08/23/09 — Base project kept $23 million at home

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Base project kept $23 million at home

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on August 23, 2009 2:00 AM

A ribbon-cutting ceremony held last week on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base marked far more than the completion of a corrosion-control hangar and squadron operations building.

For Daniels and Daniels Construction Co. -- the local firm awarded the $23 million project -- the event was a chance to look back on two years of steady work despite a troubled economy.

"A lot of times, with that kind of work, you've got a big nationally recognized company," said Jeremiah Daniels, project manager for the two facilities. "And when the job is finished, they pack up and leave."

But keeping the contract in Wayne County, he said, gave a "big boost" to the local economy, and guaranteed that much of the multi-million paycheck stayed in the communities that support Seymour Johnson.

Completion of the project required nearly two years on site and more than 101,000 man-hours.

Daniels said roughly 95 percent of that work came from local contractors hired by his company.

"It has helped out tremendously," he said. "It helped us, but more importantly, it helped the community."

Local companies were brought on to tackle everything from the carpet and HVAC system to the fire alarm and structural steel work.

"It felt good to do that," Daniels said. "We've kept a lot of jobs going."

And it felt good to work alongside men and women he calls heroes.

"For the last 18 months, we were neighbors with the guys who work out there. We got to know those guys," Daniels said. "I mean, you get to see the planes fly, but meeting the airmen ... is what gave us a much better understanding of what they do out there. Of course, it makes you proud."

The facilities were built to support the 916th's new active-duty unit, the 911th Air Refueling Squadron, a group of 60 full-time and 104 part-time airmen activated in line with another BRAC recommendation.

The project also included installation of a KC-135R Stratotanker simulator -- a multimillion-dollar system that will reduce costs associated with actual flying and give air crew members a place to fine-tune their skills.