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Build Me Up

Business & Economics Podcasts

Build Me Up shares inspiring stories of innovators in the built marketplace. It's hosted by Kraus-Anderson's Tom Emison and Mary Brickner. KA is a Midwest construction management firm, realty, development, insurance and financial services company. The podcast is designed to meet the needs of leaders and aspiring innovators in the built marketplace.

Build Me Up shares inspiring stories of innovators in the built marketplace. It's hosted by Kraus-Anderson's Tom Emison and Mary Brickner. KA is a Midwest construction management firm, realty, development, insurance and financial services company. The podcast is designed to meet the needs of leaders and aspiring innovators in the built marketplace.


United States


Build Me Up shares inspiring stories of innovators in the built marketplace. It's hosted by Kraus-Anderson's Tom Emison and Mary Brickner. KA is a Midwest construction management firm, realty, development, insurance and financial services company. The podcast is designed to meet the needs of leaders and aspiring innovators in the built marketplace.






The Future of STEAM Education at Nobel Hall

The Nobel Hall of Science at Gustavus Adolphus College, located in St. Peter, Minnesota, has been a staple on campus for decades. But its recent transformation is setting up Gustavus to be one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Kraus-Anderson completed the renovation and expansion project this summer, nearly doubling the building’s footprint to over 177,000 square feet. The new space includes new laboratories, teaching and study spaces, and connects Nobel Hall with the...


Accessible Healthcare with Action Care Community Clinic

When Ayan Abukar emigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia, staying in refugee camps before arriving in Minnesota in 1998, her passion was to help others. Growing up in refugee camps taught her the importance of community, and she has worked for decades to help underserved communities in the Twin Cities. Ayan saw the need for more affordable and accessible healthcare for the immigrant community, so she opened Action Care Community Clinic. The clinic sets out to provide quality care for those who...


Fostering Tech Innovation with BuiltWorlds: Part 2

In Part 2 with Michael Latiner and Ryan Trompeter of BuiltWorlds, they dive into the BuiltWorlds Venture Forum (BVF), which is investing in the most promising construction technology and services. They also discuss the productivity gap in the global construction industry, and how technology investments can work to increase efficiency and address problems like the industry's labor shortage.


Fostering Tech Innovation with BuiltWorlds: Part 1

We’re launching into a two-part series here on Build Me Up, featuring an innovative company that is pushing the industry forward: BuiltWorlds. This powerful, digital-first platform evolved from a simple blog in 2013 to a robust network and learning platform made specifically for the industry. In Part I, Michael Latiner, who leads the BuiltWorlds Venture Forum, and Ryan Trompeter, Senior Venture Analyst with the BVF, discuss how BuiltWorlds got started and its evolution to becoming a network...


Inclusive Living at Bethesda Cornerstone Village

Bethesda Lutheran Communities, a non-profit that supports people with developmental disabilities across the U.S., recently opened Cornerstone Village. This first-of-its-kind living community in Victoria, MN, combines active seniors and independent adults with disabilities, creating an inclusive, integrated environment that has not been modeled in the U.S. Accessibility is a priority at Cornerstone Village, and smart home technology in every unit allows residents to do everything from locking...


Indoor Air Quality and COVID-19

So much is still unknown about the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools are navigating hybrid learning and offices are planning for an eventual return to work, there are many questions on preventative measures to slow the spread of the virus. Washing your hands, wearing a mask and social distancing are still the most effective ways to prevent COVID-19, but many people have been asking how a building’s indoor air quality can play a role in the spread of the virus. It is easy for misinformation and...


Simplifying ICHRA and Employee Benefits with KA Insurance

The complexity of health insurance and employee benefits can be a bit overwhelming for a lot of people. As of January 2020, there is a new type of HRA, called the Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement, or ICHRA. This innovative new system, while it may seem complex, is meant to keep things simple for both the employer and the employee. At Kraus-Anderson Insurance, part of the KA family of companies, the independent agency is dedicated to navigating the ever-changing world of...


Rural Internet Access with Paul Bunyan Communications

Technology has become integral to our lives. Many of us can hop on Zoom meetings, stream our favorite TV shows, and access the internet from our pockets without giving it a second thought. But according to NPR, over 21 million Americans still don’t have access to high speed internet, with many of them in rural areas. This makes the innovations from Paul Bunyan Communications (PBC), which provides communication technology services to northern Minnesota communities, all the more important...


Building a Strong Community with Dwight Picha

When longtime Community Development Director Dwight Picha began his tenure with the City of Woodbury in 1977, its population was just 8,000 people. 43 years later, Woodbury is one of the most populous suburbs in Minnesota with over 74,000 residents. Recently retired, Dwight oversaw the development of approximately 10 million square feet of commercial real estate. About 90 percent of the homes in Woodbury today were constructed during Dwight’s time with the city. Woodbury also boasts...


Transforming Addiction Recovery with Monarch Health

Addiction is a prevalent issue in the U.S., and often one that gets swept under the rug. Those who are suffering from addiction can often slip through the cracks in the medical system. It becomes a cycle of emergency room visits, using methadone to treat overdoses and withdrawals, without any treatment plan to help the patient to recovery. Dr. Mike Repplinger and Dr. Howard Croft, two emergency medicine specialists, grew frustrated with the holes in the system that was failing those...


The Future of Air Travel with Brian Ryks

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. But perhaps no industry was as impacted as the aviation industry. The rapid shutdown of air travel is forcing the industry to get innovative as they navigate their way through this challenging economic setback. The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, managed by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), served nearly 40 million travelers in 2019. It was named Best Airport in North America for the fourth year in a...


Investing in your people and your tech with BX-CC

Often times, when we use the term “innovation,” people quickly jump to flashy, technologically advanced innovations. But that is not always the case. BX Civil and Construction (BX-CC), a highway construction company based in South Dakota, is making very intentional investments in both its people and technology. BX-CC CEO and Owner Kari Karst knew that investing in technology was vitally important to keeping the company moving forward. The stringless paving technology has increased...


Reinventing Youth Mental Health Treatment with Cambia Hills

We have a mental health crisis in our country, and often it is the children that slip through the cracks. In Minnesota alone, over 100,000 children need treatment for serious emotional disturbances. Many children with complex mental illnesses will need weeks or months of round-the-clock care to get well, but the average stay in children’s psychiatric hospitals is 7-10 days, on average. The Hills Youth and Family Services, based in Duluth, Minnesota, is working to address this growing need...


Mobile Device Management with Jamf

The concept of mobile device management (MDM) may seem trivial, but the technology behind it is what keeps a company running. In the construction industry, reliable and on-the-go communication is key to running a project. The MDM process is hugely important. KA's Mobile Technology Coordinator Judd Jennrich, KA Project Manager Mike Stark, and Jamf Account Executive Ryan Ward sit down to discuss the innovative, behind-the-scenes process of getting a phone in the hands of every employee at a...


Building Career Foundations with Cristo Rey Student Interns

The Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis is part of a nationwide network of high schools that provide unique opportunities for urban students with limited education options. Part of Cristo Rey’s core mission that sets them apart is their Corporate Work Study Program. Their students spend one full work day each week in a corporate office setting, performing tasks and learning valuable professional skills to set them apart when they graduate and enter the work force. Kraus-Anderson has...


BIM and Career Pathways

Building Information Technology, or BIM, is a complex facet of the construction, architecture, and engineering industry. Kraus-Anderson BIM Manager Heather Kossila and BIM/VDC Specialists Andrea Blair and Allie Bindert sit down to discuss how BIM technology is evolving within the industry, how the age of social distancing is impacting their work, and the career paths they took before finding their passion for BIM.


Sam Ebute and the Power of Resilience

Sam Ebute is the director of the MN Trades Academy, a paid internship experience for high schoolers to expose them to career pathways in construction. But his own journey to the industry did not follow a traditional path. In this special episode, guest host and KA's Director of Inclusion and Diversity Laurie Trousil sat down with Sam to learn more about his early life in Nigeria, the culture shock of moving to Menomonie, Wisconsin, and the events in his life that led him to mentoring Twin...


Insights into the Maple River Schools Referendum Effort

The Maple River School District serves students in the rural communities of Southern Minnesota. Faced with aging facilities and a declining school population, the district set out to pass a $63.3 million bond referendum for a new school that would house Pre-K through 12th grade students. In its 4th attempt, the referendum passed by less than 10 votes. Kraus-Anderson's Gary Benson and Tony Sjolander talk with Maple River Superintendent Dan Anderson and two Maple River school board members,...


Spotlighting the Bemidji Community's COVID-19 Response

The United Way of Bemidji Area, a local non-profit in the northern Minnesota community, has been working tirelessly to serve its residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Director Denae Alamano and Kraus-Anderson Bemidji's Director of Business Development Tracy Pogue, who also serves on the United Way board, discuss how the community has come together in unprecedented ways. The generous donations to the Emergency Fund, established for COVID-19 relief, has made countless new...


Robotics team uses skills for good during COVID-19 pandemic

The Team 2052 KnightKrawlers, Irondale High School's robotics team, is using its skills to 3D print face shields for healthcare and other essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coach Scott Davis, Build Team Student Captain Kyle Warren, and Public Relations Student Captain Maria Johnson discussed how they gathered support and supplies from the community, the trial and error involved in their operation, and the impact they are seeing in the community.