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Industry Axis

Masked Bandits

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Employees relocated to home stations on Monday, March 23, 2020 ahead of the Kansas City metro stay-at-home orders. In a rare sighting, two masked bandits were found colluding in the Needham DBS conference room. CFO, Susan Fox Sherry and President, Karen Hand, geared up with makeshift personal protection equipment, met with Chairman Jeff Needham for a debriefing and critical planning meeting.

Branch Office Stech

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Needham DBS is opening new branch offices all over the metro! (at the request of the county government).

On a related note, table saws make stable office furniture in more than one way.

Schedule and Supply Chain Disruptions

Needham DBS has been operating in a mostly “business as usual” manner through the COVID-19 pandemic but the reality is, things will not be “business as usual” for some time. As the President tries to wrangle the explosion of new cases and the impacts on the economy, drastic measures may be required to mitigate those risks. State and local government leaders took the message from the President seriously and have imposed restrictions on schools and businesses keeping the spread of the virus from escalating locally. Needham DBS has been closely monitoring the situation and is ready to stand with the President, Governors, and local leaders to make the adjustments necessary to protect the safety and health of our employees as well as our communities.

We are not aware of major disruptions at this time but given the day to day changes, it’s best to be prepared. Schedules may be impacted as we transition to at-home work environments to curb community spread. For material supply projects, there are potential delays and disruptions in our vendor supply chain due to plant closures, we have already been put on alert by most manufacturers.

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Needham DBS Open for Business

Needham DBS is currently operating in a mostly “business as usual” manner during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have taken precautions to help protect our employees and offered remote access to work from home through VPN connections should it be necessary to do so. With locations in Fort Wayne, IN and Lenexa, KS the less densely populated areas have resulted in just a few cases regionally and we hope that remains the case throughout the coming weeks.

Both office locations will be closed to all visitors. We are available by phone, video conference and email.

Pittsburg Middle School Wins Award

PittStateMiddleSchoo_20200220-171042_1 Pittsburg Middle School Addition

The Pittsburg Middle School Addition was selected for the 2019 Kansas ACI Concrete Construction award for the Low Rise Buildings category. The award was presented to the team at the annual Kansas ACI Concrete Construction Awards program on February 12, 2020 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan, KS the evening prior to the Scholer-Peterson Concrete Conference.

The Precast Wall Panels were designed and detailing by Needham DBS with Crossland Prefab being the precast supplier. Other team members who worked on the project were Corner Greer & Associates, DLR Group, and Crossland Construction Co.

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TiltLab Founding Donor

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Needham DBS has donated $10,000 to the inaugural campaign, raising seed money needed to establish Tilt Lab.

As a philanthropic partner of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, Tilt Lab’s mission is to cultivate emerging techniques, technologies and ideas with promising applicability for the tilt-up concrete construction industry. With a focus on disruptive and transformative innovation, Tilt Lab will seek to embrace change, further exploiting the already established benefits of the tilt-up system and facilitate collaboration to deliver game-changing innovation related to tilt-up concrete construction.

Hand and Gebel Present at Tilt-Up Convention

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Karen Hand, President at Needham DBS, and Barclay Gebel, VP Operations at Concrete Strategies, teamed up to present the Case Study for Project Dylan to a packed house at the 2019 Tilt-Up Convention and Expo held in Atlanta.

The composite panel industry is on the frontier of emerging design technologies; the innovation is ripe and ready to propel our industry into the future. Project Dylan is a new prototype fulfillment center, and this seminar will use it as a case study to better understand today’s composite panel industry. The warehouse building’s slab-on-grade footprint is approximately 700,000 square feet, and it has an additional 1.95 million square feet of elevated deck. The exterior is clad with 330,000 square feet of insulated tilt-up panels.

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May Technology Celebrates 55 Years

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May Technology & Mfg, Inc. (MTM) celebrates 55 Years of business with an Open House to showcase their new expansion and other upgrades made to their facility on May 16, 2019.

Founded in 1964, Ernie May began his business with a tooling machine and a small shop. Ernie’s sons, Steve and Reno May, learned the business from their dad and both joined the family business. With advancing technologies, Steve and Reno were instrumental in growing the facility to a high-speed CNC Machining and Tooling operation. Steve and Reno are proud to showcase the new building while preserving much of the history. The tour noted the original building footprint and the museum, just off the lobby, showcases and preserves many of the machines, tools and furniture used throughout the years of operation.

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Brewood Joins SEAKM Officers

Brewood1 Todd Brewood, PE, SE

Todd Brewood has been elected Vice President of the Kansas City Chapter of SEAKM. The appointment is for the 2019-2020 year. The role of the VP is primarily to provide support to the chapter President and to work with the other committee members in organizing the monthly chapter meetings. Todd hopes to help encourage SEAKM membership growth, and to find useful and interesting topics to share and discuss at the monthly meeting.  Needham DBS heavily supports participation in industry organizations and appreciates Todd's committment to further the profession of Structural Engineering.

Todd started his term by attending SEAKM’s Annual Meeting in Wichita, KS on Thursday, April 25, 2019.  The meeting was held at the Wichita Advanced Learning Library.  Presentations included the Oklahoma State Capitol masonry restoration, steel cracking during galvanization, engineering software packages concerns and wrapped up with partially-composite tilt-up panels by Needham DBS' Jason Blankenship.

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Rising to the Challenge

Project_Dylan_110618-68-copy Project Dylan

Project Dylan is a new prototype fulfillment center for Amazon. The warehouse building has an approx. footprint of 700,000 SF slab on grade and another 1.95 million SF of elevated deck. The exterior is clad with 330,000 SF of full height composite insulated tilt-up panels. The panels are non-load bearing for gravity but as a VE alternate on the project, the panels do carry large shear forces for seismic loading.  

With the tallest panel standing at 81’-1” tall, Concrete Strategies (CSI) set a company record for the tallest tilt-up panel ever erected on a project and an industry record for the tallest composite panel ever constructed. This was accomplished utilizing an innovative composite panel design by Needham DBS.  Meadow Burke introduced the Super 62 which was used on this project.  The composite panel industry is on the frontier of emerging design technologies, the innovation is ripe to propel our industry in to the future.

Mike Stein Attends Lenexa State of the City Address

20190220_11465_20190228-171459_1 Mike Stein and his Daughter attend State of the City.

Needham DBS’ Mike Stein attended the Mayor’s 2019 State of the City address for Lenexa, KS on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at Hyatt Place & Lenexa Conference Center.

A few of the highlights of the presentation by Mayor Mike Boehm, in his 17th address:

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Olathe West High School: A Case Study in Tilt-Up Collaboration

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The team that delivered a tilt-up concrete panel solution for the award-winning Olathe West High School project were invited to present at the 42nd Annual Scholer-Peterson Concrete Conference at Kansas State University on February 2, 2019. Jason Blankenship with Needham DBS, along with Travis Downing with McCown Gordon Construction and Aaron Curtis with Lithko Contracting gave a presentation highlighting the challenging design and construction aspects of the project and outlined the process the team used for successfully executing the complex project.

Some of the key points of the presentation were: reviewing the factors in selecting a tilt-up approach, the challenging lateral system design, execution of the segmented arc “black box” panels, detailing coordination, the use of cast-in thin brick and insulated panels.  In addition, the use of BIM for tilt-up panels was discussed. Revit was used for the BIM not only as a design coordination tool, but also as a platform for tilt-up panel detailing, and then leveraging the benefits for construction use.

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Needham DBS 2018 Annual Meeting

Needham DBS Board of Directors held their Annual Board of Directors and Shareholders Meeting to present financials to current shareholders on Friday, January 18, 2019. The meeting was held in the Fireside Room at the Shadow Glen Country Club followed by dinner in the Main Dining Room.

ENR Spotlights Project Dylan

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Engineering News Record, ENR, Magazine spotlights Project Dylan, currently under construction in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Link to the article E-Commerce Logistics Test Limits of Tilt-Up Construction.  

Needham DBS: Kansas City 2018 Christmas Dinner

2018Christmas-NeedhamKC2-2 2018 Christmas Dinner at Grunauer

Needham DBS' Kansas City Office celebrated the success of 2018 with a year end Christmas Dinner. The dinner was held at Grunauer in Kansas City's Historic Freight House District on Saturday, December 15, 2018.  Employees and their spouses enjoyed an Austrian-German meal of appetizers, dinner and dessert.

Needham DBS: Fort Wayne Christmas Dinner

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Needham DBS' Fort Wayne Office celebrated the success of 2018 with a year end Christmas Dinner.  The dinner was held in the Boardroom at Ruth's Chris Steak House in downtown Fort Wayne on December 8, 2018.  Employees enjoyed an evening of great company, dinner, libations and bountiful desserts.  

Sean Wonderlich Passes NCEES Exam

Sean Wonderlich passes the Fall 2018 NCEES Principles of Practice of Engineering (PE) Exam. The PE civil/structural exam is a civil breadth and a structural depth examination. The breadth exam contains questions from all five areas of civil engineering. The depth exams focus more closely on a single area of practice in civil engineering. Examinees work all questions in the morning session and all questions in the afternoon module they have chosen. The exam is an 8-hour open-book exam. It contains 40 multiple-choice questions in the 4-hour AM session, and 40 multiple-choice questions in the 4-hour PM session.

Needham DBS appreciates the effort put forth by employees who invest their time and effort to take the exam. Congratulations Sean!

Needham DBS presents at Fall 2018 JOCO Licensing Seminar

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Karen S. Hand, PE, President of Needham DBS, presented a 2 hour seminar to about 90 contractors for the Fall 2018 Johnson County Contractors Licensing Educational Seminar.  The presentation of "Temporary Wind Bracing of Tilt-Up Concrete Panels" was at 8 am-10 am, October 30, 2018 at the Overland Park Convention Center.  

OSHA regulates the construction of buildings with concrete panels by requiring the panels to be temporarily braced to prevent panels from overturning or collapsing during construction. The Tilt-Up Concrete Association's brace document provides contractors and engineers with detailed instructions to interpret the existing codes and apply the forces to panels during the construction phase of the project.  Significant changes have been implemented since the last version. The guide is intended to be used in conjunction with ASCE/SEI 7-16 for access to the figures and tables. Attendees learned historical background leading up to the current guideline.  Major changes to the TCA Guideline for Temporary Wind Bracing of Tilt-Up Concrete Panels During Construction were presented as well as jobsite safety tips and case studies for bracing Tilt-Up Construction.

Composite Tilt-Up Panels - The Future of Tilt-Up Walls

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Jeffrey Needham, Needham DBS, sponsored by the Concrete Promotional Group (CPG), presented "Composite Tilt-Up Panels - The Future of Tilt-Up Walls" to the AIA Nooniversity held on October 10, 2018.  The presentation explores the current state-of-the-art in composite tilt-up panel construction and explains developments in design methods for tilt-up composite panels.  The difference between solid panel design and the two-wythe composite design will be illustrated and the limitations of the current composite design methods will be shown.  The future of composite panels in tilt-up construction concludes the talk. 

Thanks to Christy Martin, Executive Director for CPG, and the Kansas City AIA for the opportunity.

Mock-Ups: Worth Their Weight In Gold

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What could make a 72'-6" panel more complicated?  The introduction of a new product.  The iconX composite connectors for insulated panels brought a lot of questions from the tilt-up subcontractor and the general contractor. The project is complex and the panels are very large.  Therefore, the decision to build a mock-up panel was worth its weight in gold.

Prior to the pour, the contractor got hands-on with the iconX composite connector and insulation to develop a marking and handling system to make the project run smoothly. The contractor then studied the sequencing of embeds, welded wire reinforcing mats, miscellaneous rebar placement, iconX connector and insulation installation, concrete placement and finishing and lifting/bracing hardware placement.  

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