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Duke Construction

Duke Construction_Progress Energy Wildwood

Even seasoned professionals sometimes appreciate an outsider's opinion. That is exactly what happened when Duke Construction contacted USF SafetyFlorida for an assessment of its 28,000-square foot tilt-up concrete structure being built in Wildwood for Progress Energy Florida.

This is the first Sunshine State award for the general contractor, design-build firm, which is the construction arm of Indianapolis-based Duke Realty, one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the U.S. and with more than 135 million square feet of industrial and office properties. The $5 million facility Duke is building for Progress Energy Florida is a one-story, impact resistant emergency operations center scheduled for completion in July 2010.

Both companies share a dedication to workplace safety and health, and in October 2009 Duke Operations Manager Jeff Schneider contacted USF SafetyFlorida after an OSHA referral. "We boast safety every time possible," Schneider says when referring to their view of safety as a core value.

After conducting a review of the firm's written safety program, project plans and scope of work with Schneider and Progress Energy Florida representatives, USF SafetyFlorida's Pat Stark was asked to provide follow-up visits for steel erection inspections and training and a tool-box talk for subcontractors. Jeff Poynter, Duke's assigned project superintendent, says the experience was a great learning tool. "Pat kept me on my toes, and I learned a lot from him. He would ask me questions, and I knew I needed to be ready. The experience was educational and got me thinking about safety in a whole new light."

Schneider says this won't be the last time Duke Construction will work with USF SafetyFlorida. "We will engage in consultation on future projects. It is really beneficial."