William (Bill) Wright (CO-NP), a mechanical engineer in the New York District’s Construction Division for six years managing construction projects at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey and maintaining the highest performance ratings for his work, has received the Hard Hat of the Year Award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Atlantic Division, recognizing exceptional performance in the construction field. Nominated by Tim Yarger, chief of the District’s Construction Division, Mr. Wright was selected from candidates throughout the North Atlantic Division, which encompasses six Districts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
For a number of years, Mr. Wright has been serving as lead mechanical engineer commissioning construction projects at Picatinny involving HVAC, building automation, lighting, hot water, and fire-protection systems. He managed the process by ensuring project engineers understood contract requirements and contractors installed and verified the systems properly. Wright also performs inspections, reviews commissioning plans, ensures field testing is performed to standards, and compares field data to design requirements ensuring systems perform efficiently. Given the overall quality of his work, he was recently transferred to District Headquarters in Lower Manhattan to handle several challenging projects and address customer concerns.
One of Mr. Wright’s major accomplishments is improving project transition — moving from building completion to operations and maintenance. To ease the transition, Wright noted the importance of transferring knowledge to end-users during the first year of a new facility when it’s under warranty. He accomplishes this by encouraging early involvement of end-users and staff during the commissioning process and facilitating communication with all partners. His success has strengthened relationships between the District and its customers.
New Firing Range
Mr. Wright continues serving as a contracting officer’s representative (COR) for several armament technology contracts worth nearly $24 million. In this role he provides engineering supervision and contract management for design and construction of complex research and development facilities, most notably, a 100-meter indoor firing range slated for completion in winter 2016-17, and upgrades to existing firing ranges — industrial ventilation systems, blast-rated doors, and acoustically-rated enclosures.
Realizing a high level of difficulty with firing-range design, Wright consulted the Navy Environmental Hygiene Center’s Technical Manual for Indoor Firing Ranges, which provides design and construction criteria. (The range is a narrow concrete tunnel to ensure safety of users and employees.) In addition, he provided written reports to the architect-engineer (A-E) firm describing how the system needed to be re-designed, supported the Engineering Division with detailed information during construction, and communicated project status to customers and senior management via progress meetings and in-progress reviews (IPR’s).
Troubleshooting & Redesign
Even with careful planning, several issues have surfaced with noise levels, heating, and airflow patterns. During redesign, Wright is drawing on his mechanical engineering background to review concept designs, perform BCOES reviews (bidability, constructability, operationality, environmental, and sustainability), an in-house review ensuring the contractor can perform all necessary operations and the building is ready for use. One of Wright's recommendations is revising field testing and commissioning procedures to better monitor performance of ventilation systems, and managing contractors’ field testing and commissioning after renovations. These revised procedures have successfully improved the reliability of the ranges and customers are pleased with the results.
Another area of importance with firing ranges is the contractor’s safety program — removing and disposing of lead-contaminated ventilation systems. During such delicate operations, Mr. Wright ensures protective gear is worn by all contractor’ employees and decontamination procedures are strictly adhered to when personnel exit lead-control areas, helping prevent debris from escaping that could pose public or environmental hazards. His efforts in this area have resulted in zero lost-time accidents and no positive blood tests for lead.
Mr. Wright holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Delaware, is a licensed professional engineer in NJ, and is a Certified Building Commissioning Professional (CBCP). When he’s not working, he enjoys relaxing at the Jersey shore, skiing, and playing volleyball. Congratulations to a hard-working, dedicated employee!