Huntsville Entrepreneurs Open Cicerone-Certified Brass Tap Beer Bar

The Brass Tap is set to open Monday. (Photo by Steve Babin)

Craft beer lovers will have a full-bodied experience awaiting them Monday when Huntsville entrepreneurs Chris Ray and Kurt Morganweck open the Brass Tap Beer Bar.

Located in the Shops at Merchant Square on Bob Wallace Avenue and South Memorial Parkway, the Brass Tap will offer more than 300 beers from around the world, 56 craft beer taps, four Nitro taps, a chef-designed menu, and expert cicerone-certified beer servers.

Half of the Brass Tap flavors will be dedicated to the 10 or so local Huntsville/Madison breweries to help promote their customer-favorite brews and to support community awareness about the local brands.

However, the Brass Tap promises more than a variety of hopsy-maltsy tastes. You will also enjoy a better understanding of why you love the yeasty brew so much!

First, the Brass Tap uses a unique direct draw keg-to-faucet dispensing process that stores all 60 kegs at a perfect 38-degree temperature, guaranteeing a more consistent, higher quality pour.

Customers can enjoy their favorite beverage outdoors.
(Photo by Steve Babin)

“Kurt and I are craft beer lovers, but we wanted to do something different that would keep it local by promoting local breweries, educate the beer drinker, and provide a high-end, quality experience for customers,” said Ray. “We wanted to become cicerone-certified beer experts and we wanted our manager and our servers to be Level 1 cicerone-certified servers. That way, with so many different brands available, they can answer questions and make the best recommendations to customers.”

A cicerone is the beer equivalent to a wine sommelier – experts in their profession.

“We distinguish ourselves as a high-end beer bar with a unique flair that is different from anyone else in town, but our goal is to become the ultimate craft beer bar in Huntsville,” he said.

Whether you are a long-time beer drinker, a beer aficionado, or a first-time beer-drinker, you are guaranteed a fun and tasty education from the Brass Tap who can help you explore different types of beer. You will always receive your beer in the proper glass designed specifically for that type of beer – a pilsner glass, pint, chalice, mug, stein, flute, etc.

The Brass Tap offers seating on two patios with garage doors that can be raised or lowered according to the weather; and a chef-inspired menu that complements the variety of beers offered including salads, tacos, burgers, flatbreads, wings, and steak.

The Brass Tap has a number of events planned for local businesses and workers including Medical Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Wine Down Thursdays and Teachers Day Out on Fridays. On these days, The Brass Tap will offer extended Happy Hour specials for members of the business community as well as residents.

In addition to beer, the Brass Tap has a full spirits bar and wine selection including a Sangria. They partnered with Four Roses Kentucky bourbon for in-house Manhattans and Old Fashions.

“We also have Tap Out Margaritas … and boy do they go down well with tacos,” said Ray.

The pub also features 14 TV screens and a large accent wall with lighting and a projector to show large sporting events, as well as welcome local musical artists, trivia nights and bingo.

Bullet and Barrel Not Your Typical Gun Store

The people behind the counters at Bullet and Barrel in Huntsville are trying to redefine what a shooting-range experience is supposed to be by creating an environment that takes into account aesthetics, services and a personal touch.


Behind the counter, sales manager Alberto Lavizzari looks over some of the firearms the store has in stock with Jeff White, an RSO at the range.

“It’s really designed to be welcoming to people from all walks of life,” Louis Southard, Bullet and Barrel’s general manager, said. “You know, people who aren’t necessarily gun people, people who never bought a gun before, they come in and they don’t get that typical gun store experience.


“They get something much more modernized, much more akin to walking into a Verizon store.”

When you walk into Bullet and Barrel, you don’t see the one thing you’d expect to see at a shooting range – guns. Instead, there are displays of men’s and women’s clothes and accessories, along with a number of other items. They do sell guns and offer gunsmithing services, but the guns are toward the back of the store.

That’s because, according to Southard, new shooters make up one of the biggest segments of their customer base. So, one of the goals was to ease people into the guns with what he called a “soft entrance, which makes it less intimidating for customers to come in and learn about shooting sports.

Beyond the entrance, Bullet and Barrel blends farmhouse-rustic aesthetics with technology.

General Manager Louis Southard

Touchpads are set up to log in new shooters and each lane, designed to be wider than normal, is equipped with a state-of-art target carrier system that allows shooters to set the distance of their targets. The 100-yard tunnels used for sighting rifles are decked out with high-tech feedback, as well, making it quick and easy to calibrate a scope.

“Our goal is to get more and more people into the shooting sports,” Southard said.

That’s why, according to Southard, such an emphasis is placed on customer service such as when a first-time shooter visits the range.

“Let’s say you’re a new shooter and you decide to come in a shoot with us,” he said. “Ideally, you’ll let us know at the range check-in and we’ll have a RSO there to help you out and kind of keep an eye on things like making sure the gun is pointed in a safe direction, making sure your finger is off the trigger until you ready shoot and making sure the gun is safe to shoot.”

In addition to the attention the staff pays to its guests, Bullet and Barrel offers in-house classes and has partnered with Bishop 30 Solutions – a company that offers defense training courses for civilians, businesses and churches – to expand learning opportunities for their customers at the 30,000 square-foot facility.

Members can relax in the lounge at Bullet and Barrel

“That’s the kind of thing you don’t see at most shooting ranges,” Southard said. “Most shooting ranges, they do everything in-house, but Noell (Bishop, founder of Bishop 30 Solutions) has an impressive background. People learn from him. They love him, and they can take all sorts of different classes from him.”

According to the range’s website, www.bulletandbarrel.com, there are about 20 different classes that can be taken at Bullet and Barrel.

For example, there is a concealed-carry training course by Bishop 30 Solutions, which is a four-hour class that covers everything from a choosing a holster, the right ammunition, a review of basic skills and an overview of Alabama law relating to different scenarios.

Then there is a class on first aid for gunshot wounds, a ladies-only Handgun 101 class and a youth marksmanship class.

Bullet and Barrel offers membership packages and accepts walk-ins. There are also benefits such as a member’s only lounge, lane priority, free guest passes and a litany of other perks.

For nonmembers, fees run from $18 an hour for a lane rental to $18 for a half hour on the 100-yard range.

The range also offers more than 100 different firearms that can be rented starting at $10.

Bullet and Barrel, at 3252 Leeman Ferry Road in Huntsville, is owned by Melanie Hammer Murray and Bill Roberts.  For information, call 256-384-4867 or visit www.bulletandbarrel.com.

Hays Farm Development: ‘It’s Time; the Community Needs It’

Six to 10 years, that’s how long the Hays family expects the 850-acre, multifaceted development of Hays Farm to take.

Jim Hays, John Hays and Jeff Enfinger, the owners of the property, were on hand Thursday night to highlight the details of the project to a packed house in the Martha deFord Hays Auditorium at Grissom High School.

“For 49 years we’ve been developing communities for people in North Alabama, this is the first time we’ve ever put our name on one,” John Hays said.

John Hays talks about the importance
of the Hays Farm Development.

The development will eventually consist of about 1,000 residential units, three parks and see of new commercial spaces along with the redevelopment of Haysland Square, according to Enfinger.

The first part of the commercial aspect of the development is to raze Haysland Square and develop 175,000 to 200,000 square feet of new commercial space.

“It’s under contract now with a Florida developer who has developed here and we hope to have an announcement this Fall where that center would be redone next year and it would be upscale, walkable and pretty,” Enfinger said.

Enfinger added that they were working with Staples, the only retail store left in the current development.

“We’re providing space for Staples,” Enfinger said. “We have to cut a deal and they have to agree to it, but we’re going to make every effort to keep Staples.”

Jeff Enfinger gives an overview of the master plan for the Hays Farm development

It is expected to take five years before developers get back to the center housing Home Depot and a development north of Mike’s Merchandise, according to Enfinger.

“We’ve got three opportunities to develop and redevelop the high-volume, high-traffic commercial areas,” he said.

The first 500 units of residential development will consist of single-family detached units such as estate homes, patio homes and traditional housing sizes, which will span the $300,000 to $700,000 price points, according to Enfinger. Some of those are being developed now.

The next 500 units will consist of condominiums, townhouses, some lofts over the new retail establishments and possibly some age-restricted housing, according to Enfinger.

“The 1,000 units we’re going to build doesn’t do much for the commercial activity except create sort of a foundation,” Enfinger said. “The commercial activity is part of all of south Huntsville.

“So, if south Huntsville doesn’t become part of the commercial activity then it won’t be as successful.”

The development will have three parks: a 500-acre natural park, similar to the Hays Nature Preserve; a new ballpark with soccer and baseball/softball fields; and a city park, like Big Spring Park in downtown Huntsville.

“We have a park system that I believe will be unrivaled by any park system that I know of in my lifetime,” Enfinger said.

There are also plans to have an entertainment district set up in the new development, possibly around the city park, but Enfinger said most of the specifics were still yet to be determined.

“It was really a difficult decision for the family to decide to let the farm go,” Jim Hays said.

“…But, it’s time. The community needs it; so it was time.”

Jim Hays talks about the history behind the land
that will be used as greenspaces in the Hays Farm Development.

Rocket City Trash Pandas Announce Partnership with Pepsi

MADISON – If you want a soft drink while watching the Rocket City Trash Pandas, all you will have to do is say, “Pepsi, please.”

The Trash Pandas and Buffalo Rock Company-Pepsi announced a long- term strategic partnership to include non-alcoholic beverage exclusivity and stadium sponsorships. The Trash Pandas have Pepsi, as the exclusive non-alcoholic provider of beverages for their new stadium opening in April 2020.

“Buffalo Rock-Pepsi is a company that aligns perfectly with our values and approach to deliver a fun, affordable family experience,” said Ralph Nelson, Trash Pandas CEO/managing partner. “We have been so impressed with the entire leadership team at Buffalo Rock-Pepsi and they’ve been with us at every major BallCorps event, long before this partnership was formalized.

“With over 35 years serving North Alabama, Buffalo Rock has consistently demonstrated their commitment to this community, so we are so happy to be their partners.”

As part of the agreement, Buffalo Rock Company-Pepsi has been named a Founding Partner of the Trash Pandas and the new stadium. The Pepsi brand and logo will be prominently featured throughout the stadium, and the main entry gate where over 500,000 annual visitors will enter the venue will be known as Pepsi Gate.

“The community’s excitement as evidence in the Rocket City Trash Panda’s success in branding and merchandise sales, fuels our confidence in this being a great opportunity for both parties” said Matthew Dent, president/COO for Buffalo Rock Company-Pepsi. “Our company is known for keeping families and community its focus. And, by becoming a strategic partner with a team bringing baseball back to North Alabama, we will be able to continue fulfilling our mission in the community for years to come.”

For Trash Pandas season ticket information, visit www.trashpandasbaseball.com.

Stovehouse Grand Opening Set for May 24

What do Huntsville neighborhood pools and the Stovehouse have in common?

On May 24, they will be open to the public, garnering much fanfare; kicking off the Memorial Day weekend and all that comes with endless summer evenings.

The Martin Stovehouse, circa 1929, has been totally reconfigured and reimagined to create an enticing and eclectic variety of restaurants, cocktail bars, coffee houses, boutique and unique retailing, collaborative workspaces, event and entertainment venues, courtyards, play spaces, greenspaces, and more.

The assortment of restaurants offers something for just about every taste.

Built on the foundational bricks of a bygone era, the Stovehouse is Huntsville’s largest “work-play-eat-drink” and events space. The lines are decidedly blurred between worktime and playtime here, as well as the merging of the modern with historic.

The Stovehouse delivers the charm of small-town culture fused with high-tech urban energy.

With ample parking on both sides of the building, there’ll be plenty of room for everyone. There’s a street and a footpath in development that will connect the Stovehouse with Campus 805, thus enhancing the potential for jointly hosted conferencing and special event bookings.

In any case, the convenient location will allow for people to participate in several events on the same evening, without having to move their car.

Recently at the Stovehouse’s recent “soft opening,” guests had the opportunity to “dip their toes into the water.” – quite literally, as it was pouring down rain for the entire event.

Despite the deluge, the place was packed with the crowd checking out the newly configured property, to experience the Pourhouse and check out the rooftop bar while listening to the sounds of Spectrum Jazz.

The funky and very eclectic Company Store was also open for the event, complete with unique offerings of craft sodas, lemonade, and candy.

The store is truly a paradise for kids and nostalgic adults.

A Food Hall of Kitchens, Breweries and Food Trucks Coming to Town Madison

MADISON — At his State of the City Address in March, Madison Mayor Paul Finley told the audience to buckle up for some big announcements coming out of the new Town Madison development this spring. Today, the Breland Companies delivered a big one!

Rendering shows layout of Town Madison around the baseball stadium and Food Hall

The latest addition is a sprawling Food Hall of 18 kitchens curated by local and regional chefs, two breweries, and several stationary food trucks in an outdoor dining area. A central bar with indoor/outdoor seating will serve as an anchor, and developers are talking to several local and regional restaurants about joining the unique dining lineup. 

The Food Hall can be seen to the right in this rendering.

Designed by Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart, an international design firm based in Atlanta, the Food Hall will feature a large outdoor event space and covered stage area for a variety of events including a showcase for songwriters, concerts and big screen showings of various sporting events.

“Town Madison is taking another step toward our goal to provide a new experience in North Alabama living,” said Louis Breland. “We toured some of the finest food halls in the country looking for the right concept. A great food hall becomes a central gathering spot and brings unique energy to a community.

“Along with the (Rocket City) Trash Pandas stadium, the Food Hall and plaza area will become the place to be before a game or any time people want to meet with friends and share new experiences.”

The Food Hall, a partnership between Breland and Fuqua Development of Atlanta, joins the growing roster of tenants at Town Madison including the baseball stadium; several hotels including the avid Hotel, Home2 Suites and Margaritaville Resort Hotel; restaurants; national retailers such as Duluth Trading Co.; luxury apartments and residential communities.

Construction on the Food Hall begins this summer and tenants will be announced by the end of the year.

It is slated to open next spring – in time for the first pitch.

Trash Pandas, Cumulus Announce Broadcast Partnership

MADISON — Against a backdrop of the new ballpark under construction, the Rocket City Trash Pandas and Cumulus Media announced an expansive three-year partnership, which will bring live radio broadcasts of the team’s 140 games on WUMP 103.9 FM/730 AM.

Calling the play-by-play will be Josh Caray, the grandson of legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Caray and son of the late Atlanta Braves broadcaster Skip Caray. Josh’s brother, Chip, is the current Braves’ play-by-play announcer.

From left, Ralph Nelson, CEO/managing partner of the Trash Pandas; Cumulus Vice President/Market Manager John Lewis; abd play-by-play announcer Josh Caray

“This is a special day for our organization,” said Ralph Nelson, Trash Pandas CEO/managing partner. “To have Josh Caray as our voice is yet another huge win for the amazing Trash Pandas fan base – they’re going to be blown away by his big-league style.”

Caray most recently served as the football and men’s basketball radio play-by-play broadcaster at Stony Brook University on Long Island. He also called baseball games for Yale University and the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League and will finish his duties with the Renegades this season before joining the Trash Pandas.

He grew up in the Atlanta area and also worked for the Braves’ Rome and Gwinnett affiliates. Caray related taking his job with the Trash Pandas to former Alabama Head Football Coach Bear Bryant on his return to Tuscaloosa to coach the Crimson Tide.

“When Mama calls, you’ve got to listen,” Caray said. “Mama called me and I’m coming home.”

At Monday’s press conference, Caray said he was excited about the opportunity to join the team.

“I am beyond surprised at the number of people out today,” he said. “This shows me that what is being built behind me” will be an exciting place.

Nelson said though the team chose Cumulus and Cumulus staff for game broadcasts and gameday activities, the Trash Pandas will be working with the other radio stations across north Alabama.

“Regarding our larger partnership… there are so many great stations in this region, and we intend to continue working with all of them,” he said. “We chose Cumulus because of its extensive reach across a variety of market segments. Cumulus offered us an unprecedented opportunity to share the Trash Pandas experience with the most fans possible.”

Mojo, of WZYP’s “The Mojo Radio Show”, will be gameday master of ceremonies, engaging fans and emceeing between-inning promotions, contests, and more. “Tricky Ricky” Fernandez of WUMP’s “The Bullpen,” will oversee in-stadium music, video and sound effects, and his “Bullpen” co-host Antonio “Tony Mac” MacBeath will be the public address announcer.

“This is a win-win …,” said John Lewis, vice president and market manager for Cumulus. “We are thrilled with this partnership; the Trash Pandas are already a world-class baseball franchise … we have 700,000 listeners to help them fully engage their extensive fan base.

“We’re also excited about the cross-promotional opportunities, so Trash Pandas fans can discover what so many already know – that Cumulus offers top-notch programming with great personalities, across a variety of platforms.”

For information, visit trashpandasbaseball.com, umpsports.com and cumulusmedia.com.

Hays Farm Multi-use Development Planned for South Huntsville

The answer to the long-asked question “What is going to happen with Haysland Square?” is finally provided.

Hays Farm, an 850-acre development, will soon be raised in South Huntsville after the 55-year-old shopping center is razed.

John Hays and Jeff Enfinger check out the plans for Hays Farm (Photo by Steve Babin)

Jim Hays, John Hays and Jeff Enfinger announced plans for the project which will include an entertainment district, nature preserve, homes, retail, restaurants, a dog park, sports fields and nearly 6 1/2 miles of walking trails.

“This land has meant so much to our family, generation after generation,” Enfinger said. “It has been a place where we’ve worked, played and grown as a family.”

The family has created communities around the county for decades and Enfinger said this is the “best and last” of the large communities they are planning.

“Our best and last large, master-planned community, … Hays Farm and its hundreds of acres of green space will now belong to our friends and neighbors in South Huntsville,” he told the Huntsville Business Journal during a tour of the project.

The project, which is currently under construction, will have about 110 acres of commercial development and 200 acres of residential, leaving about 540 acres for protected land. The development is estimated to provide a $450 million boost to the area.

“The Hays Farm project has the potential to transform the face of South Huntsville and bring vitality and excitement to South Parkway,” said Huntsville City Councilwoman Jennie Robinson, whose district includes the development.  “It will add hundreds of acres of green space to the city as well as miles of trails and recreational amenities while preserving the natural beauty of the area. 

“We applaud the Hays family for their vision and hope it will encourage others to reinvest in South Huntsville and improve the quality of life for the city as a whole.” 

A centerpiece will be the 12-acre “city park” which will have a Town Center on Haysland Road featuring entertainment, restaurants and small shops. Enfinger said the park is similar in size to Big Spring Park in downtown Huntsville.

“It will be a Providence-type (development) between Hamilton Square and Grissom,” Enfinger said, referencing the west Huntsville development. “The park has a village green like Providence.”

Hays Farm will have three components, Enfinger said. There will be the community park, nature preserve and ballfields – a 20-acre recreation baseball/soccer complex operated by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

More than 1 million yards of dirt has been moved for the Hays Farm project. (Photo by Steve Babin)

Some 1,000 housing units will include single-family detached, townhouses and rental units. More than 500 single-family homes will range from $300,000 to $700,000. There are plans for 150 townhouse units and 350 multifamily rentals. Each neighborhood within Hays Farm will offer access to trails and an open space network that connects the community to all of Huntsville.

Haysland Road will also extend from South Memorial Parkway through the development to Hobbs Road, a couple hundred yards east of Redstone Arsenal’s Gate 3.

“The Haysland Road extension should be finished by September,” Enfinger said. “It goes through the series of lakes – wonderful scenery.”

Madison County Commissioner Phil Riddick, whose district includes south Huntsville, said Hays Farm is an exciting change and addition to the area.

“South Huntsville has not seen new development on this scale in decades.  Not only is it substantial in size with greenways, new retail, restaurants and hundreds of new residences, but it will change the face of the community,” he said. “This will be something new and exciting, and will add a lifestyle flavor that we have not seen before in South Huntsville.  It will foster further new development and will create a new demand for living in our area. 

“We are so thrilled that the Hays Family has embarked on this development and are looking forward to it being completed.”

The developers and South Huntsville Business Association have scheduled a community meeting for 6 p.m. May 30 in the Grissom High School Auditorium.

The Poppy and The Mercantile: Pub, Music Venue Add to Downtown Vibe

Imagine if one could travel back in time to post-World War I Great Britain. What would it be like to sit at the bar in one of those cozy neighborhood pubs? PBD Holdings principals, Paul Daigle, Brian Peoples, and David Clarke think it would be something like their newest venture, The Poppy, which is slated for opening this month.

When it came to project support, “Things literally fell into place,” said Clarke.

With a few introductions made on PBD’s behalf, it didn’t take long before community influencers such as Chris Russell at Cadence Bank, Chad Emerson at Downtown Huntsville, Margaret Anne Goldsmith, and several others came on board.

“It was very well-received,” said Clarke. “Huntsville is very business friendly. We were the first to admit that we needed to build a team, one with good business acumen.

“People we could trust, and we listened. So many people have helped get to this venture going, they’ve been incredible.”

The pub’s name was inspired by the John McCrae’s 1915 poem, “In Flanders Fields.”

“We didn’t want it to be cliché or cheesy to the point that it would alienate non-veterans, but we wanted to honor the ‘Great War’ – World War I,” Clarke said.

When it came to develop the pub theme, Shane Brown, PBD program manager, stepped in to help. He was so impressed with the venture, he invested as a minority owner. A native of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England, Shane is a true subject matter expert on pub authenticity.

Inspired by Old No. 7, Brown’s hometown pub in Barnsley, the interior is 1,400 square feet of history recreated.

“We wanted to maintain a conversational atmosphere with a laid back, neighborhood pub vibe,” Clarke said. “A place where folks can indulge in really good beers, English beers, cask beers, a niche that’s been overlooked.” In addition to English beers, there will also be English ciders.

With a 40-foot bar, said Clarke, “We’re really excited about the bar layout, taps on either end, beer engines in the center, it’s a very traditional set-up.”

For those unfamiliar with a beer engine, Clarke said, “There’s a different texture of beer with a beer engine, flavor profiles are easier to discern, smoother.”

The décor will be red oak, stained black, dark red leather, cast brass footrails, and stamped tin ceilings.

Pieces from artist Jacqueline Hurley’s “War Poppy” collection will also adorn the walls.

By the time The Poppy is up and running, The Mercantile will follow suit in late June. Destined to be a space conducive to larger music acts, and hosting special events, such as wedding receptions, The Mercantile promises to be that stop along the way between Birmingham and Nashville, where a national touring act can stop for the night; play gig, grab a meal, do some laundry, and get a decent night’s rest.

The designated music “consigliere,” Jake Peters, Quantaphonics guitarist, said, “Huntsville doesn’t have a venue quite like this. The Mercantile is the perfect space to comfortably accommodate 700-750 people.”

Like spokes on a wheel, Huntsville is geographically central to Nashville, Atlanta, and Birmingham, those bigger cities that are usually on a band’s touring itinerary. The plan isn’t to reinvent Crossroads, that’s not the objective.

“The idea is to create a space that puts Huntsville on the map for major events,” said Clarke.

As a venue “Built by Musicians for Musicians,” there will be significant investment in state-of-the-art sound, light, and stage, to encourage national acts into making a stop in Huntsville, on their way to their next big gig.

For special events, there will be a catering kitchen with lots of electrical capacity. When securing a venue for the October fundraiser, “Chili for Charity,” event co-chair Pam Bouska said, “The Mercantile is the one event space in town that can safely accommodate 35 crockpots of chili without blowing fuses.”

“We are giving back, working with local community foundations, and providing space to nonprofits for special events,” said Clarke. “We are building good long-term relationships and providing something that the community can have as their own.”

Safety is Paramount as Construction on Town Madison Stadium Reaches Significant Milestones

MADISON — The home for the Rocket City Trash Pandas baseball team is about one-quarter complete.

Concrete and steel have gone up and the underground plumbing and electricity is being laid.

Mud is moving, tractors are pulling, trucks are dumping, and walls are being erected.

The entire Town Madison development may have gotten off to a slow start, but word on the baseball stadium job site is that there will be significant progress in the coming weeks, in anticipation of the December completion date. In fact, the development will reach a point in which it will suddenly seem to go up all at once.

Hoar Construction, general contractor for the stadium, has 80 to 90 workers at the site on any given day. It is just one of many construction sites in full-build mode at Town Madison.

So, what is it like out there on a day-to-day basis? Is everybody staying safe?

Hoar Construction Safety Manager Amanda Black

“Some days there is a beehive of activity and it can get confusing with all the other construction going on around us,” said Bart Wilder, vice president of safety for Hoar Construction, “From a site perspective, it is nonstop all day. Building for us is not just about building on time, under budget, and to a high level of quality. It is about doing all of those things safely and seamlessly.”

Every trade has its own inherent risks associated with their type of work and for that reason, Wilder said they work diligently to get the right trade partners (subcontractors) on every project.

“We choose partners who understand that safety comes down to understanding what our risks are and having the processes in place to identify and mitigate them,” he said. “Hoar sets the culture and expectations for the project, but our partners represent various scopes of work like concrete and steel, utilities, plumbing, electrical. It takes all these trades to put together a project like the new stadium and most of the safety plan begins in preplanning when our safety representatives sit down with partner safety representatives to discuss what they see as hazards on the upcoming job.”

While the construction industry operates under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Primary Standards for Safety, there are other regulatory industries OSHA incorporates into its standards by reference. In fact, OSHA leans heavily on other building trades such as the National Fire Protection Association to write their own codes for fire extinguishers, fire suppression, or chemical exposure. The National Electrical Code also has its own safety protocol, incorporated into OSHA’s standards.

“Safety is not a burden because our partners share the safety responsibilities with us,” said Wilder. “Also, our obligations are not predicated on the minimum of OSHA standards. Our obligations are more along the lines of industry best practices, designed to be above and beyond OSHA.”

Hoar recommends every team start every shift by looking at specific tasks and asking each other – “Do we have the tools, equipment, manpower, and materials to do today’s tasks? Even more importantly – what are the hazards surrounding that task?” “Are there things that can hurt you in the process?”

Amanda Black, Hoar Construction’s safety manager at Town Madison, begins every morning with a field walk through the jobsite. She checks to see what the last shift left for the next day, and to assess whether site conditions require a superintendent or a team to clean it up. She also makes sure there is room to walk around and maneuver safely and room to operate their equipment.

“We preach two things all the time to the workforce,” said Black “‘Safety is everybody’s job’, and ‘If you see something, say something.’

“I’m out on the site most of the time making sure everyone is doing their job safely. We have safety meetings out here every Tuesday and free time safety analyses every day to keep the workers thinking about job safety and thinking about ways to prevent hazards from happening.”

She said as the general contractor, Hoar requires every team have safety meetings among their group, and Black confirms those meetings daily and any issues that arose from them, checking notes among supervisors to see if anyone spotted any safety hazards that need to be discussed.

“Amanda is in the field, boots on the ground, all day long,” said Wilder. “She is constantly observing not only potential unsafe conditions that can arise, but she knows how to approach an unsafe situation and talk about a way to fix it in a respectful, professional, an educated manner,” said Wilder. “Amanda is trained in safety rules and regulations, so she speaks with authority and people onsite respond to that.”

Construction safety also requires a great deal of foresight. Amanda spends a lot of time at the drawing table trying to safely predict any kind of hazard before it presents itself.

“We have all these great rules and regulations in our industry, but it is not about the regs with Hoar,” said Wilder. “We want you to go home safely. Whoever is waiting for you at home is more important than anyone at work.”

There is an economic message in that strategy as well.

“Part of our success is being able to create all these great construction jobs – jobs that in the process, send you home every day no worse for wear than however you were when you showed up.”

The number one injury on any construction jobsite is trips and falls.

“It seems that areas designated for storage tend to be where a plurality of these trip-and-fall injuries take place,” said Black. “We run to the problem, not away from it. We go back over the environment where they fell to see what caused it, and we check tools and equipment to make sure they were working properly.

“We call in our superintendents to engage quickly and work the problem until it gets resolved.”

“I believe the construction industry has gotten safer in relation to previous generations,” said Wilder. “OSHA always looks at incident rate as the total number of recordable injuries that occur in year, and the total number of incidents that result in someone getting hurt or put on restricted duty due to the severity of an incident.

“Those numbers are tabulated against the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the national industry averages. Hoar Construction has consistently ranked well below the industry average in jobsite injuries for more 10 years. We are very proud of that.”