A Commitment to Ethics – Part Two

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In part one, President, Randy Myers, talks about The Neenan Company’s history of being responsible. It was this practice, and the philosophy of “stand up, don’t cover up,” that Neenan took during it’s structural crisis that compelled the Foundation for Financial Service Professionals, to unanimously select The Neenan Company for their highly coveted American Business Ethics Award.

The Neenan Company was nominated by client, Dr. Jo Barbie, Superintendent for Weld County School District 1. “We never sought accolades for doing the right thing, and being acknowledged at such a high level is truly a special event for The Neenan Company,” said President Randy Myers. “For one of our clients to take the time to nominate us for this award is particularly gratifying.”

The award was created in 1994 and recognizes companies that exemplify high ethical standards in their everyday business or in response to specific crises or challenges. The Neenan Company joins a distinguished list of U.S. companies that have received the award, including Kimberly‐Clark, General Mills, Starbucks and Colorado companies Lockheed Martin, Merrick & Company and Wright Water Engineers.

Anne Rigney, Foundation for Financial Services trustee, and April Caudill, chairwoman of the Foundation for Financial Service Professionals, presented the American Business Ethics Award to The Neenan Company on October 28th.

Click here to see Randy’s acceptance speech.



The Beer Buzz

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The largest collection of U.S. beers is now on display and ready for consumption at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Every year beer makers, sellers, and lovers get together and celebrate what has become a popular past-time and hobby. Year after year, we are fortunate enough to have this craft-calling close to home, in Denver, Colorado.

As beer-supporters and lovers come together to enjoy 3,000+ different selections from around the country we have reflected on how this craze got started.

Our beer story began in 1995, with a little brew house project you may know, New Belgium Brewing Co. (NBB). Located in our hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado, NBB is a state-of-the-art micro brewery complex located on a 50-acre campus near the heart of Old Town Fort Collins. Designed and built in mul­tiple phases, The Neenan Company has completed over 150,000 square feet of this campus over the last 18 years.

Our combined commitment to the environment, the use of new and appropriate technologies is threaded throughout the operations of NBB. With each expansion of their facility, NBB has constantly challenged design and construction to push the envelope to develop more and better environmental ideas and practices.

With our second brewery client ready to make their mark in this growing industry, we can’t wait to help them get their beer into the hands of the ever-growing beer consumer. Our beer geeks are headed down to Denver to do some “research” on how we can help make another dream into a reality. Cheers!



Taking care of vets: Neenan Completes its Second United States Veterans Affairs facility

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In a state with a VA hospital that is $200 million over budget and heading to court over who should pay for design changes, we thought it was a good time to share two of our VA success stories that take care of our vets and use taxpayer money responsibly.

Pueblo Facility:

On September 13, 2013 a large crowd gathered to celebrate the grand opening of The United States Department of Veterans Affairs’ Pueblo Clinic. This 34,000 square foot outpatient medical facility, designed and built by The Neenan Company will provide high-quality healthcare to Pueblo area veterans. The project consists of a 27,000 square foot renovation and a 6,000 square foot addition to create a welcoming and modern medical facility to serve veterans of the United States. Construction on the facility began in October of 2012 and is being delivered on-time and on-budget.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs’ Pueblo Clinic includes space for primary care, general radiology, physical therapy, audiology, a pharmacy, veteran support services, a biomed repair, warehouse, group conference rooms, mental health, optometry, and dental.


 Grand Junction Facility:

Neenan also completed an addition to the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center in July of 2011. The 31,000 SF addition was built on top of an existing two-story clinic, and also ties into the third floor of the existing seven-story inpatient bed tower. The surgery area in the addition features four operating rooms, two endoscopy rooms, an intensive care unit with five negative-pressure patient rooms, pre-op/post acute care unit with eleven bays, nurses station and support spaces.

The addition replaced the older operating rooms in the facility. The new space enables the consolidation of surgical services previously located in multiple areas, which frees up space throughout the facility to allow for new services to be added on the campus in the future. The result is an increase in staff communications, improved infection control, and more efficient hospital operations.


The Neenan Company is grateful to our veterans and appreciates their service. We show our respect by creating the best healthcare spaces on-time and on-budget, how do you appreciate the United States veterans?


What’s the Buzz around Neenan?

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As a new school year begins and summer winds down, we wanted to share a few of the projects that The Neenan Company was awarded over the past few months. All of these projects have very tight schedules, requiring Neenan’s integrated architecture and construction staff to jump right into design and get started. The projects range from a small renovation to a new $30 million hospital, check out the highlights below:



Start – November 14, 2013

End – January 8, 2015

Size – 60,000 square feet

Type – Healthcare, Rural hospital

Location – Prineville, Oregon

Description – Currently in the design phase, the health care campus project for St. Charles Health System, will replace their current facility, Pioneer Memorial Hospital, and will be renamed as St. Charles – Prineville. The new facility will be slated as a Critical Access Hospital and will feature an Emergency Department, imaging and laboratory services, two surgical suites, 12 inpatient beds, a retail pharmacy and more.


Senior Center

Start – October 21, 2013

End – May 26, 2014

Size – 14,000 square foot addition

Type – Municipal, Community center

Location – Fort Collins, Colorado

Description – The City of Fort Collins Senior Center expansion is currently in the design phase. At this time, this public project is working to raise funds through a campaign committee. The project consists of an expansion of the current Senior Center, located on Raintree Drive in Fort Collins, Colorado. The new project will accommodate the ever-expanding senior population, and will house fitness and wellness facilities for the users of the center and will also add additional parking spaces.


Ridgeview Classical School

Start – June 3, 2013

End – August 30, 2013

Size – 7,600 square foot renovation

Type – Education, Charter school

Location – Fort Collins, Colorado

Description – Currently in construction, Ridgeview Classical School is a public K-12 Charter School, chartered through Poudre School District. The challenging renovation was initiated due to growth in the school. The renovation of the stand-alone building will provide six additional high school classrooms and a conference space.

Carrying out small by design school spaces

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In 2011, we wrote about Big Ideas for Small Schools and the small school movement. Mapleton Public Schools’ small by design educational model is one where greater attention to students and increased choice on the part of students and parents, ultimately leads to greater academic success. This educational model was translated into school facilities at the Skyview Campus and our design team created dynamic spaces to intentionally serve the students, here’s a few:


Clayton Intervention

Specialized intervention spaces were developed throughout the building to encourage small group learning and individual assessments.  These transparent spaces provide a window into the development of children while encouraging staff to learn from each other.  Providing locations throughout the building allow for ultimate flexibility.


Project Center

A campus library, utilized by all schools, encouraged Mapleton Public Schools to transform a traditional library within each building into a project center.  Sharing the space between two schools increased flexibility and allows for multiple uses.  Maximizing day lighting, providing a connection to the outdoors and furnishing the project center with flexible furniture allows for presentations, book studies, robotics, painting, individual study and community meetings.   The project center became an integral piece of each school.


Clayton Classroom Extension

In collaboration with the design team, Mapleton converted every square inch of each of the new spaces into usable learning environments. Circulation space is designed to become an extension of classrooms for team building, group meetings and peer to peer development.   The space is at the end of a hallway that connects two wings of the single facility.  This large space transforms into a hub for learning.   Daylighting from large windows increases student comfort and provides connection to the outdoors.  Hard surface flooring and flexible furniture allow for changing activities.


MESA Multi-Use Space

Every space is a learning space. Integrating the large interior classroom windows throughout the corridor encourages students to take their learning beyond the walls of their classroom, while still providing visual control and supervision. MESA students learn through the arts, this learning style formed the building design. Hard surface floors are integrated for multiple activities, walls are covered with self-healing tack boards to encourage display of student art and adjacencies were designed with other subjects, further encouraging connection and collaboration between subject areas.


The attention to the detail, both large and small, at Mapleton Public Schools enhances learning at every turn.  Students within the District have fabulous spaces to learn and grow thanks to their small by design model.

Project Spotlight: Coquille Valley Hospital – Part Two

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To read Part One, click here.

Healthcare is a large part of a rural community’s economy. Threatening the overall economic viability would have a severe ripple effect throughout the community, and in an era of increasingly limited resources, many pieces would need to be juggled to make this happen.

In order to deliver value, the first element of design consideration is in the design of the process. The most important element was a recognition that in order to be successful, multiple perspectives would need to be considered, often simultaneously. CVH hired three advisors to help with the initial planning: Stroudwater Associates to do strategic and business planners, The Neenan Company for departmental space planning, site assessments, and design-build services, and Dougherty Mortgage for access to financing. The second element of the process design was collaboration by the three firms, along with the CVH stakeholders, to work as a team through the evaluation of market conditions, strategic planning and project implementation. As advisors, the three firm’s collected and evaluated market data, conceived of alternative operational strategies and facility solutions within a sustainable financing threshold. Then engaged CVH stakeholders – physicians, staff, the board, and executive leadership-in the process through a day long facilitated planning session to coalesce alignment for an ideal solution. The goal, to engage stakeholders in understanding their market data, market capture, possible strategies for growing and enhancing patient care service lines, forecasted financial modeling of operations to support expanded and new services within a sustainable capital budget, space needs to deliver care, and financing options. As one might expect, this is a full agenda met initially with apprehension by the stakeholders.

The Collaborative Design meeting was held in a community meeting room with over stakeholders 30 in attendance. Many were openly wary of sitting through a full day of consulting reports, but early on, they became engaged in team exercises, group reporting, and collective learning. The orthopedic surgeon confessed at the conclusion of the meeting: “I told the surgical staff I’d likely be back in 30 minutes, as I was as excited about this required event as I was about having my routine endoscopy…I’ve participated in a lot of meetings in my careers, and this was the best ever.” This sentiment was broadly shared and the result from this process: Dr. Sinnott’s, Dennis Zielinski’s and The Board’s vision now had a broad base of support.

The vision for the facility and the practical manifestation of that vision went through multiple iterations. Through the teaming of Stroudwater, Neenan, Dougherty, and CVH, each scenario was tested and retested against the strategic, financial, and operational goals. The models to evaluate various solutions were designed to be flexible and manipulated quickly, a process that saves a tremendous amount of time, increases engagement, and reduces the costs of misunderstanding and re-work furthering value. Designers use the market information to drive space needs, adjacencies are evaluated for operating cost savings, capital and operations are modeled financially and tested against the debt capacity and long term sustainability. All of this in real time with the stakeholders present. Playing “what if” scenarios out and seeing the financial results, for example, ensures that the design solution remains feasible.

This approach to planning was validated through a successful financing of the facility via the US Department of Housing and Urban Developments (“HUD”) Office of Insured Healthcare Facilities – 242 mortgage insurance program. This mortgage insurance program places the full faith of the US treasury as guarantor of the debt financing for qualified hospitals that results in a cost of capital drastically below what a rural hospital like CVH could get on its own. HUD staff are experienced hospital operators and bankers, and through their thorough review, they complimented CVH on how the facility was designed to: increase patient throughput while reducing FTE’s per patient encounter; respond to the market’s healthcare needs; all within a sustainable capital budget and financing. Collaboration by the three consulting firms who all have significant experience with HUD’s mortgage insurance program provided for an expedited mortgage insurance approval which allowed CVH to access year end 2010 expiring Build America Bonds.  A program brought forth by the Obama administration created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to stimulate the economy.  This further reduced the costs of barrowing to CVH bringing the net interest rate to 3.65%. A tremendous value at the time when taxable debt was trading at 5.5% to 7%.

The Triple Aim’s value formula—better care for populations, better quality and at lower per capita costs—is playing out in both the public and private market. Rural communities play an important role, through the provision of primary care, diagnostic and outpatient services, in improving health and managing total spend. CVH’s facility investment has positioned it for success in this environment. The service area population is receiving better care with the recruitment of Internal Medicine physician Dr. Douglas Crane to the campus, with expanded and more easily accessible outpatient diagnostics, private patient rooms, all at a lower costs with staff because of departmental adjacencies being able to cover more than one modality of care., therefore being less idle and more productive and all funded at an incredibly low interest rate of 3.65%.

Volumes per service line have increased across the board, representing an increase in CVH market capture. Service area patients are now electing to get care locally rather than driving out of the service area. With enhanced market capture of its service area population Coquille Valley is better positioned to be managing the overall health of its region positioning CVH for coming population health management, the ultimate goal in moving from Volume to Value.


Michael Curtis


Project Spotlight: Coquille Valley Hospital – Part One

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Sitting up on high an Oregon coastal hillside situated among former log mill directors home sites stands the original 1960 Coquille Valley Hospital (“CVH”). Built by a consortium of the three regional logging mills for the care of their employees and families the rural critical access hospital’s inpatient design had been modified considerably to accommodate a maze of outpatient diagnostic and surgical services. The initial vision behind a replacement hospital was the CEO’s, the Board members, and prominent local primary care physician. Dr. Sinnott, a primary care physician that had practiced in the community for 32 years. Like many rural hospitals and physicians, Dr. Sinnott, Dennis Zielinski CEO and their hospital staff’s dedication to their patients is tireless, not only in providing them with the best care through new medical procedures and technologies, but also in advocating for the sustainability of local healthcare that would long outlast them all. Dennis a former Phoenix area health system strategic planner and affiliate hospital CEO, the Board and Dr. Sinnott wanted to leave a legacy. More practically, they wanted to ensure Coquille Valley Hospital had a place that would attend to the evolving out and inpatient care needs of their community while being an attractive recruitment tool for new physicians after Dr. Sinnott’s and his peer physicians retirement.


The facility’s design has achieved its original vision, and more. As Dr. Sinnott practices the last few remaining months of his career, the number of new physicians practicing in Coquille is growing, including the region’s top performing Internist, who chose to move from the neighboring larger community of Coos Bay to become the busiest, top referring employed physician.


National studies have demonstrated that facilities make a huge difference in recruiting physicians to rural areas. Physicians are afforded a quality of life and practice through the design of patient-centered clinic and hospital spaces. The single occupancy patient rooms each positioned with spectacular views of a timbered ravine and the lush, open meandering, Coquille River Valley to the west are the best patient care rooms in the region according to Dr. Douglas Crane. “I appreciate the patient centered diagnostic imaging, lab, surgery, and infusion therapy spaces that are all co-located conveniently on the 3rd floor of the new hillside hospital adjacent on grade to my new clinic. This proximity of diagnostic services significantly improves my patient’s experience and increases patient compliance with my diagnostic referrals thereby enhancing their and my value of the encounter.”


Facilities must clearly be more than a means to recruit physicians, however. The stakeholders who followed their original vision—Dr. Sinnott, Dennis Zielinski, the Board, staff and the community—also knew that to preserve access to care, the facility investment needed to be sustainable.

To read Part Two, click here.

Michael Curtis

Summer Reading List – Not Just for the Beach

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We all love the summer beach read.  You know the ones you don’t want to put down.  When’s the last time you read a book that had direct relevance and potential for impact on your business?  We have recently come across two books that have done just that; The Speed of Trust, by Stephen M.R. Covey and The Commercial Real Estate Revolution by Miller, Strombom, Iammarino, and Black.  Both texts offer insight into how to improve your business by working together, creating trust-based teams, building competence, and having integrity.

At Neenan, when we come across a book that sparks our interest, we get a group of people together to read and discuss sections of the book.  We meet weekly with a specific agenda to share what was relevant to our firm and what actions we can take to improve our work based on the author’s recommendations.  We call these groups “study action teams,” with emphasis on action.

I consider The Speed of Trust to be the definitive text on how to behave in a way that expresses character and competence which leads to high levels of trust.  Covey offers 13 behaviors that build personal credibility which leads to relationship and organizational trust.  Our group is focusing on specific ways we can increase trust on our project teams.

The Commercial Real Estate Revolution offers an accurate view of the construction industry.  If you are considering building a building or getting into the industry, I highly recommend it.  The authors detail the challenges within the industry and offer nine keys to lowering cost, cutting waste, and driving change.  Our study action team focused on how to improve the way we market our integrated design and construction offer.  The author’s perspective gave us insight into how to make key changes in our process.

We have found great benefit to bringing together a group of people to learn and problem solve based on the expert advice offered in the books.  As side benefits, we have expanded our world view and built relationships across the company.  If you are considering starting your own study action team based on a book that sparks your professional interest, feel free to contact me.  I would be glad to offer a little guidance based on our experience.  I happen to know of a few great beach reads too!


A Commitment to Ethics

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The Neenan Company has always stood for delivering what we have promised despite the challenges of doing so. Ever since David Neenan decided it would be better to complete a project instead of declaring bankruptcy back in the 1970’s, The Neenan Company took action to do what’s right instead of doing what they could get away with. Instead of laying blame and shedding responsibility, David decided to combine the design and construction process in order to ensure the company was able to take responsibility for the whole process and deliver on its promises.

Our ethical foundation has been codified in a Vision, Mission, “Rules of the Game,” Code of Conduct, Key Behaviors, and Conduct in the Workplace Policy. It is transmitted in all-employee training sessions and meeting reminders, in posters throughout our headquarters, and in everyday role modeling by Neenan leaders and rank-and-file. We live it.

When a roof began to separate from a structure after a wind event six years ago, we wasted no time providing a repair of hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of waiting for an insurance claim to be paid or the subcontractor responsible for the deficient work to do the repairs.It would not have been right to hold up repairs while waiting for the responsible source of payment to respond.

When we received a second structural peer review showing deficiencies to the Meeker School structure, our response was to fix it as soon as possible instead of arguing about whether the issue was as large as presented. Again, we began repairs before receiving insurance proceeds or bringing in attorneys. We began to review other school projects for similar problems and when we found issues at other schools, we moved quickly with the repairs. When we became aware of our structural engineer letting his license lapse during a period of time before and after his employment with us, we contacted past clients and let them know we would provide a structural engineering review for their project without cost. When issues were uncovered in some other buildings, we provided the repairs and helped ensure our client’s total satisfaction. We ended up reviewing designs for nearly 100 buildings and repairing all those that we found problems with.

You see, structural engineering is more of an art than an exact science and creates debate among many of our reviewing engineers. Instead of putting our clients in the middle of such arguments, I am happy to report that our structural repairs are 98% complete; and that during this entire process none of our clients had to spend anything for attorney fees and we can hold our heads high that we did the right thing. While others embark on lengthy litigation to avoid responsibility, we have resolved issues on dozens of buildings in less time than it takes one litigation case to be resolved and we are proud of that fact.


Renewed Leadership – Q&A with Neenan’s new COO

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Recently, The Neenan Company president, Randy Myers, appointed David Shigekane as the new Chief Operating Officer. David is a Colorado State University Alumni, and Director of the High School Lacrosse program for Poudre School District.

In a statement Randy Myers said, “I believe that David has strong skills regarding operations and the company will benefit from more of his leadership. Over the years that I have worked with David, he has shown a strong desire to serve the client and has consistently put the needs of his staff above his own. These are values that I share and they are very important for someone in the COO role.”

I had an opportunity to sit down and chat with David about his perspective on Neenan as a company, and also gained some insight into him personally.


 Why did you come to TNC and why have you stayed?

I was ready to leave the construction industry when I came to The Neenan Company. A friend of mine from grad school who was an employee at Neenan, suggested to me that I come interview with the company before making that decision. Having worked for three other construction companies prior to Neenan, I had reached a point where my job was so stressful that it was beginning to affect my health. I took a chance on meeting with Neenan based on my trust in him.

When I came to interview at Neenan, I was surprised by the fact that they were interested in me as a person. They wanted to know about my experiences and strengths and were less interested in my project management skills.

In my experience, when it comes to money at other companies, things like values seem to disappear. Neenan not only talks the talk, they walk the walk.


What did you love about working at Neenan 15 years ago?

When I started at Neenan 15 years ago, I appreciated the entrepreneurial spirit. What I mean by that is that Neenan is open to different ways of doing things. People cared about the outcomes that were being produced versus the bureaucracy. At Neenan, I didn’t have to wear a suit to be successful.


What do you love about TNC now?

Neenan provides more than just a job to me, it transcends any job, and it’s my life. By that, I don’t mean that all I do is work, I mean I can be the same husband, coach, and manager at Neenan than I am at home. To me working at Neenan is about wholeness. Neenan has the same values that I have, Responsibility; Integrity; Accountability; Courage; and Freedom.


What is your proudest moment to date at TNC?

During the structural opportunities, that we faced almost two years ago. When we faced an unknown in the company, David and Randy did not hesitate to do the right thing. There were no behind-the-door discussions. They showed tremendous leadership, and because of that I have never been more proud to work for this company; it really connected me to it.


What is your proudest moment to date personally?

Really, it’s a multitude of proud moments from coaching lacrosse and swimming. I feel proud when I hear from people, and they share with me the lessons they have learned, and knowing that I’ve made a difference in a kid’s life.


What keeps you up at night?

The biggest thing is, how I am going to create a sustainable company that others can get what I’ve been able to get out of it.


What are your goals for TNC in the next year? Five years?

I want to get us back to being a cutting edge company. We add so much value to the client at such a competitive cost, I want others to follow and mimic that.

And I also want our employees to feel like they’re number one here. It’s important to me that we create a culture that exudes pride in this company. It’s easier to sell something that you believe in.