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.

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.

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

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.

Check out more statistics on our bridge work here.

Watch a time-lapse video from November 2016 here.

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.

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.

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.