All posts by Brooke Boggs Wood

2020 ABJ Commercial Real Estate Award – Community Impact

The Boutique at The Refuge Ranch received the 2020 Austin Business Journal Commercial Real Estate Community Impact Award and we were honored to have been included in this collective effort alongside Sixthriver and many others who brought this unique project to life.

  • Lead developer: Square One Consultants
  • General contractor: The Burt Group
  • Primary architect: Sixthriver
  • Interior designer: Sixthriver
  • Structural engineer: Dunaway Associates

Why it won: The Boutique at The Refuge Ranch is a small project that means a whole lot to those who use it.

It is a roughly 2,000-square-foot store, with 1,600 square feet inside and 400 on an outside deck, at The Refuge Ranch, a therapeutic community for child survivors of sex trafficking in Bastrop County. A dilapidated double-wide construction trailer was completely transformed into the Boutique, where the girls who live at the ranch can shop for clothing, jewelry, accessories and other items that can make them feel more at home during their time at the community.

The estimated $150,000 project was completed pro bono. In addition to the work of general contractor The Burt Group and architect Sixthriver, more than 20 different partners contributed, including:

•             F&V Drywall, roof framing, interior framing, all drywall

•             Berg Electric, all electrical elements and labor

•             Earnest Roofing, all roof materials and labor

•             Delta Millworks, plank cladding

•             Travis Millworks, materials and labor

•             Legacy Lighting, lighting materials

•             Commercial Flooring Systems, flooring and install

•             Alison & Co., lighting

•             Astek, wallcoverings

•             Neihi Glass, labor installing all windows

•             Benjamin Moore, paint

•             Home Depot in Bastrop, discounts on materials

•             SKG

•             Shaw

•             Knoll Crossville

•             Schluter

An old construction trailer was converted to a Boutique onsite at The Refuge.

In addition, an anonymous $10,000 donation helped provide supplies for the build. Corralling donated labor was a major hurdle. So was overcoming unique security concerns during construction, due to the sensitive nature of the site.

“Given the circumstances that some of these girls come from, this was of the highest priority. During construction we could not provide the address of the site, requested that all on-site personnel turn off their locator on their phones and they were limited to only remaining in one designated area.”

The design of The Boutique mimics a traditional retail store. The rear portion is reserved for private items and dressing rooms where the girls at the community can gather and share their finds. A covered front porch entry doubles as an outdoor classroom and gathering space.

In addition to serving as a refuge of normalcy for residents of Refuge Ranch, the Boutique is a place for them to learn budgeting skills and even job training, with employment offered to those who want it.

Procore Release Updates to Sage Integrations

Procore Release Updates to Sage Integrations

Create a seamless connection from the field to financials with these Sage and Procore integrations

 NOVEMBER 14, 2018
CF Sage100Prospect Blog Image960x540

In July, Procore announced its partnership with Sage. Today, the company released exciting updates to the Sage and Procore Integrations, now better equipped to serve users across the construction industry. With enhancements to the Sage 300 CRE integration and launch of the Sage 100 integrations, Procore is able to offer something to every construction professional, regardless of size or trade. Improving upon these two Sage integrations has been another step toward providing tools that work for professionals throughout the industry, streamlining their jobs and simplifying the workflow.

“Now everybody is on the same page. We’re excited that the two platforms can talk to each other. As a result, we have that real time, valuable information to share with whoever asks, whether it be a bank, a bonding company or the client,” says integration user, Heather Merz, CPA, CFO of The Burt Group.

Procore and Sage 100  

  • The Sage 100 Contractor connector is a new integration that will allow users to sync cost data between Procore and Sage 100 platforms
  • This integration will ultimately provide one source of truth and reduce manual entry into multiple systems

Procore and Sage 300 CRE

  • The Sage 300 CRE connector is offering major enhancements to its current functionality, and now allows users to sync Prime Contracts and Prime Contract Change Orders between Procore and Sage 300 CRE
  • The result is a fully integrated solution with Procore Field Financials

Through these integrations users are able to align project management and accounting by synchronizing data for all projects in one location, reduce double entry and monitor the financial health of projects in real time. Secondarily, users are able to have greater foresight and tracking of total project cost. Visibility is increased, which in turn reduces uncategorized revenue loss. How do the integrations allow for this? There are three benefits of the integrations that lead to these results. 

  • Access to a Single Source of Truth — Users can seamlessly automate the process of exchanging information between Procore and Sage, resulting in one source of truth between field and office teams.
  • Mitigate Risk — Users can mitigate the risk of human error that is caused by manually entering data into multiple systems.
  • Stay Informed with More Accurate Data — With real-time data synced between Procore and Sage, users have access to the most up to date information in making their decisions.

The Sage 100 and 300 integrations provide a competitive advantage with the ability to give users the best of both worlds. Project teams can use a construction management solution they love and office teams can use an accounting system they trust.

Boutique at The Refuge Ranch built exclusively for child sex-trafficking victims


A special boutique designed for a very special group of women.

“The girls will get to go in there and pick out everything they need. Some things to make them feel special,” says Steven Phenix. He’s the communications director for The Refuge Ranch, which sits on 50 acres in Bastrop County. The Refuge Ranch is a therapeutic community for 48 girls, minors through age 19, who have been rescued out of sex trafficking.

For months The Refuge Ranch, architect and interior design company Sixthriver, and The Burt Group have been working together to build what they’re calling “The Boutique”. Transforming a double-wide construction trailer, to this sleek boutique at the refuge ranch, exclusively available to the 48 girls and women on-site.

Something Brooke Boggs Wood, Marketing Director of The Burt Group says will be an amazing addition to help with their road to recovery. “The biggest difficulty is seeing the harsh reality of child sex trafficking right here in our community,” she says.

Latana McGraw, interior designer for Sixthriver says, “The way The Refuge works they get a lot of donations clothing and items like that for girls but in giving it to them they want to not just say hey this was given but they want this to be more of an experience to the girls and pick it out. A going to the store experience.”

What makes The Boutique stand out is they’re only accepting brand-new items.

McGraw says, “the reason it’s so important these things are new and it’s not a hand-me-down is because it’s supposed to be something where the girls feel they really matter. Giving them back the identity that they felt was taken from them. I think it’s a psychological thing like I’m worth more than something that was used but I’m worth something new and someone thinking that for me.”

And some local big name brands have already donated.

Phenix adds, “Designers like Kendra Scott, Hey Girl, Kelly Wynne handbags.”

But in order to get the ball fully rolling, this non-profit needs about $20,000 more dollars in donations to see their vision come alive. From there, The Boutique is expected to open by April.

McGraw says, “Once we have full funding we can go and then from there it will take 3 months or so.”

The Boutique will also serve as a location for vocational training for these women. Beautifully laid out in a sleek style that’s fashionable but still meant to empower young survivors while they’re restoring their sense of self.

If you’d like to donate: give hereand type in “The Boutique” for “Send Acknowledgment To”.

List of Contributors:

ALISON & CO – decorative lighting ASTEK -custom wallcovering B SQUARED ELECTRIC – electrical BENJAMIN MOORE – paint BUILDING IMAGE GROUP – exterior signage CFS – flooring & tile install CROSSVILLE TILE – tile at restrooms DUNAWAY ASSOCIATES – structural  DELTA MILLWORKS – exterior wood cladding F&V DRYWALL – framing & drywall, demo, etc.  KNOLL – drapery & window treatments  LEGACY LIGHTING – lighting NEIHI GLASS – storefront glazing & install SHAW – vinyl plank flooring t/o & area rug SCHLUTER – trim  SKG – furniture  STUDIO DZO – custom decals & signage, display  SIXTHRIVER – design  THE BURT GROUP- contractor TIMBERTOWN- wood for deck TRAVIS MILLWORKS – millwork

Inside GM’s Austin tech center, one of city’s many corporate innovation hubs

By   – Staff Writer, Austin Business Journal

It was a bold, but necessary step to keep pace in a global industry. About five years ago, executives at the Detroit headquarters of General Motors Co. chose to take information-technology operations, 90 percent of which had been outsourced, and turn them into “a core competency,” said David Caldwell, a corporate relations manager for the giant automaker.

“That’s extremely unusual in our industry,” he said.

Today, the Texas capital is home to the largest of GM’s four IT Innovation Centers, boasting more than 2,600 employees at its McCallen Pass and East Parmer Lane buildings, which measure more than 400,000 square feet and 280,000 square feet, respectively.

GM’s decision to place that key hub in Austin is one reason why the city is gaining a more national and global reputation as a center of innovation that is helping to attract similar tech-focused hubs from other industries. (The map below is a sampling of just some of the companies that have followed suit.)

GM’s (NYSE: GM) worldwide fulltime IT workforce totals 9,500, more than 5 percent of its overall headcount of 180,000.

Unlike some companies that create internal tech hubs, GM doesn’t differentiate locations by function. Instead all IT activities — such as Galileo, a proprietary cloud-computing platform; machine learning; data analytics; and, its electric-vehicle Maven Gig service — exist at all four innovation centers, said Randy Mott, senior vice president for global information.

The 2013 strategic move reduced GM’s IT run rate by $190 million, Mott said. What’s more, it allowed the company to retire 3,777 software applications. The IT team currently supports 2,750 applications.

Mott said bringing IT in-house also increased the company’s recruiting capability.

Among the technologies that Austin-based GM employees have worked on are apps for company brands such as Chevrolet and a project announced in April that allows Amazon Prime members to receive package deliveries to their vehicles.

Arizona, Georgia and Michigan host the other GM tech hubs, which like the one in Austin are all within a few hundred miles of multiple universities that graduate students with IT degrees. New hires may choose to work at any of the four tech-hub locations.

School flags hang from the ceiling over alums’ desks throughout the GM IT Innovation Center. Cultivation of a college-like atmosphere is intentional, said Sue Brann, IT executive director and chief administration officer.

“It helps retention,” Brann said.

The final move-in by General Motors into its building on McCallen Pass earlier this month marked the Austin culmination of that decision made by the company back in 2013.

Mott said he and his colleagues strive for a healthy mix of recent grads and seasoned veterans — who share their expertise. An optimal balance is one where the younger employees seek to do the impossible because they don’t know any better, and the older compete with them because “they want to win,” Mott said.

Ninety-nine percent of employee losses due to attrition are filled with recent grad hires, he said. The graduate hires account for more than 1,300 of the Austin IT Innovation Center workforce.

The Burt Group Broke Ground on the NEW Ascension Seton Health Center

BUDA, Texas (KXAN) – One of Central Texas’s fastest-growing communities is getting two new medical centers. Baylor Scott & White and Seton will break ground Wednesday on the facilities in Buda.

This section of Hays County is growing fast. According to census data, the population is booming.

  • 1990: 1,958
  • 2000: 2.784
  • 2010: 7,557
  • 2016: 15,023

Baylor Scott & White’s medical center will be built off White Wing Trail and will offer a full-service hospital, including primary and specialty care.

“We chose that part of central Texas because it is growing so quickly and we are growing quickly, too. We want to grow with that community,” says Ann-Marie Price, the director of project management and community development at Baylor Scott & White Health.

Less than a quarter mile away, the new Ascension Seton Health Center on Overpass Road will be a $12-million facility offering primary care for the whole family as well as walk-in appointments in the event of a minor injury.

“We really looked at the whole family needs, and that’s what really helped us determine what we really needed to focus on. The primary care needs and pediatric primary care needs,” says Kate Henderson, the Regional Hospital president at Seton Medical Center Hays.

At the same time, Seton’s hospital in Hays County is adding a $14 million expansion to the women’s services unit, pediatric care and its trauma care with the addition of two neurosurgeons.

Baylor Scott & White is also building a new facility right now in Pflugerville, set to open this fall.

Both medical centers in Buda are expected to be complete next year.

The Burt Group is a leading Austin-based commercial general contracting firm.