USACE tasked the leadership of the Corps’ Huntsville Medical Center of Expertise in coming up with options for the ACFs. Two of the proposals were spaces that could handle COVID patients and two were for non-COVID patients. The options expanded from convention centers such as the Javits Center and sport arenas to small facilities such as hotel rooms and dormitories. As contracts were awarded and facilities were built or reconfigured, Semonite and his team traveled to other locales to meet with officials, assess their needs and share recommendations. Ideal sites included closed medical facilities that could be brought back into service and small hotels.
The cost of converting the 64 ACFs that USACE delivered was $1.8 billion, 75 percent of which was covered by FEMA’s budget and the remaining 25 percent was paid by the state and local authorities. Many contractors worked with mechanical trade contractors to install HVAC and forced air systems to allow negative air pressure and piped-in oxygen to treat patients with advanced COVID-19 symptoms.
The ENR Top 25 Newsmakers are chosen by the editors of the magazine for their news-making achievements as they improve the construction industry and benefit the public. Inventing new technologies, dreaming up more efficient processes, solving seemingly insurmountable challenges and saving businesses—and lives—during the pandemic are just a few of the accomplishments for which the 2020 Newsmakers were selected.
Among these newsmakers, one individual has been chosen to receive the Award of Excellence, ENR’s highest honor. That yet-to-be-revealed person, and all of the newsmakers, will be recognized at a virtual gala on April 8.
Semonite is a licensed professional engineer in Virginia and Vermont and was recently awarded the 2019 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) OPAL award for Construction, the 2020 Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Industry Engagement Award, and the 2020 ASCE President’s Award. His military awards include the three Distinguished Service Medals, the Defense Superior Service Award, five Legion of Merit awards, the Bronze Star, the Ranger tab and the Parachutist Badge.
A native of Bellows Falls, Vermont, Semonite graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York and was commissioned into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1979. He also earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Vermont, and a master’s degree in military arts from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.