Aug 3, 2017, 1:22pm EDT
Louisville Business First honored 25 companies and nonprofits at The Olmsted this morning for our third-annual Best Places to Work in Greater Louisville awards.
The awards recognize local employers who ranked highest on an independent survey distributed by Omaha, Neb.-based Quantum Workplace. The survey asked employees about their office culture and work-life balance. Those answers helped us pinpoint places that offer extraordinary employee-friendly policies, programs and perks.
(If our boss is reading this, we’ll settle for any of those perks.)
Congratulations to all of this year’s Best Places to Work honorees for creating a better company culture. They know that employee happiness directly affects the company’s bottom line.
Brent Schanding manages the special publications and labeled content.
Churchill Downs creating nearly 100 Louisville HQ jobs by end of year
Ten years later, Twinspires has come back home to Kentucky.
Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. (Nasdaq: CHDN) has completed the relocation of the advance deposit wagering service from Mountain View, Calif., to the company’s corporate headquarters at 600 N. Hurstbourne Parkway in Louisville.
With the move, about 70 high-paying jobs already have been filled, and CDI has spent $2.2 million to outfit an additional 15,000 square feet in the building, which is in the University of Louisville’s ShelbyHurst Office and Research Park. The company now has 50,000 square feet in the building as its anchor tenant and is expected to create another 25 Twinspires jobs in Louisville by year’s end. The jobs pay $75,000 to $110,000.
With the relocation, Twinspires now has 208 employees in Kentucky, including 140 or so in leased office space in Lexington. Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said those jobs will remain in Lexington to keep a strong presence in the state’s two largest cities.
Not surprisingly, the bulk of the jobs are new hires, as only six to eight of Twinspires’ California employees made the move to Kentucky, according to Twinspires officials.
The Twinspires relocation was first announced during an earnings call by Carstanjen last August, and he said Tuesday that the move has been a year in the making.
But the idea got its start in 2014, when company officials started discussing the long-term future of the wagering platform. Carstanjen and other CDI officials conceptualized and founded Twinspires with five employees in Louisville in 2007. At the time, Carstanjen was the company’s executive vice president, general counsel and chief development officer.
Carstanjen said the company was moved to California shortly after its was founded to take advantage of the talent pool and IT experience in Silicon Valley, saying he did not have confidence that Kentucky had the tech talent a decade ago to meet the company’s needs. Last year, $1.1 billion in total handle, or 10 percent of total U.S. wagering on horse racing, came through Twinspires.
But a lot can change in 10 years. Carstanjen said Louisville’s economic development activity has helped created a larger and more robust tech environment in Louisville. And he believes the local tech scene is flexible enough now to help Twinspires stay competitive.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin praised the move, saying it is a trademark example of the type of jobs he wants to come to Kentucky as he works to establish the state as an advanced manufacturing and engineering hub.
Bevin also said it is fitting that an old and storied company such as Churchill Downs is investing in high-tech jobs and a sleek, modern office in Louisville’s East End.
The governor said he will look back and measure success for his administration when governors of other states are scratching their heads and wondering why their residents are moving to Kentucky for job opportunities.
Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, chief of Louisville Forward, Louisville Metro Government’s economic development arm, also praised Churchill Downs for its expansion. She said the city’s business services division is the fastest growing sector for Metro Government and has long-term potential to create jobs that will attract this type of talent from across the country.
Carstanjen said the decision was nothing but “positive energy” and that California’s cost of living and more expensive tax structure were not major factors in the relocation.
But Bevin said the money that will be earned through these jobs will have more purchasing power for its employees to buy larger houses and invest in the city’s vibrant arts and entertainment scene.
“That’s good for Louisville, and it’s good for Kentucky,” he said.
During the news conference, Bevin was asked about the possibility of expanded gaming in Kentucky, particularly casino gambling. Bevin said there is “no political will” for casino gambling by the Kentucky General Assembly, noting that it would take legislative action to legalize such a concept.
Bevin, a Republican, noted that his predecessor, Democrat Steve Beshear, made casino gambling a significant goal for his administration but was unsuccessful in a friendlier legislative environment. Today, the GOP controls both houses of the state legislature.
Carstanjen and CDI long have supported expanded gaming in Kentucky, but he told me after the news conference that the company doesn’t waste its time dwelling on what’s not available. He said a lack of casino gaming in Kentucky has not slowed the company’s ability to harvest all the possibilities available to it here.
“If you worry about what you can’t change, it will drive you crazy,” he told me.
Today, CDI has grown to include several horse-racing tracks and casinos as part of its portfolio. The company also owns totalizator company United Tote Inc. and Seattle-based video game company Big Fish Games.
Nationwide, CDI has about 4,000 employees, 676 of whom are based in Kentucky, either at the corporate office, Churchill Downs Racetrack, Twinspires or United Tote. The company’s East End headquarters has 200 or more of those employees.
When asked, Carstanjen said it us unlikely any of Big Fish Games’ roughly 600 employees will join Twinspires in Louisville. The company was founded and cultivated in Seattle, its executive team has long called Seattle home, and it is a decidedly West Coast company.
The company also has a larger mass of employees in a city where game development talent is widespread.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Carstanjen said.
Marty Finley covers economic development, commercial and residential real estate, government and sports business.
In Person: Calhoun Construction's John Hinshaw tackles multimillion-dollar projects, back-country hiking and family in measured steps
May 17, 2017, 3:00pm EDT
The $238 million KFC Yum Center has become a fixture in downtown Louisville, and it also stands prominent in the mind of one of the people behind the construction of the 721,000-square-foot home to University of Louisville basketball, concerts and other events.
John Hinshaw was the was senior project manager for M. A. Mortenson Co., the general contractor for the Yum Center, when the arena was built about a decade ago.
Hinshaw says it is his favorite project, beating out other major sports arenas he helped oversee.
Despite the pressures of building a huge and intricate structure with a fixed deadline, Hinshaw wouldn’t do anything else, fueled by his sports fandom and love for creating.
“I just think building buildings is fun,” Hinshaw said in an interview.
Now, Hinshaw is the president of Louisville-based Calhoun Construction Services Inc.
He joined the company in September 2013 as the operations manager under then-president Kevin Harpring. Hinshaw became the president of the company in January 2016.
An Indianapolis native and big Indiana Pacers fan, Hinshaw jumped at the opportunity to work for Hunt Construction Group in 1997 to help build the Pacers’ then-new arena, Conseco Fieldhouse (now Bankers Life Fieldhouse). He’d graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with an emphasis in structures and a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering and management.
That appears to have set a precedent for Hinshaw’s early career and time with Hunt Construction.
He would go on to work on the building of Great American Ball Park for the Cincinnati Reds as a project engineer from fall 1999 to spring 2003.
He then went to work on the construction of the then-named Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., for the Charlotte Bobcats as a project manager.
He was lured away from Hunt Construction to Louisville by developer Steve Poe to work for Poe Cos. LLC in January 2006.
In 2008, Hinshaw was let go.
It was the height of the Great Recession of 2008 and construction companies were hit particularly hard by the economic downturn.
But Hinshaw had hope despite losing his job.
The Yum Center project broke ground in 2006, but news of the big project had broken much earlier.
With his background in building sports facilities, Hinshaw wanted to be a part of the project when he first heard about the new arena coming to Louisville. It was an obvious opportunity.
To add to the desire to get on-board with the local project, Hinshaw had gotten married to a Louisville native while at working at Poe.
Hinshaw said he knew that he needed a job that would keep him here.
“Louisville had become my adopted hometown,” he said.
As luck would have it, Hinshaw was hired by Minneapolis-based M.A. Mortenson and joined as senior project manager for the Yum Center in 2008.
While all the major projects Hinshaw has worked on have been unique, he said there were some special factors involved with Yum Center.
He said the people he worked with on the project were very talented and that they stuck together in the years since the Yum Center opened in October 2010.
“We had a great team of people on the (Yum Center) project … and a lot of the same people are here at Calhoun,” Hinshaw said.
After the Yum Center work, Hinshaw was approached by Wilhelm Construction Co. Inc. with the prospect of opening and managing a business in Louisville.
Wilhelm had been the concrete contractor on several of the arena projects he had helped to manage. He joined and helped to start Calhoun Construction — which has an office off Poplar Level Road just south of the Watterson Expressway — in 2013.
Of his work on arenas, Hinshaw said, “There is always a tight timeline with an opening event scheduled. That always makes it a pressure situation from start to finish.”
A delay in work on a multimillion dollar project that’s received a great deal of media attention could be catastrophic.
“You set up a project, design a schedule that will allow you to hit the construction milestone and have intermittent milestones to help you know if you are going to make your end goal on time and on budget,” he said.
For fun, Hinshaw takes a hiking trip with his friends from college once a year, every year.
This is no day trip with a picnic. These excursions are often six- to eight-day adventures in the back country that cover anywhere from 40 to 60 miles of wilderness.
This year, Hinshaw and his friends are planning a hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
He said that approaching a quest of this magnitude takes the same kind of disciplined planning and goal setting that a multimillion dollar project does.
“You break it down into smaller pieces that you can get your head around and manage it,” Hinshaw said. “A lot of times (while hiking), you have to get from A to B because there is water at B, and no water in between.
“It’s always a huge sense of accomplishment when you’re done. That first beer (after the trip) is very satisfying.”
Even as a parent, Hinshaw takes a similar approach and recognizes that every day presents its own challenges, but that identifying and reaching key milestones helps life make sense and helps establish the pace of where things stand. John and his wife Susan have three children under the age of 10.
“It’s a part of life everyone should experience,” Hinshaw said of being a parent. “It’s your chance to create, to be part of the next generations and hopefully influence people to be good people and be contributing members of the next generation.”
He took some time to answer a few more of our questions:
What is your favorite place for lunch?
Frank’s Meat & Produce on Preston Highway
What advice would you give young or new business leaders?
Pick a field and try to learn every aspect of the field.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
What is your go-to outdoor spot?
Parklands of Floyds Fork
Is there any one project that you would consider yourself most proud of?
The KFC Yum Center
Biggest pet peeve?
Hearing someone say, “That is not my job.”
What do you listen to while in the car?
Talk radio or the Lithium station on satellite radio.
How do you decompress at the end of the work day?
Walk in my house, and my three kids attack me with all of their energy.
President, Calhoun Construction Services Inc.
Resides: East Middletown
Career history: President, Calhoun Construction Services Inc., 2016-present and operations manager, 2013-16; senior project manager, M. A. Mortenson Co., 2008-13; Poe Cos. LLC, 2008-08; Hunt Construction Group, 1997-2006.
Education: Bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering with an emphasis in structures and a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering and management from Purdue University, graduated 1997
Family: Susan Hinshaw, wife of 10 years; an 8-year-old boy, a 7-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy.
Hobbies: Back-country hiking
Sneak peek inside $16M upgrade at Churchill Downs Clubhouse
The long-stagnant, second-level Clubhouse area at Churchill Downs has undergone a $16 million transformation that has turned a large and somewhat shabby space into vibrant, welcoming quarters.
A few final touches remain, such as hanging some artwork, but the revamped sector at the top of the escalators just off Gate 17 will be open to all track-goers starting for simulcast wagering Wednesday, April 5, and then for the track’s spring racing season that leaves the gate April 29, said Ryan Jordan, Churchill Downs Racetrack’s general manager.
“We have a lot more amenities,” Jordan said during an unveiling of the facilities Tuesday morning. “We have doubled the number of restrooms, increased the number of wagering locations and added significantly more concession stations.”
“We have reconfigured the food court area with wider aisles for better circulation and flow. So we should have shorter lines, and people should get their food much, much quicker.”
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Much of the work is cosmetic – and has greatly spiffed up the premises. Wood-like vinyl flooring has been put down in much of the space and tile flooring installed in other areas. Walls have been redone in a combination of mostly neutral colors – including earth tones, greens and white.
The architect on the renovation was R2 Architects of New Jersey, and the chief contractor was Calhoun Construction of Louisville. The track paid for the project out of its own revenues, with no government aid, Jordan said, and work began last November.
The modernization has encompassed most of the 95,000-square-foot Clubhouse area and was designed to improve the track experience for the roughly 13,000 guests that typically enter the space on Oaks or Derby Day, track officials said.
Other updates include:
- The Aristides Lounge – formerly an unfinished space that was occasionally used for select events (including the Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw), “is now a permanent fixture, outfitted with table seating for nearly 300 guests, 27 flat-screen TVs and a full-service bar.”
- The Loft at Aristides Lounge – above the Aristides Lounge and accessed by a new staircase and elevator, designed to offer intimate dining with table seating for more than 300 guests, 38 flat-screen TVs and full-service bar.
- Champions Bar and Gold Room – an area exclusive to VIP bettors and horsemen, features seating for more than 240 guests and almost 100 TVs. The Champions Bar features 38 bar seats, 114 table seats and 46 TVs. “The Gold Room is a Las Vegas sports book-style area with 49 flat-screen TVs, 48 carrel seats, 28 table seats and 13 countertop seats, each outfitted with new Bet Pro betting machines,” the track said.
- The Champions Bar and Gold Room Balcony – offers a view of the Paddock area and has covered table seating for approximately 130 people.
In addition, the track has upgraded food and beverage items in an improved concession area that now has nine themed stations and 25 points of sale. Jordan said the food preparation area has also undergone upgrades, with new equipment added to speed up service.
Several new bars have been developed – appropriately named after Derby winners: the Spend a Buck Bar, the I’ll Have Another Bar, the Behave Yourself Bar and the Regret Bar.
A nice break for track visitors: there will be no immediate increase in concession prices, Jordan said.
The project has included more than 60 staffed pari-mutuel wagering windows, 40 self-serve betting machines – and a more than doubling of both the men’s and women’s restrooms fixtures.
Meanwhile, with upgrades seemingly unending, the track broke ground in January on a $37 million suites tower near Turn 4. The foundation for the tower is in, with work temporarily halted but due to resume after this year’s Derby. The tower suites should be ready for Derby 2018, Jordan said.
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Churchill announced plans for the $37 million project last November. The so-called Starting Gates suites project will encompass approximately 60,000 square feet of new commercial space on the north end of Churchill Downs Racetrack’s 147-acre facility along Central Avenue.
The steel structure, which will feature three floors of individual suites, along with dining and event space, is adjacent to the Jockey Club suites, which opened in 2003. It will host 1,140 ticket guests and boasts 36 new individual suites that can accommodate groups of various sizes, track officials said previously.
Track officials have committed approximately $125 million to major capital improvements over the last eight years.
Reporter Sheldon S. Shafer can be reached at 502-582-7089, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SNEAK PEEK: Churchill Downs shows off $16 million in new clubhouse improvements (PHOTOS)
Apr 4, 2017, 1:14pm EDT
With only a month standing between now and the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Racetrack is showing off its new upscale offerings.
Racetrack president Kevin Flanery and general manager Ryan Jordan gave local media a tour of the track’s $16 million enhancements to its second-floor clubhouse. The clubhouse sits between the paddock and the racetrack itself, offering wagering booths, food and beverage services, bars and restroom facilities.
With the upgrades, Churchill Downs has modernized about 95,000 square feet in the clubhouse to improve circulation and service. During larger events, the clubhouse typically hosts 13,000 or more guests.
The project included the addition of more than 220 flat-screen televisions, which replaced outdated analog versions. The clubhouse also has new food and beverage options, including multiple themed stations that offer about 25 new points of sale.
Flanery said the former configuration was set up as a food court with only a few points of sale, which led to long lines that disrupted the flow of the clubhouse. The new setup also removes the need to stand in separate lines for food and alcohol, he said.
“Lines are lines,” Flanery said. “People want to be out on the track.”
Jordan pointed out that the hallways in the clubhouse have doubled in width to improve walkability and flow, and Churchill Downs has created several small bars named after past Kentucky Derby winners.
That includes the Behave Yourself Bar, the I’ll Have Another Bar, the Spend a Buck Bar and what Flanery called the appropriately titled Regret Bar.
With the upgrades, Churchill Downs has also added more than 180 new pari-mutuel wagering windows, self-serve betting machines and other wagering equipment. It also more than doubled the number of restroom stalls inside the clubhouse, to 133.
And the clubhouse has new lounge and event amenities, including The Aristides Lounge, named after the first Kentucky Derby winner.
The lounge is in space that previously was used for storage and as temporary event space during the Derby and other special events. Now, it has table seating for about 300 guests, 27 flat-screen televisions and a full-service bar.
The lounge also includes graphics honoring Aristides and its jockey, Oliver Lewis, as well as mosaic wallpaper created from vintage wagering tickets.
Flanery said the clubhouse redesign is a re-imagining of Churchill Downs’ vaunted history, paying respects to the past while modernizing for the future. For instance, a pari-mutual wagering machine used in the early 1900s is on display, and Churchill Downs is adding murals honoring winning jockeys, graphics honoring past Derby and Oaks winners and a wall of fame.
Above the Aristides Lounge is The Loft at Aristides Lounge, a new event space for VIP guests that can seat about 300 or more guests for intimate dining and events. The lounge has more than three dozen flat-screen televisions and a full-service bar. A staircase has been built to access the Loft.
Also, racetrack officials have expanded the Champions Bar and Gold Room, a sweeping sports bar concept and wagering area for VIP bettors and horsemen that seats more than 240 and has nearly 100 televisions in multiple rooms.
Flanery said the space was designed for those who follow horse racing religiously and want to keep up with races at other tracks year-round.
To add to this amenity, Churchill Downs has added a balcony outside of the Champions Bar and Gold Room that includes an awning and seating for about 130 people overlooking the Paddock, where a new video board has been installed.
With these enhancements, the track and its parent company, Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. (NASDAQ: CHDN), have invested about $125 million toward major capital improvements at the racetrack in the last seven years and nearly $250 million since the massive Clubhouse and Grandstand renovation in 2005.
Looking ahead, the racetrack has broken ground on a $37 million three-story addition that will add 1,800 seats in luxury suites, dining areas and a third-floor grandstand.
The 77,250-square-foot Starting Gate Suites will be at the north end of the racetrack, next to the Jockey Club Suites. The project will add as many as 36 luxury suites with indoor lounge seating and a private tiered balcony. Each of the three levels in the addition will have event space with dining tables.
That project will be ready in time for the 2018 Kentucky Derby.
Marty Finley covers economic development, commercial and residential real estate, government and sports business.
Construction underway on multimillion-dollar hotel
Work has started on a dual hotel near EP “Tom” Sawyer Park.
Local developer Steve Poe is building a combination Townplace Suites and Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel on 26.7 acres at 10241 Champions Park Drive. The project will cost an estimated $23 million.
The 82,000-square-foot dual-branded hotel will have 157 rooms total and traditional amenities such as an indoor pool, a dining area and a fitness center. It will open sometime next year.
The development will sit near the Springhurst Towne Center, another retail center and two other hotels.
TownePlace Suites & Fairfield Inn & Suites Springhurst
Since 1985, when Bruce White started the company with a single hotel, White Lodging has been driven by strategic growth and genuine care for guests, associates and owners. Because of these characteristics, White Lodging has become a trusted hospitality partner for the industry’s premium brands, including Marriott International. White Lodging was the first franchisee of Fairfield Inn & Suites and one of the earliest franchisees of Courtyard by Marriott hotels.
White Lodging has continued to make innovative and strategic business decisions in key markets and nourished existing partnerships, resulting in sustained, profitable growth. Original partnerships, such as the one with Marriott International, continue to thrive, and new partnerships have blossomed with Global Hyatt, Starwood and Hilton. To date, White Lodging is the largest manager of Residence Inns, Courtyard by Marriotts and Hilton Garden Inns in the United States. As the vision grows, White Lodging will continue to strengthen these partnerships as they develop and manage hotels and restaurants together.
Calhoun Construction is acting as the Construction Manager on the construction of the new 4-story, TownePlace Suites & Fairfield Inn in the Springhurst area of Louisville. The new dual brand hotel will consist of 157 rooms, select rooms with kitchens, pool, exercise room and outdoor lounge. The building structure consists of a structural steel podium on the first floor and structural stud on the remaining floors and concrete braced by 3 grouted masonry cores.
Construction is scheduled to start in April 2017 with completion in 2018.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” saved_tabs=”all”]
Square Footage: 80,000 sqft
Year Completed: 2018
Project Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Contract Type: Construction Manager
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With growth of 575% in two years, how is this company still under the radar?
Feb 18, 2016, 2:51pm EST
There is a chance you have never heard of this local construction firm, but it has its hands on some of the biggest projects in Louisville, including two major renovations at Churchill Downs Racetrack and the blockbuster Omni hotel project in downtown Louisville.
Louisville-based Calhoun Construction Services Inc. was formed in 2012, and its revenue grew 575 percent in two years — from $4 million in 2013 to $27 million last year.
John Hinshaw is the new president of Louisville-based Calhoun Construction Services.
Calhoun Construction Services Inc.
The company ranked No. 14 on our list of the Louisville area’s largest general contractors, with $25.8 million in work billed out of local offices in 2014.
Calhoun specializes in construction management, general contracting and trade contracting. Employment at the company has grown from two salaried employees to 25. It also employs about 100 contractors, such as carpenters, laborers, construction workers and other specialty positions.
President John Hinshaw credits Calhoun’s growth to the company’s flexibility — it specializes in all forms of commercial construction but also has expertise in construction management. And, he said, the company’s skilled workforce leads to a lot of repeat customers.
About 100 of Calhoun’s employees and contractors are based in the Louisville area, but the company is active across Kentucky, including Lexington and Owensboro, and in Tennessee, particularly the Nashville area.
As I previously mentioned, Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. (NASDAQ: CHDN) is well-acquainted with Calhoun’s work. The construction firm was the general contractor for the construction of 20 private, open-air owners suites near Churchill Downs Racetrack’s trackside Winner’s Circle last year, a roughly $4 million project
And Calhoun has returned to the track this year to lead the $18 million renovation of the Turf Club, Stakes Room and other premium seating areas — a project that is slated to be finished before the start of the Spring Meet on April 30.
Hinshaw said a lot of the company’s repeat customers are public institutions, with the company having done work for the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Indiana University Southeast in New Albany. Currently, Calhoun is the drywall contractor for a new training facility for the UK football team, a roughly $2.5 million project,
Hinshaw said the company also has done the general contracting work on multiple Blaze Pizza locations in Louisville, Lexington and Brentwood,Tenn.
According to the company’s website, Calhoun has been a trade contractor for the Speed Art Museum renovation and expansion, is an ongoing maintenance contractor for General Electric Co.’s (NYSE: GE) Appliance Park in Louisville and was a trade contractor on a 53,808-square-foot bourbon warehouse in Shelbyville for global alcoholic beverage giant London-based Diageo PLC. (You can find a full list of the company’s projects here.)
And the company’s profile should only grow — it is working with Birmingham, Ala.-based general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie on construction management of the nearly $300 million Omni Louisville Hotel project that just broke ground in downtown Louisville.
New leadership team
In the midst of this growth, the leadership team has changed for the company.
Calhoun was founded by multiple investors in 2012 who serve as silent partners and remain active in the company, said Calhoun marketing manager Shannon Haste. She declined to identify the investors.
Kevin Harpring led the company as president until he retired last month, turning over the reins to Hinshaw, who joined Calhoun in 2013 as director of operations, where he specialized in managing projects from start to finish.
Harpring was out of the state on Thursday and could not immediately be reached for comment.
Hinshaw also became a co-owner in the company in January, along with two other new co-owners, Mike Williams, Calhoun’s operations manager, and Kurt Meadors, vice president and senior estimator.
When I spoke to Hinshaw earlier this week, he confirmed the ownership change but declined to disclose any further details about the ownership structure of the company.
Hinshaw, an Indiana native, has more than 20 years of experience in the commercial construction industry and has worked on numerous projects, including hotels and apartment complexes.
“We’ve built an elite team of professionals here in our community that have the experience and ability to build almost anything,” Hinshaw said.
This article originally ran in the February 18th edition of Business First.