Phoenix Business Journal shines light on Kitchell’s new prefabrication shop

Senior Reporter Mike Sunnucks took a look at our newest enterprise, a prefabrication shop in Tempe, Ariz. that is already changing the way our clients approach construction. Why? Cost savings, time efficiencies and enhanced safety.


Here’s the article…

The List: Kitchell looks to change construction game via prefabrication

Kitchell Corp. — one of the region’s largest construction contractors — is expanding its use of prefabrication to build components for construction projects.

Kitchell’s Scott Root and Brent Moszeter hope the prefabrication idea revolutionizes the construction business. “We want to build projects like Lego blocks,” Moszeter said.

Kitchell has a 33,000-square-foot center in Tempe where workers are deployed to build components such as bathrooms, walls, drywall sheets, window frames and electrical systems.
The prefabricated components then are trucked to construction sites. “We set the shop up as an assembly line,” said Moszeter, a senior project superintendent for Phoenix-based Kitchell.“We can do three jobs at once.” Moszeter said the prefab center is different than other centralized operations set up by builders because components are built to project and customer specifications. Others prefabs tend to be cookie- cutter productions centers.

The Kitchell center is located near Kyrene and Elliot roads in Tempe. Kitchell used the prefab center to make bathrooms for a $125 million project at the Chandler Regional Medical Center. Prefabrication saved $4 million on that project. The Tempe center is being used for Kitchell’s project on the emergency room at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Like other assembly lines and production facilities, Moszeter and Root said workers can stay focused on what they are building, projects can get going before government approvals and less employees are
needed for jobs.

“You can shave weeks or months off a project schedule,” Root said. Moszeter said a centralized work flow can mean fewer workers are needed per project, and Kitchell can keep hard-to-find tradesmen such as framers busy.

Kitchell also has 10,000 square feet of offices at the center, which is used for design, project management, 3-D printing and a virtual reality studio to work with subcontractors and customers on projects.

The prefab center is swamp-cooled but still can have workers out of Phoenix’s desert heat. Prefabrication has been more common in Europe and Asia than the U.S., but the concept is growing. It’s also becoming more prevalent in construction for certain sectors. Prefab and modularization at work is being done on 49 percent of hospital and health care and 42 percent of education and manufacturing construction projects in the U.S., according to a study McGraw-Hill Construction.

Get to Know…


Kari McCormick, National Director Native American Markets

Our series shining a light on Kitchell’s employee-owners continues with a conversation with Kari McCormick, one of the country’s leading authorities on construction in Indian Country.

What attracted you to Kitchell when you first joined?

Jeff Begay, now retired, was very influential in my decision to come to Kitchell. I had already been impressed with Kitchell’s work in Indian Country, and when I learned about our dedicated Native American Division with a commitment to give back to Tribes and our mission to hire American Indian construction graduates, I knew it would be a right fit for me. I wanted to work for a company that wasn’t about just profiting from the Tribes, but was truly interested in giving back as well.

What are some of the Tribes you’ve worked with throughout your career?

Well I’m not sure you can count this, but technically the first Tribe I ever worked with was Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. As a young child I helped clean desks and put up bulletin boards in my mother’s first grade classroom at SRPMIC.  But I have been blessed by serving so many Tribes throughout the years. It’s all about relationships, and many times not about the job. I have assisted Tribes from Washington to Massachusetts, from Florida to California in various capacities over the years. Of the 567 federally recognized Tribes, I’ve probably had some kind of contact, relationship or assisted in some capacity with nearly half of them. Indian Country is much smaller than you would think.

What have been three highlights of your career?

There have been so many. Of course building the courthouse at SRPMIC has very special meaning as a connection to my mother, but it’s also very exciting that Kitchell is now a player in the Northwest beginning with the Tulalip Tribes in Washington. That project win was compilation of longstanding relationships, a commitment of leadership and the hard work of a team to make it happen. Serving two terms on the National Indian Gaming Association’s executive board and now being selected to be the first-ever Associate Member Representative elected to the board of the  California Nations Indian Gaming Association were real highlights. Prior to my appointment at CNIGA this position did not exist. Receiving the AZ Association for Economic Development Tribal Practitioner of the Year Award was such a surprise and the award was presented in honor of a friend and colleague who had recently passed away, so it had very special meaning to have his children sitting in the audience.

Is building in Indian Country different than building elsewhere? If so, how?

Yes. It’s like no other industry or market. When working in Indian Country, one has to understand it’s not business first, it’s relationships and trust. You also have to understand that when a tribe receives funding to build a project, you have to know that most times those dollars were not simply procured by going to a bank to get a loan. It usually involves years of funding strategy, loans from nontraditional markets, bonds and grants. Many times if a project is funded, it means there are other important projects that are not prioritized. Those who make those hard decisions are responsible not only to stockholders and investors, but to their community, their families and future generations. Tribes are also incredibly burdened to maneuver red tape and governmental bureaucracies, so moving quickly is not always possible. It may take years to get a project going, so patience is key and sometimes helping them with resources and information that would be unusual in any other market is necessary.

Anything else you would like to share?

The two most important things to know when you start your career working in Indian Country is to understand and respect that each Tribe is a Sovereign Nation with its own government, culture and distinct community. Second, your reputation is everything. To have integrity and be sincere are critical to longevity and success.

It is truly an honor that I am part of a great company like Kitchell that allows me to do what I love and give back in so many ways. Every day I receive so many blessings by the people I have the good fortune of working with at Kitchell, and those in Indian Country. In the end, I hope I am honoring my mother and her legacy with my work.