Fort Meade, Md. — Following the completion of an 846,114 square-foot, seven-story National Security Agency (NSA) operations facility on Fort Meade, Maryland, East Campus Integrated Program Office (ECIPO) program manager Kevin Schoch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, highlights the successful partnership that delivered the project to a timely and successful conclusion: “The amount of collaboration that occurred within the team was amazing to see.”
This substantial and complex project is a multi-use facility, including command centers; open operations floors and office areas; analyst collaboration areas; multi-purpose conference facilities and retail spaces; and a significant dining and fitness footprint.
In recognition of these efforts, the team was recently honored by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) with the Marvin M. Black Partnering Excellence Award for the $20 million and above category.
“This project was very technically complex, and the team faced many challenges,” Schoch said. “By establishing a strong partnership foundation at the beginning of the project, the team was able to overcome all of these challenges together, which helped to build trust.”
Such a project requires the very kind of successful partnership recognized by the AGC award. In the earliest days of the project, USACE and the customer (NSA) developed a “One Team” concept with Clark, the construction contract awardee. The project’s complexities would mean that over 100 trade contractors would be involved in the project’s construction, only furthering the need for successful collaboration.
“The Clark Construction team proved to be exceptional partners during the course of this project, and we would not have been successful without their commitment and mission-first focus,” Schoch said.
The “One Team” effort included the project customer, who engaged directly with the on-site workforce to emphasize the importance of the facility they were constructing. The project’s leadership team also highlighted the accomplishments of their workforce internally, creating a “STAR Partner Award” to present quarterly to key project workers and teams, including subcontractors, that lived up to the “One Team” mission approach.
“This approach was built on a mission-first focus and a commitment to continuously working toward solutions,” Schoch said. “The project leadership team worked to spread this culture throughout the rest of the team, to include the field personnel and subcontractors.”
This mission-critical facility was not immune from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but these new factors only emphasized the effectiveness of the team’s cohesive path.
“When the pandemic hit, it was unclear how this major event would impact the project and the team,” Schoch said. “However, the team was able to adapt quickly, and work was able to continue without any shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
USACE, Clark, and the NSA coordinated an aggressive timeline and continued to deliver multiple stages of the project throughout the pandemic, including the 1.1 million square-foot concrete parking structure, roadway improvements that better enabled campus operations, and the completion of the East Campus generator yard, which provided backup power generation to the entire campus.
“The NSA team that we work so closely with here at the ECIPO has always been an exceptional customer,” Schoch added. “They continuously went above and beyond to help the workers see the importance of their mission and always showed a commitment to finding solutions to the challenges faced on the project.”