Austin in the News

Steven VanWormer Promoted to Vice President and General Manager Michigan Operations

Kalamazoo, MI – January 17, 2017 — The Austin Company (, a leading design, engineering, construction and location consulting firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, recently announced the promotion of Steven VanWormer to Vice President and General Manager of The Austin Company Michigan Operations.

Steve’s career with The Austin Company began in 1989, working as a construction laborer while attending Western Michigan University. In 1990, Steve took an assignment as Unit Superintendent with Austin’s construction and maintenance team in Kalamazoo, Michigan. During this assignment, which ran through 1994, he supervised a multitude of projects and maintenance work at one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturing campuses. 

In 1995, Steve was assigned as an Owner’s Representative to oversee a program to replace insulation throughout the buildings and utility trestles at the same Kalamazoo manufacturing campus. In 1999, Steve was assigned to Austin’s Chicago office as Project Superintendent. In this role, he managed construction on Design-Build projects at Upjohn Company, Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, Muskegon Chronicle, and Rohm and Haas.

From 2005 to 2008, Steve served as AECOM’s Site Lead for an Agency Construction Management Program. In 2009, Steve returned to The Austin Company as Manager of Construction for the self-perform construction and maintenance group in Kalamazoo. In 2013, Steve was promoted to General Manager, as the Michigan Operations continued to grow, with the team and workload nearly doubling in size.

In addition to his efforts expanding services of the Michigan Operations, Steve is involved with companywide quality and improvement initiatives.


Duane Lofdahl Promoted to Vice President and General Manager Atlanta Operations

Atlanta, GA – January 11, 2017 — The Austin Company (, a leading design, engineering, construction and location consulting firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, recently announced the promotion of Duane Lofdahl to Vice President and General Manager of The Austin Company Atlanta Operations.

Duane’s career with The Austin Company began in Cleveland’s General Department in 1989 as the Director of Design for newspaper facilities, where he assisted all offices in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and South America with the planning and design of newspaper facilities. In 1995, Duane moved to Atlanta as the Manager of Facilities Development for the southeast, but continued to support all offices with newspaper facility design.

Duane became a Vice President of Planning and Design and Senior Project Manager in 2005, with his first major project managing the design and construction of Valpak/Cox Target Media’s $55MM headquarters, production and distribution facility in Clearwater, Florida. In 2008, Duane served as Senior Project Manager for projects with Florida Power & Light in Homestead, Florida, and Hills Pet Nutrition in Emporia, Kansas. In 2012, Duane served as Senior Project Manager for the Newsweb project in Chicago, Illinois.

From 2013 to 2016, Duane served as the Project Principal for Austin’s three large projects for Northrop Grumman in Florida: Buildings 228 and 229 in Melbourne and Building 100 in St. Augustine. Since 2015, Duane has been the Senior Project Manager for the Melbourne Airport Authority/Embraer project in Melbourne, Florida.

“Duane’s experience with Austin, his mastery of ‘concept-to-completion’ services, and his business and people skills give him the expertise and ability to be successful in this new role,” says Mike Pierce, President of The Austin Company. “We are fortunate to have someone with Duane’s expertise in this role and look forward to his continued leadership.”

Duane graduated from the Denver Institute of Technology in Denver, Colorado, with a degree in Architecture. He is a Registered Architect and a member of the American Institute of Architects. 


Happy Thanksgiving from The Austin Company


The Austin Company Wins ENR Regional Best Projects Award

Design and construction project in partnership with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems recognized as one of the best of 2016. 

St. Augustine, FL – The Austin Company, in partnership with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, has been recognized by Engineering News Record (ENR) Southeast for their work on Northrop Grumman’s Building 100 – Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence.

Building 100 was selected in the 2016 ENR Southeast Regional Best Projects Awards with an Award of Merit in the Manufacturing Category. The Austin Company provided planning, architectural design, engineering and construction management / general contractor services for this project.

The Regional Best Projects Awards recognize the building teams that delivered the best design and construction efforts of 2016 for the Southeast Region. Two separate, independent judging panels of prominent industry professionals select these extraordinary projects. Projects are evaluated on the project team’s ability to overcome challenges, in addition to the project’s construction and design quality, safety record, and contribution to the industry and community.

Northrop Grumman and The Austin Company have also submitted the project for certification as a LEED® Gold project.

ENR’s Southeast Region Best Project Awards were recognized at an awards event on November 15th in Orlando, Florida.

Learn more about the project at:


Florida Bread Selects The Austin Company to Master Plan New Bakery Facility in Taiwan

New baking production facility will improve efficiency and increase production.

Florida Bread (, a 67-year-old bakery in Taipei, Taiwan, is growing rapidly and needs a new production facility that consolidates operations, improves efficiency and increases production.

Florida Bread has engaged the United States’ leading bakery design-builder, The Austin Company (, to provide master planning services for the new facility design and process equipment layout. Austin’s team visited Taipei over the summer to gain an understanding of existing operations and the site for the new facility.

The new production facility will total 5,000 square-meters (approximately 54,000 SF) once complete.

Florida Bread produces specialty-baked goods, including breads, flatbreads, tortillas, cookies and cake. Their products are sold in several company owned bakery-cafes in Taipei. In addition, Florida Bread sells products to restaurants and supermarkets, including Costco.

The Austin Company has more than 80 years of experience serving the baking and snack industry. Austin’s in-house, integrated services include site location, planning, equipment layout, process integration, architectural design, engineering, construction, equipment installation and project management for projects throughout North America, Europe and Asia. 


Pretzels, Inc. Selects The Austin Company to Locate, Design and Build New Facility

New highly efficient baking production facility designed and built to address new FSMA requirements.

October 10, 2016 – Following the devastating loss of a facility to a fire in June, Pretzels Inc. selected The Austin Company ( to provide complete site selection, incentive negotiation, due diligence, design, engineering and construction services for a new baking production facility.

“Austin’s integrated approach across all of our needs really differentiated them and allowed us and them to move faster than anyone else to get a new plant operational,” explains Scott Smith, CEO with Pretzels, Inc.

On September 6, Pretzels Inc. announced the selection of an existing 45,000 square-foot shell building in Plymouth, Indiana, for production of their popular peanut-butter-filled pretzels. The shell building will be modified on a fast-track schedule to create a highly efficient production plant designed to address the new FSMA requirements and provide flexibility to accommodate future expansion.

“We pride ourselves on being there for our clients and are pleased to support Pretzels with this time-critical and important project,” says Brandon Davis, General Manager and Vice President of Operations with The Austin Company. “Our team’s experience in the baking industry and full-service, innovative approach made this partnership a natural fit.”

Austin is implementing proven, proprietary approaches to ensure the fast-track project is completed as efficiently, safely and with the highest quality possible:

  • The Austin Method®, Austin’s proprietary, single-source integrated project delivery approach, will be utilized throughout the project to ensure seamless delivery of services in the fastest manner possible.
  • Austin’s Best Practices Bakery Planning Guide, will be utilized to ensure the best and latest innovations in bakery design and construction are used to meet the facility’s unique requirements.

The new production facility is expected to bring 65 new jobs to the area.  


How to Design and Build a Better Bakery

The Austin Company: Building Better Bakeries Through Innovation

The Austin Company is a proud supporter of the American Bakers Association (ABA) and the Baking Equipment Manufacturers and Allied (BEMA), and sponsor of the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) and Innovation Showcase, October 8-11 in Las Vegas. Our team truly enjoyed catching up with friends, starting new relationships, and sharing ideas at this year's record-breaking show. 


While the show comes to a close, we look forward to continuing these discussions and helping bakers utilize innovative best practices that result in a safer, more efficient, and more productive food production facility. 

In case we missed you at the show or you weren't able to attend, please enjoy the materials below and contact us to further discuss how we can help you optimize your next facility project.


Contact: Matt Eddleman


Austin Receives Liberty Mutual Gold Safety Award

Austin is proud to announce that we received a 2015 Liberty Mutual Gold Safety Award for working over 500,000 hours without a lost time accident.
The award was presented to Austin managers by TJ Whorton from Liberty Mutual. Our continual focus on safety and quality on each project, our technology on the job site, accountability and the pursuit of “Results, not Excuses®” all attribute to our exceptional safety record. We celebrate our safety record and are thankful to all who have made this possible.

Austin Recognized with Business Longevity Award

The Austin Company is proud to be a recipient of the Smart Business 2016 Business Longevity Award. Austin, along with other Northeast Ohio companies with more than 50 years in business, was recognized for its service to both clients and the community throughout the past 138 years.  

An awards ceremony, hosted by Smart Business, included a short presentation on each company receiving an award. The award celebrates the innovative, determined and entrepreneurial spirit that is required of businesses navigating the challenges of today's economy and business climate. 

Throughout these 138 years, Austin has faced and weathered various challenges and continues to thrive and adapt. We are proud to support the Northeast Ohio community and to have been recognized with this award. 


39th Annual Plant Construction Survey: Projects Peak as Consumer Demands Grow

From the June 2016 issue of Food Engineering

The total number of reportable food projects in 2015 (694) represents a 9.3 percent increase over 2014’s number (635) and a 26 percent increase over the 10-year simple average of 551. The total new reportable food projects in 2015 (221) is a 0.45 percent increase over 2014’s 220 and a 32 percent share of the 694 total projects in 2015. The 2015 renovations/expansions category total (473 projects) is 14 percent higher than 2014’s total (415 projects). The renovations/expansions category accounts for 68 percent of total projects in 2015.

“New construction over the last few years has declined in lieu of the renovations and expansions of existing facilities,” says Sean Barr, senior director of project planning for The Austin Company. “Food manufacturing companies appear to be ensuring they fully utilize their existing resources, prior to executing greenfield projects.”

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