Link to latest newsletter


STAR Receives Two Master Builder Awards for Label Aid Addition --May 2018--

2017 Master Builder Award

     STAR Design-Build Contractors was recently granted Star Building Systems’ 2017 Master Builder Awards for Best of Small Manufacturing and Best of the Pittsburgh District. The description reads, “Star Inc. was creative in completing a new addition to an existing metal building for Label Aid. The office area was highlighted in the addition, including Master Line-16 metal siding placed horizontally in lieu of the vertical AVP and masonry wainscot that was used for the production area. A courtyard area was enclosed with bar joists and a membrane roof. This project was also awarded the Best of the Pittsburgh District award.”1 

STAR Leads Lorain County JVS Students in Directing 40 Ton Crane --May 2018--

STAR Employees on the company swing cab crane
JVS Students waiting to hook an AC unit to the crane

     The Lorain County Joint Vocational School (JVS) held a Building Trades Career Expo on May 11. Several companies from the surrounding areas attended the event to set up interactive stations for middle school and high school students inquiring in a skilled trades career path. Each station provided a hands-on activity for the students to explore the various types of jobs that can be achieved through learning a skilled trade. Not only did this event provide a fun way to explore the diverse opportunities that can arise when knowing a skilled trade, but it also served as an outlet for students to meet and connect with potential employers, one of them being STAR Design-Build Contractors.

     STAR takes a particular interest in the JVS Carpentry students, as wood framing is a prominent build method within their company. STAR wanted to provide a unique activity that the students don’t necessarily learn through the JVS program, while also allowing them to practice the skills that they do learn through the JVS program. STAR chose to allow the students to guide a 40 Ton Terex Swing Cab Crane to lift and place trusses and wood beams in order to craft a makeshift roof. The students took on various roles to build the wooden structure. Those who were interested in guiding the crane were taught the different hand gestures that are used from the ground to signal the crane operator, a STAR employee.

JVS Carpentry Students crafting a makeshift roof
Group photo of the JVS Carpentry Class and a STAR Employee

     Over the years, STAR has developed a strong relationship with the Lorain County Joint Vocational School. They provide internships, work-based learning experiences, and employment opportunities for JVS students and graduates. In the past 5 years, STAR has hired around 23 employees that went through the JVS program, 9 of which are current employees. STAR also tries to help JVS keep their curriculum current with industry standards by involving their employees on JVS program advisory committees. This partnership benefits JVS, STAR, and the economy of Lorain County.

132 Year Old Barn Sees Another Life --September 2017--

Johnson Barn before restoration
Henry's Barn

     The Johnson Barn (now Henry's Barn) was originally built in the 1880s, but in the last few years it began showing signs of major rotting in the wood. Being very historically significant, but also in a very dangerous state, the barn was donated to the Lorain County Metro Parks to preserve and restore. They chose STAR to carefully deconstruct the barn, salvage as much of the original wood as possible, and rebuild it at a new location. Aside from living a long life of over 130 years, what makes this barn so significant? 

     Some might assume that the barn was built to house animals, but not a single animal hair, grain of food, or piece of straw was found when deconstructing it. Other traces of animal life could include distinct scratching or bite marks in the wood, but neither clues were discovered. 

     Something was found on the wood, though. Pencil script reading, “Albert J Houghton August 10th 18_7” and “96 in the shade dry dry very dry,” has lead us to believe that the barn may have been someone’s home. According to Jim Ziemnik, Director of Lorain County Metro Parks, the barn is thought to have been the home of a freed slave. It was built 20 years after the final battle of the Civil War, which led 4 million slaves to freedom. Although these people had been freed, this was a time of major corruption and increased violence in the South, leading many to relocate north. 

Henry's Barn side view
Henry's Barn main entrance
writing on historical wood
writing on historical wood
Henry's Barn side view
stairs to back porch

To preserve its history, we were able to reuse around 80% of the original wood when reconstructing the barn. At its new location on U.S. 20 in Oberlin, the barn will be used as an arts and entertainment venue with a capacity of 120-150 people. It will hold various public events including art displays, historical presentations, musical performances, and plays as well as private events such as weddings, birthday parties, corporate gatherings, and family reunions.

Watch this video to learn more:

STAR Employees Participate in Haiti Mission Trip --January 2010--

Laying Concrete in Haiti

Beginning in 2009, fifteen STAR employees participated in a series of mission trips to Haiti in partnership with Double Harvest to help develop the Haitian economy by teaching local farmers more efficient ways to grow produce and prosper from the sales of the excess food harvested. Working with Double Harvest, STAR employees built an industrial cooler and produce stand to serve Double Harvest’s 200-acre farm.

In addition to the farm, Double Harvest also operates a school and a clinic, and offers housing to Haitian women and children. Double Harvest, a Christian ministry, ministers to the spiritual and physical needs of people in developing countries. They seek to model Christ’s compassion by offering economic, educational, and medical programs to people in difficult and impoverished situations.

Having storage and sales space allows Double Harvest to make the most of produce harvested from the farm. In the tropical heat, food spoils quickly, so having a cooler will allow Double Harvest workers to preserve food before it goes bad, and to offer more fresh food to farm residents and the neighboring community. 

The cooler was designed using STAR’s fast and cost-effective tilt-up concrete construction method. It is resistant to insects and other tropical pests and able to withstand hurricane-force winds and an 8.0 earthquake on the Richter Scale. In addition to the cooler’s electrical cooling system, the thick walls insulate and protect the produce inside until it can be sold, consumed, or preserved for later use. STAR's team worked with Double Harvest’s staff to determine the most effective layout and location for the cooler and produce stand. The chosen location is a major intersection a half an hour from the capital city, Port-au-Prince, and easily accessible from the nearby community of Croix des Bouquets.