Architectural Systems Inc.
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 3 mins
With a combined 68 years of experience in metal fabrication, Scott Beckwith and Charlie Locher founded Architectural Systems Inc. (ASI) in 1998. Based in Monett, Missouri, the business has grown steadily since inception. ASI began with only a handful of employees in a single location. Over the last 17 years, the company has grown to include a staff of 260 people in three locations throughout southwest Missouri.
With additional locations in Aurora, and Granby, Missouri, ASI encompasses more than 150,000 square feet of shop space. Utilizing an in-house engineering team, a fabrication squad with a wide breadth of capabilities and the industry’s leading technology, the business caters to a range of large commercial applications in the high-rise architectural market.
Customers include glazing contractors and manufacturers throughout the United States. ASI has been involved in countless complex commercial projects, providing the design and finishing/production for unique curtain walls, building envelopes and glass facades.
Architectural fabrication and finishing
Locher and Beckwith continue to operate the company together as co-presidents. Starting the business in a time when businesses were conglomerating, the partners saw an underserved niche. They pooled their resources to form ASI, initially offering only engineering and service fabrication.
Over time, the company’s capabilities have expanded to include specialty processes, such as brake metal and aluminum fabrication, high performance aluminum finishing, perforated panel production, steel components, and the team’s fastest-growing service, unitized curtain wall fabrication, assembly, and shop glazing.
ASI stands out from other fabricators by offering value. Many large glaziers subcontract fabrication to other companies to lift the burden of overhead for in-house manufacturing. “We decided to position ourselves in the business to draw customers from the manufacturing and contract glazing side,” Locher explains. “We provide the services many contractors do not maintain in-house and manufacturers look at us as a resource for overflow.”
On the curtain wall side of the operation, ASI allows customers to buy all the necessary raw materials and send them to the company for processing. This way, contractors and manufacturers realize significant savings instead of paying additional markup on materials. Many customers prefer to perform final assembly at their own facilities or on-site, further reducing external expenses.
ASI has served as a vital manufacturing partner for glazing contractors throughout the country. Current projects include Houston’s 609 Main with Harmon, Rehab Institute Of Chicago with Permasteelisa, Detroit Convention Center – Cobo Hall with Enclos, and University Of Iowa Childrens Hospital with Cupples. Closer to home, ASI has worked on the new Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City and Devon Energy in Oklahoma City.
Locher says one of the more comprehensive projects for his team has been work on the Smithsonian Native American Museum in Washington, D.C. “In 2002-2003, we worked with PCC on the National Museum of the American Indian,” he recounts. “That was fairly early in our history and we worked top to bottom on system design, testing, and unit production on this very unique building. Years later, we are now working with Enclos on the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture.”
With the construction market still recovering from the economic downturn, ASI continues making adjustments to accommodate growth. The company’s newest facility in Aurora has added vital space for ASI, allowing the team to increase production while maintaining efficiency for customers.
Now, the company’s greatest hurdle is finding qualified labor. In the downturn, many skilled workers either left the industry or retired when companies tightened up. Locher and Beckwith are working to expand the ASI team with experienced metal workers. The labor market has shown improvement over the last year and the team is looking forward to building up capacity.
In the meantime, the business remains focused on quality, service, and value. ASI’s customers have come to rely on the company for efficient, cost-effective turnaround of specialty fabrication projects. Despite the challenges, the team continues to deliver. Locher estimates the company will grow by 15 to 20 percent over the next year.
With cautious optimism, the management team presses forward, ensuring that Architectural Systems Inc. will continue to serve as a reliable fabrication and manufacturing partner for years to come.
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