Carolinas AGC bestowed the 2018 Pinnacle Awards to five construction projects which enhance their communities, and the “Build with the Best” Pinnacle Award to an individual who spent his career assisting the construction industry. Pinnacle entries are judged on unique aspects and challenges; special values; project management; budget and schedule; and safety performance. Pinnacle winning projects enhance the Carolinas and advance the construction industry! 

Convention and Pinnacle Awards Ceremony

Pinnacle Award

Pinnacle Winners

The CAGC Pinnacle Awards competition is co-sponsored by CPA firm GreerWalker LLP and the law firm of Johnston, Allison & Hord, both based in Charlotte. The Pinnacle Award ceremony was held at CAGC's 98th Annual Convention in Charleston, SC in January. 

Johnston, Allison & Hord    Greer Walker CPA

Project Awards


Vidant Cancer Center, Greenville, NC - T.A. Loving | Rodgers

Pinnacle Partners

  • SteelFab 
  • North State Steel 
Vidant Medical Center

Best Building Project over $5 Million

In eastern North Carolina, the cancer mortality rate is 15% higher than the state and national averages. With a vision of seeing life without cancer, the team at Vidant Health in Greenville set out to make a difference in the lives of its community members with the new Vidant Cancer Center at the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Tower. 

T.A. Loving Rodgers, a Joint Venture, served as the construction manager to build the dream of the new six story, 418,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art cancer center with 96 inpatient rooms, 60 infusion areas, and 58 clinical exam rooms. 

The interior features themes of flowering trees, calming color palettes and digital art walls with inspirational scenes from North Carolina landscapes. As a special detail, during the design phase, staff and patient and family advisors were consulted to help design the center’s aesthetics. Outside, there are three healing gardens that offer a calm and quiet atmosphere designed to foster meditation and reflection. Unique indoor and outdoor labyrinths flow through the gardens as pathways to connect the spaces.  

Over 200 phasing plans were carefully calculated, coordinated and executed to integrate the new cancer care center in the existing footprint and systems on the Vidant campus. A unique building challenge was that the center was built over and around an existing underground material transport and piping tunnel measuring 40 feet wide. Deep foundations, concrete foundations and structural steel installations were completed one side at a time, and then equipment was demobilized and moved to the other side. Upon successful completion, the new building tied into the existing tunnel in what is now the basement.  

The new center also tied into the existing, fully active operating rooms. Without disrupting patients and the delicate work of surgery, T.A. Loving Rodgers successfully coordinated efforts with hospital operations to control noise, vibrations and airborne particles.   

T.A. Loving Rodgers combined their safety resources for a concise and efficient Joint Project Safety Program that included careful planning, training, enforcement and project safety auditing. On a daily basis, each crew held a safety huddle to discuss a Job Hazard Analysis for the work to be accomplished.   

T.A. Loving Rodgers’ strong partnership and collaboration among the owner, design team and specialty contractors resulted in a successful first project for this new Joint Venture. 

They would also like to honor their Pinnacle Partners for their extraordinary efforts on this project: 

  • SteelFab 
  • North State Steel 

Cascade Saloon Redevelopment, Greensboro, NC - The Christman Company

Christman Logo

Pinnacle Partners

  • Tise-Kiester Architects 
  • Bennett Preservation Engineering 
Cascade Saloon Redevelopment

Best Building Project Under $5 Million

The historic Cascade Saloon in downtown Greensboro, located in the city’s South Elm Street Historic District, is a cherished but long neglected facility that had little hope for future use until this project gave it a new life. The Christman Company formed a public/private partnership with Preservation Greensboro and its development fund together with the City of Greensboro to save the structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and transform it into Christman’s new regional offices.   

Constructed in 1895 as a saloon and general store, the brick masonry building had served the community in many capacities over the years. But by the 1980s, the building had been all but abandoned; over the next three decades, the Saloon fell into a state of dangerous disrepair.   

The saloon’s challenging downtown site, nestled between four major rail lines, made it easy to see how previous attempts to save the saloon seemed too difficult to achieve. Demolition of the building would surely result in a huge gap in the downtown landscape, as further development would be logistically impossible.  
In addition to the difficult logistics, the condition of the building itself (near collapse, with some citizens and groups stating the building should be razed) made it seem that the building was destined for demolition. Thanks largely to the efforts and passion of Preservation Greensboro, the community ultimately recognized the importance of and significance in saving the building, and its unique heritage. 

Renovations to the three-story building presented significant technical challenges to the construction team. Operating between two functioning railroad tracks adjacent to the site, stabilization of the historic masonry structure, working with extremely limited space for construction materials and deliveries, and replication of the historic exterior cornice were just some of the key project challenges that the team overcame. A construction approach of “building a ship in a bottle” was used to erect a new support structure inside the historic brick walls.  

And speaking of brick, new bricks would not have matched the patina and look of the original brick. Thankfully, the demolition of an interior brick wall provided the team with a plentiful supply of the Cascade’s original brick. The masonry team used over 1,000 reclaimed bricks, all from this interior wall, to repair the building. The use of original brick and carefully matched mortar have restored the Cascade’s exterior brick to its original glory, without compromising its historic beauty. 

The redevelopment and rehabilitation of the obsolete building, once labeled “unsalvageable,” now is a modern, functional office space which respects and retains its historic fabric and character. The three-story, 9,245-square foot building now serves as home to 70+ full-time employees. 

It is hoped the vibrancy of the renewed building will help it reclaim its position among Greensboro’s most memorable and distinctive landmark buildings while serving as a catalyst to further engage the south end of downtown. 

The Christman Company would like to honor their Pinnacle Partners who went above and beyond on this project:   

  • Tise-Kiester Architects 
  • Bennett Preservation Engineering 

Glendale Pedestrian Bridge, Glendale, SC - Carolina Bridge Company, Inc.

Carolina Bridge
Glendale Bridge

Best Highway Project under $5 Million

The original bridge crossing Lawson Creek, built in 1903, provided access to the Glendale Mill and Mill Town. It was replaced in 1928 with a Pratt Style Truss utilizing the 1903 rock masonry piers. The structure was then closed to vehicle traffic in 1977 and then ultimately abandoned. After 40 years of neglect, at the ripe old age of 89, this Glendale Bridge was completely restored with the help of funding through private donations, grants, and by Spartanburg County.    
The restoration project consisted of replacing 5200 rivets with high strength bolts, replacing all lower chords with higher grade steel, disassembling and repairing the bearings, replacing all significantly corroded steel, replacing  the deteriorated asphalt deck with a new timber deck, and a new paint job complete with 100% removal of existing lead-based paint. The bridge also received lighting, hand rails, and improved access.  
Because the existing plans were not available, everything had to be field measured to create the new set of plans. Additionally, steel sizes, strengths, and fabrication techniques have changed a lot in 89 years, therefore all restoration parts had to be custom fabricated by Carolina Bridge, also based on field measurements. Structural steel cataloging, field measuring, shop drawings, and fabrication was a project in itself. The old adage of “Measure Four Times, Cut Once” was quickly put in place. 

One of the many unique challenges (and greatest safety concern) of this project involved replacing the lower chords of the truss. Structurally the most critical member of a Pratt Truss is the lower chord—if one is removed without the truss being supported, the truss will collapse. Typically, the truss would be supported during chord replacement by vertical shoring towers at the bottom of the creek. However, due to the proximity of the historic dam, using these shoring towers could have damaged it. Carolina Bridge devised a way to strengthen the truss with threaded rods to allow for the replacement of the bottom chords without the need to use the shoring towers.  
Another challenge involved rivet replacement, especially considering it’s the rivets which hold the entire truss together. Every connection had to be analyzed to determine the correct sequence to remove and replace the rivets. Additionally, great care had to be taken while removing 89-year-old rivets to not damage the surrounding steel which could cause a collapse.  

Safety was top priority on this job, especially when you take into consideration the scope: removing and replacing critical structural members of an 89-year-old truss, over water, with no existing plans. But Carolina Bridge proudly did so and reported an outstanding safety record with no lost time injuries.  

The restored bridge is now the centerpiece of Glendale Shoals Park and will eventually tie into Spartanburg County’s trail system. 

Salem Creek Connector, Winston-Salem, NC - Blythe Construction, Inc.

Salem Creek Connector

Best Highway Project over $5 Million

The Salem Creek Connector project was conceived to maintain and improve connectivity between the Research Triangle Corridor and Downtown Winston Salem, including: Winston-Salem State University, Salem College, Bowman Gray Stadium and 

Old Salem Visitors’ Center. Also included in the construction was a new four-lane boulevard with a diverging-diamond interchange at U.S. 52.   

Out of the gate, this project’s first challenge was keeping the Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad’s train, which ran daily across two bridges that were to be replaced, operative and uninterrupted. Blythe created a temporary track so that the train could be diverted, and then once the new bridge was completed, it could be switched back.  

The railroad bridge over U.S. 52 offered other challenges, such as coordinating the construction of this bridge with the phasing of the U.S. 52 roadway. Traffic flow had to be maintained during the construction, which required multiple traffic shifts, and temporarily diverting all south bound traffic onto the new ramp alignment. 

Throughout the project, U.S. 52 was only closed once (for a weekend), when the Rams Drive Bridge was demolished.  

Described as “the vanguard of road improvements designed to make coming into Winston-Salem a memorable experience” by the Winston-Salem Journal, the project included the erection of twin arches over U.S. 52 to reflect the community’s Moravian heritage which often included arches in their architecture.   

This project was located in Happy Hills neighborhood, which is the oldest African American neighborhood in Winston-Salem. Unfortunately, Happy Hills was physically divided years ago when U.S. 52 was constructed, and much of its identity was lost. Lesson Learned: one of the celebrated successes that came out of this project was the positive community involvement. To better assist the community with the construction, frequent community outreach events were held, which led to greater communication between the NCDOT local staff and the community—a feat appreciated by all parties involved. 

Wilmington Bypass Segment B, Wilmington, NC - Balfour Beatty

Wilmington Bypass

Best Highway Project over $5 Million

This $124 million, three-mile bridge and roadway project – US-17 from State Road 1430 to West of US-421 North of Wilmington, represented the culmination of a 15-year plan to reduce traffic congestion in New Hanover County and improve accessibility to Brunswick County to the south. In conjunction with Section A, delivered by another contractor, Section B completed the bypass and connected US 17 to I-40 via 1.5 miles of roadway and 1.5 miles of new bridges.  

The project represents a successful collaboration between NCDOT, Balfour Beatty, the US Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, CSX Transportation, Duke Energy and a strong network of subcontractors.      

Among many challenges, the annual Toomer Creek fish moratorium prohibited bottom-disturbing work from February to mid-June. Balfour Beatty strategically allocated resources to “in-water work” for seven months so that the restriction would not derail progress. But when the team began piledriving to install the trestle and begin the bridge foundation, challenging ground conditions quadrupled the time required to drive each pile to its minimum tip elevation. 

Consequently, all employees and subcontractors committed to an aggressive 24-hour schedule through the holiday season to drive all 184 piles on-time prior to the start of the fish moratorium in February.  

As part of the project, Balfour Beatty drove the largest precast pile in southeastern North Carolina and constructed one of the longest post-tensioned spans in the state. Placing the post-tensioned girder section required careful engineering and detailed coordination with NCDOT, the USACE and US Coast Guard.   

The project team preserved the integrity of the untouched wetlands and delivered the three-mile bridge and roadway project on time to open to traffic on December 19, 2017.  

The project is featured on a US Army Corps of Engineers promotional poster as a successful example of a new highway and bridge project built without damage to aquatic resources, and won accolades from ENR Southeast and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials. 

Individual Pinnacle Award

Vaughn Wicker, International Code Council

Build with the Best Award

Vaughn WickerThe Build with the Best award honors someone who is not a contractor but has contributed to the betterment of the construction industry and the overall economic welfare of the Carolinas.  
Carolinas AGC is proud to recognize Vaughn Wicker, who was employed by the International Code Council for 23 years prior to his retirement in May 2017. In this role at ICC, he served as the representative covering the southeast, including North Carolina and South Carolina.  

Vaughn started his career in the construction industry working for a general contractor as a project manager. He then went to work for the City of Geenville, SC in the building department, where he worked under the deputy building official.  
His early experience also included involvement with the Building Officials Association of South Carolina as well as numerous building code committees and councils. Vaughn served as secretariat for one of the five committees that developed the International Building Code.   

Over the years, Vaughn’s experience as a code official made him an excellent member advocate, and he always provided great service and support to our industry. For CAGC staff and members who had the pleasure of working with him, they’ll tell you he was a “walking, talking google search, always able and willing to provide anything you needed to know about any building code in our two states—and pretty much any other state as well!” 

CAGC’s own Leslie Clark often called upon Vaughn anytime she had questions regarding codes—and he was always eager to help. Notorious for keeping up with legislation, Vaughn would also dedicate time to sharing the impact that proposed building code bills would have on the construction industry. Our industry in the Carolinas is better off today because Vaughn cared enough to stay involved and advocate for common sense, low cost and meaningful changes to the states’ building codes. His retirement has left a void in our industry.  
In retirement, Vaughn now focus his time on his favorite activities — elevating his golf game and spending time with his family.

Construction Excellence Awards

CAGC Construction Excellence Awards are recognized by the CAGC Pinnacle Award Judges as projects of distinction. 

Excellence Winners