NWI’s Top Contractors and Projects Celebrated by CAF

NWI’s Top Contractors and Projects Celebrated by CAF

Northwest Indiana’s top construction projects and contractors were celebrated by the Construction Advancement Foundation (CAF) during a recent awards banquet. Winners were organized into distinct categories, some for specific projects and others for their overall performance by market sector. Over the past year, the region has seen numerous developments take shape – from infrastructure to innovative facilities, and more. Each one represents unique opportunities for our regional economy.

“From vision to reality, the construction industry shapes the landscapes of our communities. This year, we celebrate the unwavering commitment to quality and the collaborative spirit of our regional construction industry. Their expertise and dedication lay the groundwork for a thriving future for all of Northwest Indiana. We are grateful for their commitment to remarkable project outcomes and safety, as they continue to set the bar high for construction excellence,” 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 Pangere Corporation earned the title of Commercial Contractor of the Year for its work on a variety of projects throughout Northwest Indiana. Some of the highlights included a $1.8 million renovation project in a classroom office building at Purdue University Northwest, a $4.8 million phased classroom renovation project at Munster High School, and a $4.5 million phased renovation project involving operating rooms and surgery department at Community Hospital.

The Industrial Contractor of the Year award went to Hasse Construction Company, Inc. for its work on a diverse set of heavy industrial projects. Some of the company’s notable achievements were the completion of a $1.4 million truck unloading system at the Georgia Pacific Gypsum Plant, an $850,000 project involving multiple foundation installations for Cargill, Inc., and a $1.1 million project to establish a new electrical substation at the Shell Catalyst plant in Michigan City.

Thatcher Foundations, Inc. earned the Specialty Contractor of the Year award for its work on two distinct projects. The first was a $719,000 contract to furnish and install two large diameter fiber reinforced polymer pile dolphin system in the Indiana Harbor Canal in East Chicago. (A dolphin system is essentially a mooring system.) Thatcher’s other highlighted project was a $2.285 million installation of deep foundation supports for NIPSCO’s new electrical control center at the Aetna station, in Gary, IN.

The Professional/Engineering Contractor of the Year award went to Advanced Engineering Services (AES) for a variety of different projects. AES provided geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing services in a $148,000 contract for the large expansion at the Albanese Confectionery facility in Merrillville, IN. The company also provided engineering services in a $349,000 contract involving I-65 pavement restoration, and under another $218,000 contract for the new Robert A. Taft Middle School in Winfield, IN.

And finally, Rieth-Riley Construction earned the Heavy Civil/Highway Contractor of the Year award for a variety of bridge and roadway projects from throughout the region. These included a $25 million contract for the ITRCC Exit 10/Bridge Reconstruction (which also earned the company the Heavy Civil/Highway Project of the Year award), a $4.1 million contract for citywide street improvements in Gary, and a $31 million contract for pavement restoration and bridge deck overlays along I-65.


Projects of the Year

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

The Maintenance/Service Project of the Year award went to Morrison Construction Company for a $15 million GCI Water Strainer Project for Cleveland-Cliffs in Burns Harbor. Morrison Construction is the main maintenance contractor for Cleveland-Cliffs at this facility. Although specific details on the water strainer project were limited, Morrison did describe that its work at Cleveland-Cliffs in Burns Harbor includes specialized services to ensure the efficient operation of all kinds of equipment and infrastructure at the mill, and to promote their longevity.

Superior Construction was awarded the Industrial/Capital Project of the Year distinction for a $6.3 million project for NIPSCO in Monticello, IN. The company replaced the floodgates and stoplogs of the Oakdale Hydro Plant Dam, which sits on Lake Freeman and is fed by the Tippecanoe River. When the Oakdale Dam is running at total capacity, it can power the entire northern half of Indiana, but the existing equipment was aging and had not received a major upgrade since the 1970s.

The Commercial Project of the Year award was given to Berglund Construction for the $26 million Journeyman Distillery project. Back in 2018, Journeyman Distillery envisioned expanding to a historic factory in Valparaiso, Indiana. Journeyman and Berglund Construction collaborated to blend innovation, creativity, and a deep commitment to historical preservation into the new campus. This 140,000-square-foot facility, known as The American Factory, is now a regional destination that incorporates historical significance and modern functionality into its design.

Hasse Construction Company, Inc. earned the Public Works Project of the Year for the new $36.5 million Kankakee Welcome Center project, which sits along I-65. This work involved the complete removal and replacement of the previous northbound and southbound rest stations at mile marker 231, previously built in 1988. The design of the center is inspired by northwest Indiana landscapes and the wind power industry. Travelers will have access to new amenities such as a dog park, children’s play area, adult recreation area, walking trails, and pond.

And lastly, as mentioned earlier, the Heavy Civil/Highway Project of the Year went to Rieth-Riley Construction for the $25 million reconstruction of the Exit 10 bridges on the Indiana Toll Road, which is referred to as the ITRCC Exit 10/Bridge Reconstruction. This was one of the largest Indiana Toll Road projects in recent years. In all, Rieth-Riley’s crews worked on 12 structures which included full depth patching, substructure patching, beam painting, joint replacement, milling and paving at the structure ends, as well as other rehabilitations.


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. To earn this award, companies must demonstrate quality professional development training throughout all levels of their organization. This year’s award went to Superior Construction.

Among the many training programs that Superior provides to its employees, one unique element is the option to pursue individualized professional development. The company maintains a culture that encourages learning and recognizes that each team member possesses distinct skills and aspirations. To address this, Superior offers customized training programs that align with individual career goals and the evolving needs of the construction industry.

Additionally, Superior Construction offers learning pathways that include leadership pathways, enhanced safety training, tuition reimbursement, mentorship programs, career advancement opportunities, specialized skill development workshops, and much more. The company also supports industry collaboration by engaging with CAF and Indiana Constructors, Inc. (ICI) training programs to facilitate networking opportunities for employees, exchange ideas, and foster collaboration.


Good for the Whole Region

The work of each CAF award recipient creates an economic ripple effect for every Northwest Indiana community. These projects and companies foster not only innovation and progress, but also serve as cornerstones for future development. They also inspire the next generation of builders and create spaces where our residents and businesses can thrive. CAF’s recognition of construction industry excellence not only highlights the successes of our local contractors, but also serves as a benchmark for our pathway toward a brighter tomorrow for our region.


2024 CAF Award Winners

Contractors of the Year

Excellence in Professional Development

Projects of the Year

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