previously was home to Liberty Bank.

“With the I-29 construction, there’s been a definite need for additional parking with the Tyson Events Center,” City Manager Bob Padmore recently told the Sioux City Journal. “I think it’s a good project that we’re partnering with the Hard Rock, that also has need for parking.”

Once completed, the ramp’s more than 530 parking stalls would accommodate motorists traveling to the hotel and casino, as well as the nearby city-owned Tyson Events Center (another Gage Brothers project) and the Historic Pearl Street district. It would also include approximately 15,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space.

property_logo_22Padmore told the Sioux City Journal that under current plans, the city would own the ramp and retail space, which would then be leased by Hard Rock, which is owned and operated by Las Vegas-based Warner Hospitality.

Sioux City has included $5.5 million for the project in its budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The Precast Solution

Gage Brothers will produce more than 225,000 square feet of corefloor, double tees, smooth grey panels and architectural panels for the parking structure.

A company that got its start pouring Sioux Falls sidewalks in 1915 now has more than two million square feet of total precast parking facilities under its belt.

According to the Gage Brothers preconstruction department, it will take approximately 80 days for employees to manufacture nearly 600 precast components for the project.

“Over the years, Sioux City has provided Gage Brothers with many opportunities that have aligned well with what we do as a company,” added Kelley. “We look forward to working on many more sizeable Sioux City projects in the future.”

Get to Know: New Payroll Specialist Tom Abrahamson

Please join all of us in giving a warm welcome to Tom Abrahamson, who was recently hired as the Payroll Specialist for Gage Brothers.

Tom AbrahamsonRead on to learn a little bit more about him.

Q. Where did you grow up? 

A. I grew up in North Mankato, Minnesota

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

A. I went to college for accounting. Payroll has been what I have specialized in with my jobs since graduating college.

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

A. Everyone has been super encouraging in my time here so far. Everyone is quick to give praise for a job well done, no matter how mundane or routine the task may seem to your job duties. Also, I have really appreciated how relaxed, welcoming and fun the work environment has been.

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

A. I really enjoy being able to help our employees. Whether it’s resolving a paycheck issue, printing out pay stubs, or helping an employee navigate their payroll information on Paycom, it’s very rewarding being able to help our employees.

Q. What is your dream vacation spot?

A. Australia

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?

A. Math or accounting since I deal with that realm every day for my job.

Q. What are your hobbies?

A. I started playing wheelchair basketball when I was in high school and played five years in college as well. I also started playing sled hockey two years ago. I also enjoy helping with my church’s youth group on Wednesday nights.

Q. What is your favorite movie?

A. The Sandlot

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

A. In my high school Spanish class, we went to a local Hispanic restaurant. Calamari was one of the appetizers we sampled.

Welcome to Gage Brothers, Tom!

Meet Tito Vladimirov, Crane Crew Forklift Operator!

TitoTito has been working on the Gage Brothers Crane Crew since last December. Originally from Bulgaria, Tito received the opportunity to come to the United States through a lottery system that granted only 200 people from his country dual citizenship in the U.S. and Bulgaria.

In 2005, he arrived in Sioux Falls to stay with a childhood friend who had come here a few years before and they worked together at a greenhouse. The only people he knew when he first arrived were some people from Europe and the people he met while working. Tito’s whole family lives in Bulgaria, but he has been back to visit five times since moving to the U.S. He typically stays for about six weeks so he is able to visit everyone in his family.

Travelling is Tito’s passion– he has been to places in Asia, Mexico and South America. The most interesting place he has been is the Philippines, which is where he met his fiancé. The pair were engaged recently, and she will be moving to Sioux Falls this summer.


One of his life goals is to save up enough money to retire and go on a 265-day cruise of the world which includes stops in 94 countries!

Here are some more interesting facts about Tito:

If he were an animal, he would be a bird, so he could fly free and travel everywhere.

His favorite food is steak on the grill.

He has one pet, a cat named Nicky Jr.

The music he enjoys the most is relaxation music.

He plans to add to his tattoo collection during his next trip to Europe (he already has a few of Viking warriors and a dragon).

Tito can speak 4 languages fluently: English, Russian, Serbian and Bulgarian.

Connect with Tito to learn more about him!

Get to Know: Steel Shop Manager Warren Meyer

Warren Meyer 1Warren Meyer is approaching his 47th year of employment at Gage Brothers. That makes him one of the longest-tenured employees in company history!

He started working at the company in 1971 with his brother, Harlan. It seems like everyone acquires a nickname when they work at Gage Brothers, and co-workers started calling him Oscar…like Oscar Meyer hot dogs.

Warren began his career in the Steel Shop and a few years later, his supervisor passed away from a heart attack and Warren was promoted to Supervisor. He has been in charge of the department ever since.

Warren’s advice to new Gage Brothers employees is to have a positive attitude and be accountable for your work—there is always a solution to every problem.

Gage Core values handIn terms of the Gage Brothers Core Values, Warren is most connected to the core value of Ownership. Ask anyone in the Steel Shop what his favorite phrase is and they will immediately respond, “Double check, double check, double check.”

According to Warren, if you are going to do something, remember to do it well because it is your name and ultimately the Gage Brothers name on it—our work is our reputation and we have a pretty good one.

When pressed as to why he has worked so long at Gage Brothers, Warren said it is because he knows his job well, has had advancement opportunities and that in 47 years he has never been bored.

Warren’s efforts have helped the company achieve precast excellence for decades, and we are all grateful for his dedication and loyalty to Gage Brothers.

NSU rewrites book on campus life with NextGen dorms, pull off-campus students back into the fold

Northern State University (Aberdeen, S.D.) was challenged recently by the need to create residential facilities for students arriving at college with a different set of privacy boundaries and lifestyle preferences than any generation before.

NSU Great Plains East April 2018The university also wanted to lure current students back from off-campus housing because living in the core of NSU’s campus provides students with easy access to activities, facilitates deep engagement with the campus community and increases interactions with faculty and staff.

To meet the needs and expectations of the next generation of college students, NSU has introduced three new, modern residence halls on campus: Wolves Memorial Suites, which opened in fall 2017; and Great Plains West and Great Plains East, set to open this fall.

The plan is working—housing applications are up 20 percent from last spring.

As of March 1, 157 new students had applied to live at Northern this fall, according to NSU Director of Residence Life Marty Sabolo. That compares to 127 housing applications last year at the same time and 89 requests the previous year.

NSU Great Plains West April 2018Sabolo said the uptick in housing requests is a direct result of NSU’s new dynamic living communities. Students are embracing these new on-campus housing options that mirror today’s diverse society and provide the foundation for academic success.

Offerings Set NSU Apart

In designing Great Plains East and West, a key ingredient was simply more space. Privacy is becoming a highly sought after amenity, with the majority of freshmen coming to campus never having shared a bedroom.

The appeal of suites reflects how living situations have changed over the years. Thirty years ago, Sabolo said, students moving to college were coming from homes with five or six family members and only two or three bedrooms. Nowadays, families often have one or two kids but four or five bedrooms. Sharing space isn’t something today’s youth are used to.

“I think it’s what today’s students really want, especially the suite-style rooms,” Sabolo added.

Similarly, they’re used to modern amenities – air-conditioning, in particular, is the number one question NSU Residence Life is asked by potential students.

That sort of feature, along with conference rooms and study rooms offered in the new halls, has essentially caught Northern up with trends shaping student housing, said Sabolo. But NSU is also including more unique offerings in Great Plains East and West – including a Papa John’s Pizza, convenience store and game-cleaning room – which set the university apart.

“I really believe that regionally, Northern is going to be the one that people are keeping up with,” Sabolo said.

The Precast Advantage

The combination of exposed precast concrete in an acid-etched and sandblasted textures and thin bricks replicates the look of stone-and-brick for Great Plains West and Great Plains East.

NSU res hall closeup April 2018Five colors of brick in three different sizing were used for the twin residence halls. Two main field colors consisted of medium iron spot red modular size brick for the majority portion of building and autumn sands utility size brick with a brownish hue for courtyard portion of the buildings. A Desert Iron Spot Dark and Bordeaux Blend velour were used for banding to add horizontal lines and to create the top coursings of the modular brick, while roman size autumn sands brick with a velour texture provides accents to the utility brick panels in the courtyard.

Standard brick sizes were used to emulate conventionally laid brick, with L-shaped bricks at corners and windows openings.

The panels significantly reduced enclosure time compared to conventionally laid brick.

“The use of thin brick as a precast veneer allows the design team limitless options, from color and texture, to sizes and locations, to achieve the correct design aesthetic for each individual project,” said Steve Miller, project manager with CO-OP Architecture.

He added, “This allows us to achieve individuality from building to building while still benefiting from the ease of building erection that precast provides.”

More New Facilities

Northern’s campus has even more growth planned, and Sabolo said the new residence halls have led the way. Now that it has, he said, it’s increased anticipation of NSU’s other upcoming projects, including the Regional Science Education Center, regional sports complex, and athletic and recreation fields.

“I think students are more excited about coming to Northern,” Sabolo said.

NSU rendering 1