Auto Experience and Sustainable Design Are Key Qualifiers
Thirty SSOE architects, engineers, and construction managers will be making Chattanooga, Tennessee their home away from home for a 14 to 16 month stint. Ten others are heading to Germany. All will earn bragging rights for being part of the team on one of SSOE’s most significant industrial projects to launch this year—Volkswagen’s new production facility. With two other mega automotive projects underway—Toyota’s Prius Assembly Plant in Tupelo, Mississippi and BMW’s assembly plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina—SSOE is a headliner in automotive production facilities in the South and is ranked fifth nationally among automotive design firms (ENR, 2008).
Volkswagen of America projects the $1 billion+ facility will produce 150,000 mid-sized cars specifically for the US market when the plant starts production. That will generate about 2,000 direct jobs in Tennessee.
SSOE was selected for several major roles in the project including architecture and engineering services, construction management (in partnership with Alberici Construction), and environmental permitting (see article on page one of this issue). SSOE’s long-term experience in automotive assembly plants—we have performed design work for 50% of all automotive assembly plants built in the US in the last ten years—is one reason we were Volkswagen’s pick.
The automotive giant was also looking for “environmentally-focused companies” whose selection would support its “commitment to sustainable development,” explained David Geanacopoulos, the company’s executive vice president and general counsel. SSOE was able to point to our LEED accredited personnel and pioneering efforts at environmentally-friendly design, specifically the design of the first Gold LEED certified facility in Ohio and the first Gold LEED central utility plant in the US.
From the broader perspective, SSOE is proud to be contributing to two critical national goals by bringing more manufacturing and employment opportunities to the US while achieving high sustainability standards in industrial facilities.