Proceed to Ballroom
Presentation of the Flag
of the United States of America
Paul L. Bonington
Vice President & Publisher
Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick
Chief of Engineers and Commanding General
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Recognition of Top 25 Newsmakers
Paul L. Bonington
Janice L. Tuchman
Presentation of ENR's Award of Excellence
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Michael Alacha thought he was prepared for Superstorm Sandy. Days before the storm, the assistant commissioner for New York City's Dept. of Buildings made sure the agency issued wind advisories, even going so far as to require crane users to inspect their machines to ensure they were shut down properly for high winds. Still, on Oct. 29 as Sandy blew in, the unthinkable happened. Winds near 100 mph buffeted a 1,000-ft-tall skyscraper under construction on Manhattan's West 57th Street, flipping over the jib of a tower crane like a wet noodle. Tens of thousands of pounds of limp steel, wire rope and other debris dangled precariously over midtown Manhattan. Stationed at his office's emergency response center, Alacha, 54, witnessed the event on television and raced to the scene. "My concern was the crane's connection to the building, specifically the top tie," Alacha recalls. "If that was compromised, with the storm still halfway through, the entire mast may have collapsed." Alacha met with Tim Lynch, a city forensic engineer, and a safety expert with Lend Lease, the building's construction manager. The three men took an elevator to the 20th floor. From there, they made a long climb to the top of the building—up to the 75th floor—to inspect the crane. The noise and pressure from the wind was overwhelming. "I felt something fly by my eyes," Alacha recalls. "Seconds later, I realized they were my glasses." In a few days, the crane was secure and nearby buildings re-opened. His quick thinking made a difference. The damaged rig is due to be replaced by March. "I think Mike Alacha handled the situation very well," says Peter Stroh, who engineered the original crane ties. "He kept a very calm head."
Dean C. Allen, CEO of Seattle-based mechanical contractor McKinstry, doesn't want to hear that job candidates don't need to be good at math or that science isn't for everyone. To help students and faculty focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers, and to boost the quality of job candidates for his firm and other state employers, he was instrumental in launching the advocacy group WashingtonSTEM. In a state starting to rival Silicon Valley as a technology incubator, its mission has caught on. Board members include executives from state-based firms such as Boeing, Intel, Microsoft and McKinstry competitor Lease Crutcher Lewis, with Wall Street brokers and technology entrepreneurs as partners. They've pledged $100 million over the next decade to rejuvenate STEM instruction at all levels of education, in and out of the classroom. "It seemed like the world was not taking on the problem in a broad enough way. … Every kid needs to get out of high school reasonably competent in math and science," says Allen, WashingtonSTEM board president. "I felt McKinstry could have a real strong voice in that." Allen "seeks out opportunities to bring bold innovation and business savvy to STEM education through enduring partnerships with education, business and philanthropic communities," says Mike Delaney, a Boeing engineering vice president. "Boeing's competitiveness relies on our highly skilled workforce and their well-developed problem-solving and collaborative skills." Mary Alice Heuschel, former public schools superintendent in Renton, Wash., and now chief of staff for newly inaugurated Gov. Jay Inslee (D), cites Allen's "visionary leadership" as driving WashingtonSTEM's fast-growing influence, in the state and nationwide, since its spring 2011 launch. Allen says that while involvement of major firms is invaluable, showing that small contractors and even unions want change makes legislators pay attention. "This is not about a couple of big companies wanting a tax break," he says. "This is something all businesses want for every student in our state."
John Armitt had run major contractors, pioneered the U.K.'s first high-speed-rail system and steered the national railroad infrastructure company out of bankruptcy when a headhunter tempted him to be chairman of the Olympic Development Authority, charged with building all infrastructure and facilities for London's 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.
"I was immediately interested," he says.
More than $10 billion worth of construction later, London's widely acclaimed Olympics were enhanced by complete and fully functioning facilities.A 250-hectare brownfield site had been converted into a multi-venue park and athletes' village on schedule and $1.6 billion under budget.
In addition, not one life was lost during 70 million worker hours and the project's accident rate was well below the U.K. average, according to independent research.
Accolades heaped on Armitt were capped last year by a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth ll for his services to construction.
Sir John says the credit belongs to the whole team. When he joined in 2007, construction was at an early stage, but the program "was in good shape," he says. "There was a proficient senior management team led by David [Higgins]."
Following some high-profile, troubled U.K. projects, Olympic preparations were under intense scrutiny. Armitt dealt with numerous external interests aiming to create "an atmosphere of calm," allowing his team to focus on the task.
Armitt "was a stabilizing influence, giving confidence that the project could be delivered," says David Tonkin, U.K. chief executive of W.S. Atkins plc.
The program's success owed much to Armitt's "deft leadership and understanding of the delivery requirements," noted Ray O'Rourke, chairman of U.K.-based construction group Laing O'Rourke plc.
Charlie Bacon knows about workplace hazards. His grandfather lost eight fingers to metal shears on his first day on a new job. His father saw a coworker die after falling into a batch plant. Charlie himself saw a coworker crushed by a falling elevator counterweight on a high-rise project. But after hiring Indianapolis-based safety consultant JMJ Associates, he recognized that accidents were not inevitable if the entire team adopts the concept of zero incidents and injuries. He took this concept to Pittsburgh-based mechanical contractor Limbach Facility Services when he was named CEO in 2004. "We can't babysit every worker all the time," Bacon notes. "You have to make the workers understand that you want them to stay safe and return home to their families at the end of their shift." To achieve this, Bacon has used some unusual methods. Once, to underline the idea that managers are responsible for worker safety, the managers' spouses were invited to safety training to demonstrate that workers' lives depend on their decisions. Now, workers write letters to their families to say goodbye in case they are killed on the job. "It is amazing to see macho guys break down in tears over the letter. This makes it clear to them that their safety affects their loved ones, too," he says. Bacon also requires an analysis of every incident and near-miss. These reports are circulated throughout the company for review. "The lawyers warned these reports would be subject to discovery in case of a lawsuit, but the lessons learned help us improve working conditions," he says. The program is working: Injury claims are down substantially over the past eight years. Also, Limbach was named the 2012 Grand Champion in Workers' Comp Risk Management by National Underwriters' Property & Casualty magazine. Bacon's crusade has spread beyond Limbach. He is a founding member of the Incident and Injury-Free CEO's Forum, where CEOs of contractors such as Skanska USA, Gilbane and Jacobs discuss safety issues. "I have learned a lot from my fellow CEOs. I just hope more people join the crusade to ensure their people come home safely every night," he says.
The daughter of a bridge engineer in Iowa, Avery Bang spent a lot of her childhood accompanying her father on bridge inspections—"even on holidays," she recalls. Now, Bang builds bridges in developing countries around the world. Bang's globe-trotting tendencies started in college, where she earned a civil engineering degree from the University of Iowa. A semester abroad in Fiji began the journey that ultimately would take her to the helm of a nonprofit group, Bridges to Prosperity. "I volunteered for a breast-cancer foundation [in Fiji], and there was one mammogram machine for the whole island," she recalls. "I gained a sense of my own privilege. It was a big takeaway." Upon her return stateside, Bang established a chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). After enrolling at the University of Colorado, Boulder, for her master's degree, she met EWB founder Bernard Amadei, who would become the 2009 ENR Award of Excellence winner. He became her adviser. "He's infectious," Bang says. "He makes you feel that one person can make a difference." That's what Elie Homsi, a 2008 ENR Newsmaker and executive vice president for engineering services with Flatiron Corp., says about Bang. "She caught the bug, and now she is spreading it around," he says. "It's very contagious. When she talks about Bridges to Prosperity, she is very passionate and gets other people to join the cause. I'm one of her victims, as is Flatiron." Ever since Bang took over as executive director of Bridges to Prosperity in 2008, the group's annual budget has grown to about $1.4 million from $150,000. "There's a demand for this around the world," she says. "People need bridges. There is a generous sector of engineers here in the U.S. that have said they want to support this. I just happened to be in the middle of that whirlwind." Flatiron became Bridges to Prosperity's strategic partner four years ago. Along with corporate parent Hochtief and affiliate firms, Flatiron employees last year inaugurated the group's 100th crossing since 2001: a 95-meter-long suspension span in Rwanda. "Once we looked at all the [volunteer groups] out there, we decided this was the best for us," says Homsi."Avery leads by example. She's very hands-on, watching the costs, making sure every dollar is maximized. It is one of the very few [non-profits] where the return on investment is probably 90%. It's a management style that makes sure that our contributions aren't building bureaucracies." Evan Thomas, a Portland State Univeristy engineering professor and fellow EWB alum who was named an ENR Newsmaker in 2009 for his overseas business entrepreneurship, also praised Bang's mix of practicality and social conscience. "Avery combines a commitment to high-quality construction with an equally deep commitment to the communities she and her team work with," says Thomas. "Under Avery's leadership, Bridges to Prosperity has grown from a good idea into a professionally run, internationally respected reality." John Hillman, founder of HBC Bridge Co. and ENR's 2010 AOE winner, says, "Avery's motives and passion for making the world a better place through our craft is something we should all aspire to. The fact that she has accomplished this at the age of 27 is truly remarkable." Bang hopes to encourage a new generation of globally conscious bridge engineers. "It's about making kids realize we can make a profound difference," she says. Bang is already making headway toward that goal. "I have a daughter who is 16 years old and once wanted to do anything but engineering," says Homsi. "I had her do an internship with Avery. She got hooked and has worked on three or four bridges and wants to be an engineer. For me, on a personal level, that is a success story of Avery as a role model."
One doesn't usually associate traffic engineers with having groupies, but Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation's Neil Boudreau gained rock-star status by keeping traffic smartly flowing as crews demolished and rebuilt 14 bridges along Interstate 93 in just 10 weekends. "He was really the person who made the project happen," says Erik Maki, the senior project manager at Tetra Tech, which was the job's lead designer and civil, traffic and environmental engineer. In fact, Boudreau's traffic management solution for the I-93 Fast 14 Rapid Bridge Replacement project was so successful that Medford, Mass., residents lined up lawn chairs along the interstate to watch these bridges being built in record time. The interstate carries about 200,000 vehicles a day. Boudreau addressed both the interstate traffic and the surrounding detour routes with a system that included "smart work zones" and social media. Under his plan, 35 message boards were placed in key areas along the interstate to notify drivers of road closures. Further, traffic sensors monitored traffic volume and speed; if speeds were sustained below 30 mph for more than five minutes, the message board would encourage drivers to use an alternate route. Keeping the public informed of changes was critical and helped boost credibility for the project team, Boudreau says. To that end, he used Twitter, a subscription-based text-messaging service, and e-mail to blast the latest traffic news to subscribers. He also made more than 40 presentations to chambers of commerce in the state. "It was like I was on tour," Boudreau says. Initially, the public was skeptical but eventually recognized "that we were confident in our plan," Boudreau notes. The proof of that recognition was particularly evident as word of the project spread and the "groupies" made their way to the sidelines to watch the crews in action. "A lot of people sat out there. Everyone wanted to see what was going on," Boudreau says. "It was just good to see someone appreciate what we were doing." Boudreau adds that the project has helped MassDOT demonstrate its abilities and show that it can effectively perform accelerated construction projects.
When the Brazilian government decided to build a pair of large, run-of-river hydro powerplants in remote Rondônia state, a shortage of skilled workers put not only the project at risk but also the government's Amazon Basin dam-based energy strategy and the profit margin of Odebrecht Energia, a leading contractor in the project consortium. It took a finance guy to solve the people problem. Antonio Cardilli, representing Odebrecht as the administrative and financial manager of Consórcio Santo Antônio, conceived Programa Acreditar ("Program Believe" in Portuguese), a training program based in the capital city of Porto Velho. Set in a complex of repurposed government buildings, the program includes 32 hours of basic health and safety instruction, followed by up to 200 hours of training in building trades, ranging from bricklaying to electrical work to mechanical and machinery skills. "The company invested $15.5 million in the program," says Cardilli. Payback came quickly, as program graduates quickly found work at the dam site, seven miles upriver. About 80% of the workforce consists of local residents, nearly all of them Programa Acreditar alumni. Odebrecht soon saw the value of the program and used it as a template for other projects far from Porto Velho. The firm has implemented the training regimen at seven other Brazilian states and near Odebrecht projects in Portugal, Angola and Mozambique. To date, Programa Acreditar has enrolled more than 68,000 people, including 42,000 in Porto Velho. Cardilli, 50 years old, began working for Odebrecht at age 17. Though he started in materials procurement, "I have worked in human-resources management for a long time," he says. When the firm needed trained staff for a remote megaproject, he "felt able to coordinate and manage the Programa Acreditar." After the dam is completed later this year, Leonard Borgatti, the consortium's project manager, says, "those folks will have skills they can take with them wherever they go."
The Three Musketeers of data-center transformation—Skanska's Jakob Carnemark and Inertech's Earl Keisling and Gerald McDonnell—put their reputations on the line when selling telecommunications company TELUS the first installation of Skanska's smart, ultra-green modular data center. They claimed Inertech's new, patented cooling system would cost 80% less to operate than a conventional chilled-water system. Carnemark, the mastermind behind the design-build package—complete with intelligent management software—was so confident about the new cooling system that he risked more than his reputation: He gave TELUS a performance guarantee that said Skanska would pay incremental utility costs if the Rimouski, Quebec, facility used more energy than had been budgeted. Since the servers went live last August, "the system's performance is exceeding our very high expectations, even with very low initial loads," says Lloyd Switzer, senior vice president for network transformation at TELUS. Often, "our lighting load is greater than the mechanical load." Carnemark started on his green data-center crusade more than eight years ago. Seeing a growing market for data centers, he was extremely frustrated by two things: data centers' gargantuan appetite for water and power for cooling and a lack of innovation in the construction industry. "Data centers are an unsustainable business model" due to skyrocketing cooling overhead costs and up-front capital costs for future capacity, says Carnemark, Skanska USA Building Inc.'s senior vice president for mission-critical facilities. Without change, "the business will collapse under an unsupportable waste of resources and capital," he predicts. Skanska's phased construction, in which server modules are added as demand rises, can reduce initial capital costs by 30% to 40%. But the crux of the Skanska model's savings is in operations. TELUS is so thrilled with its facility that it already has a twin data center half complete at another site in Canada. And Skanska recently kicked off five projects with other clients. The activity "is driven by the cooling solution," says Carnemark. Inertech's eOPTI-TRAX is a distributed, closed-loop system that saves resources by operating mainly in a chiller-less, "free cooling" mode. It is 10 to 25 times more efficient than a chiller plant, according to a recent report by consulting engineer Norman Disney & Young. And it is six to 11 times more efficient than evaporative cooling and air cooling. Carnemark and Keisling, Inertech's president and CEO, see data-center retrofits as the hottest market. Cooling accounts for 90% of data-center overhead. An eOPTI-TRAX retrofit can slash that to 5%, says Carnemark. One client currently spends $20 million each year to power its data centers. "We can knock it down to $2 million," says Carnemark. "That's $18 million straight to the bottom line." Keisling and McDonnell, Inertech's chief innovations officer, hold patents on eOPTI-TRAX, but they say Carnemark is the visionary who inspired them. "Jake came up with parameters," says Keisling, a former mechanical design-build contractor. "He is a big thinker with an uncanny way of looking outside the box." Carnemark "relentlessly" thinks about ways "to disrupt traditional data-center design," says Switzer, who is talking to Skanska about retrofits. Carnemark's next disruption may be coming soon. He is working with software providers to develop enterprise-wide asset management systems for real estate portfolios. He figures that, using eOPTI-TRAX and smart facilities management, he could help big firms save $300 million to $400 million a year. "We are laser-focused on the large-enterprise financials, telecoms and government enterprises," says Carnemark.
Mitchell Collins, chief surveyor with Alberici Constructors, St. Louis, helped take laser scanning and precision fabrication and concrete placement to new heights in 2012 on the Seabrook Floodgate Complex for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans. The schedule-driven project—which includes two 120-ton vertical-lift gates and one sector gate with a pair of 235-ton sector leaves—required tight dimensional control in fabrication and construction. Traditionally, that control would be assured by dry-fitting fabricated parts to place embeds accurately; the parts would then be removed for secondary pours. . But the contractor decided to have Collins laser-scan the parts during fabrication at Alberici's Hillsdale Fabricators, St. Louis, to ensure they conformed to the design dimensions and model them in 3D. Then, he scanned the install locations in New Orleans to verify fit and guide the secondary pours—all as the parts were still being created 600 miles away. . "That saved us many weeks," says Dave Calcaterra, Alberici Constructors vice president of operations and project manager on the Seabrook job. Alberici had committed to deliver the complex by July. "I don't think we would have made that date without Mitch using his lasers, verifying dimensions of the gates and having them fit-tested by scanning," he says. . "The fabricators did a fantastic job," says Collins, quick to deflect credit to his colleagues. The complex, 35-ft-tall sector-gate leaves each has a radius of 73 ft and forms a 70º angle. I-beams were rolled into curves to form the horizontal beams to support the skin plates; vertical I-beams were welded to the horizontals and to the radii from the center axis. "There are a lot of steel members, and all that welding at different times tends to pull that steel one way or the other," Collins says. "I used the scanner to make sure they were geometrically correct." . Calcaterra says Collins understands his tools, applies them well and can be depended on to accomplish what needs to be done. "That's not common. A lot of guys, you have to check up on and then have a third party check their work when they are done. He was pretty much on his own. He was our QA guy," Calcaterra says. .
Glen Frank's inaugural run as a project manager couldn't have had a tougher challenge: to bore a light-rail tunnel just 13.5 ft under Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle with a 200-ft vertical drop, a right-hand turn and S-turns through one mile. Frank, 48, says that serving as PM for the joint venture of Jay Dee Contractors Inc., Frank Coluccio Construction Co. and Michaels Corp. on the $153-million job "put me in a position to help people understand what needed to get done and what their roles were," he says. Combining his leadership skills gained from high-level collegiate wrestling and his experience working under 2011 Newsmaker Gregory Hauser on the Brightwater tunnel, Frank led the University Link tunnel for owner Sound Transit. Frank says using "observational methods" to bore through saturated silts in high-risk areas proved the most intricate. "We developed some really good techniques for conquering the cross-passages and being able to excavate in flowing ground that we expect to use on the Northgate link," an upcoming project, Frank says. Bruce Gray, Sound Transit's project spokesman, says the contractor did a "fantastic job all along on this contract." From planning to execution, the job was nearly flawless, Gray adds.
Contractors recall how Don Hillis, assistant chief engineer for the Missouri Dept. of Transportation, often would point to a big sign he had installed in a meeting room. The inscription: "Be bold." "He would point to his sign and inform all contract teams to push the MoDOT project team, indicating, 'If your proposal ideas don't make us uncomfortable, we won't learn anything,' " says Harry Koenigs, area manager for KCU, a joint venture of Kiewit Infrastructure Group, Traylor Bros. and United Contractors, including HNTB and the LPA Group as designers. KCU completed a $487-million design-build project that included 544 bridges, out of a total of 802 that were replaced or repaired in less than four years as part of MoDOT's Safe and Sound program. Accomplishing this statewide $685-million feat without busting a budget or losing public goodwill required a cast of all-stars on all sides. Former ENR newsmaker Pete Rahn first proposed the ambitious effort as MoDOT director, envisioning a public-private partnership. "We had a contract team selected and were negotiating the finer points," recalls Hillis. "But then the economy crashed. We had to abandon that model." The MoDOT team came up with the plan for one design-build contract and a series of design-bid-build jobs. After Rahn left, he passed the baton and the position to chief engineer Kevin Keith, while Hillis became the liaison to the contractors. "Don attended nearly every confidential procurement meeting, where he maintained steady engagement while empowering his project team," says Koenigs. "During the design phase, our team challenged some of the standard MoDOT design practices. Don saw the global benefit of considering more efficient methods to achieve the same results." Hillis says the process was rewarding. "I learned a lot. We had great people associated with the project. My job was to move roadblocks out of their way," he notes. His openness to ideas reflects his 29 years of MoDOT experience, working in the traffic division, planning, maintenance and operations—and he was on MoDOT's first scuba-diving inspection team. But the Safe and Sound program "is the capstone of my career to date," he says.
The largest chunk of construction in the $14.6-billion ring of storm-surge defenses built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers around post-Katrina New Orleans is a $1-billion concrete wall across a marshy bay on the eastern flank of the city. The wall is the backbone of a huge barrier designed to hold back a 26-ft hurricane-induced surge. Wags already have dubbed it "The Great Wall of New Orleans." The Corps selected a joint venture led by Traylor Bros. Inc. to build the wall. The contractor tapped Wayne Jones, an inventive problem-solver, team-builder and steady leader, as project manager. Jones earned praise from the Corps, the prime contractor's program manager and many team subcontractors for delivering precisely those qualities during delivery of what now stands as the largest design-build, civil-works project in the Corps' history. Echoing many, Michael Bonin, a geotechnical design manager involved in the job, says Jones' deft management "was real and substantial and a key component in the successful completion of the work." "There is no way we would have accomplished what was accomplished without his leadership and support," adds Col. Robert Sinkler, the second of two commanders of the Corps office assigned to complete the protections around New Orleans.
Anyone who questions the value of art should take a look at the Charles Pankow Foundation. Under the stewardship of Richard M. Kunnath, the nation's only privately funded group devoted to building innovation has sponsored $8 million worth of applied research since 2006. Funds come from a $44-million endowment generated mostly from the sale of the art collection that belonged to the late construction giant Charles J. Pankow. "Innovation was what Charles Pankow was always about," says Kunnath of his late mentor-partner. Kunnath, the foundation's president from its inception, also is executive chairman of Pankow Management Inc. A professional engineer, Kunnath joined his mentor in 1979. Pankow formed the foundation, based on a suggestion from Kunnath, soon before he died at age 80 in 2004. He never saw it bloom, but he left it in good hands. At the time of Pankow's death, the nascent foundation had no structure. Kunnath, surprised by the art-collection endowment, organized the foundation. His goal was both to honor Pankow and to do good for the industry. Kunnath is "a leader of leaders," says Glenn R. Bell, a member of the foundation's advisory board and CEO of structural engineer Simpson Gumpertz & Heger. Ron Klemencic, a director of the foundation's board and president of structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates, says the foundation stands out for funding only research aimed at immediate and measurable improvements. That a research project was "funded by a grant from the Charles Pankow Foundation" has been written at least 10 times in ENR—twice in 2012. Grants supported the first large-scale load tests of reinforced-concrete link beams with embedded steel sections and tests of a hybrid shear-wall assembly. Grants to date, which also include support of digital tools and standards, are listed at pankow.org. Kunnath says adoption of the innovations has been slow, due to industry resistance to change. "We really did naively think that if we could solve a problem, people would adopt the solution," he says. "We are going to be more cautious about what we fund [until] we understand what it would take to get it implemented."
Last year, when driving his motor coach about 20,000 miles to most of engineer Professional Service Industries' roughly 100 offices, the big danger Randy Larson faced wasn't the driving conditions. It was the possibility that the five-month outreach and team-building tour by the Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., firm's new president might become "The Larson Show." It was something "we really had to guard against," he says. Larson's solo trip, which included nights parked at Wal-Marts and office parks, was part of PSI's challenge to its 2,300 employees to double revenue to $500 million in five years. Larson became president in 2011. Johnny Lowe, a vice president in Charlotte, N.C., admits to thinking "I'll believe it when I see it" when he heard of the "500 in Five" goal. "But seeing and hearing Randy" made the difference, he says. "He was genuine and spoke from the heart. The reaction from staff was genuine belief." Larson says, often, it was the energized employees who put on the show. In Nashville, senior project manager Doug Williams wrote and performed a song for the occasion. In Charlotte, workers presented him with a golden sledgehammer after he took the first swing to tear down a wall to make way for an office expansion. The trip also was a manifestation of Larson's business philosophy: "We are only as good as our people, and anyone who thinks differently is a fool," he says. Larson adds that he "would not trade the past five months and the PSI office tour experience for anything. It was a blessing, and something I will remember and cherish for life."
SHoP Architects' Jonathan L. Mallie is described as one of a crop of new-age design professionals facilitating a transition to technology, while introducing better, more-sustainable architecture aligned with the realities of today's economics. "Jonathan is an architect first, but what separates him from most design professionals is a deep understanding of building components and his use of technology to push the limits," says Robert P. Sanna, director of construction and design development for Forest City Ratner Cos. In 2009, developer FCRC hired SHoP to put a better face on its critically panned Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, N.Y. The design was pretty much set, so SHoP had to jump on a moving train and interface with an existing design-build team. The constraints did not stop SHoP from rendering a facade that was more acceptable to the design community. In doing so, SHoP executed its most ambitious job ever: an undulating latticework "wrapper" made of 12,000 unique prefabricated, pre-weathered steel panels. To help ensure quality, the 16-year-old SHoP hired its own virtual design and construction (VDC) arm, SHoP Construction Services, formed in late 2007. "We leverage technology to execute our designs," says Mallie, a SHoP principal since 2007 and managing director of SHoP Construction. "Digital control reduces risk," he adds. SHoP Architects used advanced 3D parametic modeling software to develop the surface geometry. SHoP Construction helped to streamline the process by creating a building information model for constructibility reviews, quantity takeoffs and model integration with the other members of the design-build team. Then, SHoP Construction was hired by the curtain-wall fabricator to detail the panels, using SHoP's BIM. This enabled the fabricator to produce the panels using computer-numerically controlled equipment. And it eliminated shop drawings. The $825-million arena, the first element of the controversial $4.9-billion Atlantic Yards sports village, opened on Sept. 28. FCRC was so pleased with SHoP that it hired the 100-person firm for its next Atlantic Yards project—a 32-story high-rise—on deck to be the world's tallest modular residential tower. For the job, SHoP Construction is using the same VDC tools it developed for Barclays but at a higher level of model architecture. "We are using factory assembly procedures to facilitate efficient material procurement and component fabrication and assembly," says Mallie. "On Barclays, we learned that size doesn't matter," he adds. What counts, he says, is sticking to one's principles, digital process control and collaboration.
Life as a Boy Scout, lashing ropes and tying knots, may have inspired Mike Parnell to enter the dangerous world of lifting and rigging. In his 34 years working in the skilled trade, Parnell has gained a following as a consensus-builder among industry groups that aim to raise the bar on crane safety. As chairman of the ASME P30 lift-planning committee—which last month drafted the industry's first-ever standard for how to plan a lift—Parnell, 56, wanted to help employers make better decisions whenever they move heavy objects. "It was something that the industry was asking for," says Michael W. Mills, a specialist at Liberty Mutual in Louisville, Ky., and P30 vice chairman. In 2008—a year of high-profile crane accidents—Mills saw the need for such a document. He approached Parnell and Bradley D. Closson, president of CRAFT Forensic Services in Bonita, Calif., for help. They took the cause to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers B30 crane-standards committee, which declined to get involved. The trio then applied to ASME to form a new committee. As committee chairman, Parnell assembled a diverse group of about 30 lifting experts, including Mills and Closson, who began meeting and writing in 2010. Accident studies indicate that safe lifting begins with good planning, yet no standard or regulation governing lift plans has existed until now. "It's typically an on-the-fly decision that brings the house down," says Parnell, who is president of Industrial Training International Inc. The P30 document is simple. It is about 30 pages long and contains no technical diagrams. However, it walks users through a decision tree of important safety factors and considerations. Released for public comment in December, the final document is expected to become available later this year through ASME's standards library. "This is a cookbook," Closson says. "If you use these elements in your own mixture—for your site, your people, your equipment—you are going to have a safe process to make the lift." As a risk-management tool, the P30 standard helps mitigate adverse commercial impacts, which are rarely addressed in other crane-safety standards. Because cranes can reach people and property "beyond the fence," P30 addresses such risks. Additionally, where other standards and regulations are vague, P30 tries to provide a road map. It talks about what safety factors may trigger a so-called "critical lift," an industry term whose definition changes from jobsite to jobsite. Still, the extra precautions needed to mitigate risk when a lift is deemed critical could mean the difference between a successful pick and a tragic one. Employers of all sizes working in many industries stand to benefit from P30. Small employers, especially ones with few engineering resources in-house, "are really adrift," Parnell explains, so those companies could use P30 as a template. Larger companies may opt to use it as an "acid test against their existing procedures," he adds.
Research scientist Chris Pyke is a data zealot on a mission to help create environments that benefit people and the planet. For three years, he has focused his energy on his big-data brainchild: a search engine called the Green Building Information Gateway. GBIG provides design, performance and related sustainability data for thousands of green buildings. The unique digital research tool, offered by the U.S. Green Building Council, went live in November. Initially based on data collected for USGBC's LEED green-building rating system, GBIG goes beyond LEED via participating industry and government partners. "We are trying to foster transparency in building attributes and use that to promote performance," says Pyke, USGBC's vice president of research. Access to gbig.org is free—a gift from the USGBC. The platform provides a framework for sharing, analyzing, comparing and using environmental data. Intended to accelerate the green-buildings movement, it has been welcomed as a valuable resource for researchers, designers, owners, builders and investors. Joel Todd, a sustainability consultant and chairman of the LEED Steering Committee, is excited about how GBIG will help improve LEED by identifying credits that might be too easy or ones that need revision. "GBIG enables us to get closer to our goals," she says. GBIG is also a response of sorts to criticism that there is currently no systematic way to compare a building's LEED rating with its energy consumption over time. GBIG time lines help with that. Creating infrastructure to offer transparent performance data was difficult because it involves engaging so many players to update the data over time, says Pyke. The 38-year-old Pyke, who has a doctorate in geography, is called brilliant, humble, a great communicator and an amazing thinker. "Chris is always looking for people [to] think with him" to solve problems, says Heather Rosenberg, a principal at the Cadmus Group Inc., a sustainability consultant. "GBIG reflects Chris' understanding of both research and his market-transformation perspective," adds Matthew J. Trowbridge, M.D., a professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, involved with environments and health. To date, GBIG contains 70,000 activities in 5,828 places. An "activity" is a project, disclosure or event at a building. The data platform is growing. Every week, there is a GBIG news blast. And recently, Pyke's team added hundreds of green affordable-housing projects. Over time, the platform will include information from firms, individuals and technologies. The goal is to understand cause and effect between people, products and services that promote performance. "We're continuing to work with partners to provide deeper information about green buildings over time" and how design strategies are working, says Pyke. With GBIG, "we believe we are helping move to a data-driven approach to performance, all made possible by the web and our fundamental belief in transparency," he adds. "It is our way of giving information back to the marketplace."
Senior project manager Roberto Ramirez made the surveying and engineering community and his company, Cordoba Corp., proud in October when the Space Shuttle Endeavor rolled through the streets of Los Angeles in a beautifully choreographed dance through a maze of obstacles before an audience of millions. Cordoba's pro bono role was to plan, identify the obstructions and execute the transport. Ramirez's inspired solution was to ask surveyor David Evans and Associates to use mobile laser-scanning technology to capture the geometry of the 12-mile route in high-definition 3D. Then, the team moved a polygon, which represented the spaceship, through the enormous volume of data to run clash detection and determine what it would take in equipment, maneuvering and obstruction removal to roll an 80-ft-wide, 60-ft-tall, 122-ft-long object on four self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) through L.A. "We took their scan and ran our buffer to determine the number of obstacles," Ramirez says. The shuttle length was a factor at turns, which also were modeled and led to the use of SPMTs over a towed system, he says. "There was no other way to field-walk it and pick up everything," he adds. "It would just take forever." It also would have been impossible to do a conventional survey without tipping off the plan, which needed to stay secret for security. The truck-mounted scanning equipment captured the data surreptitiously all in one day. "What could be more ingenious than having a laser plan for moving that object?" says Eugene Brymer, staff executive of the International Association of Structural Movers and the editor of Structural Mover magazine. "I doubt anybody knew they were doing it.
Thanks to his movable feat on high, Uni-Systems' Mark Silvera is a behind-the-scenes linchpin of City Creek, Salt Lake City's 23-acre urban redevelopment. Most eye-catching in the mini-village is a 470-ft-long bi-parting skylight that, from below, "disappears" from sight. Covering a pedestrian shopping street, the gently curved skylight ranks among the most complex kinetic structures. Mechanized-architecture consultant Uni-Systems initially had lost its bid to engineer the skylight. But the firm got a second chance when the winner opted out of the job. Silvera, who was not involved with his firm's first bid, was asked to improve upon the early schemes and bring down Uni-Systems' original price. Early concepts called for the skylight panels to retract almost fully before they curtsied, but that introduced excessive forces and other complications, says the senior project engineer and manager. His idea was to tip the panels as they retracted on travel rails using upwardly sloped back spans, which spread out the forces and reduced power needs. "Our price came down several million dollars from our original estimate," says Silvera. Calling the skylight his most demanding job ever, Jeremy Jenkins, managing director at steel fabricator Ducworks Inc., Logan, Utah, says he was quite thankful for Silvera's willingness to "jump in, roll up his sleeves and tackle whatever challenge" came up in the shop. Others echo Jenkins' sentiments, saying Silvera's leadership produced exemplary results. The proof is in the pudding: The skylight has been operating successfully since City Creek opened last March.
In a corner of Appalachia used to visits from bureaucrats and other would-be do-gooders, it's not hard to understand why, a decade ago, the people of Tennessee's Coal Creek region were suspicious of geotechnical engineer Barry Thacker's offer to clean up their mine waste-tainted waterways. Thacker, president of Knoxville-based GeoEnvironmental Associates Inc. and an avid fisherman, thought his skills could improve the trout habitat, but he never envisioned the life-changing impact his Coal Creek Watershed Foundation (CCWF) would have on the community of Briceville, Tenn. The foundation has connected its members, young and old, to their unique environment and rich coal mining history, as well as to the poverty-eradicating power of a college degree and new revenue-producing options. To date, his non-profit group has awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships to 32 students who had few, if any, choices for higher education. As the first high school student there to take community college classes before graduation, senior Victoria Wright is now eyeing a career in engineering or robotics technology. "My grandpa always told me to be a nurse, but I grew up in the workshop with my dad and I didn't want to do what every high school girl was doing," she says. "During high school [the foundation] give us a chance to do community service for the exchange of a $10,000 scholarship. We learn about our community and we've even been able to help a [Harvard University] author writing about the history of the Welsh coal miners here." Thacker and Carol Moore, the firm's administrative manager and CCWF's go-to person, have become Briceville's key academic partners—in and out of class—from kindergarten on. "When we started the [scholarship] program, we would ask the elementary school students how many of them wanted to go to college and a few would raise their hands," says Moore. "When we ask that question now, all the students raise their hands." The foundation, which also has received donations from the Tennessee Valley Authority, area mining companies, contractors and public entities, has also funded significant upgrades to the region's drinking water system, health care delivery and historic structures. "The chronic unemployment that helped devastate the community after the coal mines went fallow is being replaced by a new economic driver: the tourist industry," says Moore. "A coal-mining history museum is in the works." "Barry has discovered that while people may not be projects, a community could be, and you can take engineering principles and apply them to great effect," Moore says. "For many folks, he is the only engineer they know and, based on that, they LOVE engineers. Barry has been steadfast in encouraging other engineers to follow his lead." Thacker is adamant, even obsessive, that his P.E. credentials or reference to being "an engineer" are included in all media writeups. While Thacker has been an industry gadfly related to engineering issues, his community efforts have made him a regional celebrity and helped him gain lawmaker attention and client support. "He's a power in that area, and he's known as an engineer," says John Bachner, executive director of ASFE, the national geotechnical engineering professional group. "Imagine if this was replicated in 100 places." Any bottom-line impacts to Thacker's firm by his focus on foundation activities seem to be countered by new business those efforts have attracted. "The bottom line is that Geo/Environmental Associates today is in so much demand, it’s almost unreal," says Moore. Says Thacker, "Engineering puts me in contact with decisionmakers, but there's nothing better than getting involved with a community."
Seismic engineering innovators often hit resistance to change, but Steven Tipping knows this. For years, he has been seeking ways to build better mousetraps—in earthquake zones. "When you're on the cutting edge, you have to turn around and convince the masses, who are wired against innovation," says Tipping, president of Tipping Mar (TM). "It's an uphill battle." But thanks to Tipping's initiative, TM was able to fast-track one structural innovation and save the day for the stalled $145.5-million San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Headquarters. TM's scheme, developed as a value engineering exercise during the construction-document phase, saved $5 million, improved the architecture, scored points for structural resilience and added an extra floor. Used for the first time at such a scale, TM's system relies on unbonded vertical post-tensioning (PT) in concrete core walls to resist lateral loads. It is designed to limit structural damage by replumbing the structure after a major quake. The aim is to allow immediate re-occupancy. "Steve has the rare balance of solid technical ability, creativity and collaboration [skills] coupled with honesty and humility," says Phil Williams, a vice president of Webcor Builders, which built the 13-story building. Richard M. Kunnath, president of the Charles Pankow Foundation and another ENR Newsmaker (see p. 45), adds, "Steve has indefatigable determination to see his ideas reach reality." That involves leading building-code changes and convincing others to advance his concepts, he says. Pankow is funding TM-led research that involves developing criteria, based on load tests scheduled for this year, to add vertical-PT walls to the building code. But thanks to the slow pace of adoption, it could take eight years for the code to change. Undaunted and perhaps drawing on perseverance acquired while in the Army in Vietnam, Tipping continues to seek ways to innovate. "We are very interested in doing a 20- or 30-story PT buildings," he says. "The extra height is the sweet spot for seismic performance."
Had one asked Franz-Josef Ulm 10 years ago if a concrete bridge could be designed from atomic models, he might have said, "Come on, get real." Today, scientists working under Ulm's direction at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are busy cracking concrete's molecular code. Now in its fourth year, MIT's Concrete Sustainability Hub grew out of a handful of experts Ulm dubbed the Liquid Stone Gang. Now roughly 40 people strong, the team has expanded its research beyond concrete's role in construction to deepwater oil drilling, shale extraction, blast resistance and other applications. An engineer and professor, Ulm, 48, has been obsessed with the unusual properties of concrete—a material that turns from a liquid to a solid at room temperature—since childhood. "Concrete was part of my upbringing," says Ulm in a thick Bavarian accent. Back home in Germany, his mother is still a practicing civil engineer, having just celebrated her 50th anniversary in the profession. Ulm's mechanical knowledge has helped the hub apply what he calls "dirty physics" to a material that has been used for centuries but little understood. One team member, Roland Pellenq, in 2009 became the first to build an atomic model of portland cement, concrete's main ingredient. "Here is a team which has not ever been assembled before," says Hamlin Jennings, a cement scientist and hub executive director. "It was Franz who put the team together—that's a big vision." In fall 2012, the hub released new research that sheds light on how cars and trucks interact with U.S. highways. Scientists concluded that poorly built and maintained roads can lead to 3% more fuel consumption and carbon emissions than roads designed for sustainability. "By keeping pavement in good shape, you spare the user a cost, and on a larger scale, you reduce the environmental footprint of our pavement system," says Ulm. "So, really, it is about what mileage we are getting out of our pavement." Previously, the hub, which is funded by cement groups, released controversial research analyzing the life-cycle costs of concrete in buildings and roads. It also is studying cements that can achieve high strengths with less embedded carbon.
Design-build firms that work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies got a much-needed boost in 2012. Lisa Washington, executive director of the Design-Build Institute of America, led the formation of a coalition of industry groups that succeeded in getting the Corps to issue a new procurement directive. Officially called "Limitations on the Use of One-Step Procedures for Design-Build," the directive restricts use of single-step design-build on Corps' projects nationwide. Industry insiders have long argued that "one step" is expensive and defeats the collaborative purpose of design-build. Instead, they advocate for a two-step system favored by DBIA, the Associated General Contractors of America, the American Council of Engineering Cos. and the American Institute of Architects, among others. Washington led the group in urging the Corps to embrace two-step design-build. The DBIA-led coalition sought a two-step proposal process that first short-lists three firms rather than five or more, uses performance-based rather than prescriptive requirements and encourages payment of meaningful stipends to bidding teams. Under single step, firms spend significant time and money on their designs with less chance of winning the work. "More creativity at less cost is the real intent of design-build," Washington says. "Some [owners] say single step is faster—it isn't—or that a [low-bid] number up front offers them best value—it doesn't." "A lot of people worked hard to get Corps attention on the [design-build best-practices] issue," says Bill Green, president of engineer RMH Group, Lakewood, Colo. "But Lisa spearheaded the effort and met with the Corps to make it happen." DBIA says design-build is now used on 40% of all U.S. projects, so the goal is to get industry to use it correctly. Washington has been pushing design-build best practices during her nine-year DBIA tenure. Revenue from DBIA's "Education Tour" program has grown to $1.4 million in 2011 from $30,000 in 2004.
Brian D. Winter never thought one project would set the tone for his entire career. Winter is the National Park Service's lead on the largest-ever dam-removal and river-restoration project in the U.S. The 57-year-old has been involved with the Elwha River, which lies mostly within Washington's Olympic National Park, for nearly three decades. Patrick Crain, the park's chief fisheries biologist, says Winter's consistency and ability to balance an extremely long list of stakeholders has been key. "Brian has always been well prepared for the topic of the day, and he has impressed me with his commitment to seeing the Elwha project through," Crain says. Brian Krohmer, lead for dam-removal contractor Barnard Construction Co., says Winter is the type of owner representative who embraces "cooperative partnerships" that streamline operations. Winter says there was a healthy amount of opposition to the project when, in 1985, he started working on it for the Elwha Tribe. When he joined the National Park Service, he tried to make sure all stakeholders understood his role of mitigation in relation to dam removal and resource restoration. "The challenges for this project have been the partnerships created for the park service to complete a project where they didn't have specific authority outside our borders," he says. "We needed to negotiate our mitigation components, and along the way there were all sorts of politics before this was in fact a funded project." Winter focused on mitigation until September 2011, when the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams started to come out and the river-restoration effort picked up. He turned his attention to the fish, which delighted the biologist in him. "The fish are showing us that if we take dams out, the fish can respond very quickly," he says. With construction winding down early this year, Winter will focus on the final stage: biology. "Success, for me, has always been defined as restoration of natural ecosystem processes," Winter remarks. "It may or may not go precisely as planned, but over time the ecosystem will respond positively."
In 2007, when DPR Construction Inc. entered into a commitment agreement with Sutter Health for a $320-million hospital in Castro Valley, Calif., an integrated project delivery contract with 11 signatories was uncharted territory. But DPR dove into the risk-and-reward-sharing framework full tilt, having cut its teeth on more modest IPD work. The willingness to go where no contractor had gone before was in character for DPR, thanks in large part to a culture of innovation fostered by its co-founder and president, Doug Woods. Change is so ingrained within the company that the general contractor's goal for its 17 offices nationwide has always been to combine innovation and technology to rebuild the building sector, says Woods. The Sutter Health Eden Medical Center opened last year, ahead of schedule and on budget, says DPR. There are no claims. And though there was no pot of gold to divide up at the end of the collaborative process, DPR remains a strong proponent of IPD. Woods, 62, has big ambitions. "We don't want to just change construction. We want to change the world," he says. The firm, which reported $2.4 billion in revenue last year, even has an innovation group that digitally tracks ideas across the company. The idea is to improve each project. DPR was an early adopter of building information modeling, which it uses on most of its projects, Woods says. The firm also is a supporter of the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) and its philosophies. "Doug is a passionate builder focused on assuring every worker goes home in the condition they arrived in," says Greg Howell, LCI president. "His respect for people is clear and steady and he absolutely believes that decisions should be made at the lowest responsible level." Woods says the future is in modular buildings. "If you can build it on a computer, you can, in theory, build it in a factory and ship it in components, which is a faster, safer and cheaper way to do it," he says. "We're not there yet," he adds, but DPR is getting closer to doing prefabrication on a large scale.