In Miami Gardens, Skanska USA, a subsidiary of Sweden’s Skanska AB project development and construction company, is close to completing work on a $42.7 million municipal complex that includes Miami Gardens’ city hall, city council chambers, police department headquarters and a parking garage.
The firm also has a $101 million contract in Miami to complete construction of the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, a complex project with a state-of-the-art planetarium, an impressive 500,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, a sustainable roof with a hydroponic garden and a five-story innovation center and café.
Upstate, Skanska USA is working on bridge construction and highway rehabilitation projects in Orlando and Tampa costing more than $2.4 billion.
These are only a few of the building and civil engineering/construction projects Skanska is carrying out or has completed in Florida for state and local governments, educational institutions, hospitals, airports and commercial sports and entertainment organizations.
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Other Skanska projects in the state include a renovation of the Chris Evert Children’s Hospital in Fort Lauderdale; an expansion of the Shands Cardiovascular Hospital in Gainesville; an expansion and renovation of the Reitz Union community center at the University of Florida in Gainesville; a design-build expansion and renovation at Tampa International Airport; the Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios at the University of Miami; and the iconic Innovation, Science and Technology Building at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland.
Skanska AB, founded in Sweden in 1887 and working in the United States since 1971 as Skanska USA, is a leading builder and project developer operating in European and North American markets.
Skanska USA has more than 10,000 employees working on projects all over the U.S. and last year logged revenues of $7.3 billion, or about one-third of the Swedish corporation’s total revenues.
Florida is one of the company’s most important markets. With offices in Dania Beach, Orlando, Tampa and other cities, Skanska USA currently has more than 30 building and infrastructure sites across the state. It has 623 full-time employees and hires many more contract workers (through subcontractors) when needed for each project. Last year, the company had revenues of $645 million in Florida.
The firm operates here through two major business units. One is Skanska USA Building, which does preconstruction, design-build and project management work, especially for healthcare and educational institutions, airports and sports and entertainment. This division of Skanska built the Miami Gardens municipal complex and is working on the Frost Museum, as well as other projects.
The other business unit is Skanska USA Civil, which builds infrastructure projects in transportation (roads, bridges, railroads, airport facilities), water treatment plants and other civil engineering works for government and private sector clients. This unit is working on the I-4 project in Orlando (rehabilitating 21 miles of I-4 in a joint venture), the I-275 project in Tampa (building 15 new bridges and widening three existing bridges), among other jobs.
At the Miami Gardens municipal complex, Andy Allen, project director for Skanska USA Building, talked about the project and his company.
“We have four full-time Skanska employees on this project, and we worked with about 60 subcontractors who employed between 40 and 200 workers at different stages,” said Allen, who is based at the company’s Dania Beach office and has worked with Skanska for 20 years.
Skanska won out over about a dozen initial bidders on the project, which covers about 350,000 square feet of construction and has “green” elements such as rainwater collection and reuse; energy-efficient mechanical systems and equipment; and maximum use of daylight in all buildings.
In choosing contractors for this and other jobs in Florida, Skanska uses “proactive outreach,” Allen said. This means the company seeks reliable local small and mid-sized contractors, evaluates them and trains them, if necessary, for working on a large and professionally demanding jobs. The smallest subcontractor on this site was a local plumber, said Allen, who earned a construction management degree at Auburn University in Alabama, while the biggest were subcontractors for concrete, electrical work and air conditioning.
On the project, Allen and his team oversee myriad electronic blueprints covering every aspect of the complicated job, managing dozens of subcontractors, and ensuring that each element is completed correctly and according to specifications as well as to quality and safety standards.
The same standards apply for Skanska’s civil engineering and construction projects. Jim Goyer, vice president of Florida operations for Skanska Civil, is in charge of the large infrastructure jobs the company carries out for the Florida Department of Transportation and other clients.
Goyer, who earned a degree in building construction, pointed out that in the highly competitive market for infrastructure projects, Skanska seeks to provide quality construction that ensures a long project life while minimizing maintenance. “The cheapest bid is not always the best alternative for customers,” he said.
To ensure that workers are prepared for the challenges of each day on construction sites, Skanska has had a “stretch and flex” program in use for over a decade at all Skanska worksites worldwide. Workers spend about 10 minutes each morning before starting on the job stretching and discussing the work and physical challenges they are expected to face that day. “It’s like athletes warming up before a game,” said Allen.
“It helps to prevent injuries on the job. It’s better for business, and it’s better for our workers. At Skanska, we treat you like you’re family.”
The key to Skanska’s success in an extremely competitive international market? Allen said: “We have the experience, we work in close collaboration with our customers, and we take care of our people. We are the best in class among construction firms.”
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Business: A leading international construction and project development company, Swedish-based Skanska builds bridges, highways, airport facilities, residential housing, hospitals, municipal complexes, schools, tunnels, commercial properties, wind farms, PPPs (public private partnerships) and other projects in Europe and North America. Skanska USA, incorporated in New York in 1971, is a major subsidiary of Skanska AB and is developing a range of projects across the country and throughout Florida, a key market. In the United States, the company has four business units: USA Building (pre-construction, design and build and project management focusing on areas such as healthcare, higher education, K-12, aviation and sports and entertainment facilities); USA Civil (civil engineering and construction, infrastructure and other projects for public and private clients in transportation, bridge construction and water treatment); Infrastructure Development; and Commercial Development.
World headquarters: Stockholm
Florida regional offices: Dania Beach, Tampa and Orlando.
Founded: In Sweden in 1887 as a company making concrete products.
Founder: Rudolf Fredrik Berg
Corporate CEO: Johan Karlström
Regional leadership: Jim Goyer, vice president of Florida operations, Skanska USA Civil; Andy Allen, project director, Skanska USA Building, and MacAdam Glinn, senior vice president for South Florida operations, Skanska USA Building.
Employees: About 80 in South Florida, 623 in Florida and approximately 10,000 in the U.S. out of 58,000 internationally.
Ownership: Publicly traded on NASDAQ Stockholm (Symbol: SKA B)
Revenues: More than $645 million in Florida projects last year. Skanska USA had revenues of $7.3 billion in 2014, representing about one-third of the company’s total revenue.