The phone call was from Chicago, and Theodore Zoli, vice president and bridge technical director in the New York City office of HNTB Corp., was working on a project. When he took the call, he wondered what might be wrong. Daniel J. Socolow, director of the fellows program at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, broke the news to him: He was one of 24 recipients chosen to receive $500,000 over the next five years, no strings (or bridge cables) attached, for his work on bridge design and security reinforcement.“I almost fell off my chair,” recalls Zoli, 43.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.