REBUILDING THE PENTAGON
THE WASHINGTON CONSTRUCTION COMMUNITY STANDS TALL
by C. L. Taylor
“At some point in time we must expect that people will cease to judge us by our words. They will judge us by our performance. We have promised, with the eyes of the nation on us, that we will rebuild the damaged portions of the Pentagon ‘faster than anyone has a right to expect.’ We are making good on that promise.”
--Walker Lee Evey, Pentagon Renovation Program Manager
When construction of the Pentagon began 60 years ago, the contractors knew that the monumental office complex they were about to build would be a touchstone project—not just for the building industry, but to serve as a reflection of the strength of the U.S. spirit during World War II. Designed to house the 24,000 employees of the War Department within a single facility, the five-story building would encompass 29 acres on its 583-acre site by the Potomac River in Arlington. The work began on September 11, 1941.
Some 15,000 workers labored in three shifts, 24 hours a day to complete the 6.5-million-square-foot project. The project’s design staff also put in a grueling around-the-clock schedule, supplying drawings nightly and racing to stay ahead of the construction crews. In just 16 months, on January 15, 1943, the Pentagon was finished—the largest office building in the world and a testament to the pride and determination of the steadfast construction team at a time when the nation needed to stand tall and strong.
Today, the massive Pentagon complex is once again a touchstone, a means through which the construction industry is demonstrating to the world the strength and resilience of the U.S. This time, the challenge began within hours of the terrorist attack at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
Although the long-planned renovation of the complex will continue for several years, it is another date a few months from now—September 11, 2002—that keep more than 1,000 contractors at the Pentagon site working day and night at a breakneck pace. On that day, they are determined to see displaced Pentagon staff members move back into their offices in Wedge 1’s outer “E-Ring,” the point of impact where American Airlines Flight 77, under terrorist control, crashed into the west side of the building. From their office windows, these staff members will be able to watch an Army dedication ceremony for a new Pentagon memorial to their 125 fallen co-workers, who died during the attack along with 64 people on the airplane.
That singular goal, completion of this critical portion of reconstruction in record time, has launched an intense flurry of construction activity, with the minutes, hours, and days ticking away on a nearby countdown clock. The opportunity to take part in this landmark effort, and to proceed with the additional reconstruction and the ongoing renovation of the remaining wedges without delays to the original schedules, has become a vital commitment for many Washington-area contractors and suppliers.
“The construction community in the United States has taken the attacks and the rebuilding process personally and everyone wants to be a part of this,” says Allyn Kilshiemer, CEO and project manager at the Pentagon for KCE Structural Engineers. “This is our way of getting back at the terrorists.”
“It’s a real privilege to work at the Pentagon,” says Bob Daniels, president of Chantilly-based Hensel Phelps Construction Company. “It always has been, and it’s certainly the case now more than ever. We had many people come forward after September 11 and ask to work at the Pentagon. We had one gentleman who came out of retirement to work there for us. People are very committed to this.”
Hensel Phelps, the prime contractor for the renovation of Wedges 2 through 5, and AMEC, the prime contractor for the renovation of Wedge 1—and now its reconstruction—are just two of hundreds of firms involved in the renovation and restoration effort. When asked what makes the work at the Pentagon unique, the response from contractors is unanimous: it’s a team effort.
“We have a saying on this project—everybody leaves their ego at Gate 4 before they come in,” says Paul Facchina, president of La Plata-based Facchina Construction Company. “It’s truly a team effort and we have to work together—that’s the only way to accomplish this. You’ve never seen a job where the word ‘patriotism’ has come out more. Everyone here—from the project executives to the guy sweeping the floors—is committed to this. We’re sending a message to the world.”
A National Historic Landmark
The world’s largest low-rise office building (three times larger than the Empire State Building), the Pentagon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992. The building consists of five concentric rings separated by interior courts that bring in natural light. The rings—“A” near the center through “E” along the outer edge—are connected by ten radial corridors (17.5 miles of corridors in all), with a five-acre central courtyard.
The original “stripped classical” design reflected the shortages of construction materials during World War II. Concrete replaced the steel that was so vital to the war effort. Finishes and ornamentation were scaled back drastically. The limited availability of construction materials and supplies further challenged a design and construction workforce that was already scrambling from day to day to complete the building quickly.
Then, for nearly 50 years after its completion, the Pentagon remained largely unchanged. Building systems deteriorated and became drastically out of date. The facility was poorly equipped to accommodate contemporary technology. Interior layouts, modified in an ad hoc fashion over the years, were stifling and inefficient. The aging structural system required upgrading. There were numerous health, fire, and life safety code violations throughout the Pentagon; and the building housed few of the security measures available through modern design and construction technology.
Over the past decade, however, a rigorous renovation program known as “PenRen” has been underway in an effort to modernize—and essentially revive—the entire complex. In addition to the extensive renovation work required to bring the building up to date, a host of advanced security features are being incorporated into the facility, including interlocking steel beam supports and blast-resistance windows. Measures such as these have been credited with saving many lives on the day of the terrorist attack at the Pentagon, when the hijacked jetliner penetrated the newly renovated Wedge 1—where the security measures had been incorporated into the building technology and construction—and a portion of Wedge 2, which had recently been vacated.
The renovation project has been proceeding in multiple phases, which have to date included the basement and Wedge 1 (each of the five wedges represents a million-plus square feet of space). Renovation of Wedges 2 through 5 is now underway, as well as the reconstruction of Wedge 1 following its destruction on September 11. A recent Congressional appropriation will help accelerate the overall renovation program schedule—originally projected to be complete in 2014—to as soon as 2010. In all, the renovation, reconstruction, technology, and building security measures at the Pentagon—originally built for $50 million—will cost close to $3 billion.
A Bittersweet Victory
For Bob Daniels and his team at Hensel Phelps, September 11, 2001, should have been a day of celebration. After an arduous 20-month competition to win the coveted design-build construction contract for the 4.1-million-square-foot renovation of Wedges 2 through 5, Hensel Phelps had recently been notified of its selection by the PenRen office. The 12-year contract, which had a base value of $700 million, was scheduled to be officially awarded on September 11.
“We had worked very hard for a long time to win that contract,” says Daniels. “We were ready to celebrate. But after September 11, it was obviously a bittersweet victory.” The contract was instead signed three days later, on September 14. Hensel Phelps quickly became entrenched in aiding both the immediate rescue and repair effort as well as launching the next major phase of the ongoing renovation.
Hensel Phelps has had a presence at the Pentagon since 1999, when it began work on the construction of the Remote Delivery Facility, a new, 250,000-square-foot shipping and receiving facility. The RDF was constructed to improve the physical security of the Pentagon by providing a remote, secure location for the building’s daily deliveries. The $90-million project, completed under budget and ahead of schedule, was the first design-build contract ever issued at the Pentagon.
According to Daniels, whose firm has completed a number of design-build projects, the success of the project “helped people at the Pentagon become knowledgeable about design-build, and more comfortable with the process. The RDF was delivered more efficiently than with a traditional approach. Design-build works well when you have a knowledgeable client like the Pentagon.”
“We use the design-build method of project delivery because it provides the best opportunity for the design and construction industry to demonstrate its capabilities, its creativity, and its ingenuity,” says Walker Lee Evey, the government’s program manager for the Pentagon renovation. “We keep serving up bigger and bigger challenges. They keep coming back with better and better solutions.”
Hensel Phelps was subsequently awarded the construction of the Metro Entrance Facility project, which will ultimately relocate the bus station and remove the existing direct entry into the Pentagon from the Metrorail station. The $35-million project, now partially complete, also includes the addition of 30,000 square feet of bus canopy.
The contract to renovate Wedges 2 through 5 represented a milestone achievement for Hensel Phelps. The firm’s team includes M. C. Dean, Inc., of Chantilly, and Southland Industries of Sterling, along with the architectural firms of Shalom Baranes Associates, HDR Architecture, and Studio Architecture. On September 11, Hensel Phelps had construction crews on site for the Metro Entrance Facility, as well as a few staff members who were scouting the work in Wedge 2 for the new contract. “They were doing some exploratory work and tours on the morning of the attack,” says Daniels. “Fortunately, all of our people were able to get out safely.”
The timing of Hensel Phelps’ new contract, as well as the availability of the existing contract that PenRen held with AMEC, worked to the Pentagon’s advantage during the crisis, says Daniels. “The timing of our new contract worked well for the Pentagon. They were able to use both our contract and AMEC’s immediately so that we could provide emergency assistance.”
Within hours of the terrorist attack, the PenRen office issued calls to several of its leading contractors to provide immediate support. Construction executives at AMEC, which was just five days away from completing the renovation of Wedge 1, were, like Hensel Phelps, among the first to be contacted. AMEC was brought in to assist with securing the site and supporting the logistical needs of the various agencies involved, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the FBI, and DoD.
“Because the completion of Wedge 1 was still underway, we had a number of people on site on September 11,” says Ron Vermillion, senior vice president in AMEC’s Bethesda office. “I was in our office talking on the phone with David Kersey, who was our project executive at the Pentagon. He was on site in the field office. My boss, Mack McGaughan, came in and I held the phone up so that David could hear Mack, who was talking about what was going on at the World Trade Center. Then I got back on the phone with David, when he suddenly began shouting. The plane had just hit the Pentagon.”
Vermillion estimates AMEC had about 230 people at the Pentagon that day. About 30 were in the office, which was approximately 200 yards from the point of impact, and 200 or so were in the field. “I spent the next several hours tracking down every single person, and taking calls from their families. It knocked out so much of the cellular power, it was very difficult to reach everyone. We asked people to be spotters—if you spotted someone at the site, let us know or have them call in. By about 2:30, we had accounted for everyone, and all were safe.”
There were some close calls. Some AMEC workers were near enough to be thrown off their feet by the impact. One worker was in Corridor 4 in Wedge 1, where heavy damage was sustained. He was thrown into a closet, where the blast then slammed the doors shut in front of him—possibly saving him from a ball of fire that blew past down the corridor.
While Vermillion tracked down his workers and reassured families, other key staff were meeting with PenRen officials within less than an hour of the attack to determine what needed to be done immediately to support the emergency rescue operation that was underway. “There was a lot to cover,” says Vermillion, who joined the on-site operation later that afternoon. “They needed supplies—portable light plants, forklifts, fuel trucks for the fire department operations, a scaffolding shoring system, all kinds of things.
“Our knowledge of the buildings also helped the firefighters,” says Vermillion. “After the renovation, Wedge 1 had been completely reconfigured—it was completely different from Wedge 2, which hadn’t yet started. So we were able to help them understand how to get around in the different sections of the building.
“Our subcontractors were also extremely responsive,” says Vermillion. “We called ACM right away, because Wedge 2, which was on fire, still had hazardous material in it since it had not been renovated. We needed ACM to help us determine what was in the building—we needed to monitor the air quality for the firefighters and rescue workers. We also called on Facchina Construction to help us with the immediate response.”
“AMEC called us within an hour and a half of the attack,” says Paul Facchina of Facchina Construction. “We were asked to provide support services and logistical support to FEMA, the FBI, and DoD—whatever they needed. We had 50 people on site right away. We built roads to the site, providing shoring for areas in distress, cleared areas, and built fences to secure the area.”
Long Fence of Chantilly was also among the first contractors to respond immediately following the attack. The firm was summoned by the Arlington County Fire Department at 2:00 on September 11 to install 2,000 feet of temporary fence at the crash site in order to establish security and separate life-saving and firefighting rescue efforts from other ancillary support response teams.
According to Larry Friedman, senior vice president of Long Fence, the firm’s team arrived within two hours, and has continued to work at the site throughout the rebuilding. “We had the perimeter security in front of the crash site and along the Washington Boulevard side of the Pentagon established by 8:00 p.m.,” Friedman says. “Our initial response included 17 installers and supervisors. Subsequently, we worked with AMEC and Hensel Phelps to establish permanent visual screen fencing, temporary fencing for FBI evidence areas, and numerous divider fences within the crash site work zone to accommodate demolition and reconstruction efforts.”
M.C. Dean, part of Hensel Phelps’ team on the new contract for the Wedge 2 through 5 renovation, was also tasked with emergency support. The firm provided comprehensive support in the damaged areas of the Pentagon to restore electrical and telecommunications systems.
Forrester Construction Company, of Rockville, was another contractor brought in quickly to begin work at the Pentagon. The firm was asked to provide immediate roof stabilization and begin repairs of the damaged roof. “We first met with Pentagon officials on the night of September 13,” says Scott Forrester, a principal with the firm. “We had a DoD design-build open-end contract for government facilities, including the Pentagon, that had just been awarded the month before. This was our first task order—handwritten on a scrap of paper. We were on the job the next day.”
The roof suffered extensive fire damage, especially in the Wedge 2 portion that had not been renovated. More than 70,000 square feet of slate and coal tar roofing were destroyed. Forrester Construction began by providing damage assessment while the roof was still smoldering. The firm removed burnt slate, metal, wood, and other debris; and provided temporary weatherproofing. Like the other contractors, their work ran seven days a week until all of the occupiable areas had been secured.
According to Scott McGrew, Forrester Construction’s senior project manager at the Pentagon, the most challenging aspect has been to shield the interior of the Pentagon from further damage caused by adverse weather, while the permanent roof system is designed and installed. For the first few weeks, the work was complicated by the ongoing investigation and firefighting efforts, but it also afforded Forrester an opportunity to help: “We needed to coordinate with the FBI and the Battalion Chief of the Arlington County Fire Department,” says McGrew. “At first, they were reluctant to have us start our work, but then they realized we could support them.
“There were still some ‘hot spots’ on the roof from the fire,” says McGrew. “We began removing the combustible material and uncovering these hot spots under the slate. Then the fire department could inspect them. We also needed to contact the FBI each time we found any pieces of metal that might have come from the plane. They would come in to investigate the area, and we’d temporarily move somewhere else. We had to get authorization for every area we worked in.”
Forrester Construction’s design-build team collaborated to develop a new design for the roof structure that included internal fire-stops to limit potential damage in the future, using materials that match the original construction. McGrew says that Forrester has approximately 35 people on site currently, and he estimates that the firm’s work, which is being overseen by the Pentagon’s Real Estate and Facilities Office, will be complete by the end of June. AMEC will oversee the construction of the roof that is a part of the rebuilding of the most damaged portion of the building.
According to Ron Vermillion of AMEC, contractors supported the rescue and recovery effort for about three weeks following the attack. “There were clear priorities that needed to be addressed,” he says. “There were several agencies at work—Arlington County Fire & Rescue, rescue groups from all over the country, FEMA, the FBI…they were recovering victims, conducting investigations, and there was certainly an interest in locating the black boxes from the plane. It is also a DoD building, housing secure, classified information, so that was a concern.”
Vermillion says that a brief “standdown” period followed, leading up to a memorial service at the Pentagon on October 11, one month from the date of the attack. Shortly afterward, demolition of the destroyed portion of the building began.
The Phoenix Project
AMEC and its subcontractors assisted with health and safety planning and the monitoring and removal of hazardous material, and then began demolition and debris removal—a process that was ultimately completed four weeks ahead of schedule. AMEC directed the hard demolition of 400,000 square feet of the most structurally damaged portion of the building—approximately half in Wedge 1 and half in Wedge 2. (In all, approximately two million square feet of the Pentagon was damaged or destroyed, at a cost approaching $700 million.) The demolition included about 100 yards of the historic limestone façade. Subcontractors involved in this phase included Facchina Construction, Rockville-based ACM, Baltimore-based Potts & Callahan, and Demotec.
“We had people at the Pentagon from the end of September until mid-November,” says Kevin Hazard, president of Woodbridge-based Demotec. “We had a team of about 30 people working 12-hour days, seven days a week. The amazing thing to me was that there were very few glitches. The clean-up went well. They made a determination that they were going to get back up and running, and that was it. I was very impressed with the Pentagon staff—there was no red tape. For something so chaotic, it was extremely efficient.”
“To demolish a structure of this size would normally take anywhere from two to six months,” says KCE’s Kilshiemer. “We began demolition on October 18. By working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we were able to complete this phase of the project on November 19. Reconstruction began on the same day.” AMEC’s next task, along with its subcontractors, would be to rebuild the 1.2-million-square-foot Wedge 1 project it had nearly completed two months before.
Meanwhile, additional clean-up efforts continued at the site. Washington, DC-based C.D.R. Services, Inc., was among the local firms assisting with debris removal. “We sent additional labor to help with the clean-up,” says Steve Cooper. “We were cleaning out smoke-damaged areas, moving debris, and doing anything else that needed to be done.”
Facchina Construction is now in its third phase of support following September 11, providing the reinforced concrete construction for the poured-in-place Wedge 1 shell. “We have about 360 people out there now, working two 10-hour-plus shifts,” says Facchina. “They’re on site six days a week. We’re working to complete the shell by June.”
AMEC, Facchina Construction, and Masonry Arts, the Alabama-based firm that oversaw the limestone placement and the installation of the blast-proof windows in Wedge 1, are among the firms that continue to be involved in the “Phoenix Project,” the rebuilding of the 400,000-square-foot, severely damaged section of the Pentagon. The work extends from Corridor 4 to Corridor 5 in the C, D, and E rings; and involves the reconstruction of the core and shell of Wedge 1 and the shell of Wedge 2. PenRen’s goal is to move Pentagon personnel back into their E-Ring offices by September 11, 2002; and to complete the reconstruction of the entire area affected by the attack by spring 2003.
Facchina Construction has worked at the Pentagon for several years, and was also the heavy civil contractor under AMEC for the renovation of Wedge 1, which was designed by Roanoke-based Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern, Inc. For Paul Facchina, the current work at the Pentagon is unlike any other project he’s ever seen. “I’ve been in this business for 35 years, building all over the U.S. I’ve never seen a job come together as masterfully as this one has come together.”
Facchina credits the contractors on the job as well as the PenRen management team. “The government’s engineer, Allyn Kilshiemer, is doing a magnificent job,” Facchina says. “He’s able to stay ahead so that everything proceeds at a breakneck pace. Allyn knows what he wants and he gets it done.”
Echoing the compressed process that was used to build the Pentagon 60 years ago, Facchina reports that the Phoenix Project is moving ahead on an “instant design” basis. “The job is being designed and detailed as we go. The whole thing is phenomenal. The performance is beyond anything anyone could imagine.”
AMEC’s Vermillion agrees. “There is nothing to compare this too,” he says. “There are hardly words to explain it. We’re ahead of the schedule, and the schedule is one of the most aggressive I’ve ever seen. The workers are phenomenal. They’re the ones who have pushed us ahead of schedule. They are completely dedicated to getting this job built.”
“The performance by all has been exceptional,” adds Will Colston, PenRen’s Phoenix Project Team Leader. “It is through open collaboration that we have achieved the successes to date. What is particularly noteworthy is that design professionals, who typically spend their time in an office environment, and construction professionals, who rarely leave the field, are working side-by-side to develop a design that is constructable while still meeting the tenant requirements. Each of these parties brings specific training and experience and together they have met every challenge head on.
“One of the tenets to the way we’ve been doing business,” Colston adds, “is that if anyone has a concern or a problem, they should voice it rather than letting it fester unresolved. By making this our mantra, we get these items out into the open and work together as a team to resolve them, thus maintaining the progress.”
Colston also points to the work of the subcontractors on site, as well as the prime contractors, as exceptional: “Each contractor, regardless of size, plays an important role in achieving the September 11, 2002, goal of having tenants back in the E-Ring where the aircraft impacted the building. The schedule does not permit anyone to sit idly by and I am constantly struck by how everyone is focused on accomplishing their tasks. The challenge often made to visitors is to locate an individual ‘leaning on a shovel’ and thus far no one has been successful in finding this person.”
The Phoenix Project team has adopted the motto “Let’s Roll,” echoing the final words of Todd Beamer, one of the heroes of Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after terrorists took over the plane on September 11. The team uses the mythological “phoenix” bird as its logo—a symbol of rebirth and immortality. According to the PenRen web site, “From the ashes of the worst terrorist attack on American soil, a safer, stronger Pentagon will rise.”
Completing the Renovation
Bob Daniels of Hensel Phelps reports that despite the work required to reconstruct the damaged areas of the Pentagon, the renovation of Wedges 2 through 5 will proceed according to the originally planned timeframe, and possibly be completed even sooner. “Essentially, very little has changed on our contract,” says Daniels. “We’ve had to resequence and reschedule some of the work, but it will still be completed on time.
“We’re being asked to be flexible and adaptable,” says Daniels, “but there hasn’t been a huge impact. It’s more congested on site—it’s more difficult to get in and out as a result of the security—but otherwise nothing has changed. It’s a treat to work with the PenRen team. They’ve got a tough job, but they’re a good team and they work hard.”
Other contractors involved with the ongoing renovation include Beltsville–based Gilford Corporation, which is currently serving as general contractor for the construction of shell and core infrastructure and tenant fit-out in the Pentagon basement. Gilford completed the design/build construction of a control tower and heliport at the Pentagon last year.
Vermillion reports that the Pentagon now occupies about 500,000 square feet of the renovated Wedge 1 and will soon take additional space. It is the race to have the Wedge 1 E-Ring completed that has everyone watching the clock—literally. “We have the countdown clock counting down to September 11, 2002 at 9:38 in the morning—the time of the attack,” he says. “We are working 20 to 22 hours a day, six days a week and more.” He says that AMEC has about 600 workers on site, including subcontractors.
Working with the Pentagon is a “very good team operation,” Vermillion says. “Mr. Evey is on site and we meet with their team every day.” The operation is also being assisted by the national joint venture of L.A.-based DMJM and Houston-based 3D/I, who are providing program management support to the PenRen team.
Vermillion says that soon after the attack, he and Lee Evey stood on the helipad at the Pentagon and looked out at the devastated portion of the building—the same part of the building that they had been so close to completing. “It was a sad day to see the smoke and flames coming out of our building,” Vermillion says. “And it really felt like our building by then.
“The impact of September 11 has changed the way we as contractors do business,” he continues. “It’s bonded us together and drawn us closer.” Evey agrees. “The construction community has responded to this challenge in a manner unparalleled in our experience,” he says. “That response is not just at the corporate level, not just at the management level, and certainly not just at the official level. The initiative is heartfelt; we are all pulling together in a manner that transcends previously accepted standards of teamwork and partnering.
“Workers are teaming with other workers,” Evey says, “teams are joining with other teams; companies are helping one another; private industry and the government are supporting one another. Everyone is caught up in a larger-than-life challenge and none of us—worker, team, company, or government—intends to fail.”
In 1993, at a ceremony recognizing the Pentagon’s 50th anniversary, a bronze plaque was presented with the words, “This property possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America.” Today, a new sign has been added near the crash site: “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundation of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.”—President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001.
ABC-MW Contractors at the WTC
While work moves ahead at the Pentagon, some ABC-MW member firms are also hard at work at the World Trade Center site in New York. This includes global contracting giant AMEC, the only contractor to be actively working at both locations. AMEC has been employed by the City of New York to lead around-the-clock clean-up operations in the northwest sector of the 16-acre complex, which includes One WTC (the northern 110-story tower), the U.S. Customs House, the 53-story American Express building at the World Financial Center, and several other structures. AMEC is also managing Hudson River barging operations to transport debris from the entire WTC site to a Staten Island landfill and to steel recycling operations in New Jersey.
Since January 2002, AMEC, together with Bovis Lend Lease, has assumed more responsibility for the overall management of the WTC site. AMEC reports that the operation is proceeding ahead of schedule.
Tishman Construction Corporation was the Construction Manager for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the World Trade Center towers in 1966 and 1972. The firm had staff working near the site on September 11; all were able to vacate safely. The firm has since been involved in the repair of several of the affected buildings, including 130 Liberty Street, 4 Albany Street, the Bank of New York Building at 101 Barclay Street, and 75 Park Place. Work has included structural repairs, façade replacement, and additional remedial work.
Tishman’s work has also included repairs to 140 West Street, the Verizon Building. Flying debris caused by the collapse of both One World Trade Center and 7 World Trade Center resulted in considerable damage to the façade and lower floors, including flooding and the accumulation of a six-story-high hill of debris and steel. All of the building’s utilities and networks were shut down.
Tishman began work the day of the disaster, and worked two 12-hour shifts continuously to bring the building back on line. Many other Tishman teams worked at other nearby buildings to help restore telecommunications systems and provide additional support.
White Marsh-based Williams Scotsman, Inc., has also played a vital role in the WTC disaster relief effort. The firm, which leases mobile offices nationwide, sent several portable units to New York to house agencies that needed space, such as rescue and repair organizations, emergency management agencies, and criminal investigation units. Williams Scotsman sent 85 units to Lower Manhattan, with 46 adjacent to Ground Zero.
The Local Contracting Community Joins Together
Many ABC-MW firms rallied immediately after September 11 to provide donations to rescue efforts at the Pentagon. Contributions included:
- Aggregate Industries Mid-Atlantic Region raised $12,077 in employee contributions toward relief efforts. Aggregate Industries Management matched these funds, bringing the total to over $24,000 to aid families affected by the tragedy.
- Marathon Cleaning donated socks, shoes, raingear, and non-perishables totaling $1,100 to aid the disaster relief effort at the Pentagon.
- Hitt Contracting, which has worked at the Pentagon on an ongoing basis for the past ten years, donated bottled water, equipment, and materials to the Salvation Army and American Red Cross. Hitt’s employees also supported local blood drives and provided transportation to military officials visiting the Pentagon.
- Molly Construction, LLC, donated work gloves, boots, water, Gatorade, socks, gas masks, and a number of items that had been requested for use by emergency workers at the Pentagon.
- Williams Scotsman, Inc., raised $30,788 from its employees—an amount that was then matched by its corporate office, bringing the total to $61,576.
- Byron R. Meyers offered to supply cranes, excavators, and concrete demolition equipment free of charge, and to pay the freight both ways.
- Tishman Construction Company’s mid-Atlantic staff donated gloves, socks, eye protection, water, juice, and food to the Salvation Army, for use at the Pentagon.
Firms and individuals wishing to make financial contributions can make checks payable to “United States Treasury,” and mail them to: Washington Headquarters Services, Pentagon Memorial/Repair Fund, Budget & Finance, Room 3B269, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155. Specify on the check either “Pentagon Memorial” or “Pentagon Repair.”
SBE/DBE Contracting Opportunities at the Pentagon
For information on Pentagon subcontracting opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses, visit the web site: http://renovation.pentagon.mil for a list of active projects and ongoing acquisitions.
For prime contract opportunities, contact the Pentagon Renovation Program’s Small and Disadvantaged Business Office for current information, and visit the web site for ongoing acquisitions.
Q&A with Walker Lee Evey
Lee Evey is the program manager for the Pentagon Renovation program. He joined the operation in 1997. Scheduled to retire in January 2002, Evey has extended his role as PenRen’s leader to continue through the completion of the Phoenix Project.
Q. How would you assess the progress of the work on the Pentagon reconstruction?
A. “Traffic passing the Pentagon on the west side travels past on Route 27. We constantly hear the sound of squealing brakes. People are stopping to gaze in astonishment at the site; the walls of the Pentagon are moving upward at a fantastic rate. At this point, the building is becoming a traffic hazard.”
Q. There are many construction companies on site, of all sizes. How important have the smaller subcontractors been to the success of the reconstruction so far?
A. If this effort were successful only at the level of the largest contractors, we won’t make the progress needed. Everyone on this worksite is important to our success. The subcontractors on the job have taken that success as their measure. They are showing how critical they are to successful project completion.
Q. Are there parallels between the Phoenix Project and the original construction of the Pentagon during WWII?
A. They originally built this place in 16 months. Some people ask why we can’t do the renovation in 16 months today. My answer is that the biggest difference between the original construction of the Pentagon in 1941 and its renovation in 2001 is that there weren’t 25,000 tenants sitting at their desks in the middle of the construction site in 1941. In all other respects—motivation, determination, patriotism, and zeal—there is no difference.
“Some of the workers have commented that they feel they are being watched. Not just by the eyes of an anxious nation, but by the spirit of the workforce that first wrestled this building out of the quagmire of ‘Hell’s Bottom.’ In both cases the spectre of war and future uncertainty hung over the nation. In both cases the nation looked for inspiration to a rugged group of construction workers. In both cases the workforce came to symbolize America’s spirit and determination.”
Q. You were relatively new to construction when you took over PenRen in 1997. How have you enjoyed this phase of your career? How do you like construction?
A. This has been my first career experience with major construction. To those people out there who look down their nose at this industry, I would point out that construction is THE industrial engine that drives the American economy. The construction industry dwarfs the automobile industry.
In major systems acquisition, you go through a series of successive approximations that finally result in the manufacture of the desired product. You go through Concept Development, Demonstration and Validation, Full Scale Development, Low Rate Initial Production, then Full Scale Production. Construction is manufacturing, plain and simple. You go through all those same phases of development. The difference is that in construction you go through all of the phases, and have to do all that hard learning. Your total production must be captured in a single product. That’s really hard. To anyone who thinks these folks are not smart, I’ve got a bridge I would like to sell you.”