Merry Christmas From Straub Construction and Casino Night Recap

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Straub Construction! We hope that everyone enjoys some much-deserved time off with family and friends!

Straub Casino Night

Straub Construction: Casinoe Night 2017To celebrate the Christmas Season as a team, we had our annual casino night at the office recently. This is an event that all our employees look forward to every year because it allows us to relax, unwind, and have some fun with our coworkers and families. It’s also a testament to our company culture… because we always have a handful of past employees who show up to enjoy some fun with their Straub Construction Family. But who can blame them? With the prospect of delicious appetizers and desserts from Paulo and Bill, all kinds of drinks, and casino games all night, it’s definitely a fun evening.

Wheeling 'n DealingFor this event, we hired Wheeling n’ Dealing to set up casino tables (poker, blackjack, roulette, craps and more.) Something new this year is that we were able to have the casino set up in our new gaming room. (Wheeling n’ Dealing was really happy that they didn’t have to take everything up to our second floor!) They also provided professional dealers for the games. My personal favorite is craps, even though the rules must be re-explained to me every year. That’s where the dealers come in. They’re more than happy to continuously explain how the game works and help you along the way.

Straub Construction: Casinoe Night 2017 Straub Construction: Casinoe Night 2017

Every Straub employee and their guests are given “$15,000 of Straub Money” to gamble with, and at the end of the night the three people with the most play money receive a prize. This year was the year of the ladies, because all the prize winners were female. (We’ll get them next year men!)

Straub Construction: Casino Night 2017 Straub Construction: Casino Night 2017

Another Christmas tradition that we continued at Straub Construction this year was our White Elephant Gift Exchange. We had twenty-one participants with a wide range of presents. It was a pretty crazy gift exchange; with secret partnerships being formed, partnerships turning on each other, conspiracies all around, fathers stealing from sons, sons stealing back from fathers, and family rivalries being formed. It reminded me of an episode of Game of Thrones! But in the end, everyone had an awesome time and we can’t wait until next year to do it again!

Here are some photos from the White Elephant Gift Exchange.

Straub Construction: Casino Night 2017 Straub Construction: Casino Night 2017

Straub Construction: Casino Night 2017

A New Church for The Singing Sisters of Gower, Missouri

By Matthew Straub, Marketing Coordinator at Straub Construction, talking about the church project we are doing for a monastery in Gower, Missouri.

Straub Construction: Benedictines of Mary ProjectStraub Construction is currently building a beautiful church in Gower, Missouri for a monastery lead by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. Gower is 17 miles north of Smithville. It’s a small city with a population of about 1,500.

This is the second project that we’re building in Gower. The first was a priest’s retreat house for the Benedictines of Mary. This project is the new church right beside the retreat house. The church will be about 15,000 square feet, including the basement and loft area. It will seat about 150 people comfortably and will be finished around August of next year.

The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles live a very simple but joyous life style. Their monestary, along with the retreat house, and church, sit on about 280 acres. In the Benedictine tradition, these nuns work and live on the land. They have gardens, an orchard, a honey bee farm, chickens for eggs, and cows for milk, which is where they get much of their food. You can imagine dozens of nuns in their black habits, working the fields, and milking their cows. It’s a wonderful sight to behold.

Straub Construction: Benedictines of Mary Project Straub Construction: Benedictines of Mary Project

The nuns also take a lot of pride in sewing priest’s vestments by hand, these are beautiful garments and yet another way that they provide for themselves. The work that they do is primarily done in silence. They believe that the Lord’s voice comes to them in whispers so they must be silent and listen. However, it’s the moments in the day when they aren’t silent, that the world is silent and listens… because of their beautiful singing.

When the Benedictines of Mary are not in silent reflection, they turn to a 1,500 year old form of prayer, the Gregorian Chant. They pray the Divine Office through Gregorian Chant 8 times a day and this usually takes a total of about 5 hours. As a way of connecting and bringing their message to the outside world, the Benedictines of Mary, have recorded multiple CD’s. Their CD’s have been very successful and you can understand why when you hear how beautiful their Gregorian Chant is. They have recorded a total of 6 CD’s and they’ve sold hundreds of thousands of copies over the years. Both of their first two albums reached #1 on the classical traditional Billboard charts in 2013. However, many of the nuns don’t even know how popular and inspirational their music is. If you ask any of them, they would say it’s not about selling CD’s, it’s about praising God and sharing that with the world.

These women have chosen a beautiful silent lifestyle, but we are thankful that they share their wonderful gifts with all of us.

YouTube Video of the Sister’s Gregorian Chant

The Straub Nation is Growing: Three New Babies This Year

By Matthew Straub, Marketing Coordinator at Straub Construction, talking about all the new babies we are celebrating in 2017!

The Straub Construction Nation is continuing to grow every year! As each year passes, there are more and more babies joining our Straub Construction Family. Here’s a quick look at the cute little ones who have brightened all of our lives over the past year.

Caleb Anthony Johnson

Caleb Anthony Johnson

The youngest of the group is Caleb Anthony Johnson. Caleb is the son of James and Aimee Johnson and he joins his siblings Gabriel, Tessa, Bennett, and Anna. Caleb is 3 months old and was born on August 21st. August 21st was a very anticipated day for the Johnson’s, and millions of others, because that was the day of the historical “Great American Eclipse.” As millions of people took to the sky to await the eclipse, the Johnson’s took to the hospital to await their little ray of sunshine.

Damian James Straub

Damian James Straub

The next member of this esteemed group is my son, Damian James Straub. Kathleen and I are so blessed to have Damian, who is our first child. Damian is also 3 months old and was born a week before Caleb on August 14th. For those of you who are regulars to our blogs, will remember a blog about my wedding about a year ago. Kathleen and I were married on October 22nd of last year and now a year later we have this handsome little fella. Damian is a big boy, weighing in at 15 lbs, and he enjoys huge smiles, long naps, and candle lit dinners.

Finnegan Paul Riordan

Finnigan Paul Riordan

The final baby on the list is Finnegan Paul Riordan. Finnigan is son of Jason and Shannon Riordan, and he is their first child. He is 14 months old and was born on September 9th, 2016. Finnegan recently started walking at 12 months, is rarely seen without a smile on his face, and is the Houdini of baby proof gates. Jason and Shannon celebrated Finnegan’s first birthday by taking him to Disney World (for the third time) where he got to see his favorite character, Donald Duck. Finnegan is also a very healthy boy and weighs in at about 28lbs.

We are so excited for all these families and new members of our Straub Construction Family. We hope the coming years bring even more smiling little faces.

Joe Riedel Joins Straub Construction as Director of Business Development

By Joe Riedel, Director of Business Development Development, talking about coming to work for Straub Construction.

Joe RiedelFamily.  Relationships.  Ownership.  Personal Accountability.  Loyalty.  Winning as a team is fun.  Those principles are what drive me – not only in my career, but in my family life as well.

I am Joe Riedel.  And, I am the newest and already one of many proud members of Straub Construction.

About me

Born in Denver, CO, I spent my formative years growing up in Central and Western Kansas – close to where my parents were born and raised.  I graduated from Kansas State University in 1999, where I worked my way through college.  The jobs I had in Manhattan prepared me for my career just as much as the classes I took.  I am a firm believer in “hands on” learning and the School of Hard Knocks.

After graduation, I began my professional career as a recruiter for Aerotek in Kansas City.  I continued my career at Aerotek for the next 17 years.  While there, I worked with world-class individuals and held a variety of positions, including overseeing Business Development for Aerotek’s Federal portfolio across a 6-state region.  I am grateful for the crazy amount of experience I gained in those 17 years.

Leaving a company after that much time is not at all something I took lightly.  I wouldn’t have left for just any job.  I had done plenty of research on Straub Construction well before I met with the Leadership team.  And it was those people who made me very confident it was time to start a new chapter of my life.  Straub is an organization of highly talented people, and I was hooked from the beginning.  I knew in my heart that I wanted to be a part of, and WIN with this team!

Joe Family PicOutside of work, I am all family, all the time.  My wife, Marcy, and I have 3 crazy, wonderful children –  Reece (10), Joey (7) and Reagan (3 ½).  Life is NUTS at the Riedel household.  Our kids are very (oh, what’s a positive word for it…) “active”.  Toys and sports equipment all over the house, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  #Blessed.  Marcy is a pediatric Occupational Therapist and at the top of her game – both in her career and at home. At times, she feels as though she is raising FOUR children in our household.

What it means to be the Director of Business Development at Straub Construction

I am now a little over a month into my role as the Director of Business Development.  The greatest challenge so far has been wrapping my arms around Straub’s 97-year legacy as a General Contractor in Kansas City.  But, luckily for me, this job comes with a “Phone A Friend” card that links me directly to Ernie Straub III who can bail me out when needed!

For any Business Developer to be successful, you must be passionate and truly believe in your product or service.  That is where my job gets easier.  It didn’t take long at all to realize the quality of Project Managers and Superintendents we have here.  At the end of the day, it’s that group of people who are going to deliver on our promises to our customers.  I have full confidence in them, as well as the outstanding people that make up our Pre-construction team.

The Future

I am so honored and excited to be a part what the future holds for me and this great company.  If you are an Owner, Architect, or Engineer… be prepared.  I will be calling you (if I haven’t already.)  I look forward to sharing Straub’s history and capabilities with you.  And gratitude, for any opportunity where you trust us to be a part of your projects.

AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Awards

By Hannah Morrey Brown, Project Manager at Straub Construction, talking about the recent AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Awards.

A group of Straub employees recently attended the local AIA Design Excellence Awards this past November 10th located at the beautiful 1900 Building in Mission Woods. The night consisted of great food and drinks, catching up with many of our local architecture partners, and an awards presentation. It was a great evening celebrating some of the amazing designs that have been created by architects in the Kansas City area. Straub would like to congratulate El Dorado Architects for winning Project of the Year 2017!

“The AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Committee is challenged each year to create a unique event to recognize and celebrate the great design completed by local firms. This is our signature annual event, drawing 400 people from the design community. Each year, this committee convenes a jury and coordinates the celebration to honor the best in architecture and design.”

– AIA Kansas City

AIA Event 2017 - Straub Team

From left to right: Matthew Straub, Parker Young, Hannah Morrey Brown, Ernie Straub IV, Jason Riordan, Nolan Cisper, and Joe Riedel.

AIA Event 2017 - Award Presentation

Four Colleges in Four Weeks!

By Matthew Straub, Marketing Coordinator at Straub Construction

Missouri State University KSUPittsburg StateUniversity of Central Missouri

Four Colleges in Four WeeksOver a four week period, Straub Construction visited four college campuses in Kansas and Missouri. These colleges were; Missouri State University, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University, and The University of Central Missouri, all of which have prestigious construction programs.

Our goal was to interview potential candidates for internship and full time positions.

At Missouri State and University of Central Missouri, we attended career fairs organized by the colleges, and conducted interviews the next day. At Kansas State and Pittsburg State, we hosted presentations about Straub Construction with pizza and drinks, followed by interviews the following days. Each of the college visits were a tremendous success and we were very impressed with the organization and professionalism of each host university.

Over the four days following the career fairs and presentations, we interviewed almost sixty students.

Four Colleges in Four WeeksThroughout those days, every student showed up to their interviews, were on time, and dressed professionally. Our Straub team was extremely impressed with the amount of professionalism, character, talent, and hard work that all these students displayed. These universities are doing a great job preparing their students not only for interviews, but also for a bright future in the construction industry.

We’re thrilled to bring many of these students into our Straub Construction family, both through internships and full time positions. The future looks bright for these students and for Straub Construction.

Schwab Extreme Home Makeover Videos!

We wanted to share the Schwab Extreme Home Makeover video and a timelapse video of the project with you. If you haven’t read our blog post about the project, be sure to read it here. Enjoy the videos!

Schwab House Reveal Video

Project Timelapse Video

College Park Family Care Renovation

By Hannah Morrey Brown , Project Manager at Straub Construction

College Park Family CareS2 recently completed a nurse station and restroom renovation at College Park Family Care in Overland Park, KS.  The center is home to more than 15 doctors and some offices are open 7 days a week. Our team worked hard to limit our time in each area with minimal disruption to the doctors, nurses, and patients.

The renovation, encompassing nine different work stations and one set of restrooms, included removing walls to open up stations, creating more workable space with improved layouts and counterspace, and updating electrical and plumbing to better meet their needs. The restrooms received a top to bottom facelift including new tile flooring, countertops, wallcovering, and partitions.

The project was performed entirely on nights and weekends and was led by our amazing superintendent, Rodney Pullen, who self-performed almost every scope including demolition, flooring install, and framing and drywall. Between the hard work of Rodney and the rest of our Straub team and subcontractors, we were able to complete the project in four short weeks and keep the center fully operational during the week.

Before Renovation

College Park Family Care Renovation - Before College Park Family Care Renovation - Before College Park Family Care Renovation - Before

After Renovation

College Park Family Care Renovation College Park Family Care Renovation College Park Family Care Renovation

Schwab Extreme Home Makeover

By Ernie Straub, President at Straub Construction talking about an Extreme Home Makeover project for the Schwab Family.

Have you ever been in a spot where you really needed something good to happen to you? Last March, I came across an opportunity to bless another family, but it turned out to be a bigger blessing to me.

Susan and I were dropping off my famous brisket, smoked cheesy potatoes, and smoked green bean casserole dinner to some family friends of ours, Scott and Michele Schwab. Perhaps you’ve heard of their heartbreaking story of their ten-year-old son Caleb’s tragic accident in August of 2016.

Just over six months after the tragedy, the family was trying put their lives back together. The strength of their faith and support of their community was inspiring, but I wanted to do more. We brought a meal over, hoping to bring a little bit of comfort, and I could feel the warmth of the family as they welcomed us into their home.

Reminders of Caleb were everywhere in the home, his joyful smile showing on the family photos that hung on their wall—the same ones we’d received in Christmas cards from them in previous years.

Schwab Family Photo

The Schwab Family

Leaving the house I saw that their front porch sidewalk was in bad condition, and I offhandedly mentioned we’d be happy to help with the repairs.

A couple weeks later, Scott called and said that my comment had gotten him thinking. More than just the sidewalk, they were wanting to do some major renovations throughout their house.

An “Extreme” Idea Forms

The next day, I went back to walk through Scott and Michele’s home and discuss their renovation dreams. They were looking to completely redo the kitchen, laundry, master bathroom, and half bath, as well as updating some features like the ceiling texture, carpet, staircase railing, and outdoor fencing.

Schwab Before Schwab Before Schwab Before Schwab Before

These changes would require major demolition throughout most of the house—almost like that TV show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I told them it would be much easier to just buy a lot and start a new home from scratch. Trying to live in the midst of major renovations like that was stressful.

But it quickly became clear that they wanted to stay in the home they’d raised their four boys. They helped me realize how important it was for them to stay close to the daily reminders of the son they lost.

Once I realized that, I became 100% committed to making their plans happen. Driving home, an idea sparked. After all this family had been through, being able to get their home the way they wanted as quickly as possible would be a huge blessing. They had mentioned they were going on a family vacation in three weeks. What if they came home to all the renovations being completely done? What if we actually did an Extreme Makeover for them?

Getting the Ball Rolling

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever done a complete renovation of a home, but the process typically takes months. We had to hit the ground running the very next day to make this dream come true.

Scott was extremely busy in Topeka spending 3-4 nights a week there , so it was up to Michele to make all the design selection decisions. The youngest Schwab, three and a half year old Isaac, was such a good sport as we toured various showrooms. Scott shared with me later how important that time was to Michele. Being able to immerse herself in something other than the details of the accident was a huge gift.

To pull this off from a logistics standpoint, I knew I’d need a lot of help. The Olathe Planning Department graciously gave us an expedited permit process. I reached out to all our vendors and suppliers and was met with an overwhelming outpouring of support and help.

Schwab Project Schwab Project

The next three weeks passed in a flurry of planning and walkthroughs, preparing and packing. The night before they left for their vacation, we sat in folding chairs around their empty living room. Fry Wagner Moving & Storage had taken delicate care of the Schwab’s belongings, packing them away for the demolition process that would begin the next day. Scott and Michelle seemed to have a peace about them, a genuine gratitude for this big change.

Show Time

When our demolition crew showed up early on April 19th, we were greeted by a handwritten note from the Schwab’s, thanking us for our dedication. This only further motivated us to bless the socks off of this incredible family.

Our goal was to move them back in on the following Friday, meaning we had just nine days to get the job done.  You know those time-lapse videos of projects, where it looks like everything is in fast forward? It felt like we were moving at that pace in real time! We jumped right in, getting all of the demolition completed on all three floors on the first day. Our team had to quickly start rebuilding the walls, getting the new electrical, plumbing, and HVAC work completed.

Schwab Project Schwab Project Schwab Project

(Some action shots of our hard working crew!)

The craftsmen and craftswomen who showed up for these 16-20 hour days were incredible. Each team member and subcontractor coordinated with each other in tight spaces, working around the challenges that arise in any home project. When a flooring installation didn’t go as planned, SBR Hardwood Floors dropped their scheduled plans to help us resolve the issue when they heard who it was for.

I was incredibly proud of our Straub team, who stepped up to help make sure all parts of the process went as smoothly as possible, giving up their evenings and weekend.

Schwab Extreme Home Makeover Crew
(The Schwab Extreme Home Makeover Crew)

Gratitude All Around

The Schwabs were scheduled to arrive back at the house from their vacation at 6 PM on Friday. Things were really down the wire—we were wiping the last of the construction dust off the garage door moments before their car pulled onto the street.

We’d gathered family and a few of their neighbors and close friends to surprise them with a homecoming pizza party. Words just can’t describe the joy that filled our hearts as we watched Scott, Michelle, Nathan, Alex, and Isaac walk through their new home. They kept saying thank you over and over, but it was truly us who felt grateful for the blessing of being able to help.

Scott shared later that he went downstairs at 2 am on that first night to find Michele in her new kitchen, just staring at the cabinets. We had made a last minute decision to update all of the doorknobs and didn’t even realize that their son Alex had been struggling with the dexterity to open the old door knobs. The results of our extreme makeover were full of God-sent blessings like that.

Schwab Project Schwab Project Schwab Project Schwab Project

(Here is the Schwab’s home, after our renovations were complete.)

One of the last touches I did on the house was to help the Schwab’s rehang their beautiful family photos in their entry. A beautiful large canvas photo of Caleb sits on a shelf by their stairwell, a daily reminder of their beloved son.

You never know the full impact of something like this. I was surprised by how much it affected the lives of everyone who touched this project. From the vendors and subcontractors, to the sales associate at the plumbing and lighting vendor who teared up when she found out who Michele was, everyone felt truly blessed to be a part of this project.

It’s hard to even put into words how rewarding it was to be a part of something good like this. From start to finish, the whole project was less than a month long, but I feel like I’m still feeling the effects of the the excitement and energy from this “Extreme Makeover.” Getting to spend so much time with Scott, Michele and their three boys was a blast. I didn’t realize how much this opportunity to bless them would end up being an answer to prayer for myself.

Everyone that helped this come together is listed at the link below.  They deserve so much credit.  Thank you! And to the Schwab family, we will continue to have you in our thoughts and prayers each day.

Thanks to all those who contributed:

  • The Hayes Company
  • Performance Contracting Inc.
  • Dayco Painting
  • Mo-Kan Carpet
  • Home Depot
  • Kincaid Ready Mix
  • Overland Concrete
  • Arbor Masters
  • Cates Service Company
  • Overhead Door Company
  • Ferguson Enterprises
  • K&G Plumbing
  • Heritage Electric
  • Factory Direct Appliances
  • City of Olathe
  • Bernie Electric Supply
  • Rapid Disposal
  • Dream Kitchen & Supply
  • Extreme Tile Repair
  • Daltile
  • Granite Tops
  • KC Tile Source
  • Fry Wagner Moving
  • Noonshine Window Cleaning
  • Fresh Cleaning
  • ISC Surfaces
  • Kansas City Millwork
  • Felisa & Company
  • Holmes Drywall Supply
  • SBR Hardwood Floors
  • Maverick Lumber
  • Ben Tarbe Used Brick

Straub Construction: Labor Day 2017

By Matthew Straub, Marketing Coordinator at Straub Construction, talking about Labor Day 2017

The annual Straub Labor Day picnic a few weeks ago was a huge success! Our very own Parker Young, Dan VanDonge, and Ernie Straub contributed to the cooking by making delicious chicken, ribs, and brisket. It was a great afternoon of fellowship and food with the entire office and field staff together. And the perfect way to celebrate all the hard work our Straub employees do year-round!

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