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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A Subway Line 100 Years in the Making

Capping years of construction – and nearly a century of anticipation  – New York City’s Second Avenue Subway officially opened to the public on New Year’s Day this past weekend. This first section, known as Phase 1, runs from East 63rd Street to East 96th Street connects with midtown Manhattan and beyond.

For the Skanska USA crews who dug the tunnels, set the tracks and installed the switches that run the trains which will move an estimated 200,000 people a day, it was a moment of great satisfaction and pride.  But creating the first new subway line in a century was hardly easy.

A Complicated Project

It was in the early 1900s, when horse-drawn carriages and electric trolleys clogged the streets of New York City, that the idea for a Second Avenue Subway was first proposed. For decades, it was a project that was on-again, off-again, until about ten years ago.

“We looked at this back in 2007 and it was nothing—it was just rock,” said Skanska USA Civil Vice President of Operations Gary Almeraris.

The scope of the project was immense: boring two new subway tunnels 33 city blocks long that included accommodation for three new stations and the miles of connections – water, sewer, electrical, utility and even traffic signal wiring – that ran along and through it. The new 86th Street Station alone called for the excavation of 450,000 tons of rock underneath a densely populated neighborhood filled with residents and local businesses as well as cars, trucks, buses and pedestrians.

Close Coordination

Three separate Skanska JV teams – S3 Tunnel Connectors (Skanska Schiavone Shea), STJV (Skanska Traylor Brothers) and CSJV (Comstock Skanska) – worked together to complete different pieces of the project simultaneously to meet multiple deadlines.

Boring the massive tunnels for the Second Avenue Subway took coordination and patience among multiple Skanska teams and our JV partners. Credit: Skanska USA.

In one delicate operation, the S3 Tunnel Connectors team performing the tunnel boring needed to coordinate with another (non-Skanska) joint venture team that was excavating the 72nd Street cavern at the same time, directly above them.

“It was very laborious work,” notes Project Manager Alaeden Jlelaty. “We worked around the clock, three shifts. We had a few days where we exceeded 100-foot penetrations a day. And some days we did not move more than a fraction of a foot.”

Bringing Innovation Below Ground

Excavations for the 86th Street station added another Herculean task: removing 450,000 tons of material in order to create an enormous subterranean “launch box” or starting point where the tunnel boring machine (TBM) could be assembled and start its work.

Executive Vice President Mike Viggiano explains, “We engineered a special underground support system for a 30-story residential tower in order to safely excavate the foundation of the building to create a space for an escalator at the corner of 83rd Street, for an entrance to the subway station.” The team also developed a “muck handling system” that moved between 50 and 60 buckets of rock, with a weight equivalent to 23 cars, each day, while minimizing dust and noise.

Even the tunnel boring processes were completely different: while one tunnel went through predictably hard Manhattan schist (rock), the East tunnel path traversed a sloppy, messy material filled with water and soil, making it almost impossible to dig a clean path. “We did something really cool – we froze the ground,” says Viggiano. “Our team drilled pipes into the ground and filled it with chilled brine to harden the soil and made it act like rock. That process took about four months and gave us a safe, solid structure for the project.”

A pair of videos produced by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers explains more about the process that Skanska USA crews undertook to create the line, including the creation of the “launch box” and how freezing the ground and the tunnel boring machine (TBM) worked.

Skanska’s final contract as part of the Second Avenue Subway Phase One program was a joint venture with Comstock Electric to supply and install all the running rail, third rail power, signal and communication systems that enable trains to operate from the tie-in at 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue through the new Stations at 72nd, 86th and 96th on Second Avenue.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and elected officials preview the Second Avenue Subway earlier this month. Credit: Michael Benabib.

A Subway for the Next 100 Years

For now, the line is an extension of the Q line, but when the full run of the line is complete, it will be branded the T train (following the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s convention of lettered and numbered lines) and comprise a total of 16 stations, running eight and a half miles.

Building the Second Avenue Subway (called a “once in a lifetime project” by Jlelaty) safely and effectively with minimal disruption to hundreds of thousands of people who live and work on the Upper East Side is something of which our teams are immensely proud – and is a project 100 years in the making.

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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Looking Back on 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the projects, the people, and the values that propelled our company in building what matters this past year.  Across the country, in urban centers and suburban neighborhoods, we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to develop and construct the roads and bridges, hospitals and schools, aviation and transit projects and more that connect communities and make our world a better place. These are just a few of our favorites.

We’d love to know what your favorite Constructive Thinking post was from the past year. Follow us on twitter and share a post – and tag @SkanskaUSA in the message.

Northeast

A worker’s perspective on the Oculus and PATH Hall at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub – One of our workers coined it “the most important project I’ll ever build,” because if its significance not only to New York but to the entire country. From our work on the original Twin Towers in the 1970s to the Santiago Calatrava-designed terminal dubbed “an instant selfie magnet” by the New York Times, Skanska has come full circle at the 16-acre site.

A Seaport Renaissance in Boston – The news that we sold our 101 Seaport commercial development property in Boston was reason for celebration. The 17-story, 440,000-square-foot LEED® Platinum office building in the Seaport District was completed in record time, helping this neighborhood springing to new life.

Southeast

Road Trip! Midtown Tunnel Opens To Public Ahead of Schedule – The Elizabeth River Tunnels (ERT) Project opened one lane of its new Midtown Tunnel to traffic on Friday, June 17, six months early, marking the first time the public could use the new passage under the Elizabeth River connecting Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia.  It was the first of two deadlines we hit early for this massive public-private partnership that will help reduce commute times and vehicle emissions in the area.

At Duke University, a Remarkable Transformation – Our Duke West Union project restored the beloved on-campus dining halls designed by Horace Trumbauer in 1920 while inserting a new full-service dining environment and activity spaces for students to interact and socialize.  This ambitious renovation began in 2013 and was needed to accommodate a growing student body, while also providing a modern and exciting campus experience.

Central

Not Your Grandpa’s Library – Asked to envision a library, one might conjure up images of stacks of musty books, dimly-lit wood-paneled rooms in hushed silence and cabinets of Dewey Decimal cards that lead to a prized tome. Our Dayton Metro Main Library project in Ohio is anything but that: with design elements that include glass, steel and earth tones that bring in natural light, open space and encourage social interaction in a model that turns traditional library construction on its head.

Building a home where Alzheimer’s patients can thrive – With the U.S. population aging, Alzheimer’s has become the sixth leading cause of death, affecting more than 5.3 million people.  Alzheimer patients require specific environments designed to alleviate some of the disease’s unique challenges. Abe’s Garden in Nashville, Tenn. was a special project for us, believed to be the first memory care community in the U.S. designed and built to demonstrate and disseminate best practices that will improve the lives of individuals and their care takers affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

West

Building What Matters: From “Grand to the Sand” in Los Angeles – Building what matters took on a new definition for our Los Angeles EVP Mike Aparicio, as he took us inside the Expo Line Phase 2 project, which opened to the public for the first time in May, connecting downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Monica beach by rail for the first time in 60 years. The project is getting people out of their cars (and out of legendary Los Angeles traffic), in some cases, cutting commute times in half.

Building Communities, Changing Lives, South of the Border – For the second year in a row, Skanska USA employees took time out of their weekends to lend a hand on a building project that would change people’s lives in a community in need. It was before dawn on Saturday, May 14, when approximately 30 Skanska colleagues piled into a bus to make the trip from our Riverside, CA office to Tecate, Mexico, to participate in the Skanska Corazon Build project.

Innovation

Getting Ahead of the Curve – When it comes to driving value for customers, bringing innovative solutions to problems is a powerful asset. In our Skanska USA Building Business Unit, the preconstruction group has been utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) and parametric estimating technology to help accelerate the building process from concept design to final estimate – to the growing delight of customers and colleagues. It started – as most great ideas do – with the need to solve a problem.

Sustainability

Living Buildings take Sustainability to the Next Level – For years, sustainability has been more than just a buzzword in the construction industry – and with good reason.  As stewards of a planet with limited natural resources, it’s in our own interest to build projects that consume less. The concept of Net-Zero construction has pushed the boundaries of sustainable green building farther, as we enter the era of the Living Building, the industry’s most rigorous performance standard to date.

 

Just like our Skanska USA projects aim to create new possibilities for our customers, this blog aims to help give a peek behind the curtain at our company and our industry.  Thank you for being part of our stories – here’s to more great projects in 2017.

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 Data Center of the Century

Can we build a data center that lasts 100 years or more?

That’s the question our Michael Silla, SVP and leader of our Mission Critical Center of Excellence at Skanska USA, sought to answer in a recently published piece in CIO Review Magazine.

“When you think about how regularly and spectacularly technology leaps forward, poorly planned data centers can be legacy (obsolete) before they are even completed,” writes Michael. “When you think about how reliant we are on the cloud to support technology that fits in the palm of our hands – and how that technology supports an entire economic system – we need to think beyond the typical 50-year lifespan of a building that houses the infrastructure that powers that process.”

Check out the full byline article on CIO Review 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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Make the Holidays Happy with Safety in your Stocking

For some of us, the holidays are filled with comical visions of lights that don’t blink, avalanches of snow falling from rooftops onto unsuspecting relatives and kitchen cooking escapades that end in mild disaster. While those might be funny on the movie or TV screen, the holidays can be packed with very real opportunities for serious injury.

On our Skanska USA jobsites, we plan every day to prevent potentially dangerous incidents. We invest in equipment and training so we are always prepared. Failing to carefully consider the downsides of household holiday chores – like stringing outdoor lights or deep frying a turkey – can be just as dangerous.

Here are some ways you can translate jobsite safety to home safety:

Plan for the job before you start – similar to our jobsite Daily Hazard Analysis – including gathering supplies, tools, and protective gear;

Stretch and warm up before carrying heavy objects like trees, presents, and lawn ornaments to their destination;

• Consider the proper protective gear for the job you’re doing, including eye protection and gloves. Depending on the task, respiratory and hearing protection and even a hard hat may also be required;

Keep a first aid kit and fire extinguisher handy – or at least know where they are should you need them;

Rather than climb on the roof or a ladder, hang holiday lights with an extension pole while standing at ground level;

When stringing electrical decorations, use the proper gauge wires and extension cords and be careful not to overload circuits;

Eliminate fire hazards, including open flames from candles and placing Christmas trees too close to heating elements like radiators and baseboards;

• Practice good housekeeping in the kitchen by cleaning clutter from countertops; don’t overcrowd the stove or oven to prevent holiday meals from catching fire or falling from their perch;

Never drive when you are tired or compromised by “holiday cheer;” stay alert by eliminating distractions including cell phones;

• Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Discover more safety tips in this great graphic from the National Safety Council:

2016-infographic-12daysofsafety

A safe holiday is a fun holiday – we hope you enjoy yours!

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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Empowering Our Partners

Investing in our industry’s future isn’t just important, it is essential.

And whether we’re building big jobs like New York City’s redeveloped LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B or smaller but no less important projects in markets across the country, we need to ensure we have qualified subcontractors on which we can call to get the job done.

To that end, we created our Construction Management Building Blocks (CMBB) program, a free, multi-week course designed to give minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) the tools and knowledge needed to secure contracts and create jobs. Now in its 10th year, the program is initiated, organized and taught by Skanska USA in areas of need across the country.  To date, we’ve run programs in Cincinnati, Atlanta, Nashville, Austin, Detroit, Memphis, Tampa, Houston and more – with approximately 1,000 companies completing the course.

One of the more recent graduating classes saw representatives of 34 New York-based companies receive training on the procedures, pre-qualifications, certifications, project requirements and contracting opportunities associated with the LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B redevelopment project, our largest global project ever. The graduates – some attending weekly from as far away as Syracuse, NY – add to the growing list of MWBEs that are now able to qualify for bidding on current and future redevelopment work at LaGuardia and at other projects throughout the New York Metro and upstate regions.

Nearly 35 New York-based companies graduated from Skanska’s Construction Management Building Blocks Program, a seven-week course designed to create opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

On November 10, 2016, 34 New York-based companies graduated from Skanska’s Construction Management Building Blocks Program, a seven-week course designed to create opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

“Skanska is committed to the vision set by Governor Cuomo to increase opportunity for minority- and women-owned business enterprises across New York State,” said Thomas Nilsson, Vice President and LaGuardia Central Terminal B Project Officer, Skanska USA. “The Building Blocks program is an innovative and vital investment in the MWBE community that represents the future of Skanska and the construction industry in New York.”

The program was made possible through Skanska’s partnerships with LaGuardia Community College and the NYC Department of Small Business Services.

“This collaborative and timely program reflects our commitment to helping women- and minority-owned small business owners have the knowledge and ability to compete for construction contracts, specifically those emerging from the rebuilding of LaGuardia Airport,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. “LaGuardia Community College and LaGuardia Airport share the same namesake – and we are proud to further support Fiorello H. La Guardia’s legacy to ensure that people of all backgrounds have access to the same opportunities and our city has a world-class airport.”

“One of New York City’s greatest strengths is its rich diversity,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Mayor de Blasio is committed to ensuring that city contractors reflect this diversity and I am proud to support this work. Our department is here to help all minority- and women-owned businesses who want to learn more about how to do business with the city.”

Graduates of the Construction Management Building Blocks (CMBB) program will have the opportunity to bid on contracts associated with Skanska's work on the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport's Central Terminal B.

Graduates of CMBB are provided the knowledge and tools required to bid on Skanska contracts, such as the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport’s Central Terminal B, above.

On November 10, 2016, we completed our first-ever CMBB course in the growing Pittsburgh market, in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh. Skanska’s expansion to Pittsburgh was an outgrowth of successful CMBB sessions at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania State University and Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“We are committed to creating jobs and sharing best practices in the communities where we work,” said Skanska USA General Manager Ed Szwarc. “By partnering with University of Pittsburgh, we offer underrepresented businesses the opportunity to expand, gain valuable operational skills and take their careers to the next level.”

While participation in CMBB does not guarantee future contracts, it provides a platform for contractors to interact with industry professionals and city and state leaders to receive information and training on how to bid on contracts. It additionally provides an opportunity for subcontractors to develop relationships with industry professionals and one another, forming bonds and strategic partnerships for the future.

“The Construction Management Building Blocks Program shows just how much Pitt cares about being a good neighbor to the City of Pittsburgh as well as how much we want to reach out to Pittsburgh’s citizens and make a real and lasting difference in the lives of people,” said Scott Bernotas, associate vice chancellor of facilities management for the University of Pittsburgh.

Skanska employees and program participants attend the Construction Management Building Blocks program graduation that took place during Skanska’s Diversity and Inclusion Week. The training program provides small minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses with the information and tools they need to successfully compete for subcontracting work on large construction projects.

In Cincinnati, Skanska employees and program participants attend the Construction Management Building Blocks program graduation that took place during Skanska’s Diversity and Inclusion Week in October 2016. The training program provides small minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses with the information and tools they need to successfully compete for subcontracting work on large construction projects.

In Cincinnati, the CMBB program graduated seven, local, small minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses from its 12-week program in October 2016, arming them with the information and tools they need to effectively compete for subcontracting work on large construction projects.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for a small company like mine,” said Lisa Timley, CEO of Hollywood Cleaning Services, LLC. “To be able to attend a program to enhance all areas needed to grow my business was very beneficial.”

With the proven success and growing desire from small businesses across the country, Skanska and its partners are already engaged in accelerated planning for sessions beginning in 2017.

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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We Also Build Smiles

Sometimes Building What Matters takes on a whole new meaning.

Our team at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL knew they were building a new research and education center directly across from the hospital’s infusion center where children receive regular chemotherapy treatments for a variety of cancers.  They knew there were kids fighting for their lives in that hospital, watching out the window at the hard hats and construction equipment.

“Every day, you walk into the cafeteria and walk past the kids,” says Assistant Project Manager Brandon Page. “You see the issues they are dealing with from the chemo. And you want to help make their day a little brighter.”

Each Friday, the nurses hold what they call a “Friday Dance Party” with the kids to celebrate getting through another week of arduous medical treatment and to lift their spirits. They play music, dance and – as one nurse puts it – “just let loose and have fun.”

Brandon, along with General Superintendent Todd Collier, Project Engineer Justin Koenen, and Assistant Superintendent Calin Noonan, decided to bring the “Friday Dance Party” outside to the job site, complete with multicolored signs and their best moves. The video from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital sets up the story:

Shortly after the first Friday Dance Party, Justin bumped into one of the nurses on campus, who told him the following week, November 4, would be the 13th birthday of a young girl named Katelyne – who was also receiving her last chemotherapy treatment that day before being permanently discharged from the hospital where she had lived since June.

Sensing an opportunity, the crew mobilized a banner – which they signed – and mounted a special “Friday Birthday Dance Party” especially for Katelyne, who watched with her family from her window across the way.

Later, some of the crew visited Katelyne in her room. “She teared up when we brought the signed banner in,” said Justin.

Katelyne Ballesteros had a special happy 13th birthday message from the Skanska construction crew she's been watching from her window of Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. Left to right are Katelyne, Todd Collier, Justin Koenen, and Calin Noonan.

Katelyne had a special happy 13th birthday message from the Skanska construction crew she’s been watching from her window of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Left to right are Katelyne, Todd Collier, Justin Koenen, and Calin Noonan.

“Seeing the kids and the positive energy of the nurses makes this more than just a project,” said Todd. “Everyone on the project willingly and gladly participates, including all of our subcontractors.”

“It’s so sad for these kids to be going through this. I have a four-year-old and I can’t imagine it,” says Brandon. “They’re innocent and they’ve done nothing wrong. To have to go through something like this is unfair. So anything we can do to give back we do. It should be everybody’s responsibility to do the same.”

Take a look at the full photo album of Katelyne’s Birthday – and her last day in the hospital – here.

Katelyne presented our Skanska USA team with this handmade thank you card for their uplifting effort for her birthday sendoff.

Katelyne presented our Skanska USA team with this handmade thank you card for their uplifting effort for her birthday sendoff.

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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At Duke University, a Remarkable Transformation

Updating a historic or beloved structure carries its unique challenges.

At Duke University, Skanska was tasked on The Duke West Union project to restore the dining halls at the union building, designed by Horace Trumbauer in 1920, while inserting a new full-service dining environment and activity spaces for students to interact and socialize.  This ambitious renovation began in 2013 and was needed to accommodate a growing student body, while also providing a modern and exciting campus experience.

Skanska Project Manager Will Senner is a Duke alumnus who played a key role in helping to complete the stunning renovation. Constructive Thinking spoke with him about the project.

The Duke Union Dining Hall spaces have remained intact, restored to their original architectural significance, while the core of the building was demolished to allow for a new open atrium, housing a variety of dining venues. A vertical glass south facing wall overlooking the plaza and West Union Quad provides views and natural daylighting. The project is pursuing LEED Silver Certification with sustainability features such as heat recovery wheels, solar hot water heating and storm water collection, and reuse.

CT: Tell us about how you came to work on the project.

WS: I graduated from Duke in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Engineering Management. I started with Skanska shortly afterward and spent my first four years in preconstruction. Prior to the Duke West Union project, I worked on the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University and Penn Pavilion at Duke.

CT: What attracted you to wanting to work on the project? 

WS: I am very involved at my alma mater, serving on the board of directors for the Duke Alumni Association and as part of the engineering alumni council. The project was more than about just expanding capacity; the dining program encourages students, faculty, and alumni to share meals with one another to foster a greater sense of community that will benefit students on campus and beyond.  It’s also the most ambitious renovation project the university has taken on to date.

CT: As a Duke alumnus, how did you feel about working on such an iconic building, especially one that would emerge from its renovation so fundamentally changed?

WS: It’s really been an exciting honor. From day one it was evident that the entire team – the staff and administration at Duke, the design team and our Skanska team – was so passionate about what the West Union renovation could mean for the Duke community.  It was a long road bringing the project to fruition, filled with challenges to deliver an architecturally and technically complex building on a demanding schedule. With everything now open, it is rewarding to see the West Union full of life and excitement, building community as it was imagined.

I think the team was successful in preserving key elements of the original West Union – the Great Hall and Cambridge Inn with their amazing wood clad truss ceilings and historic windows – while blending in new modern spaces. Bringing the new and old together is really a central theme in the renovation but it was also quite challenging.

I think the Devil’s Krafthouse is also a great new space. The team’s ideas to use the original Duke Stone exterior walls as an interior finish is unique. The addition of the relics from the demolition process is also a great way to celebrate West Union’s past in a modern, new space.

Plus, the fact that it is located in the same part of the building as the old “Hideaway” student bar seems fitting – I can remember enjoying “E-Kegs” (engineering socials) in what is now the outdoor pub terrace and Crown Commons. It is great to see that space reinvented and to have had a hand in making that transformation.

The Duke West Union (Before and after)

The Duke West Union (before and after)

CT: What were some of the challenges you faced on the project? 

WS: The restoration work itself was very complex. During the demolition phase, the team had to carefully extract the core out of the existing building while leaving the perimeter “horseshoe” intact. We had to cut in more than 50 openings, many of them eight feet wide and more than 20 feet tall, through the 18-inch thick, original load bearing walls which separated the perimeter legacy spaces from the new core area. We had to lower the basement in the “core” area by six to eight feet to accommodate modern air handlers, which required significant rock removal as well as soil nailing of the existing footings on the portion of the remaining building.

We also took painstaking steps to restore key elements of the structure’s façade, including  the “Duke Stone” walls; the more than 300 original windows; the hand-chipped and painted clay roof tiles; and the wood cladding on the steel roof trusses in the Great Hall and Cambridge Inn legacy spaces.

Of course, all of this work took place in the heart of the West Campus, in the shadow of Duke Chapel. We minimized our impact by limiting deliveries to a small service road, coordinating work around the academic calendar, adding sound protection to the windows on adjacent dorms and using sound deadening blankets. We also worked to ensure pedestrian safety by stationing permanent traffic guards and installing signage outside the site that was regularly updated as construction progressed.

CT: What has been the reaction to the new dining hall? 

WS: It’s been very positive and I’m very proud of it. I think the new West Union honors Duke’s history by blending the grand Gothic look with a contemporary design that matches the innovative space. This is a world-class building that continues Duke’s legacy of leadership, innovation, and inspiration.

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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Getting Lean

One of the ways we can bring increased value to our clients and customers is through the implementation of Lean methodologies on our projects, which focuses on eliminating waste in our processes and enhancing collaboration among team members. The implementation of Lean methodologies in the construction industry is growing in popularity and use – and Skanska is leading the charge.

Lean methodologies can be used throughout a project’s lifetime, from the earliest design phases through to occupancy, managing the process with minimum cost and maximum value.

“We use Lean methodologies to identify and respond to our customer concerns and goals,” says Carmen Jordan, Lean Management Director for Skanska USA Building’s Seattle office and vice-chair of the National Lean Committee. “We focus on the end goal and how we can work together as a team to get there in the most efficient way possible, thereby spending less time on processes and procedures.”

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The Lean Construction Institute Congress attracted hundreds who work with Lean techniques every day.

At the recently held Lean Construction Institute Congress, an annual gathering of thought leaders, consultants, academics, CM firms, subcontractors, design firms and clients from around the world, participants shared best practices in the spirit of industry-wide collaboration and continuous improvement.

As a gold sponsor of the event, Skanska had the opportunity to present Skanska’s Lean journey: how Skanska built on the grassroots efforts of several of its offices to deliver value to customers by utilizing Lean practices to, today, having a national lean strategy that is core to Skanska’s business. Michael Zeppieri, Skanska Director of VDC Services and vice-chair of the National Lean Committee, and Rebecca Jablonowski explained how, ultimately, Skanska will encourage creative, collaborative thinking among all employees and promote a continuous effort to eliminate waste throughout our operations.

“What was most insightful was hearing how firms are striking the balance of elevating best practices developed through grassroots efforts at local offices, like our Rapid Process Improvement Workshops (RPIW) developed in Seattle, and introducing them in a way such that other offices are receptive to them, particularly offices experiencing Lean for the first time,” said Zeppieri. “There was a definite focus on the cultural aspect of Lean transformation and it was encouraging to see that – relative to our competition – Skanska is right where it needs to be.”

What does the future of Lean hold for Skanska?

“The Executive Leadership Team has chartered formation of a national Lean Committee within Skanska to help spread the Lean culture, including a rollout of Basic Lean Training and a platform for sharing best practices,” says Jordan. “Once people experience the powerful effects of implementing Lean methodologies, the more they get excited and want to use it. We’ve seen a very positive response.”

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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Diversity & Inclusion Doesn’t Quit on Friday

We’ve spent this week examining how diversity & inclusion at Skanska USA makes us a stronger company by tapping into the experiences, knowledge base and perspectives of our co-workers and business partners across the country. As part of our activities, we challenged all of our employees to think about what facet of D&I personally connects with them to “Find Your Why.

As part of the many exercises designed to broaden our appreciation of that diversity, we’ve take the time to recognize that differences of perspective; how an open, inclusive culture exists leads to better outcomes for our customers. Fresh perspectives energize our workplace and help us live out one of our core values to “Be Better – Together.”

But diversity & inclusion isn’t just an annual event at Skanska – and we have groups that focus on ways to make Skanska a more inclusive company throughout the year, including the Skanska Women’s Network (SWN).

Since 2013, SWN has provided a framework for continuous professional learning and mentoring, helping attract, recruit, develop and retain female employees, by endorsing solutions that support women’s contributions at all levels of the organization.

SWN has established seven local chapters around the country, with the New England and Southwest chapters launching this month, and has had more than 1,000 participants at their events to promote mentoring and information-sharing that leverages the vast reservoir of experience at Skanska.

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“The Skanska Women’s Network and Diversity & Inclusion go hand in hand,” says Mendy Mazzo, Vice President of Business Development and a member of the Skanska Women’s Network National Steering Committee. “For four years, we’ve sought to celebrate gender, ethnic and thought diversity so we can leverage differing viewpoints into a collective strength.”

Mazzo points to a growing number of women in leadership positions at Skanska. “We’re seeing a change in the demographics of the boardroom and selection committees – and so having teams that mirror our communities is incredibly important to how we function.”

“Being an Executive sponsor for the SWN is important to me personally and vital for our business,” said Paul Hewins, COO for Skanska USA Building.  “Helping Skanska reflect and understand our clients and communities, supporting our female colleagues and also helping men realize our potential is all critical. The SWN creates opportunities for us, opening connections with client groups and communities that don’t otherwise exist. The SWN has been extremely successful, grown rapidly and done so many great things. Dynamic teams comprised of talented women and men are essential for Skanska’s future. As father of daughter about to enter college and a husband of a successful business entrepreneur, it’s very personal for me.”

That, perhaps, has been the greatest takeaway from the week – that diversity & inclusion is personal and unique for every individual. This week has been a great reminder to think inclusively in our daily routines and connect with “your why.” You can revisit some of the events from our local offices around the country on our twitter feed. We’re looking forward to keeping the spirit of the week alive all year round.

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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