This year's Best Projects competition reached a broader geographic region than ever before as ENR Southeast expanded its “call for entries” to Alabama, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., along with the magazine's core coverage area of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. It was part of Engineering News-Record's goal of providing true national coverage for its Best of the Best competition, in which top award winners from these regional contests go on to compete for national recognition.

That widened reach added depth to this year's competition as a broad array of outstanding projects, including a wealth of federal contracts, competed for this year's Best Projects awards.

And while the Southeast market for construction and design services continues to face challenges, it is evident from this year's winning projects that the region's contractors and designers are still delivering innovative and even inspiring work.

Most notable, for instance, is this year's Region's Best winner, the $1.6-billion Pentagon Wedges 2-5 Renovation project, submitted by Hensel Phelps Construction Co., Chantilly, Va. The massive design-build project involved a 4.5-million-sq-ft renovation that took nearly 10 years to complete.

And even though approximately 1 million sq ft of space was under renovation at any one time during that decade, the ongoing renovations were always invisible to the 23,000-plus military and civilian personnel working there.

"We really tried to be invisible to the tenants from a noise and visibility perspective so the 20,000 people in the building could do their jobs,” John Saul, project executive with Hensel Phelps, told ENR Southeast. “We realized we were guests."

The new Pentagon—like the rest of this year's award winners—represents the best of the region's construction and design industry. It is an achievement that speaks volumes about what's possible when contractors and their designers rise to meet a daunting challenge.

Mark Wylie, president and CEO of the Central Florida chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, Orlando--and one of this year's judges--saluted the Pentagon project's exceptional nature.

"The scope and magnitude of this project was without comparison," he said. "As the home of our country's military operations, the renovations occurred during the height of two major conflicts, and construction succeeded with no minor or major disruptions of the thousands of Pentagon employees." Moreover, despite the fact that Congress shortened the original construction timeframe by roughly four years, the work ended on schedule, and under budget.

But the Pentagon renovation certainly wasn't the only project of an exceptional nature in this year's competition. This year's independent panel of judges nominated three other projects for consideration of the top overall award. Each of these won the their respective categories and gained consensus agreement from the panel for consideration of this year's "Region's Best" overall award.

These outstanding projects included the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla.; the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Campus East at Fort Belvoir, Va.; and Merck’s Vaccine Bulk Manufacturing Facility in Durham, N.C.

Additionally, it should be noted that all of the category winners from ENR Southeast's Best Projects contest will go on to vie for a national award as part of ENR's national "Best of the Best" competition.

This Year's Judges

ENR Southeast owes a debt of gratitude to this year's judges. Every year, these judges face a daunting challenge of reviewing a large amount of information before then using their collective industry expertise to determine the projects truly worthy of recognition. These industry professionals provided a significant number of hours to perform this service, and we greatly respect and appreciate their key role in the process.

We salute this year's judges, who include: Ted Garrison, president, Garrison Associates, Ormond Beach, Fla.; Bruce Kershner, executive director, Underground Utility Contractors of Florida, Longwood; Brian Mershon, global media relations manager, Fluor, Greenville, S.C.; Matthew Meyer, vice president, Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Miami Lakes, Fla.; Brenda Morris, recruitment manager, Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Building Construction, Atlanta; Scott Shelar, executive director, Construction Education Foundation of Georgia, Suwanee, Ga.; Kevin Simmons, marketing manager, Charles Perry Partners Inc., Gainesville, Fla.; and Mark Wylie, president and CEO, Associated Builders and Contractors' Central Florida Chapter, Orlando.

We invite you to read on to learn more about these award-winning achievements.