Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read April 2021 — Deeming construction an essential service during the pandemic was a major win for the sector in a year marred by industry-wide disruption. The emphasis on health and safety in offices and job sites was top of mind for contractors and engineering firms. Despite the COVID-related challenges, LEAD Engineering Contractors has made great progress in key South Florida projects while experiencing tailwinds on important infrastructure projects, President and CEO Mauricio Gonzalez told Invest:. It is an exciting time as innovation and technology are on the cusp of improving the industry at large moving forward, Gonzalez said.
How would you describe the activity level in the Miami infrastructure sector over the past 12 months?
The pandemic has been challenging, particularly with regard to implementing COVID-19 health and safety protocols in our offices and job sites. Our priority was being able to keep our workers safe and employed, and fortunately, we were able to achieve this. Communication has also been challenging, but we have adapted quickly alongside our clients. In spite of the complications, however, there have been opportunities and the industry as a whole has done a great job of staying productive and continuing to operate safely.
What were the standout projects for the company last year?
One important project was the MacArthur Causeway Bridge, which won the Florida Transportation Builders Association (FTBA) “Best in Construction” award last year. It connects Miami to Miami Beach, and it was completed under budget and ahead of schedule.
The Golden Glades Multimodal Transportation Facility also made great progress last year. It is a state-of-the-art, design-build, $62 million project being delivered for the Florida Department of Transportation and Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works. Among other features, it will have the largest single-standing parking garage in Miami-Dade County, with capacity for 2400 cars. It will be a landmark in multimodal transportation, allowing the community more mobility without adding vehicles to the roads, which are already overcrowded.
Finally, the Copans Road/ I-95 interchange in Pompano, FL is ahead of schedule and we are looking forward to delivering it to the community in early 2022.
What new technologies are being used in the infrastructure sector today?
There are a lot of exciting new tools and equipment being tested and used, and there are several alternative technical concepts and construction savings initiatives that aim to generate time and cost savings to our clients, as well as delivering quality improvements. We are constantly seeking to innovate and implement these new ideas in our projects for the benefit of our clients and the community at large.
What impact is the increased demand in the e-commerce space having on the local infrastructure industry?
The task of moving people, goods and services through our community in an effective manner is a good challenge to have for the infrastructure sector. We embrace technology and we have a huge opportunity to use these new products to become more efficient and productive. The ultimate solution will be a combination of public transportation, improved existing infrastructure and smart vehicles. This mode of transportation is closer to reaching the mainstream than most people think, and we have to prepare the roads for that shift. This will require a great effort from the infrastructure community.
How would you describe the firm’s competitive advantages?
Over the past five years, we have delivered every single project ahead of schedule. This is testament to a great team effort and we are very proud of that record. We achieve this by following sound construction planning processes and project controls, combined with effective communication, which we believe is vital. Our goal is always to deliver the best service.
What is the near-term outlook for the sector?
I am very optimistic about the future for the sector. The current market conditions are allowing businesses like ours in the sector to grow. When you look at state and municipal budgets for infrastructure projects and utilities, the needs are significant. Around 1,000 people per day are relocating to Florida, and those individuals are going to need roads to drive on, bridges to cross rivers and larger airports and ports for transit. To meet that demand, we will need to continue attracting new talent and craft workers to the industry, and provide them attractive training and competitive benefits. There are fantastic opportunities for bright and ambitious young people in the infrastructure industry, and it is our responsibility to help them see these possibilities.
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