For this year's Best Projects contest, ENR Southeast's panel of judges nominated two entries for the top award, the Southeast Project of the Year. In October, after ENR Southeast blogged the nominees—the Florida Polytechnic University's Innovation, Science and Technology Building and the PortMiami Tunnel—we heard from one project representative that the two were being viewed as "beauty and the beast."

While that perspective is certainly understandable, considering the pair's vastly different details, it should also be said that, really, both are beautiful examples of construction and engineering excellence. And in attempting to settle the debate over which of these two projects—each beautiful in its own way, and both surely "beasts" to build—ENR Southeast's independent panel of judges ultimately decided that both were worthy of the top award.

With that determination, ENR Southeast opted to make an exception for these two exceptional projects, recognizing the Florida Polytechnic University structure as the Building Project of the Year and the PortMiami Tunnel as the Infrastructure Project of the Year.

It's a fitting tribute. In each instance, builders went beyond the norm to construct projects that separately presented the teams with daunting design and construction challenges. Their undeniable success in overcoming such challenges is a defining characteristic of the construction and engineering industry.

At the same time, these two exceptional projects weren't the only Southeast contracts to impress this year's Best Projects judges. In all, this year's independent panel recognized more than 40 projects from across the states of Florida, Georgia, North and South Caroline, Alabama, Tennessee and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Links to each of the category winners will be included here.

Hats off to this year's judges, who selected not only these two projects but also the winners for the many project categories: Keith Douglas, with The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.; Ted Garrison, Garrison & Associates; Brett Kermode, PCL Civil Constructors; Jeffrey Lowe of McKim & Creed; Katherine Peele of LS3P; Ray Riddle, Holder Construction; and Alexandra Spencer, of SpencerSchurr & Associates.

ENR Southeast also recognizes this year's safety judges, who determined the winner of the Excellence in Safety award. They included George Guffey, with John Moriarty & Associates Florida, and David Lockhart, with Poole & Kent Co. of Florida.