Austin in the News

Site Certification: Preserving Future Industrial Sites

Site Selection magazine's May 2014 issue featured an article by Jonathan Gemmen, Senior Location Consultant with Austin Consulting. The article takes a closer look at the benefits of site certification as it relates to the dwindling amount of available, quality industrial land. 

Jonathan states, "In essence, the whole process of site certification takes land with apparent potential for becoming a quality industrial site, and completes ... preservation of the site for future industrial use; preparation of the site to accommodate the needs of industry; and building a compelling presentation for prospective industrial end-users."

Read more here: Site Certification: Preserving Future Industrial Sites

View the digital May issue.


Kajima|Alberici Wins Global Best Project Award

Leon, Mexico; May 12, 2014 — Engineering News Record (ENR) recently selected Kajima|Alberici MX as a Merit Award winner in the Manufacturing category for their work on the Y-Tec Keylex Mexico (YKM) Automotive Parts Manufacturing Facility as part of the 2014 Global Best Projects Awards.

Kajima|Alberici MX, is a Mexico-based joint venture between The Austin Company, a subsidiary of Kajima USA Group family of companies, and the Mexican subsidiary of U.S.-based Alberici Constructors, Inc.

“Alberici and Austin have a long and successful history collaborating on important projects,” said Kajima|Alberici chairman and Austin vice president, Ken Stone. “We share the same Values, as well as markets, yet our services are very complementary. Achieving success on projects such as these really has few barriers, as our teams are fully committed to a shared project vision.”

Y-Tec Keylex Mexico serves as an automotive parts supplier to Mazda at their new automotive manufacturing campus in Guanajuato, Mexico. Under a single-responsibility design-build contract, Kajima|Alberici MX provided project design, engineering and construction services for YKM’s new 367,000 square-foot facility in the supplier park campus.

The project’s success stems from a true collaborative effort across the entire project team, which included members in Mexico, Japan and the United States. Meetings often took place in all three languages, with multi-lingual project team members assisting with translation. The team worked under a very tight schedule to meet already-committed production dates. Working through these logistics, managing three distinct languages, and aligning the different business cultures and organizational variances became the cornerstones of the project team’s achievement.

In addition, the award recognizes the project for maintaining an exceptional safety record, having completed over 900,000 man-hours with no lost-time accidents. Kajima|Alberici’s ambitious, but achievable, goal for safety was simple: execute the project to achieve Zero Incidents. This safety record can be attributed to the entire team’s consistent attention to detail throughout the project.

Alberici vice president and general manager Mark Okroy said, “The project underscores each company’s – Austin, Alberici and Kajima – long-standing commitment to providing quality construction solutions in a global industry. Our ability to manage complex logistical elements in a design-build business model helped make this project a success as we continue our commitment to the Mexican markets and the clients we serve.”

This is the second annual Global Best Projects recognition by ENR, which was established to honor construction and design excellence during the past year from around the globe. The award recognition focuses on responding to the challenges, risks and rewards of designing and constructing in foreign countries.

Winners were chosen by an independent jury of industry professionals with extensive global experience. Criteria included safety, innovation, contribution to the global community, aesthetic quality, and workmanship, with special emphasis on the global diversity of the project team.

Global Best Projects award winners are being recognized at the ENR 2014 Global Construction Summit, held May 13-14, 2014, in New York City.



Austin Receives Second Gold Safety Award from Liberty Mutual

Cleveland, Ohio – April 7, 2014 — The Austin Company continues its tradition of outstanding safety practices in the design, engineering and construction industry, and was again recognized by Liberty Mutual with a 1.5 million man-hour safety award. This is the second Gold Award achieved by Austin and the recognition comes after Austin’s completion of more than 1,500,000 work hours without a lost time accident since becoming a Liberty Mutual client on July 1, 2010.

This is another major safety milestone for The Austin Company and reflects the firm’s commitment to firm-wide quality and safety. The Gold level signifies that Austin is performing at least 80% better than others in the same industry, based on the DART case rate (days away from work, days of restricted work activity or job transfer). The Austin Company’s EMR and DART rates continue to fall below industry standards.

In addition to the Gold safety award, The Austin Company’s office in Portage, Michigan, was recognized with an award for Outstanding Safety Performance from October 2011 through October 2013. This award was earned for having no lost time or restricted work injuries and total injury rates less than 50% of the industry average of the two-year period, with more than 250,000 hours worked.

Excellent safety performance not only enables everyone to go home at the end of the day without injury, but it also reflects a discipline on the job site that promotes quality and collaboration.

The Austin Company’s next opportunity to receive a Liberty Mutual award is when it reaches 2,000,000 hours without a lost time accident.


Construction Practices: Contamination Risk Reduction within Ongoing Operations

In this article for Pharmaceutical Engineering, Chas Hammond and Steve Van Wormer present good construction practices for work in existing pharmaceutical facilities and encourage further development of construction procedures to prevent product safety issues. 





The Austin Company Announces New Hires, Promotions and Professional Designations

Cleveland, Ohio – February 5, 2014 — The Austin Company, an international architectural, engineering, design-build, construction management and consulting firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, continues its growth with the addition and development of several associates.

The following associates joined Austin’s staff as of January 2014:

  • Curt Panizzoli joined Austin’s Cleveland office as Senior Architect
  • Carl Ellebrecht joined the Austin Healthcare team in St. Louis as Senior Designer
  • Craig Haworth joined Austin’s Atlanta office as Area Superintendent
  • John Ruyf joined Austin’s Cleveland office as Sales Coordinator

The following Austin associates were promoted as of January 2014:

  • Ernie Prezioso to Chief Estimator; Cleveland, Ohio
  • Jonathan Stuart to Mechanical Engineer; Cleveland, Ohio 
  • Nick Tinl to Structural Engineer; Cleveland, Ohio
  • Carl Veith to Associate Architect; Cleveland, Ohio
  • Jennifer McKenzie to Marketing Manager; Cleveland, Ohio
  • Hope Hayes to Human Resource Generalist; Cleveland, Ohio

In addition, Austin associates advanced their professional credentials with the following designations:

  • Vrajesh Chokshi, Engineer in Austin’s Cleveland office, received his Professional Engineer (PE) License
  • Erica Compton, BIM Implementation Manager in Austin’s Cleveland office, received her Professional Certification in Autodesk Revit Architecture 2014

Download Press Release



2013 ALA Design Awards

Bob Davidson, FALA, AIA, LEED AP, Chief Architect for The Austin Company, was selected as a judge for the 2013 Association of Licensed Architects (ALA)Design Award Program.

Davidson, along with four other judges, reviewed 96 entries and selected projects for the following honors: 23 projects were awarded an Award of Merit, 13 projects were awarded a Silver Medal, and 5 projects a Gold Medal, along with the with the Don Erickson Presidential Award as the top honor.

Click on the link below for more information on the Award Program and the 2013 honorees:



Visit Austin at IPPE 2014!

The Austin Company will be attending and exhibiting at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) on January 28-30 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. We look forward to another great show this year and hope to see you there!



Plastics: Emerging Economies Signal Opportunity for Growth and Exportation

In this article for Trade & Industry Development, Frank Spano and Susan Riffle examine emerging trends in plastics, site selection and facility planning, and take a forward look at materials, applications and technology impacting this dynamic industry.


Plastics impact nearly every industry and whether we see or use the actual products or not, plastics have a profound effect on our daily lives. Plastics’ numerous applications across a wide range of industries include major end-use markets, such as: Packaging (bottles, film, cups), Building and construction (pipe, siding, insulation), Consumer and institutional (toys, housewares, medical), Transportation, Furniture and furnishings, Electrical and electronics (W&C, computers, appliances), Adhesives/inks and coatings, and Industrial machinery.

Plastics firms encompass niches from health and well-being, nutrition, shelter and transportation, to safety and security, communication, sports, leisure activities and innovations of industry. As the third-largest manufacturing industry in the United States, this sector continues to contribute significantly to the nation’s economy. Read more using the links below.


November/December 2013 Digital Issue of Trade & Industry Development


Webinar Recording: Introduction to Bakery Processes


Leaders in Building Better Bakeries

The Austin Company had the great pleasure of sharing some of our bakery building experience in the September 2013 issue of Baking&Snack magazine. This issue was featured at the recent International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), where Austin also enjoyed being a vendor.

In Expanding for Greater Flexibility (p. 26-35), Mike Pierce, Austin’s President, provided insight on how bakeries are building cleaner environments, and how design and construction teams are being challenged to deliver facilities that meet changing standards through the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).  In addition, Mr. Pierce commented on the escalation of sustainable design features as more bakery projects are being submitted for LEED® certification. Finally, as baking companies are facing increased costs, Mr. Piece described recent facility trends to build more bakeries that may be smaller, but more flexible to adapt to future needs. 

In Building Successful Projects (p. 57-59), Mr. Pierce was interviewed by Senior Editor, Shane Whitaker, in this Q&A: Construction Management article on how the design-build method promotes a team environment and provides for faster project schedules and fewer issues. Here, Mr. Pierce contends that the most important aspect of the project is that the baker is on a team with his or her selected design and construction professionals. Design-build fosters this collaborative approach and is a method in which the team is selected based on qualifications.      

Educating the Industry (p. 151-156), covers the latest Baking Industry Forum’s (BIF) project on “The Five Ps of Training.” After conducting research, BIF presented their findings on the ROI of training at the BEMA annual meeting in June. The presentation was broken into five sections – the “Ps” of: problem, preparation, presentation, performance and preservation. As a member of BIF, Mr. Pierce helped to present the findings on “problem” at the BEMA annual meeting. The results of a BIF survey found that only 15% of the baking industry workforce is under age 35. Additional findings included a shortage of technical skills in the next five years, high turnover issues and lacking training processes, plague both bakers and suppliers. Recommendations and insight on the other “Ps” is included in the article.

We hope this information is helpful for you as you consider your next facility project. Learn more about Austin’s approach to the design-build method and our experience designing and constructing Baking & Snack facilities.