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Donna Nardella with Suffolk Construction Company Receives 2021 Gary E. Bird Horizon Award for Adoption of an AI-Led Forecasting Platform

November 8, 2021—Dallas, TX—Donna Nardella, director of planning for Suffolk Construction Company, received the 2021 Gary E. Bird Horizon Award today at the International Risk Management Institute, Inc. (IRMI), Construction Risk Conference (CRC) for her submission “Applying Deep Learning Techniques To Derive Construction Risk Insights and Deliver Improved Project Performance.”

Ms. Nardella’s submission detailed her adoption of a forecasting platform led by artificial intelligence (AI) to approach project analysis from a new angle. This allowed her organization to have improved confidence in schedule delivery and mitigated risks in a large construction project.

The Gary E. Bird Horizon Award, sponsored by Travelers, is presented annually by IRMI to recognize a demonstrated commitment to improving construction risk management through the implementation of innovative, cost-effective, and efficient risk management techniques.

Submissions are judged by an independent panel of seven industry professionals. The 2021 judges are as follows.

  • Steve Bird, director, risk management, Zachry Industrial, Inc.
  • Kathleen Creedon, owner/consultant, Wrap Strategies
  • David Dolnick, president, Dolnick Risk Advisors
  • Karen Keniff, vice president, national lead for large and complex construction risk, CNA
  • Jennifer Lee, vice president, national practice lead, loss-sensitive and wrap-up, construction, Travelers
  • TJ Lyons, safety professional, DPR Construction
  • Joseph Russo, executive vice president, regional construction industry leader—Northeast, Willis Towers Watson

“The concept of using AI to make this industry more productive by a better evaluation of risk is innovative and a potential game changer,” Ms. Lee noted.

“I find the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to improving a construction contractor’s understanding of a project’s risks to be of very high value,” added Mr. Bird. “Too often, unforeseen circumstances lead to project delays, and before anyone knows what hit them, substantial liquidated damages are being incurred. A better, more accurate evaluation of a project upfront could help avoid some very big problems all too common to contractors on large projects.”

The other finalist for the award was the Risk Management Department of Jordan Foster Construction, LLC, for their submission, “Creating Future Construction Leaders.”

For more information, including how to submit a nomination for the 2022 award, visit IRMI Construction Risk Conference.

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