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.

 

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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

Meet Carlos Juarez from the Outside Crew!

CCarlosarlos has been working for Gage Brothers for almost three years and you might recognize him as one of the stars of our TV commercial. Originally from Guatemala City, Guatemala, Carlos and his three brothers were raised by his mother. By the age of eight, Carlos was working and his mother saved his earnings so he could pay for school books.

At age 18, Carlos started working in a supermarket. He had a friend who had recently moved to Los Angeles and he helped him with the process of coming to the United States.

While it was scary moving without his family and knowing very few people here, it was worth it because of the dangers of his country. Upon arriving in California, Carlos started taking English classes for a couple hours each day and worked as a butcher in a grocery store—where he met his wife. The pair have been together ever since.

The grocery store they worked at was eventually sold and Carlos relocated to Sioux City, where a friend/former neighbor in Guatemala was living. He started working at Tyson Foods and took the hardest job he could find, which he quickly learned and allowed him to earn enough money to buy a house for his mother back in Guatemala. Growing up, his family did not have a lot of money and his gift of a home was a symbol of why he moved to the U.S.—for a better life. This past September, Carlos traveled home to Guatemala to spend time with his family and bought his mom a few turkeys because she loves taking care of them.

Carlos learned to play the keyboard and from 1998-2002 he toured around the tristate area playing shows with a band known as GuaMex. They came up with this name because two of the members were from Guatemala and two were from Mexico. They played mostly Spanish music. When the band broke up, Carlos used the equipment to be a D.J. at weddings, parties and anniversaries.

Carlos loves to eat tamales and puncha, both of which are traditionally made during Christmastime. He recently observed Semana Santa, a religious holiday when Catholics are forbidden from eating beef or pork. This isn’t tough for Carlos though, one of his favorite dishes during this time of year is pescado a la viscaina. One thing he misses from back home is the fruits that are not native to the Midwest.  He used to be able to grab a mango after it dropped off the tree.

The most defining characteristic of Carlos is his love and devotion to his family. He has a 19-year-old son who is a medical engineering major at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, a 16-year-old who plays soccer in competitions as far away as Miami and finally 9-year old twin daughters to keep him and his wife plenty busy. He says having children can be difficult and it certainly changed his life: they traded their car for a van before the twins were born and also had to buy a larger house to accommodate their growing family. But Carlos is a true family man and wouldn’t change a thing.


¡Conoce a Carlos Juarez del Equipo Externo!

Carlos ha trabajado para Gage Brothers durante casi tres años y es posible que lo reconozca como una de las estrellas de nuestro comercial de TV. Originario de Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala, Carlos y sus tres hermanos fueron criados por su madre. A la edad de ocho años, Carlos estaba trabajando y su madre ahorró sus ganancias para poder pagar los libros escolares.

A los 18 años, Carlos comenzó a trabajar en un supermercado. Tenía un amigo que se había mudado recientemente a Los Ángeles y lo ayudó con el proceso de llegar a los Estados Unidos.

Aunque fue aterrador moverse sin su familia y conocer a muy poca gente aquí, valió la pena debido a los peligros de su país. Al llegar a California, Carlos comenzó a tomar clases de inglés durante un par de horas cada día y trabajó como carnicero en una tienda de comestibles, donde conoció a su esposa. La pareja ha estado junta desde entonces.

La tienda de comestibles en la que trabajaban finalmente se vendió y Carlos se trasladó a Sioux City, donde vivía un amigo / ex vecino de Guatemala. Comenzó a trabajar en la tienda de comida Tyson y se tomó el trabajo más difícil que pudo encontrar, lo que aprendió rápidamente y le permitió ganar suficiente dinero para comprar una casa para su madre en Guatemala. Al crecer, su familia no tenía mucho dinero y su regalo de un hogar fue un símbolo de por qué se mudó a los EE. UU. para una vida mejor. En septiembre pasado, Carlos viajó a su casa en Guatemala para pasar tiempo con su familia y le compró unos pavos a su madre porque le encanta cuidar de ellos.

Carlos aprendió a tocar el teclado y de 1998 a 2002 hizo una gira por el área de tres estados tocando en shows con una banda conocida como GuaMex. Se les ocurrió este nombre porque dos de los miembros eran de Guatemala y dos eran de México. Tocaron principalmente música en español. Cuando la banda se separó, Carlos usó el equipo para ser un D.J. en bodas, fiestas y aniversarios.

A Carlos le encanta comer tamales y puncha, ambos hechos tradicionalmente durante la época navideña. Hace poco observó la Semana Santa, una fiesta religiosa en la que los católicos tienen prohibido comer carne de res o cerdo. Esto no es difícil para Carlos, sin embargo, uno de sus platos favoritos durante esta época del año es el pescado a la viscaina. Una cosa que echa de menos en casa es la de los frutos que no son nativos del Medio Oeste. Él solía ser capaz de agarrar un mango después de que se cayó del árbol.

La característica más definitoria de Carlos es su amor y devoción por su familia. Tiene un hijo de 19 años que es estudiante de ingeniería médica en la Escuela de Minas y Tecnología de Dakota del Sur, un joven de 16 años que juega fútbol en competiciones tan lejanas como Miami y finalmente sus hijas gemelas de 9 años que lo mantienen a él y a su esposa bastante ocupados. Él dice que tener hijos puede ser difícil y ciertamente cambió su vida: cambiaron su automóvil por una camioneta antes de que nacieran los gemelos y también tuvieron que comprar una casa más grande para acomodar a su familia en crecimiento. Pero Carlos es un verdadero hombre de familia y no cambiaría nada.

Get to Know: New Manufacturing Engineer Yanko Maldonado

Yanko

Please join all of us in giving a warm welcome to Yanko Maldonado, who was recently hired as the Manufacturing Engineer for Gage Brothers. He will lead the design, installation, and improvement of production systems requiring the integration of people, equipment, and materials for Gage Brothers precast products.

Yanko hails from Veracruz, a Mexican port city on the Gulf of Mexico coast. He is also trilingual (English, Spanish and German).

Welcome to Gage Brothers, Yanko!

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

A. I grew up in Veracruz in the South of Mexico.  It is on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and is very green and pretty, but also very hot for most of the year.

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

A. I went to school for Mechatronics Engineering, which was a new field of study at the time that I started college that had a lot of crossover with other engineering fields.  I also became very interested in lean manufacturing processes and energy efficiencies and got my masters in Energy Management.

Q. What attracted you to the manufacturing engineering position with Gage Brothers?

A. The opportunity to implement engineering tools, lean principles and continuous improvement to help different departments to improve processes, by making things simpler and faster.

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

A. Getting to know everyone and start using my skills and knowledge to help all the different departments!

Q. What is your dream vacation spot?

A. Barcelona

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?

A.  I think it was close between Computer Science, and physics

Q. What are your hobbies?

A. Practicing guitar, playing soccer and video games, and spending time with my 9-month-old son, Santiago.

Big LebowskiQ. What is your favorite movie?

A. The Big Lebowski

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

A. Unagi Eel Sushi

eel sushi


Q. En qué lugar creciste? Platicanos de ahí.

A. Yo crecí en Veracruz en el Sur de México cerca del Golfo de México, Es un lugar muy bonito tiene es una zona de jungla con mucha vegetación pero También es muy húmedo y caluroso.

Q. Cómo decidiste entrar en esta profesión?

A. Yo estudié ingeniero en Mecatrónica, que era una Carrera nueva que juntaba diferentes ingenierías como mecánica y electrónica, durante mis studio me intereso saber mas sobre procesos esbelto o “lean” y en evitar desperdicios y decidí estudiar hacer una maestria en Administracion de Energia.

Q. Que te Intereso en la posición de ingeniero de Manufactura en Gage Brothers?

A. La oportunidad de emplear diferentes herramientas e ingeniería, proceso esbelto y mejora continua para poder ayudar a mejorar los procesos en los diferentes departamentos haciéndolos más fáciles y rápidos.

Q. Qué es lo que más te emociona en tu nuevo trabajo en Gage Brothers?

A. Conocer a todos los empleados y empezar a usar mis habilidades y conocimientos para ayudarlos.

Q. Cual es tu lugar ideal para vacacionar?

A. Barcelona.

Q. Cuál fue tu materia favorita en la escuela?

A. Yo creo que era un empate entre Computación y Física.

Q. Cuáles son tus pasatiempos?

A. Tocar la guitarra eléctrica, jugar y ver football, jugar videojuegos y pasar tiempo con mi hijo de 9 meses.

Q. Cuál es tu película favorita?

A. The Big Lebowski

Q. Qué es lo mas raro que has comido?

A. Sushi de anguila

 

Gage Brothers Celebrates #WIC2018

2018 WIC Week Logo WhiteWomen in Construction Week is part of the broader Women’s History Month celebration in March. The week, started by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is an opportunity to highlight the growing role of women in the construction industry.

“NAWIC’s core purpose is ‘enhancing the success of women in the construction industry’ and what better way to continue this purpose, but to dedicate our WIC Week, not only to our members, but to all women working in and for the construction industry and to recognize the contributions women make to the success of projects in all facets of the industry,” said NAWIC President Riki F. Lovejoy, CBT, CIT.

Women represent 47% of the total U.S. workforce and are playing an increasingly significant role in the world of construction. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and OSHA, only 9% of total construction employees are women.

Given this fact, it’s inspiring to come across women who are thriving in such a traditionally male-dominated industry.

In honor of Women in Construction Week, Gage Brothers wants to highlight some exceptional women who help to make Gage Brothers a stronger and more competitive company. Read on to explore Marlene Fiedler’s experiences in construction/manufacturing and to find out her advice for others looking to take a similar path.

MarleneName: Marlene Fiedler
Job Title: Grounds & Facilities Foreman 

Q: How long have you been in the manufacturing industry?

A: 13 years

Q: Why did you choose a non-traditional career field?

A: I had cooked in a restaurant for 30 years and I wanted something different. So glad I did…I love my job!

Q: Have you ever faced any barriers in what is a male-dominated industry?

A: No

Q: What challenges do you see other women in construction facing?

A: Being able to compete side-by-side with the men doing the same job on a daily basis.

Q: What is the most satisfying part of your job?

A: The people I work with and the company I work for! Also, I get to work all over the plant and do different things!

Q: What motivates you to keep working so hard at Gage Brothers?

A: The day to day challenges!

Q: What advice do you have for women who want to work in the construction or manufacturing industry?

A: If your new to the construction industry like I was, don’t be afraid to ask questions and be willing to learn. Try hard, don’t give up and you can prevail!

Gage Brothers Celebrates #WIC2018

2018 WIC Week Logo WhiteWomen in Construction Week is part of the broader Women’s History Month celebration in March. The week, started by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is an opportunity to highlight the growing role of women in the construction industry.

“NAWIC’s core purpose is ‘enhancing the success of women in the construction industry’ and what better way to continue this purpose, but to dedicate our WIC Week, not only to our members, but to all women working in and for the construction industry and to recognize the contributions women make to the success of projects in all facets of the industry,” said NAWIC President Riki F. Lovejoy, CBT, CIT.

Women represent 47% of the total U.S. workforce and are playing an increasingly significant role in the world of construction. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and OSHA, only 9% of total construction employees are women.

Given this fact, it’s inspiring to come across women who are thriving in such a traditionally male-dominated industry.

In honor of Women in Construction Week, Gage Brothers wants to highlight some exceptional women who help to make Gage Brothers a stronger and more competitive company. Read on to explore Ann Hill’s experiences in construction/manufacturing and to find out her advice for others looking to take a similar path.

Cassie_1Name: Cassie Nicolai
Job Title: Human Resources & Safety Manager

Q: How long have you been in the manufacturing industry?

A: Eight years

Q: Why did you choose a non-traditional career field?

A: When I was close to graduating with my business degree I started looking for an internship that would let me get my foot in the door with a company. I knew I wanted to work for a company that did “something cool.” My 23 year-old self had no idea what that meant, but as soon as I took a tour of Gage Brothers during my interview, I knew this was where I belonged. Since then I have fallen in love with the manufacturing industry.

Q: Have you ever faced any barriers in what is a male-dominated industry?

A: There have been times when I felt someone did not value my opinion because I am a woman in the manufacturing and construction industry. Usually it was someone from outside of Gage Brothers who had not met me before, and I quickly find a way to work with (or around) them.

Q: What challenges do you see other women in construction facing?

A: Stereotypes definitely exist still about women who work in construction. Most of them negative which I won’t go into detail here. Progressive companies realize that manufacturing and construction have become high-tech industries that need all types of people with a variety of skills and knowledge. Those companies who are stuck in the past will be left behind eventually.

Q: What is the most satisfying part of your job?

A: As an HR and Safety professional, my greatest joy is seeing others succeed—especially when that person may have doubted their ability to do so. I enjoy trying to find the right tools and support that a person needs to thrive.

Q: What motivates you to keep working so hard at Gage Brothers?

A: I have had countless opportunities to learn and grow since starting at Gage Brothers. That definitely motivates me to return the favor by giving them my all.

Q: What advice do you have for women who want to work in the construction or manufacturing industry?

A: I would like to steal Ann Hill’s advice from yesterday because she said it perfectly! Women have a lot of expectations placed on them in society. Just do what interests you and what you’re good at. Be yourself. Also, sometimes women can be our own worst enemies. Let’s support and lift each other up.

 

Gage Brothers Celebrates #WIC2018

2018 WIC Week Logo WhiteWomen In Construction Week is part of the broader Women’s History Month celebration in March. The week, started by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is an opportunity to highlight the growing role of women in the construction industry.

“NAWIC’s core purpose is ‘enhancing the success of women in the construction industry’ and what better way to continue this purpose, but to dedicate our WIC Week, not only to our members, but to all women working in and for the construction industry and to recognize the contributions women make to the success of projects in all facets of the industry,” said NAWIC President Riki F. Lovejoy, CBT, CIT.

Women represent 47% of the total U.S. workforce and are playing an increasingly significant role in the world of construction. Yet accoding to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and OSHA, only 9% of total construction employees are women.

Given this fact, it’s inspiring to come across women who are thriving in such a traditionally male-dominated industry.

In honor of Women in Construction Week, Gage Brothers wants to highlight some exceptional women who help to make Gage Brothers a stronger and more competitive company. Read on to explore Ann Hill’s experiences in construction/manufacturing and to find out her advice for others looking to take a similar path.

Ann HillName: Ann Hill
Job Title: Project Estimator 

Q: How long have you been in the construction/manufacturing industry?

A:  20 years in manufacturing and construction.

Q: Why did you choose a non-traditional career field?

A:  I took a summer job working for the Nebraska Department of Roads right after high school. I was shock to learn how much I enjoyed it!  My father and brothers worked in construction, but before that summer I never saw construction as an option for me.

Q: Have you ever faced any barriers in what is a male-dominated industry?

A:  Not really. My overall experience has been very positive. I have never felt being a female is a setback especially at Gage Brothers. There have been a few times where I thought I wasn’t taken seriously and felt that it was because I am a woman, but it fueled me to want to work harder.

Q: What challenges do you see other women in construction facing?

A:  I think biggest challenge for women joining the construction industry is exposure. Construction needs to be presented to all of our youth as a viable career opportunity. There are many great reasons to be involved in construction and manufacturing for women and men alike.  It can be so much more than just a job.

Q: What is the most satisfying part of your job?

A: Collaborating. I love when a team works together to find solutions and better practices. I also like seeing the final product and knowing I helped make it happen.

Q: What motivates you to keep working so hard at Gage Brothers?

A:  I believe in the company and the people who work here. I want to see us all succeed. I really enjoy what I do.

Q: What advice do you have for women who want to work in the construction or manufacturing industry?

A:  The industry needs you. Work hard and be yourself. It’s our individuality that gives us strength. Be involved and ask questions. Never stop learning.