SIR Awards Gala

 

The SIR Awards Gala celebrates our chapter’s core values of skill, integrity, and responsibility. Known as the “Oscar” of the Industry it is an opportunity for members, their families, and associates to recognize leaders in the construction industry and celebrate this lifetime achievement award.

The Oregon-Columbia Chapter SIR Awards program started in 1972 and its focus has remained unchanged – to acknowledge individuals, organizations, and agencies for their outstanding skills, conduct, abilities, and accomplishments, and to promote good public relations by recognizing out industry’s involvement in and contributions to our communities and society.

 

2017 SIR Awards Final Attendee List

 

SIR Award Gala photos

 

Honored in 2017

Jeanne Staton

Jeanne Staton
President, Staton Companies

Jeanne Staton was raised on Camp Creek, situated along the McKenzie River in Springfield, Oregon. She began her youth at a two-room schoolhouse located 12 miles out of town. When she approached the eighth grade, her mom and stepdad moved to Rupert, Idaho, where they “proved up” on a potato farm, 200 acres of undeveloped sagebrush located, once again, 12 miles out of town. The family lived in a mobile home for a few years, and then moved into the newly-constructed basement house. As a senior, Jeanne remembers when their house arrived on a flatbed truck, and she was once again able to live aboveground. Shortly after she graduated from high school she moved back to the Eugene area, where she has remained to this day.

Jeanne attended the University of Oregon for a short time, transferred to the Lane Community College and then business school, and then went to work for her dad at his moving and storage/heavy hauling business. She had developed a strong work ethic with the endless tasks a farm requires, and quickly settled down to work.

At the age of 23 she married Leonard Staton, who lost his excavating job shortly after, and he suggested that they start a business together. Springfield High School needed to be demolished, and he thought they were the ones to do it. He “bid it by the load,” as he used to like to say, and they were hired and successfully completed the job. And what would eventually become Staton Companies began.

At this time Eugene was going through an urban renewal period, and there was lots of demolition happening in town.  As they completed more jobs, they were able to purchase more equipment, and soon were able to say they had “wrecked half of Eugene.” In the early 80s, Jeanne took over more and more of the management of the company. Their work was primarily demolition and sitework, but they soon moved into underground storage tank removal. The work was plentiful. In the early 90s they decided to take a step back and analyze what work was most profitable. So, they dropped sitework and concentrated on just the demolition and tank removal.  They were approached by Ted Aadland from FE Ward, who was replacing the Armitage Bridge just outside of Coburg. He offered to work with them on their first bridge demo, which turned out to be an expensive learning experience, but at the same time a notable success. And the bridge demo work took off from there.

When Jeanne and Leonard divorced, Leonard opted for their residence and commercial property, and Jeanne took over complete control of the company. In 1995 she was joined by partner Ron Richey, and under their direction Staton Companies has dismantled bridges, dams, mills and wood processing facilities, industrial plants, residential structures, and infrastructure across the northwestern United States. Jeanne has had her hands in all aspects of the business, including operating some of the heavy equipment.

Jeanne joined AGC in 1985 at the urging of her colleagues in the industry. Since that time, she has been involved on many chapter councils, committees, and task forces, and at the urging of half a dozen past presidents, went through the leadership chairs, serving as the first female president of the Oregon-Columbia Chapter in 2003. With a focus on workforce issues, her year as president was especially eventful, with Jeanne having the additional notoriety and messaging about women in construction on top of the regular responsibilities of the position. She has also served at the national level for many years.

Since the beginning, Jeanne has felt the pressure of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. That pressure sparked in Jeanne the career-long mission to support workforce issues and women’s efforts in the industry. She has been an active member of the National Association of Women in Construction, has served in all offices for them locally, and was recognized nationally as their Construction Woman of the Year in 2007.

Jeanne has had a hand in the success of the Northwest College of Construction, serving on the board since its inception, and as chair for several years. She has been an active leader of Associated Oregon Industries, National Federation of Independent Business, the local Chamber of Commerce, and is a supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, Habitat for Humanity, and Looking Glass Community Services, a local nonprofit that assists youth. She is also a supporter of construction career days, both in planning and hosting activities, still working to build a workforce for the future.

Jeanne has recently retired, and looks forward to traveling and spending time with her son and granddaughter.

Dee Burch

Dee Burch
President, Advanced American Construction

Born in Newberg, Oregon, Dee Burch was the oldest of five siblings. Raised by a single mom, Dee felt the weight of responsibility at a very young age. At the time, Yamhill County was one of the poorest areas in Oregon, and his mother, grandparents, and extended family primarily supported the family. Dee spent his summers picking strawberries and pole beans, and delivered newspapers, mowed lawns, and did chores to earn money. He spent his first eight years in Lafayette, attending his first two years of school in a one-room schoolhouse, before the family moved to McMinnville when Dee was in the third grade.

Dee met Jay Compton when he started at his new school, and they became best friends all the way through graduation from both McMinnville High School and Oregon State University. Jay’s father, John, was a surrogate dad for Dee, and stepped in as a role model. It was through both John and Dee’s grandfather, a heavy equipment operator, that Dee was introduced to the world of construction, and he learned of AGC while John was serving as the Oregon-Columbia Chapter president, attending dinner parties and hunting trips with the Compton family.

In preparation for his time at OSU, Dee had worked and saved money until he had just enough to cover his expenses, barring anything unexpected. John came to Dee and generously offered to pay for tuition and expenses, and offered him a job on a paving crew. It was through John and AGC that Dee met other contractors like him—men who were willing to quietly offer assistance to others expecting nothing in return other than hard work.

Dee earned a BS in Civil Engineering from Oregon State in 1978. Two weeks later he was in Salt Lake City working for Chicago Bridge and Iron. Times were tough, and Oregon offered little opportunity for civil engineers. From Salt Lake, Dee travelled all over the West, moving to Kiewit in 1981. He was introduced to Advanced American Diving in 1988, a small marine construction startup working on a project in Arizona. They were a subcontractor on the project, and Dee supervised and helped them through some difficulty that could have been catastrophic to the small company. Impressed with Dee, Konrad Schweiger, a founder of Advanced American, started a conversation, and a few years later was able to lure him away from Kiewit.

When Dee joined Advanced American, their focus was primarily on diving, and with his background and experience, he was able to transition the company to becoming a general contractor. Their success came quickly, and they expanded rapidly. Dee became president of Advanced American in 2000, and has led the company through such notable projects as the Pasco/Kennewick bridge demo, Port of Vancouver dock expansion, and the East Bank Esplanade, which received their first AGC of America Build America Award. They have now received six Build America Awards, including the Lake Oswego Interceptor Sewer project, the only Build America Grand Award given to an Oregon contractor, and a previous SIR Award project recipient.

In 1999, Forrest Schweiger, the son of Advanced American’s founder Konrad Schweiger, lost his life in a construction accident, and a college fund was created, awarding its first scholarship in May 2000. Konrad passed away unexpectedly a few years later, and the fund name was changed to memorialize both father and son. Dee has kept the Schweiger Memorial Scholarship Fund going strong for nearly 20 years, awarding annual scholarships to individuals looking to pursue careers in construction and construction-related fields. The fund has awarded nearly $600,000 over the years, and many of the recipients also participate in Advanced American’s internship program. Along with numerous industry sponsors that provide additional support, through his efforts, Dee is able to help the next generation of contractors just as he had been in his youth.

He served on his local planning commission and city council for several years, and has held numerous additional volunteer positions, including involvement in the American Society of Civil Engineers and Oregon State University. Actively involved in the Carpenters Union, he has held leadership positions on committees as well as industry trusts. Dee has served on numerous task forces, committees, and leadership positions for AGC, serving on the board of directors since 1998. He served as chapter president in 2011, and currently leads as co-chair of the chapter’s Legislative Forum.

He has four kids, none of whom are involved in construction—which is just fine by him—and five grandchildren, and loves to play a little golf in his downtime. His family, following politics—both for AGC and personally—, and Advanced American keep him busy. Dee is still “having a lot of fun” doing what he is doing, and has a few years before considering retirement.

Dan O'Brien

Dan O’Brien
Current Electrical Construction Company

Born in Seattle, but raised in Portland, Dan O’Brien’s heart resides in Oregon. One of six children of a World War II veteran, after graduating Jesuit High School, Dan joined the U.S. Navy and served for four years as an electronic technician, which included two tours aboard Navy destroyers in Viet Nam.

In 1965 while enjoying a bay cruise in San Francisco, Dan met a local girl named Lynn, and they were married two years later. Lynn worked in California while Dan served overseas, and after short stints in Long Beach and San Diego, Dan was released from service in 1968 and the pair moved back to Portland.

Dan worked for Singer Sewing Machine Company and the Oregonian mailroom, where he had worked before joining the Navy, and attended Portland Community College. After completing his core classes, he attended Oregon State University, graduating with a degree in industrial engineering. During that time he had two children, worked 45 hours a week, and attended school full time, while also being involved in the Veterans Club at both PCC and OSU.

After spending a couple of years in Santa Rosa, California, in 1974 Dan moved his small family back to Lake Grove, Oregon where he began working for Omark Industries’ saw chain division. After a few years and two more children, his brother Pat suggested he look into going to work for an electrical contractor. After he was hired, while estimating and running projects, Dan built relationships with local contractors such as OTKM, Grigsby Construction, and P&C Construction. He and a partner started Jarmer Commercial in 1983, and after building a loyal customer base, Dan struck out on his own and began Current Electrical Construction in 1985. It was important for the O’Briens to support their employees’ families, and Current Electrical was one of the few open shop contractors at the time to provide full benefits packages from day one and continuing today.

Tilt-ups, ground-up design/build electrical construction, site utilities, and lighting have been the mainstays of Current Electrical, and while the majority of their projects are located in the Portland metro area, some are as far north as Seattle and as far south as Eugene. Taking tremendous pride in his company’s work, Dan can boast of numerous projects with zero service callbacks. He also had one of the first full service design/build electrical contractors in the area.

Dan began his long history with AGC in 1981. At the time, AGC did not have a specialty contractor membership category. Numbers were down, and the chapter was looking to increase its membership, so it began allowing specialty contractors to become members through the associates program. Dan was serving as vice president of the Independent Electrical Contractors of Oregon at the time, and was instrumental in bringing many companies into the chapter fold after the change.

That trend continued as Dan worked both locally and nationally to increase the voice of specialty contractors, to design opportunities for general and specialty contractors to build relationships, and to help AGC of America produce contract documents that were specialty contractor-friendly. He was also involved when the association took the additional step of breaking out the associates program and creating the specialty contractor program, an important step for a large portion of the national and local membership.

Throughout his 30 years of national involvement in AGC, Dan has traveled and built relationships with members across the country. He has served on and led the National Contractor Relations Committee, the National Specialty Contractors Council, the National Open Shop Committee, and served on the National Executive Committee.

Locally he served on and held leadership positions on countless councils, committees, and taskforces, served as an officer, and as chapter president in 1995. Throughout that time, he’s been a tireless supporter of specialty contractors and their role in the industry.

He was one of the original members of Area 1 Inside Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, which now trains over 600 apprentices at one time. He has been a member of IECO for over 34 years. Over his career he attended craft and career fairs to talk with kids about a career in an industry that is constantly becoming more complicated and sophisticated. He’s proud to have been a member of the construction industry, where hard working people, who are often fierce competitors, can join together to get things done.

Current Electrical has been a family company from inception, when the O’Brien family sat around the table and voted on a name, to his kids’ summer jobs driving trucks and handling materials, to the next generation taking over leadership of the company when Dan retired in 2015. He continues to estimate occasionally, and offers support to his sons Kieran and Liam, and partner Jason Jacobucci, who lead the company now.

Dan and Lynn have lived in Dundee for the past 20 years, but are planning a move back into Portland to be closer to their 10 grandchildren and more easily attend sports activities, graduations, and musical events.

Elephant Lands Project

Elephant Lands
Oregon Zoo

December 2015 marked the official opening of the most ambitious project in Oregon Zoo history: a world-class home for a world-famous elephant family.

Elephant Lands spans six acres, extending around much of the zoo’s eastern side from the central lawn to the veterinary medical center. It is more than four times the size of the zoo’s former elephant habitat, and accounts for nearly one-tenth of the zoo’s total 64-acre footprint. It was the fourth of eight major projects made possible by the community-supported 2008 zoo bond measure promoting animal welfare and sustainability.

Elephant Lands features an 80×80-foot, 160,000-gallon pool that is up to 12 feet deep; a 14,000-square-foot barn; and several outdoor habitat areas with paths, warming sheds, and feeding stations. It also includes an interpretive center and indoor viewing area in Forest Hall, which has auditorium seating overlooking a large indoor enclosure. The enclosure has 40-foot walls and 4 feet of sand on the floor.

The total budget for the project was $57 million, which also included construction of a service access road, rerouting of the zoo train loop, and relocation of the zoo’s Wildlife Live headquarters.

Engineered to promote animal welfare and herd socialization, it features large, connecting outdoor habitats linked to flexible and communal indoor spaces. Elephants are emotional, intelligent, and highly social, and Elephant Lands brings to life the zoo’s philosophy that all animals’ lives should be filled with choice. Feeding stations, mud wallows, and water features encourage elephants to be active 14–16 hours a day, just as they would in their range countries.

The buildings are designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification—an internationally recognized benchmark for sustainable building practices. Louvers on the ceiling and walls of the indoor facility open automatically based on outdoor temperatures to allow natural ventilation, resulting in a 75 percent reduction in fan power. The heat created as a byproduct of cooling the polar bear swimming pools is transferred by a geothermal “slinky” to Elephant Lands and is used to keep the elephants warm, cutting energy requirements in half, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent. Eventually, other renewable sources of heat will be fed into the geothermal system, for example, the huge array of solar photovoltaic panels on Forest Hall roof, which are currently used to heat a 1,500-gallon water tank used for elephant bathing. Rainwater is collected and stored in a 5,000-gallon underground cistern, reducing peak loads on the city stormwater system and conserving potable water use. And finally, both pools incorporate state-of-the-art filtration and treatment systems that completely filter the water every hour to maintain quality and allow re-use, saving millions of gallons of water each year.

Challenges on the project were many. Every part of the barn that elephants can touch must be solidly locked down to avoid damage. The steel posts in the stalls are filled with concrete and embedded four feet into the foundation. The 35-foot-tall, 20-inch-thick cast-in-place concrete walls required extensive calculations to ensure the strength to withstand the force of an adult bull elephant. The two attached buildings are the largest the zoo has ever constructed, and account for elephants’ ability to reach up to 24 feet standing on their hind legs. Walls also had to withstand the impact of an adult elephant traveling at 5 mph.

The entire project was a meticulously staged and phased construction process that engaged the public and built excitement over time. And the project progressed around the day-to-day lives of the Oregon Zoo’s famous herd of Asian elephants.

The Oregon Zoo is part of Metro, the regional government for the Portland metropolitan area. The general contractor on the project was Lease Crutcher Lewis.

I-5 Willamette River Bridge

I-5 Willamette River Bridge
Hamilton Construction Company

At $187,000,000, the Interstate-5 Willamette River Bridge is the Oregon Department of Transportation’s largest bridge project and first using Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) delivery. Technically complex, the new twin bridges span nearly 2,000 feet, the largest single arch spans in the state, and have notably improved a crucial component of the West Coast interstate transportation corridor.

The I-5 Willamette River Bridge project extended over a five-year period, but despite its unique challenges and complexity, the project was completed four months early and $15 million under budget, and represents successful environmental, design, and technical innovation; collaboration; and notable community involvement.

The project was complex logistically and technically. The area is flanked by two parks with significant environmental constraints; bound by towers with high tension power lines; crosses a substantial river, which is heavily used recreationally and home to threatened and endangered species; and active Union Pacific railroad tracks, a major bicycle/pedestrian commuter path, and a four-lane boulevard that connects Eugene and Springfield, both communities with highly engaged citizens. Vehicular, railroad, river, pedestrian, and cycling traffic were all safely maintained throughout the project.

As general contractor, Hamilton Construction Company was responsible for major in-water work, including demolition and removal of the old bridge, utility relocation, and constructing two main bridges and a pedestrian/bike bridge. Work involved the talents of almost 100 specialty contractors, suppliers, and engineering companies; employed up to 250 craftspeople at peak periods; and the project’s 10% Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goals were exceeded in all areas.

Renamed the Whilamut Passage Bridge by the Oregon Department of Transportation with support from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the design was determined with input from community groups and citizens who had a high degree of interest in sustainability, beauty, and durability.

The site restoration and enhancement budget for the project was well over $2 million and affected three miles of Willamette River bank frontage and 237 acres of publically owned open space. Site enhancement included installation of a fish bypass ladder; construction of retaining walls to protect cedar grove habitat area; creation of a frog pond; bicycle and pedestrian trails; re-establishment of native plant species; and streambank restoration.

Notable innovations developed at this project have set new industry standards for protecting the environment: a noise attenuation system dubbed the “bubbleator,” a bubble curtain devised to protect fish from the impact of pile driving; fully-contained work bridges to protect the river from construction debris and contaminated runoff; use of vegetable-based oil products in lieu of petroleum for use in equipment; and recycling, reuse, and repurposing of materials from demolition of the old bridge. The local bat population also benefited from the new bat habitat boxes developed and built by Hamilton. The Willamette River Bridge project is a showcase of sustainable practices without compromise to productivity, cost effectiveness, or safety.

Unlike traditional design-bid-build contracting, the CM/GC delivery method ensured that the contractor, bridge engineers, and ODOT collaborated throughout design and construction, a process that proved both flexible and cost effective. CM/GC saved time, allowing construction to start two years ahead of schedule, while design was still underway. ODOT was one of only five DOTs nationwide to have used this form of delivery at the time, so there was no established template to follow.

With over 351,000 man hours, Hamilton had only one lost-time injury on the job. When project crews met safety benchmarks, workers would select a local school to which they would contribute money for safety enhancements: Portland NW Youth Corps’ Eugene training center received a $5,000 donation when the project achieved 100,000 injury-free work hours.

The I-5 Willamette River Bridge is an exceptional achievement for Oregon. Thousands of people came together to build this lasting legacy for the community: beautifully engineered, skillfully constructed, environmentally forward, economically critical, and sensitive to the heritage and culture of the community.

Questions about this event?

Contact Viktoria Schulz, chapter events manager, using the link below, or call 503-685-8314.

Email Viktoria Email Heidi

For questions about registration, contact Heidi Peterson, events specialist, using link above, or call 503-685-8327.