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VDC in 2020

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2020 was an exciting and challenging year for the VDC (Virtual Design and Construction) team at MSD, Inc. Schedules became complicated as one of our main coordinating jobs shut down and others saw delays and scheduling changes. On top of that, due to the pandemic, we moved our team from the office to a virtual setup with team members setting up offices and working from home. But, in spite of the many challenges, 2020 was one of the best years ever for the VDC team. Three new exceptional members were added to the team: A VDC/Engineering intern, a VDC Designer and a VDC Engineer. All three brought with them great skill sets and potential and have already made a positive impact upon the department. Also, in 2020, the department took on their biggest coordinating project in the history of MSD, the new campus at Miami Valley Career Technology Center. Starting a month before the change to a virtual work setting, the team has responded to every challenge that the project has dealt them. The coordination process started after the project construction was well underway, but the team responded with professionalism and determination and currently are well ahead of the construction schedule.

Now with a VDC team of seven experienced and skilled individuals, the team will be looking to 2021 with high expectations. The team will be tackling several large initiatives that will revolutionize the department and have a positive impact on MSD as a whole. The costly SysQue Revit add-on will be phased out as the team transitions to using Revit fabrication parts along with an MSD specific database that the team will be creating. A new Quality Control (QC) process will be implemented in the department to help provide even more accurate drawings and information to the prefabrication department and the field installation crews. An intradepartmental training program was kicked off in 2020 using ProductivityNOW which will continue in 2021. A new venture in the coming year is the VDC Department being marketed as a standalone resource for other contractors, engineers, and consultants. The VDC department will be marketing its capabilities in 3D model evaluation, creation, and coordination. Also, 2D drawing creation, 3D laser scanning, along with HVAC and plumbing design services.

The VDC department has seen many great improvements over the last year but continues to strive to improve and excel in all possible area. With the great team that has been assembled, the sky truly is the limit for this very essential department at MSD.

Chris Gimpel

88th Med

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MSD Inc. entered into an agreement with Perini Management Services for the HVAC and Plumbing work on a renovation project at the WPAFB Hospital, Building 88, which had a total contracted value of over $6 million dollars.

The HVAC work that MSD completed includes the following:
• Demo and Reinstall (1) Indoor Air Handling unit along with all new Ductwork
• Renovate (3) separate areas inside the existing Hospital
• Demo and reinstall (3) chillers in the Central Energy Plant, and all the existing piping.

Most of the time we hear people say that our children are the ones that cause our hair to turn grey. However, looking back over the past couple of years, I would have to say that this project has given me a couple of grey hairs as well! We originally teamed up with a Construction Manager out of Missouri, who had organized and brought together the Architect, Engineer and all the other trades. We spent hours working through the design and were finally to the point where we could move forward on the project. We had been given a contract in January of 2018 and we had been directed to order the first chiller,which cost over $250,000. The plan was that we would start work in April of that year so that we get the first chiller installed and running before we got into the hot summer months. All the paperwork was in place and we pulled the trigger on the chiller expecting delivery in early May.

On March 16th we received an email from the Construction Manager saying that the Missouri company was “indefinitely closed for business”. Their doors were closed. They were out of business. No heads up, no warning, just an email informing us that they were done. Here we sat with a very expensive chiller on order and the contractor who held our contract just went out of business. There were a lot of phone calls and emails that went out that same day to our subs and our vendors. Here we were thinking that we had over 16,000 man-hours getting ready to start in April and suddenly all of that came to a screeching halt. All kinds of questions began to surface. Could the chiller shipment be canceled or were we going to be the owners of a 1500-ton chiller? What are we going to do to keep our crew busy? Is the project dead or is there anyway that it can move forward?

There were a couple of weeks of uncertainty on what truly was going to happen. We were able to get the chiller canceled but everyone was just discouraged. All the upfront work that had been done seemed to be slowing going down the drain as a lost cause. Then a spark of hope came to the project in early April as the bonding agent reached out to us wanting us to work with Perini Management Services to help move this project forward. Negotiations started back up and more paperwork and finally a new contract was in place allowing things to start moving forward again.

However due to the delay and the fact that most of our work was in the main chiller plant, our work had to be postponed until after the hot summer months. Even though things were moving forward, it had a huge impact our sales and our workload over those months.

I had been somewhat involved in the project up to this point, but I had not been the lead contact on the project. Now that we had a green light on everything again this project landed fully in my lap. I can remember sitting there in my office looking over the prints and it didn’t seem too bad. Replace three chillers along with the cooling towers outside and (six) pumps. Not that big of deal, right? Wrong. As I sat there and studied everything there was something that I kept rolling over in my mind as I thought about the scope of the project. Per the project scope we had to replace all the piping that was attached to the chillers and reconnect them into one common header. This work all had to be done while the system stayed up and running, maintaining chilled water to the hospital.

Now we knew that we needed to install a new 18” steel pipe header that all of the new chillers would tie into. This header, which weighed 155 lbs/ft, had to be installed next to the existing line so that we could maintain the old system while we worked on the new one. This was not just a matter of raising this pipe up off the floor with chain falls to secure it into new hangers, no, this was more like trying to jockey this pipe into position around existing conduit and other piping lines that had to remain intact until the new system was up and running. Due to the weight of this new piping and the fact that very little of the existing system could be demolished, shoring had to be added to make sure that we did not put too much-added load on the building structure. So, the issue that we had in front of us that somehow this new 18” steel pipe that was going to be installed right beside the existing 18” pipe somehow had to be tied into the existing pipe. Where we needed to do this would require us to cut off the old 18” line and demo it out of the way and then connect our new 18” line in its place. This is 18” welded pipe. Nothing gets installed fast. This existing pipe that we needed to cut is moving up to 6000 gallons of water a minute and it needs to stay operational to keep cooling on to the hospital. With everything that we had done in the past, our options seemed very limited. Everything that we knew said that there needed to be a shutdown of the plant so that we could make this tie-in. Could this be done at night? Would the hospital allow us to shut them down fora 12-hour period of time? As we began to pursue this option, we found a major problem, there were no existing shutoff valves on these 18” lines as they leave the plant and head over to the hospital. If we drain the water out of the plant, we would also be draining the entire hospital. That was NOT an option!! We were then given a lead on a company in Cincinnati that might be able to help us. We made contact and met one of their reps on site to look at our situation and what we were needing to do. As we talked through things a solution started to come to light. It was going to require us to order some special split tees that would fit around the outside of the existing 18” line and be welded into place. We would then ship in a special hot tap drill from Texas and have their crew come in and cut a hole into the side of the 18” line with the water still flowing past. We would then use this 12” hot tap port as a temporary way to tie our new line into this existing header. This would allow us to run off the new header with the first new chiller that we installed, but at the same time have the old system still in place to back it up if our new equipment failed.

We liked the plan and decided to move forward with it even though it seemed very expensive and something we had never done before on this magnitude. This allowed us to continue switching out the other two chillers, one at a time and piping them into the new header. We finally got to the day when we had all the chillers connected to the new header and it was now time for us to connect the new header as the main line and eliminate the old header. This was the most nerve-wracking portion of this plan. It was going to require us to make another 12” hot tap into the same 18” pipe just a few feet upstream of where our temporary line was installed. Once the hot tap was complete, they would install what they called a line stop. Just picture a heavy-duty bag getting inflated on the inside of the 18” pipe, and that bag was going to the only thing in place that was going to hold back thousands of gallons of water. Sometimes our mind can go to the ‘what ifs’ in life. What if that bag failed while that 18” pipe was completely cut off and all that water rushed out of that open pipe right into the Central Energy Plant where all the Electric, Heat and Cooling for the Hospital are fed. We just couldn’t let our minds think about that.

I remember how I felt that morning at the office not really wanting to be out there watching, but having my mind constantly wanting to know what was going on. So much that I finally had to get in the truck and head out for a little bit just to watch. When I got there the bag was already inserted and our crew just finishing up cutting through the pipe just a few feet away from this inflated bag holding back all that water. I remember seeing the guy up in the lift look into the open end of the pipe, completely cut off, and being able to see that bag just a few feet away. That was a nerve-wracking day for everyone. After watching for a while, I decided it was more stressful to be there just watching. I had to leave and go try to busy myself with something else. I remember the call that simply said “We’re done. The valve is in place
and the hot tap team is leaving”.

A situation that at first looked impossible to me had been solved. The entire chilled water plant had been re-piped and tied back into the existing system without ever taking the hospital offline.

Mark Denlinger
Senior Project Manager

Fabrication Shop

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MSD manufacturing and fabrication shop offers a wide variety of services from manufacturing ready to assemble sheet metal duct work to complete mechanical skid packages.


Quality is our top priority at MSD.  With superior continuous training we are positioned to provide a top-quality product in a timely manner.  At MSD our Fabrication/Manufacturing department is committed to safely delivering top quality products that enhance your project schedules while reducing your overall installation efforts.


The Benefits to Manufacturing/Fabrication

*Reduced Labor Time

*Higher Production

*Enhances Schedule

*Improved Safety

*Less Material Waste

*Immeasurable Quality

*Reduced Crew Size

*Reduced Installation Time


Sicsa Pet Adoption Facility

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Client Overview:

Sicsa pet Adoption Facility is a non-profit pet adoption center and animal shelter, that has rescued and adopted more than 7,500 animals throughout the years. The Shelter has been part of the Miami Valley since 1974. Sicsa has performed more than 6,900 spays and neuters during the last three years.

Project Site Overview:

In early 2015, Sicsa hired a third party to complete a feasibility study that included testing whether the community would support a fundraising campaign aimed at expansion, as well as if moving from the Kettering Community after 45 years would be accepted. The Sicsa team first explored options in Kettering, but could not find the ideal land to accommodate a new 27,000 sf facility. After a substantial study was finalized suitable land was located within the Washington Township area on Washington Church Road. The land had the size to accommodate all Sicsa services in one location consisting of Animal Housing, Full Service Veterinary Clinic, Dedicated Help Center, Humane Education Classrooms, two adoption cafes, plus administrative and volunteer office space. This site allowed Sicsa to have all operations in one location and accommodating all current and future expanding program needs.

Construction Progress Overview:

Following the site selection Sicsa Pet Adoption Facility worked with Levin Porter Architects and Heapy Engineering on the building and development plans. Following the completion of the construction documents, there was a plan-spec bidding process that involved many of Dayton’s finest General Contractors and Construction Mangers. After the bidding process was finalized Sicsa Pet Adoption Facility selected Conger Building Group as the Construction Manager to oversee the overall construction progress and MSD, Inc. was awarded the Mechanical and Plumbing scopes of work on this project.

The overall project came in slightly over budget and MSD, INC. worked very closely with Levin Porter, Heapy Engineering and Conger Building Group on value engineering options available to help transfer the Sicsa Pet Adoption Facility from a dream into a reality. MSD’s Inhouse Engineering department worked with Heapy Engineering on potential value engineering options from August to November while the site work was progressing in the forward direction. The overall value engineering process was a true partnership approach that involved collaboration with the Architect, Engineer, Construction Manager and all trade associates.

MSD Scope of Work:

MSD’s VDC department worked very hard at getting all of the ductwork to fit within the building footprint which produced many challenges throughout this process as the facility design requirements required 0% cross contamination between the Dog and Cat areas.

MSD completed the Plumbing, Mechanical and Controls scopes of work on this project which consisted of installation of the following systems: Domestic Water, Sanitary, Storm and Natural Gas, while the Mechanical Systems consisted of Supply, Return and Exhaust Ductwork feeding from 6 Natural Gas Roof Top Units. MSD Inc also installed all the Building Automation Control scope of work as part of the MSD Mechanical package.


This project was very special to MSD as it involved a plan-spec bidding process with a value engineering collaboration with all partners to bring this project within budget and transfer this dream into a reality for Sicsa Pet Adoption Facility.

Maintenance Programs

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During these unique economic periods, there is sometimes a trend to pull back on maintenance programs in an effort to reduce expenses. This, quite often, has the opposite effect. Postponing, deferring, or eliminating a comprehensive maintenance program may lead to elevated future costs related to major repairs and equipment failures down the road.
There are many studies that indicate the true price of deferred maintenance could be more than 10 times the maintenance program amount.

We have seen on numerous occasions where the lack of a continuous program contributed to a major component failure, resulting in not only the expensive repair but also the loss of productivity while the mission-critical equipment is down.

MSD recommends to its client during these periods, to review the maintenance programs with their contractor. Consider the true cost and weigh the potential liabilities down the road.
Furthermore, ask your contractor of choice, if they have a platform of verification of work performed. Are they transparent in the activities of all the services being offered? Do they share videos or photos of the maintenance and repair work?

No one is inclined to spend money without receiving something in return, make sure your trusted partner has your best interest at heart.

Vision, Mission & Core Value Launch

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We are so excited to share this news with our team but also with all those who support us. Please watch the following video created for our employees. We thought it was toooooo good not to share! Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

MSD, Inc has undergone a remarkable evolution in the past year. We have created new connections and made profound changes to our company, culture, and community. This balance between culture and community has created aspirations that are reflected in our new and improved mission, vision, and core values. These changes will represent the direction and ongoing journey to come. Our team is extremely excited about integrating these brand standards to create a stronger community moving forward. Innovation is more essential than ever, as a company, we need to capitalize on today’s greatest changes and identify the importance of company culture.



School Bus Safety

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School Bus Safety

As schools resume, all be it on a limited basis, I think it is important that we review the laws and safe practices of driving around school busses. Even if there will be fewer busses this season than in previous ones, their cargo is no less precious. Knowing that children, especially young ones, can be very unpredictable, we must ensure complete focus on what is happening around us.

When you took driver’s education, you learned the proper vehicle-driving laws regarding school buses in Ohio. But how long ago was that? Have school bus laws changed since then, and if so, do you know the latest school bus laws in Ohio?

For example, school buses haven’t always used the amber warning lights you see before the red flashing lights. Amber lights were adopted by a number of states in the mid-1970s, and within a few years were universally adopted across the United States.

They act similar to yellow lights. About 100 to 300 feet before stopping, amber lights are activated to signal passing vehicles to prepare to stop, because the school bus is about to stop and unload/load students.

Here’s a list of the latest school bus laws in Ohio:

  • The driver of any vehicle approaching a school bus in any direction must stop at least ten feet from the front or rear of the school bus. They cannot proceed until the school bus resumes motion or the school bus driver motions for the automobile driver to proceed.
  • All school buses are equipped with amber and red visual signals meeting the requirements of section 771of the Revised Code. These can be activated by the bus driver only when the bus is stopped or stopping on the roadway for the purpose of loading/unloading school children, persons attending mental health or developmental disabilities programs, or children attending programs by head start agencies.
  • When a highway has four or more lanes, a driver of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction of the school bus does not need to stop. However, drivers of vehicles driving in the same direction as the school bus must stop.
  • Regarding divided highways or highways with four or more lanes, school bus drivers are required to unload/load passengers on the residence’s side of the highway.
  • The school bus driver is required to wait until the passengers have reached a safe destination on the side of the road before driving away.

School bus laws in Ohio are serious. Any driver who fails to follow the laws listed above can be fined an amount up to $500 and receive a one-year license suspension. And legislation introduced at the Ohio Statehouse could increase those fines – nearly doubling them – for vehicles who illegally pass a school bus. School bus safety is a major concern across the country. In late 2018, five children died while trying to get to or from their bus. The reason? Other motor vehicles failed to follow school bus laws. Make sure to always follow safe driving habits, especially around school buses. Practice caution and patience when you see a school bus stopping or stopped. Study the latest school bus laws in Ohio so you’re prepared the next time you’re face to face with a stopping or stopped school bus.


Source :

Give to Grow

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MSD prides itself on giving back to the local communities, through time, hands‐on labor, and financial resources. We support, participate in and sponsor a variety of initiatives, charities, and programs that we believe will improve the quality of life in our community and build stronger neighborhoods and a stronger future for those in our area. Whether we are surpassing economic inclusion goals on our construction projects, donating time to a local charity or educational program, or helping an organization like the Mechanical Systems Mini University and the Victory Project, MSD offers support to those all around us. We value the importance of being a good neighbor.

During the year, MSD supported many community organizations and participated in a variety of philanthropic events, most notably:

o The Foodbank (Dayton) – collected 1,666 pounds of non-perishable items, our eleventh year of participation.

o Light the Night Walk – A construction-industry based walk that supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by recognizing all of those that have survived, battling, or lost their lives to these diseases. We have supported this cause for the past three years.

o Making Strides Against Breast Cancer – MSD walked in support of Breast Cancer survivors, battlers, and those who lost the battle with this disease. We participated in the Start-up Breakfast held by Making Strides which encourages/recognizes all persons affected by sharing stories and encouraging remarks. We have supported this cause for the past twenty years.

o Adopt-A-Park – this was MSD’s first year volunteering to work at a Metro park removing litter and doing other Earth-friendly tasks.

o Polar Plunge held by the Special Olympics –The mission of Special Olympics Ohio is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual and or physical disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. We have supported this cause for the past two years.

o At the Ronald McDonald House, they provide families a bit of stability in the midst of challenging times. Families can make the House their “home-away-from-home” for as long as their child is being treated in the hospital. MSD was able to donate dinner for one night to help with the challenging times.

Architects and Engineers Support Bipolar Ionization

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Ever since the pandemic has changed our world, there has been a lot of information pertaining to virus spread in the built environment. While a lot of research surrounding the coronavirus is still in development, there are a few critical things that will remain true. Currently, the key components to successfully mitigate virus spread are social distancing, handwashing, cleaning protocols, and proper air quality and ventilation. The design of the built environment around us can aid or hinder these strategies. As architects and engineers, we have been getting a lot of questions lately from clients and partners wanting to know what changes to make in their spaces to help mitigate virus spread, particularly focused around indoor air quality. M+A and leading engineering firm, CMTA, have come together to answer some of the most burning questions.

1. In your expert opinion, how do you think we can reduce the risk of virus spread in the built environment?

M+A: It’s important to note that we can’t eliminate risk, but we can reduce it. Looking at current research, it appears this virus is transmitted mainly through aerosols (virus in droplets expelled when we exhale, talk or cough), which means we have several main ways to reduce our risk:

  • Stay away from people who are sick
  • Social distance when in public, possibly more than six feet depending on activity and duration (6)
  • Wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face to reduce fomite transmission (9)
  • Wear a face mask to reduce exposing others, in case you’re unknowingly an asymptomatic carrier
  • Increase fresh air by opening windows or enhance air quality through air purification systems

CMTA: I agree with what M+A has said above. To expand on indoor air quality and the current technologies that exist to reduce the spread, there are several options to consider. The first option is increasing outside air to flush the building as many times as possible during occupied hours. This seems like a “no-brainer,” but there is actually a lot more thought that goes into this than just opening all windows, or outside air dampers in a building. High relative humidity levels can actually encourage the spread of viruses when relative humidity rises above 60%, so it is important to understand what the capabilities of your existing HVAC system are, and what impact that will have on building temperature and relative humidity. The second option is an air purification system that will actively destroy viruses and bacteria both in the air stream and on surfaces within the space(13).

2. Let’s dig a little deeper into air purification technology — What kinds of systems are out there and what would you recommend?

M+A: From a sustainability and a cost perspective, we would recommend bipolar ionization. It has an inexpensive first cost and minimal maintenance over time that can be combined easily with your annual HVAC maintenance. It’s a long-term investment with a short payback.

It’s important to note that most air purification systems do more than just help with our immediate needs mitigating virus spread. Most systems also help reduce VOCs (some Volatile Organic Compounds are known as carcinogens(14)), allergens, mold, and odors. Air quality is one of the key factors in making a space healthier for the occupants(12) — we can think more clearly and be more creative and productive, students achieve higher test scores, and patients recover faster. If there’s one key component of a healthy building to invest in, it’s air quality. Following the 3-30-300 rule(7), if companies spend $3 in utilities, $30 in rent, and $300 in payroll per square foot per year, investing in creating a healthier and happier workforce offers a significantly higher payback.


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Think Positive

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I had a mentor in my life that always reminded me, “Your attitude determines your altitude”.

I don’t know anyone that has the greatest attitude or is always positive 24 hours a day 7 days a week, but what if we made a conscious effort to begin to look for the true value in the things and people around us?

Do I love getting up for work at 4:30 in the morning? Uh, No.  But I do love those mornings when the sun is just coming up and the birds are singing.

Do I love dealing with a difficult co-worker on a daily basis? Again, No. But I can handle each situation with that individual with a sort of grace and compassion.

Do I necessarily love all of the extra safety measures that have been put into place during these difficult times we are all going through. No, not especially. But my attitude can be one of, I get to go to work today!

Attitude: a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something

If an attitude is that thing which I can settle into, a choice to see the positive in the situations that may arise and the people I come in contact with everyday then there’s nowhere to go but up!

Stay positive!


-Lindsey Baker