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Member Profile: VLMK Consulting Engineers

By: Wendy Ables, Constructive Communication, Inc.

Founded in 1970, VLMK Consulting Engineers has always had a primary emphasis on providing quality consulting structural engineering services. The firm is committed to providing safe, economical and functional design. “Our focus on providing creative design solutions with an attention-to-detail and meeting critical timelines has made our staff one of the best in the industry,” said Trent Nagele, principal at VLMK Consulting Engineers. “Whether working directly for an owner as the primary consultant to achieve an efficient design for their manufacturing needs or offering our expertise as a consultant to an architect to apply Tilt-Up, VLMK is equally at home and able to provide whatever level of service it takes to make the project a success.”

Specializing in project management and engineering services with significant experience on light industrial warehouse and manufacturing projects, VLMK also focuses on the needs of on-site building construction, including site design, storm water management and treatment, and street and infrastructure improvements. Located in Portland, Ore., VLMK is licensed in nearly half the U.S. “While the firm is well known in the northwest, it is not uncommon to have multiple people on the road each week throughout the western U.S. making sure projects are running smoothly. Much of our work across the country has come from clients who place a high value on our service and the relationships we’ve built with them,” said Nagele.

VLMK has been active in the site cast Tilt-Up industry for more than 30 years in Portland, Ore. According to Nagele, VLMK expanded their services during the early 1980s to include a broader range of planning and design services for industrial site and building projects. At the heart of this was Tilt-Up construction.

“Once we increased our offerings to include Tilt-Up, we soon became known as one of the leading design firms in the northwest,” said Nagele. “Our experience and expertise with Tilt-Up construction has allowed us to provide a unique blend of both prime project management and structural and civil consulting engineering services to a diverse clientele.”

Having worked on many interesting and diverse projects, one of VLMK’s more significant Tilt-Up projects was the Henderson Commerce Center in Henderson, Nev. This two-phase light industrial complex consisted of seven buildings totaling 598,000 square feet. Phase 1 entailed the construction of two buildings designed for larger industrial tenants and included clear heights of 24 feet to 30 feet. Phase II involved five buildings with clear heights ranging from 20 feet to 24 feet and was completed in early 2009. Both phases were built using Tilt-Up concrete with open web steel joists and wood roofs.

“The architectural features and landscaping provided a more sophisticated look than typically found in this type of development,” recalls Nagele.

According to Nagele, many changes are taking place for VLMK’s industrial sector. While green building practices have been a topic in the building industry for quite some time, the application of sustainable practices to the industrial market are picking up speed.

“Owners are beginning to consider incorporating sustainable design, which is a great fit for Tilt-Up construction,” said Nagele. “For instance, increasing roof capacities to support solar panels might not have been considered in the past, but now has significant interest. Dramatic changes in recently adopted energy codes are also changing the way we approach the overall building system, particularly in warehouse and manufacturing applications where high insulation demands are now required.”

As a TCA member for more than five years, VLMK’s TCA membership has served as a great resource. “TCA has assisted us from a design and engineering standpoint,” said Nagele. “The exceptional publications and awards showcasing innovative Tilt-Up designs have proven to be invaluable for not only sharing new possibilities with clients and helping them think outside of the box, but it has also provided inspiration for some of our own unique designs. From an engineering angle, our participation with the engineering and technical committees has allowed us to establish relationships with other leading engineers, share ideas and dialogue on code and technical industry topics, as well as tap a wealth of technical knowledge and expertise.”

For more information about VLMK Consulting Engineers, visit

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.