A total of 84 projects vied for honors in ENR Southwest’s 2021 Best Projects competition across Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. From those entries, an independent panel of experts selected 17 Best Projects and 12 awards of merit across 17 categories.
Over the course of several weeks, the judging panel, selected from all corners of the AEC community, analyzed the entries for their achievements in five broad categories: 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. Projects could not compete for an award if they had a construction-related death.
The 17 Best Projects winners 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.
Two special awards are also featured in this year’s contest: ENR Southwest’s Excellence in Safety Award, which is now in its ninth year as part of the competition, as well as a new addition to the program, Excellence in Sustainability.
For the Excellence in Safety award, a separate panel of safety judges reviewed 34 entries and selected the main category winner and three awards of merit, considering many factors in their decisions, including a project’s overall safety program, OSHA recordables incident rate, lost-time accident rate as well as total worker hours on the job.
For Excellence in Sustainability, a separate jury of sustainability experts reviewed the 11 entries and selected the main category winner and two awards of merit, while considering factors such as how well project teams went above and beyond baseline green requirements, a project’s overall sustainability strategy, choice of materials as well as energy savings and its environmental impact not only within its own footprint but also on the community it serves.
Judges also selected four finalists and one project as ENR Southwest’s 2021 Project of the Year. The finalists were 850 PBC (Best Higher Education/Research), Allegiant Stadium (Best Sports/Entertainment), Reno 750 Building (Best Renovation/Restoration) and Santa Fe County Courthouse Historic Renovation (Best Government/Public Building). This year’s Project of the Year is the Renown Health COVID-19 Alternative Care Facility (Best Health Care).
All winning project teams—as well as our Owner of the Year, Design Firm of the Year, Contractor of the Year, Specialty Contractor of the Year and Legacy Award winner—will be celebrated at an awards ceremony in Phoenix on Nov. 11 at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel.
Read on to learn more about the 32 winning projects.
Special thanks to ENR Southwest’s 2021 Best Projects judging teams.
Senior Project Manager
The Weitz Co.
Soon after graduating from Brigham Young University in 2007, Evanson joined Weitz as a project engineer. He is a senior project manager handling some of Weitz’s largest projects across the region and participates with the mentoring of junior project managers.
Fischer is the principal architect at Ikthus Design, a small architectural firm located in Las Vegas that focuses primarily on single and multifamily residential architecture. He recently created two additional companies, Ikthus Real Estate and Ikthus Development.
Glenn is currently working on the Valleywise Healthcare Roosevelt campus improvements. He has been in health care construction his entire career with Kitchell, working at multiple hospital campuses in the Phoenix area and in California.
Assistant Professor of Practice
Northern Arizona University
Teaching in the civil engineering and construction management programs, Kaoni strives to share his experience in building and design with his students. He began his career as a civil designer for a consulting firm in Prescott, Ariz., specializing in subdivision and commercial site development.
Granite Construction Inc.
Ochoa began his construction career in Colombia working on airfield projects. After moving to the U.S. in 2015, he pursued a master’s degree in civil engineering and construction management at Arizona State University and joined Granite Construction. Ochoa now supports Granite’s work in the Southwest U.S.
Daniel J. Milinazzo
Director of Safety and Health
Plains District Office, Hensel Phelps
Over the course of his 13-year career at Hensel Phelps, Milinazzo has led the management and administration of the firm’s safety and health accident program as well as the risk management and loss control program. He has more than 32 years of construction safety and risk management experience.
Niels Fugal Sons Co. LLC
For nearly 35 years, Salandi has worked as a safety professional. He served managed safety programs for a large general contractor for 17 years, helping to ensure the safety of workers on large construction projects and providing support for the corporate safety program.
Sandra M. Bernal
College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, University of Arizona
Since 2018, Bernal has been involved in research and projects in the School of Architecture on energy conservation, health and well-being, museum design and design practice. She holds a doctorate in arid lands resource science and has spent her career in architecture and green building design.
M.A. Mortenson Co.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sustainability from Arizona State University, Duffy joined Mortenson’s Phoenix office to apply green principles to the firm’s projects, helping to ensure that sustainability measures are carried through projects from design to construction.