Pre Engineerd Metal Bldg

Small Towns Provide Success and Opportunities

 Broad Street in Edenton, NC is thriving

Broad Street in Edenton, NC is thriving

A. R. Chesson Construction has been featured in the April 2018 issue of Construction In Focus. The article focuses on the success and opportunities found in small towns in rural Eastern North Carolina, such as those found in Edenton. We would like to thank the Boyd Agency and Roberson Heating and Air as partners serving with us in Eastern North Carolina.

Written by Margaret Patricia Eaton
It’s a real privilege to work with A. R. Chesson Construction and quite frankly a joy,” says Anne-Marie Knighton, Town Manager of Edenton, NC. “They are professional, they are smart, and they deliver a great product.”

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And deliver A. R. Chesson Construction continues to do. With $16 million worth of construction projects either recently completed or breaking ground in Edenton, the company, founded by president and owner Al Chesson in 1981, is sensitive to the needs of small communities. “We want to make a positive difference in the footprint and the landscape,” Chesson says, referring to work the company has done in both the historic center, such as the intricate Flemish bond brick and white colonnaded addition to the 1817 Edenton Baptist Church, new distribution centers and manufacturing facilities in the surrounding industrial areas, and volunteer projects designed to give back to the community.

Speaking of engaging with the broader community, there is also the proactive stance the company takes toward employment opportunities for minority groups. “We like to think of ourselves as being representative of the population,” Chesson says, noting that twenty percent of its employees are women, unusual in a workforce that remains dominated by men. “And we are proud to have smart, capable and talented women working with us. They do a wonderful job and they’re great team members.”
Named by Forbes as “One of the Prettiest Towns in America,” Edenton (population 5,500) is located where Pembroke Creek meets the Albemarle Sound. Founded in 1712, it’s the first permanent European settlement in what is now the state of North Carolina.
Its historic district contains the Lane House (1719), the oldest known house still in existence in the state; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (1736); the Chowan County Courthouse (1767); and the Barker House (1783), which commemorates the life of Penelope Barker, the first recorded female political protester. In 1774 she organized the “Edenton Tea Party” in which 51 women petitioned George III, saying ‘No’ to taxes on tea and cloth.

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A. R. Chesson Construction’s involvement with Edenton dates to the mid-1990s, and includes serving in 2012 as the general con- tractor for the restoration and relocation of the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse, the last remaining screw-pile lighthouse in North Carolina. After it was decommissioned, it sat neglected on land, in a state of disrepair, but it’s now situated once again on piles within the harbor breakwater and managed as a tourist attraction by the Edenton Historical Commission.
“We don’t tend to build new in the historic district,” Knighton explains. “We tend to restore and repurpose. But our new police station was a special project and Al and his team were great to work with. It was under budget and finished on time and a real asset to our police department, the town and the neighborhood in which it’s located.”

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“There’s a need to walk the fine line between balancing growth and development opportunities while at the same time protecting the historical character of our small towns,” explains Mitchell Ayers, the company’s technology specialist and one of four staff designers. “We consult with planning officials to make sure our designs work with their requirements and are sensitive to its historic nature.”
The 9,940 square foot police building, a mix of structural steel, metal studs and brick veneer, designed by Oakley Collier Architects, Rocky Mount, NC did just that. But while the exterior is traditional in appearance, the interior is a thoroughly modern facility.

One million employee hours, no lost days

Not only was Knighton thrilled with the result, she was thrilled when Chesson requested the police station job site as a venue to celebrate the company’s safety record of one million employee hours with no lost days due to accidents or injuries. The award was presented by the North Carolina Commissioner of Labor and it was inspiring, she says. “It motivated us as an organization and as an employer to work harder on our own safety programs for our employees. I think it’s enormously impressive.”
In addition to that milestone record, the company is looking forward to receiving its 13th Consecutive Gold Award for Safety in April. Chesson is rightfully proud of those accomplishments and the culture of safety the company has developed. “We have a full- time safety officer and he’s informed and constantly updating us with safety procedures, operations and inspections, so safety becomes an expectation. Our employees and our sub-contractors are using tools, up on lifts and scaffolds; it can be dangerous work, so it’s something we take seriously. We want to prevent people from getting injured so day-to-day training is mandatory.”

Constructing facilities for a viable economy

While Edenton enjoys its ‘prettiest town’ reputation, it’s more than just a pretty face. It’s a hard-working town whose manufacturing and distribution centers located outside the historic area are growing and providing employment, thanks to a combination of five major projects which were either completed in the last 12 months or will be completed by the end of 2018 by A. R. Chesson Construction.

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There’s the Colony Tire Headquarters competed in 2017, a 6,827 square foot design-build pre-engineered metal building which Ayers describes as a “combination of EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System) with metal stud interior and cultured stone exterior.” Adjacent to it will be the new Colony Tire Distribution Center which broke ground in February.
Close by is Regulator Marine which, since 1988, has been building deep-vee console sport fishing boats up to 41 feet long and selling them worldwide. “We’ve been working with them for a while,” Ayers says. “We currently are working on three design-build projects to expand their existing facilities. We are adding a new 12,000 square feet pre-engineered metal storage building, adding nearly 35,000 square feet to an existing structure to house their new assembly process, and expanding their lamination facility by 8,000 square feet.”

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“We want to make a positive difference in the footprint and the landscape.”
Owen Maxwell, Vice President Product Development at Regulator, says that business leaders in Edenton are committed to maintaining a strong economy by providing good employment in rural eastern North Carolina. Likewise, small communities like Edenton can provide the opportunity, resources, and employees to allow businesses like Regulator and Colony Tire to thrive.

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Adjacent to Edenton’s historic area is a 20,455 square foot design-build project to replace the Kellogg Supply Company (motto: “Everything to build anything”) which was destroyed by fire on October 26, 2016. Fortunately no one was inside when the fire started, however the 70-year old building and all contents were lost. “Once again, we worked with the town planners to make sure the design fit into the character of the area that surrounds the building,” Chesson says. While it will be a pre-engineered metal building on a concrete slab it will have a cementitious horizontal siding façade in keeping with local traditional building finishes.
“In all of our design-build projects, we take a common sense, practical approach to green building and energy efficiency and we apply green technology appropriately, making it cost-effective for the owners to operate,” Chesson adds.
Just outside the town and presently under construction is the Chowan County Maintenance Assembly Office, a North Carolina Department of Transportation building. Like the police department, this was a publicly bid job with Chesson awarded the contract.
The Town of Edenton, through its continued relationship with A. R. Chesson Construction, has managed to realize the best of both worlds. Its cherished historic ambiance is being preserved while at the same time, there is growth and development and employment opportunities. Instead of disappearing as so  many small towns across North America are doing,  Edenton has bucked the trend and proved to be the exception. And in addition to that, neighborly helpfulness is flourishing.

Habitat for Humanity

Sally Holloway, president  of  Chowan-Perquimans  Habitat  for Humanity (HFH), echoes Knighton when she describes working with A. R. Chesson Construction’s staff.  “What  a joy!” she says, recalling how the company chose to partner with HFH two years ago and has since volunteered to erect two houses, one in Edenton and the other in the neighboring county.

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“We order kits, not pre-manufactured houses,” Holloway says, “and normally it takes our HFH volunteers weeks to put up because it’s heavy work. The kit has gotten heavier because the codes have changed. They used to be 2 x 4s but now they’re 2 x 6s, so that makes it a lot heavier for our people because most of us are retirees,” she explains. 
“But A. R. Chesson Construction came in with their crew of volunteers, people with the expertise to make sure it was done safely and properly. Al was leading by example, up on the roof, and to have a president and owner do that is quite incredible. They had that house framed in a day, including installing the house wrap and putting the wood sheathing on the roof so it was secure, and it was done on one of the hottest days of the year,” she shares.
“It was like in the Wizard of Oz. You blink, and a house appears on the ground. The homeowner told me she drove past the site on her way to work in the morning and there was just the slab foundation and when she came home the house was standing. She called it miraculous and says for her and her two children it’s like coming home to Christmas every day.”

A good decision

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Al Chesson graduated in 1977 from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. “I was intending to be a banker or stockbroker when I went to college,” he recalls, “but I’d worked my way through high school and college working construction. Construction sort of gets in one’s blood and I decided I liked it a lot better than sitting in an office.” After working for a few years as a construction site superintendent, he says, “I decided in 1981 to hang out my own shingle.”
People in North Carolina are glad he did.

Ground Breaking for the New Columbia Duck Thru

 Proposed Rendering

Proposed Rendering

A. R. Chesson Construction, along with subcontractor Stevenson Sand, has broken ground for the newest Duck Thru convenience store in Columbia. NC.  This is a Design-Build PEMB project. Duck Thru’s parent company is Jernigan Oil Company. With nearly 50 stores in eastern North Carolina, Duck Thru is a favorite with locals and visitors alike. 

The superintendent for this project is Kent Manning. The project manager is Doug Chesson.

 Stevenson Sand performing initial site work

Stevenson Sand performing initial site work

 Stevenson Sand performing initial site work

Stevenson Sand performing initial site work

 

 

The Outer Banks Voice - KDH finishes Public Works Complex, capping 8-year project

The Outer Banks Voice featured our recently completed KDH Public Works Project.

 Interior of the fleet maintenance building. (Katrina Mae Leuzinger-Owens outerbanksvoice.com

Interior of the fleet maintenance building. (Katrina Mae Leuzinger-Owens outerbanksvoice.com

Das Danmine Youth Center Grand Opening

The Das Danmine Youth Center is an after school facility that serves children and youth of all ages and encompass a range of focus areas including mentoring, academic support, sports, and recreation. The after school program offeredbenefits the community by allowing the children to spend time in a productive and safe manner while the parents are at work. The overall goal for the program is to help youth improve their classroom behavior, academic performance, and even their health.  The recreational center is open from 3:30pm to 7:00pm which allows time for the children to complete their homework, ask for assistance from provided tutors, then engage in recreational activities. 

The Das Danmine Youth Center held its official Grand Opening on Saturday November 19th. Children and youth of all ages throughout the local community toured the after school facility, while also engaging in a few recreational activities which included ping pong, arcade games, basketball, and even an inflatable bounce house. 

 

Edenton Police Department

The groundbreaking for the new Edenton Police Department was held on June 15th. The new 9,440 S.F. structure will be build on an almost 1 acre site located at the corner of Oakum and Albemarle Streets in Edenton, NC.  The building will be constructed of structural steel and metal stud framing with masonry secure walls and a painted brick exterior façade.    This is the largest capital  building project the Town of Edenton has ever constructed.  The project manager is Adam Hughes. The superintendent is Dennis Bousman.

SPCA Animal Shelter

 

The SPCA of Elizabeth City is complete and is currently providing shelter for many furry friends while they await a good home. The new shelter is based in a former commercial building the SPCA acquired from Phillip Harrington Enterprises for $300,000 in September 2011. A new south side addition to the building features numerous dog runs and a laundry room.

Building Success for Thirty Five Years

 PEMB Article can be found on page 94

PEMB Article can be found on page 94

A. R. Chesson Construction's PEMB Division was featured in the March 2016 issue of Business In Focus magazine. The article, written by Claire Suttles, is featured below.

A. R. Chesson Construction has been providing a comprehensive portfolio of construction services since 1981.  Over the last 35 years, the company has grown to fill three offices in eastern North Carolina and expanded its operations to cover more than three states. 

The A. R. Chesson Construction team has also developed areas of specialization to include general contracting, design/build services, traditional bid services, project management, pre-construction consultation, construction management, and pre-engineered buildings.

“Since launching the division less than five years ago, pre-engineered sales have skyrocketed to make up 14% of A. R. Chesson Construction’s business.”

Pre-engineered metal buildings are quickly becoming one of the company’s key specialties.  Since launching the division less than five years ago, pre-engineered sales have skyrocketed to make up 14% of A. R. Chesson Construction’s business.  The company had been selling pre-engineered buildings for decades, but when Kirk Nixon joined the team five years ago, it was seamless to utilize the industry insider’s experience and take things to the next level by creating a specific division for pre-engineered services to advance the business. 

“He has a lifetime of experience in pre-engineered operations, so it was a proper fit,” says Regional Vice-President Ed Powell.  “When we could have somebody like Kirk at the helm it just made good business sense for us to go forward.”  Mr. Nixon immediately stepped into the newly created role of Vice President of the Pre-engineered Metal Building Division – and sales   shattered previous goals

“As a Metallic Building Systems Authorized Builder, A. R. Chesson Construction is partnered with one of the highest-ranked national manufacturers of metal buildings.”

As a Metallic Building Systems Authorized Builder, A. R. Chesson Construction is partnered with one of the highest-ranked national manufacturers of metal buildings.  Metallic’s high quality, economical building systems include wall and roof panel systems in addition to total framing systems. 

Utilizing these pre-engineered systems has some obvious advantages.  Because buildings are prefabricated offsite, costs and build times are slashed substantially.  “You can begin the engineering process as soon as the project is approved to move forward,” Mr. Nixon explains.  “The building can even be fabricated before site work is started.  By the time you are ready for a building pad, the pre-engineered metal building can be delivered to the site and then [be put into place] immediately.“ We are able to better service our customer’s budgetary and time constraints using an offsite fabricated system.  Pre-engineered buildings also give builders more freedom to create larger spans.  “Pre-engineered allows the user to get that wide span that a wooden structure would not allow you to do,” says Mr. Powell.    

A. R. Chesson Construction’s pre-engineered metal buildings are remarkably versatile.  “They can be used for just about any application,” says Mr. Nixon.  From commercial strip malls to warehouses and car dealerships, if you have four walls and a roof you can pretty much do it out of pre-engineered metal building.

Company priorities

“We have gone ten consecutive years without a loss time injury.”

A. R. Chesson Construction  maintains an outstanding safety record.  “We have gone ten consecutive years without a loss time injury,” says Project Manager Damon Frazier.  “There aren’t many companies out there – especially in construction that have achieved that.”  This remarkable safety achievement has earned the team ten consecutive Gold Safety Awards from the North Carolina Department of Labor. The company has also been recognized for its quality and volume of work, in addition to its safety achievements, and has been repeatedly been awarded Kirby Building Systems Builder of the Year as well as Metallic Building Company Builder of the Year.

Promoting rigorous safety standards daily has been a foundational strategy for success.  “We strive every day to instill a culture of safety,” Mr. Frazier remarks.  “And this is to the benefit of everybody who is working on our jobs, whether it’s our employees as well as inspectors or our subcontractors.”  To maintain the highest safety standards, the company employs a full time corporate safety officer who “keeps us in compliance with OSHA standards,” says Mr. Powell.  In addition, the company is careful only to team with subcontractors that adhere to the same strict safety policies that A. R. Chesson Construction maintains.

“Being green and sustainable can also be cost effective.”

Sustainability is another key company focus.  The team strives to find solutions that benefit both the environment and a client’s bottom line.  “We take a common sense approach,” Mr. Nixon explains.  “Being green and sustainable can also be cost effective.  We look at doing things that are going to benefit the client and [give them] a return on their investment.”  To this end, the company has three LEED accredited professionals on staff to ensure that sustainability metrics are fully and successfully met.     

No matter what the project, the team makes it a point to stick to the company values.  “We are a “Golden Rule company,” Mr. Powell says.  “Do unto others is a thing that we adhere to.”  This includes maintaining open, honest communication with everyone with whom they do business.  “We are straight forward.  We deal [with people] in an old fashioned kind of way, of honor and integrity.“ The team’s commitment to the Golden Rule is also reflected in activities that go beyond their own place of business.  “We certainly believe in being contributors in the community,” Mr. Powell remarks.  “We are very much involved in overall business development in our communities.”

Looking ahead

A. R. Chesson Construction’s adaptability will help the company continue to advance.   Adaptability has long been a necessity due to the rural nature of the company’s home base.  “We live in northeastern North Carolina so we have to be available and able to work just about any type job, no matter how small or how large,” Mr. Powell points out.  “There is not enough work in our geographical proximity, so we work throughout Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; we have to be mobile.    We adapt to available work opportunities if we are competitive and productive.”  This attitude became particularly crucial during the most recent recession.  “When the economy tanked in 2009 and 2010, job opportunities were not available and we had to go where the work was.”

The team also expanded their scope of work during the lean times, developing a niche specialty retrofitting roofs.  “As the economy got tight, people weren’t building new warehouses or [other] large facilities,” Mr. Nixon recalls.  “They were deciding to repair and retrofit their existing facilities.”  This line of work continues to look promising.  “We think that we have a pretty good future in roof retrofits.  There is a lot of aging infrastructure.” 

The team continues to operate successfully throughout a three state region while also maintaining a strong local business.  “We certainly get our share of the market that is here,” Mr. Powell says.  In addition to numerous corporate clients, the federal government continues to be a promising and rewarding client.  “Within a hundred miles in several directions, there is quite a bit of military work available,” says Mr. Powell.

The team is optimistic although they do not foresee the industry returning to prerecession boom levels.  “I think we are not going to go back to the glory days of construction any time soon,” Mr. Powell predicts.  “But I think we are well positioned to move forward.”  He points out that the company was not only able to maintain its business during the recession but to actually add a new division.  “We have been able to venture into pre-engineered systems, and we are looking at a healthy future.” 

This promising future continues to build on a strong foundation planted over three decades ago.  “When Al Chesson started the company 35 years ago, he hired talented employees. We continue to develop a great staff of people who are innovative and self-motivating,” Mr. Powell points out.  “We continue to capitalize on that standard.”

 

Ark Church Completed

A. R. Chesson Construction completed a new facility for Ark Church in Nags Head, NC. The structure, roof, and exterior wall panels were provided and erected by the ARCC PEMB division. The new 13,211 sq. ft. facility will be used as a family life center.  The building has cooking and dining areas for church functions, a full basketball court, and an indoor batting cage. The basketball court will double as a roller skating rink accommodating hundreds of youth for the weekly Friday night roller skating event.  Adam Hughes was the Project Manager and  Greg Peck was the superintendent

Eastern Elementary Gymnasium

The ground breaking of the new Eastern Elementary Gymnasium in Washington, NC, was held in December with several ARCC staff in attendance and pictured to the right.   This new facility will be over 8,100 sq. ft.  The project includes components to be provided and erected by the ARCC’s Pre-Engineered Metal Building Division and is expected to be completed and ready for use in the Fall 2016.  The Project Manager is Will Gautier and the site superintendent is Clint Hardison.  For more info go to archesson.com/0001

Nasemond Cold Storage

Our PEMB division recently completed renovations for Nasemond Cold Storage at 190 County Road in Suffolk, VA. All panels were removed from the existing metal building and replaced with new 4” insulated panels on the roof and walls, new roof sheets on loading dock shelter and new interior wall liner panels. The new panels along, with the new cooling system will allow the owner to maintain a temperature of 65 degree’s to store peanuts.

A. R. Chesson Construction wins bid for KDH public works complex upgrade

The Town of Kill Devil Hills NC intends to award Public Works Phase II project to A. R. Chesson Construction. 

The project includes:

  • Enlargement of the existing Police Department storage building;
  • Exterior facade replacement at the existing Public Works Administration Building;
  • Expansion of the existing Public Works Administration Building;
  • New design-build of a 7,000 square feet PEMB Fleet Maintenance facility
  • Construction of a new fuel island for usage and storage of 22,000 gallon diesel and gasoline for KDH Town use.