The Top Seven – CAF Honors NWI’s Best Builders and Projects

The Top Seven – CAF Honors NWI’s Best Builders and Projects

Excellence in construction is the name of the game in Northwest Indiana. The Construction Advancement Foundation’s (CAF) recent awards banquet put that notion on full display, as many of the region’s top builders earned recognition for their outstanding performances across incredible projects.

In all, seven companies received awards in various industry categories out of dozens of potential candidates. Each stood out for their commitment to establishing truly lasting and high-quality projects, with a heavy emphasis on safety and advanced new methods of construction.

“As an industry, Northwest Indiana construction has been evolving rapidly. Builders are consistently facing new challenges with a determination to succeed, and we’re proud of them,” said Dewey Pearman, executive director of CAF.

“The best thing about construction companies from our region is their commitment to always find ways to improve, work even safer, and deliver on projects that exceed expectations,” he added.


Contractors of the Year

For the Contractor of the Year awards, the CAF evaluates a company’s performance across several projects and criteria. Judges look at things like workmanship, teamwork, safety, quality, and several other factors when forming their decisions.

Pangere Corp.

The Pangere Corp. took home the Commercial Contractor of the Year award for projects including the $1.75M renovation of St. Mark’s Early Learning Academy in Gary, which was a complete remodel of the first floor of the school and part of the second floor, and for the $2.35M renovation of the CFNI Administration Building, among other projects. The company also earned its award for implementing new ways to improve efficiency such as cloud-based construction software, an updated punch list system that provides greater coordination and accuracy when nearing project completions, and new ways to prefabricate building components.

Hasse Construction.

The Industrial Contractor of the Year winner was Hasse Construction Co. Inc.. Among their industrial projects was the $333K installation of a large new tank foundation at the Kinder Morgan Terminal in Chicago, which required special heating methods for concrete work during the coldest winter months, and the $258K rehabilitation of the Zoetis Laboratory control room, which is part of a veterinary diagnostic facility. On both projects, the facilities were active and close teamwork with owners was required to ensure a safe continuous workflow for everyone at the sites.

Hampton Ironworks.

In the category of Specialty Contractor of the Year, which also includes maintenance and service activities, Hampton Ironworks, Inc. took home the title for its work on two high-profile regional projects. Their efforts included an $11.2M subcontract on the Cline Avenue Bridge to erect the precast concrete segments and install reinforcing bar, and a $104K subcontract to install reinforcing bar and wire mesh throughout the entire site for the new Hard Rock Casino. Each of these projects were among the largest in the region while they were underway.


DLZ Industrial, LLC earned the Professional and Engineering Services Contractor of the Year award for an assortment of different work on several of the region’s largest projects. The company performed $900K worth of engineering, surveying, and civil design services for the new Hard Rock Casino, and $800K worth of surveying and engineering support tasks for the Cline Avenue Bridge. Also, DLZ conducted advanced pre-construction laser scanning of ArcelorMittal 4-acre facilities in Burns Harbor, both inside and outside the buildings, to provide the most accurate data for builders before various projects began.

Superior Const.

And finally, the Highway Contractor of the Year award was earned by Superior Construction Co., Inc. for its work across several multimillion-dollar INDOT projects. One standout among its range of roadway projects was the $14.1M bridge deck replacement effort that took place at two locations along I-65. This involved bridge deck replacements and repairs for one bridge and a full bridge replacement at another located almost 10 miles away. Heavy communication and coordination were required. Also, LiDAR scanning was used to map the terrain. This type of scanning is kind of like X-ray vision, in that it can see through things like foliage or water and to give builders very accurate land data.


Projects of the Year

CAF’s Project of the Year awards focus on the quality, methods, and outcomes of a single project. There were many standout examples that were contenders for awards this year, but three topped the list.

Hasse Construction’s Black Start project for NIPSCO earned the Industrial/Capital Project of the Year award. This $1.06M project involved the installation of a battery energy storage system at the Schahfer Station located in Wheatfield, IN. The new batteries will enable the facility to have black start capabilities, meaning it will be able to restore power in the event of a total or partial grid outage.

Tonn and Blank.

The Commercial Project of the Year award was given to Tonn & Blank Construction, LLC for the $24.0M Franciscan Beacon Hospital project. The facility is a unique combined effort from two different health systems, Franciscan Health and Beacon Health, that has eco-friendly elements incorporated into the design. Also, the building uses a modern “small-footprint” model that is more sustainable for smaller communities or rural areas.

Berglund Const.

And lastly, the new $30.6M Purdue University Northwest Nils K. Nelson Bioscience Innovation Building built by Berglund Construction earned the Public Works Project of the Year award. At the time of its construction, this was the first new building on the PNW campus in decades. The design concept was “science on display,” and many of the state-of-the-art biology and nursing labs were built with glass walls to display advanced teaching techniques.


Excellence in Professional Development

Jon Gilmore.

The CAF presents its Excellence in Professional Development award to honor companies or individuals that take a proactive role in activities like training, workforce development, or education. Jon Gilmore, president and CEO of Tonn & Blank Construction, earned the award for his efforts in securing new degree pathways for construction program graduates.

In 2019, Gilmore spearhead talks with Purdue University Northwest (PNW) to create a bachelor’s degree pathway for journey-level construction tradespeople who have successfully completed their apprenticeship program and earned their associates degree in Applied Science from Ivy Tech Community College. The new degree pathway with PNW is in Project Leadership and was developed under the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership & Supervision program.

This degree will help skilled trade workers develop their skills so that they can seamlessly transition into field leadership positions.


The Companies that Grow Northwest Indiana

Each of the companies and projects that received awards from CAF have all contributed significantly to the growth of the region. Their efforts are going to change the way people live and work for years, which is why their emphasis on quality matters so greatly. They most certainly deserve CAF’s recognition for these achievements, and it’ll be exciting to witness what each of them will be doing next.


2021 CAF Award Winners

Contractor of the Year

Project of the Year

Excellence in Professional Development Award

Source: CAF



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