Good Morning Vietnam!

By Paul Hinds, S2 Estimator at Straub Construction

Straub Construction: Paul HindsIn January of 2017, I was asked to be a part of the SEA 17 team to travel to Southeast Asia on a medical mission. I gladly accepted and then began physical training and obtaining required vaccinations for this part of the world.

June 2nd, we departed Kansas City International airport. Thirty hours and 4,600 miles later we arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Day 1

On our first full day in Cambodia, we visited the memorial and museum about the atrocities committed against the Cambodian people by the Pol Pot regime. It was very sobering and saddening to read about how 9,000 men, women, and children were tortured, murdered, thrown into pits and covered with a poisonous chemical to cover the odor of death, as well as make sure there was no chance of survivors.

Day 2

Our second day we went to a resettlement village outside of Phnom Penh to one of the villager’s home. This home was 15’ x 15’ and serves as a children’s school, church, and on this day a medical clinic, evangelistic center, and dining hall.

Good Morning Vietnam! Good Morning Vietnam!

We kept most of the children busy with soccer and volleyball. Inside, adults and children were assessed and given medications. Health education was provided, patients were prayed over and all had the opportunity to hear the Good News.

Day 3

On day 3, our mobile medical clinic traveled in heavy traffic to Prek Pnov, Cambodia to a fishing village. We began registration then took height, weight, BMI, Vital signs, and blood glucose levels. Their final stop was at the pharmacy table where over 50 medications were dispensed by 3 people counting and packaging the medicines.

I’ve never been so nervous. I was the one packaging the medicines and providing the usage information in a foreign language!

Good Morning Vietnam! Good Morning Vietnam!

Day 4

On the fourth day, we headed to Trauey Slah in Sang Cambodia to visit the Por Leu Primary School. We were greeted by 90 very energetic children, but they were also very respectful. After setting up the clinic, we took height and weight measurements, calculated BMI and then performed oral exams. Children waiting to be seen were with our translators outside the school singing songs that taught them about good oral hygiene.

Good Morning Vietnam! Good Morning Vietnam!

At the end of this day, we headed for Pochentong Airport for our departure flight to Seam Reap, Cambodia.

Day 5

Day 5 was considered “tourist day” and our destination was Ankor Wat, the largest religious structure in the World. At the main temple, we hired a tourist guide named Sun and he showed us around and explained some of the history of the main temple and other structures.

Good Morning Vietnam! Good Morning Vietnam!

Good Morning Vietnam!

After lunch, we visited 2 more temples on the Ankor Wat complex. Both locations were much more untouched by renovation, and we really felt like Jungle explorers happening upon ancient ruins. We saw wild monkeys and actually came within 15’ of them at one point.

Good Morning Vietnam! Good Morning Vietnam!

At the end of the day we flew back to Phnom Penh and prepared for our departure for Hanoi Vietnam.

Day 6

On day 6 we toured the Russian market, ate at a restaurant called the Jars of Clay, and visited a shop that supported the White Lotus Project, which helps local women get out of the sex trade and provides housing and education.

At the end of the day we made our way to the Phnom Penh airport and flew out to Hanoi Vietnam.

Day 7

On day 7 we awoke in Hanoi and used the day to strategically pack and head up in the Northern Mountains along the China border for three days of trekking.

Day 8

On day 8 we traveled 5 hours by transport van into the Northern mountains and stayed in a Homestay in the Hmong village. We slept under mosquito nets and ate from their kitchen. Again, we had a small medical clinic and then toured through the beautiful rice fields.

Good Morning Vietnam! Good Morning Vietnam!

Day 9

On day 9 we left the Hmong village and headed for the Tay Homestay in the Tay and Nung Village. We walked around the village and visited with the people and shopped in their markets. We made final preparations for our mountain trek to a remote tribe in the mountains tomorrow.

Day 10

On day 10 we took a van to the base of the mountains to a trail head that would lead us to the tribe that we have been supporting for years. We started off on a major hike, and after hours of going straight up hill and we arrived at the village leaders home. With our translators, we began catching up on how his family and other families are doing. We shared some gifts of medicines, a soccer ball and some other assorted items for his family.

Good Morning Vietnam! Good Morning Vietnam!

Day 11

On day 11 we went from the mountains to main street! This was a travel day. We left the mountains of tribal groups and arrived in the vibrant Asian city of Hanoi.

Day 12 & 13

On day 12 & 13 we toured through Hanoi and visited many shops. We also toured through the Hanoi Hilton where POWs were held back in the Vietnam War. These days were days of reflections, observations, and of looking forward.

Good Morning Vietnam! Good Morning Vietnam!

Day 14

On day 14 we traveled to the airport and began the thirty hour journey home. It felt like we must have done some time traveling. We left and returned on the same day… but 30 hours had gone by!

In closing, I will say that I was thankful to be home. I’m humbled by how we live in the West compared to the poverty I saw in the Eastern part of the world. We must be thankful every day in America for what we have. Most people will never truly get this perspective unless they visit a third world country to see for themselves. If you are presented the opportunity to go on a mission trip, I strongly encourage you to go. It’s a life changing experience!

Good Morning Vietnam!

Bringing Back Old School: Welcoming the Dominican Sisters of Mary to Kansas City

By Hannah Morrey Brown, Project Manager at Straub Construction

Straub Construction - S2 Project Welcomes Dominican Sisters of Mary to Kansas CityS2 recently completed a partial renovation of a convent in anticipation of the arrival of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.  The Sisters came from as far as Washington, D.C., where they’d been receiving graduate degrees in secondary education and philosophy from Catholic University of America.

The Sisters will now be teaching at the new St. Michael the Archangel High School in Lee’s Summit.

The convent, located in Independence, took about six weeks to complete.

Even with the tight schedule, we were able to have the space ready for move in on July 31st when the Sisters arrived. The renovation included new flooring, updated lighting, addition of a Sequorium sink, and reconfiguration of a living space into a beautiful chapel. The existing laundry room was also divided into two separate rooms, each with their own washer and dryer to accommodate future guests.

Straub Construction - S2 Project Welcomes Dominican Sisters of Mary to Kansas CityS2 Superintendent George Dineen managed the project. He also self-performed the addition of the wall in the laundry room, additions of doors and frames throughout the space, as well as a variety of carpentry modifications. George got along famously with both the Sisters and Deacon Ralph, and enjoyed getting to know them throughout the project.

“The workmanship is first class all the way through, the place looks outstanding. The Sisters are very pleased as am I. We could not have asked any more of you all at all. We had a lot of work in a very aggressive timetable and you all made it happen. Unbelievable.
-Deacon Ralph L. Wehner

Work Hard, Play Hard. The New Straub Construction Game Room!

By Jon Alvarado, Quality Control Manager for Straub Construction

Positive culture and values are the backbone of Straub Construction. Everyone on the team puts in their time, hard work and dedication to their job. It doesn’t go unnoticed.

The “work hard, play hard” mentality is strong here at Straub Construction

We do all kinds of fun things together like the Culinary Center, Casino Night, Company Picnics, and the Straub Week of Giving to name a few. And now, we’ve added a great new recreational space in our building!

We remodeled a 1,000 square foot area which used to house our old job files. We could do this thanks to technology and most of those files are online now.

With new drywall, paint, flooring and HVAC, the area has been converted into an employee “stress free” zone. The large space is home to many new amenities such as a ping pong table, billiard table, treadmill, weight bench, table and chairs and two new big screen TV’s!

Straub Construction: New Game Room Straub Construction: New Game Room

Employee Benefit

Many expert studies show that such work spaces improve workplace moods and productivity by encouraging dialog and collaboration. They also improve general employee health.

“The space is cool and fun, but I’m most excited about the developing camaraderie with my fellow coworkers and friends.” says Mike Strick in estimating.

Over the past few weeks that the space has been completed, there have been a couple of Project Manager Superintendent ping pong challenges.

“I haven’t played in 15 years”, said Scott Grover, a superintendent for Straub Construction. “But I had a blast taking on the young guy and want a rematch” he said, speaking of his current project manager Ernie Straub IV.

The camaraderie and the team collaboration this space has already seen make it well worth the investment. Our team members can blow off a little steam, relax a little or have a quick competitive match. The “work hard, play hard” motto lives on. Our new recreational space makes it even easier to play hard together after getting our work done!

Straub Construction: New Game Room Straub Construction: New Game Room

New Kids on the Block: Straub’s 2017 Interns

This summer, Straub Construction has two new interns that have joined the team and are heavily involved in the projects that we have going on. Both interns have spent time working in the office under project managers, preparing bids with our estimating department, working with superintendents out on our job sites and getting their hands dirty in the field. Both interns have been important members of our team and have done great work. Let’s take a second to meet Connor and Trevor.

Straub Construction: Connor FordConnor Ford

Connor will be a senior at Pittsburg State next year where he will be graduating with a degree in construction management. Connor is from Clinton Missouri and spends most of his free time outdoors, usually hunting or fishing. At the Pittsburg State career fair last year, Conner was offered an internship with Straub Construction.

When asked what his favorite thing about working for Straub is, Conner said “I like how close everyone is.”

Trevor Scheumann

Straub Construction: Trevor ScheumannTrevor will be a junior next year at K-State. He is one of the many Wildcats that occupy the Straub Construction office. Trevor is majoring in construction science and management. In his free time, Trevor enjoys being outdoors, either camping or riding his motorcycle.

Trevor noticed Straub Construction on a job board at K-State and became interested in an internship. He asked his buddy Randal, who was an intern at Straub last year, and Randal highly recommended the internship.

Trevor was also asked his favorite thing about Straub Construction and he said, “I like how welcoming everyone is, there is a great community atmosphere.”

Thank you to both of our interns for all of their hard work and for choosing Straub Construction!