A Formula for Success: Mixing Challenges and Teamwork


What do a feed mill, biodiesel plant, and soybean crush facility have in common? At Interstates, they all are part of ABC of Iowa’s 2020 award-winning projects. From the ABC of Iowa chapter, we are excited to announce three different projects will be receiving an award. Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) judges project submissions on areas such as attractiveness, unique challenges, innovation, and complexity.

New Fashion Pork

Located in Round Lake, MN, the New Fashion Pork project received the Award of Excellence in the Electrical: $1 - $5 Million category. We were excited to provide an integrated approach that we call DB3. Nate Fossell, Senior Project Manager at Interstates, explains, “[DB3 is our] design-build services plus three areas of expertise: power and controls engineering, automation programming and development, and electrical construction work. I think our value lies in being able to take all these disciplines and put them under one hat.”

Weather and tight site constraints became problematic, but the team looked for ways to work around the weather problems. For example, during the harsh Minnesota winter, we completed fabrication in the available warehouse on some of the harshest days. “Challenges can make you grow, and I think this project had that effect,” says Jim Haack, Senior Project Manager at Interstates.

Ag Processing, Inc. (AGP)

In Aberdeen, SD, we completed a greenfield soybean crush facility for AGP that received the Award of Distinction in the Electrical: Over $10 Million category. We used an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) approach and provided electrical engineering, electrical construction, instrumentation design, controls engineering, and automation controls services. The extremely cold temperatures of winter challenged our team on the site. “We had to really think about how we executed and prioritized work. We pushed to finish outdoor work early and tried to save indoor work for the coldest times,” States Jordan Thomas, Project Manager at Interstates.

Prefabrication and mobile technology played a significant role in this project. “We prefabbed 43% of the conduit used on this job. That’s a huge number,” says Thomas. “At least 14% of our labor costs on this project were for prefab. All told, we needed about five fewer people in the field because of it,” says Thomas. Since the site had a wireless network, field teams could view drawings in real-time and use it for quality assurance and safety documentation.

Cargill, Inc.

For this Cargill, Inc. greenfield biodiesel plant in Wichita, KS, our Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) team provided power engineering, instrumentation, controls engineering and panels, and construction services. This plant is located next to its existing oilseed processing plant and refinery and presented some unique challenges for our team, including working with a vendor located in Europe, working next to an existing facility and coordinating with the other trades in the tight area.

Scott Koll, Senior Project Manager at Interstates, believes we found solutions through proper planning and communication. “The site team helped identify a few potential problems early in the process, which gave us time to work through the issues,” says Koll. Matt Schneeberger, Superintendent at Interstates, speaks to the innovation of the project, “Something new Interstates and Cargill tried on this project was the integration of wireless temperature transmitters for the heat trace on site. This reduced the cost, labor, and materials on site while giving Cargill more robust capabilities for its heat trace system.”

Not only did this project receive the first place Award of Excellence in the Electrical: Over $10 Million category, it also received the highest possible award, Project of the Year, from the ABC of Iowa chapter. See what our leaders have to say about this project below:

View the awards we’ve received from ABC at the national level and two awards from the ABC Cornhusker chapter.


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