Crowd gets first glimpse of subcontracted jobs, supplies for Raiders stadium

They came from far and near on Thursday to get their first real look at subcontracted jobs and supplies that will be available to laborers working on the planned 65,000-seat domed football stadium for the Raiders.

And in just more than an hour, a team of eight project leaders — some from Mortenson Construction of Minneapolis, some from McCarthy Building Cos. of Henderson — filled a room brimming with 1,300 people with confidence that they’ll be able to start mobilizing in November and complete the job in time for the first season of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.

Project managers introduced the team, outlined the construction schedule and strategy and offered some philosophy in what was labeled a kickoff meeting for the project. More similar meetings are planned.

The gathering of prospective subcontractors and supplier occurred well before the Las Vegas Stadium Authority and Clark County commissioners have completed all the approvals necessary to greenlight the project. But they almost have to — the construction timeline is so tight that the contractors can’t wait until October when every approval is expected to be completed.

Two Woods

The top project managers are both named Wood — John Wood, the principal in charge from Mortenson, and Jeff Wood, the senior vice president of operations from McCarthy — and they say, as far as they know, they aren’t related.

But both are confident they’ll finish work in 31 months because many of key players have done similar work before, most recently on U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. John Wood doesn’t even think the timeline is that aggressive.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in the schedule for construction,” he said. The challenge that (project manager) Paul Dudzinski (of McCarthy) noted is that we have the design you saw today is in its early stages, so the really critical aspects of the project is getting sufficient design completed before construction starts, the detailed engineering and design of the project that will enable us to go out and start building in November.

“We have a great design team comprised of firms that we’ve worked with on multiple occasions before. We’ve constructed a very elaborative approach to the project and a schedule that will allow us to keep pace with the project. The design actually won’t be completed until a year after construction has started. It’s a true fast-track job,” he said.

Community benefits

One aspect of the stadium project that has been a concern raised at the last three Stadium Authority board meetings is the community benefits program, an agreement established by the enabling Senate Bill 1 legislation and under final negotiation by the authority and the Raiders’ events company.

The agreement establishes a goal that 15 percent of contracts going to small businesses, including women-, minority- and veterans-led companies.

Comments from minority business leaders have been made during authority meeting public-comment periods.

Mortenson met the issue head on, introducing Lynn Littlejohn, director of community benefits for the project.

Littlejohn said the contractors will encourage small-business participation, workforce diversity and the development of community engagement programs with meetings with contractor and community organizations, procurement meetings and advertisements designed to foster technical assistance and internship programs.

Andre Smith, CEO and managing member of General Steel and Aluminum Manufacturing LLC Las Vegas, who has spoken at authority meetings, said after hearing Littlejohn’s presentation, he’s confident Mortenson and McCarthy will deliver on their community benefits commitments.

“It wasn’t the presentation, it’s the people who showed up,” Smith said, referring to both the contractors’ representatives and the big crowd.

‘Feet to the fire’

“This overwhelming crowd heard them say what they did and our leaders will hold their feet to the fire,” Smith said. “In the end, I think (Raiders owner) Mark Davis will be happy to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas.”

Others in the crowd also were impressed with the presentation.

“It was well done, it was informative and it’s probably a good start for subcontractors to understand the guidelines,” said Larry Vanderjagt, a customer service manager for Form-A-Fab of Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Vanderjagt said his company has an interest in the millwork, cabinetry and lockers for the facility.

“I can’t wait to look at the plans,” he said. “It’s a beautiful facility and it’s what Vegas needed for many years.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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