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Posted 5/11/2011

Release no. 10-11

Joseph Bonfiglio


or Dino Buchanan

By Joseph Bonfiglio,
Honolulu District Public Affairs

HONOLULU -- A record number of local architects, engineers, construction contractors and others in related fields attended the 16th Annual U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Workshop May 5 at the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu.

The workshop provided local design and construction representatives the latest information on the Honolulu District’s project workload, technical information and administrative procedures that affect how to do business with the Corps.

This year’s workshop theme was Quality Design and Construction for a Stronger Future in the Pacific. The focus was on informing private sector companies about what they must do to successfully execute work with the Corps.

Tony Paresa, the District’s deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management began the Workshop with a presentation that focused on projected future construction work and his personal philosophy about what quality means.

Information presented during the 2011 workshop will allow participants to better understand contracting methods and procedures, to be aware of new standards and codes affecting military projects, to learn about design, construction and legal implications of working with the Honolulu District.

The luncheon speaker was Michael Brennan A.I.A., lead design architect from AECOM, who presented the approach and methodology taken on the design charrette for the multi-phased U.S. Army Pacific Command and Control Facility project at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

The workshop and breakout sessions also provided opportunity for industry partners from the American Institute of Architects (Honolulu Chapter), American Council of Engineering Companies of Hawaii, General Contractors Association of Hawaii, Building Industry Association of Hawaii and the Associated Builders & Contractors of Hawaii to discuss issues one-on-one with Corps’ employees in the spirit of partnership.

Corps and other functional area specialists gave a wide variety of presentations during the nine breakout sessions.

Gary Nip A.I.A., Workshop organizer and chief of the Honolulu District’s Design Branch said, “this workshop is a great opportunity for the Corps to partner with our industry partners to discuss relevant issues and topics. We received feedback from last year’s workshop to add more time for networking so we did so.”

“In fact, we arranged a specific networking session with booths manned by seven contract partners and the Honolulu District. We also added longer breaks to this year’s workshop resulting in many powerful conversations,” he said.

According to Nip, this year’s workshop had the most attendees ever at approximately 294. He believed that the slow local construction economy probably added to the high attendance as local firms seek out Army contracts.

The Corps and A.I.A. were especially proactive in getting the word out to industry even reaching out for the first time with the District’s Facebook page.

“The workshop is a great opportunity to network with the Corps and for people from the design side meeting up with our clientele and those who are managing these projects. There’s a tremendous offering of different seminars besides just the networking opportunities so you can also gain knowledge,” Nip said.

“I’ve been coming for eight years and the main reason I keep coming is there’s always innovative ideas plus I enjoy the crystal ball and looking into what the government expects (for a work load),” said George Stewart of Hawaiian Cement.

“We try and meet those expectations, and I take that information back to our company and see how we can meet what’s being presented in the Workshop,” Stewart said.

“If you’re involved with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers you’re going to find this a very valuable workshop because you’ll gather information and you’ll meet a lot of people and find a great exchange of ideas and concepts,” he said. “Plus, this is all about supporting the troops.”

In addition to information sharing, the Corps honored many contractors and Architectural / Engineering firms for their demonstrated excellence in the areas of quality and safety on Corps’ projects.

The first annual Honolulu District Workshop was in 1996 at the Pagoda Hotel with the Consulting Engineers Council of Hawaii. Since then, they have changed their name to the American Council of Engineering Companies of Hawaii. In 1998 the workshop expanded to include the American Institute of Architects. In 2000, it again expanded to include the General Contractors Association, the Building Industry Association and the Associated Builders and Contractors Association.

This year’s workshop was co-sponsored by the American Institute of Architects, Honolulu Chapter (AIA), American Council of Engineering Companies of Hawaii (ACECH), General Contractors Association of Hawaii (GCA), Building Industry Association of Hawaii (BIA) and the Associated Builders and Contractors of Hawaii (ABC) in conjunction with Honolulu District.

The workshop presentations can be downloaded from: www.aiahonolulu.org.