Zachry of San Antonio, Texas, topped Southeast Construction's design-build contractor list with $378 million in project revenue in 2008, and since then the company has added to its portfolio.

Lights On for Zachry
Photo: FPL
A recent aerial view of FPL's $2.1-billion West County Energy Center project, currently under construction in Palm Beach County.

Zachry, in a joint venture with Black and Veatch of Kansas City, Mo., began working on units one and two at the $2.1-billion West County Energy Center for Florida Power & Light of Juno in April 2007, and later it picked up the contract for Unit 3 at the combined-cycle plant. Also in 2007, Zachry began work on an air-quality-control project at Progress Energy’s Crystal River plant in partnership with Burns & McDonnell of Kansas City, Mo. The project is part of a more than $1.3-billion effort by Progress Energy to meet federal environmental rules.

More recently, the company broke ground in March on a $479-million, natural gas-fueled power generator at the Cane Island Power Park in Osceola County for the Florida Municipal Power Agency in Orlando.

And Zachry expects to start construction early next year on JEA’s new Greenland Energy Center in Jacksonville. The approximately $200-million project calls for construction of two 175MW, dual-fuel (natural gas and distillate) turbines.

“The current state of the markets in the world, financially, worked well for us,” says Don Cheatham, JEA project manager for the Greenland facility. “There was a lot of competition among qualified firms. Pricing came in less than first anticipated.”

A Successful Method
Zachry has more than 50 years experience in the power industry and has constructed 110 major generating facilities.

“We understand the market,” says Buddy Myers, the firm’s vice president and operations manager. “Over a series of projects, you refine processes and learn who brings what strength to the table.”

Zachry often partners with engineering firms on engineering, procurement and construction projects to bring in additional experience and skills to a project, and sometimes it partners because of a job’s complexity. Zachry Engineering Corp. provides engineering for Zachry Industrial on some EPC jobs.

“Design-build provides efficiencies of scale in terms of pricing,” Myers says. “There’s a lot more continuity in terms of being able to manage the project.”

JEA has used an EPC approach on recent projects because “it works well with our project management and engineering capabilities.” Cheatham says. “Dealing with one large entity is helpful.”

FPL spokesperson Mayco Villafana says in an e-mail that EPC provides a process where the contractor can deliver a power plant in a cost-effective manner and meet the company’s performance and operational requirements.

“We select contractors based on their competitiveness, experience, strength in assembling the appropriate personnel and financial strength and resources,” Villafana says.

FMPA considered other delivery methods before selecting Zachry to design and build its new facility, but ultimately the governing board decided on an EPC contract, says Mark McCain, assistant general manager for public relations and human resources at FMPA.