The Value of Indoor Parking

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Have you ever hit the snooze button one too many times or just woke up a little later than planned? You spend the morning running around getting everything ready for work and trying to decide if you have time to make coffee or swing through a drive thru on you way into the office. After realizing you are out of coffee filters anyway, the drive thru it is. Then, you get out to your car and it is freezing, so now you have to scrape the heavy frost off of the windshield. Because you are in a hurry, you go with the great driving style of leaning way down to view your path through the small part of the windshield that is actually staying defrosted. And because of all of this, you no longer have time to stop and grab a cup of coffee. It is going to be a LONG morning! This is the reality for many renters during the winter months.

Indoor parking for tenants has several obvious advantages. A few of them are:

  • Security

  • Vehicle wear and tear

  • Convenience

  • Protection from the elements

One of the greatest advantages and sells of apartment garage parking is the added security. If you live in an apartment with only an open parking lot or parking on the street, you leave yourself and your vehicle far more exposed. This may not be much of a concern in a generally crime-free neighborhood and may not prove worth the additional cost, but it can prove quite an advantage in an area that’s more prone to nighttime prowlers. Plus, you won’t have to be as worried about walking alone to your building, or remember not to leave anything valuable in your car for fear of attracting thieves.

These types of parking options also help the building owner to have a more successful property, allowing owners to charge a higher rent. These properties also oftentimes average a higher occupancy rate. Underground/indoor parking is common for multi-family residential, mixed use and senior living facilities. Especially in the Midwest, people want the convenience of a climate-controlled parking area.

In a senior living community, under-structure parking is often a desirable amenity. It can provide a sense of security to tenants, protection from inclement weather (which is especially important to residents that might be more susceptible to falls), as well as offer some storage space.

In working on various projects in cities all over Southern Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Eastern Iowa, we have come to understand just how imperative the right parking offerings are to a project.

Indoor parking provides solutions to several potential issues and concerns. It also helps projects be more successful for owners. We are here to help. If you have any questions, or want to speak about an upcoming project, please email sales@msprecast.com.

Stay warm!

Proud Partner of Hononegah High School

Our mission is to build meaningful buildings in which to live, work and play.  These are not just words to us, but an opportunity to impact people in an amazing way.  We are extremely grateful to have been part of building the Hononegah Community High School field house.

The new field house and ticket booths include 188 insulated precast wall panels, created at our plant in South Beloit, less than five miles from the high school.

The new building will replace the dome, which collapsed during a winter storm in 2015.  As of now, the field house is expected to be completed by March.  Wall panels, which feature a thin-brick design to match the existing building, were installed in June.

Mid-States Concrete has 42 families that reside in Hononegah Community High School District 207.

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The Mid-States team donated two custom-etched Hononegah Indian heads which are featured in the school’s new monument, located on the south side of the field house near the ticket booths.  The monument was unveiled at a ceremony on Monday, Nov. 19.

“The community is proud of Hononegah and the whole idea of having something like this really gives us the opportunity to show off,” said School Board President David Kurlinkus.

The Indian heads were created using Graphic Concrete.  Graphic Concrete enables durable patterns and images to be produced on precast surfaces through the use of a membrane with a surface retarder.  Concrete is cast on the membrane and when the retarder is washed away, the image is revealed.

“There’s a lot that goes in to putting a project like this together and so today was just an opportunity to say thank you and we look forward to watching the kids play ball here and grow,” said Hagen Harker, president of Mid-States Concrete.

What are you thankful for?

With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, it is a great opportunity to take a moment and consider all the things we have to give thanks and be grateful for.

Last year, I was first and foremost grateful for the baby having a dance party in my womb. This year, I am first and foremost grateful for the sweet baby boy who is now here, crawling all over the place, starting to pull himself up on things, and getting into everything he isn’t supposed to. His favorite thing is laughing at me when I tell him “no.” I’m using my stern voice, I swear!

I am thankful for the additions to my family within the past year, and thankful for the additions with quickly approaching due dates. I’m grateful that despite a few health scares this year, my family is all here to celebrate another holiday together.

I am especially thankful for all the help I received with my newborn son. It truly takes a village, especially when the new villager has colic! Thank God he outgrew that and is just the sweetest, happiest little boy you will ever meet (not that I am biased or anything!).

I’m grateful for friends, who despite the miles between us, still manage to play a large role in each other’s lives. Even with our growing families, we still find the time to pick up the phone regularly and see each other as often as we can. I wouldn’t trade my SQUAD for anything.

I am thankful to be part of the Mid-States team. This team is made up of some truly amazing individuals, individuals that I feel lucky to know and work with. It continues to be wonderful to work for a company that truly cares about its team members, and invests in them. And despite how they can drive me crazy sometimes, I really do enjoy the people that I work with every day. They are all just a a little bit weird!

Finally, I am thankful to know that I have so much to look forward to in the coming year. It will be as good as I make it, and I am aiming for GREAT! I have been truly blessed.

Now it’s your turn. What do you want to give thanks for? What are you grateful for? Share in the comments below.

Happy Thanksgiving! In recognition of the holiday, Mid-States will be closed on Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23. May your Thanksgiving be filled with family, friends, and plenty of delicious food!

Thermal Efficiency Saves Money

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Thermal Efficiency of CarbonCast®
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 42 percent of energy consumed in a building is ultimately lost through the building envelope, or the barrier between the building interior and outdoor environment.  A significant portion of any commercial envelope is the exterior wall.

The building envelope is critical in regulating internal building temperatures and determining how much energy is required to heat or cool a structure for occupant comfort.  Heat transfer through envelope components such as walls wastes energy.  Thermally efficient exterior wall systems aim to mitigate heat transfer and energy loss.  They are engineered to minimize the opportunities for heat to flow from the interior surface through the wall to the building’s exterior.

The role of wythe connectors
In insulated precast concrete wall panels, wythe connectors act as a mechanical connection between the inner and outer layers of concrete.  Because they form a connection through the insulation, there is an opportunity for thermal bridging to occur as well.  Traditional wythe connection options such as solid zones of concrete or metal connectors – while providing a reliable mechanical connection – permit heat transfer between the wall because of the materials inherent conductivity.

What is important is designing a performance specification on the overall wall system rather than just the connector alone.  A specification based on the overall wall system is on of the best ways of ensuring that the enclosure will meet the owner’s standards.

The role of insulation
Insulation helps to prevent the flow of heat across the exterior envelope.  The use of continuous insulation further stems the flow by eliminating the presence of building materials that could facilitate thermal transfer.

Continuous insulation is defined in ASHRAE 90.1 as “insulation that is continuous across all structural members without thermal bridges other than fasteners and service openings.  It is installed on the interior or exterior or is integral to any opaque surface of the building envelope.”

The thermal performance of edge-to-edge insulated precast sandwich wall panels with no or minimal thermal bridges and no solid zones maintains the R-values for continuous insulation as defined in ASHRAE 90.1, thereby lowering energy costs for the owner and occupant.

~ Courtesy of AltusGroup

Design Assist Impacts Project Delivery

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In recent years, a trend toward early integration of the design/build process has developed into what is now called design assist.

In this process, the precast concrete producer is selected based on qualifications for executing the demands of the specific project, PCI Certification, and the capability for technical expertise to assist the design and construction team in the development of the project. A contract is then awarded and should, at a minimum, include compensation for the design assistance. Significant benefits can be achieved if the contract also includes the supply and installation of the final products.

Benefits of design assist include development of concrete mixtures and finishes during the development process rather than going through a sample approval process after bid and award. Requests for information are eliminated with the precast supplier as a participating member of the design team. Precast erection drawings are prepared as design development nears completion, leading to a much smoother shop drawing review process. The structural design of the precast panel connections are completed in collaboration with the Engineer of Record to assure coordination with the design of the supporting and bracing structural system. The construction schedule is coordinated with the precast production schedule to assure timely delivery and installation. Any activity that normally occurs after award in a typical bid/build arrangement would be coordinated much earlier when the total precast contract is executed shortly after the design and construction team is assembled.

Precasters can offer detailed expertise that allows for expedited development of the design with engineering innovations and scheduling improvements while enhancing aesthetics and controlling budgets from conceptual design to project completion. Each element can be made as cost-effective as possible, taking advantage of the inherent performance characteristics of precast concrete. The precaster will be able to contribute design and detailing suggestions to ensure that maximum efficiency is achieved at the lowest erected cost. The result should be a functionally efficient and aesthetically pleasing enclosure that meets or exceeds the expectations for the project. Finally, the precaster should be considered as a partner on the design team. This will impose a responsibility on the precaster to understand related construction materials that must interface with the precast concrete so details appropriate to all the materials can be developed.

- Information courtesy of PCI

CarbonCast High Performance Insulated Wall Panels

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Precast wall systems that are lighter, better insulating and more sustainable

You can design and build with lighter, continuously insulated, truly sustainable, and more energy-efficient precast wall panels using CarbonCast technology.

CarbonCast Enclosure Systems use advanced technology to improve precast concrete by integrating ultra-strong, non-corrosive C-GRID into wall panels during fabrication. By taking the place of steel reinforcement, C-GRID provides a multitude of benefits that makes factory-made precast concrete an even more intelligent choice for building envelopes.

Depending on design, CarbonCast panels are priced competitively with other curtainwall systems, such as brick-veneered, masonry, stud walls, or concrete. And after factoring in reductions to superstructure requirements and potential HVAC system and operating savings, CarbonCast enclosure systems can help pay for themselves immediately.

Benefits of CarbonCast Enclosure Systems

  • Full composite action for load bearing performance

  • Continuous insulation to meet ASHRAE requirements

  • Aesthetic versatility

Markets

  • Multi-family

  • Commercial

  • Industrial

  • Education

  • Hospitality

  • Student living

  • Healthcare

  • Institutional

Energy Efficient and Lighter in Weight

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The exceptional bonding and strength of C-GRID trusses allow AltusGroup precasters to use less concrete and more insulating foam to reduce energy use and create lighter panels. They deliver superior insulation values for enhanced thermal efficiency and reduced energy expenditures.

Superior at Load Bearing

Vertical panels are available for both load bearing and non-structural applications. They can eliminate the need for perimeter columns and add to usable floor space.

Dry, Mold-Free and Non-Combustible

Unlike brick and block insulated cavity walls or brick with steel studs, concrete does not allow water to penetrate, eliminating the need for a rain screen design. CarbonCast panels have no voids or cavities where air or water can combine to support mold and mildew growth. When properly designed, they virtually eliminate the possibility for in-wall condensation. And the inherent fire resistance of concrete provides additional peace of mind.

Ideal for Occupant Comfort

CarbonCast High Performance Insulated Wall Panels provide an acoustic isolating environment. Very little sound is transmitted through the walls, which can provide an interior free of exterior noise. And the lack of cold spots provides a more comfortable environment.

Pre-Finished on the Inside Wall

These panels can have a troweled interior finish to eliminate the cost and time to install drywall or other surfaces. They are ready for paint or wall covering and are ultra-durable.

We are very excited about this innovative system and how it is changing the built environment for the better.

Find more information about CarbonCast here.

You think you know, but you have no idea - Part IV

By Mallory Combs, Marketing Intern

We recently sat down with the members of our Leadership Team to learn a little bit more about what makes them tick.  Here are some fun facts to help you get to know the team.

 Paul Calvagna

Paul Calvagna

Paul Calvagna, Director of Human Resources
Paul does the work he does now because he absolutely loves HR, and he considers himself lucky to have a job doing what he loves.  He enjoys helping people, watching people succeed, watching people be promoted, seeing a problem resolved, and watching people grow in a great company.  He believes when you do what you love, it isn’t a job, which I think many people would agree with.  Some artists he likes, but rarely admits to liking, are Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin because he says people look at him weird because of the ages of those songs and it ages you when you talk about the.  Something he will never do again is jump off a jet ski, because apparently there’s a difference between jumping off one at age 25 and age 55 (when it feels like you’re hitting concrete).  Paul was able to trick his young daughter Becca into believing the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie was a true story that happened in a nearby town… until a few hours later when she realized it took place in Texas, and that it wasn’t a true story.  A hobby that Paul has, that very few know, is that he collected old movies for years – anything in black and white, he would watch immediately.  His other hobbies include going to baseball games, staying active, jet skiing, and working hard around his home because he loves to stay busy.  Finally, Paul’s spirit animal is a monkey because they’re unpredictable, crazy, all over the place, and when you go to see them at the zoo, they’re always having fun.

 Rich Bergemann

Rich Bergemann

Rich Bergemann, Director of Engineering
Rich does the work he does now because he likes the organization and working with CAD.  An artist that Rich likes, but rarely admits to liking, is the Village People.  Something he will never do again is work on a hog farm.  A time Rich has tricked someone was when he was able to get West Point graduates to go underneath a tank with hammers checking for “soft spots” in the steel, telling them “it pings different,” which is not true.  A hobby Rich has that very few know is military and toy modeling.  His other hobbies include wine making, gardening, board gaming, and playing rugby.  Although we hope Rich’s last words will be far off, he wants them to be: “hopefully I served well.”  Finally, Rich’s spirit animal is a bear, because they’re strong, do great things if left alone, and if poked, they can get pissed off.

 Bob MacDougall

Bob MacDougall

Bob MacDougall, Controller
Bob does the work he does now because he enjoys working with individuals within the organization to maximize performance in their particular area, and he wanted to help coach others.  He was blessed to have a great mentor who knew how important the role of his job was in his life and others and passed down that perspective.  A song he likes, but rarely admits to liking, is Slow Hands by Niall Horan.  A hobby of Bob’s that very few know is that he likes to draw, especially replicating pictures he likes.  His other hobbies include kayaking, golf, four wheeling, and using ATVs.  We hope Bob’s last words are far down the road, but he would like to be able to say to his boys: “always love one another, even though I’m not here with you, I’m still with you.”  Finally, Bob’s spirit animal is a sloth, because they methodically analyze every move they make.

You think you know, but you have no idea - Part III

By Mallory Combs, Marketing Intern

We recently sat down with the members of our Leadership Team to learn a little bit more about what makes them tick.  Here are some fun facts to help you get to know the team.

 Mike Wolff

Mike Wolff

Mike Wolff, Vice President of Safety and Plant Operations
Mike does the work he does now because he loves Mid-States, as well as the team here, and he has always had a passion for quality and safety.  Something you may not know is that Mike has a degree in Police Science and was going to be a cop, until he decided he didn’t want to work every weekend and wanted to enjoy holidays off.  An artist he likes, but rarely admits to liking, is John Denver, who he grew up listening to on 8-track tapes.  Something he will never do again is touch a hot stove, because, for some reason, it hurts!  A time Mike has been tricked was on his first day here at Mid-States, when Dan Rippl tricked him in to running a wheelbarrow for most of the day because Dan told him it was the only way Mike could gain his respect.  Some hobbies of Mike’s that very few know may include that he used to participate in Black Powder Rendezvous, sleeping in teepees, and dressing up in buck skins.  He even once sewed an entire buckskin outfit out of deer hides himself.  His other hobbies include hunting and trapping, spending time with his family grilling out, going to swim meets, going to opening day of hunting season with his family, and riding his Harley with his wife.  We hope that Mike’s last words are far off, but he would want to thank God and his family for a wonderful life and feel like he impacted the world positively.  Finally, Mike’s spirit animal is a hawk, because it has a keen eyesight and can view obstacles and challenges in advance, as well as because it only takes what it needs to survive and doesn’t waste.  Also, it is precise in its calculations when taking game and always puts its young’s survival first.

 Michael McNett

Michael McNett

Michael McNett, Director of Information Technology
Michael decided to go into IT because at 17, he co-owned an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and he had a passion for helping users.  He originally wanted to be a broker, until he realized what they really do: “make people broke.”  Michael enjoys listening to Justin Bieber, but thinks Justin Timberlake is the better Justin, which I wholeheartedly agree with.  Michael enjoys traveling, has stock in the Snapchat market, and is currently on the Tesla waiting list.  One way Michael has proved his commitment to hard work is through his motivation to mix his own concrete and pour his driveway.  Although we hope Michael’s last words will be far off, he hopes they will be: “Weeeeeeeee!”  Finally, Mike’s spirit animal is a dolphin-owl.  Not really sure what that is, but we’ll take it!

Tune in for Part IV tomorrow - featuring Paul Calvagna, Director of Human Resources, Rich Bergemann, Director of Engineering, and Bob MacDougall, Controller.

You think you know, but you have no idea - Part II

By Mallory Combs, Marketing Intern

We recently sat down with the members of our Leadership Team to learn a little bit more about what makes them tick. Here are some fun facts to help you get to know the team.

 Jeremy Olivotti

Jeremy Olivotti

Jeremy Olivotti, Vice President of Preconstruction
Jeremy came to Mid-States because he and his wife wanted to start a family, and he needed a steady job.  He decided to continue his work here because he was blessed to do work that impacts other people, and he finds a lot of joy in that.  A genre he likes, but rarely admits to liking, is country music.  Something Jeremy will never do again is skateboarding, because he is way too old to hurt that much anymore.  A time Jeremy has tricked someone was when he got his younger brother to eat a beef bouillon cube, telling him it was chocolate.  A hobby that he has, but very few know he does, is woodworking.  His other hobbies include watching the Cubs, hanging out with his family, spending time with his wife, stand-up paddle boarding, and boating.  We hope Jeremy won’t have his last words for a long time, but he would want them to be: “I love you,” because he hopes he will be with someone he loves.  Finally, Jeremy’s spirit animal is a dog, because they’re loyal, fierce, protective, playful, and sometimes they just want their belly rubbed.

 Jaron Combs

Jaron Combs

Jaron Combs, Vice President of Construction
Jaron decided to do the work he does now because of the opportunities it provided for his family, and because of the people you get to work with internally and externally.  He also enjoys seeing the company and people grow.  An artist he likes, but rarely admits to liking, is Drake.  Jaron enjoys going to state parks with his family, Spartan races, golfing, racquetball, watching his kids’ activities, family movie night, and helping his wife, a special education teacher, with her students.  Jaron completed the Spartan Trifecta in 2015 and enjoys staying active.  He is also a diehard Bronco fan.  He has shown his commitment to hard work by finishing his basement almost completely on his own.  We hope that Jaron’s last words will be far off in the future, but he wants them to be: “what a blessed life.”  Finally, Jaron couldn’t come up with a spirit animal, so he’s taking suggestions.

Tune in for Part III tomorrow - featuring Mike Wolff, Vice President of Safety and Plant Operations, and Michael McNett, Director of Information Technology.

You think you know, but you have no idea - Part I

By Mallory Combs, Marketing Intern

We recently sat down with the members of our Leadership Team to learn a little bit more about what makes them tick. Here are some fun facts to help you get to know the team.

 Hagen Harker

Hagen Harker

Hagen Harker, President
Hagen decided to go into the work he does now because he loves seeing people grow and achieving what they want out of life.  He also likes being a coach to his teammates and being part of the learning process.  He also likes that he can learn from others.  Hagen enjoys the challenge of trying to grow a business.  One artist Hagen likes, but rarely admits to liking, is the Beastie Boys.  Hagen enjoys swimming, walking dog, golfing, being outdoors, ice skating, and hockey.  Some hobbies you may not know Hagen enjoys include fishing, going to concerts, and that he used to collect beer cans because he thought the designs on them looked cool.  Hagen hopes his last words will be: "I love you guys."  I don't know about you, but that is the sweetest thing I've heard all week.  Finally, Hagen's spirit animal is either a dolphin or a cheetah, because they are fast and smart.

 Charles Harker

Charles Harker

Charles Harker, Chairman
Charles does the work he does now because he loves what his dad did.  He enjoyed talking about it during family dinners, and knew he had a passion for it.  Charles absolutely loves listening to jazz.  Something he will never do again though, is go on a roller coaster, especially after his experience with one at Disneyland.  A hobby of Charles’ that most people don’t know is that he enjoys meditating with his wife twice a day.  His other hobbies include golf and getting to spend time with his wife.  Charles’ number one goal is to protect his health and self-confidence with good habits.  He does this through avoiding negative people, getting eight hours of sleep, eating right, and spending time daily with his wife Prudy and his son Hagen.  His goal is to live to 120 because he believes if you think you’ll live longer, you’ll be able to enjoy the little moments, instead of worrying about not having enough time.  Charles always tries to stay optimistic, and always thinks about where growth can occur in his life, others lives, and the company, and likes to focus on self-improvement.  He says he is blessed to have worked with Charles V. Harker and Hagen, and to be able to have worked at Mid-States right out of college.  Charles has a sense of humor, and sometimes has to be told his sarcasm is too much!  His other qualities include being patient, listening to others instead of being a talker, being loyal, being dependable, and being honest.  Finally, Charles’ spirit animal is a lion, because of their strength, patience and quietness.

Tune in for Part II tomorrow - featuring Jeremy Olivotti, Vice President of Preconstruction, and Jaron Combs, Vice President of Construction.