KAI: $2 Billion Project Attracts New Firm 7/30/14 07/29/14 11:10:00 PM
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Tony Dukes, Vice President of PM/CM at KAI
Tom Heinemann, CH2M HILL Vice President
$2 Billion Project Attracts New Firm
To Omaha to Join Construction Team
By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record
CH2M HILL, the global, full-service consulting, design, construction and operations firm that designed the $57 million Missouri River Wastewater Treatment Plant improvement project for the City of Omaha, has a new partner. KAI (Kennedy Associates Incorporated) Design & Build will assist with construction management services on the aforementioned project, providing field quality assurance and administrative support.
“CH2M HILL has a history of working with KAI in the St. Louis area, and we were pleased they were one of the minority firms submitting a proposal,” said Tom Heinemann, vice president with CH2M HILL. “We wanted to enhance the diversity of our team, and it was a rigorous evaluation process. KAI met our criteria. They are a quality company; really top notch. We are excited to be working with them.”
“We are very pleased and proud to be a part of this project,” said Tony Dukes, vice president of Program Management/Construction Management (PM/CM) Services at KAI. “We have a great relationship with CH2M HILL, and we look forward to building on our relationship.”
KAI, a minority-owned design and build services firm, is based in St. Louis, Mo., with satellite offices in Dallas, Atlanta and San Antonio, Texas. Because of the longevity of the Omaha project, and because the firm wants to expand its “footprint in the Midwest,” it is opening an Omaha office at 3915 Cuming St.
“We want to stay here beyond this project,” Dukes said. “We want to establish a permanent presence in Omaha. We are doing some renovations on our current space, and plan to move in by late July. We currently have two people, besides myself, onsite.”
One of those individuals is Frank G. Allen, who will serve as KAI’s Quality Assurance representative. He will be responsible for monitoring and overseeing the contractor’s Quality Control System. A graduate of Northern Iowa State University, he has more than 15 years of experience in the building industry, including eight years as owner of his contracting firm, Allen Construction Services.
KAI was established in 1980 by Michael E. Kennedy, who today serves as chairman and CEO of the firm. In 2010, diversitybusiness.com named KAI as its “top 100 African-American Owned Business in America.” Two years prior, the St. Louis Business Journal named Kennedy as the Most Influential Minority Business Leader, and MOKAN named him MBE Contractor of the year. Also in 2008, he passed the torch to his son, Michael Kennedy Jr., who was named president.
In the last 40-plus years, KAI has undergone many changes. In 1990, it added mechanical/electrical/plumbing/fire protection engineering services to its portfolio. Seven years later, it added a construction services division. Since 2001, it has rebranded, expanded its market, and added leadership talent to its team.
Today, the firm offers design services, including architecture, interior design, and engineering, and build services, including program, project, and construction management under the same roof. In total, KAI employs about 90-plus people in St. Louis, and about 30 in the Dallas office.
Dukes explained that KAI intends to offer its full array of services in the Omaha area: “We think we can fill a niche in Omaha in areas that aren’t being fully addressed. There are a number of projects we are interested in.”
“We’re excited that a quality firm like KAI can work with us on this project, and expand its business here,” Heinemann added.
The project on which KAI and CH2M HILL are collaborating is part of Omaha’s larger $2 billion Clean Solutions for Omaha (CSO), an unfunded, federal mandated program. Heinemann serves as the program manager for the CSO Program. The project will expand the WWTP’s capacity to accommodate increased wet weather flows as part of the overall effort to reduced combined sewer overflows and improve water quality.
Hawkins Construction Com-pany of Omaha is general contractor. “Within the overall CSO Program, more than 100 projects are to be implemented,” Heinemann said. “The project (with which) KAI is involved is one of them.”
Founded in 1946, CH2M HILL has 26,000 employees working on six continents. Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., it is no stranger to award ceremonies. For the last six years, the Ethisphere Institute has named it as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. It has been recognized for its commitment to recruit, develop and advance minorities and women in the workplace. And it has been named one of the Best Places to Work in a variety of markets. Its Omaha office is located in Central Park Plaza at 222 South 15th St., Suite 1402-S. For more information, go to www.ch2m.com. For more information about KAI, go to www.kai-db.com.