National Apprenticeship Week 2023: Meet Candace

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is a great opportunity to learn about the benefits of apprenticeships and apprenticeship programs. This year, NAW is November 13-19 and the theme is “Registered Apprenticeships: Superhighways to Good Jobs.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor and, apprenticeship programs are a proven, industry-driven training model that provides a critical talent pipeline of skilled workers. The pipeline is a direct route for addressing local, regional, and national workforce shortages while also providing an earn-while-you-learn program for participants. Apprenticeships lead to long-lasting, stable, and in-demand careers with good salaries and benefits.

Hiring apprentices is a key component of Powers & Sons’ talent development strategy. “Apprenticeships are essential for building strong local economies, advancing gender and racial equity, supporting underserved communities, and providing the training needed for successful careers,” explains President & COO Claude Powers. Two programs he recommends in the Northwest Indiana and Chicago region are:

Who is a typical apprentice? Meet Candace.

Q: What skills are you gaining?

A: Every day is different and depends on the journeyman teaching me. One thing I’ve noticed is that as I gain skills, I’m able to independently develop my own pace on the job. There is less anxiety as my knowledge increases. I’m also getting stronger in my ability to identify all components that I need to start or complete on a project. When I know I’m working with wood, I know I’ll need a saw, driver or drill, screws, and nails. That’s a really simple example, but it continues throughout the work day. My supervisors expect me to think ahead and be proactive.

Q: What concepts are you learning?

A: One fun thing is exploring the intended purpose of materials, then gaining the confidence and power to manipulate them into what I need. Once I know and understand the material, I know the extent to which I can push it and myself. I’m also learning to visualize shapes into structures.

Q: Do you believe construction is a good career path, especially for women?

A: I don’t think any particular career path is good or bad, per se. To me, the true question is what are you willing to do to push yourself, perfect your craft, and build a reputation? Carpentry is a career path that requires confidence. It is a craft that requires attention to detail, strong organizational skills, and a sense of passion and pride in your work. In the beginning, I think some of the guys doubted whether I could hold my own. But I show up each day with a growing sense of confidence and knowing I can accomplish what’s required. I encourage anyone who is curious about the world of construction to do their research, then give it a try. There are lots of different trades, so see which ones interest you the most. I also encourage people to not let gender expectations or a traditional sense of gender roles determine their career path. In life, most things are about your work ethic, not chromosomes.

Q: What advice would you offer someone who wants to become an apprentice in one of the skilled general trades?

A: Do your research! I joined Chicago Women in Trades, which exposed me to every trade. There are lots of other organizations, as well as things like construction expos and career seminars. Skills can be learned, but it does help to have innate skills and some natural talent. If you want to be an apprentice, be ready to work. You’ll find all kinds of people on the job site. Sometimes, you’ll be rushed and under pressure to meet a deadline. You’ll make mistakes and may even be talked down to because you are new and still learning. Don’t let a learning curve deter you from the project at hand or your long-term goals.

Q: How did you initially become interested in a career in the skilled trades?

A: The housing market was a big influence for me. Discrimination is unfair. Inflated prices are real. Buying a home is filled with strenuous requirements and buyers can face prejudice. As I gain knowledge about the building trades and property development, I want to help bridge the gap to affordable homes. I believe green building and sustainable designs for active, healthy lifestyles can reduce poverty rates in families and communities. So, learning about construction is the first step. Joining the trades is about improving opportunities for me, my community, and those who come after us.

Q: What are your career goals in the next 10 to 15 years?

A: I will be a journeyman and may possibly pursue a role as a business agent (BA) journeyman. For me, a key interest and career goal centers on sustainability. I hope to ultimately be in a position to purchase land and build homes. Maybe even refurbish RVs into tiny homes. I want to take my craft around the world and have fun while doing it. I’ll continue to perfect my skills and gain knowledge that no person or company can take from me. I’ve heard that a lot in the trades and it’s true.

Expanding Capacity: Law Enforcement Academy Grows

Powers & Sons Construction was honored to join State of Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb, Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, and law enforcement officials on August 22 as ground was broken on the final phase of a two-year expansion and renovation at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA).

Powers & Sons representatives, including President Mamon Powers III, were present for remarks from Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb, who noted the project is an investment in public safety.

Construction on the initial phase of the project began earlier this year with renovation of existing offices, classrooms, a gymnasium, and an all-new 4,100-square-foot maintenance building.

The final phase of the $87-million project will deliver a 91,500-square-foot 400-bed dormitory, an expanded emergency vehicle operations course and a 14,200-square-foot scenario-based training facility to ILEA’s 300-acre campus in Hendricks County, Indiana.

The scenario-based training facility will feature a flexible design with spaces that can be configured in various ways to simulate different locations and on-the-job training scenarios, like calls to respond to a bank or convenience store.

Powers & Sons, together with Shiel Sexton and CSO Architects, is proud to be a part of this important project, the first major construction project at ILEA in more than 25 years. The planned improvements will expand ILEA’s programs, allowing instructors to provide more in-depth training for law enforcement.

ILEA serves 65 percent of all Indiana police and law enforcement personnel and trains approximately 600 students annually. It is anticipated that upon completion in 2025, ILEA will have one of the top law enforcement training facilities in the country.

Sarah’s on Lakeside: New Supportive Housing is Rising in Uptown

For over 40 years, Sarah’s Circle has served Chicago women experiencing homelessness. Their clients include victims of violence and domestic abuse, those struggling with physical and mental health challenges, and low-income women who cannot afford basic necessities like rent, food, and clothing.

Powers & Sons Construction is excited to partner with Sarah’s Circle and expand their capacity to serve. We have been selected as the general contractor for their new development, Sarah’s on Lakeside.

Powers & Sons joined Sarah’s Circle leaders and elected officials on June 28 to celebrate the expansion of permanent supportive housing and services for women on Chicago’s north side.

“We know that providing homes for people in need is possible, because Sarah’s Circle has done it for hundreds of women already,” said Kathy Ragnar, executive director of Sarah’s Circle at the June groundbreaking event. “Today, we’re doing more than just building housing—we’re breaking ground on permanent solutions for homelessness.”


  • Designed by Perkins & Will, Sarah’s on Lakeside features 28 fully furnished, 350 SF studio apartments.
  • Residents will share communal areas including a computer lab, demonstration kitchen, and laundry. Multi-purpose rooms will provide space for programming.
  • Administrative offices and a conference room with an outdoor terrace will be on the second floor.
  • Key activities taking place at the beginning of Q4 2023 include steel framing and installation of wall panels.
  •  The 25,500 SF structure is scheduled for substantial completion in Q3 (September) of 2024.
The photo below was taken from roughly the same vantage point as the rendering above in Oct. 2023.


Through their drop-in daytime support center, a 50-bed interim housing program, a rapid rehousing program, and a growing number of permanent supportive housing units, Sarah’s Circle serves over 600 women each year.

We look forward to delivering a facility that will serve Sarah’s Circle clients and the community for years to come!

Blue Ribbon Facilities: Three K-12 Projects in Lawrence

As curriculum changes and community needs evolve, K-12 school leaders are considering how to best configure, operate, and design their facilities.

In Indianapolis, the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township (MSDLT), Fanning Howey, and Powers & Sons Construction are staying ahead of the curve by ensuring local schools are strong, vibrant, and safe.

The team is working on three CMc projects valued at a combined $82 million. The effort is part of the district’s Blue Ribbon Facilities Plan, a multi-year capital construction and school improvement program.

Powers & Sons ensured construction zones in and around each school were safe, secure, and ready for the start of the 2023-24 academic year during a final push in late July. “I’m proud of our team. They went the extra mile,” notes Mamon Powers III, president of the firm’s Indianapolis office.

What’s on the drawing board for 2023? Here’s a quick take.

Belzer Middle School

  • Located on East 65th Street, our work at this school includes installing an underground retention system to accommodate a 16,000 SF new structural addition to house a multi-purpose area.
  • About 250,000 SF of new finishes, including cabinetry, flooring, lighting, and fixtures, are being installed in classrooms and offices.
  • Major interior renovations will improve the school’s existing media center, two gyms, a cafeteria, and a music area.
  • Exterior improvements focus on improving traffic circulation, safety, and parking. Work includes installing new sidewalks, restoring masonry and EFIS, and reconfiguring a parking lot.

Fall Creek Valley Middle School

  • This whole-school renovation on East 63rd Street also includes about 250,000 SF of new finishes and renovations to the school’s media center, gymnasia, cafeteria, and music area.
  • Classrooms and pods will be modified to create student maker spaces for each grade level.
  • Renovations to the existing softball and baseball fields will include new dugouts and a remodeled concessions building. A new soccer field will be added south of the baseball diamond.
  • New exterior features include an overhead entrance canopy. Sidewalks and parking lots will be improved. A new bus turn-around will be built and the main entrance drive will be reconfigured.

Work at Belzer Middle School and Fall Creek Valley Middle School began in July of 2023, with renovations at each school expected to be complete in July of 2025. Both facilities are open during construction.

Lawrence Education & Community Center (LECC)

  • This exterior renovation project includes improvements to existing parking lots, sidewalks, pedestrian bridges, tennis courts, and track.
  • Two new parking lots are being added to the site.
  • Updates are being made to existing PA, clock, and speaker systems inside the facility.
  • Final completion is expected in December of 2023.

The 2023 projects continue a multi-year improvement plan that Powers & Sons began in 2019. Earlier work included the construction of a new transportation center and major renovations at two elementary schools and three early learning centers.

Powers & Sons Team Members Featured in “Built to Last” Segment about Obama Presidential Center

Powers & Sons Vice President Kelly Powers Baria and Superintendent David Nicholson are featured in a May 2023 episode of Built to Last, a program sponsored by the Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council and broadcast on WGN Chicago.

Several of the team members leading construction of the Obama Foundation’s new Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in Chicago are interviewed, including Obama Foundation staff and members of the Lakeside Alliance team, which includes Baria and Nicholson.

Top: Powers & Sons Vice President Kelly Powers Baria shares management responsibilities for her family firm’s operations in Chicago and Northwest Indiana. She serves as a member of the Lakeside Alliance’s executive team. Below: David Nicholson has been a Powers & Sons superintendent since 2016. He oversees field operations for the Lakeside Alliance on the OPC construction site.

Nicholson notes the Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council provides valuable educational and leadership training for apprentices. He says, “I thank the president for bringing the project to the community that he came from. There is only going to be one [Obama Presidential Center] and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

The new OPC was intentionally designed for and will blend with the community. Many spaces will be free for local residents and the general public to enjoy, says Baria.

She believes that four minority-owned contractors forming an alliance with a majority contractor so they can all work together, rather than compete against each other, is unprecedented in Chicago. “We thought that for something as significant as the nation’s first Black president’s legacy library, we needed to approach the work with a different frame of mind,” Baria says.

“When you have a project that is as once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as this, it has the ability to change the trajectory and change the lives of so many young people when you can put the project on your resume,” she adds.

Watch the segment to learn more about the OPC project and how it will have a lasting impact on the south side of Chicago and local residents who live in the Jackson Park area.


Powers & Sons is Building New Affordable Multi-Family Housing on South Side of Chicago

Powers & Sons continues to build affordable, safe, and modern multi-housing on the south side of Chicago. Two projects are 23rd Place at Southbridge, which opened earlier this year, and Phase 3-1 of the Oakwood Shores development. Both are for our clients at The Community Builders (TCB).

TCB is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit real estate developers and owners. Their mission is to build and sustain strong communities where people of all incomes can achieve their full potential. TCB utilizes neighborhood-based models and partnerships to drive economic opportunity for local residents.

Oakwood Shores

Oakwood Shores is part of a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) plan to build 3,000 affordable apartments spanning 94 acres in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood.

The development’s footprint was originally part of CHA’s former Ida B. Wells, Madden Park, and Clarence Darrow housing projects built in 1939-41. The developments were closed in 2002 and the buildings were demolished in 2011, leaving vacant property that is now being redeveloped.

Phase 3-1 of Oakwood Shores began in October of 2022 and is scheduled for completion during the fourth quarter of 2023.

Powers & Sons is the prime general contractor for this scope of work, which is for two buildings totaling 62,000 SF. Designed by Brook Architecture, the three-story structures include one-, two-, and three-bedroom units.

Vigilant about quality control, Superintendent Jeremy Wilson is managing the project to be in keeping with Powers & Sons’ Z-PRIDE (Zero Punchlist Requires Individual Daily Effort) goal.

Top: Superintendent Jeremy Wilson has been with Powers & Sons Construction since 1995. He delivers diverse new construction and major renovation projects. Below: Senior Project Manager Dan O’Laughlin, who joined the Powers & Sons team in 1990, also serves as director of field operations for our Northwest Indiana and Chicago offices.

Wilson is also adept at managing job-site challenges. “We built the first and most of the second floors while working around low-hanging voltage lines. We anticipate supply chain issues may delay installation of ComEd transformers and electric meters. Currently, we are engineering another solution so the buildings will have power until the components are delivered and installed.”

With M/WBE and Section 3 requirements included in the project’s financing, Senior Project Manager Dan O’Laughlin noted that local hiring is a focus. Community outreach sessions and partnerships with area assist agencies are two of the tactics Powers & Sons used to promote employment and subcontractor opportunities.

23rd Place at Southbridge

Powers & Sons was a JV partner for the new construction of 23rd Place at Southbridge. A mixed-use, mixed-income development, Southbridge is the first phase of a new development for which TCB has joined forces with a private real estate firm. Public partners include CHA, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), and the City of Chicago.

23rd Place at Southbridge was one of four finalists in the residential/hospitality category for the Chicago Building Congress (CBC) 2023 Merit Award.

The scope of work for 23rd Place at Southbridge included the new construction of 60,000 SF of ground-level retail space and 103 apartments on the upper levels of two buildings. The transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly buildings are within walking distance of train and bus routes.

Located just north of Bronzeville, Southbridge connects the neighborhood with other emerging South Loop communities as well as Chinatown, the Motor Row District, McCormick Place, and Burnham Harbor.

The area has a high level of income disparity among residents. Bringing more affordable housing to the neighborhood will help low-income families thrive.

Loving it: Since 1985, Powers & Sons has Delivered Over 100 Projects for McDonald’s

When we think about some of the longest and most enduring relationships Powers & Sons has with clients, working with McDonald’s and dozens of their franchise owners is near the top of the list.

Over nearly 40 years, Powers & Sons has completed 105 McDonald’s projects ranging from ground-up new construction to restaurant demolitions and rebuilds as well as major interior and exterior renovations.

Powers & Sons has served McDonald’s in communities large and small across Northeast Illinois, Northwest Indiana, and Central Indiana. We have been recognized with two speed-to-market records for new McDonald’s in Chicago, with one completed in 56 days and another in 69 days, and one in Hickory Hills, Illinois that was completed in 64 days.

Our most recently completed new construction for McDonald’s was a 4,700 SF new restaurant. Located at 10915 Delaware Parkway, just off I-65 in Crown Point, it opened December 29, 2022. A 20-second time-lapsed video of that build appears below.


Further south, Powers & Sons Indianapolis has been awarded a 2023 contract for the new construction of a McDonald’s in Westfield, Indiana.

Recent renovation work included a series of improvements at McDonald’s restaurants in Chicago on South Ashland and South Halsted. We also renovated restaurants in Carol Stream and Beecher, both in Illinois.

Powers & Sons was honored to attend the grand reopening of a newly expanded and renovated McDonald’s in May of 2023. Owned and operated by Larry and Josie Linman, it is located at 901 Dixie Highway in Beecher, Illinois.

“While the outward architecture and appearance of their restaurants has changed over the years, what remains constant is McDonald’s continual innovation in response to shifting consumer preferences and demand,” noted Chief Operating Officer & President Claude Powers.

Whether it is adding second drive-through lanes at high-volume restaurants or installing touch screen self-service kiosks inside their lobbies, McDonald’s is a leader in delivering quick-service food with a customer-centric focus.

“From a general contracting and construction management perspective, it has been impressive to witness McDonald’s continued innovation. That spirit of innovation has had a major impact on their continued success as one of the world’s most iconic and beloved brands,” Powers added.

We look forward to continuing our relationship with McDonald’s for decades to come and playing a small role in making future generations of hungry customers smile.

Powers & Sons Indianapolis named Best Place to Work in 2023

For the third consecutive year, Powers & Sons Indianapolis is among 125 Hoosier businesses recognized by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce as a “Best Place to Work in Indiana.” The 2023 companies from across the state represent a diverse array of industries and businesses.

The program is popular because it not only showcases Indiana’s top workplaces but includes an employee survey that helps all applicants improve their culture and productivity.

Giving back to the community through volunteering is a key aspect of the Powers & Sons Indianapolis culture. Our team regularly volunteers to participate in community service activities that benefit organizations like Indy Parks & Recreation and local K-12 schools.

“One exciting point is that more small companies made the list this year than ever before,” said Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “With small businesses being the backbone of our state’s economy, it’s encouraging to see so many putting an emphasis on culture.”

The companies span over 30 Indiana cities and towns. They include firms in four categories (small, medium, large, and major) with employee counts ranging from 15 to 1,300. Powers & Sons Indianapolis is one of 72 small companies with 74 or fewer full-time employees who were recognized.

The selection process is managed by the Workforce Research Group.  Evaluations are based on criteria including employee surveys and employer reports. All companies who participate receive an in-depth evaluation that identifies strengths and weaknesses based on employee feedback which, in turn, is useful for enhancing employee retention and recruitment.

The winning companies will be recognized at a May 10 award ceremony, in the Indiana Chamber’s BizVoice magazine, and by Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.

City of Indianapolis Recognizes Powers & Sons Construction

Powers & Sons Construction was recognized by Mayor Joe Hogsett and the City of Indianapolis Office of Minority & Women Business Development (OMWBD) on February 8, 2023 as its Certified Vendor of the Month.

The mayor and OMWBD representatives presented President Mamon Powers III with a framed certificate of recognition and spoke with members of the Indianapolis team.

Reporters and photographers from local media outlets were also in attendance. WISH-TV broadcast an interview with Powers in which he discusses the family business and history. The segment is part of the station’s Business, Equity, & Opportunities series.

In a news release issued by the city, Mayor Hogsett noted, “Powers & Sons Construction has been involved with some of our city’s largest and most beloved 21st century projects, including portions of the Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis International Airport, and TCU Amphitheater. But their legacy stretches back decades, making them a longstanding pillar of both Hoosier construction firms and the Black-owned business landscape of Indianapolis.”

Mayor Joe Hogsett (right) presents Powers & Sons President Mamon Powers III (center) with a framed certificate.


The mayor also noted that Powers & Sons’ Indianapolis office, which has tripled in size over the past ten years, is actively engaged in serving the community through partnerships with organizations like Indy Parks & Recreation, Citizens Energy Group’s Sharing the Dream program, and MSD of Lawrence Townships annual “Do Good Day.” He also cited the company’s dedication to youth development, including over $550,000 in needs-based and other college scholarships for deserving students, including those pursuing degrees in construction, engineering, and architecture.

Accepting the honor, Powers said, “When my grandfather started our business, all he wanted was to be a good contractor and give back to the communities we serve. I am proud that 56 years later, striving to be the best and giving back to the community is core to our culture.”

Headquartered in Northwest Indiana, Powers & Sons was incorporated in 1967 as a builder of single-family homes. In the early 1980s, it transitioned away from serving residential homeowners into commercial construction, opening a Chicago office in 1985 and an Indianapolis office in 1992.

Inspiring True Stories Rooted in History

Now that a new year is upon us, everyone at Powers & Sons Construction looks forward to meeting new challenges with spirits of innovation and excellence.

These recommendations are provided by CEO & Chairman Mamon Powers, Jr.

The winter months are some of my favorite times of the year to enjoy interesting books, especially those based on the true stories of men and women who overcame unimaginable obstacles and challenges along the path to success.

Author Michael Crichton has been quoted as saying, “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”

Here are a few stories rooted in both fact and history that have inspired me. I hope you find inspiration in them, too.

This is the compelling story of a Uruguayan rugby team whose airplane crashed in 1972. My wife read the book first. Later, I heard a survivor of the crash speak in person and was inspired to read the book myself. I marvel at the will human beings have to survive even in the harshest of conditions. These survivors took each negative circumstance and turned it into a positive.

Written by Chicago native Nathan Thompson, this book fills an important gap in Black history. It is a remarkable testament to the inventive, entrepreneurial spirit of African Americans at a time when all other doors to economic prosperity were closed to them. Without Thompson’s research, most people would never have known today’s modern lottery system was invented and perfected by an African American.

This is the true story of eight young Black college students who would go on to play pivotal and leading roles in America’s civil rights movement, including the 1959-62 Nashville Student Movement. They protested the segregation they saw at Nashville’s lunch counters. They led similar protests in cities like Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma. Their courage and vision changed history. It demonstrated that well-organized, nonviolent protest can change the course of a nation.

These books document the life stories of two women who overcame astonishing odds to achieve their dreams of success. The first is about Sarah Breedlove, a self-made entrepreneur who would become known as Madam C.J. Walker. She built a business empire centered on cosmetics and beauty products for African Americans. Parallel to Walker’s story is that of Annie Turnbo Malone, another pioneer who is believed to be one of the first Black female millionaires in America. Rumor has it that Walker stole one of Turnbo’s formulas while she was a Turnbo employee. While that may or may not be true, what I find inspirational about their stories is that both women were innovators and entrepreneurs who did not follow the “normal” societal and business rules of their era. They inspired countless other women (and men) to pursue their dreams. Walker and Turnbo both devoted their later years to philanthropy and political and social activism, causes that I deeply admire.

C.J. Walker and Annie Turnbo were, in my opinion, precursors to Samuel Fuller, founder of the Fuller Products Company. Fuller also utilized a business model that began by selling products door-to-door and created a wildly successful company. Through the 1950s, Fuller employed a sales force of 5,000 “Fullerites” with sales averaging $18 million a year. With tenacity, an innovative spirit, strong work ethic, and penchant for eschewing many of the prevalent social and political views of the era, Fuller was the first African American inducted into the National Association of Manufacturers. He, too, inspired future generations of successful entrepreneurs. They included John H. Johnson, founder of Ebony and Jet magazines, and George E. Johnson, founder of Johnson Products which manufactured products Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen and was exclusive sponsor of the Soul Train television program in the 1970s. I found this book inspiring because Fuller believed that nothing could stop the right product or the right idea whose time had come.