20 Questions with Kevin E. Lewis – January 2015

Kevin E. Lewis, CEO of Bernier, Carr & Associates since September, has been in the field for decades. While he could work in any number of larger markets, he chose the north country for the people and its distinct qualities. This month, he sat down with us to talk about the importance of learning from every single failure or success, what it’s like to lead the Bernier, Carr, and where the company is headed in the future.

Bernier Carr & Associates CEO Kevin E. Lewis talks about the firm's future at its Watertown offices. || Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business

Bernier Carr & Associates CEO Kevin E. Lewis talks about the firm’s future at its Watertown offices. || Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business

NAME: Kevin E. Lewis

AGE: 60

JOB: CEO of Bernier, Carr & Associates Engineers, Architects & Land Surveyors, P.C.

FAMILY: wife, Kelly; daughters, Kaleigh and Erin; son, Ryan

EXPERIENCE: director, Thomas Group Architects & Engineers, 1993-1997; president, Applied Computer Technologies, 1997-1999; president and CEO, Epic Data International, 1999-2001; president, Tetra Tech Architects & Engineers, 2002-2012

EDUCATION: Bachelors from University of New Hampshire at Plymouth State;


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Krysta Aten-Schell, 29: Bernier, Carr & Associates


Krysta S. Aten-Schell is passionate about everything she does, much like her father was. [Read more…]

Taking a green path: From Watertown to Massena, businesses design to LEED

The new performing arts center at SUNY Potsdam, slated for completion in December, is one of many buildings in the north country that was designed to LEED specifications. The firm Pfeiffer Partners Architects used a special insulation technique to achieve maximal energy efficiency. Melanie Kimbler-Lago/ NNY Business

The new performing arts center at SUNY Potsdam, slated for completion in December, is one of many buildings in the north country that was designed to LEED specifications. The firm Pfeiffer Partners Architects used a special insulation technique to achieve maximal energy efficiency. Melanie Kimbler-Lago/ NNY Business

In recent years, a crop of green buildings has been sprouting up in the north country. From Watertown to Massena, environmentally friendly buildings are incorporating the latest in sustainable technology and achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in the process.

This designation, established in 1998 by the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizes sustainability and efficient use of resources by building designers and owners. And according to area architects, it’s becoming increasingly common in Northern New York.

“We are definitely seeing more people interested in it,” said Brian A. Jones, LEED-certified architect and partner at Aubertine and Currier in Watertown. “I believe it’s going to be a wave of the future and eventually a requirement for all buildings. Energy’s not going to get cheaper, and it’s going to be more vital to conserve our resources. People are realizing they’re going to have to live and build differently to afford living here.”

Aubertine and Currier’s most recent LEED-certified project was the 7,800-square-foot Land Port of Entry facility at Cannon Corners for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs, and Border Protection. This $7.5 million building, located in Mooers Forks, achieved silver certification after it was completed in January 2012. It includes a rain catchment system that collects rainwater for reuse in toilets and washing machines, solar panels that provide energy for hot water heating and a variety of green materials in its construction. [Read more…]

Lewis office building bids come in around $9 million

Construction bids on the proposed Lewis County office building project have come in at about $9 million.

“The bids came in a little higher than I hoped for,” Legislator Jack T. Bush, R-Brantingham, chairman of the legislative Buildings and Grounds Committee, said following Thursday’s opening. “But that was strictly hope.”

And the dollar figure “hasn’t discouraged me from saying, ‘Let’s build it,’” he said, noting that most of the office space being rented by the county is in buildings that are for sale.

Fellow committee member Jerry H. King, R-West Leyden, said he also would have liked to see the price tag for a two-story, 45,000-square-foot building on outer Stowe Street be a bit lower, but the main chore now will be to “see if we can find the sources to fund it other than the taxpayers.”

“Now that we’ve got a solid number, we can run the figures,” said Legislature Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan.

The bid opening was attended by about 60 people, including all legislators except Paul M. Stanford, D-Watson, and a couple of legislative candidates.

The total base price came in at $8.84 million, while several add-ons — including high-density shelving, a lower maintenance flooring material, stamped concrete and parking lot improvements at the current Department of Social Services and Public Safety buildings — would push the total to $9.03 million.

Apparent low bidders were as follows: Bette & Cring Construction Group, Watertown, at $4,771,500 base or $4,836,500 with alternates for general construction; Burns Bros. Contracting, Potsdam, at $1,020,000 for mechanical and $357,000 for plumbing; Jordstat Construction, Alexandria Bay, at $977,138 for electrical; and Acts II Construction, Gouverneur, at $1,717,000 base or $1,836,000 with alternates for site work.

Seven companies submitted bids for general construction, while there were 10 bidders for mechanical, 11 for plumbing, seven for electrical and four for site work.

The project still is expected to come in lower than the original $11 million estimate.

County officials would expect to borrow $10 million for the project, including construction costs, a 10 percent contingency for any unforeseen costs and $150,000 for the clerk of the works, according to county Treasurer Patricia L. O’Brien.

The county also will have to cover the cost of moving or replacing a storage building that stands where the new building would go.

Over several years of working on project, the county already has spent about $800,000 on design fees and other preconstruction costs.

Right after the bid opening, county leaders worked with Rick W. Tague, president of Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, to determine the percentage of the proposed building that would be reimbursable through state Department of Social Services funding so financial advisers could come up with an accurate financing schedule.

Although the county would cover all project costs up front, the state would reimburse a portion of that cost over the next 16 years for the nearly half of the building to be used by DSS. That initially was projected to provide $4.5 million to $5 million toward the project.

Lawmakers are scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Monday to analyze project details more closely to help determine whether they are prepared to move forward, with a final decision likely to come at their Oct. 1 meeting.

County officials still must address some village concerns, including capacity of the sewage treatment system and safety of the village’s Stowe Street.

If legislators approve of the project, construction could start in mid-October and be completed by the end of October 2014.

-Steve Virkler, Watertown Daily Times

Association lauds local projects

LeRay, Evans Mills, Champion garner public works awards

Town of LeRay Supervisor Ronald C. Taylor accepts a project of the year award from Joseph Wisinksi at the Central New York American Public Works Association annual awards banquet last fall. Photo by Bova Photography/Special to NNY Business

Serving 520 households, the town of LeRay’s Water District 4 project completed this fall was nominated as a 2012 Environmental Project of the Year at the Central New York American Public Works Association’s annual awards banquet in November. Other north country municipal projects that garnered awards included the town of Champion’s consolidated water supply project, and the expansion of the CREDO Community Center in Evans Mills to be used for a rehabilitation program for young men at the residential facility.

Designed by Watertown engineering firm Bernier, Carr & Associates, the massive $7.7 million project was approved by voters in 2009 and completed this fall. Bordering Fort Drum property and the commercial district along Route 11, the water distribution traverses multiple town, county and state roads in the town to create a more efficient and sustainable system, said town engineer Kris D. Dimmick from Bernier, Carr & Associates.

The town acquired a $2 million grant from the state Environmental Facilities Corp. for the project.

“The project literally connected the town’s 20-year-old water district on Route 11 with the major commercial corridor out to Fort Drum,” he said. “It’s interconnected so that everyone gets a better water supply using a redundant system. It gives operators more flexibility to operate, and from a user standpoint if there are problems with one area, you can get water from another.”

Because of the system’s efficient design, Mr. Dimmick said, the town will also save money by using more of its well water rather than buying water from the city. Before the system was built, most residents in the district used drilled wells for their domestic water supply that needed to be routinely serviced.

As the largest water district in LeRay, the system was built using more than 85,000 lineal feet of water mains and over 58,000 linear feet of water services. “If you took the total length of the trenches built, it would stretch from the town of Evans Mills to the lighthouse on Tibbetts Point Lighthouse in Cape Vincent,” he said.

The expansion of the Credo Community Center, a residential facility in Evans Mills for those who need substance abuse treatment, was selected as a 2012 Facilities Project of the Year. Designed by Bernier, Car & Associates, the expansion will be used by young men at the center. Work included expanded dining services, more office space, complete septic system replacement, exterior improvements, and the addition of a large room to be used for instructional and recreational activities.

In addition, the Town of Champion was named a 2012 Environmental Project of the Year for its consolidated water supply project, which included the construction of two new groundwater sources, transmission piping and a treatment building to serve three water districts that encompass about 200 households in total.

Ted Booker is a Johnson Newspapers staff writer. Contact him at tbooker@wdt.net or 661-2371.

People on the Move – June 2012

Honored at sales event


Jill Rosette, a sales agent with Coldwell Banker Rimada, Watertown, was recently honored at the Coldwell Banker Generation Blue Experience, the brand’s international conference in New Orleans. Ms. Rosette was recognized for her work with video. She routinely does video tours of her listings.

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