Industry vet wraps complex tunnel job 7 months early
A longtime project manager of complex infrastructure projects, Jim Stevens led his team of contractors to complete the first large-bore tunnel ever constructed underneath the San Francisco Bay seven months ahead of schedule and below budget.
As part of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s $4.8-billion Water Systems Improvement Program (WSIP), the 15-ft-dia, 5-mile-long water pipeline tunnel helps to ensure water delivery to 2.6 million people in the Bay Area after a major earthquake.
The tunnel was “one of the most successful projects, from an overall project delivery perspective,” in the upgrade program, says Daniel Wade, WSIP director. Stevens “exhibited outstanding leadership in helping to generate a collaborative spirit on the project.
“Having people like Jim Stevens on the job made all the difference,” he adds.
Rick Gomez, vice president and chief operating officer of consulting firm Gomez International Inc., has worked with Stevens for almost 20 years and recommended Stevens for the task of wrangling the Bay Tunnel effort. Stevens “develops a rapport with the owner—much different than other people,” he says, adding that Steven’s efforts helped the project to become “one of the few with no post-contract disputes.”
Stevens, who entered the industry as a laborer 47 years ago, recently became vice president of tunneling at Michels Corp. “Most people have tunnel vision, and they have difficulty thinking outside of the box,” Gomez says. “Jim is unique in that he can visualize the outcome far beyond what most people can.”