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

Get to Know: New Environmental, Health and Safety Specialist Trent Koppes

Trent KoppesPlease join all of us in giving a warm welcome to Trent Koppes, who was recently hired as the Environmental, Health and Safety Specialist for Gage Brothers.

Trent will perform safety orientations/training, coordinate employee health screenings and testing (hearing, respirator fit testing, etc.) and ensure Gage Brothers’ compliance with OSHA 1910 General Industry requirements .He will also maintain company safety campaigns and programs and serve the lead role in the administration of the return to work and transitional duty programs.

Trent photoTrent lives in Parker, S.D., with his wife, Tiffany. Trent & Tiffany are the proud parents of six-month old identical twin girls (Addison and Carly), who take up most of their free time. They also have two dogs— an 11-year old beagle and a 9-year-old German Shephard/collie mix from the Humane Society.

Welcome to Gage Brothers, Trent!

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

A. I grew up in Eldora, a small one stoplight town in central Iowa. My family had a hog farm before we moved to town. I spent most nights and weekends in high school cruising the loop.

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

A. I went to community college and earned a Pre-Engineering Associate of Arts degree and decided that more engineering wasn’t for me. I then went to Iowa State and found the classes for the Occupational Safety degree very interesting. Safety is Safety and there are different challenges in every industry and nowadays most companies are very concerned with the safety side of things.

Q. What attracted you to the environmental, health and safety position with Gage Brothers?

A. I was interested in working both in Sioux Falls and in a new industry. I also like the Lean and 5S aspects of manufacturing and what that can do for not only the production, but how much it helps safety.

Q. What are you looking forward to the most with your new job at Gage Brothers?

A. Learning about the processes and getting to know the people, helping with Lean and 5S and working with employees to make their jobs safe.

Q. What is your dream vacation spot?

A. Australia

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?

A. Probably physics or accounting.

Q. What are your hobbies?

A. I enjoy playing softball and baseball and shooting my bow. I like to hunt when I can, but lately I have been spending a lot of time with our six-month old twin girls!

Q. What is your favorite movie?

top-gun.0.0A. Top Gun or Tommy Boy. It’s a toss-up; I could probably quote the majority of the lines from either movie.

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

A. Tamales or Chile Relleno.


Built to meet strict FEMA specifications, precast offers protection and peace of mind.

Bobcat North _1Most areas of the country experience nasty weather from time to time, but where there is high wind there is greater need for protection.

According to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, there have been 56 confirmed tornadoes this year in the United States from January 1st to March 5th.

Precast concrete inherently possesses the vital characteristics, such as strength, penetration resistance and durability, required to withstand the hazards of violent weather.

As a result, the Bobcat Company turned to precast for a recent addition to its operations in Gwinner, North Dakota.

The Bobcat North Assembly Addition is a 210 ft. x 50.ft. addition to an existing structure that was completed in early 2016. The addition is a storm shelter that serves as locker rooms and a lunch/cafeteria space adjacent to the existing assembly building. Since the addition is a storm shelter, it was designed to resist a 200 mph wind load per the design codes provisions stipulated in FEMA 361 and ICC 500 for that geographic location.

Buildings, shelters or spaces designed to the ICC-500 standard are termed “shelters,” so all precast concrete safe rooms designed to the FEMA criteria meet or exceed the ICC-500 requirements.

GWN NAssembly3The new building being adjacent to an existing structure presented a minor design challenge from an accessibility perspective, but was overcome by bearing the roof double tees on an 8” solid wall and cantilevering the double-tee to meet the existing building.

The precast components on the job consisted of 10DT26 roof members (a 10DT24 with a 4” Flange), 14” IWPs (8/3/3) and 8” solid panels. The double-tee size was dictated by load demands, but the insulated wall panels were made thicker to help with global uplift on the structure since they were only 17’ tall.

As with any storm shelter, the challenges with this job were ensuring the load demands during a tornadic event were correctly resolved so that load path existed to the foundation elements. Aside from these typical design challenges the job went very well and went together quickly and efficiently.

GWN NAssembly5