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

Carpentry at its best; Gage Brothers wins 2018 CIC Craftsmanship Award

img_1179Gage Brothers has been named a winner of a 2018 Construction Industry Center (CIC) Craftsmanship Award for its production of panels for the Pennington County Courthouse addition in Rapid City, South Dakota.

cic logoThe CIC Craftsmanship Awards honor work in various trades on both commercial and residential construction projects during the 2018 calendar year. Gage Brothers received the award in the Commercial Category.

“We are honored to have received such a prestigious award in today’s competitive and challenging construction environment,” said Joe Bunkers, Vice President of Preconstruction. “Our team of carpenters, led by supervisor Bill Crossley, architectural planner Gary Steinke and architectural production manager Adam Struck are truly the ones who deserve this award for their dedication and superior workmanship.”

all erectedGage Brothers, CO-OP Architecture and Fennel Design had the opportunity to work with Pennington County officials to create a new entrance to the courthouse, a modern neo-classical structure that was built in 1922.

The new courthouse entrance is designed to historically match the existing facility and provide more functionality. The end result is a grand new entrance that solves drainage issues, security, security space and removes barriers by ridding of excess stairs and level changes. The space added much needed square footage for the courts and has tied the previous buildings together. It has truly become the new front door for the courthouse.

Added Bunkers, “We would like to thank all of our partners involved in this project including Jared Carda of CO-OP Architecture, Fennel Design and Ainsworth-Benning Construction.”

Noteworthy Craftsmanship:

img_1191The owner wanted to tie in the link between the original courthouse, a limestone modern neo-classical building, with its 1980 precast addition. The detail work required very complex form work and details. The formwork incorporated multiple projected varying elements that required form and structure to hold up for multiple pours and to accommodate changes throughout the duration of the production.

Along with the complexity of the forms, the panels needed to be insulated to provide the necessary thermal break for their enclosure. There were also many single-use forms that required great skill from Gage Brothers carpenters.

img_3292The required lettering style reflects an earlier era, with projected letters on the panels instead of the typical recessed style commonly used today. This was achieved with the use of a CNC machine.

Rosettes were created using  Revit modeling and creating a 3-D model, so the owner and the architect could visually see the rosette image that combined features from 1922 to the 1980 rosettes. The CNC machine was used to create the shape for form building.

Early on, efforts were taken to create a color and finish that blended in closely between the two existing structures. Large returns were a major element to the project, and a great deal of time was dedicated to ensuring the product match the client’s expectations.

img_1195One significant element with the large returns are the massive fluted columns that stabilize and strengthen the front elevation. These flutes were crafted by Gage Brothers carpenters with immense care and detail in their form. Even the mechanical penthouse called for unique forms to complete this link between the structures.

To make this courthouse addition into a reality, carpenters spent 1,047 hours building, placing and changing forms for this project. In total, Gage Brothers cast 81 pieces for a total of 264 yards (7,842 square feet).

Gage Brothers will receive the award at the 64th Annual Construction Industry Center Meeting of Members on March 2 in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Gage Brothers links with Park and Restroom Structures, Inc., to expand product line

Gage park restroom structures_COLORGage Brothers is set to expand its product portfolio with the introduction of Gage Park Restroom Structures. With this expansion, the company aims to diversify its business into the park and recreation industry.

Park and Restroom Structures, Inc. was founded in 2006 by industry veteran Nick Bianco and a group of investors. Based in Spokane (Wash.), the company has manufactured state-of-the-art, precast concrete public restrooms for park and recreational settings throughout the continental United States.

Gage Brothers recently purchased the intellectual property from Park Restroom Structures, Inc. Bianco relocated to Sioux Falls and will manage Gage Park Restroom Structures with a focus on the Upper Midwest.

Plumas Installation PhotoPrefabricated park restrooms offer many benefits over site-built construction, including reduced design costs and minimized site disruption. The fully ADA compliant restrooms are a permanent and economical solution for parks & recreation facilities, schools, transportation facilities, military bases and secured installations.

“The design of Gage Park Restroom Structures will provide maximum function in minimal space, with a focus on safety, accessibility, availability, low maintenance, attention to vandalism and aesthetics,” said Gage Brothers President Tom Kelley.

Gage Park Restroom Structures will be built in a controlled production environment and delivered to the site pre-assembled, pre-plumbed and pre-wired. The vault consists of a single piece of 5,000 psi steel-enforced concrete without cold joints or welds.

The buildings are designed with Sweet Smelling Technology (SST) guidelines developed by the USDA Forest Service for passive ventilation toilet designs to ensure sweet-smelling success. A vent pipe on the back of the structure faces south and when heated by the sun, generates a continual air flow through louvered vents located in the

”For people to be comfortable in a space, everything from cleanliness to lighting to security becomes part of the equation with aesthetics also being a vital part of the mix,” Kelley added.

Additional features of Gage Park Restroom Structures include:

  • The vault holds 1,700 plus gallons of waste and can be exposed to nearly 25,000 uses before the contents are required to be emptied.
  • The vault includes a heavy-duty black spray-on rubber liner on the inside to protect against leaks. The vault goes into use for 40 to 50 years.
  • Integrally colored concrete is reinforced with steel rebar and fibermesh to control cracking.
  • The structures are available in more than 25 earth tone colored staining options and a variety of textures.
  • Surfaces are coated with a clear anti-graffiti concrete sealer for protection from the
  • elements and vandalism.
  • Reduced front entry alcove walls allow for better sight access and safety as patrons approach or leave the facility.

23870027Gage Park Restroom Structures will initially offer two models, the Imperial Single “Unisex” Vault and Riverside Double Vault. More information on these new products can be found at gageparkrestroomstructures.com.

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.

IMG_1399
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!