By Regina Adams, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Michelle Bolton Connor, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Washington project manager, received the Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award during an award ceremony held at the Washington Navy Yard April 13.
"I was surprised and overwhelmingly honored to receive the award," said Connor. "Without the support of my family, I would not have been afforded the ability to dedicate the time needed."
Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters, Building 197, suffered extensive and widespread damage during the tragic shooting that occurred at the Washington Navy Yard Sept. 16, 2013. Two weeks later NAVFAC awarded an initial contract to conduct critical repairs and develop concept designs for the complete renovation. Those concepts led to the overall renovation project.
Connor was recognized for her extraordinary contributions while serving as the project manager for the NAVSEA Headquarters renovation project from October 2013 to March 2015.
"It was an honor to be chosen as the project manager, and I felt great purpose in using my skills and strengths to help the NAVSEA employees return to the building," said Connor. "I truly enjoyed managing this project and I'm sure that it will remain one of my most memorable experiences."
During that time, she expertly directed a comprehensive team of planning, design, acquisition and construction professionals to deliver the critically required project within budget. Her leadership ensured key milestones were met and the $62 million design-build project was successfully completed within one year of contract award.
She coordinated with architects and engineers to receive, distribute and complete design reviews and technical responses to contractor requests for information, mitigating potential schedule and cost impacts on the project.
She efficiently led the technical evaluation team, reviewing both the design and construction portions of the contractor's proposal and completing the negotiation position and business clearance for command approval.
The renovation project applied distinct design features to achieve the overall objective of changing the building's "sense of place" to mitigate the emotional impacts for the returning workforce. The project included an improved way-finding system and associated color scheme as well as new office cubicles with ergonomically adjustable work surfaces and small coat closet lockers. A remembrance area was built in the atrium where the main entry previously existed. The area provides a peaceful, private area to commemorate the fallen and accommodate personal reflection. In addition to increasing overall building capacity from 2,873 to 3,194 seats, the project also achieved an 18 percent reduction in energy consumption and associated utility costs.
Despite the tremendous pressure to get the job done, safety was never compromised. More than 175 contractors put in more than 320,000 work hours with zero lost-time mishaps.
"I was flattered and grateful to be recognized with this highly respected award," she said. "I was privileged to work with class A teams from NAVFAC, NAVSEA, CH2M Hill and Whiting Turner, including leadership representatives. Without this teamwork, this high-quality project would not have ended successfully on time and under budget."
The Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award is awarded to civilian employees in the Department of the Navy for meritorious service or contributions resulting in high value or benefits for the Navy.