Harkins Celebrates Groundbreaking of Habitat House

Harkins and Habitat break ground on home in Woodbourne-McCabe
Baltimore, MD

On Friday, October 15, 2020, Harkins attended the groundbreaking of a home in the North Baltimore neighborhood of Woodbourne-McCabe that will be built for long-time community partner Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake.

Harkins President & CEO Gary Garofalo and Project Manager Walt Whitlow were joined by Habitat Chesapeake CEO Mike Posko and staff, community leaders, and the soon to be homeowners for this ceremonial event.

Mike Posko quote Harkins and Habitat groundbreaking of home

Located at 504 McCabe Avenue in the Greater Govans community, the single-family home will include three-bedrooms, two bathrooms, and is on track to be completed in the Spring of 2021. The project launch represents Habitat Chesapeake’s dedication to the neighborhood, which began in 2012 with its commitment to renovating a projected 21 homes by 2020. The work in Woodbourne-McCabe will be one of three areas of emphasis in the coming years. Other areas of focus include up to 16 homes in the East Baltimore neighborhood of Milton-Montford, Belair-Edison, and 27 new homes in homes in Orchard Ridge, located in Northeast Baltimore.

Homeowner quote Harkins and Habitat groundbreaking of home

Groundbreaking photos.

Mike Mallow Promoted to Senior Vice President

Mike Mallow promotion to senior vice president
Columbia, MD

We are pleased to announce the promotion of Mike Mallow to Senior Vice President of the Multifamily Group.  In this role, Mike will have executive oversight of the group’s Market Rate, Affordable, Senior Living, and Renovation divisions, with each of the vice presidents of those divisions reporting to him.

In January 2021, he will also celebrate his 40th Anniversary as a Harkins employee, a journey that began in 1981 when he was hired as a laborer. Mike has been instrumental in expanding Harkins’ opportunities and market share, especially in the Northern Virginia and DC area. Mike became a site manager in 1997 and was promoted to Project Manager in 2005. His promotion to Division Manager in 2014 enabled Harkins to focus on new business opportunities, and since the end of 2015 Mike has been doing an outstanding job as Vice President of our Multifamily Market Rate Division.

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​​​​​​​Please join us in congratulating Mike and wishing him continued success in his new role.


The Need for Thermal Cameras is Heating Up

Thermal camera imaging COVID-19

By Network Manager Chris Thomas

As we begin to find our way back to a new normal, the safety and wellbeing of our team members and trade partners continue to be our priority. While returning to fully staffed jobsites and offices will not happen overnight, a great deal of care must be taken to keep our team members and trade partners safe each step of the way.

One such step we have taken has been the installation of thermal imaging cameras on our jobsites, along with our Columbia HQ and Northeast office. Harkins evaluated a variety of thermal imaging options and chose the Fotric 226b camera. Fotric is known for producing a high-quality camera that has become the standard for many construction companies across the country. The device utilizes an intelligent temperature calibration algorithm that automatically collects facial temperatures from different scenarios for self-learning. It adjusts the alarm threshold in real-time by adapting to changes in ambient temperature which helps prevent false positives from fluctuations in morning and evening temperatures.

These cameras employ facial recognition to detect elevated or abnormal body temperatures of up to ten people at a time from up to ten feet away. A built-in detection module uses Artificial Intelligence to automatically lock onto faces in the camera’s view for temperature measurement. It is also able to shield non-facial sources of high temperatures, such as a hot cup of coffee.

In addition to the camera, a laptop with the Fotric WLIR software is required. This software automatically counts the number of screened personnel, as well as the number of abnormal body temperature detections. Pictures of every screened person are saved on the laptop for later evaluation.

As a result of this new protocol, Harkins created a new position called Temperature Screener/Site Sanitizer. This person closely monitors each of the cameras that have been deployed to our jobsites and offices and is responsible for wiping down high-touch surfaces. Screeners are trained to use the software and protocols for handling personnel that trigger the alarm. This technology has enabled our teams to minimize exposure on our jobsites
and our offices to reduce potential contamination of COVID-19.

The thermal imaging cameras are just one important tool that we are utilizing to keep everyone safe as we continue steering our company back towards the life that we all remember from the not-so-distant past. We will continue to evaluate other options as necessary to uphold the high standards we are accustomed to.

Homes at Fountain Green Tops Out

Homes at Fountain Green team stand in front of topped out buildings
Bel Air, MD

On Monday, September 21st, Harkins celebrated the topping out of Homes at Fountain Green with a catered boxed lunch from Panera Bread.

This new affordable 72-unit community will consist of three three-story wood frame garden-style apartment buildings across 10 acres. The apartments will be made up of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, including five Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) units and two units for those with hearing and visual impairments. Kitchens will feature granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. All ground-level apartments will have patios with doors to the exterior, along with a traditional entrance from the breezeway.

The building’s exterior will be comprised of stone veneer, fiber cement siding and paneling, vinyl siding in breezeways, and pitched shingle roofs. There will be a 3,000 sf community building offering a variety of amenities for residents, including a fitness area, computer room, a lounge, and a great room with a kitchenette. A covered porch will overlook a large common green area, playground, and fenced-in dog park. The property will offer ample surface parking.

Topping Out Photos

Taking Steps for a Safer Tomorrow

Construction Safety Week 2020: Taking Steps for a Safer Tomorrow

By Project Controls Executive Russell Tipton

At Harkins, safety is the primary component of our growth, success, and well-being. We are committed to maintaining a progressive and proactive awareness of occupational and public safety in all phases of our operations. This commitment is not only exemplified by a comprehensive safety and loss control program, but it is also constantly reviewed, modified, and accentuated to be fully effective.

Harkins President and CEO Gary Garofalo initiated bi-annual safety training for all of our field personnel. These training sessions provide continuing safety education for all of our field staff, help keep us focused on the hazards we face on our job sites daily, and provides an opportunity for our field staff to share their safety knowledge, ideas, and lessons learned.

The training session topics for the next year will be centered around OSHA’s Focus Four: Fall Protection, Electrical, Struck By, and Caught-In or -Between. The majority of construction accidents can be traced back to one of these four areas of concern. With consideration taken for project coverage, Harkins field teams have been divided into three groups, and each of these groups will attend a four-hour safety training session twice per year.

We are dedicated to ensuring a safe and injury-free working environment and believe that there is no better place to put our resources than in training our people towards achieving that goal. As a result, we have expanded our safety program to include the following:

  • Safety orientation and OSHA 10 training for all new hires
  • OSHA 30 training for all field personnel
  • Bi-annual Harkins safety training
  • Silica safety training
  • First aid/CPR training
  • Toolbox talks
  • AHA training
  • Safety inspections conducted by our site teams using a 99-point checklist
  • Preconstruction meetings held with trade partners to review and plan upcoming scope and operations to ensure safe execution of work
  • Quarterly safety stand-downs on our jobsites and our offices

Harkins Named Excellence in Construction & Real Estate Honoree

Harkins honoree in The Daily Record 2020 Excellence in Construction & Real Estate
Baltimore, MD

The Daily Record has selected Harkins to receive the 2020 Excellence in Construction & Real Estate Award.

Established in 2019, Excellence in Construction & Real Estate awards celebrate the individuals and companies who are changing the landscape of Maryland through design, construction, profacject management, innovation and more. These individuals and organizations are creating jobs, building healthy spaces, helping families and companies achieve their dreams, and leading the way toward growth and prosperity for the community.

The Construction category recognizes architects, developers, engineers, general contractors, historic preservation, interior design, LEED-certified projects, projects of the year for both nonprofit and profit organizations and lifetime achievement. Real Estate categories are commercial real estate agent, rising star, and lifetime achievement. Harkins was selected for its professional achievement and impact on the state of Maryland.

Suzanne Fischer-Huettner quote

Winners will be celebrated and honored virtually on November 9th through video storytelling. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in the program with their congratulations using social media platforms from their home or office.

Full list of honorees.

President’s Message: Construction Safety Week 2020

Construction Safety Week 2020

Beginning today and continuing throughout the week of September 14-18th, Harkins is proudly celebrating National Construction Safety Week 2020. Each day that we step onto a jobsite, we know what’s on the line: our work, our reputation, and most importantly, the lives of each employee and trade partner on-site. Construction Safety Week is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the promise that we will do whatever it takes to ensure that our people can return home safely.

At Harkins, we exist to improve people’s lives in our marketplace, in our communities, and in our company. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has translated to protecting the health, safety and livelihoods of our employees and trade partners like never before, mitigating or reducing operational and financial risks to the company, delivering on our commitments to our clients, and continuing construction operations on essential buildings to support the regions and the communities in which we serve.

In an effort to protect the health and safety of those on our jobsites, we have implemented a variety of safety protocols, guidelines, and measures to help keep our employees and trade partners safe. This has included using thermal imaging cameras to take the temperatures of groups of people in real-time while they are walking through an entrance point, integrating new safety practices such as social distancing and increasing signage, and employing additional cleaning stations and disinfecting measures around our projects.

I am very appreciative of all of our employees, trade partners, clients, and design professionals for helping to make and keep our projects as safe as possible. I am confident that our company will come out the other side even more dynamic and resilient than ever before.

Gary's signature

Robinson Overlook Breaks Ground

Robinson Overlook virtual groundbreaking ceremonial dig
Columbia, MD

Construction for the $18.7 million mixed-income housing development known as Robinson Overlook is now underway at 7410 Grace Drive. In lieu of a large public groundbreaking celebration, a small ceremonial event was held at the site on August 20, 2020, to commemorate the start of construction.

Nestled on a 3.8-acre site near Robinson Nature Center, Robinson Overlook has embraces the long-term goal by state and local housing experts and Howard County leaders to expand high-quality housing options for area residents at various income levels in need of affordable homes.

Robinson Overlook virtual groundbreaking quote

Robinson Overlook will consist of five residential buildings that offer single-level apartments and townhomes. Creating a mixed-income community was an emphasized goal. Of the 48 total units, 43 will be reserved for lease to residents earning a range of up to 60% of the area median income, with five more units leased without income restrictions. It will include 8 one-bedroom, 19 two-bedroom, and 21 three-bedroom units. Eight of the units will be set aside for persons with disabilities.

Virtual Groundbreaking Video

Groundbreaking Photos

Press Release

P-975 Unaccompanied Housing Celebrates Ribbon Cutting

P-975 ribbon cutting
Patuxent River, MD

The Harkins team attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at the P-975 Unaccompanied Housing Facility on Monday, August 24th in Patuxent River, MD.

Located at the Patuxent Naval Air Station, P-975 is a new five-story, design-build facility that offers 73 apartment units to active duty military personnel. Each two-bedroom unit will be shared by two enlisted sailors of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and consists of two-bathrooms, a small kitchen, laundry room, and living room with a TV. The building offers a combination freight elevator, water source heat pumps, state-of-the-art access control systems for unit and bedroom entry, several bio-retention facilities, multipurpose areas, and an outdoor picnic area and basketball court for military personnel to enjoy while off duty.

P-975 was built to LEED Silver standards and complies with Anti-Terrorism Force Protection (ATFP) regulations. We are proud to have built a successful and vital, technically complex, heavy commercial project to house our Nation’s servicemen and women.

Ribbon Cutting Photos

Improving Workplace Air Quality

Improving air quality during COVID-19

Co-written by Harkins Director of Interiors Matt DeGourse and Baltimore Tenant Advisors / Newmark Knight Frank Executive Managing Director Michael Singer

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor air quality has become a major concern to businesses, building managers, tenants, and employees. It can impact the health, comfort, well-being, and productivity of building occupants. Did you know that all office buildings are required to meet the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRE) standards for fresh air and adequate airflow within your office space? But is that enough to keep everyone safe? Many business owners and corporate leaders are seeking to understand the range of options available in the marketplace to ensure the highest levels of employee safety during this time.

The three most common strategies to improve your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) are ventilation control, filtration, and disinfecting.

Ventilation Control

The strategy behind ventilation control is to dilute the inside (“recycled”) air that is circulating within your office space with more Outdoor Air (OA) by increasing the number of air exchanges per hour. This is done by engineering new OA equipment outside your premises (commonly rooftop units) that deliver into your space or mechanical closet. There are ASHRE minimum requirements for OA that must be implemented in all spaces. In addition, there are many ways to measure air quality standards, such as LEED and WELL, that reflect higher performance specifications than ASHRE.

This is typically seen when upgrading an existing system during an office renovation where there is an increase in the number of employees within the given work area. The initial cost is high (approximately $7,000 per additional ton) and there is a longer lead time (22 to 24 weeks, depending on complexity) for acquiring new equipment and supporting infrastructure. You can expect your ongoing energy bill to increase as the amount of air that is needed to be heated or cooled will also increase.


Many individuals are looking to increase their filtration to provide quick, additional protection for their employees right now. The most common form of measurement is the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV): the higher the MERV rating, the higher the air filtration capabilities of a filter. Unfortunately, upgrading your standard MERV-8 filter to a MERV-13, at a cost of $100-$300 per filter, will not work for all situations since older equipment often does not support newer filters. As an alternative, one can install higher MERV rated filters with a low-pressure drop and at a premium. For instance, installing HEPA filters (MERV17-20) at a cost of $200-$500 each and can remove 99.97% of biological and inorganic material and are recommended by AHSRE for use in sterile environments as a higher line of defense for viruses.


Disinfecting is all the rage in office environments right now for stopping the spread of COVID-19 droplets through the air. The two most common solutions are Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) and Bipolar Ionization (BPI). A UVGI solution is great for keeping coils clean in your equipment, and the install typically takes a day or two. At a cost of $200 to $300 worth of bulbs every year and an ongoing maintenance expense, UVGI has expenses that other solutions such as BPI may not have. ASHRE endorses UV-C bulbs as a guideline, and the equipment can be custom-tailored to your existing HVAC system.

Bipolar Ionization or Non-thermal Plasma Technology (BPI) is a system that converts oxygen into charged atoms that eliminate mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses. There are a few different ways to address your space when considering BPI, though it can be installed along with your current HVAC system regardless of equipment type and distribution. We are finding that most applications will likely cost you under $1.00 per square foot of floor area for the installation of this type of system, which may take a couple of days depending on the complexity of the system. Dozens of controlled independent laboratory test results show that this technology can reduce 99.9% Influenza A virus, 99.43% reduction in  Escherichia coli (E. coli), and 98.6% reduction in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in just one hour. On top of all that, it reduces food odors!

It is important to note that different types of buildings have different types of HVAC systems. If your office space is within a single-story building, the HVAC solution might be very different from that of a high-rise building. Furthermore, depending on the type of building and number of companies within the building, a landlord might consider upgrading the entire building system or instead require companies to make their own upgrades at their cost. No matter the scenario, if you are interested in understanding the best solution to upgrade the HVAC system of your company’s office space, please contact our team for a free consultation.

Contact information for team to assist with cleaner air initiatives