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Spotlight on Smith Seckman Reid
Mike Rogers, vice president, Smith Seckman Reid, explains the importance of sustainability in design, why VRV is gaining acceptance, and how SSR has learned how to do more with less
What services does your company offer to the industry?
Smith Seckman Reid (SSR) headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, is an engineering design and facility consulting firm. We provide a wide spectrum of consulting services related to facility and infrastructure design, operation and management. We deliver services for healthcare, higher education, science and technology, research, sports and entertainment, government, corrections, infrastructure, commercial and industrial clients. Engineering services include civil, communications and technology services, electrical, environmental, fire protection, plumbing, industrial, chemical, mechanical, process automation, safety and compliance, structural, and transportation. SSR is also the parent company of SSRCx, a facility commissioning services firm.
Could you tell us an interesting fact about your company?
SSR was established in 1968 by Lester Smith, Bobby Smith (unrelated), Tom Seckman and Andy Reid. When pondering the company name, the Smiths had more votes, and that’s why Smith came first in Smith Seckman Reid.
What trends do you see emerging in your particular sector of the stadium industry?
From an engineering standpoint we see more and more complexity in the new stadia and varying levels of amenities throughout. There used to be a distinct difference between professional and collegiate venues, but the lines are being blurred. Some collegiate stadia offer better amenities, food, and services than professional stadia. This is particularly true if there are no professional franchises within the geographical area of a large collegiate programme. We are also seeing more and more emphasis on energy conscious design, allowing for shutting down systems, and controlling power consumption when parts of the facility are not being used.
Can you tell us about a recent success story for your company?
In autumn 2011, the new stadium for the University of North Texas opened and was also awarded LEED Platinum rating, the first of its kind in the US. The new Apogee stadium project was a greenfield site and was to replace the aging campus stadium. As a design and construction project it was one of the best experiences. SSR was given the challenge of an ultra sustainable stadium, on a tight budget and from design through construction the project was a success. We are very proud of our involvement in this project.
What are the biggest challenges you’re facing in your particular sector of the industry – and how are you overcoming them?
The biggest challenges are fast paced design and construction, coupled with the continued fee pressure placed on engineering design. We are continually challenged to do more with less and find ways to be efficient without compromising design quality. Working hard to meet our client’s needs, using new software and streamlining production of construction documents has helped us weather the storms of the past few years.
What new technologies or strategies have you used in any recent projects?
Some of the newer technologies we have used recently include wind turbines and photovoltaic panels to generate electricity. LED lighting is becoming more and more available with features that can be worked into projects and we anticipate this being the norm in the near future. Not a new technology but one that is finally gaining ground in the US is Variable Refrigerant Volume systems, VRV. This technology, although widely used in Europe is really just now being accepted in the US for the energy saver it is. We have used this type of system on recent stadia work.
What’s your favourite stadium/sports venue and why?
I don’t really have a favourite. I like the new Cowboys Stadium just because there’s nothing else like it. I like the feel of the new Yankee Stadium.
Where do you see the stadium market in 10 years’ time?
In 10 years, we see the market fully matured with fewer, large scale professional projects. However, with the desire of collegiate programmes to compete with amenities, suites, services and a wide range of price points, we expect to see strong activity.
Smith Seckman Reid will be exhibiting at Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2012, 8-10 May 2012. Visit the company at Booth 3068.