Honoring Terry Cook: A 40-Year Career with a Groundbreaking Impact

by: Lex Leigh

It’s not every day that you get to meet a woman like Terry Cook. A trailblazer in the construction industry and higher education, Terry has dedicated the last 40 years of her life to building a better future in Maryland and beyond.

As she transitions into a well-deserved retirement, Terry reflects on highlights and lessons learned from her life and career in a two-part interview.

Terry grew up in Baltimore, where she attended a Catholic all-girls school. As an adolescent, her parents emphasized the importance of a good education and a commitment to her community.


Longwood Gardens' Glasshouse Takes Shape

by:  Nadine M. Post | Reprinted courtesy of ENR

Bancroft Construction’s Greg Sawka sat quietly in the back of the room listening to the March 2 briefing about the $250-million Longwood Gardens makeover in Kennett Square, Pa. At the conclusion of the briefing, he described to ENR his “once-in-a-lifetime” project—the transformation of the 17-acre heart of the 1,077-acre landmark garden, about 12 miles from Wilmington, Del.

The project is “unique in the built environment” for it combines landscape and horticulture into more than a dozen miniprojects, interconnected by common back-of-the-house infrastructure, all of which is hidden below grade, said Sawka, the construction manager’s president and CEO.

Editor's note: COAA is proud to include Longwood Gardens among our membership


Member Spotlight: Cook Children's Health Care System

by: Lora Toothman, Chesterfield County Public Schools

Cook Children’s Health Care System (CCHCS) is a Fort Worth, Texas-based nonprofit pediatric healthcare organization with two hospitals and more than 90 primary, specialty, and urgent care locations throughout Texas. In 2022, US News and World Report ranked CCHCS in the top 50 hospitals in the country for six pediatric specialties. CCHCS comprises eight companies that include a medical center, physician network, home health company, surgery centers, health plan, health services, and their health foundation.

Samuel Werschky is the Director of the CCHCS Construction and Facilities Planning Division (CFPD). Sam joined CCHCS four years ago, after a career in the U.S. Navy and a stint in municipal government. His time at CCHCS has been marked by rapid transformation, resulting in organizational changes that have reshaped CFPD.


New CCMC-Prosper Campus (Primary Care/Urgent Care/Specialty Care/82-Bed Hospital): Opened 1/9/2023

The Good Owner ... Better Budgeting

by: Jere Smith, Atlanta Public Schools

Long-range weather forecasting here in the southeast is generally straightforward, especially in the summer ... “hot and humid with a chance of afternoon thunder showers” pretty much covers it most of the time. Without even looking at the maps or the radar, you probably have at least a 50% chance on any given day of being right. Those forecasts can become much clearer and more reliable, as you get closer to the day in question, examine the indicators, the trends and the approaching fronts. There are some interesting parallels that can be examined between predicting the weather and the likely cost of a construction project.

Deliberate, pragmatic, eyes-wide-open budgeting can make your project, making your customers happy and to keeping those you are accountable to in your court.


ChatGPT and Other Conversational AIs Can Help Construction

by: Mehdi Nourbakhsh | Reprinted courtesy of ENR

On any given day, project managers at construction sites must make decisions and answer questions. Although such demands often require a time-consuming review of documents and computer files, they may also necessitate rapid responses because of urgency and time sensitivity. 

While working as a construction manager immediately after leaving college, I experienced this problem firsthand. I was told that my daily tasks were mainly to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate with various project stakeholders on- and off-site while ensuring that the project was on time and on schedule. In reality, however, I was constantly being bombarded with questions that required immediate answers such as “20 workers called in sick and did not show up; what should we do?”, “How much delay do you anticipate by the end of the month?”, and “What is our cash flow projection for the end of the quarter?”


Eight Books COAA Members Might Want To Read

by: Matt Handal

With so many books on the market, all with NY Times Best Seller list accolades, how do you decide what your next business read will be?

In case you're unsure, we've compiled a few suggestions to get your started or build your library.