Among the holding pattern of construction nationwide, local contractors appear to be holding their own.
The West Tennessee Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors Inc. held its 24th annual Excellence in Construction Awards Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central Ave., recognizing the top merit shop construction projects by local ABC members. The awards honored all members of the team responsible for the projects, from contractors to subcontractors, suppliers to owners, and engineers to architects.
The chapter presented 22 awards, all made of hand-blown glass to signify the uniqueness of each individual project. In total, 30 projects were entered, said chapter president Erin Murphy.
“The entry levels were about the same this year, but we had expected that we would have a lower amount of participation due to the economy,” Murphy said. “We really didn’t, they were just lower volume projects.”
Presented with the highest honor, the Greener Tomorrow Award, was Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC for the University of Mississippi Innovation Center and Insight Park.
The 61,000-square-foot facility contains 30 Class A offices and four research laboratories, and a geothermal heating and cooling system that now handles approximately 70 percent of Insight Park’s heating and cooling needs.
The building’s design contains a two-story glass curtain wall system, a monumental staircase with glass handrails, a roof skylight, and ground-level exits on the first and second floors. The architects were Cooke, Douglas Farr Lemons Architects & Engineers PA – which also served as the engineer – and Howorth & Associates Architects.
Montgomery Martin picked up four awards in all. Other firms with multiple honors included Metro Construction, Linkous Construction Co. Inc. and Flintco LLC. Also recognized were Inman-EMJ Corp., Smith-Doyle Contractors Inc., Quality Iron Fabricators, LCI Inc., Dillard Door & Entrance Control and GreenScape Inc.
An independent panel of industry experts judged this year’s entries. They were based on multiple criteria, totaling 100 points, some of which included safety, innovation, overcoming obstacles, customer references and overall quality of the presentation.
“Sometimes we bring in key judges, but this year, we used our local members that didn’t have affiliation with any of the other projects,” Murphy said.
West Tennessee Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors, the largest commercial and industrial construction association in the area, has been around for 36 years. Currently, the chapter has 196 members. Since the recession began, it has lost approximately 13 percent of its membership.
Pat Siano of McDonnell Insurance and ABC West Tennessee chapter Relationship Building Committee head, ended the ceremony with a reminder of the powerful voice of the construction industry.
“Free enterprise, merit shop foundation and hard work,” Siano said. “Everybody in this room, we can honestly say that we built it.”
As a partner with the Associated Builders & Contractors, The Daily News published the awards supplement as an insert in The Memphis News Sept. 21, available in racks at more than 50 office buildings throughout the city.