On Friday, September 1st, Larson-Danielson Construction volunteers arrived at Kesling Park to put their skills to work for the La Porte Parks and Recreation Department at Fort La Play Porte. Twelve volunteers each donated three hours of their time to the maintenance of one of La Porte’s premier parks.
The volunteers were tasked with upkeep of the children’s playground, including spreading new mulch and staining the perimeter fence. The project brought back memories of the 2019 Fort La Play Porte rebuild project for some, including Larson-Danielson president, Brian Larson.
Larson participated in the 2019 rebuild project, along with other Larson-Danielson employees. The company also donated the tools for the project.
Four years later, Fort La Play Porte needed maintenance to keep it in tip top shape for the community. At the same time, Larson-Danielson was looking for a service project to complete. The timing worked out just right for the La Porte Parks Department and Larson-Danielson.
A History of Service
Larson-Danielson organizes multiple opportunities each year for employees to participate in company-sponsored service projects. These opportunities help the company’s efforts to be a great place to work and continue its tradition of community involvement.
Throughout the company’s history, Larson-Danielson employees have viewed their work as a community affair. Many facilities built by the company continue to serve the needs of the people in the community.
We also support the communities where we live and work by being active members of local organizations, providing monetary donations, and by volunteering. Larson-Danielson employees have been on hospital boards, bank boards, YMCA boards, Red Cross boards, and other community organizations boards.
Larson-Danielson has begun construction of a new, two-story, 11,000 square foot police station for the Town of Chesterton.
On Thursday, July 6, Larson-Danielson representatives joined officials from the Town of Chesterton and others at a groundbreaking ceremony for the project.
An Auspicious Occasion
“This is an auspicious occasion but a near-run occasion as well,” said Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann. “That we’re standing here at all this morning is an improbable thing and a testament to one person’s tenacity and to a family and its company’s generosity.”
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by members of the Town Council and municipal department heads, as well as special guests including Elizabeth Johnson from the office of U.S. Congressman Frank Mrvan, D-1st; State Sen. Rodney Pol Jr.; Porter County Council Member Ronald “Red” Stone; Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs; Porter County Prosecutor Gary Germann; Porter County Sheriff Jeff Balon; Portage Police Chief Mike Candiano; Valparaiso Police Chief Andrew McIntyre; NICTD Transit Police Chief Jessie Watts Jr.; retired CPD chief George Nelson; and retired Chesterton town manager Bernie Doyle.
“This new police station is the foundation of an entire town, to forge a commitment together to maintain our historically safe community and to allow the Chesterton Police Department (CPD) to grow with our community, as well as to further forge our community-based partnership with residents and businesses,” said Chesterton Police Chief Tim Richardson.
L-D in Chesterton
Larson-Danielson is no stranger to the Chesterton community. The firm recently completed construction of the new Ken Allen Law multi-tenant office building and is involved in several projects for the Duneland School Corporation.
“We have a long and rich history of completed projects in Chesterton, and are very excited to have the opportunity to continue our contribution to the community’s built environment,” Dave Merkel, vice president of Larson-Danielson said. “We understand that it takes a lot of hard work and determination to get a project such as the Chesterton Police Station to groundbreaking, and appreciate the efforts of the town and its leadership in getting to this point. We are excited to play a part in making their vision a reality.”
The New Police Station
The new police station features a training room, male and female restrooms, patrol room, processing room with interview, holding rooms and armory, and a sally port on the first floor. The second floor includes the police chief and assistant chief’s offices, investigative department bullpen and offices, interview rooms, evidence storage, a fitness center with separate locker rooms, showers and restrooms (for male and female officers) and a kitchenette/breakroom.
“The new structure allows us to further our programs and partnerships with the community, as well as a training hub for our officers,” Richardson said. “Our new building features a 28-person training room that will allow CPD to host professional trainings not only for our officers, but officers from other area departments as well. Most importantly, the new building has separate private locker rooms, restrooms and shower facilities for both our male and female officers, something our current building was lacking.”
Construction of the new Chesterton Police Station is scheduled for completion in approximately 15 months.
Larson-Danielson and Chesterton Community help make new police station a reality – LaPorte County Life
Chesterton officials break ground on a new police station – Chicago Tribune
Chesterton breaks ground on new police station – NWI Times
Larson-Danielson Construction Company was honored by the Construction Advancement Foundation (CAF) at the annual CAF/NWIBRT Awards Banquet on May 10. The firm was named the Commercial Contractor of the Year and was given the Commercial Project of the Year award for the Northwest Health – La Porte medical office building, which was completed in 2022.
“We are extremely honored and humbled to receive these prestigious construction awards from the Construction Advancement Foundation,” said Nick Larson, vice president of Larson-Danielson. “The awards serve as a testament to our incredible team and partners, without whom these achievements would not be possible.”
Founded in 1967, CAF is a regional trade organization for the construction industry which includes more than 500 members across Northwest Indiana. Each year, CAF awards companies that have demonstrated excellence in safety, craftsmanship, teamwork, quality, innovation, consideration for the environment, community support, and training. There were five categories of winning contractors, based on the nature of their services.
Commercial Contractor of the Year
The award for Commercial Contractor of the Year went to Larson-Danielson for work on commercial public and private-sector facilities completed in 2022, including:
- Trailyard, Café and Restaurant – Valparaiso, IN
- MAAC Foundation, Tactical Village and Training Building – Valparaiso, IN
- Phoenix Metals, Office Renovations – Hammond, IN
- Ivy Tech East Chicago, Welding Lab Renovations – East Chicago, IN
- Hanover Community School Corporation, Hanover Middle School General Trades & Masonry Packages – Cedar Lake, IN
- City of South Bend, Morris Performing Arts Center Slab Replacement – South Bend, IN
- New Prairie School Corporation, New Halftime Building – New Carlisle, IN
- People’s Bank, Banking Center 2nd Floor Renovations – Munster, IN
Commercial Project of the Year
CAF also gives Project of the Year awards each year across five categories. Nominees are evaluated based on the contractor’s ability to deliver a quality project within the owner’s budget and schedule while exhibiting a firm commitment to safety.
Larson-Danielson was also awarded the Commercial Project of the Year Award for the Northwest Health – La Porte medical office building. The 45,800 square foot, three-story facility is owned by Catalyst Healthcare Real Estate and was designed by Gresham Smith.
The building is multi-tenant medical facility that took approximately 15 months to complete from beginning to end. Construction began with Geopier foundation stabilization in early December 2020 and foundation construction at the end of December.
Site construction included parking for the public and doctors surrounding the new building, and a remote parking lot for additional hospital employee parking across the street. The building was completed and ready for occupancy to begin by the end of December 2021.
The building features a combination of physician offices and other hospital-based services, and is connected to the hospital on the first and second floors. The project was fully completed, and the hospital officially opened operations in the medical office building in January 2022.
CAF Celebrates NWI’s Top Contractors and Projects – Building Indiana
Construction companies earn honors for performance, safety – Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
Solid Platforms, Hasse Construction, Falk PLI and Cargill among 60 winners of construction awards – MBNC Business Daily News & Updates
Northwest Indiana Business RoundTable Honors Companies for Outstanding Performance – Construction Equipment Guide
(La Porte, Ind.) – The votes are in, and Larson-Danielson Construction has been named “best commercial construction firm for new construction” and “best commercial construction firm for remodeling or expansion” in Northwest Indiana and Michiana by the readers of the Northwest Indiana Business Magazine.
2022 was an exciting yet challenging year for Larson-Danielson, with several projects completed and awarded to the company.
“While there were many rewarding opportunities for us in 2022, being selected as the general contractor for a new residence hall at the University of Notre Dame was certainly one of the highlights,” said Nick Larson, Vice President at Larson-Danielson. “We’ve been fortunate to have a strong relationship with the University over the years, as well as the subcontractors and suppliers we work with and rely upon when developing our bids. We believe that these relationships, along with the hard work and dedication of our own staff in preparing our proposal, is what led to L-D being awarded this project.”
Larson-Danielson has consistently appeared on the Best of Business Awards list since its inception in 2005. This award reflects the firm’s overall goals and approach to future challenges.
“Although there is certainly no shortage of uncertainty for what lies ahead in 2023, we are focused on capturing the right opportunities that will promote further growth for the company and our employees while making sure we continue to provide the quality construction services we have built our reputation on over the past 115 years,” Larson said. “We are excited to be recognized by Northwest Indiana Business Magazine as the best in our industry, and remain committed to the goal of being the best for many years to come.”
Facet Architecture – Best Commercial Architectural Firm
In addition to Larson-Danielson’s Best of Business awards, Facet Architecture, the firm’s in-house architecture and design firm, earned its first award, “best commercial architectural design firm” in Northwest Indiana. Facet Architecture is a growing commercial architecture firm providing interior design and architecture solutions.
“Facet Architecture has been blessed to work with several clients, on multiple projects, over the years. We designed a 3-story medical office building in Michigan City for HealthLinc, a regional community health center, that will allow for expanded service to their clients and the growing needs of the city. This project is currently under construction and will be completed in early 2024,” said Robin Witte, AIA, Facet Architecture’s lead architect. “Another client, The MAAC Foundation, recently celebrated the expansion of their emergency service training campus through the newly designed and constructed Residential Tactical Village. This new area of the campus focused on creating a realistic residential environment for first responders to train in.”
Facet Architecture faced its share of challenges in 2022. Maintaining the highest levels of communication and a dedication to quality helped the firm overcome each challenge successfully.
“Our clients, frequently, have project deadlines that require a quick pace for building design. Our goal is to design a beautiful and functional building for our clients, within their budget and their required timeline needs,” said Witte. “Facet Architecture was able meet these challenges in 2022 by expanding our workforce and working as a team, with our clients, to meet our shared project goals.”
The Best of Business Awards were created to give readers the opportunity to acknowledge local businesses who are excelling in their service to the community. The awards promote excellence in innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership in the business community.
Visit our awards page for a list of other awards and honors.
It’s International Women’s Day! It also happens to be the National Association of Women in Construction’s WIC (Women in Construction) Week, which was created to support women in the construction industry.
LD has several women in construction and we’re taking this opportunity to highlight these extraordinary employees. We’re also offering women and girls who may be considering a career in construction some industry insights from our experts.
Careers in construction, and careers at LD, span from leaders to laborers, and everything in between. Our women in construction work in a variety of departments and roles. Some of which include architecture and design, accounting, engineering, estimating, project management, marketing, accounting, and in the field.
We asked six of our women in construction to share their experiences and advice on construction careers. The LD employees include:
- Michele Dzielinksi, an estimating assistant with 21 years of construction industry experience
- Sara Hanske, Local 41 Laborer and 11-year construction industry veteran
- Jennifer Medley, a project assistant with 27 years of construction experience
- Gina Merkel, a project engineer with 16 years of experience in construction
- Cassie Phelan, a project engineer and 22-year construction veteran
- Amanda Watson, marketing manager with 17 years of construction industry experience
How would you describe your role?
“Working in the Estimating Department, being basically the first step in obtaining projects is fulfilling. The fact that Estimating, as a team; is able to ‘create’ work for the company and all its employees is very gratifying.” – Michelle Dzielinksi
“I am a project engineer and I assist the project manager with the job. I consider it a position that will help me learn the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of becoming a project manager. I assist with scheduling, submittals and shop drawings, estimating, and coordination between the field superintendent and the in-office project manager.” – Cassie Phelan
“I am the marketing manager for LD and it’s my job to promote the company and its people and to highlight all the amazing things that we’re doing. It’s a very exciting role because I feel like I’m a part of everything, and there is a lot going on!” – Amanda Watson
What is your favorite thing about the construction industry?
“Knowing that I am part of a team that is instrumental in the construction of a new or existing building. I definitely feel a measure of pride when I am out in the community and see a building that LD worked on.” – Michele Dzielinksi
“The excitement of seeing a project go from a hole in the ground to a completed project.” – Gina Merkel
“My favorite thing about the construction industry is that the end result is a tangible product. It starts as an idea for an architect and gets drawn and put on paper. From there, people build something you can see and touch and be proud to say, ‘we built that.’ There are also so many different types of construction projects. You could build a parking lot, a football stadium or a three-story hospital. You’ll never be bored in construction, that’s for sure.” – Cassie Phelan
What challenges have you faced as a woman in construction?
“Like other careers, the biggest challenge is balancing family and the job, and the work required to do your best at both.” – Gina Merkel
“I wouldn’t say I’ve faced many challenges, other than being respected for knowing my job. This is definitely a ‘man’s’ career but has changed dramatically since I first started in the industry in 1996.” – Jennifer Medley
“I’d say my biggest challenge as a laborer is having to prove myself, to prove that I can handle the role. You come across some men that believe women shouldn’t be out in the field and they can be rude. So, in those situations it’s tough mentally.” – Sara Hanske
What’s the most difficult part about a career in construction?
“Being ready for the next challenge that comes your way.” – Gina Merkel
“As a laborer, not knowing if you’ll be working sometimes is the most difficult part of my career. You never know if you’ll be laid off for a week or three months, and you need adjust your lifestyle accordingly. I also think it’s tough going to different jobs and working with new people. I find that tough only because I, myself get nervous that again I have to prove that I can work hard and get the job done to new people.” – Sara Hanske
“Marketing for construction can definitely be difficult at times. There is so much going on day-to-day, it’s hard to keep up with the pace. Trying to keep up with all the projects and their details and making sure I’m promoting as much as possible is a challenge, but it’s never boring.” – Amanda Watson
What is your advice to girls/women interested in pursuing a career in construction?
“If you are looking for a daily changing career then construction is definitely worth it! You’re always learning new technology and helping people understand how projects are built from the ground up. There’s never a dull moment.” – Jennifer Medley
“Do what you love and with hard work the rest will fall into place. Also, it’s good to have a mentor to ask questions, etc.” – Gina Merkel
“Go for it. The construction industry is not what it used to be and certainly not only for men. The percentage of women both in the trades and in the management side is going up. There is potential for large growth in the construction industry as a whole, and women have a lot of opportunities. With more STEM education in grade school and middle schools we’re attracting more women into engineering every day. The trades also realize they need more people and are recruiting more women than ever to work in the construction field.” – Cassie Phelan