CWB July 2004
A Milwaukee architectural millwork firm is part of the major renovation of Lambeau Field, a beloved Wisconsin landmark.
By Jo-Ann Kaiser
Visit the conference room at Glenn Rieder Inc. in Milwaukee, WI, and you will detect a touch of green and gold. Not the colors green and gold, but the spirit of the colors found in a full-size copy of work done at Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers - one of the company's favorite recent projects.
Glenn Rieder, a high-end architectural millwork manufacturer and custom interior contractor, serves a variety of markets around the United States. Ruth Kent, vice president of finance, says it was a thrill to be involved in the renovation at Lambeau, and the company has a wonderful memento of the experience.> "We were a part of the massive renovations done to the Packer headquarters in Green Bay," Kent says. Glenn Rieder's portion of the $295 million facelift was a $5.5 million contract that included interior finishes for various luxury suites and locker rooms, back-of-the-house areas, administrative offices and the club meeting area. The firm also did millwork for concession stands and the atrium's radius bar.
"Our contract involved building a mockup of a super suite," Kent says. "So we redid our conference room into a 'test-suite,' rebuilt to the dimensions of a Lambeau luxury suite, over the course of just five days."
The mock-up work involved relocating ductwork and electrical components, installing new lighting and an acoustical ceiling, plus new carpeting. The walls of the full-size model were painted the same color as specified for the suites, and the room includes the same combination of wood - quartered slip-matched makore with cherry accents. The cabinetry includes a custom-built niche designed to hold a television and a buffet line shelf. Columns are wrapped in makore.
Such attention to detail is a routine part of the job at Glenn Rieder. For the Packer project, the company sent some of its project managers to its stone supplier in Italy to participate in selection of the granite used in the countertops. The suites (and the conference room at Glenn Rieder) contain under-counter refrigerators and icemakers. Drink rails around the perimeter are made from makore, topped with granite and featuring a tempered glass guardrail.
All the players' lockers were done by Glenn Rieder, fabricated in a wood-grained plastic laminate with a maple front edge and top valance. The team's distinctive "G" logo is attached from the back to an aluminum mesh grille along the bottom and can be replaced if damaged.
The firm also worked on the Club Meeting Area, a part of the headquarters that functions as a ballroom and can be subdivided into smaller meeting spaces as needed. All of the walls, including moveable dividers, are made of full-height quartered and figured model-block makore panels. Other items provided by the firm include plain sliced cherry with white maple accents for the administrative office area and a 21-foot-long conference table topped with Zodiac "Black Abyss" quartz surfacing, with cherry nosing and legs. The company also fabricated the concession stand wood fronts, ticket office plastic laminate casework and laminate casework with cherry nosing for the press area.
"Most of the work we do is outside Wisconsin," Kent says. "But we have worked on some other high-profile jobs in the state recently, including Lambeau Field and the Overture Center, a performing arts center in Madison, WI." The famed architect Caesar Pelli designed it. Glenn Rieder's work there included millwork for Overture Hall, which Kent calls the centerpiece of the project.
"It is a very dramatic, elegant structure, which features old-time opera boxes," she says. "The primary wood species used were sycamore and maple veneers, and the project required some 10,000 square feet of veneer. Our veneer manager worked with the architect, designer and owner to select the specific logs used in the space."
Impressive Client List Spans the Commercal Sector
Glenn Rieder serves a variety of markets across the United States, including hospitality, gaming, retail, institutional, corporate and marine. Kent says it is currently working for clients in Baltimore, Chicago, Las Vegas, Denver and Lake Charles, LA. "We just finished a big job in New Jersey last year and a couple in California and Arizona," she adds. The company's impressive list of clients includes Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, Harrah's Entertainment, Ericsson, Renaissance Hotels, Four Seasons, Hilton, Caesar's Palace, Mark Shale, Hyatt, Kraft Foods, Arthur Anderson, Loews, Omni Hotels and KPMG Peat Marwick.
The company usually employs 60 to 65 but adds workers as needed. It maintains a full-time, five-person engineering department. "Our engineers utilize computer aided design (CAD) software and provide complete shop drawings for all projects, from traditional architectural woodworking to the most elaborate themed environment," Kent says. The CAD system is integrated with the shop floor production equipment for maximum efficiency.
The firm also offers consulting services for large millwork/commercial interior projects, such as hotels and casinos. Glenn Rieder is a member the Architectural Woodwork Institute and is an AWI QCP certified company.
Every project, regardless of the size, is assigned a project manager, who is responsible for execution of the work. "Our project managers oversee scheduling, coordination of the millwork with any other trades working on the job, as well as on-site job supervision and installation," Kent says.
All the millwork for each job is made in Milwaukee at the 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. It is equipped with highly automated machinery, which includes a Busellato Jet 7000 XXL CNC machining center, Weinig Unimat 1000 moulder, Schelling FI panel saw and DMC Unisand 2000 sander. It also has a Cehisa 305 edgebander, K70-SCD contour edgebander from Therm-O-Web and a Schmalz Jumboergo 110 vacuum lift.
The company grinds its own tooling, using the following grinders: a Weinig Rondamat 960 grinder, a Weinig Profimat 22N and a Foley Model 75. The state-of-the-art finishing department includes a 20-foot Binks spray booth, a self-enclosed downdraft spray booth by JBI and an inline spray coater. Spray equipment is from Kremlin.
Kent says the production floor is divided into various areas from rough mill to panel processing to assembly, finishing and shipping. "The nature of our business is custom, and we have assembled a production scheme that works well for the diverse quality of the products we produce."
Kent joined the company in 2002 as controller, but took on the added duties of operations manager in 2003. "I am in charge of all operations, which basically means that once we get awarded a job, I ensure that we produce it and get it shipped on time and looking great," she says. "I coordinate all of that, and the project manager and plant managers report to me. My job is to make sure we are all in constant communication."
Glenn Rieder recently instituted a quality control program at each manufacturing workstation to help maintain its quality control. "Each department has a quality control checklist posted. Employees answer a series of key questions about the process before anything moves on to the next staging area," says Kent. "It is our way to proactively catch mistakes and fix them before a piece moves on."
Jersey City Gem Honors Shoreline
The company began working on the project by providing pre-construction consulting services to the owner and designer. It then secured a contract to produce the interior space, which includes a reception area, meeting rooms, bar and restaurant.
The hotel's unique design features many radius walls and oblong fixtures, reminiscent of the curves of a ship. Wood species used on the project include zebrawood, avodire, ash and maple. Glenn Rieder also fabricated the reception counter, fitted with a translucent onyx stone top and low-voltage internal lighting. Custom-veneered avodire panels were installed at the entrances, and the ballroom features fabric-wrapped panels. Zebrawood and avodire, along with mirrors and metal rails, were used for the elevator interiors. The company also produced custom millwork for eight executive suites, including bars and vanity fixtures.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.