From Risk to Asset

Sioux City, IA-based Seaboard Triumph Foods (STF) in partnership with Epstein & Sons of Chicago, contracted Interstates to begin the greenfield construction of a 245-acre pork processing plant in July of 2016. Throughout two phases of construction, Interstates turned potential coordination issues into assets, gleaning positive relationships from a complicated work environment and providing a successful result for STF Pork and Epstein.

A joint venture between Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods, the STF pork plant had a budget of $264 million and was designed to process nearly three million hogs annually. According to STF, “Approximately 30 percent of the market hogs at the Sioux City plant will be sourced from regional farmers who align with Seaboard Foods’ and Triumph Foods’ animal care and environmental stewardship practices, and share a common commitment to seeking a better way to produce wholesome pork.”

Interstates constructed the livestock holding barn, process facility shell, and cut floor process area – totaling approximately 750,000 square feet. During Phase 1 of the project, Interstates installed power distribution systems, fire alarm systems, and nearly four thousand interior and exterior light fixtures throughout the main plant, barn, and shipping areas. Interstates also handled electrical installation and engineering management of the cut floor process area.

In Phase 2, Interstates faced the unique challenge of coordinating its scope for electrical construction alongside other mechanical, electrical, and process installation contractors. Working among teams can lead to problems, but they can be minimized if you are proactive. The ability of Interstates’ field leaders to foster positive relationships and develop good chemistry with all parties on site, turned this situation from a potential risk into an asset.

“With the size and scope of this project, there were additional electrical contractors on site,” says Jim Higley, Director of Business Development at Interstates. “We were able to seamlessly coordinate with the other contractors. The same went for mechanical, which is a huge discipline to interface with on a project of this magnitude. That it went so well is a credit to our project managers and field supervision,” says Higley.

Avoiding coordination problems took a lot of background work. Interstates’ Preplanning Department created coordination drawings that mapped out large conduit runs, cable tray routes, as well as electric room and device layouts. “We issued these drawings to the group with the premise of eliminating interferences,” says Shaun Maloney, Senior Project Manager at Interstates. The efforts of the superintendent and project coordinator on site were also valuable in smoothing out coordination with other trades.

In-person meetings saved time and resources. According to Higley, “We took it on ourselves to conduct coordination meetings on the side with the other contractors. This proactive approach helped us avoid conflicts, and was much appreciated by all disciplines involved. It helped everyone in the long run.” These additional meetings, combined with Friday walkthroughs with field leadership, Epstein, and STF Pork, resulted in open communication and a successful outcome.

Neil Puetz is Director of Engineering at STF Pork. He saw how the “give and take” mindset got the job done. “The contractors working in the same area met religiously, daily and weekly. This eliminated rework and saved time,” says Puetz. He adds that, “Interstates Construction Services specifically stood out. Their expertise was one of the main reasons we started up on time. The leadership and professionalism that came from this group spread out to all the contractors across the jobsite.”

Completed in February (Phases 1 & 2), the pork plant will have the capacity to process over 20,000 hogs daily once they reach full production.


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