Innovative Design-Build Infrastructure conferences scheduled for Charlotte April 18-22

design build charlotte

Architects, contractors, government utility managers and State DOT representatives from across the country will converge when the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) hosts the Design-Build for Water/Wastewater and Design-Build in Transportation Conferences back to back April 18-22.

In the face of continuing underfunding for transportation and water systems across the nation, at times with catastrophic results, North Carolina stands out as a state with superior infrastructure development and modern project delivery laws that make it the perfect state to host back to back conferences on the innovative design-build project delivery method.

DBIA is an association of design and construction professionals that advocates for design-build project delivery, an integrated approach that delivers design and construction services under one contract with a single point of responsibility. Design-build is used on nearly 40 percent of non-residential construction projects.

“We are thrilled to bring our popular conferences to North Carolina for the first time,” says DBIA’s executive director/CEO Lisa Washington. “North Carolina is home to some of the most successful design-build projects, including the I-485/I-85 Interchange Project, the Charlotte LYNX Blue Line Extension, and The McAlpine Creek Wastewater Management Facilities outside Charlotte. We are excited for our attendees from across the nation to hear from North Carolina’s design-build experts this April, and for local professionals to learn from California, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota and other states as well.”

Featuring speakers such as Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Charlotte Water Director Barry Gullet, and North Carolina Secretary of Transportation Nick Tennyson, DBIA expects these conferences to be the highest attended in DBIA history due to the rising popularity of design-build project delivery for water/wastewater and transportation projects. Furthermore, the water/wastewater conference is co-sponsored by water industry heavyweights like the American Water Works Association, the Water Environment Federation and the Water Design-Build Council.

The deadline for reduced registration is March 4. More information is available online here:

Some of the sessions include:


General Session: A Study of Cost, Benefits and Risk Associated with Alternate Contracting

Tuesday, April 19 – 8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Keith Molenaar, Ph.D., DBIA, University of Colorado

Arthur Antoine, University of Colorado

John Haynes, P.E., Federal Highway Administration

Doug Martin, P.E., Florida Dept. of Transportation

Through this FHWA-funded research project, data has been collected from more than 275 projects by various State Departments of Transportation (DOTs). This session will give a summary of empirical results relating to performance of the various delivery methods (DB, CM/GC, DBB) and will include interpretation of the results from a highway agency’s perspective. The results will allow agencies to make empirically-based decisions about when to employ alternative delivery methods.

Tuesday, April 19 – 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Small Design-Build Projects: Achieving Benefits Below $10 Million

Peter Davich, P.E., Minnesota Dept of Transportation

Design-Build often produces substantial benefits for projects larger than $100 million. That said, design-build can also be the best delivery method for much smaller projects. This presentation will outline the ways in which Minnesota has found that design-build provides benefits for projects as small as $1-2 million. It will also describe the ways in which small design-build contracts differ from large design-build contracts.

Tuesday, April 19 – 1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

General Session: Progressive Design-Build for Transportation Projects

Michael Loulakis, Esq., DBIA, Capital Project Strategies, LLC

Robynne Parkinson, JD, DBIA, Thaxton Parkinson, PLLC

Jeffrey Folden, Maryland State Highway Administration

An ever-increasing number of public owners have delivered their projects through a Progressive Design-Build (PDB) process. The procurement and contracting approaches for PDB are quite different from those used on design-build projects delivered through bridging documents. This session will explore not only how savvy owners make their decisions about selecting PDB, but also will review the unique procurement, commercial and contracting issues with the process.

Wednesday, April 20 – 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Jacksonville, FL Uses P3/Design-Build Project Delivery to Reduce Air Pollution while Saving Fuel

Thomas McVey, P.E., RS&H

Hamid Tabassian, P.E., DBIA, Jacksonville Transportation Authority

Howard Harris, Jr, MBA, Clean Energy Fuels

Allan Burns, BS, Clean Energy Fuels

The use of Public-Private Partnership procurement and adaptation of design-build project delivery was instrumental when the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) wanted to convert from diesel to compressed natural gas fuel (CNG). Clean Energy Fuels Corp. was awarded the JTA Concession and they are currently implementing the design-build portion of the project and will be responsible for the Operations & Maintenance. The Design-Build-Lease-Concession/P3 agreement is a huge win-win for all parties. JTA will save money, reduce pollution, and enhance transit services.

Water/Wastewater-Transportation Overlap Session

Wednesday, April 20 – 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Adaptive Intelligence and Integrative Thinking: Critical Design-Build Skills

Barbara Jackson, Ph.D., DBIA, University of Denver

True design-builders think differently. There is a specific type of thinking that is required for us to get beyond our discipline biases, which is required to be truly innovative. Adaptive intelligence transcends disciplinary boundaries and represents the kind of expertise needed to master and deploy integrative thinking, which is required to intentionally develop integrated design-build solutions.


Thursday, April 21 – 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Water/Wastewater General Session: How Owners Decide When to Use Design-Build Contracting for Their Water/Wastewater Projects

William “BJ” Christman, DBIA, Crowder Construction Company and Stephen Gates, P.E., BCEE, Brown and Caldwell

Bruce Husselbee, P.E., Hampton Roads Sanitation District
Jacqueline A. Jarrell, P.E., Charlotte Water
Gene Jackson, P.E., Spartanburg Water
David Springer, P.E., Greenville Utilities

Today’s owners have an increasing variety of procurement methods to choose from for their capital improvements. The type of project, complexity, dollar size, unknown conditions, owner resources, and many other factors influence the critical decisions that must be made to ensure the best project is delivered. The owner-presenters will share their unique methods for procuring their work and how they quantified their reasons for selecting design-build. As they share why design-build was chosen, you will hear more about the challenges and their solutions, the expectations and results, and the criteria they identified and analyzed to measure success.

Friday, April 22 – 8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

One Owner, Two Similar Projects: Two Different Design-Build Methods (Advanced)

Bryan Bedell, DBIA, Haskell

Colin Groff, P.E., City of Boynton Beach (Former JEA)

Jamey Wallace, P.E., Jacobs

Progressive design-build and fixed price design-build, while both good delivery methods have distinct differences which result in pros and cons based on the Project and Owner. This presentation will outline the lessons learned from two similar projects for the same Owner, one completed as a progressive DB project and one as a fixed price DB project. Key points will include risk allocation, collaboration, Owner input and control, early knowledge of cost, and lessons learned.

Friday, April 22 – 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Never Give Up! Strategies for Overcoming Project Delivery Challenges and Roadblocks

David Schwartz, P.E., BCEE, CDM Smith

Brent Christ, DBIA, DC Water

Mike Angeli, DBIA, PC Construction

Brian Hagerich, DBIA, CDM Smith

Leonard Benson, DC Water

Phil Braswell, Brown and Caldwell

You’ve heard the success stories; now you can hear the unfiltered reality of what goes on behind the scenes of a complicated and pressure-packed project, and learn how one team worked together to slay the dragons and make the effort a success and point of pride for all involved. This battle-tested project team will frankly address the major challenges they faced and worked their way through, share strategies for design-building innovative technologies on a large scale, and emphasize the vital importance of intensive partnering to overcome potential roadblocks.