CAF Celebrates NWI’s Top Contractors and Projects

CAF Celebrates NWI’s Top Contractors and Projects

The Construction Advancement Foundation (CAF) held an awards banquet to honor exceptional projects and builders throughout Northwest Indiana. Over the past year, the industry has seen lots of diverse activity, with many construction firms showcasing their commitment to excellence through innovative projects. The best of these efforts received recognition across an array of categories, and each represented great opportunities for our region.

“It is truly inspiring to witness the ingenuity and superior craftsmanship that is consistently demonstrated in construction projects throughout our region. We take great pride in recognizing and honoring the remarkable achievements of these outstanding craftspeople and contractors. Their dedication and commitment to excellence are evident in their daily work, as they lay the foundation for the future of our communities and serve as leaders for others in the construction industry,” said Dewey Pearman, executive director of CAF.


Contractors of the Year

For the Contractor of the Year awards, the CAF evaluates a company’s performance across things like workmanship, teamwork, safety, quality, and several other factors when forming their decisions. There were five key categories of winning contractors chosen this year, based on the nature of their services.

The title of Commercial Contractor of the Year went to Larson-Danielson Construction for its work on an array of local facilities and commercial-sector projects. These included the new $12 million Northwest Health – LaPorte medical office building, a new accessible kayak launch on Stone Lake, renovations inside the Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame, and new offices for the Allen Law Group in Chesterton.

Hasse Construction earned the Industrial Contractor of the Year award based on its performance across a variety of heavy industry projects. The company worked for Cargill, Inc. to perform civil work including the installation of deepwells for dewatering, excavating over 5,000 cubic yards of soil, demolition of existing concrete, and numerous innovative concrete pours. At a different project for Koppers, Inc., Hasse installed foundations for a new 70-foot-diameter wastewater treatment tank.

Thatcher Foundations, Inc. took home the Specialty Contractor of the Year award for work it performed on an assortment of different projects. One was an emergency dock repair at Cleveland-Cliffs in Burns Harbor. This was a two-day marine job with unique challenges. Another project the company worked on was a series of 65 drilled shafts that were needed for the new light poles at the I-65 rest stop in Roselawn, IN.

The Professional & Engineering Service Contractor of the Year award went to DLZ Industrial. The company performed services for all kinds of prominent NWI projects, including engineering and surveying work for Cleveland-Cliffs blast furnace No. 7, which is the largest blast furnace in North America. The company also performed land title surveying for the final pieces of the new Cline Avenue Bridge and worked on several other major regional projects.

And finally, the Highway Contractor of the Year award was earned by Superior Construction, which earned the award for lots of different roadway and bridge projects throughout the region. The Indiana Department of Transportation hired Superior to conduct multiple bridge overlays in Lake County that involved heavy traffic coordination. Part of the work extended for three miles along the extremely busy I-80/94 Borman Expressway, making safety a top priority.


Projects of the Year

CAF’s Project of the Year awards focus on the quality, methods, and outcomes of a single project. There were four winners at this year’s event, divided into categories based on the types of projects they completed.

The Industrial/Capital Project of the Year award went to Morrison Construction Company for the completion of a new pig iron caster for U.S. Steel’s Gary Works facility. The project established a new two-strand pig casting machine in which liquid iron is poured into an iron runner and distributed into molds. This new caster was installed in an existing building that required extensive excavation and civil work with sheet piling, dewatering, waterproofing, engineered formwork, and approximately 3,700 yards of concrete installed. Work was fast-tracked with design happening concurrent with construction.

Hasse Construction earned the Public Works Project of the Year award for emergency work in the City of East Chicago. An existing 75-year-old concrete pipe that drains over half of the city ruptured in front of the wastewater treatment plant. As a result, a semi-truck sank in a hole that opened up in the pavement. Hasse worked 24 hours a day to bypass water flows and contacted experts and vendors from all over the U.S. for support. The repair started within a week and then the road was replaced.

Larson-Danielson Construction earned the Commercial Project of the Year award for its work on the new Northwest Health – LaPorte medical office building. The $12 million project is a 45,800 square foot, three-story facility that is connected to the hospital on the first and second floors. A combination of physician offices and other hospital-based services are housed inside the new space, including cardiology, hematology, oncology, general surgery, and much more. In total, construction took about 15 months to complete from beginning to end.

The Maintenance/Service Project of the Year award was given to ACMS Group, Inc. for services it has been performing at the Cleveland-Cliffs Burns Harbor coke plant. The steelmaker is investing $19.25 million to rebuild the No. 2 coke battery, which was last rebuilt in 1994. Repairs will take place over the next five years to keep the coke battery at full production, potentially beyond its expected 50-year life cycle. It’s estimated this project will save Cleveland-Cliffs up to $50 million to buy metallurgic coke for its NWI steel mills.

And finally, a series of bridge deck overlays for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) earned the Highway Project of the Year award for Superior Construction. The company was hired to place overlays on top of four existing bridge decks in Lake County in order to extend the service life of the bridges. The scope of the $8.5 million project was quite large and involved an aggressive schedule. During construction, two 4,000-square-yard pours of overlay on Cline Avenue were the largest in Indiana at the time of placement.


Excellence in Professional Development

The CAF Excellence in Professional Development Award recognizes either a company or an individual that takes a proactive role in improving the quality of their workforce through professional development training throughout all levels of their organization. This year’s award went to Hasse Construction.

Hasse Construction has sent over 300 of their employees to various training programs offered by CAF over the last decade. These programs include training in the CAF Construction Management Certificate (CMC) Program, Construction Site Safety Certificate Program (CSSC), and numerous other construction-related professional development courses.

Additionally, Hasse Construction recently invested in additional professional development initiatives to ensure their workforce stays up to date with the latest industry trends and best practices. They have sent employees to Infection Control Risk Assessment Training (ICRA), firestop training, HEPA Air Filtration training, Negative Air Meter Training, Certified Healthcare Constructor, Construction Rigging Training, Portable Grinder Training, 1st Aid and CPR Training, and fall protection training. Two of their carpenters have even been enrolled in the Carpenters International Training Fund’s Superintendent Career Training (SCT), an 18-month program that prepares participants to be highly skilled construction industry professionals.


More than Just Awards

The accolades given by CAF each year represent a bigger impact for the community than one might initially expect. Beyond being great achievements for the construction sector, each one of the awards represents significant opportunities for future growth, creating long-term career prospects for all types of individuals in Northwest Indiana. That’s truly a cause for celebration, because these outcomes will benefit the region for years to come.

Thatcher Foundations, Inc.

Superior Construction.

Morrison Construction Company with U.S. Steel.

Larson-Danielson Construction Company, Inc.

Hasse Construction Company, Inc.

DLZ Industrial.

ACMS Group, Inc.


2023 CAF Award Winners

Contractors of the Year

  • Commercial Contractor of the Year: Larson-Danielson Construction Company, Inc.
  • Industrial Contractor of the Year: Hasse Construction Company, Inc.
  • Highway Contractor of the Year: Superior Construction
  • Professional/Engineering Contractor of the Year: DLZ Industrial
  • Specialty Contractor of the Year: Thatcher Foundations, Inc.

Excellence in Professional Development

  • Hasse Construction Company, Inc.

Projects of the Year

  • Maintenance/Service Project of the Year
    ACMS Group, Inc.
    Cleveland-Cliffs Burns Harbor Coke Plant
  • Industrial/Capital Project of the Year
    Morrison Construction Company
    United States Steel Pig Iron Caster
  • Commercial Project of the Year
    Larson-Danielson Construction Company, Inc.
    Northwest Health – LaPorte
  • Public Works Project of the Year
    Hasse Construction Company, Inc.
    City of East Chicago
  • Highway Project of the Year
    Superior Construction
    INDOT Bridge Deck Overlays
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