To Our Future Female Leaders: Don’t Tie On Those Boxing Gloves Just Yet

A version of the following byline was featured on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Insiders Network, an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions.

I was at a leadership conference recently, and the room was filled with business leaders, mostly women in their 50’s and 60’s who are enjoying successful and satisfying careers. There was one exception: a special guest who had graduated from Yale last spring. She stood up and shared how surprised she was listening to a room full of women sharing lessons learned, and not one mentioned discrimination. She and her friends spoke often about how they would enter the workforce at a “disadvantage,” and they were preparing themselves to operate within “dismissive cultures.” The audience, myself included, went silent.

How did we get here? How did we get to a place on some college campuses where the narrative of intolerance in the name of social justice has gotten so ugly that the message for young women is gloves up and prepare for battle when entering the workforce? What have I and all the women before me fought for? To those in the early stage of your career or just beginning it, I assure you we are not at the end of gender equality in the workplace, but we are certainly not at the beginning either. Sexual harassment at Uber, porn in the military, pay inequality, and the current political tide aside, we are way beyond gloves up in corporate America.

You should be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I was. When I graduated in 1989 from Georgetown University, my teachers and my parents made it clear that I could do anything I wanted if I worked hard. I would hate to think young women don’t have that kind of encouragement and hope now. My gender never even occurred to me then. And even today, I think of myself as a leader, not a female leader. And for me, being a leader is about how we make others feel about their potential—it’s about bringing out the best in those around us.

As women, we cannot become the stories we hear or fear. Assuming you will be marginalized increases your chances of making it so. And it doesn’t give credit to all the men out in the workforce who “get it.” Have there been jerks along the way in my career? Hell yes, and some of those jerks were even women. I’ve seen too many women stand in their own way, from not raising their hand for a promotion they deserve to letting someone talk over them in a meeting. Often, the default thinking is: I’m not ready; that’s not in my comfort zone; I’ve never done that before, instead of, “Can I learn that?” I’ve told those I mentor to get comfortable being uncomfortable, especially those who do not feel empowered to speak up. When I ask, “What are you afraid of? What is the worst that could happen? Will they think you’re stupid? Unprepared?” The answers are almost always nothing and no.

For the women just getting started in their careers, my advice is pretty simple: Bring your amazing and flawed female self to work every day. And get out of your own way. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

By Nicole Didda, Chief Communications Officer, Skanska USA

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Why we’re piloting a new hard hat

There is no symbol of construction like the hard hat. It is the most visible piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) we use and one of the most critical. Yet, it is also one of the least evolved. Hard hats in use today, by and large, are the same as the ones used a generation ago.

While the traditional hard hat provides impact protection to the top of the head, it has marginal effectiveness protecting against impacts to the front or back. A sudden movement, tilt of the head or, worse, a fall, generally means the hard hat flies off. In the latter case, it not only leaves the worker unprotected, but can also lead to the hard hat becoming a falling projectile. That can happen at any height, even a slip, trip or fall from ground level. When we do work at heights, we often tether our tools and workers are required to tie off. The same is not standard for hard hats.

Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released figures indicating that construction workers suffer more traumatic brain injuries than workers in any other field in the United States. Any step we can take to further protect workers is a necessary step.

We believe there is room for improvement and, if you see a Skanska job site, you may start to see a new look among some of our workers.

The latest hard hat is rated to protect effectively against impacts to the top, front and back of the head.

On several project sites, we are piloting the use of a construction helmet that, at first glance, might seem more at home on a hockey rink or rock-climbing wall. At first, we see workers look at them a bit funny, but after a week or so in practice, few have wanted to go back to the old-style hat. That’s because the benefits far outweigh any odd glances, and most deal with being safer:

– The hard hat is not only rated to protect effectively against impacts to the top of the head, but also the front and back. The truth is, most workers can probably think of times where they’ve scraped the front or back of their heads more often than something hitting the top of their hats. The new hat is obviously an upgrade. Normally, a blow to the front or back of a hard hat causes the hat to shift, which can lead to a blow to the head. Our new hats don’t do this.

– The chin strap keeps the hat in place. We say we stretch and flex every morning the same way an elite athlete does before a game. Similarly, most football and hockey players keep their helmets strapped on. So do bikers, rock climbers and more. It’s common sense that when you’re in motion, you should strap in for protection. The upshot is easy to imagine on a job site. You can look up or down with both hands free, not needing to hold the hat in place. In the event of an unforeseen motion, the hard hat stays in place. When working at heights, a hard hat that can be strapped on should be a no-brainer. In fact, we have started to require them in certain scenarios involving heights and exposure to wind.

– A side benefit is the visor for eye protection. Rated the same way safety glasses are, the visor provides more coverage, is attached to the hat (so no real way to forget to take safety glasses along) and, for the most part, never fogs up, a constant frustration with safety glasses.

– Lastly, feedback from the field says it’s actually pretty comfortable to wear.

You can imagine it’s already a big change for some craft workers to trade their hard hat for something new. Hard hats are often personalized and, in some cases, help tell the story of a worker’s career. It’s encouraging that so many workers have not only been willing to try something new, but that they’re willing to do so because, when you get right down to it, they want to be as safe as possible. They all want to go home to their friends and families every day.

So, if you see a Skanska site, take a look. More and more, we expect you’ll see the new hard hats in action. When you see them, know that it’s because the crew on the site is wearing them to further prevent head injuries.

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How a construction approach to safety can benefit everyone

This week marks Skanska’s 13th annual Safety Week and the 4th annual Construction Industry Safety Week. We asked Paul Haining, Chief EHS Officer for Skanska USA Inc., how the Plan > Do > Check > Act cycle of continuous improvement, this year’s focus, can help drive us towards zero incidents as an industry.

Proper planning, an engaged workforce and proactive communication reduces incidents. These are the basic principles for Skanska’s Injury-Free Environment® (IFE) mindset and safety protocols that drive the way we work.

While a construction Environment Health & Safety (EHS) Manual can be hundreds of pages of procedures, a lot of it can be boiled down to a simple thought process that can be applied even at home by DIY-ers. The Plan > Do > Check > Act cycle helps drive our culture, influencing the way we live and those who work with us.

How the Plan > Do > Check > Act cycle works:

Plan: Evaluate the work to be done, whether across the scope of work or for just a single day. Establish what success looks like. Identify all hazards and how you will address them.

Do: Execute the plan as it was written. If circumstances change or if conditions arise that were not accounted for in the plan, stop. Revaluate and move ahead according to the new plan.

Check: After the work is complete, evaluate the results. Did the plan work? Are there things that should be improved in the plan moving forward? What didn’t the original plan cover?

Act: Make adjustments and create a new plan based on the evaluation. Begin the cycle again.

The Plan > Do > Check > Act cycle drives safe choices and productivity. Everyone’s inspiration for working safely is different. The “why” is the motivator that drives someone to make the safe choice over a quick and dirty alternative. Where we find common ground is in the method in which we work.

The Time is Now

Our industry has made great strides to protect workers and we are closer than ever to achieving the ultimate goal of zero injuries. With construction volume forecast to increase and a significant number of seasoned craft workers nearing retirement, we must all work to sustain a culture that rejects the thinking that incidents are an unavoidable part of the work we do.

The construction industry is looking at a potentially grim equation if it doesn’t reinforce its safety efforts. Dodge Data & Analytics is forecasting a 5 percent increase in construction starts in 2017 at the same time as the construction industry tackles a labor shortage with more than 150,000 unfilled positions. With many industry veterans leaving the workforce, the risk is that newly-hired skilled workers enter the field without knowledge of how to plan work to avoid injuries.

The labor shortage presents an opportunity now, more than ever, for the industry to band together to help drive unified expectations and our safety culture. Each person who steps onto a construction site has something to learn. That is what the Plan > Do > Check > Act cycle instills in the people who use it on a daily basis. By teaching this method of working to each person who enters a Skanska jobsite, we are giving workers – new and old – the foundation to work safe on future projects, industry-wide.

When we all work safe, we all go home safe.

Taking the mindset home

Another facet of Skanska’s IFE culture is that it isn’t just for work; it’s a lifestyle.

On this blog a few years ago, I discussed how pro cyclist Danny MacAskill plans for risk and how he says he constantly evaluates what he’s doing. That constant evaluation is the core of Plan > Do > Check > Act and it should be applied whenever we do anything with risk.

Just as complacency on a job site can lead to a cascade of factors that lead to injury, a near-miss when driving, working around the yard or even waiting for your ears to stop ringing after a great concert is a sign that, perhaps, we can plan those activities differently to be a bit safer.

As we focus this week on making our industry as safe as can be, so too can each of us strive to be safe no matter what risks we face every day.

Paul Haining

Paul Haining

Chief environment, health and safety officer

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Embracing the WELL Building Standard: The Next Step in Green

Did you turn off the lamp on your desk today before you left the office? Did you remember to reach down and turn off the power strip your computer was plugged into? When you got home from work, did you walk through the house turning off all the lights the kids had left on, and did you reach over and turn off the running water while they were brushing their teeth?

You probably did because Earth Day is upon us. It’s the one day a year when reminders are everywhere to do the thousands of small things that can make a difference in the health and well-being of our planet and in our future.

What started in 1970 as a call to protect the environment for future generations, has turned into a global movement. At Skanska, we don’t wait for Earth Day to work toward building a better society. We work hard to bring innovative ideas and sustainable solutions to each and every project we undertake.

 LEED certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, has been the standard in our industry for many years for designing and building environmentally preferable and energy-efficient buildings. LEED – and other standards – have evolved raising the bar over the years.

Enter the WELL Building Standard, by the International Well Building Institute. The certification builds on the foundation of LEED, and goes further. WELL version 1 has been in the development stage the last five years, going though both pilot and peer review, and it’s now ready for prime time, with version 2 expected late 2017/early 2018. We expect to see a growing interest in applying this standard to new building construction, actively building human health into the planetary improvements that Earth Day founders originally envisioned.

And with good reason. When you consider that 90% of our time is spent in buildings, how these environments can contribute to workplace productivity, health and wellness is the logical next step in the smart building movement.

Because the U.S. is mostly a service economy, most companies spend less than 10% on their mortgage and utilities and 90% on personnel. The bigger investment, therefore, is in people, so creating an environment that nurtures the health and well-being of a workforce, and reduces sickness, absenteeism and healthcare costs are important. It creates a virtuous cycle in which we all benefit.

We’ve all read about how millennials are reshaping the workplace, seeking live/work/play environments. By 2020, millennials will account for 50% of the global workforce. And this cohort is full of sustainability natives, meaning they see building green as a smart and natural thing to do. I suspect that they will be quick to embrace WELL.

The WELL standard is a win-win for both the building owner and the workforce. From the building owner’s perspective, they can see real savings by lowering absenteeism and presenteeism, where workers are sick on the job, for example. This lost productivity is said to cost U.S. employers more than $570 billion annually (based on the Integrated Benefits Institute and includes workers compensation, disability and group health program expenses). The WELL standard creates and environment built on health and wellness, keeping people active and energetic. On the workforce side, this way of smart building attracts employees who seek to work in spaces and buildings that have a ‘cool’ factor and play a role in improving on the green-built foundation.

What’s WELL all about? WELL addresses seven concepts:

1. Air: WELL establishes requirements in buildings that promote clean air and reduce or minimize the sources of indoor air pollution

2. Water: WELL promotes safe and clean water through the implementation of proper filtration techniques and regular testing

3. Nourishment: WELL requires the availability of fresh and wholesome foods, limits highly-processed ingredients and supports mindful eating

4. Light: WELL provides illumination guidelines that minimize disruption to the body’s circadian system, enhance productivity and support good sleep quality

5. Fitness: WELL promotes the integration of physical activity into everyday life by providing opportunities and support for an active lifestyle and discouraging sedentary behaviors

6. Comfort: WELL considers thermal, acoustic, ergonomic, and olfactory comfort to optimize indoor working environments

7. Mind: WELL optimizes cognitive and emotional health through design, technology, and treatment strategies

From a logistical perspective, the organization that certifies LEED projects, the Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI) also certifies WELL projects. This makes it easy to see how close a LEED project is to gaining WELL certification. WELL goes further by requiring information from employer on policies and benefits that go beyond the built environment.

The triple bottom line is about planet, profit and people. WELL doubles down on all three aspects of sustainability building on LEED’s strong foundation. It’s a fast and direct on-ramp to next generation buildings and the people who will occupy them. And we need to keep going.

Elizabeth Heider

Elizabeth Heider

Chief Sustainability Officer, Skanska USA

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Spring cleaning tips: Weekend warriors can stay safe with tips from construction pros

We’ve made it. Spring is finally here. While that signals a shift in the weather, it’s also a reminder that it’s time for spring cleaning. But before you dust off those indoor cleaning supplies and attack some outdoor projects, keep in mind that safety should go hand-in-hand with spring cleaning.

Homeowners probably don’t see a lot of similarities between household upkeep and the activities of a massive construction site. However, many of the same safety risks construction workers face exist for the “do-it-yourself” work that weekend warriors hit the toolbox for every spring.

Hundreds of thousands of people injure themselves just “doing work around the house” every year. Many of these injuries could be prevented if people treated work at home the way construction companies approach safety.

It is assumed construction is dangerous work and, indeed, workers must plan for how they will address a variety of hazards every day. In 2016, as a result, 91 percent of Skanska’s job sites in the United States had zero incidents that resulted in a worker missing time from work. We want to get that number to 100 percent. The larger point is that when people respect the dangers they potentially face, and take the time to plan out the work, incidents can be avoided.

Our homes are perceived as safe places, but there really is no difference in risk between a ladder being used on a construction project site and one at your home. By approaching work at home like a construction crew would, we might all spend more time grilling on the patio than recovering from an injury. Below are a few safety tips from the jobsite to apply in your home:

Cleaning the gutters

This is a task that almost certainly requires a ladder. Did you know that a ladder is often the last-resort choice on construction sites for working at heights? When a ladder is used, extensive planning takes place. At home, most people grab the ladder and go, making it no surprise that the Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates there are about 165,000 ladder-related injuries every year.

Before climbing up to clear gutters of accumulated debris, start on the ground. Is the ladder in good shape? How will you stabilize the ladder (e.g. having someone there to hold on)? Keep in mind: Skanska doesn’t allow for extension ladders that haven’t been physically tied to the structure. Where will you put this ladder and is it level?

Once on the ladder, never climb past the third rung from the top. Never lean off the side of the ladder. It may be a bit more time consuming to climb down and move the ladder, but it is safer. Certainly, don’t get the idea to climb onto your slanted roof and work from above. Construction workers would tell you they’d be uncomfortable doing that without tying off properly. Trust the professionals. Incidents on ladders happen quickly and, often, catastrophically. Proper planning can eliminate those risks.

Lawn care

Nothing says spring like the smell of freshly-mowed grass. A lawn mower is probably the top piece of equipment used by homeowners to take care of their property and, where there’s a lawn mower, there’s also usually a trimmer nearby.

On a construction site, specialized equipment like this would require dressing appropriately. Do you do the same at home? For instance, the low-to-the-ground blade would require closed-toe shoes. Something being pushed means the need for gloves to protect the hands from a variety of hazards. The propensity of lawn mowers and trimmers to fling rocks and debris in the air at a high speed would demand a worker wear long pants and eye protection. The noise would require hearing protection. People who work in similar conditions every day would dress appropriately. Why not follow their lead? Lawn care isn’t a fashion contest and you don’t get a lot of second chances when it comes to injuries to your sight or hearing.

Using the right tools for fix-it jobs

One of the leading causes of an incident on any of our job sites is a lapse where a worker uses the wrong tool for a job or uses the right tool the wrong way. If you’ve ever tried to hammer in a nail with the handle of a screwdriver, you’re guilty of this.

Improvising is not a good solution if safety is the goal. Tools are designed to do a specific task very well, but misuse can lead to a variety of cuts, lacerations and… well, do the right Google search and you can find worse outcomes.

Lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling and awkward postures

How many times have you performed a task at home, only to find yourself arriving at work the next day with sore aching muscles?  Ergonomics-related hazards at home are also equally significant and comparable to what we face on a construction site.  Often times, the “how” portion of moving the material from point A to point B gets overlooked in planning of work, because as humans, we tend to be programmed to just pick something up without considering how we are going to do so.  We also tend to ignore warning signs of potential strain type injuries and push through the task in the spirit of getting the job done.

Prior to each task, determine what materials need to be moved and how to safely move them. Do you need a partner to help with any lifting and carrying? Can you utilize a cart at waist height for easier access to materials, versus bending over multiple times throughout the day? Will you be working in an awkward body posture? If so, are you able to rearrange things to place your body in a more natural posture? Another good tip is to perform stretching exercises prior to beginning your task.  Skanska performs stretch and flex exercises every day of every week prior to going to work, as a way of getting our muscles warmed up. It also creates more fluidity around the joint areas, so we are adequately prepared to use our bodies that day.

There’s more…

Sometimes, even things that seem like simple fixes require turning off water, power or gas. An example of this is replacing an electrical fixture that you were waiting for better weather to handle, and turning the power off before doing so.  This is something construction teams are also very familiar with, often taking extra steps to ensure all workers on site know what’s live so they can plan against it. Storing cleaning agents properly can ensure no spills of potentially harmful chemicals, as well. On job sites, that’s usually a legal requirement. In your backyard shed, though, it’s equally important.

Two other common construction site mantras will help eliminate injuries at home, too. If conditions arise that you didn’t anticipate, stop and re-think the plan. Don’t proceed like everything is normal if it is not. Know when to ask for help. If you don’t think you can safely accomplish the task, stop and get help from others.

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Celebrating National Engineers Week

Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) in 1951, National Engineers Week was created to increase an interest and understanding of engineering and technology careers.

In honor of National Engineers Week, we’re showcasing a few of our most outstanding engineers from across the country. Our engineers are not only problem solvers, but innovators and community shapers. From being on the cutting edge of new technology to making the impossible, possible – we are proud to be the home to so many engineers who seek to make an impact on the world we live in by Building What Matters.

Mike Goetz

What is something interesting about being an engineer that people might not know? As a construction engineer, a large portion of my time entails interacting with the tradesmen and tradeswomen. So, in addition to working with calculations and drawings, my time is spent communicating with the various foremen and superintendents in the field and planning the construction activities with them.

What are you most proud of being an engineer? I am most proud to have been a member of a team that has successfully constructed the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. This project was extremely challenging in many ways and could not have been built without a tremendous amount of innovation and hard work by the many people involved in its construction. I am proud to have played a role in the construction of this iconic structure.

What made you want to be an engineer? When I was young, I decided I wanted to build things that impacted a community in a very real and tangible way. I really liked the idea of figuring out how a building or a project comes together and helping make that process go as smooth and efficiently as possible.As I have gotten older and joined the construction industry and gained more experience on a few large heavy civil projects, my attraction to this kind of work has only increased.

Some of Mike’s notable projects include World Trade Center Transportation Hub, Second Avenue Subway, Croton Filtration Plant, and Paerdegat Basin Combined Sewer Overflow Facility projects.

Cela Gallagher

What is something interesting about being an engineer people may not know? It’s a job that requires knowledge and experience in both design and construction. In urban projects, engineers need to be able to communicate complex construction issues clearly to stakeholders and communities. I regularly liaise with LA building officials, LA fire chiefs, LAPD staff and Metro officials presenting our work plans and explaining the approach. It’s really important to keep all the stakeholders involved and get their buy-in on complex urban projects.

What are you most proud of being an engineer? Being part of a team building key transport infrastructure in the city where I live is very rewarding and I get a large amount of satisfaction telling people “we built that” when they tell me they rode the Expo line to Santa Monica. It has been an exciting and challenging career that has stretched me as I get opportunities to work on very complicated projects.

What made you want to be an engineer? My dad (an ironworker by trade) convinced me that I would make a lot of money and have a nice car. When I started studying engineering, I did not know any other female engineers at the time so it was a leap of faith, but I thought it would be a unique career choice.

Some of Cela’s notable projects are the London 2012 Olympic Park and Expo 2 Light Rail.

Mackenzie Kirby

What is something interesting about being an engineer people may not know? Engineers often ask a lot of questions – not because we don’t know the answer, but because we want to find a different, creative solution.

What are you most proud of being an engineer? I’m proud that people can come to me with questions and advice and fully value my response.

What made you want to be an engineer? I chose to be a field engineer because I wanted the opportunity to be exposed to the different data and problems that we solve on our projects.

Some of Mackenzie’s notable projects include the Novartis Campus Expansion and LaGuardia Airport Terminal B Redevelopment.

Andrew Giocondi

What are some of the most notable projects you have worked on? The Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project, originally built in 1908, is also known as the “Salt and Pepper Shaker Bridge” due to its iconic towers at mid-span. It has been one of the most challenging and unique projects I have ever worked on. This multi-modal bridge spans across the Charles River connecting Boston and Cambridge for the MBTA Red Line, motor vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians.  Our team has been tasked with reconstructing the bridge to provide upgraded structural capacity while maintaining and restoring its historic nature.

What is something interesting about being an engineer that people may not know? My favorite part about being an engineer is the opportunity to innovate.  Working as an engineer in the heavy civil construction industry gives me the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between design and construction.  With an engineering background and knowledge of constructability, cost, and schedule, I always look to provide value engineering to the project.  Our goal as engineers is to optimize the design to provide the owner with the best solution.

What made you want to be an engineer and what are you most proud of being an engineer? I have always had a passion for building and creating. Since I was very young, I have always been intrigued by the process in which things are constructed. The two most rewarding things about being an engineer for me is working with great teams and a job well done. One thing I have learned is great teams make great projects. There is nothing more satisfying then working with a group of people driven to achieve a common goal.

One of Andrew’s most notable projects is the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project.

Marietta Alcover Ramos

What is something interesting about being an engineer people may not know? Being an engineer in construction is pretty amazing. I don’t think people realize how big of a team effort it really is. Every time we’re faced with a challenge, as an engineer, you help to design a solution and it’s not possible to have a positive outcome without the input and support of the other team members such as the superintendent, the laborers, and the designer. Sometimes you can solve a problem on paper, but when you go implement it in the field, it’s not feasible. That’s when the knowledge and the experiences of the people who are actually in the field are most valuable.

What are you most proud of being an engineer? Being part of the team that reconstructed the World Trade Center, a New York and global icon, while playing a role in the rebirth of lower Manhattan. The world will always remember the tragic events of 9/11, but at the same time being involved in building a brighter future for the city was priceless.

What made you want to be an engineer? When I applied to college, I actually applied for the pre-med program. It wasn’t until the summer before I went to college that I changed my mind. It was a combination of my interest in physics and my conversations with my high school teacher Ms. Gwendolyn that helped me make that decision. During one of my co-ops, I worked for a plumbing/fire protection/HVAC subcontractor, and that’s when I fell in love with construction. It confirmed for me that I made the right decision.

One of Marietta’s most notable projects is the World Trade Center Path Hall.

Matt Arrigoni

What is something interesting about being an engineer that people may not know? Being an engineer in the field of construction provides some amazing opportunities to have hands on experience. To me, spending time out of the office and in the field to understand exactly how something is constructed really lets me learn the details of constructability and helps advance my knowledge on the subject vastly.

What are you most proud of being an engineer? I’m currently working on the LaGuardia Airport CTB Replacement Project and knowing that this historical project is making national news is pretty awesome. Contributing to work that will stand and serve as an international hub for people every day is something I can take a lot of pride in.

What made you want to be an engineer? I always had an interest in problem solving, whether it was a math problem I had in school or how to fix a bike chain that fell off its gears, I was always fascinated on how things worked. After some researching in high school of what I really wanted to do with my life, I found the perfect answer that balances my passion and ever adapting work environment.

One of his most notable projects is The United Nations Capital Master Plan.

Kate Wallen

What is something interesting about being an engineer that people may not know? I’m in a field that has existed for centuries, yet it is also constantly growing and developing. Being an engineer in the 21st century offers me the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of technology and new ideas that didn’t exist until recently. I have the opportunity to learn from people who have been in the field for several decades and, at the same time, pave the way for those who are coming into the industry behind me with their own innovation and fresh ideas.

What are you most proud of being an engineer? Because I am in preconstruction, I have the opportunity to touch most of the projects that come through our office. This offers me a level of exposure and experience that I otherwise would not have. In the short time since I’ve been full time at Skanska, I have developed a stronger understanding of all facets of the construction management industry and that is something I am proud of.

What made you want to be an engineer? In high school, I enrolled in a drafting/architecture class because of my interest in math. When deciding my major, I found myself drawn to construction management.  I enjoy the social side as well as the technical side, and I have found there is a combination of both in estimating engineering.

Anna Greenfield

What is something interesting about being an engineer that people may not know? Most people consider engineering to be formulaic and predictable, but I have actually found it to be a profession that allows for significant creativity. Our team is always looking for innovative solutions to address challenges, mitigate risk and enhance efficiency.

What are you most proud of being an engineer? I was able to implement laser scanning technology to capture steel plate geometry for fabrication of replacement steel on the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project. Over the course of the project, more than 2,600 base plates required replacement. Initially, teams tied off, climbed the arches, collected hand measurements and recorded the data in AutoCAD to generate shop drawings for the base plates. This approach was time-consuming, increased safety risks and allowed for human error. Realizing this issue early on, our team utilized a 3D handheld laser scanner to improve the speed and accuracy of steel fabrication. Using the scanner allowed us to collect the data 10 times faster and generate shop drawings that were accurate to within a sixteenth of an inch. Our team used a long-range pole to scan the arches from the platform below, making the process much safer than the manual approach.

What made you want to be an engineer? I have always loved the challenge of problem solving, but I was drawn to engineering because of the tangible solutions and the means to positively impact the community.

Kyle Havertine

What is something interesting about being an engineer that people may not know? The most interesting thing to me is that being an engineer in the construction industry is as much a ‘people business’ as it is exercising your technical skills.  You meet people from all walks of life and can learn so much from building relationships with those around you.

What are you most proud of being an engineer? I think Skanska says it best – I am proud to ‘Build What Matters’.  Being involved with healthcare projects, I am very proud to build facilities that help entire communities, both from a perspective of the people who visit the hospital, and the people that are employed by the hospitals.

What made you want to be an engineer? From a young age, I have never been able to look at something and not wonder – What is it made out of? What are the pieces and parts? How does it get put together? I think it’s just my natural persona to want to dive deeper into things beyond surface level.

Jennifer Bradshaw

What are you most proud of being an engineer? I am proud to be a project engineer because I am part of a team that can deliver successful projects to our most valued customers.

What made you want to be an engineer? My dad was my inspiration for becoming an engineer. I always liked to build things when I was a kid.

One of Jennifer’s most notable projects is the Alcoa Warrick Pusher Furnace.

Maura Fox

What are some of the most notable projects you have worked on? The Park Towne Place Renovation, which is a 19-story renovation of 234 apartments as well as renovations to the lobby, pool, community center, and parking garage.  It was a highly logistical project that really opened my eyes to just how many aspects of the project there are to manage besides the civil and structural engineering that I learned in college.  It wasn’t the grandest or most innovative of projects, but it was notable for me because I learned so much from it.

What is something interesting about being an engineer that people may not know? People may not know how people-oriented this career is. I learned the technical skills in college, but that is nothing compared to the persuasion, negotiation, leadership, and teamwork needed in order to be successful as an engineer.

What are you most proud of being an engineer? I try to take pride in the little things throughout the course of construction. For example, the crane pick that went successfully due to proper planning, the milestone date that was met, the minimal punch list reflecting quality work, and so forth.  In doing so, I remember that even the seemingly small tasks play a part in making the project successful.

What made you want to be an engineer? I wanted a career where I could watch my hard work physically create something that is making a positive impact on lives.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Opening elevated roadway marks major milestone in raising Bayonne Bridge

On Monday, February 20, 2017, our Skanska-Kiewit joint venture project team celebrated the opening of the new northbound roadway of the Bayonne Bridge. Connecting New York and New Jersey, the newly opened roadway sits 64 feet higher than the original—nested within the upper reaches of one of the longest steel arch bridges in the world.

After demolition of the lower deck is completed this summer, the new bridge will allow for a total of 215 feet of clearance above the main shipping channel below. The extra clearance is essential in accommodating “New Panamax” ships, which are the latest and largest generation of container vessels named for the newly expanded Panama Canal.

The project is believed to be the first time a new roadway has been constructed above an existing bridge span that also remained fully operational, allowing for traffic to continue underneath. It is one of the most technical engineering challenges Skanska has ever undertaken, and we take great pride in the commitment and ingenuity of our team.

“Skanska is proud of the partnership we forged with Kiewit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the Bayonne Bridge ‘Raise the Roadway’ project, which will soon allow larger cargo ships to enter the ports in New Jersey and Staten Island while also improving the iconic bridge for the travelling public,” said Keith Chouinard, Senior Vice President, Skanska USA. “This is the most significant milestone yet for all of the people involved in this once-in-a-lifetime project—and a giant step towards the project’s completion.”

Each year, approximately 1.5 million vehicles cross the bridge between New York and New Jersey. The completed project will feature a complementary southbound roadway and will provide drivers with a safer and more enjoyable crossing that includes 12-foot lanes, shoulders, a median divider and a 12-foot bike and pedestrian walkway. It also will offer the possibility of future mass transit options.

The Bayonne Bridge originally opened to the public in 1932. At that time, the now-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge was under construction in Australia. Closely replicating the design of the Bayonne Bridge, it measures just 25 inches shorter. To this day, the trusses of these sister bridges are considered two of the world’s most elegant arches, made of a sleek, high-strength alloy steel.

Read an article about our work by Engineering News-Record (ENR) here.

Check out more statistics on our bridge work here.

Watch a time-lapse video from November 2016 here.

The total length of the new bridge will be 7,159.5 ft. The main span remains 1,675 ft.

Our team removed all 152 steel cables supporting the old roadway and replaced them with shorter cables to support the new span.

The gantry crane constructs one rope-supported section of the new roadway at a time.

In 1931, the Bayonne Bridge was the longest steel arch bridge in the world when it opened. Currently, the Bayonne Bridge is the fifth longest steel arch bridge in the world.

Construction on the southbound approach expected to begin after the demolition of existing roadway in 2017.

The “Raise the Roadway” project is being done to enable supersized container ships that use the expanded Panama and Suez canals to pass underneath and reach local ports.

View of New York City from the span of the Bayonne Bridge.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Check out our top 12 construction time-lapse videos

Today, we’re taking a step back (and up) to offer a unique perspective on some of our most complex projects. Building anything new often takes several years, but nothing accelerates the construction process like a time-lapse video to transform a project before your eyes. The videos below highlight the conversion of an empty space or hole in the ground into something meaningful and impressive.

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus

In 2016, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub opened in downtown Manhattan, the culmination of our 15-year journey in restoring and enhancing transportation access to Lower Manhattan. Our team fabricated and erected the hub’s “Oculus” – a Santiago Calatrava-designed structure comprised of approximately 11,500 tons of structural steel consisting of portals, arches and rafters that combined give the structure a unique shape similar to a bird in flight. To erect the Oculus, we used two highly specialized tower cranes manufactured explicitly for this unique project. The Oculus is the centerpiece of the new hub and will serve more than 250,000 pedestrians per day as the primary link for access to New Jersey PATH trains and 11 New York City subway lines. More than a national symbol, the Oculus is a global icon that symbolizes the successful rebirth of Downtown Manhattan.

99M Street, SE

In Washington, D.C., our team is developing and building 99M Street, SE, an 11-story, 234,000-square-foot Class A office building in Washington’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood just steps from the Washington Nationals Ballpark. Located at the corner of 1st and M Streets, this prime office space will include a green roof and rooftop terrace, a club-grade fitness facility, secure bicycle storage and four levels of underground parking. The complex excavation for 99M began in November 2015 and nearly 500 construction workers have dedicated approximately 51,200 work hours to complete the excavation and foundation work this month. As part of the excavation process 34,000 cubic yards of soil and rock were removed from the site, enough to fill more than 10 Olympic-size pools.

The New York Wheel

In Staten Island, we completed the foundation for the New York Wheel, a 630-foot observation wheel that will rise over the southern end of New York Harbor and provide unique views of the Manhattan skyline. Our team executed two massive concrete placements for the observation wheel pile caps. Each placement saw nearly 4,000 cubic yards of 10,000 psi, self-consolidating concrete that was placed continuously over 14 hours.

Fore River Bridge

In Quincy, Massachusetts, our team transported a custom-built span from a shipyard down the Weymouth Fore River on a custom-built barge to the Fore River Bridge. Then, the nearly three million pounds of steel was lifted approximately 60 feet and installed between the two existing towers as the outgoing tide lowered it into place. A crucial factor was timing the ride of the river, which moves up and down as much as eight feet. The moving tide was necessary for floating in and properly placing the new span.

Philadelphia International Airport

After six months of detailed planning and coordination, we erected a 91,000-pound, 100-foot-long pre-assembled baggage conveyor bridge over the main airport departure road in less than eight hours. The work took place in the middle of the night to minimize any potential disruption to airport operations.

Capitol Tower

In Houston, our 35-story Capitol Tower office project – which is currently under development – started with a 19-hour, 20-minute concrete pour to create a mat foundation that varies between seven and nine-and-a-half feet thick. Our planning and execution of this 9,020 cubic-yard continuous pour was so precise that the actual duration was within three minutes of what we originally planned.

Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

In Miami, we are building the state-of-the-art, 280,000-SF, multi-use science and technology museum, planetarium and aquarium being constructed in Museum Park in the Greater Miami Downtown area. The 500,000-gallon aquarium required a continuous concrete pour that took 24 hours and 49 minutes. This pour sets the foundation for the Gulf Stream Tank that will be home to a number of deep-sea species viewable from both top and bottom.

Recently, we installed a 31-foot, 13-inch thick, 60,000-pound viewing oculus in a complex crane operation that required five years of planning.

Second Avenue Subway

In New York City, our crews dug two-and-a-half miles of tunnels and caverns, set the tracks and installed the communications network for the Second Avenue Subway, which will move an estimated 200,000 people a day. The new line runs from East 63rd Street to East 96th Street connecting with midtown Manhattan and beyond. Excavations for the 86th Street station required the removal of 450,000 tons of material in order to create a subterranean “launch box” or starting point where the tunnel boring machine (TBM) could be assembled and begin its work.

MetLife Stadium

In East Rutherford, New Jersey, we built MetLife Stadium, one of the most sustainable and technologically advanced open-air stadiums with seats for close to 85,000 spectators. The stadium is home for the New York Giants and the New York Jets, which makes it the first facility built specifically to accommodate two U.S. National Football League (NFL) teams. Incorporating innovative methods both in the construction of the facility and in its design, our team worked in collaboration with both franchises to cater to the needs of two different teams.

Tampa International Airport (TIA)

In Tampa, Florida, our team is currently at work on our $130 million portion of the $1 billion Tampa International Airport (TIA) redevelopment plan, which includes the main terminal building expansion, construction of a new car rental facility and the new automated people mover. Last summer, our team unveiled the east side of the expansion, including two new restaurants, glass curtain walls and new, more modern finishes.

LaGuardia Airport

In New York, we are leading the design and construction of LaGuardia Airport through an innovative public-private partnership (PPP), which is the largest in the United States. With our partners, we will design, build, operate and maintain the Central Terminal B facility. Right now, multiple phases of work are being performed on site. The P-2 parking garage demolition has been completed, clearing the way for pile driving and foundation work on the new airport terminal building.

Have a cool project coming up that could make for an interesting time-lapse video? Contact us at USACommunications@Skanska.com.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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Digging up pieces of history on our construction sites

On both coasts, 2016 was a year of big discoveries for Skanska USA, including digging up a mastodon and uncovering a shipwreck. The finds gave us two very different pictures of what life in these areas must have been like at different points in history: mastodons roamed the earth more than 10,000 years ago, and the 19th century ship is believed to have been delivering barrels of lime to merchants. We also had the pleasure of assisting our client, The Burke Museum, in safely moving their own dinosaur discovery in Montana.

Unearthing the mastodon in Los Angeles, examining the shipwreck in Boston and transporting the T. rex in Seattle.

Los Angeles

In November 2016, Station Engineer Chris Booze and General Superintendent Peter Daboul were excavating at the future Wilshire/LaBrea Station of the Purple Line Extension in Los Angeles. Up until this particular day, the most exciting relics they’d uncovered on jobsites included small parts of old railroad crossings, bottles and other debris. To work near La Brea Tar Pits, one of the world’s most famous fossil sites, they trained in preparation for the possibility of uncovering prehistoric fossils or remnants.

The tools being used on site as well as the small fossils and rocks collected for further examination.

“Everyone working within two miles of La Brea Tar Pits is required to participate in a paleontology class before beginning work. However, building a subway through Los Angeles is no small feat and we all were completely absorbed in digging out dirt at the station so the discovery came as a huge surprise that day,” explained Booze.

“As we dug deeper into the ground, onsite paleontologists were thrilled when they noticed part of a tusk being uncovered in the dirt and we moved quickly to partition off the area for the paleontologists to come in with their brushes and microscopes while we kept working around them. A few days after the tusk discovery, a skull was also found and that’s when it really became big news,” said Daboul.

A paleontologist examines the mastodon in a secured area surrounding the discovery site.

Ultimately, the teeth of an adult mastodon and a three-foot tusk fragment were found, as well as parts of the skull and tusks of a younger mastodon that may turn out to be a mammoth. “These mammoth and mastodon remains found during construction on the new Purple Line stops are by far the coolest things I’ve discovered in my career. With the project close to the famed La Brea Tar Pits, it was more of a ‘when’ than ‘if’,” said Booze.

“Finding the fossils was awesome and memorable, but we were anxious to get them safely removed so we could resume our work.  This is a unique and challenging job, given the potential for fossil discoveries, the gassy underground conditions, and the dynamic, high density urban environment. We all have a real sense of pride and accomplishment at what we are doing for the city and the residents of Los Angeles,” said Daboul.

The fossils will be delivered to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The findings are currently being examined in a paleontological lab and will be delivered to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County upon completion. Mastodons used to roam present-day California, but went extinct around 10,000 years ago.

Boston

In May 2016, Field Engineer Ripley Swan was working a normal day at 121 Seaport, Skanska’s 17-story, 400,000-square-foot Class-A office development currently under construction in Boston’s Seaport District. The team was wrapping up the first phase of the site excavation with a PC-800 hydraulic excavator pulling dirt out of the ground into trucks to be disposed of when something caught his attention.

“I noticed some wood so a smaller machine was called in to help dig around it. Digging revealed a structure that required us to use even smaller equipment to proceed until we realized we had found something that looked like the outline of a boat. Right away, we brought in an archaeologist from the City of Boston,” said Swan.

Our team carefully resumed work around the object, which eventually revealed the remains of a 50-foot wooden ship.

The 121 Seaport ship was wooden, about 50 feet long, and built sometime between the late 18th and mid-19th century.

“I felt kind of amazed. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Shawn Hurley, president and CEO overseeing Skanska’s real estate development operations in the U.S., said to the New York Times. “What do we need to do here? What are the next steps?”

“Everyone was excited. The Boston office just moved next door so we had a steady stream of people checking the site out through the window. As news continued to spread, helicopters started flying over us. It ended with Skanska hosting a press conference right in front of the excavation. All of the local news reporters were in attendance and it was awesome to see that what we did made major news,” said Swan.

City of Boston Archeologist Joe Bagley, Skanska USA Commercial Development President & CEO Shawn Hurley and Field Engineer Ripley Swan on the 121 Seaport site of the shipwreck discovery.

To excavate as much of the ship remains as possible, work in the area was stopped to allow a full investigation by the City of Boston archaeologist. Our teams have the highest consideration and care for the communities where we work and try to take care of anything found that could have historical significance.

As the owner of the development site, we convened a team of archaeologists including the Public Archaeology Laboratory, City of Boston archaeologist, nautical archaeologists, and archaeologists with the State of Massachusetts convened at the site to document the shipwreck.

Most of the wood uncovered is charred, suggesting that the ship burned because when lime gets wet it reacts to produce heat, which can cause fires.

Some cool facts about the shipwreck include:

The 121 Seaport ship was wooden, about 50 feet long, and built sometime between the late 18th and mid-19th century. It had at least two masts.

It held a large cargo of wooden barrels that contained lime, possibly from the Rockland area of Maine. The team found several dozen barrels of lime, suggesting the entire bottom of the ship was covered with lime barrels.

The ship contained two knives, two forks and a stack of burned plates in the rear of the ship.

The ship sunk sometime between 1850 and 1880. The ship itself is likely older than the date it went down. It could have been made in the late 1700s or early 1800s.

Most of the wood is charred, suggesting that the ship burned because when lime gets wet it reacts to produce heat, which can cause fires. The team was unable to determine if the 121 Seaport ship burned causing it to sink, if it was deliberately scuttled in the low-lying mudflats when the fire started, or if it ran aground and then burned.

The team found a fork at the shipwreck site. Additionally, we identified two knives and a stack of burned plates.ar.

Read more about the 121 Seaport Shipwreck here.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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The ultimate sustainability award at I-4: Envision® Platinum

Our I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project has won the prestigious Envision® Platinum award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). I-4 Ultimate, the reconstruction of 21 miles of roadway in Central Florida, stands to be the largest project certified by Envision to date. I-4 Ultimate is one of Skanska’s three public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the United States in addition to LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B in New York and the Elizabeth River Tunnels in Virginia. At Skanska, we are advocates for PPPs because they set the stage for successful sustainability planning by involving all parties – from the architects to the future operators – from day one.

“The entire I-4 Ultimate team is thrilled to receive this recognition for our efforts to protect the environment while creating a signature corridor for the entire region,” said Loreen Bobo, P.E. who is the I-4 Ultimate Construction Program Manager for the Florida Department of Transportation. “This award shows that sustainability goals are achievable alongside other primary missions of our agency to enhance the economic prosperity and preserve the quality of our environment and communities.”

Proposed rendering of the future SR 436 Interchange, which is currently one of the most congested intersections in Florida with more than 100,000 motorists traveling on it per day.

Our PPP team at I-4 Mobility Partners (I4MP) is doing more than building new infrastructure, it is also relocating protected wildlife such as tortoises and osprey, planting native trees such as elms and maples, and recycling 99 percent of the concrete and steel removed from roads and bridges.

Public spaces are being created to connect and engage the community through group sport activities, farmer’s markets, art fairs and parks. Residents will also be able to enjoy enhanced walkability, biking and public transportation options with connections to the SunRail commuter rail system and LYNX, Orlando’s local bus service. All in all, we are fully invested in improving the places where we work and live.

The proposed project design includes accent lighting, illuminated fountains, enhanced bridge architecture and architectural cladding.

“Since day one, our entire team has been committed to achieving the highest standards under Envision,” said Sal Taddeo, Chief Operating Officer East, Skanska USA Civil. “Our goal is to deliver one of the country’s most complex roadway projects while reaching a top level of sustainable infrastructure performance that can serve as a role model for other projects of its kind.”

The road to sustainable infrastructure

Created in 2012, Envision provides a framework for evaluating infrastructure projects similar to how the LEED® evaluation system works for building projects. The ranking consists of a broad range of criteria that address a project’s impact on the surrounding community and environment, technical considerations regarding materials and processes, and other critical choices spanning the project’s lifecycle. There are five categories measured: Quality of Life, Leadership, Natural World, Resource Allocation, and Climate and Risk.

I-4 Ultimate received high scores in three key categories:

Quality of Life: Central Florida’s local history and unique community character are being reflected in the design because there are hundreds of nearby buildings, districts and sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several of these places are within the project limits, including the town of Eatonville, Griffin Park and the Holden-Parramore Historic District.

Founded in 1887, the town of Eatonville was the first incorporated African-American town in the US. The main road — Kennedy Boulevard which passes under the new I-4 project — once served as a wagon trail. Key landscape and historic features will be integrated into the bridge design at Kennedy Boulevard to honor the city’s history.

Leadership: To meet FDOT’s sustainability goals, an agenda was created early in the program to provide the project’s foundation. This includes social priorities such as health and safety, community involvement and business ethics; environmental priorities, including energy, carbon, materials, water and local impacts; and economic priorities such as project selection criteria, supply chain management and value added to society.

Natural World: A comprehensive Contamination Management Plan and Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan was developed to prevent pollutants from contaminating soils, surface water and groundwater. Four underground storage tanks and 145 tons of petroleum that impacted soils and debris have been removed from the project site.

Invasive species are being controlled by removing existing Brazilian Pepper trees and Tropical Soda Apple shrubs along the project’s right-of-way while including non-invasive plants for landscaping and maintaining wetland functions.

The native landscaping proposed for this project includes up to 14,225 trees, 9,825 palms and 65,900 native shrubs and grasses.

Setting new sustainability records

In the fall of 2016, our Expo Line 2 Light Rail transit project in Los Angeles received Envision Platinum certification, making it the first transit project to receive the certification. Skanska has been involved in Envision since its inception and we are proud to see that momentum continues to grow. We are a charter member of ISI and we have supported more than 60 employees in achieving the Envision Sustainability Professional designation.

Moving forward, all of our PPPs in the U.S. must be either Envision or LEED certified, and by 2020 all of our U.S. civil infrastructure projects will seek Envision certification.

This marks the first time a Florida project has been honored by the ISI and the second time a Skanska project has been honored.

Thank you to our teammates at I-4 Mobility Partners

Our I-4 Mobility Partners team is designing, building, financing, and operating the project through a 40-year P3 concession agreement with a total design and construction cost of $2.323 billion dollars. We have two roles: one as an equity member through our Infrastructure Development group and a second as part of the SGL Constructors (SGL), which is the Skanska-led joint venture with Granite Construction Company and the Lane Construction Company.

Other members of the I4MP team include John Laing Invesments Limited; Design Joint Venture – HDR Engineering and Jacobs Engineering Group; and Infrastructure Corporation of America.

Skanska USA

Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, life science, education, sports & entertainment, data centers, government, aviation and commercial industries.

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