Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2013, 3:10 pm

Bush building success all across Q-C

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By Jonathan Turner,

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener
A.J. Loss, president of Bush Construction, right, and Brian Olson, project superintendent, stand on the site of the new $33-million transit maintenance facility in Rock Island on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. The project is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certified Building. The 150,000-square-foot, one-story structure is at 4501 4th Ave., Rock Island, part of the planned Columbia Park.
A.J. Loss is a winner at building things.

An Iowa State University grad in construction engineering with an MBA from the University of Iowa, the former project executive at Davenport-based Russell Construction was hired just down the road in May 2008 by McCarthy-Bush Corporation to launch the century-old company's new commercial construction division.

Even during the economic recession, business has flourished, with Bush growing to about 40 full-time employees and $50 million per year in revenue, Mr. Loss, the company president, said.

"It's nothing short of astounding," he said. "We started the company from scratch. If we think back to 2008, with the economy, the fact we've grown to the extent that we have, it's been phenomenal growth, all things considered."

It helped that Bush Construction is a subsidiary of a well-established local business -- all based at 5401 Victoria Ave., Davenport -- and the holding company can offer a full spectrum of services to its clients.

McCarthy-Bush also does earth moving, road and bridge building, underground utilities, concrete and asphalt paving, foundations, steel fabrication, sheet metal and commercial real estate.

Bush primarily serves the immediate Quad-Cities area, but has clients as far as Cedar Rapids, and wants to do more in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids corridor, Mr. Loss said.

The company set up a satellite office, with three employees, at Scott Air Force Base east of St. Louis, in 2010, where they're doing a $40 million, five-year renovation project.

Locally, Bush has built a roster of high-profile projects -- the Rock Island Center for Math & Science, Davenport Public Library Eastern Avenue Branch, Western Illinois University Quad-Cities Riverfront Campus, St. Ambrose University North Hall, Jackson Square in Rock Island, and Zimmerman Honda and Green Hyundai in Moline.

As with several of those buildings, its current major project -- a $33-millionMetroLINK Transit Maintenance Facility at 4501 4th Ave., Rock Island -- will be a "green building," putting many environmentally friendly and sustainable construction techniques into practice.

"Thebenefits to green and sustainable construction are in the long term," Mr. Loss said. "There is more upfront cost, but it depends on the (LEED) certification or green technology. The benefit is in the long-term operational costs. The payback timeframe is really dependent on each of the individual items applied in the building,"

The buildings that benefit most from green technology are ones occupied most often, such as schools and libraries, because they get a lot of traffic and use energy at a steady pace, Mr. Loss said.

The new MetroLINK facility will be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver-certified building. The 150,000-square-foot, one-story structure will be on the former Farmall site. It will be completed in early 2014.

MetroLINK is the primary public transportation system in the Illinois Quad-Cities, and has been a sustainable leader in the community through the active use of clean technologies and infrastructure.

"We are happy to be working with Bush Construction on this project since they have considerable expertise in sustainable construction," said Jennifer Garrity, MetroLINK's administration manager. "Like MetroLINK, Bush Construction is dedicated to a greener future."

The facility will replace the MetroLink center at2929 5th Ave., Rock Island, doubling MetroLINK's bus capacity and incorporating cutting-edge green-building elements that save energy.

Including Mr. Loss, there are seven LEED-accredited professionals on staff, "and the rest of our staff is knowledgeable about sustainable construction," he said.

"Green buildings save money in heating, air-conditioning, electricity and water-usage costs. They can offer incredible benefits for a building's efficiency and for the environment," Mr. Loss said. "They are also more comfortable and healthier for the people who use them."

In addition to solar panels, special white roofing, high-efficiency windows and lighting control, the MetroLINK facility will include a bio-swale – a place to store diverted stormwater so it can be reabsorbed into the environment, as opposed to allowing it to gush into the sewer system. Solar energy will be used to heat the facility water.

Bush Construction also will recycle at least 75 percent of the construction waste.

The WIU Riverfront Campus in Moline also is LEED silver-certified. It included renovation of a two-story, 60,300-square-foot building, and features a modern steel and glass design, housing the College of Business and Technology.

"We took the building down to the shell and rebuilt it from there," project manager Jerod Engler said, adding that during construction, Bush maintained an intensive recycling program.

"At least 70 percent of the building was salvaged or recycled, including structural steel, concrete, brick, copper wiring and pipes, and aluminum windows," he said.

The new building uses geothermal technology to boost the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. "The geothermal wells used in the Western Illinois University project went 300 feet into the ground," Mr. Engler said. "Geothermal power is cost-effective, reliable and environmentally friendly."

The $8.8 million Jackson Square -- which converted the former 1922 Illinois Oil Products into a 30-unit apartment complex -- was not a LEED project, but did turn an urban brownfield into a residential area, including removal of abandoned underground tanks.

One of Bush Construction's next projects is an exterior renovation of the historic 1885 Ambrose Hall at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.

For more information on Bush Construction, call (563) 344-3791 or visit

Major projects built by Bush Construction
MetroLINK Transit Maintenance Facility (under way), 4501 4th Ave., Rock Island.
Jackson Square Apartments, 2411 4th Ave., Rock Island.
Western Illinois University Riverfront Campus, 3300 River Drive, Moline.
Rock Island Center for Math & Science, 2101 16th Ave., Rock Island.
Zimmerman Honda, 7030 44th Ave., Moline.
Green Family Hyundai, 6801 44th Ave., Moline.
Davenport Public Library, 6000 Eastern Ave., Davenport.
North Residence Hall, St. Ambrose University, Davenport.
Vander Veer Park Enabling Garden, 215 W. Central Park Ave., Davenport.