Transforming an old dormitory into a modern office building was challenging enough, but doing so while recycling nearly 100 percent of generated waste required a leader with decades of experience.
Tom Ungerecht, project superintendent with VJS Construction Services Inc., Pewaukee, was the man for the job, as he used his more than 30 years of experience in the field to guide crews to a 96.74 percent recycling rate on the renovation of Wunder Hall in Milwaukee.
Ungerecht supervised work on the project, which kicked off a $29 million revitalization of an 11-acre site bordered by State Street and Highland Boulevard.
The Potawatomi Business Development Corp. plans to use the renovated Wunder Hall as tribal and administrative offices. The project seeks Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver status for core and shell certification.
Ungerecht was the right leader for the project, said Amanda Schauer, project manager with VJS, because he has “a good working relationship with subs and [his] peers at VJS and is able to motivate and encourage others into keeping goals in sight.”
Part of maintaining those relationships, Ungerecht said, is realizing “there’s more than a superintendent on the project; there’s a team of people that take a personal interest to a successful conclusion to a project.”
Crews worked with WasteCap Resource Solutions, which conducted monthly audits of construction waste and recycling on the project. The tracking helps job sites run more smoothly, Ungerecht said, and is increasingly common in the industry.
“Contractors are more efficient today than they were when I started in the trades,” he said. “Construction schedules are more challenging these days, and I think that contractors and subcontractors are doing more brainstorming and thinking outside the box to make deadlines happen.”
Though each successful project is another feather in his cap, Ungerecht said he’s hard pressed to pick a highlight of his decades-long career.
“Every project I’m involved in is my favorite,” he said, “because I look at it as a personal reflection of my work, to make sure the clients are happy with the final product and expectations are met with bringing a building to life.
“That’s what I really enjoy.”