The Southeast’s construction and design industries may have taken a hit during the recent economic downturn, but construction and design excellence is still in abundant supply throughout the region, judging by the winners of Southeast Construction’s “Best Of 2010” competition.

In fact, this year’s awards competition received another robust group of entries. More than 180 projects from the states of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas were submitted for consideration and competed within 22 different categories, based on construction type.

An independent jury of industry experts reviewed the entries, and met in September to finalize this year’s winners. Eligible projects had to be located within the four-state region and completed between Sept. 1, 2009, and Sept. 1, 2010.

“Best Of” awards were given to the top entry in a category that the judges deemed to be truly exceptional. “Awards of Excellence” also were presented to projects that the judges unanimously considered worthy of recognition.

In all, this year’s judges recognized 55 of the 183 entries with awards. The aim of the annual “Best Of” awards program is to honor those projects that best achieve the established goals of the project team; overcame significant challenges; adopted innovative approaches; and exhibited exceptional teamwork.

This year’s judges included seven individuals representing different sectors or the regional A/E/C industry. They included: Tim Ackert, project director with the City of Orlando Venues Program; Ken Cristol, president of Cristol Marketing Co. in Longwood, Fla.; Ted Garrison, president of Garrison & Associates in Ormond Beach, Fla.; Bruce Kershner, executive vice president of the Underground Utility Contractors of Florida, Longwood; Cheryl Maze, associate with TLC Engineering for Architecture in Orlando; John Page, business development manager with ValleyCrest, Orlando; and Mark P. Wylie, president and CEO of the Associated Builders & Contractors of Central Florida.

We thank the judges for their contribution of their industry expertise, professionalism and time to help us determine this year’s winners.

Top Winners

The winner of the top award for best overall project was indicative of the quality recognized by this year’s judges. Brasfield & Gorrie took home this year’s “Judges Award” for its work on the $88-million Georgia Aquarium Dolphin Expansion project in Atlanta. The project team included numerous of the same players that built the original aquarium several years ago.

David Kimmel, president and chief operating officer for the Georgia Aquarium – and previously with program manager Heery International when the original facility was built – said the project team deserved the special recognition.

“They were able to build it and develop it with the constraints of existing animals,” says Kimmel, who also mentioned the challenges of working around visitors and special events. “The people made the project successful by their understanding of the aquarium and aquarium staff and working as a partnership.

“The award is a nice recognition for the work they did,” he continued. “As hard as this project was, this team made it look easy. They deserve a lot of kudos.”

The aquarium project was chosen for the top award after this year’s judges nominated a total of five entries for further consideration for the “Judges Award.”

After these five finalists were determined, all seven judges reviewed the projects once more and voted again to determine the winner.

The other four projects nominated for the Judges Award included: Shands Cancer Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville, which won the award for Best Health Care; Atlantic Coast High School in Jacksonville, Fla., this year’s Best K-12 winner; the Duke University East Campus Steam Plant in Raleigh, N.C., which won the top prize in the Renovation/Restoration category; and the North Terminal Development Consolidation Project, Phase 1, in Miami, Fla., which won for Best Vertical Transportation.

Southeast Construction is proud to honor the 55 projects that represent the very best in one of the nation’s top construction markets. We invite you to read on for more information about this year’s collection of Southeast projects representing the “best” construction and design of today.