November 12, 2013

Nov. 12, 2013

Contact: Amanda Shell
Moxley Carmichael


Messer Construction Co. presents ‘Holiday Canstruction’ to benefit Second Harvest

Five local teams of architects, engineers, construction companies and other organizations will come together to construct huge holiday-themed art sculptures made of canned food items – and it’s all to help fight hunger in East Tennessee.

Messer Construction Co. is presenting Knoxville’s first “Holiday Canstruction,” which will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. The art sculptures will be on display Nov. 23-Dec. 3 at the Knoxville Convention Center in the center’s Henley and Cumberland concourses. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

“We are thrilled to be able to present this festive event to Knoxville and support a great cause over the holidays,” said Messer Vice President Andy Lorenz.

“Investing in and building the communities in which we live and work is what Messer is all about. Our regional footprint across nine markets enables us to share our best practices from across our areas of operation. From construction techniques to community involvement, our Knoxville location adds to and completes our expertise.”

The art sculptures will be judged by a panel of celebrity judges and evaluated in several categories, including jurors’ favorite, structural ingenuity, best use of labels and best meal. The “People’s Choice” award will be selected by attendees’ votes by liking photos of the structures on Knoxville Canstruction’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/knoxcan. Winners will be announced at the close of the event.

“Messer has been an active participant in many Canstruction events over the years,” Lorenz added. “We’ve seen the positive impact it can have long-term in raising awareness for hunger relief and highlighting the talents of the local architecture, engineering and construction industry. Canstruction is such a heartwarming experience for everyone involved that we knew we needed to step up and bring this event back to Knoxville, and this time with a holiday twist.”

Participating teams include Messer and the Lewis Group Architects; the University of Tennessee Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Massey Electric Company; Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, Inc.; and a joint team of Johnson Architecture, Partners Development and Moxley Carmichael. On Nov. 22, the teams will gather at the Convention Center for a 12-hour build of their sculptures of traditional holiday themes, like a Christmas fireplace mantle, sleigh, Santa Claus, nutcracker and snowman.

Each Canstruction sculpture typically includes between 900 and 3,500 cans, with only one-quarter inch plywood or Plexiglas between the rows of cans and one-quarter inch cardboard tubing for support. The color of the structures is determined by the colors of the cans.

After the exhibition, the structures will be dismantled and the cans donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. It is anticipated that Second Harvest will receive more than 8,000 canned food items from the event to distribute through the holidays.

“Our need is especially great around the holidays, and we are grateful to Messer for bringing this great event back to our community,” said Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee Executive Director Elaine Streno. “Many families are struggling to make the holidays special for their families and still put food on the table. Building the sculptures is great team-building exercise for local companies to get in the holiday spirit and will help us feed the hungry in 18 East Tennessee counties.”

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee targets the working poor – those who are working but might not receive benefits or earn high wages from their work. A recent Gallup poll states that one in five Americans are struggling to feed themselves or their families. In East Tennessee, 200,000 people fall within the income level to be at-risk of going hungry.

Second Harvest secures and distributes more than 16 million pounds of food and grocery products annually and is a partner with Feeding America, a national network of food banks.

The “Holiday Canstruction” exhibition will be open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with expanded and holiday hours during East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s Fantasy of Trees, Nov. 27, 29 and 30, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 3-9 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 1, noon-6 p.m.

About Messer Construction Co.

Messer Construction Co. is a construction manager and general contractor providing leadership for complex commercial building projects. Founded in 1932, Messer has built a premier reputation through outstanding construction experiences and value with a focus on health care, life sciences, higher education, and industrial markets. An employee-owned company, Messer is ranked nationally as a premier health care and higher education builder, and is consistently featured among Engineering News-Record’s annual Top 100 list of largest contractors. Messer was honored with the 2009 International Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence by the Council of Better Business Bureaus for superior commitment to exceptional standards that benefit customers, employees, suppliers and surrounding communities. In fiscal 2012, Messer put in place more than $792 million in commercial construction.