Fitting a shelter to withstand a disaster at John Deere facility in tornado alley
In 2010, John Deere broke ground on a new Marketing and Sales Facility in Olathe, Kan. The three-story, 126,150 square-foot facility wouldn’t just have to accommodate nearly 500 marketing professionals who provide support and service to John Deere sales branches and agricultural and turf dealerships in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It would also have to stand up to 250 mile-per-hour winds.
Because Olathe sits right in the heart of tornado alley, the project had the requirement of providing enough emergency shelter for all 500 employees. That meant working with specialty suppliers on securing product with much higher safety ratings and performance standards than typical doors and hardware.
“The eight openings on the two tornado shelters in the building fulfill the requirements mandated by FEMA to provide a door system that endures wind speeds and flying debris during a tornado,” said Jason Plotner, American Direct’s Midwest regional business unit leader. “The stability of these openings is key to employee safety in a tornado emergency.”
In addition to supplying product, American Direct provided a value-added service to the contractor. The company had all of the hardware shipped to the American Direct warehouse, where staff consolidated it and then delivered it to the job site.
“At that point we had a physical check-in at the job site to make sure every item was accounted for,” Plotner said. “Any time we had a major frame delivery or door delivery, we had a company representative on site as a quality control function.”
That quality control function helped keep the project on schedule. The building was handed over to the company in September 2011.
“John Deere is a global brand and their new marketing center was a high visibility project in the Kansas City market,” Plotner said. “American Direct was proud to be chosen by [contractor] Weitz as the supplier for this high-end office project.”