Ron Brenke, P.E.
(Article jointly prepared by G2 Consulting Group with special thanks to Ron Brenke, P.E., Executive Director of ACEC Michigan)
ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies) of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently held their annual partnering workshop in Lansing. ACEC of Michigan is committed to providing a competitive advantage to its member firms in their marketplace. The meeting reviewed a number of significant accomplishments in 2014 including the culmination of efforts to simplify and improve the pre-qualification process for companies interested in working with MDOT.
Simple as it sounds, this effort has been ongoing for a number of years. Prequalification has been extremely costly and time consuming, both for the companies trying to become qualified to do work for MDOT and for the agency itself. It involved wheelbarrows of paperwork that took hours to prepare and review. The new process is nearly paperless, streamlined and up-to-date and will enable companies to more quickly renew their prequalification on an annual basis. Bravo, Director Kirk Steudle and MDOT! This is a needed change that’s been a long time coming.
Also at the meeting Andrew Doctoroff, Senior Advisor to MDOT on Transportation Initiatives, gave a bullish update on the International Bridge project, the $1 billion trade crossing project connecting Windsor, Ont. and Detroit that will be primarily funded by Canada. Doctoroff reported on property acquisition, environmental permits, and the new joint authority that will operate the bridge and talked about the creation of more than 10,000 construction-related jobs that will be created during the estimated six year project (scheduled to be completed in 2020).
Another proud moment in the meeting came when last summer’s reconstruction of I-96 was singled out for kudos from MDOT. That project, which took the unusual step of entirely closing a heavily travelled seven mile section of the freeway, was a completely paperless job that utilized new technologies and techniques, saved millions of dollars in costs (est. at $4.5M), and finished ahead of schedule. G2 Consulting Group, an ACEC Michigan member firm, engineered earth retention systems to safeguard underground infrastructure during construction of the project (click here to view a video overview of the I-96 Reconstruction Project).
The meeting wrapped up with an enthusiastic roundtable discussion covering design, contracts, environmental and operational issues.
This year’s ACEC meeting was one of the biggest ever and drew a healthy audience of over 500 on a cold February day. But planners are looking to grow the program in the future. Next year’s meeting will be held on February 4, 2016 at the Lansing Center.
Click here for more information on ACEC Michigan and upcoming events.