Austin in the News

Article: How World-Class Facilities Get Built

In this Q&A conversation with Generis, Matt Eddleman, Senior VP Operations, shares his background and insights on designing and constructing manufacturing facilities. Originally published for the 2018 Generis American Manufacturing Summit.

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Steve Lotz Promoted to Regional Safety Manager

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The Austin Company (, a leading design, engineering, construction and location consulting firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, recently announced the promotion of Steven Lotz to Regional Safety Manager.

Steve's career with The Austin Company began in 1988, working as a Field Engineer at the Pfizer, Inc. (formerly Upjohn) campus in Kalamazoo. His work included the construction of Building 300, which at the time, was the largest research and development facility in North America.

In 1991, Steve joined the Austin team at Boeing’s Seattle, Washington, site as Safety Engineer. His assignments included implementing the safety program on the 1.9 MM sq. ft. Boeing 777 project, seismic upgrades to the 747 assembly building, and renovations of various other buildings on campus. Following this project, Steve returned to Pfizer’s Kalamazoo campus as Safety Engineer – a position he held until 2002.

From 2002 to 2003, Steve lived in Venezuela performing missionary work. After returning to the United States, Steve was a Safety Officer at demolition of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons complex in Colorado. In 2004 Steve returned to The Austin Company to manage safety for Austin’s Michigan operations and served as Interim Corporate Safety Director in 2008.

Unique to Austin’s Michigan operations are the 100-plus self-perform trades group and work environment of a 1200-acre pharmaceutical manufacturing site with 124 buildings. “This environment requires an expanded safety program, including training for direct-hire subcontractors and incorporation of the client’s site-specific safety program,” stated Steve VanWormer, General Manager with The Austin Company. “Growth in our operations has required additional safety engineering staff who report to Steve. Austin is honored to have someone with Steve’s dedication and knowledge in this role,” VanWormer continued.

Steve holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and a Master’s in construction management from the University of Illinois. In 2014, Steve was recognized as an Austin All Star – an award based on his dedication to safety and quality.


Baking & Snack Industry Leader Joins The Austin Company

The Austin Company is pleased to announce that Jeffrey E. Dearduff has joined the firm as Corporate Director of Baking & Snack. In this role, Dearduff will have company-wide responsibility for leading Austin’s baking and snack industry services, including location consulting, design, engineering, planning, construction and design-build.

Jeff is a great addition to our team. His experience and background serving the baking and snack industry will greatly benefit our clients and their projects in this market,” said Mike Pierce, president of The Austin Company. “We are confident that Jeff’s progressive thinking will bring even greater value to our clients and their facility projects.

Dearduff joins The Austin Company from Gold Standard Baking where he was Chief Operating Officer. Previously, he was with ARYZTA Americas, where he served as Senior Vice President of Operations and Supply Chain Services; Senior Vice President of Bakery Development; and Senior Vice President of Strategic Partner Development. Prior to ARYZTA, he served as Director of U.S. Bakery Operations for East Balt, Inc.

In 2014, Dearduff was recognized by Sosland Publishing/Baking & Snack magazine as the Operations Executive of the Year. In addition, he is Past Chairman of the American Society of Baking, is on the American Institute of Baking Board of Trustees, has served in numerous other industry organization leadership roles, and has received several industry awards.


The Austin Company Continues to Grow

The Austin Company has added 7,000 square feet to its Cleveland office to support the company’s continued growth. The added space includes offices for 18 people and a training and conference center. This expansion compliments renovation projects Austin completed late last year to add collaboration and gathering spaces to its existing office and upgrade technology throughout the office.

“As one of Cleveland’s oldest companies, we are always working to stay on the cutting edge. Some of the improvements we have made in recent years have helped drive our growth and this expansion. Similar to what is happening in the community of Northeast Ohio, we see only brighter days ahead for Austin,” said Mike Pierce, President of The Austin Company. He continued, “When we considered this expansion, we wanted to include a training and conference center. Our business is collaborative by nature, so having spaces to support collaboration is important. This space also allows us to easily conduct interactive BIM model reviews and host start-of-the-art training.”

The Austin Company has already filled the added workspaces and is investigating options for potential future expansion. 


The Austin Company Receives Safety Award from Liberty Mutual

April 11, 2017; Cleveland, Ohio –– The Austin Company ( continues its tradition of outstanding safety practices in design, engineering and construction, and was again recognized by Liberty Mutual with a Silver Safety Award for working over 1.3 million man-hours without a lost time accident. In addition, Austin was recognized for being 60 percent below industry Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2016.

“This is a remarkable achievement,” states Charlie Engel, director of QA/QC - safety and health with The Austin Company. “Austin’s remarkable safety record is a testament to our employees’ dedication and commitment to putting safety first every day.”

This is another major safety milestone for The Austin Company and reflects the firm’s commitment to uncompromised safety and quality and safety on every job performed. Excellent safety performance not only enables everyone to go home at the end of the day without injury, but it also reflects a discipline on the job site that promotes quality and collaboration. 


The Austin Company Announces Promotions and Welcomes New Hires

Cleveland, Ohio – March 7, 2017 – The Austin Company (, a leading design, engineering, construction and location consulting firm with offices nationally, is pleased to announce the promotion and addition of multiple associates.

The Austin Company is pleased to announce the following promotions: 

  • Tony Su to Project Executive, Irvine
  • Omar Sheikh to Chief Structural Engineer, Irvine
  • Chris Henry to Senior Project Manager, St. Louis
  • Susan Riffle to Manager of Communications, Cleveland
  • Matt Bedee to Supervisory Architect, Cleveland
  • Eric Marx to Senior Architect, Irvine
  • Hope Hayes to Senior HR Generalist, Cleveland
  • Nirav Mehta to Structural Engineer, Irvine
  • Billiejo LeSage to Designer, Cleveland

The Austin Company welcomed the following associates as of February 28, 2017:

In Cleveland, Ohio …

  • Mike Zaruches, Senior Electrical Estimator
  • Svetlana Sikanda, Senior Mechanical Engineer
  • Tom Morris, Senior Project Construction Manager
  • Charles Slife, Location Consultant
  • Kyle Johnson, Location Consultant

In Kalamazoo, Michigan …

  • Jerry Anderson, Safety Engineer

In Irvine, California …

  • Tom Doyle, Senior Electrical Engineer

For information on career opportunities with The Austin Company, visit:


The Austin Company Welcomes Construction Industry Veteran to Lead West Coast Operations

February 15, 2017; Irvine, California – The Austin Company (, a leading international design, engineering, construction, design-build and site location consulting firm is pleased to announce that William (Bill) A. Lee has joined the firm as Vice President and General Manager of Austin’s Irvine office. In this role, Bill will have overall responsibility for Austin’s west coast operations, which include planning, design, engineering, construction and design-build services.

“We are pleased to have Bill joining our executive team,” stated Mike Pierce, president of The Austin Company. “Bill’s depth of knowledge and experience in the construction industry, along with his values and leadership style make him a perfect addition to Austin’s team.”

Bill, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, joins Austin with 30 years of construction industry experience. His background includes project management and project executive positions with Turner Construction, RQ Construction, and most recently as project director with WEBCOR Builders. Bill’s project experience includes work on academic, healthcare, government and residential facilities.

Bill holds a Bachelor of Science degree in building construction from Auburn University. He is trained and qualified as a certified Quality Control Manager by NAVFAC and ACOE, and is a Designated Design-Build ProfessionalTM by the Design-Build Institute of America.



Northrop Grumman Manufacturing Center of Excellence LEED Gold Certified

St. Augustine, FL – January 24, 2017 — The Austin Company (, a leading design, engineering, construction and location consulting firm with offices nationally, is proud to announce the LEED® Gold Certification of Northrop Grumman’s Building 100 in St. Augustine, Florida. This follows the 2015 award of LEED® Silver Certification to Northrop Grumman’s Building 228 in Melbourne, Florida.

Building 100, Northrop Grumman’s new 366,000 square-foot manufacturing center for the U.S. Navy’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft, was designed and constructed by Austin. The facility received a total of 68 LEED® credits out of the 73 pursued.

SEE ALSO: Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence - Building 100

As a large, highly specialized manufacturing building, the facility faced multiple challenges to achieving a LEED® Gold Certification. The project team’s commitment prevailed, however, and numerous design approaches were implemented to design the facility to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Representative features include:

  • Solar power generation via a film applied directly onto the insulated metal-panel roof system. The solar photovoltaic system generates an average of 312 kilowatts of power each day, offsetting a significant amount of the facility’s power requirements.
  • A high level of overall energy and water efficiency, including a high-performance building envelope, premium efficiency mechanical equipment, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, and LED lighting. Overall, the building is 40% more efficient (in terms of energy operating cost) than a standard facility of this type.
  • Translucent panels in the manufacturing high bay provide natural light. Although no LEED® credits were awarded for this design, it is a very positive feature of the building and provides an enhanced feeling of openness to the space.
  • Preserved wetlands and trees that function as part of the site’s drainage system. Combined with a new retention pond, these ecological systems provide irrigation to the site’s native landscaping and add to the feel of the outdoor environment.
  • Concrete parking areas provide lower heat island effect.
  • Showers and lockers for employees who bike to work and electric vehicle charging stations for those who drive.
  • Locally sourced construction materials (within 500 miles of the project).

“It was certainly a full team effort,” stated Ken Stone, Project Executive. “The LEED® system is not set up for this kind of project to achieve Silver, let alone Gold. It took a lot of dedicated work to design, engineer and implement the LEED® features and performance characteristics to hit the Gold level.”

Building 100 was also awarded a 2016 Engineering News Record Regional Best Projects Award of Merit.


Steven VanWormer Promoted to Vice President and General Manager Michigan Operations

Kalamazoo, MI – January 17, 2017 — The Austin Company (, a leading design, engineering, construction and location consulting firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, recently announced the promotion of Steven VanWormer to Vice President and General Manager of The Austin Company Michigan Operations.

Steve’s career with The Austin Company began in 1989, working as a construction laborer while attending Western Michigan University. In 1990, Steve took an assignment as Unit Superintendent with Austin’s construction and maintenance team in Kalamazoo, Michigan. During this assignment, which ran through 1994, he supervised a multitude of projects and maintenance work at one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturing campuses. 

In 1995, Steve was assigned as an Owner’s Representative to oversee a program to replace insulation throughout the buildings and utility trestles at the same Kalamazoo manufacturing campus. In 1999, Steve was assigned to Austin’s Chicago office as Project Superintendent. In this role, he managed construction on Design-Build projects at Upjohn Company, Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, Muskegon Chronicle, and Rohm and Haas.

From 2005 to 2008, Steve served as AECOM’s Site Lead for an Agency Construction Management Program. In 2009, Steve returned to The Austin Company as Manager of Construction for the self-perform construction and maintenance group in Kalamazoo. In 2013, Steve was promoted to General Manager, as the Michigan Operations continued to grow, with the team and workload nearly doubling in size.

In addition to his efforts expanding services of the Michigan Operations, Steve is involved with companywide quality and improvement initiatives.


Duane Lofdahl Promoted to Vice President and General Manager Atlanta Operations

Atlanta, GA – January 11, 2017 — The Austin Company (, a leading design, engineering, construction and location consulting firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, recently announced the promotion of Duane Lofdahl to Vice President and General Manager of The Austin Company Atlanta Operations.

Duane’s career with The Austin Company began in Cleveland’s General Department in 1989 as the Director of Design for newspaper facilities, where he assisted all offices in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and South America with the planning and design of newspaper facilities. In 1995, Duane moved to Atlanta as the Manager of Facilities Development for the southeast, but continued to support all offices with newspaper facility design.

Duane became a Vice President of Planning and Design and Senior Project Manager in 2005, with his first major project managing the design and construction of Valpak/Cox Target Media’s $55MM headquarters, production and distribution facility in Clearwater, Florida. In 2008, Duane served as Senior Project Manager for projects with Florida Power & Light in Homestead, Florida, and Hills Pet Nutrition in Emporia, Kansas. In 2012, Duane served as Senior Project Manager for the Newsweb project in Chicago, Illinois.

From 2013 to 2016, Duane served as the Project Principal for Austin’s three large projects for Northrop Grumman in Florida: Buildings 228 and 229 in Melbourne and Building 100 in St. Augustine. Since 2015, Duane has been the Senior Project Manager for the Melbourne Airport Authority/Embraer project in Melbourne, Florida.

“Duane’s experience with Austin, his mastery of ‘concept-to-completion’ services, and his business and people skills give him the expertise and ability to be successful in this new role,” says Mike Pierce, President of The Austin Company. “We are fortunate to have someone with Duane’s expertise in this role and look forward to his continued leadership.”

Duane graduated from the Denver Institute of Technology in Denver, Colorado, with a degree in Architecture. He is a Registered Architect and a member of the American Institute of Architects.