(Courtesy of the Jacksonville Business Journal) Great Lakes Dredge & Dock will begin work on the third phase of Jacksonville Harbor Construction Dredging, according to Russ Zimmerman, Great Lakes’ Senior Vice President for the Southeast Project and Area Operations.
Contract C features removing 4.1 million cubic yards of materials from the St. Johns River to deepen the river from 40 to 47 feet in a three-mile stretch near Blount Island.
“It’s very important to the Port of Jacksonville to have this project done,” Zimmerman said. “The sooner this gets completed, the sooner they can improve their operations at the terminal. …I would like to think because of our past experience and performance, it certainly impacted the decision to award the project to us.”
Great Lakes completed the second phase of the St. Johns River Dredging earlier this fall ahead of schedule. That allowed Great Lakes to begin a maintenance dredging project at the Port of Fernandina more than a month ahead of schedule.
The projects are part of an emphasis from the company on Florida and waterways in the southeast.
Great Lakes stated it would also announce regional offices in Staten Island, New York as well as Jacksonville.
“A large percentage of our revenue is done in this area,” Zimmerman said. “Florida is, by far, the largest amount of work we perform. A majority of our work is done for the Army Corps of Engineers. The Jacksonville district is based here, which covers work in Florida and Puerto Rico. It’s a natural fit for the amount of work and the location. It’s a convenient location for this region. We thought it’s an ideal location for us.”
Currently, Great Lakes is working on more than a half-dozen projects in Florida. The list includes beach renourishment projects in Fort Pierce, Jupiter and Juno Beach, Brevard County, channel maintenance at Kings Bay, channel maintenance at the Port of Fernandina and beach renourishment in South Ponte Vedra Beach and Vilano Beach in St. Johns County.
The local office is expected to open in December. Zimmerman anticipates it will employ 12-15 people. How many will transfer to the First Coast and how many will be hired on will be sorted in the coming weeks — although the company is already involved with local institutions: Zimmerman stated Great Lakes employees have provided presentations at the University of North Florida’s College of Computing, Engineering and Construction for years. Earlier this fall, the company participated a job fair at UNF.
“Hopefully, it’s an opportunity to attract more students to hire from there, with the opportunity to be on our project sites and, maybe, being assigned to a project here in Jacksonville,” Zimmerman said.
Photo Courtesy of Visit Jacksonville