Promise and potential were the driving forces of the US, Central and South America region in 2014. Our challenge in the coming year will be to realize that promise and potential through the creation of a unified, fully integrated organization.
The ongoing recovery of the economy of the United States offers significant potential across our markets. Private sector spending on buildings remains strong, and we are encouraged by the American president’s call for increased spending on infrastructure, in particular his proposal to expand the potential of private financing of public infrastructure. In addition, the acquisition of ccrd, a national mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering and commissioning firm, increases our US buildings staff to 1,100 and brings us market-leading expertise in buildings systems for the health care industry.
Meanwhile, in Central and South America, we believe that political stability, improving security, and a growing middle class, coupled with the need to reduce the cost of delivering resources to international markets, will spur increased investment in our core sectors including property and buildings, transportation and infrastructure, industrial and energy, and environmental.
Overall, the region’s economic recovery offers promise that we will be able to leverage the synergy created by the merger of WSP and Parsons Brinckerhoff to increase our presence in markets in which we are already well established.
As we enter 2015, we maintain our leading position in transportation and infrastructure in the United States, most notably with our contributions to four major projects expanding the public transit system of New York City that was largely conceived by Parsons Brinckerhoff’s founder more than a century ago.
Also in New York City, our prominent position in property and buildings is dramatically demonstrated by our contributions to two of the city’s tallest and most iconic structures – One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the United States, which opened in November, and 432 Park Avenue, which in October topped out at 426m (1,397 feet), making it the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere. Hundreds of other projects from the Midwest to Miami and from California to Colombia are testament to our strong positions in transportation and infrastructure and buildings and the potential to expand our presence in the power and environmental sectors.
The achievements of our organization in 2014 provide the groundwork for advancing our vision for the future. Highlights of the past year include the following:
- The Tidal Back River Greening Project, which will significantly reduce storm water runoff and associated pollutants to the Back River and Chesapeake Bay, was completed in January. We provided design plans and construction-support services to the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability in Baltimore County, Maryland;
- We became a charter member of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), a joint initiative of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Public Works Association, and the American Council of Engineering Companies to advance sustainability in the nation’s infrastructure. To date, more than 100 of our employees have earned ISI’s Sustainability Professional credential;
- In March, we were selected by Phillips 66 to design and manage construction of salt caverns for the storage of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) at a site near Lake Jackson, Texas. This project is being developed to support the Phillips 66 Sweeny Fractionator 1 and the Freeport LPG export facility;
- We were part of a team, led by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, that in May was selected to develop a master plan for the area surrounding Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. We are providing overall project management and are also responsible for leading the transportation planning for a mixed-use urban district with the monumental rail station as its centerpiece;
- The 9/11 Memorial Museum opened to the public in May. We provided structural engineering on the project, which pays tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and 1993. The Museum incorporates the foundations of the original twin towers, as well as the slurry wall that held back the waters of the Hudson River after the attacks in 2001;
- Two tunnel boring machines completed excavating tunnels in June for San Francisco’s Central Subway Project. We are part of two joint ventures providing final design and construction support services to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for the Central Subway tunnels and stations. Our current roles follow extensive participation in the planning, environmental permitting, and preliminary engineering phases of the project;
- The Eagle Mountain Lake Spillway Dam Project outside Fort Worth, Texas, received the 2014 National Rehabilitation Project of the Year Award from the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. On behalf of the Tarrant Regional Water District, we led the project team that developed the design and provided construction management for the rehabilitation of two 80-year-old dams;
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- In Midtown Manhattan, construction began in October on 53W53, another super-tall tower destined to become a New York City landmark. We are contributing structural and MEP engineering services for architect Jean Nouvel’s 77-story tower that will house the Museum of Modern Art on the lower floors, with luxury residences and a hotel above;
- New York City’s newest subway station, the Fulton Center, opened in November, bringing together five underground stations and improving transfers among nine subway lines. In joint venture, we served as consultant construction manager to the MTA Capital Construction Company;
- Construction was completed on Levi’s Stadium, the new home for the San Francisco 49ers football team. The stadium, located in Santa Clara, California, opened in November 2014, following an aggressive design and construction schedule. Our contributions included MEP engineering, lighting, technology and high-performance design. The stadium is the first in the United States to achieve LEED Gold certification, and will host Super Bowl 50 in 2016;
- In November, the Living Breakwaters project for Staten Island, New York, which we developed with SCAPE/Landscape Architecture, won the 2014 Fuller Challenge Award from the Buckminster Fuller Institute. The project, which will reduce the risk of storm damage with habitat breakwaters to curb the force of waves striking the shoreline, is being implemented by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery;
- The stunning Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center opened in December, offering a variety of transportation options for residents and visitors in Southern California. We served as project design manager to the City of Anaheim.
We will leverage the skills resident in each of our disciplines – transportation, buildings, energy, environmental – to offer our clients an integrated approach to developing projects that meet the social, economic, and environmental needs of the communities we serve, now and in the future.
To achieve that vision, we must successfully bring together the operations of the legacy WSP and Parsons Brinckerhoff organizations while remaining absolutely committed to project performance and client satisfaction. Innovation and technical excellence continue to be the hallmarks of our project delivery model, as our clients look to us for solutions to the funding and technical challenges that confront them.
I am confident that as we move forward as one organization, we are well positioned to achieve the promise of the merger two leading professional services firms in a market that offers significant potential for growth.