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UEC Employees Recognized with Rarely Bestowed Military Coins

Keith Murphy, Superintendent, and Richard Maple, IO Superintendent, were recently honored with commander’s coins for their work on the dental department at Luke AFB, AZ.

Commander Col. Brancaton, who presides over the 56th Dental Squadron, has the discretion to bequeath a commander’s coin to any individual who has gone above and beyond the requirements of their role, including government employees who work at the facility. Receiving an award as a contractor is a rare occasion and a particularly high honor.

“It’s very humbling. I thought these were only given to military personnel,” said Richard. “It’s definitely special to say the least.”

“For me, it was a shock…I would have never expected it…to have actually received a coin with no military attachment as a contractor feels pretty special,” said Keith.

In particular, the commander commended the UEC personnel for their hard work, diligent adherence to deadlines and open, proactive communication to keep the government informed of the project’s progress.

“If there was ever an issue, we were up front and honest about it.” Said Richard.

“We didn’t sugarcoat where we were at,” said Keith.

The dental clinic, the largest phase of the Luke Medical/Dental Clinic DBIO project, was particularly challenging because renovations were conducted adjacent to active clinics.

The team kept 12 DTRs active throughout the four sub-phases of renovations. Further, the team encountered and expediently navigated numerous unforeseen conditions while maintaining the project schedule, such as floor depressions that had to be leveled.

“The biggest challenge was to renovate while keeping them up and operational throughout each phase—making sure they could do their job and we could do ours,” said Keith.

Because the dental department was a critical path phase, any delays could’ve negatively impacted the project end date. As such, completing this phase often required 12 to 14 hour days and work on the weekends. The project was running seven days a week at one point.

“We did whatever it took to meet the deadline,” said Richard.

“The whole team was working around the clock to make sure the dental phase was turned over on time,” said Lucy Campbell, the task order’s Project Manager.

The project also involved a significant amount of outfitting, including casework, specialized lighting and equipment requiring specific plumbing and air lines. This necessitated detailed coordination to ensure that all equipment was installed correctly with the proper utility connections. The team worked closely with the government as well as the project’s equipment planners, designers and transition planners to accomplish this.

“Working in an active clinic with a tight timeline was a challenge,” said Richard. “Everyone really banded together and worked together well as IO construction should, from design to construction to IO, and had the same mindset of delivering a successful final product”

“Every person has played such an important role,” said Lucy. “It was an orchestra of everyone playing their part to get it done…everyone rallied together to get it done.”

Awarded in 2014, the objective of this design-build initial outfitting project is to reconfigure, right-size and realign service lines to modernize the Luke Medical/Dental Clinic to address the growing obsolescence of the facility, accommodate the demands of its outpatient mission, consolidate medical assets, upgrade infrastructure and meet the ongoing healthcare needs of the beneficiary population.

Various levels of renovations to buildings 1130, 1135, 1146 and 1514 are required. This project also includes divestment of building 1107, requiring the relocation of Flight Medicine, BEE and Occupational Health to the main medical treatment facility, and relocation of the Vet Clinic to building 1146. The project is scheduled to be complete in December 2017. All in all, it includes 27 phases, many of which are concurrent.