Many people in many ways serve the best interests of the construction industry. The editors of ENR have chosen the following individuals for innovations and achievements covered in the magazine in 2004. One has already been chosen to receive the Award of Excellence, ENRs highest honor, and is featured in the cover story of the magazines April 4, 2005 issue. click on the links below to to view more.
Jeffrey S. Russell, chairman of the civil-environmental engineering department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been a key player in engineering education reform, including the American Society of Civil Engineers efforts in 2004 to implement the "body of knowledge" concept in civil engineering. It seeks to broaden skills, knowledge and attitudes that research shows are critical for 21st-Century engineering graduates. The approach incorporates new areas of study, such as leadership and public policy, into existing curricula and accreditation. Now being tested at U.S. universities, BOK is one of engineering educations most significant innovations, and ASCE is first among engineering societies to implement it.
|Juiced. California grid got needed boost.|
The nation was shocked by big power blackouts in 2000 and 2003, but they brought little investment to the decrepit U.S. transmission grid. An innovative public-private partnership, however, has broken a long-standing bottleneck in Californias grid, known as Path 15. Tom Boyko, project manager for the Western Area Power Administration, led the agencys effort that included a merchant-power developer and a utility to boost the 84-mile lines 3,900-MW capacity by 1,500 MW. Path 15 was energized at the end of 2004 but has already attracted interest from utilities elsewhere that seek to upgrade their own systems. (Photo left courtesy of Western Area Power Administration)
Streamlining agency spending habits and contracting oversight, Virginia Dept. of Transportation Commissioner Philip Shucet is winning the trust of the states controversy-weary contractors and motorists. Shucet boosted agency accountability with new approaches, such as Dashboard, the most comprehensive online project status tracking system in any state DOT. He also implemented a new cost estimating system that has reduced margin of error from 187% to 30%, and has expanded interface with contractors and cities in executing and managing local construction programs. VDOT has already met its entire fiscal 2005 goal of 68% of construction contracts finished on time, up from just 22% four years ago. And it has increased the number of jobs finishing within budget.
The $419-million Miami Performing Arts Center was a poster child for bad project relations until Miami-Dade County appointed consultant Ron Austin as its new director of construction. The project had mushroomed to 600 days past its original deadline and $67 million over budget. He implemented a project-wide pact that forced contractual collaboration among site architects, engineers and contractors, and settled hundreds of claims already escalating to the $100-million mark. Under his leadership, site parties agreed to meet a fixed completion date and to pay completion costs if that deadline is missed. Austin engineered processes for dispute resolution and contractor cost reimbursement, and instilled a proactive project-wide culture.
Dimitris Kallitsantsis accepted the challenge to build, under huge time and political pressure, the structurally challenging roof for the main stadium of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. With many months lost to upfront politics, the managing director of Athens-based Aktor A.E., was pressed to direct design and erection of the 20,000-tonne structure. Roof arches span more than 300 meters, forcing construction in two halves on either side of the stadium. They were pushed together with only weeks to spare. Sharing his countrys view that the stadium was a key global symbol of the Greek Olympics, Kallitsantsis and his team persevered under the international medias critical gaze to complete work just in time for the roof to become the Games landmark. (Photo right by Peter Reina for ENR)
|Grim Search. Rescuers reach a construction victim in debris of collapsed casino garage.|
Capt. Scott Evans of the Atlantic City, N.J., Fire Dept. epitomizes the professionalism and yeoman efforts of firefighters and rescue personnel who often risk their own lives to save construction workers when accidents happen in one of the nations most dangerous industries. He led firefighters in searching for and rescuing workers trapped in the harrowing collapse of the citys Tropicana hotel-casino garage in October 2003. He and others crawled through voids in unstable debris, in what became an intense 22-hour operation that found at least 21 workers still alive. Evans also served on a state rescue task force that shored the building and recovered remains of four who died. Evans effort illustrates how rescuers can use all available resources and tap specialists when needed, avoiding turf battles that can hamper and even endanger rescue success when time is so critical. (Photo above right courtesy of New Jersey OEM Urban Search and Rescue)
Efforts to reduce extended overtime, absenteeism and work disruptions on union jobs rolled into action this year when Steve Satrom used his leadership role in the Construction Users Roundtable to propel a "tripartite initiative" signed in 2003 by 44 major owners, eight contractor groups and the 15 unions of the AFL-CIOs Building and Construction Trades Dept. Satrom, a general manager at Air Products & Chemicals, and the other tripartite representatives, are determined to improve conditions that affect the profitability of union projects. Union leaders are updating 50-year-old pacts governing union jurisdiction. Contractor groups now encourage a "three strikes and youre out" policy for unexcused jobsite absences and use of extended overtime as a last resort instead of standard practice.Jeffrey Rudolphs
Striving to cut costs and improve product performance and safety, Fred Smith, entrepreneur and innovative president of Arva Industries, consistently generates quality in the development of new construction equipment. When the Canadian military recently sought a high speed front-end loader-backhoe to support combat troops, Smith invented the MultiPurpose Engineering Vehicle, which cruises at up to 62 mph in all terrain and weather. He also has recycled old excavators into rugged lattice-boom cranes, and delivered a custom-built self-propelled tunnel ceiling panel fabrication and lifting system. On one Boston Central Artery/Tunnel job, it saved millions of dollars and cut the schedule by 40%.
R. Clay Paslay, executive vice president of airport development at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, is taking its $2.7-billion construction program to a new level. He implemented a bilingual safety program on site that trains an underserved Hispanic community and has drastically cut lost time hours. By convincing site contractors to donate 15¢ per man-hour, the program has $2.5 million to spend on training. Paslay also directed implementation of the worlds largest airport facility to treat deicing runoff, and has championed new benchmarks for airport facility maintenance. At the same time, he has kept program cost growth to 6% annually, compared to industry norms of 10 to 40%.
|Innovative. Shop-fabricated docking buoy was installed to receive vaporized LNG at Gulf terminal.|
Even as demand for natural gas grows in North America, communities still fight construction of new liquefied natural-gas terminals. Kathleen Eisbrenner, president of Excelerate Energy, is leading a team that is trying a new approach. The firms novel gas import system regasifies LNG on board a tanker and feeds the vapor directly into offshore pipelines that tie into the national pipeline grid, requiring minimal fixed construction. The first Energy Bridge terminal in the Gulf of Mexico is now in operation, and Excelerate is developing one more off the Massachusetts coast.
(Photo right courtesy of Excelerate Energy LLC)
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that destroyed New York Citys World Trade Center and killed 2,700 occupants, the building design and construction community was besieged by criticism that the buildings themselves were at fault. While aware that totally defensible buildings are an impossible dream,...
Dirty construction practices in or near operating hospitals and other health centers contribute to an infection problem that, each year, kills up to 90,000 patients and costs facilities millions of dollars. Public health specialists and moved to change this situation by creating the Infection Control Risk Assessment, which is becoming the standard for clean practices in health-care construction. They succeeded in having the process included in critical hospital design guidelines published by the American Institute of Architects. Now, more contractors are contractually responsible for hospital jobsite cleanliness. Upcoming guidelines will specifically address new construction, in addition to renovations and additions. A neighborhood school that uses its design to focus on teaching science and math in South Central Los Angeles promises to be a national model for inner city schools. The $48-million Science Center School, a partnership between the school district and a state-owned museum, might never have happened without museum CEO effort. He assembled financing from many sources and incorporated a 19th-Century federal armory into the design, saving it from demolition. The school includes a hands-on lab and space for teacher training and community activities.