Carolinas AGC bestowed the 2022 Pinnacle Awards to six construction projects which enhance their communities, and a “Build with the Best” Pinnacle Award to an individual whose partnership efforts strengthen 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! 

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 102nd Annual Convention in Aruba in January. 

Johnston Allison Hord Attorneys    Greer Walker CPA

Build with the Best Pinnacle Award

Leland Colvin, Deputy Secretary for Engineering, South Carolina Department of Transportation


Leland ColvinLeland has been with SCDOT for over 25 years. He has served in various positions throughout the Department including Director of Construction, Design/Build Construction Engineer, and Program Manager for the Charleston metro area before becoming the Deputy Secretary for Engineering.

Throughout his time with SCDOT, Leland has excelled at building a strong, solid relationship with our industry. Due to his position, he hasn’t always been able to agree fully with our stances, but he’s always willing to sit down, listen, and work through issues or concerns when they’ve risen.

CAGC member Marty McKee of King Asphalt noted that Leland is the epitome of the “Partnership” between SCDOT and Highway Contractors. He examines both sides of every issue thoroughly before making decisions and explains his reasoning for his decisions. Leland’s forward thinking and seeing the “Big Picture” approach helps streamline both SCDOT and our industry, which in turn facilitates the operation and safety of the travelling public.

Best Building Projects

Duke Health, Duke Central Tower: Durham, NC - Skanska USA Building

Pinnacle Partner: Precision Walls

Duke Central Tower Exterior

Located on Duke University’s Medical Center campus, the 500,000 square foot Duke Central Tower expands the pediatric and adult services of both Duke University Hospital and Duke Children’s Hospital.

This project, which is positioned where the School of Medicine and the hospital campus meet, unifies the two with a garden oasis used by patients, medical staff, students, and the community.

The extensive, six-year effort included 350 patient rooms, med-surg, ortho, ICU, neurology, solid organ and bone marrow transplant, two catheterization labs, procedure room, in-house pharmacy, administrative space, loading dock, and utility infrastructure.

Regarding project safety, Skanska used an in-house online platform called PlanIt, allowing team members to develop task-specific safety plans together for each phase of work. Together, the team created over 360 construction work plans throughout the project. With more than 450 workers onsite daily at the peak of construction, two million hours were completed with no lost time incidents. This resulted in earning a North Carolina Department of Labor Building Star – the largest project ever accepted into the program.

This project saw its fair share of challenges. Major redesign during preconstruction increased the project scope to maximize the building footprint, bringing the facility within three feet of relocated utilities, and making excavation and shoring installation significantly more complicated. The utilities served the entire campus -- interruptions would have been detrimental.

Construction was 75% complete when COVID-19 hit. In response, Duke Health requested turnover of the first three floors one year early while continuing construction of floors 4-11. These floors increased the number of emergency beds, avoided the need for temporary beds in tents, and gave the existing hospital more capacity for COVID-19 patients.

In early June 2021, Skanska turned over floors 6-11. As patients were shifted out of short-term care areas, Skanska teams deconstructed temporary measures, reconnected and retested systems and coordinated inspections with the city. In December 2021, patients moved back into the lower levels. A commitment to planning, communication and quality from the entire project team minimized risk and maximized project success.

A unique and lifesaving aspect of the Children’s Hospital included a room that’s specific to treating children with neuroblastoma cancer. Because the primary focus of redesigning this room was radiation protection, the team installed a lead-lining system. Due to the immense weight of the lead protection necessary, the structural steel had to be significantly strengthened by stiffening beams and added bracing. The room required lead laminated plywood on the walls and ceilings and lead sheeting to the elevated slab on the metal deck. Radiation protection was also provided for all incoming and outgoing pipes, ducts and conduits.

The project also included a new family observation area, allowing family to interact with their children who are undergoing the multi-day treatment.

Credit One Stadium Renovation: Charleston, SC - Choate Construction

Choate Logo

Pinnacle Partners: SteelFab, Inc., Pleasant Places, and GlassCorp

Completed Credit One Stadium

After 20 years as Charleston’s premier event venue, Credit One Stadium needed an extensive renovation to enhance the guest experience and continue to attract world-class athletes and performers. After using enough concrete to fill a tennis court 45-feet tall and installing more than 200 miles of wiring, the facility was increased in capacity from 7,000 to 11,000 through open-air design and a spacious bowl- shaped arena.

Credit One Stadium blends seamlessly with its environment, including the 26 thirty-five-foot-tall crape myrtles planted by the project team. From the traditional Lowcountry flair of polished tabby flooring within all hospitality suites, to emulating the cranes at the nearby Port of Charleston in the design of the Stage House’s exterior canopy, Charleston is in every detail.

The first of its kind to grace a coastal shoreline, the structural steel cantilever canopy system consists of braided steel cables imported from Germany and a sky deck system for entertainment equipment. The project team collaborated with the manufacturer to strategically retrofit this unique product using custom stainless materials that prevent salt air corrosion.

As the scope expanded throughout the construction process, various logistical challenges arose, resulting in the rearranging of the construction office, laydown areas, and fabrication yard placement within a very tight site. Virtual planning generated an altered site layout, establishing routes based on turn radiuses and pick points for the 115-foot stadium lights and other impacted materials.

Because this project needed to be completed by early 2022 in time to host the 50th Anniversary of North America’s largest women’s tennis tournament, the Credit One Charleston Open— timing complications- thanks to COVID- became a big challenge. The pandemic’s global shutdown resulted in major delays in material availability – but especially the high-end, in-demand materials and fixtures this state-of-the-art facility required.

One example of many of the overcome timing challenges included the stadium seating—which can make or break an event experience. Custom colors chosen by the ownership team required expedited, stringent, and rigorous testing before production could begin. Padded stadium chairs for premium suites and VIP-level also faced challenges-- Due to factory shutdowns and supply chain bottlenecks, these chairs were going to be delayed until after the scheduled tournament. As a solution, the Choate team creatively sought a stateside alternative that used the same rail system and complemented the stadium color scheme. Fortunately, through Choate’s robust network of industry partners, the team secured “extra stock” from the Dallas Cowboy’s AT&T Stadium that met requirements, and Choate was able to utilize these padded seats for the tournament.

Choate’s mission statement, “to forge lasting relationships by creating construction solutions that result in exceptional outcomes,” embodies the sentiment carried out by the Credit One Stadium Renovation Project Team.

Best Highway Projects

Charlotte Gateway Station: Charlotte, NC - Crowder Construction Company


Crowder Logo

Pinnacle Partners: Propst Construction Company and Augusta Iron and Steel Works, Inc.

Charlotte Gateway Station

The Charlotte Gateway Station project is a multi-staged progressive project to move the intercity passenger rail station from the current undersized, flood-prone, and poorly connected location in the Norfolk Southern general classification freight yard, which is currently located on Tryon Street, to a location in Uptown Charlotte, closer to Charlotte’s employment center and within blocks of the City’s major sporting facilities. The project included grading, drainage, 8 bridges, a passenger platform, tunnels, retaining walls, rock plating, utility re-locations, sub-ballast installation, bridge drainage systems, paving, a temporary pedestrian walkway enclosure, bridge demolition, demolition of the Greyhound Bus Station, and temporary and permanent shoring.

This project was built in an extremely busy section of uptown Charlotte.  Like many city projects, Gateway had multiple requirements for blackout periods where work near the Panthers Stadium could not progress due to fans and player requirements. Crowder built a protection structure to assure the safety of pedestrians on the greenway between the practice facility area and the stadium. A definite challenge during construction became those pedestrians who simply ignored signage and hard barriers-- construction would then be halted until these individuals left the area.

Another challenge -- there were four other contractors working on four separate projects with very different objectives and schedules all within one tight area of the city. Crowder initiated coordination meetings with all the contractors to work through the conflicts and rework/prioritize big activities to everyone’s benefit.

The project offered multiple areas of demolition that required the removal of hazardous materials. Asbestos was found in the 1900’s-era bridge over 6th Street and in the Greyhound station building; and contaminated soils were found at the 5th street bridge. At each finding, construction had to be stopped so that the hazardous materials could be removed.

There were two Delay of Right-of-Way areas within the project limits that were outlined in the bid specification. However, the anticipated four-month delay of right-of-way for construction of a temporary Greyhound Station by City of Charlotte became an additional 286-day issue for critical path work on the main section of the new Amtrack Station platform. Crowder partnered with NCDOT Rail Division to execute a value engineering proposal which included shoring next to the old bus station lot and rescheduling the work sequence of the platform. This allowed the project to stay on track for completion by mitigating the impacts created outside of the contract. 

The Gateway project, which finished on-time, was a designated NC OSHA Building STAR project. 

BMW LC-X Bridge & Power Feed Expansion Project: Greer, SC - United Infrastructure Group, Inc.

United Infrastructure Group Logo

Pinnacle Partners: Infrastructure Consulting & Engineering, and Augusta Iron & Steel Works

BMW LC-X Bridge & Power Feed Expansion Project

BMW Manufacturing, in efforts to expand its logistics operations at its Greer Plant in Spartanburg County, is adding a new manufacturing building on the opposite side of Interstate 85 from the current plant. To minimize impacts of truck traffic and allow for efficient access to BMW within a federal trade zone, a private roadway was needed to connect the BMW plant to its new satellite.

The project included a span steel girder bridge over 8 lanes of I-85; a span concrete girder bridge over Freeman Farm Road; 3,700 feet of new roadway; roadway lighting; landscaping; security fencing; and utility installations and relocations -- all within a highly accelerated delivery schedule of just 15 months. 

The team eliminated the need for a pier in the median of I-85 to significantly minimize impacts to interstate traffic during construction and greatly improve safety for the traveling public.  When completed, this was the longest single-span bridge over an interstate in the state of South Carolina with approximately 475,000 pounds of structural steel; 157,000 pounds of rebar and 470 cubic yards of concrete.

Another unique aspect of this project was the pre-assembling of girders into pairs, which were then erected over I-85 in one night, while law enforcement officers provided rolling roadblocks of interstate traffic. The girder pairs were passed across the interstate with a mid-air handoff from a 1,320-ton hydraulic crane to a 600-ton hydraulic crane on the other side of I-85, with a 150-ton crawler crane carrying the trailing end of the girder pair. Each girder pair was erected in less than 45 minutes.

The project was completed on time and under budget with no recordable safety incidents, no lost time incidents, no quality issues, and no disputes or claims.

Best Utility Projects

Lake Greenwood WTP & Raw Water Intake: Waterloo, SC - Harper General Contractors

Harper General Contractors

Pinnacle Partner: Goodwyn Mills Cawood

Lake Greenwood Water Treatment Plant & Raw Water IntakeThis facility is one of the largest capital projects ever completed in Laurens County. The idea of developing a long-term solution to improve water quality for the community dates back to the 1980’s when the original plan focused on a reservoir on Lake Rabon to source raw water, but then focus shifted to Lake Greenwood due to its location, size, and long-term benefits to the community. Harper was brought on board to construct a plant with Super Pulsator Clarification/Greenleaf filtration, a full laboratory and chemical feed station, and raw water intake and pumps.

Phase I of the project consisted of population and flow projections, public involvement, permitting, hydraulic analysis, and piloting of four treatment technologies. Piloting occurred at the future raw water intake site, and utilized water drawn through an intake screen. These pilot units operated for 30 days while data was collected, analyzed, and interpreted. Harper then recommended a treatment technology.

Phase II consisted of producing project plans and specifications for a 4 million-gallons-per-day water treatment plant with the ability to be high rated to 6 million gallons and expanded to 18 million gallons. The water treatment plant features ozone pre-treatment for taste and odor, rapid mix and upflow clarification, multimedia filtration, two 750,000-gallon clearwells, and a finished water pump station.

One of the many unique features of this project includes the Aqua-Aerobic ozone generation system-- an innovative process not normally seen in the Southeast. By utilizing this system over traditional ones, Harper was able to address public concerns regarding the small particulates that created taste and odor. Additionally, the new technology allows Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission to address any future EPA and DHEC regulations, and predict and manage costs of providing exceptional water service.

Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility Ozone Systems Updates: Cary, NC - State Utility Contractors, Inc.

Cary / Apex Water Treatment Facility Ozone Systems Updates

State Utility Contractors
In 2016, the Cary/Apex facility, located on Jordan Lake near the Cary/Apex area of North Carolina, upgraded one of four aging ozone generators, and now it was up to State Utility to replace the other three, which were barely working.

Jordan Lake, like most lakes, is influenced by environmental factors and seasonal variations that influence the quality of the water source. One specific effect is unpleasant taste and odor. To help counteract these effects, the Cary/Apex treatment facility utilizes a similar process as our previous project, with special concrete treatment basins called Super-Pulsator Flocculator Clarifiers that are relatively new and aren’t yet widely used in the Carolinas. The basins use a vacuum chamber for pulsing action as water flows upward and larger particles settle to form a blanket that helps filter water as it flows up. Ozone Generators then convert pure Oxygen to Ozone, which is then injected into the water to oxidize and eliminate contaminants in order to control taste and odor.

Due to COVID and supply chain shortages resulting in a four-month delay, the project team had to quickly revise the original schedule, which brought about an even bigger challenge. Work would now have to be done during the peak time of year when the plant experienced the most significant effects of taste and odor. Through a compressed work schedule, tremendous amount of coordination with the project owner, engineer, and subs, a new 2-step shutdown plan was developed to accomplish the work without any interruptions to plant processes. The first shutdown required re-routing of existing piping to isolate each individual generator, and the second included the demolition of existing generators and power supply units, and installation of the new units.

Work was performed in an existing building with limited space without an overhead hoist or crane. Each generator weighed nearly 9,000 pounds and the power supply units weighed nearly 12,000 pounds – which obviously brought about some constructability challenges. Additionally, Ozone is a volatile gas, exposure can cause numerous symptoms that can be possibly fatal. Therefore, safety was paramount throughout the completion of this project.

The State Utility team delivered the final project 96 days ahead of schedule, worked over 5,000-man hours without any loss time accidents or injuries, and was completed within the original contract price while returning nearly $18,000 of owner’s contingency back to the City.

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

Excellence Winners