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January 08 97 with the designers,” Brennan says, because the project would only work for the developer if a certain per-foot construction price could be achieved. “Once we won the contract, we made sure we were all on the same page,” with everything down to window details worked out on the drawing board ahead of time with Turner’s input. As a result, the project “went like clockwork” once work began. Those types of challenging projects are where Turner seems to have found its niche. “That’s where we like to be,” Brennan says. “If there’s a 200,000 square foot offi ce building that’s basically being built to spec, you can probably get somebody else to do it cheaper. But if you’ve got a project that’s got some technical challenge diffi culty, we think we can come in and bring our brains and knowledge and help get that project done for the lowest fi nal cost.” TurnerConstruction,Arlington $14 billion Institute has ever built for itself and presented plenty of construction challenges. The project has won a slew of architectural and building awards and is unique in the way Turner went about directly choosing subcontractors through a design complete competition. Subcontractors presented guaranteed maximum fi nal prices and were involved in the design process, which helped cut down on later claims for additional costs. “The owners were very happy with the fi nal result,” Brennan says. A similar approach was used when Turner built the Patent and Trademark Offi ce in Alexandria, Virginia. In that case, Turner was pre-selected to be the builder part of a team that competed for the right to develop the facility, a massive project with 2.4 million square feet of offi ce space in six buildings and two 4,500-car parking garages. “We needed to have a really strong alignment

98 January 08 Kate Sawyer investigates a third-generation enclosure and meter socket manufacturer that knows how to change with the times Charlie Milbank had an eye for opportunity. He opened the doors to his high-voltage switch manufacturing company, Milbank Manufacturing Co., before the Great Depression in 1927. During WWII, demand for products changed, and Charlie decided his company could aid the war effort by supplying metal clips to hold runway mats together for planes landing on temporary airfields. Following the war, Milbank changed its course again to manufacture building enclosures for A-base watt-hour meters— and there it found its niche. The post-war building boom created high demand for the enclosures by utility companies throughout the country. Despite the changing times and company focus, Milbank has always held onto its family values of listening closely and delivering more than expected. Without its unfailing commitment to the customer, and a loyal customer base spanning nearly 80 years, it would not be what it is today. The Kansas City, Missouri-based company has grown to employ 1,000 people in five manufacturing facilities. With more than 10,000 different catalog items, it services the electric utility, contractor, wholesale distribution, industrial, and OEM industries. Through a national network of manufacturer representatives, Milbank supplies meter sockets, commercial service pedestals, electrical enclosures, RV and mobile home pedestals, and air conditioner disconnects. As industry meter standards change, Milbank successfully adapts its product line to satisfy new requirements, while still producing topnotch materials. It has a full-scale engineering department dedicated to designing products to meet customer specifications while also satisfying all utility requirements. According to John Siglock, director of product development at Milbank, most people don’t think twice about the design of a product unless it doesn’t work well. “They’re unaware of the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure standards are met as well as set,” he said in a 2005 company publication. “They rely on those of us in the electrical industry (not to mention insurance underwriters) to be mindful of the hard costs associated with a lack of quality standards.” But building a quality product isn’t enough. Siglock says the company has to anticipate customer needs at the development stage. “We want to make sure we speak their language,” he said. “Our commitment ensures our ability to respond to customer needs, keep the end user safe, and High ratings