Primus’s award-winning Case Farms project in Dudley, NC was so successful it earned our team a second project. This time, we’re building in Winesburg, OH. The projects are similar, though the one in Ohio is bigger. Like North Carolina, there are two phases being completed simultaneously. The Ohio project has one additional phase, also being completed simultaneously.
- Phase 1: New processing space
- Phase 2: New VRT, holding freezer, cooler, two docks, office space, palleting and corridor
- Phase 3: Complete remodel of existing processing space
Project Manager Michael Lambraia has served on both projects. “I have done a lot of complex projects in my career,” he said. “This one is up there as one of the hardest.”
Fortunately for him, he had a great team. “At one point, we had six superintendents on this project at once plus an on-site safety coordinator. We were working 24 hours a day, seven days a week for almost two months.”
One of the biggest challenges and the reason for the intense work schedule was delays caused by weather and Covid. Another was scope changes. “There were some shifting milestones,” said Michael. “Several scopes got pushed up. But we were able to complete them as well as a few additional ones thrown at us.”
One of those scope changes was plumbing work. “There were some drains and trench work we were asked to replace literally days before the scheduled shutdown of the existing facility started,” Michael said. The challenge was, he only had a week to find a plumber and get the work done before the new equipment was installed. “Assistant Project Manager Leah and I hit the phones and scrambled to find a qualified vendor,” he said. “It took a little time, but we found the right guy. We met the client request.”
Unusual challenges also required the team to work together even harder. For one, there was a fire on site. Twenty-six ceiling panels were charred and melted and needed to be replaced. Primus did not cause the fire, but the team corrected its aftermath. “Our panels crew was amazing. They came in and got the work done in 12 hours,” Michael said. “We didn’t lose any time on the schedule.”
Another unusual challenge was the placement of some chillers in the existing processing space. “An outside GC was doing a small project next to the building we were working in,” Michael said. “They had to move the chillers into our space for a week.” The Primus team had to replace the floor, ceilings and lights in that space. Their original schedule had already shrunk from six days to four, and the welder had to fix the drains underneath the chillers. “The chillers were on skates, so we were able to move them as we needed to do work.” They could also be elevated, which was helpful for the welder. “That guy basically worked crouching for 14 hours straight.”
Michael was quick to praise the field teams and the panel crews. “Beau is a great super. He took ownership of the whole show,” he said. “Larry and Brad worked the night shift. David King and Beau were at the new facility. John Smith was a here a few weeks. Linda and Robert made sure safety was covered. It’s a great team.”
When asked which panel team members worked on this project, Panels Division Manager Eric Boyer said, “All of them.” Between shutdowns and schedule accelerations, the entire panels team worked on the project at least once. Boyer himself installed panels there. “It was a big effort,” he said.
“Case Farms is an important client for us,” said Project Executive Paul Grenier. “It’s important we maintain a good relationship with them. This project definitely helped us do that.”