CAF Celebrates NWI’s Top Contractors and Projects

CAF Celebrates NWI’s Top Contractors and Projects

Northwest Indiana’s premier construction projects and builders received a moment of well-deserved recognition at a recent awards banquet hosted by the Construction Advancement Foundation (CAF). There has been a great deal of activity in the industry throughout the last year, and many innovative projects that reflected a commitment to excellence among construction firms. The best of those efforts received accolades across numerous categories during the banquet event.

“We’re always impressed by the ingenuity and quality found throughout projects in our region. There are many truly amazing craftspeople and contractors here and we’re proud to honor their achievements,” said Dewey Pearman, executive director of CAF. “Every day, these award-winning firms are laying the foundation for the future of our communities and they’re leading the way for other firms in the construction industry.”


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.

Tonn and Blank Construction.

The title of Commercial Contractor of the Year went to Tonn & Blank Construction for its work on several health and fitness related facilities. The company’s recent projects included the new Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute facility, which is an orthopedic urgent care facility, the expansion of the University of Saint Francis Crown Point Campus, which will be used to train medical professionals, and the remodeling of the Crossroads YMCA, which was previously a different large-scale fitness center.

Hasse Construction.

Hasse Construction earned the Industrial Contractor of the Year award based on its performance across a variety of manufacturing projects. The company replaced parts of a steel mill’s floor for NMLK, conducted a 5,000-square-foot remodel of a nutritional tablet press clean room for NOW Foods, and constructed a stack foundation for two new 180-foot-tall chimney stacks for Koppers, Inc. Each of these projects presented diverse challenges, project environments, and tight schedule requirements.

Falk PLI.

Falk-PLI took home the Specialty Contractor of the Year award for the unique role the company played on several highly precise industrial projects. On one, Falk PLI used advanced 3D modeling to learn virtually everything about a 300-foot-long elevated structure that needed replacing. This improved safety and provided valuable information to contractors. Other special projects included 3D surveying for steel production field machining and careful measurement and realignment of mill stands on another steel industry project.


The Professional & Engineering Service Contractor of the Year award went to DLZ Industrial for its role on several high-profile regional projects. DLZ conducted environmental assessments and civil engineering design for the new Hard Rock Casino, provided construction layout services and material testing for the new Cline Avenue Bridge project, and served as the design engineer for a restricted waste storage facility at Cleveland-Cliffs Burns Harbor (formerly ArcelorMittal). Each project plays a prominent role in Northwest Indiana’s economic profile.


And finally, the Highway Contractor of the Year award was earned by Rieth-Riley Construction, a company with a long history of building new economic pathways. Rieth-Riley established several important roadway projects for INDOT such as the I-94 bridges rehabilitation project in Lake County and the intersection improvement project at 109th and Iowa Street in Crown Point. The company also provided paving solutions for the new Amazon Distribution Center in Valparaiso, which will employ 100 workers.


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.

East Chicago Sanitary District – Image from Hasse Construction.

Corbion Caravan Ingredients facility – Image from Hasse Construction.

The Industrial/Capital Project of the Year award went to Hasse Construction for the completion of the new Corbion Caravan Ingredients facility in Dolton, IL. The project involved the renovation and expansion of a single-story office and laboratory that was originally constructed in the 1930’s. The existing lab area was 1,500 square feet with asbestos floor tile and was expanded to about 2,400 square feet. The office area and lab areas were left in operation while the renovation was in process, making the asbestos abatement, demolition, and rebuilding a very difficult challenge as most of the owner’s equipment was very sensitive to vibration.

Hasse Construction also earned the Public Works Project of the Year award for upgrades made to the East Chicago Sanitary District. Hasse upgraded the district’s forcemains from the Roxanna and Cline Avenue pumping stations. A forcemain is basically a pipeline that carries pressurized wastewater. Crews installed 48-inch iron forcemains, many large fittings, and concrete vaults in various locations in East Chicago. During construction, builders had to work carefully around numerous obstacles, including old existing city pipes that were critical to the city and its residents. There was also close scheduling required between builders and East Chicago officials because of affected the city pumping capacity.

Lakeshore Bone and Joint Institute – Image from Tonn and Blank.

Tonn & Blank Construction earned the Commercial Project of the Year award for its work on the new Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute facility in Crown Point. The modern, 40,000-square-foot orthopedic facility offers a walk-in urgent care clinic, onsite MRI and x-ray capability, offices, and a 2,400-square-foot physical therapy section. Each hallway of the new building is dedicated to specific patient needs. For example, one hall is for pain management, hips, knees, etc. This puts everything in one area for patients so they will not have to visit multiple locations. Additionally, Tonn and Blank designed removable exterior window walls so heavy medical equipment could be moved into the building.

INDOT Bridge Deck Overlay – Image from Superior Construction.

Superior Construction.

And lastly, the bridge deck overlay work that took place in various locations throughout Lake County for INDOT earned the Highway Project of the Year award for Superior Construction Multiple projects were encompassed in this work, including painting, maintenance, and repair of bridge surfaces at several points along I-80/94, US 41, and SR 912 within the county. Because of the high levels of traffic on these highways, safety was critical. The work zone affected a roughly three-mile stretch of the expressway, which meant careful maintenance of traffic was required. Altogether, there were zero recordable safety incidents during construction and the seven-month project finished two weeks ahead of schedule.


Excellence in Professional Development

Pangere Corporation.

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 The Pangere Corporation.

The Pangere Corporation has a longstanding track record of encouraging professional development throughout its workforce. Since 2012, Pangere have sent over 200 employees to dozens of CAF professional development courses. These include courses in leadership, project planning, estimating, scheduling, cost control, quality control, productivity, contract law, and numerous other professional development topics. Additionally, Pangere has sent dozens of their employees to CAF safety classes including the CAF Site Safety Certificate Program, OSHA Training, and First Aid and CPR.

In addition to CAF professional development, Pangere utilizes a variety of trade specific professional development programs offered by Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT), the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC), and FMI Professional Development Training.

Pangere also provides intensive training on a variety of pre-engineered metal buildings systems. This involves enhancing the skillsets for trades workers in areas of pre-assembly, assembly, hoisting, trim and flashing, along with reading job plans and specifications.


Built to Last

One of the important things to note about all the winning companies and projects is how far their impact goes. Far beyond awards and recognition – their work establishes opportunity. High quality work that’s built to last can support careers for years, both in terms of construction jobs and the people that will benefit from the outcomes of these projects. And that, truly, is something worth celebrating.




2022 CAF Award Winners

Contractor of the Year:

Excellence in Professional Development:

Projects of the Year:

Source: CAF