Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Gabrielle Lazaro, Communications
Cargill is best known as a world-wide provider of food, agriculture, financial, and industrial products and services. In the Midwest, Cargill’s name is synonymous with beef processing plants and grain storage facilities. In its work to improve existing buildings or construct new facilities, Cargill has frequently turned to Olsson Associates for assistance.
The bond between Cargill and Olsson has only strengthened over the years. In fact, their relationship is so compatible, said Jess Hurlbert, associate engineer for Olsson’s Construction Services team, that Cargill often just calls and tells staff members they need them on site, and staff members are there for them.
“We first contacted them about working out at a job here in Holdrege that we had been hearing about for a while,” Jess said. “With us being local to that particular site, they thought they would give us a shot. We made sure to have good communication with them, we went through their on-site training requirements, and we followed their rules meticulously. They liked our reporting, our responsiveness, and our professionalism. They had mentioned that they had never seen Olsson’s level of reporting, and it apparently set the bar for the other jobs to come.”
From that point on, and for the past year-and-a-half, Olsson has been involved with Cargill for numerous projects, including other sites in Holdrege, O’Neil, Oxford, Heartwell, Motala, Gibbon, Carleton, and Shelton, Nebraska. Olsson has also worked on Cargill’s sites in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, and Wakeeney, Kansas.
For these projects, Olsson has provided survey and construction staking; environmental, geotechnical, site civil, and construction services; special inspections services; and structural services. Projects have included everything from deep and shallow geotechnical foundation design, footing layout and design, and all the inspection that goes along with it.
The three largest projects Olsson has performed for Cargill have been grain handling facility expansions in Holdrege and O’Neil, Nebraska, and Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. For these locations, Olsson has provided on-site testing, material testing, laboratory testing, and reporting, as well as assistance in any way Olsson can on the project management side of things.
“Anything we can do to make it easier on them and help out, they really appreciate,” Jess said.
These large, complex projects have brought some challenges in terms of the number of contractors providing their services. At any given time, six to eight contractors may be working on the project at the same time. Olsson staff members have to coordinate their testing and inspections with the contractors’ schedules to complete the work on time.
“These larger plants are like a puzzle that we have to piece together—and it has to be done within a tight time frame,” Jess said. “If we can get accomplished what Cargill wants us to do without affecting their schedule, that is what they want to see.
“Cargill is extremely safety conscious,” Jess continued. “We need to be certified with them before we can even set foot on site. Safety is the most important thing to them, so we need to show them that it is the most important thing to us as well. We completed a few months of work with them, gained that confidence with them, and now it is like we ‘made the team.’ If they need something, they give us a call.”