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READY, SET, NETWORK!

120 professionals joined us at 1301 Fannin last week for food, drinks, and great company. Didn’t make it? Well, we can’t teach you the super secret handshake we all showed each other, but here’s some of what you missed.
Kimberly Gauss and Lisa Hankamer
We snapped Griffin Partners’ Kimberly Gauss and Paramount Lodging’s Lisa Hankamer. Griffin Partners graciously hosted us in1301 Fannin, a rare bird: The 784k SF facility is both a Class-Aoffice building and a Tier 3 data center. (Zoologists say they’ve never seen anything like it, especially not in humid subtropical environments.) Kimberly tells us it offers a host of safety-related and technological features found in few other Downtown towers. (Eg: Hurricane-rated windows, N+1 redundant cooling and power infrastructure, and a dedicated UPS system to ensure data integrity in the event of a power loss.) It was built in 1984, renovated in 2009, and is 87% leased.
Brookfield Mini3 HOU
1301 Fannin
The Luby’s cafeteria, coffee shop, and seating areas on the 13th floor were snazzy, but we particularly enjoyed this view shortly before sunset. (Who says 13th floors are unlucky?)
Larry Horning, Jeff Hardin, Joseph Scott
We also ran into Furniture Basix’ Larry Horning, CoNexus’ Jeff Hardin, and Level Construction’s Joseph Scott. Level Construction just completed Katy Orthodontics (they just took the braces off) and is closing on a new 10k SF HQ in Houston, an office/warehouse gig. CoNexus recently upgraded four facilities housing 250 employees for an oil and gas fittings company and installed a 150-person call center for an insurance company.
Charity Mayo, Aaron Abel, Chris Leisher
Burton Construction’s Charity Mayo, Turner Construction’s Aaron Abel, and Perkins + Will’s Chris Leisher were networking away. Charity says Burton was recently awarded the Powell Electrical Systems gig on Airport Boulevard east of Hobby Airport. The 271k SF tilt-wall office and manufacturing project was designed by Powers Brown Architecture. Chris is busy at Hobby as well; his team designed the new HQ terminal for MillionAir private aviation there. It broke ground last month and will be operational in late 2013.
Brandon Guillory, Paul Newsoroff, Chris Frysinger
Kimley Horn’s Brandon Guillory and Chris Frysinger bookend Kirksey’s Paul Newsoroff. We featured some of Paul’s work recently: He was in on the design of CityCentre Three and Four as well as Texas A&M’s space in Three. Brandon is keeping busy withAlliance’s Broadstone Memorial City project.

GREAT CAUSES
Texas Music Throwdown
The National Realty Group’s Michael Evans (left, with fellow committee members Jason BryantRyan Evans, and Jason Oliver) has been coordinating the Texas Music Throwdown benefit concert since its inception in 2010, and this year, his company is getting on board as a sponsor. All proceeds are donated to wounded military veterans through the Heroes on the Water non-profit, which takes wounded vets out fishing and kayaking as a day of mental and physical relaxation. Last year, the Throwdown hosted 1,300 people and donated $13,000. The next benefit concert is in March, so be sure to check it out! And send us your great cause,catie@bisnow.com.
“Utility is when you have one telephone, luxury is when you have two, and paradise is when you have none.” -Unknown. But you can drop us a line anyway, catie@bisnow.com.

Level Construction expands to public sector

lvlpubsec1

The managing partners of Level Construction believe they know the secret of success.

“It’s customer service and pricing,” Alex Johnson said. “And having a great team.”

Johnson and his friends, Mitesh and TJ Patel, created the general construction and construction management firm six years ago.

About a month ago, the company relocated its Chicago office to Harwood Heights. It also has an office in Houston.

Clients include hotels, health care facilities, national chain stores and restaurants, including Erik’s Deli in Oak Park.

“We started with a credit card,” Johnson said. “Last year we had $12 million in sales.

The company’s growth occurred during one of the worst economic times for the construction industry, Johnson said. He attributed that growth to treating clients as friends with whom the company strives to create long-term relationships.

“Clients are satisfied with the quality, pricing and customer service,” Johnson said. “They tend to stay with us.

“And each is client important, whether big or small.”

Mike Niemiec, vice president, noted making sure clients are satisfied is easier in the long run.

“It takes less energy to do a job well,” he said, “and you get references.”

lvlpubsec2Johnson stands by that theory.

“If we do 150 jobs, I would give a new client 150 references,” he said. “If person one says we didn’t do a good job, I would say, ‘Don’t hire us.’”

Johnson credited the company’s 25 employees and numerous subcontractors for delivering quality service.

“They’re a great team,” he said. “Let them prosper along with the company.”

That dedication is allowing Level Construction to expand into the public sector construction trade.

“Now we’re working on the next phase — Level Infrastructure,” Johnson said. “The focus will be on jobs such as streets, sewers, bridges.”

The move to Harwood Heights will ease that expansion. The new facility has office staff and construction crew members under one roof, Johnson said.

“We’re like a big family,” he said. “We spend a lot of time together at work, and we want to make sure all do well.”

Moving to Harwood Heights was a carefully thought-out decision.

“I did my research,” Johnson said. “Harwood Heights is in the middle of everything — Chicago, the suburbs.

“It has great access to transportation.”~.