Calvin Lee photo
Speakers and presenters at PWC’s Meet the Architects & Engineers are (L-R, front) Robert Eisenstat, PANYNJ; Frank Pampalone, Walmart Realty; Erleen Hatfield, Buro Happold; Julio Ravelo, Thornton Tomasetti; (L-R, back): Rob Fischer,
“Clearly, it’s a much better time,” said Erleen Hatfield, partner of Buro Happold, summing up the message of the evening at Meet the Architects & Engineers, presented by Professional Women in Construction (PWC) on Aug. 22 at Club 101 in New York City.
Hatfield, one of six speakers, said that new residential unit counts are up more than 500 percent from last year and “We expect to see this market continue to heat up over the next 12 months.”
She also spoke of the emphasis on resiliency in the aftermath of Sandy which has spurred Buro Happold, a global engineering firm, to perform numerous site specific structural, MEP and infrastructure design impact assessments for owners and architects.
Julio Ravelo, vice president of Thornton Tomasetti, noted that the engineering firm is focusing on hardening and resiliency and historic preservation in Sandy’s aftermath. One building TT is working on is likely to become “the first in the city with building-wide flood design.”
Ravelo also pointed to the start of a residential comeback as inspections mandated by Local Law 11 continue to increase the need for building envelope and roofing projects.
The emphasis was on the global frontier with William Haight III, senior program manager of The Louis Berger Group Inc., an international infrastructure and development consulting firm. He noted that the nation’s policy is shifting towards “connecting trade opportunities to development assistance,” and tying infrastructure needs to opening markets for U.S. goods and services which is “good news for jobs at home.”
With a new emphasis on gender programs — i.e. $1.9 billion in USAID has gender as a “main component” — he said, “Engineering companies that can deliver on infrastructure and gender [via role models] will have an advantage.”
Frank Pampalone, director, project design and management, Walmart Realty, told the group that the world’s largest retailer and the nation’s largest employer is striving to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy; create zero waste; and sell sustainable products. He said too that philanthropy is a priority with Walmart, “the first retailer to give more than $1 billion in charitable contributions.”
Walmart’s new Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative will source $20 billion from women-owned businesses domestically and will double its global sourcing to the group. Lastly, a new initiative to hire honorably discharged veterans within a year of active duty has led to 3,100 vets hired since Memorial Day and a goal of 100,000 through 2018.
Rob Fischer, deputy chief engineer-design with the NJ Turnpike Authority, spoke of a robust capital improvement program. The $2.4 billion remaining from the $7 billion capital program launched in 2009 will go towards: bridge repairs and improvements; facilities; heavy highway construction; state police buildings; and toll utility buildings.
He said too that a participation goal of 25 percent for SBEs (small business enterprises) has been met.
Robert D. Eisenstat, chief architect of the engineering/architecture design division of the PANYNJ, also spoke to the group.
PWC presenters were: PWC President Lenore Janis; Maria Wilpon, AIA Associate, director of education, AECOM; Dorothy Wasiak, vice president, PCGNY Corp.; Barbara Armand, president, Armand Corporation; and James Rizzo, NE regional manager, Tate Access Floors.
For information, call 212/486.7745 or visit www.pwcusa.org/ny.