the jdi group Inc.
When Tim Fry and Bob Buchwald, co-founders of the jdi group Inc. (jdi), established the Ohio-based multifaceted architectural engineering firm in 2002, the two were the company’s only employees. Today, jdi has grown into an 85-employee strong firm with a significant presence in Ohio and beyond.
“When we opened the doors in 2002, it was just Bob, a mechanical engineer by trade, and me,” shares Fry. “We now have a third partner, Fred Tito, who’s an electrical engineer.” Combining the trio’s expertise in electrical and mechanical engineering and architecture, jdi began to grow across numerous markets.
“We have quite a diverse skill set in-house,” reveals Fry. “Civil, structural, architectural, mechanical, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, process mechanical and machine design and chemical engineering; you name it, we do it. In the last year and a half we’ve added a controls and instrumentation group.”
Multiple industries and state-of-the-art technology
From its home base in Maumee, Ohio, jdi covers a broad expanse of local industries. “We’re best known for doing things other people don’t want to do,” explains Fry. “We operate in the automotive, chemical processing and refining, energy, food and beverage manufacturing, government and institutional, pharmaceutical and health care, institutional and energy sectors. We also do a respectable amount of stand-alone commercial work, especially if it’s attached to a manufacturing facility, but the bulk of what we do is industrial by nature.”
The firm supports large clients, such as General Mills, Honda, General Motors, BP/Husky, Marathon, OmniSource, Johns-Manville and others. “Our client list ranges from large Fortune 100 companies to smaller companies,” Fry says. “Our project size ranges from small renovation and upgrades to large facilities and process designs.”
No matter the market, jdi strives to deliver the latest in cutting-edge 3-D modeling and design. The company utilizes a wide variety of software that allows it to build and assess any project scheme efficiently.
“3-D modeling allows us to easily add piping, structural steel, architectural elements and equipment into a virtual model of the project,” notes Fry. “This technology offers our clients the opportunity to visualize their design before construction and promotes a continuous dialogue with the design team. 3-D modeling also assists with building system integration and simplifies the preparation of construction documents.”
Implementing 3-D modeling puts jdi a step ahead when it comes to the design-build process. “We can show operators how their process will run, promoting their involvement before the project goes into construction and potentially eliminate costly construction changes,” explains Fry.
Design-build at its best
One of the company’s most successful design-build projects launched in 2012. “The Lathrop Company, a part of Turner Construction Company [Turner], came to us in November 2012 after their client’s animal feed manufacturing facility suffered from a fire,” recalls Fry. “It was a sizable $22 million project. We provided the facility and process design and had the site up and running and producing product again by the end of May 2013. From clearing the site to rebuilding the facility and producing usable product, we did it all in just six to seven months.”
According to Fry, the company has had a lot of mileage on the project. “It’s been a star job for us as far as 3-D modeling, BIM and process design,” he continues. “We were able to marry all of the technology into one large 3-D model.”
The team provides design services where needed, both domestically and internationally. The company has also provided design services on a $100 million manufacturing facility in New Mexico. “From the bridging documents all the way through construction, we’ve been the owner’s representative for the 250,000-square-foot expansion,” shares Fry.
Fry says jdi will go the distance and work with unfamiliar faces if that’s what the client needs. “In 2009, we teamed up with another design firm on the West Coast,” recalls Fry. “We had never worked with them before. We’re always open to new partnerships, which increases our circle of friends and increases our available design skills to better serve our clients.”
With jdi as the architect, in collaboration with zoo exhibit designers and the engineer of record, the project team completed the design of the new Bull Elephant facility and exhibit enclosure. “This project is an example of our innovative design capability,” shares Fry. “Our structural team was not only responsible for the 30-foothigh precast building, but also the 15-foothigh yard barriers and the 40-foottall steel tree involved in the design. Our work was nominated for a Be Inspired Award from The Year in Infrastructure for 2009.”
The company’s willingness to go the distance and work on varied opportunities keeps the phone ringing. “I’ve had a lot of calls from past clients looking to start projects in the first quarter of 2014,” reveals Fry. “We don’t have a specific marketing department; most of our business is generated via word-of-mouth. We judge our success on not only the hours and budget but also our follow-up meetings with clients. Personal feedback is a wonderful thing.”
With no intention of slowing down, the jdi group Inc. continues to draw repeat business while engaging new clients, furthering a trusted reputation that’s respected across multiple industries.
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