Des Moines, IA (February 2013) – Neumann Brothers, Inc. took top honors recently at the Master Builders of Iowa annual convention winning the 2013 Masters Award in the over $10 million category for their work on the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Hall of Laureates project for the World Food Prize Foundation. The project included over 43,000 square feet of renovation and restoration of the building’s interior and exterior shell as well as new mechanical and electrical systems.
“This is a tremendous honor for Neumann Brothers,” said Marshall Linn, President and CEO. “This was an extraordinarily complex project; winning the award shows the excellent work of the entire project team.” The Masters Award recognizes the exceptional efforts of a construction team in the execution and completion of an outstanding project. Entries are judged on how well they meet the following four criteria categories: meeting the challenge of the project, innovation in construction techniques, equipment, materials, and state-of-the-art advancements, excellence in project management/jobsite supervision and responsiveness to client needs.
Neumann Brothers was selected out of two finalists for the top award in the over $10 million category. Josh Braby, project manager talked about winning the award, “this was such a collaborative effort by all the teams involved and being recognized by our peers for the hard work on this project really means a lot to us.” Project superintendent Curt Small was also humbled by the honor, “this was another iconic project to be a part of. There were a number of complexities to overcome. Seeing the finished results and winning this award gives us a tremendous sense of pride.”
Nearly 25 years ago, John Ruan II stepped in to rescue The World Food Prize after funding was discontinued by the original sponsor, General Foods. The Owner’s vision of an ornamental building, like the Iowa State Capitol, was developed to establish a permanent home for the Prize and honor the direct efforts of all those dedicated to alleviating world hunger. After almost 10 years, the project became a reality with the Ruan family’s financial commitment to restore the old Des Moines Public Library. And, in 2009, Neumann Brothers was awarded the first and subsequent two phases of the project.
The projects’ complexities were a key factor in awarding Neumann Brothers with the top honor. Constructed in 1903, unoccupied for the last three years, and listed on the National Historic Registry, the building faced many challenges to transform the abandoned library into its present state. The goal was to transform the existing Des Moines landmark into a public space that was energy efficient as it was restored to its original grandeur. The building featured WPA (Works Projects Administration) murals, decorative metal book shelves, ornamental wood work, marble wainscoting and ornamental plaster moldings, highlighting only a few requirements the project faced to achieve the Owner’s vision.
The unique function of this space allows the World Food Prize Foundation to have a home for their headquarters and to offer tours for the public to be able to appreciate the beauty of the building. In addition, the space can be rented out for important events and functions.
“The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates has already become a centerpiece of the redevelopment of downtown Des Moines and is attracting great credit and attention to our community. This is due in significant measure to the excellent work of Neumann Brothers,” Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize said, “We are therefore pleased to reiterate our strongest endorsement for their being named as the recipient of the 2013 Masters Award.”