HallMark: Summer 2015

HallMark : Summer 2015 Edition

Onyx and Axys; A Couple of Jewels – by Tim Moulis

In our previous Hallmark, we discussed asphalt sealers; particularly sprayed mastic sealers. Due to their low cost, private owners and government entities are including these preventive applications into their annual maintenance plans.

Mastic sealers are composite materials made up of asphalt bitumen, polymers, particulate reinforced materials, surfactants, emulsifiers and synthetic aggregates. Both Onyx (for roadways) and Axys (for parking lots) are engineered around these product performance attributes. In other words, the material is designed to address specific conditions that are of utmost importance to the end user – i.e. durability, impermeability, drying time, friction, and color lock. Both products are mixed in central plants under high scrutiny to ensure every batch is consistent and precisely proportioned.

Both Onyx and Axys are highly durable. WE have not found any product that can match their durability. They gain this toughness through the addition of polymers, a microscopic mesh that literally holds it all together. The question has been asked many times, “How tough is it?” The reply is, “Try to find another sealer that has a wet track abrasive test (WTAT) that betters an 80 gram/sq. meter after a 6 day soak. THERE IS NONE!”

Sealcoats are applied to prevent the intrusion of water into the asphalt sub-strata. Both Onyx and Axys are highly impermeable. The addition of a fine aggregate into the mix provides a feeling of comfort and security while providing excellent skid resistance. Both Onyx and Axys are consistently black and are formulated to reduce ultraviolet damage.

Dry time can be roughly calculated off the charts on the back of every brochure. An example of the quick dry time on Onyx at 80 degrees F. 50% humidity with a 5MPH wind and 100 degree F pavement – 38 minutes. That’s right, 38 minutes!

As marvelous as this mastic is, it is not a panacea for all asphalt ailments. It will not return your highly deteriorated pavement to a new status. It is not a crack sealer although it can bridge small bracks. IT does not repair poor subgrade nor does it act as a binder. It will, however, provide a barrier for the destructive action of sun and water, add micro abrasion to your surface, look good, dry quickly, resist wear and not empty your pocketbook. It’s best applied in the first few years of a pavement’s life and every 4-5 years thereafter. Properly applied along with crack sealing, it will extend the life of pavements by a factor of 3% or more.


He Hunts for Wild Boar and Railroad Customers

– the newest addition to Musselman & Hall’s rapidly growing railroad group is 41 year old, Adam Turley. Adam grew up in the Kansas City, Kansas area but after graduating from high school, slipped off to Iola, KS to study and play baseball at Allen County Community College. He always dreamed of being a major league catcher, catching was the only position where there was enough action to hold his interest.

After earning his associate’s degree at Allen County, Adam packed up and moved over to Manhattan to pursue a degree in agriculture from Kansas State University. However, the construction world called, Adam left KSU to work full time for his part time employer Damon Pursell Construction Co. At Pursell he worked as a heavy equipment operator and project superintendent.

Seeking greater opportunity, Adam left Pursell to work as a project manager/estimator for Barge Construction Co. in Olathe, KS. It was not long before Glen Barge offered him a partial ownership in the growing utility construction company. Unfortunately, the great recession of 2008 hit Barge-Turley hard and they chose to shut down and liquidate in 2010.

Adam found himself working as a construction technician for the Kansas City, KS Board of Public Utilities. At BPU he met Musselman & Hall Vice President of railroads Jason Fleck. HE was impressed by M&H’s operation and reputation and soon felt the urge to get back in the construction business. He joined M*H in March of 2015. His duties include business development, estimating and project management for the railroad group.

When asked about his time with M&H Adam remarked, “It is a great company. The atmosphere here is very laid back but, at the same time, there is an assumed urgency to get things done. I like the freedom I have to pursue my goals at my own pace.” Adam lives near Piper in western Wyandotte Country with Christy, his wife of 16 years, and their 6 year old son Colt.

For many years he traveled around the United States participating in men’s fast pitch softball tournaments. He now enjoys more relaxing activities – fishing with son Colt and hunting wild game with his recurve bow. His favorite targets include deer, wild boar (Oklahoma), bear (in Canada although he has never seen one) and wild turkey. When not hunting or fishing, Adam can be found helping Colt show his market pigs in Colt’s 4-H Club. Adam also serves on the Wyandotte County Fair Board.


Burns & McDonnel and Musselman & Hall,
More Than 200 Years of History Between Us.

In 1898, Clinton Burns and Robert McDonnell came to Kansas City and set up shop as Burns & McDonnell Engineering. The two partners liked Kansas City because there was a great need for water and sewer engineering projects within a day’s drive of the City. Today Burns & McDonnell’s work force includes more than 5000 employee owners working in more than 40 different offices. They have become one of the leading engineering firms I the world and a terrific citizen of the Greater Kansas City area.

The Burns & McDonnell World Headquarters is at 9400 Ward Parkway in a massive red granite building. As massive as the headquarters building is, it is not big enough so they are adding on. Working with VanTyl Trust, they are building a spectacular new building east of their present location.

Musselman & Hall is pleased to have been chosen to do the structural and site concrete work on the new building. M&H crews, under the direction of superintendent Wes Skaggs, moved onto the site in October of 2014 and went to work. The M&H package for the four story 325,000 SF building includes grade beams, pile caps, perimeter footings, floor slabs, equipment foundations, pan steps and all the site curbs, sidewalks, brick pavers and drive approaches.

According to Wes, “It has been a really fun project. We started in October and worked all through the winter, even pouring concrete on a day when the temperature was five degrees. We worked with Burns and McDonnell to enclose the building which allowed us to pour on those cold winter days.”

Wes went on, “There is nothing quite as much fun as pouring 280 cubic yards of concrete in 15,000 square foot floor sections day after day. The most exciting thing was that we did all our own layout and we only had to reset two anchor bolts because we took a dimension off the wrong drawings. Layout was not at all easy. Even though the building is rectangular, there are plenty of odd angles. We had to set the angles and check them twice to be sure they were accurate.”

Working for Burns & McDonnell is not always easy. They are particular about safety and quality and have no tolerance for contractors that will not comply with their rules. This is not a problem as M&H is just as obsessed with safety as Burns & McDonnell.

Although Wes Skaggs was the original superintendent on the site, he shared his duties with M&H foreman Joe Smith. When asked about the Musselman & Hall performance, Burns & McDonnell project site manager, Travis Reed remarked, “From a quality control and quality assurance standpoint M&H went way above the norm. Their attention to safety and quality is superb. I can’t say enough good things about Wes and Joe. They managed the job perfectly.”

M&H crews will finish up most of the structural concrete work by the end of June. They will then pull off until the building is nearly finished then move back in to finish up and install the remainder of the curbs, sidewalks, and pavers.


700 Market Street is a classic 1970’s building in downtown St. Louis. Designed by well-known architect Phillip Johnson, it has been described as everything from a “masterpiece” to a “giant mistake.”

According to an article in the January-February St. Louis CNR magazine, Mark Venturella, project manager for developer the Korman Group, the largest challenge is that the design of the building isn’t typical. It is often described as a three-story square cut on a diagonal with a round peg-the rotunda-inserted in the middle. Half the building sits at ground level, while the other half is raised three stories up the peg. There is no central core for lateral bracing or utilities.

Undaunted by all the problems, the building was acquired by the Korman Group to house the Laclede Group the parent company of Laclede Natural gas. Korman retained St. Louis architect HOK to redesign and repurpose the building.

The Korman Group hired St. Louis based Tarlton Corporation to be the construction manager. Musselman & Hall Contractors was contracted to completely remove and replace the entire site paving including revision of the site elevation to accommodate additional stairs and stadium seating. M&H installed specialty concrete floor finishes, a colored sculpture base, colored walls, a water feature, and decorative sawcutting.

According to Musselman & Hall St. Louis Division Manager Keith Ahal, “The biggest problem was laying out 3000 linear feet of decorative sawcuts. We had to match the window mullions with east-west sawcuts, and then turn 45 degrees through the main entry access walkway, then turn 45 degrees again to run north south. There was no room for error; every sawcut had to be done perfectly.”

Kevin Ross, M&H manager of field operations, had to coordinate not only M&H crews and M&H’s demolition subcontractor, but also had to schedule around other mechanical subs on the job as well. The work had to be scheduled to keep as much of the public sidewalks open as possible. The site is adjacent to Busch stadium where the Cardinals draw 40,000 fans on game days.

Carpenter superintendent Bob Heggemann supervised the layout and stair and wall work, while all the flatwork activities were coordinated by finisher foreman Scott Moelmann.

Michelle Ohle, Senior Landscape Architect, HOK says “Complementing its modern setting, the concrete in the plaza at 700 Market needed to be precise, timeless, and contemporary. M&H worked tirelessly to achieve this high standard and the clean lines required for the success of such an iconic space. “

Ironically, the previously all electric building had to be totally refitted to allow for the use of natural gas. It would not work for Laclede Gas to be in an all-electric building.

Looking back on the project, Katherine Bourque, project manager for Tarlton commented, “Keith and his team provided an excellent service to us and the owner on this project. From bid time to punchlist completion, M&H was responsive, safe, and effectively delivered a quality product. There were a lot of challenges on the project including a complete redesign of the site concrete due to historical requirements, two weeks after the project bid, and a 4 month schedule with liquidated damages. Add in the city’s diversity requirements, and the project didn’t look too attractive to many bidders. However, M&H kept a positive attitude through the whole process, and his obvious commitment to customer service was really refreshing. With Kevin coining the phrase “If you’re payin’, we’re stayin’!’, we were able to deliver a quality project, on schedule. Jokes aside, they were also reasonable with the significant change orders on the project. I’d take Keith and his team anywhere, and look forward to future projects with them.

700 Market St. is the St. Louis version of trend sweeping the country to repurpose and completely reconstruct obsolete buildings. The high cost of constructing new buildings in downtown areas is frequently no match to a total renovation.


M&H Nabs Builder’s Association Safety Award

– Musselman & Hall risk manager, Larry Eilenstine and CEO Doug Hall were on hand March 5 at the Adams Point Conference Center in Blue Springs to receive the Builder’s Association annual Safety Excellence Award. M&H received the first place for all area contractors reporting 300,000 to 500,000 man hours in 2014.

As he admired the handsome plastic laminate trophy Larry commented, “This is a special award as it is for all trades in the area, not just heavy contractors. It is nothing short of amazing that we booked more than 300,000 hours last year with only one recordable incident.”

The 300,000 to 500,000 hour category is second only to contractors recording more than 500,000 hours.


Remarks by Doug Hall

Back in the early 1950’s when I was a kid and television was brand new, I used to sit in front of our little 12 inch Motorola TV and watch it for hours; even if it was just the test pattern.

We were smack in the middle of the cold war. There were lots of programs about nuclear attacks and nuclear weapons gaps. We would practice jumping under our desks at Blue Ridge School in case Kansas City was a prime target of the Soviet Union. We could see ground zero, 12th and Main from the north window and our classroom.

I was mesmerized by Senator Joe McCarthy and his harsh questioning of everyone who came to testify at every hearing in front of his anti-communist committee. According to McCarthy, communists were everywhere; nobody could be trusted. We were told that we needed to be ever vigilant of efforts of communist attempts to pollute our water and poison our food supply.

One night, I began to wonder if even my own mother was a member of the communist party. It was a night just like any other night when she served up a very peculiar dish at dinner. The food was mostly white with traces of purple around the edges. Mom said they ate this delicacy most every night when she was growing up and I was sure to like it.

One bite and I quickly learned otherwise. The texture was crunchy and mushy at the same time. The taste was a cross between kerosene and creosote. I immediately spit it out and grabbed for the water glass to wash it down. Mom called it turnips but I was pretty sure that the people in the Kremlin created I and sent it over here to kill children.

That night was not the first time I suspected our food supply was being tainted. Occasionally my dad would try to get me to eat sauerkraut. I was sure this nasty tasting and smelling stuff was left over from the Third Reich. I never tried it and to this day I is not allowed near me or my plate.

Later in the 50’s I went to have dinner with my friend George. We were good buddies and I loved hanging out at his house. Mysteriously, I had never been offered food there before. As we sat down to a small table in their 40’s era kitchen, George’s mother sat before me a strange looking concoction that smelled fairly good but had the texture of three day old road kill. The first bit stuck in my mouth just long enough for me to know it was surely created by the communist party. I quickly dislodged the thing from my palate and, once again, reached for my water glass for a rinse. George’s mom called the stuff Egg Plant. I had never tasted the awful stuff before or since. Once again, I survived the communist conspiracy.

As I grew up, I occasionally experienced the communist infiltration that Joe McCarthy talked about.

In college, the assault came in the form of broccoli served at the dormitory cafeteria. This was not the fresh crisp kind soaked in butter and garlic that I enjoy today. Rather, the commie broccoli was the cold and mushy kind. You could see right through it and the seeds would latch, like a magnet, to every molar in my mouth taking hours to dislodge. There is was, night after night, week after week, month after month, and year after year. I was probably the greatest success of the Soviets annual five year plan. It was no small miracle to get that awful tasting stuff from Moscow to Lawrence, Kansas without being detected by the CIA or the FBI. The broccoli corrupted my mind, especially during calculus and physics tests when my poor little brain struggled to recall the simple answers to those complex and irrelevant questions. Only through the grace of God did I service those four years at KU.

The communists, now fighting us in the Vietnam War, showed up again when I was in Air Force officer training. We cadets had to survive on four hours of sleep and a 200 calorie a day diet for 10 weeks. Every night I would go to the mess hall, careful not to eat any dogs and cats along the way. I would walk into the room and be greeted by the overwhelming aroma of liver and onions. I was liver and onions seven nights a week. I tried everything; ketchup, Heinz 57, mustard, A-1 sauce, three in one oil, aftershave lotion-everything, but it still tasted like liver and onions. For ten weeks, I survived on bread and water until I was able to get home to Judy’s all American home cooking.

As the US won the cold war, the attack on our food supply went away and I was able to add 10% to my ballooning body weight year after year. Those were the good times of ice cream and homemade cookies. America was in its prime.

Now, a new threat is at hand. It is on the menu in nearly every restaurant and appears there in many forms. From the finest restaurants in New York to the mom and pop places in Kansas City, this menace is everywhere. We call it food terrorism.

The name of the food is Quinoa!

Notice the spelling so similar to the name Al Queda. Quinoa and Al Queda showed up at precisely the same time. There was no mandate for Quinoa, no government initiative that claimed it cures erectile dysfunction or cancer. It was just there and now everywhere.

I am told by reliable sources that the CIA is investigating Quinoa around the clock to determine how it crossed our borders and found its way onto every table.

Like Kale, Quinoa is tasteless and disgusting no matter how it is prepared. Restaurant chefs promote Quinoa as high in protein and low in calories. The last few months I have seen it served as “Organic Quinoa, kale and almond veggie patties.” There is also “Quinoa and Pico salad”,”Quinoa and Kale dip”,”Quinoa and Arugula Salad” and even Quinoa Lentil bowl served with chicken raised without antibiotics and cage free eggs.” Forget about the antibiotics and cage causing illnesses, look out for the Quinoa.

So consider yourself warned. President Obama worries about Iran’s nuclear capability. I worry about what Al Qaeda does to poison our food supply.

What’s next? The promotion of beets and Brussel sprouts as edible foods? BE ON THE ALERT FOR THIS NEXT CHAPTER IN THE WAR ON TERROR!!!