June 2014

 
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PS&S Newsletter June 2014
From the Corner Office

From the Corner Office

By Anthony Sartor, CEO, and John Sartor, President and COO

One of the most important elements of the PS&S service offering is our work in education – specifically, helping to create state-of-the-art facilities that improve the educational experience for students, faculty, administration and staff.

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Our commitment to top-flight design and providing technical and engineering expertise in the construction of college dormitories, classroom facilities, elementary and high schools, among other structures, continues to be a priority. It has established us as an industry leader.

As the design-build approach to school development and construction has evolved over the past several years, PS&S has been presented with many challenges, and opportunities. We’ve seized those opportunities. PS&S has contributed major design and engineering work to facilities at Montclair State University, Penn State University, Ramapo College and the State University of New York, Albany at the higher education level.

Our firm also is responsible for some of the highest-functioning and architecturally distinctive elementary, middle and high school structures across New Jersey, New York City and New York State.

Designing and building higher education facilities, in particular, have often involved unique challenges.

In the case of the new 2,000-bed dormitory located on the campus of Montclair State University, our team had to map a site plan for property sitting almost entirely on rock and that rested on a steep and difficult to develop incline.

The dormitory project at Ramapo required us to negotiate sensitive wetlands and meet strict building requirements. There were limited opportunities for the siting of the project. But the end result was a project that has earned the firm numerous awards for design and functionality. And we recently achieved LEED Gold certification for our 500-bed dormitory project at SUNY-Albany.

This month’s newsletter explores the progress we’ve made in our Education Market group and focuses on key projects. The Focus On feature examines design-build and the successes of PS&S’s Education Market group, under the direction of Mary Acciani. Our Case in Point details the efforts that went into the first of those projects, the much-anticipated A. Chester Redshaw Elementary School in New Brunswick.

For more information, please contact Anthony Sartor at asartor@psands.com, or John Sartor at jsartor@psands.com

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Focus On: Mary Acciani

In the old days, taking a public school or university construction project in New Jersey or New York from conception to completion could be a frustrating, time-consuming process.

With the transition to the design-build model, a move that has accelerated the process, PS&S – with its comprehensive full-service engineering and architecture capabilities – has become an industry leader in New Jersey and throughout the region.

Focus On: Mary Acciani

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PS&S Vice President Mary Acciani, PE, CEM, GBE, directs the firm’s Education Market group. By changing the model to enable public entities to work directly with contractors who bring their partner engineers and architects into the picture from the beginning, the timing and delivery of public school and university projects has improved.

For example, under the old model, construction of the 2,000-bed dormitory and 600-seat cafeteria on the campus of Montclair State University, designed by PS&S as part of a design-build team, could have taken about five years to finish. With design-build, the timing was cut to 20 months, Acciani said.

In New Jersey, the Schools Development Authority builds public K-12 schools and is now using a design-build model. It lets bids, contracts with builders and monitors project progress and budget. SDA RFQ’s are very specific in terms of the school architectural layout, MEP systems and material and equipment specifications.

These are more specific than previous guidelines used under the design-bid-build model. Acciani said contractors, architects and engineers must select materials, manufacturers and equipment from an approved SDA list of specifications. Overall, however, design-build has streamlined the building cycle.

“It was more a question of refining some of the mandated requirements than anything else,” she said of the transition between designing K-12 schools for the NJSDA under the old model, and designing them now under design-build.

PS&S is currently working with the NJSDA on four design-build projects. They include the A. Chester Redshaw Elementary School in New Brunswick, the Elliott Street School in Newark, the Caruso School in Keansburg and Paterson’s P.S. 16. The Redshaw School is nearing completion, while construction on the Elliott Street School is ongoing. Design plans are currently underway for Caruso and P.S. 16. Additionally, the firm has contracted with the New York City School Construction Authority to design P.S. 317 in the Bronx. That project is design-bid-build and is currently out for bid.

Challenges in the education sector are unique. Timing of project completion is especially critical; delivery of a project has to be made on time or a school year could be lost. “If you miss an August deadline, you are typically out of it for a year,” Acciani said.

Acciani, a Ewing resident, leads a team of about 30 people in the MEP engineering group and works closely with architectural design and management, structural and geotechnical engineering, as well as civil and environmental engineering. She also heads the Go-to-Market Committee for the Education group. Prior to joining PS&S in 2009, she was Director of Planning and Construction at Rowan University. The PS&S connection was forged during the firm’s work on the development of Rowan’s co-generation facility.

“I was impressed with the work they did on that project,” Acciani. She welcomed the opportunity to shift from public to private sector, help build an Education team and mentor young engineers and architects. The firm’s expertise in both architecture and full service engineering, she said, gives it a decided advantage in winning design-build contracts.

“We’re able to work so effectively together because we’re all here in the same location and we work hard to avoid the siloed approach of many other firms,” she said.

For more information, please contact Mary Acciani at macciani@psands.com

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Case in Point: A. Chester Redshaw Elementary School, New Brunswick, N.J.

Case in Point: A. Chester Redshaw Elementary School, New Brunswick, N.J.

PS&S’s involvement with the design and construction of the new A. Chester Redshaw Elementary School was something new for the firm – its maiden voyage on a school construction project authorized under the New Jersey Schools Development Authority’s new design-build model.

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“This was the first project out of the gate for the NJSDA design-build program in New Jersey,” said PS&S Vice President Mary Acciani, PE, CEM, GBE, who directs the firm’s Education Market group.

The NJSDA selected Hall Construction Company, Inc. as the design-builder of the facility, a pre-kindergarten through 5th grade school. PS&S partnered again with Hall Construction to win the new public school project. As lead A/E, the firm performed full architectural design, MEP and structural engineering services in bringing the much-anticipated school facility to completion.

The old Redshaw School had been demolished in 2006, with the promise of a more modern replacement that better met the needs of the district and its students. But a state moratorium on new school construction caused by funding shortages led to a protracted schedule of delays. In the interim, students had to attend classrooms located in trailers, makeshift schools without playgrounds.

Redshaw was the first of 10 school construction projects funded by the NJSDA in 2011 once funding was available, and ground broke on the new school in early 2013. The new school is scheduled to open this fall.

Ron Weston, Senior Director-Architecture who spearheaded the project for the firm, noted that because of their successful development formula, Hall Construction and PS&S were awarded four of the first six design-build contracts, including Redshaw, that were issued by the NJSDA.

The facility is a two-story, 135,000-square-foot structure designed for 900 students, a community school that will include 46 classrooms, 12 additional classrooms for special education, basic skills and small group instruction, a cafeteria, a multi-purpose room with stage, gymnasium, media center, art room and a music room.

Because of new guidelines PS&S had to follow under the mandates of design-build, Acciani said the firm faced unique and challenging hurdles. “We had a huge learning curve on Redshaw,” she said. “And there was a learning curve on their (the state’s) part, too. It was more a question of refining the relationship and the work schedule than anything else.”

“We look at it as a strong partnership with Hall Construction and the NJSDA,” she said.

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May 2014

 
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PS&S Newsletter May 2014
From the Corner Office

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Every business that withstood market and competitive pressures and thrived in the marketplace has a story of accomplishment to tell. Of course, the industry is in transition. Some of the great names of the past are gone, acquired and absorbed by one-time rivals. Mergers and consolidation are a continuous process. Globalization has significantly altered the way drugs and medical devices are made and marketed.

At every turn, PS&S has played an important role. We’ve made significant contributions to the design and engineering of corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities that helped establish these visionary companies as world leaders. That remains true today. Our Life Sciences teams are widely acknowledged as among the best in the business. Our client list features many of the top drug- and device-making companies. We’ve developed strong business partnerships abroad to meet global demand.

Besides technical expertise, it takes foresight, and an ability to adapt quickly to changing market, consumer and regulatory forces, to succeed in such a volatile industry. The May edition of our newsletter explores some of those qualities, and the people and projects that have contributed to our success.

This month, we focus on Emad Youssef, who has overseen the remarkable growth of our Life Sciences group since we handed him the reins more than 25 years ago. Our work with Genzyme Biosurgery (now Sanofi Biosurgery) in renovating a single-product plant to become a modern multi-product manufacturing facility in the Meadowlands has been ground-breaking in many ways. It’s the subject of our Case in Point. Finally, the Employee Spotlight shines on Luis Silvestre, who has been with the firm less than a year but whose talents are already making an impact.

For more information, please contact Anthony Sartor at asartor@psands.com, or John Sartor at jsartor@psands.com

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FOCUS ON: PS&S an the Life Sciences Sector

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Youssef, who is in charge of the firm’s overall Life Sciences business, has seen enormous changes in the sector over the past two decades, changes that have transformed the industry and increasingly required design, engineering and regulatory advisory services that are innovative and adaptive to client and market demands.

The PS&S connection to the industry was a natural. As Youssef recalls, New Jersey was the “medicine chest of the country” when he arrived at the firm more than 30 years ago. “That was what it was known as at the time,” he said. Many major drug manufacturers had established headquarters and production facilities in New Jersey, and the region continues to be home to the U.S. headquarters of some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the industry, such as Johnson and Johnson, Novartis, Becton Dickinson, Pfizer and Merck.

Over the past three decades, PS&S’s total services capabilities have become a valuable resource for industry clients.

“Not many firms our size can offer the wide range of specialties we have,” said Youssef. Those services, he said, include early site selection and regulatory approvals stage, full design and engineering of complex research and development and manufacturing spaces, and the infrastructure that supports them.

The firm’s reputation for excellence is widely recognized. It consistently ranks among the top firms nationally in the area of pharmaceuticals. The industry accounts for about 30 percent of PS&S’s revenue.

Youssef noted that evolving market and consumer needs have redirected the industry over the last quarter-century. The 1980s and ‘90s were a time of rapid industry growth and expansion. By the beginning of the last decade, many drug companies were facing the "patent cliff" – losing exclusive rights to “blockbuster” medicines and devices they had developed and marketed that are now being produced by generic drug manufacturers.

A wave of major multi-billion-dollar mergers and acquisitions followed, helping companies acquire new drugs in complementary market areas much faster than the time it took to develop them. The biotechnology industry has defined much of the Life Sciences market in developed nations, and the rise of middle-class populations in emerging nations – including the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China – dictated that drug companies should maintain more global operations.

These have provided new opportunities and challenges for the industry, and for PS&S. The firm has established global alliances to serve multinational clients in Europe, Asia and throughout the Americas, Youssef said, while offering the same high level of quality to minimize risks for key U.S-based multinationals. “We’re a presence in every important Life Sciences hub in the Northeast,” he said.

“It’s a highly specialized area, where science and engineering merge to aid in the development of new, much-needed and complex biologics-based medicines,” Youssef said. “We are fortunate that PS&S has attracted some of the best talent in the industry.”

For more information, please contact Emad Youssef at eyoussef@psands.com

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CASE IN POINT: Genzyme Biosurgery

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PS&S provided total service capabilities to meet the client’s needs, which entailed process, MEPS, architectural, structural, civil, environmental and other consulting services. The result was the transformation of the facility in Ridgefield, N.J. that featured expansion of 55,000 square feet of LEED Gold/Platinum office and laboratory space, and 80,000 square feet of manufacturing space, including provisions for gowning, warehousing and packaging areas, and upgraded site utilities.

“This has been one of our most interesting projects, and one of our most rewarding,” said PS&S Senior Vice President Emad Youssef, PE, who oversees the firm’s Life Sciences business.

Genzyme (now Sanofi Biosurgery) has seen production grow steadily to meet increasing patient demand for its medicines in the United States and across the globe. The company develops and markets surgical devices and biologics for osteoarthritis pain relief, adhesion reduction, cartilage repair and severe burn treatment.

A multi-year master plan was developed by Genzyme and engineered by PS&S for the repurposing of the plant. Major infrastructure upgrades were undertaken to increase production, and to accommodate biologics and surgical devices production. The installation of new automated process equipment and containment systems increased production and improved worker safety.

Careful planning and execution was required, according to Tom Scally and Gino Nasi, the project manager and HVAC lead, respectively. In addition to working within stringent federal and local guidelines necessitated by the plant’s location in the environmentally sensitive New Jersey Meadowlands location, project designers and engineers had to overcome stifling space constraints to enhance the outdated physical plant.

With program expansion utilizing exceptional strategic planning, manufacturing innovations and an emphasis on product quality and environmentally sensitive design, Genzyme has experienced considerable cost savings in product manufacturing and higher worker productivity, among other benefits.

Lou Cicchese, the client’s Principal Project Manager – Operations, cited the company’s strong working relationship with PS&S for enabling them to achieve a seamless operation that continues to prove effective to this day.

“PS&S is not just another architectural and engineering fim, but a partner in helping us to perform key projects for Genzyme,” he said. “They have a “whatever it takes” approach to completing assignments and programs on time.”

For more information, please contact Emad Youssef at eyoussef@psands.com

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EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Luis Silvestre

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His search took him to New Jersey, where he previously had done consulting and design reviews with Bristol-Myers Squibb. “I knew New Jersey had good engineering companies working in pharma,” he said. He wound up joining PS&S in August 2013, working from the Warren headquarters.

“It felt like a perfect fit,” he said. “I liked the way the organization was set up. I was looking for a challenging position, a lead role, and a longer-term relationship.”

Silvestre brought an unusual breadth of experience to his new position. His professional training back home provided a comprehensive grounding in the field and has given him a well-rounded view of the mechanical design trade.

“In Puerto Rico, you don’t have the luxury of focusing on one subject,” he said. “There, we had to carry out our practice to take care of everything. One day I might do ventilation, then maybe piping the next day.”

Among other clients in Puerto Rico, he worked with Pfizer on HVAC and utility projects. Since coming to PS&S, his clients have included Boehringer Ingelheim, BMS and Novartis. His primary areas of expertise with the firm are HVAC systems for manufacturing, R&D and office spaces, as well as utilities.

Silvestre, whose father is a retired Army pilot in Puerto Rico, lives in Montgomery with his wife and two sons. His background in all aspects of mechanical engineering has served him well during his time at PS&S. The variety of assignments, a result of the ever-changing nature of the business and how drugs and devices are manufactured, keeps him busy.

With the pharma industry in New Jersey and throughout the region undergoing a significant makeover as a result of mergers, acquisitions, consolidation and moves toward specialization, Silvestre said the challenges, and opportunities, for PS&S are increasing.

“It’s a more competitive market right now for Life Sciences companies,” he said. “This kind of work is exciting. I like dynamic environments. I’m not one content to sit in a corner, I like to be challenged continually.”

For more information, please contact Luis Silvestre at lsilvestre@psands.com

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