Harkins Coins a Safety Commitment

construction workers on jobsite holding safety coins

By Corporate Safety Director Bob Walsh

Keeping safety “top of mind” is important in our industry. For Harkins, the challenge is heightened as our employees are involved in large projects and spread across more than 35 jobsites in six states. In an effort to provide special recognition for employees who exemplify safe work habits and a commitment to safety above and beyond one’s normal activities, Harkins has created a Safety Commitment Coin program. Custom raised metal coins were created with the Harkins logo on them along with the saying “Safety Starts with Me.”

This program was put into effect January 1, 2019. The coins will be given out selectively to identify and recognize those employees who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to a safe work environment. Employees will be awarded the coin based on the following criteria:

  • Action: An employee who performs a distinguished act that aids, averts, or assists during a hazardous situation
  • Prevention: An employee who prevents hazardous conditions and/or promotes safer work conditions
  • Innovation: An employee who proposes or improves the safety of an operation
  • Leadership: An employee who exhibits exceptional safety leadership in a specific situation or an exceptional record of long-term safety leadership

The first two coins were awarded on January 11, 2019 to Site Manager Drew Dunsten (top left) and Project Engineer Austin Achenbach (top right). Both are currently working on The Apex Apartment project in Arlington, VA. The job was found to have outstanding safety signage and literature on a monthly safety walk. Fall prevention signs were strategically placed every ten feet around the perimeter of the large excavation, along with numerous warning signs at the egress in and out of the site. The safe work practices and continuous responsibility for teammates and our subcontractors is what set this job apart from others.

When asked about being the first recipients of the coin, Project Engineer Austin Achenbach said, “I was honored and it felt good to be recognized for the added effort and hard work, especially on something as important as safety.” Site Manager Drew Dunsten went on to say that “It is important that all workers are aware of the hazards and that we have an effective safety program in place. I am grateful to be recognized for making safety a priority.”

When an employee is awarded a coin, they can exchange it for a branded Harkins apparel item. We hope that the new Safety Commitment Coin program will be a good investment in raising safety awareness. Our heightened awareness will pay dividends for the employees of Harkins, the clients we serve, and the subcontractors on our projects.

Jackson Ward Apartment Community Tops Out

Group photo construction topping out mission bbq
Richmond, VA

Jackson Ward Apartments reached a milestone! The project celebrated its topping out on Wednesday, March 20th. The Harkins team was joined by over 150 subcontractors and Community Preservation and Development Corporation Senior Real Estate Development Officer Matt Engel and Development Officer Mario Wells for a catered lunch from Mission BBQ.

Situated on the site of the former St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Jackson Ward Apartments was built in 1884 as Richmond’s first African American Catholic congregation and a convent that was added in 1904. The community will consist of a four-story senior living facility with 72 units, two three-story apartment buildings totaling 74 units, and the conversion of the historic convent into eight apartment units. The apartment buildings will be a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, as well as studio-style apartments.

The project will have 5,800 sf of retail space and surface parking. Amenities for the senior living facility will include a fitness center, business and arts center, multipurpose room, and conference room. The apartment buildings’ units will consist of vinyl plank flooring, shaker style cabinets, and modern fixtures. Community amenities will include a fitness center, computer space, and dog wash station.

The senior living facility is scheduled for completion by October of this year. The remaining community buildings and retail space will be completed by January of 2020.

Topping Out Photos

Women in Construction Week

women in construction week logo power to success

Harkins joined the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in observing Women in Construction Week. This national week is celebrated annually during the first full week of March, and aims to highlight women as a visible component of the construction industry, raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in construction, and emphasize the growing role of women in the industry. The theme for this year was, “Be the Power to Your Success”, and we are proud to say that the women at Harkins hold the key to their own success!

Ellie Cascio, Project Manager

Ellie has over 30 years of experience in the industry, with a specialty in interior and healthcare construction. She has completed projects for the University of Maryland Medical Systems, Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland – Baltimore campus, and Towson University. Ellie most recently worked in our Commercial Group on the relocation and fit-out of the new Supreme Orthopedics HQ, the 3rd floor expansion at Harkins’ HQ, and a series of office space fit-outs in the new One Merriweather building in Columbia, MD. She is currently working on the 58,000 sq ft Riverwood project. Outside of Harkins, Ellie was involved in the revitalization of ABC Baltimore’s Women in Construction Committee and participated in the ABC Construction Awards Program, both as Chairwoman and judge. She is LEEP AP certified and past member of CASHE (Chesapeake Society of Health Care Engineers).

Andrea Warren, Assistant Project Manager

Andrea brings an added expertise in architectural engineering, which has been valuable to any project with her knowledge in quality control, management, and estimating in commercial and residential projects. Andrea has a wide range of experience, with past projects including the Eastman Corporate Business Center, Deanwood Recreation Center, The Maret School, and City Vista. Most recently, she wrapped up a renovation at the Ft. Stevens Place Apartments in Washington, DC and is now working on the Culpepper Garden I Renovation project in Arlington, VA.

Melody Padgett, Project Manager

Melody has over 20 years of experience in the development and construction industry, where she owned a custom home building company, and worked in hospitality services renovating major hotels and resorts across the country. She’s passionate about her role in the industry and feels that women are able to bring a different perspective, communicate effectively, and offer a greater level of detail to projects.

Jennifer Shull, Assistant Site Manager

Jennifer Shull is a military wife and mother of two who re-entered the workforce as an assistant site manager. Prior to her husband’s deployment, Jen worked as a field engineer on two projects at the University of Michigan campus, along with The Galia at Lost Key Marina & Yacht Club in Pensacola, FL. She joined the Harkins family shortly after her husband was stationed back in Maryland, where she is working hard at the new market rate apartment community called Beechtree Apartments community in Prince Frederick, MD.

Victoria Velikovsky, Estimator

Victoria is a graduate of University of Maryland College Park, where she studied architecture with a minor in construction project management. While interning for an infrastructure contractor, she was part of an Exxon Mobil environmental cleanup in Baltimore, MD. Victoria also was a member of University of Maryland’s Solar Decathlon Team, a university-led team that researches, designs, and produces schematic documents for an innovative solar-powered smart house.