ENR Southwest’s 2020 Best Projects competition drew 74 entries from across Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. An independent panel of judges selected 18 category winners and 15 awards of merit.

The panel of jurors, representing a broad range of specialties within the AEC community, spent weeks reviewing entries using criteria that included project challenges and solutions, safety programs, innovative design and construction solutions, contribution to the construction industry and the community as well as design quality and craftsmanship. The competition excluded any projects with a construction-related death.

The region’s 18 Best Projects will now advance to the national level, competing with winners from nine other regions to be considered for ENR’s Best of the Best awards. Judging for the national contest will begin later this year.

Special thanks to this year’s distinguished panel of judges: Chad Constance, project executive, Rosendin; Jitka Dekojova, associate, landscape architect, Dekker/Perich/Sabatini; Kyle Fischer, principal, Ikthus Design; Jeff Frank, vice president of preconstruction, Tutor Perini Building Corp.; Nick Gushue, director of preconstruction, Martin-Harris Construction; Kai Kaoni, assistant professor of practice, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Construction Management and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Informatics and Applied Sciences, Northern Arizona University; and Alison F. Rainey, principal, Shepley Bulfinch.

The competition includes the Excellence in Safety program. This year’s independent panel of safety experts included Pat Salandi, a construction safety professional based in Salt Lake City, and Jon Wickizer, founder of Acknowlogy in Cedar City, Utah. They reviewed more than 30 entries, considering factors such as a project’s overall safety program, OSHA recordable incident rate and lost-time accident rate as well as total worker hours on the job. Three projects were honored for their safety achievements: Caesars Forum in Las Vegas, the I-10 Ina Road traffic interchange in Tucson and the Wynn South Convention Expansion in Las Vegas.

In addition, Project of the Year finalists included one representative from each of the region’s three states: the Casa Grande Community Recreation Center in Casa Grande, Ariz. (Best Project in the government/public building category), the Lake Mead Intake No. 3 Low Lake Level Pumping Station Project in Boulder City, Nev. (water/environment winner) and the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe (K-12 education winner).

Project teams will be honored during a virtual Southwest Best Projects awards ceremony on Nov. 9.