Food Engineering Article: “2018 Plant Construction Survey: Rising Rate of Food & Beverage Plant Renovations / Expansions.”

Sam Thurber, PMP, Senior Project Manager, and Jens Ebert, PE, PMP, Division Manager at SSOE Group, were recently featured in this article in Food Engineering magazine. Based on the publication’s annual survey, expansion and renovation projects in 2017 far surpassed the number of new construction projects—accounting for 73.8% of all food and beverage projects reported. Many in the industry attribute this to companies wanting to meet regulatory requirements, get products to market more quickly, and meet production demand. Continue Reading →

Construction Safety Talk Series: The Fatal Four

So many different activities occur in the construction industry, and with those activities come risk; at times, high risk. In 2014, 20% of workplace fatalities occurred in the construction industry, totaling 874 deaths. The Bureau of Labor Statistics identified four causes of death that were responsible for over half of those construction worker fatalities. Continue Reading →

What is VDC?

Defining VDC has been a particularly difficult task, both at SSOE and throughout our industry. Is it simply enhanced 3D or BIM? (No; we’ll talk more about that in an upcoming post.) How can we say Project X and Y are both VDC projects when they were executed so differently? (The answer has to do with VDC being a delivery system that tailors a strategy for each project rather than a list of deliverables or technologies employed. We’ll talk a little bit about this next week as well.) The term “virtual” may be what is causing some of this confusion. Many hear “virtual” and think of a fancy new software. Perhaps we need more focus on “design and construction.” The true shift is that the divide between these two groups is blurring which is enhancing the approaches we can use to deliver projects. To help clarify the distinction between VDC and the components that make it up, we’ve developed this Venn diagram, and the corresponding definition in the center. You’ll see that the technologies, teams, and strategies employed by VDC can each exist outside of VDC. VDC “happens” when the technological tools (many that are well-established at SSOE, some that are relatively new to the industry, and some that are still in development) are utilized to bring together teams and  project strategies that have always been ideal—but never possible—because of barriers that existed. At its core, VDC means developing the project strategy that makes the most sense for each project and leveraging technology that makes that approach possible. Think of VDC as an all-encompassing umbrella made up of many components—some technology based and some strategy based. We will talk specifics about these components in coming posts, for now it’s enough to say that VDC is an integrated project delivery system with much more to offer than technology. Continue Reading →

Bob Howell

Bob Howell, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for SSOE Group, began his career with SSOE in 1980. During his tenure at SSOE, he worked his way up from a draftsman trainee through draftsman, designer, senior designer, and project manager. He was with the firm for 10 years before he left to purchase a mechanical construction company. While in construction, he was involved in and responsible for all aspects of EPC project execution, working with SSOE on numerous projects. Bob returned to SSOE in 1993 to help “kick start” the firm’s food sector. He was very influential in the expansion and growth of the Food, Pharmaceutical, and Personal Care sectors -growing the operation into its own Strategic Business Unit (SBU), in 2002 and ultimately taking the helm of all Industrial Process Operations in late 2004. Under his leadership, the Industrial Operations group grew significantly—adding a number of Fortune 500 and International clients to the company’s roster. Bob has been very instrumental in the merger / acquisition of a number of firms beginning in late 2004 and has led the acquisition and integration efforts. He also successfully initiated the organic start-up of a large number of our current offices. Bob was named an associate with the firm in 1990 and a principal in 1999. Bob moved into an International Operations position in late 2008 to assist with SSOE’s expansion globally, specifically Asia. His role included oversight of SSOE’s Asia Pacific Operations and he assisted in growing our Shanghai office into SSOE’s second largest office, he also assisted in initiating our expansion and acquisition of NKS / d-Tech in India. In October 2009, Bob was named the position of Chief Operating Officer where he was accountable for SSOE’s global operations. In this role, he was responsible for the successful execution of business plan strategies, providing overall structure and guidance to the operational units, the implementation of programs to attain growth and profit goals, and the development and direct execution of operating policies to support company objectives. He was instrumental in the formation of SSOE’s Joint Venture with M.E.I., paving the ground for serving clients in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Bob also serves as the Chairman of SSOE & M.E.I. Project Solutions SDN BDN Board of Directors. In December of 2014, Bob was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of SSOE. Bob was elected to SSOE’s Board of Directors in December of 2006; he served as Chairman of the Board from December 2007 - December 2012.   Due to term limits, Bob relinquished his Board seat in 2013 and became a non-voting Board Advisor, he was re-elected to the Board in December of 2013 to begin another three year term on the Board. Bob now serves on the Board as President, concurrent to his term as CEO. Bob is also active in local area Boards, he is involved with Read for Literacy-Board Executive Committee (Vice Chairman); Read for Literacy-Board member (Vice Chairman); University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation, Business Engagement and Leadership Council-(Board member); Homeowner's Association- Board member (President); Homeowner's Continue Reading →

SSOE Group Colon Cancer Awareness Month

One goal of SSOE's Working Well Program is to raise employee health awareness. We have chosen to promote the highest risk areas in our company during National Health Awareness months. The first one recognized in 2014 was Colon Cancer Awareness Month. In late 2013, we lost a dear colleague, Dave DiPofi, to Colon Cancer. As part of the awareness campaign, we posted informational articles on Colon Cancer Awareness and asked for donations to the Colon Cancer Alliance in memory of Dave and others who have had, or are currently suffering from, colon cancer. During our first awareness campaign we were able to raise $2,780; it is great to know that colleagues are willing to donate their hard earned money to help raise awareness. Continue Reading →

2013 Service Awards

In September, SSOE acknowledged service milestones for employees who have been with the firm 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, or 45 years! For the first time, SSOE also celebrated 50 years of service for recent retiree, Tom Thompson. In all, 75 Service Award recipients were recognized. SSOE also celebrates its own milestone this year---our 65th birthday on August 8th! Continue Reading →