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International Construction Forum in the USA 2011

International Construction Forum in the USA – 2011

Los Angeles, Las Vegas
21 - 30 March 2011

In spring 2011 the United States of America became the next place for conducting the International Construction Forum. In the period from 21st to 29th March 2011 Russian delegation that consisted of heads of construction companies, regional administrations and ministries visited Los Angeles and Las Vegas – two key cities of the west coast of the USA.

Los Angeles is not only the famous Dream Factory or Hollywood – mecca of the world cinematography. It is also the second largest U.S. megalopolis and the leading business center of California – state that separately ranks the 8th in the list of countries with the highest level of GDP. Russia in this list ranks the 7th.

Many meetings were conducted in Los Angeles during the International Construction Forum -2011 became the first acquaintance of many Californian companies and public entities with Russian construction sector thats why American participants of the Forum were looking forward to meet specialists from Russia and carefully prepared for their arrival.

The arrival of the Russian delegation was especially exciting for the Los Angeles City Hall, which the Russian specialists visited in the first day of the Forum. It was the first time in history of the Department of Public Works of the L.A. City Government when its representatives received a delegation from Russia. The Department of Public Works is the third biggest department of the Los Angeles City Government and it has a staff of more than 5,000 employees. Specialists of the Department of Public Works are engaged in construction of streets, sewerage, parks and public buildings, they conduct repair works and manage the city infrastructure. Taking into consideration the fact that Los Angeles system of streets is the biggest in the USA, we can say that the Department of Public Works of the L.A. City Government carries out work that is unique even for the developed construction sector of the United States.

Department of Public Works has five bureaus: Contract Administration, Engineering, Sanitation, Street Lightning, Street Services. At the meeting with the Russian delegates after the welcoming speech made by Ms. Andrea Alarcón the Vice President of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works representatives of all five bureaus spoke out by turn. They presented their entrusted spheres of activity and answered all questions concerning the work of the Department. After the private meeting the Russian delegates were invited for a regular meeting of the Los Angeles City Council main governing body of the city of Los Angeles. City Council three times a week holds the meetings at which are decided the main issues about governing the L.A. city. The council is composed of fifteen members elected by people from fifteen L.A. districts. In regular meetings also participate heads of departments of the Los Angeles City Government and ordinary people who can debate with the city councelors. Members of the L.A. City Council welcomed the Russian delegates with prolonged applause and councelor of the District 4 Mr. Tom LaBonge expressed hope that the unique meeting in the L.A. City Hall would be the start of the mutually beneficial collaboration between Los Angeles and the Russian cities. From the meeting hall the delegates came upstairs to the 27th floor of the City Hall where they had a chance to admire the gorgeous view of the L.A. city. Head of the Bureau of Street Services Mr. Nazario Sauceda and other representatives of the Department of Public Works told the delegates about the development of Los Angeles, completed and new construction projects of the Department of Public Works.

After the meeting in the Los Angeles City Hall representatives of the Department of Public Works took the Russian group to the construction site project of broadening the bridge over the Los Angeles River that is made in order to extend the light rail line. Managers of the construction site as well as representatives of the Bureau of Engineering guided the delegates along the construction site and told them about the objectives of the project, main stages of construction and some of the applied technologies. During the lunch of the Russian delegates at which representatives of the Department of Public Works were invited, the Head of the Bureau of Street Services Mr. Nazario Sauceda summarized the results of the meeting and once again expressed the readiness of the Los Angeles City Government to various and fruitful collaboration with the Russian companies and regions.

After lunch the Russian delegates visited Culver city in Western Los Angeles County which is famous for film studios of the biggest Hollywood media company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and also for the avant-garde buildings of the world famous architect Mr. Eric Owen Moss. Moss has transformed an industrial area of the city into an artwork and besides made it practical and comfortable for living. Mr. Eric Owen Moss himself invited the Russian delegation to see its architectural company Eric Owen Moss Architects. Project Director and right hand of Mr. Moss Mr. Dolan Daggett presented to the Russian specialists papers models of the companys projects and then leaded them to the tour around the Culver city district where those models were put into reality by Mr. Eric Owen Moss and his team. In order to help the Russian delegates Mr. Daggett invited for the meeting former employee of the Eric Owen Moss Architects who is now the Head of the Moscow city architectural bureau Group Systems Architects Mr. Evgeny Glekel, who explained all professional details of the projects made by Mr. Moss. At the end of the meeting Mr. Daggett and Mr. Glekel expressed their readiness for further collaboration on business and friendly terms with all interested participants of the International Construction Forum.

The last business event of the first day of the Forum was the visit to the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. It is the biggest business association of California that unites more than 1 600 companies and 720 000 specialists. The Senior Vice President for Global Initiatives Mr. Carlos Valderrama welcomed the Russian specialists, told them about the activity of the Chamber of Commerce, answered all the arising questions. Special attention was given to the main initiatives for supporting small and medium businesses in Los Angeles with the help of the Chamber of Commerce and other professional organizations, especially in the sphere of construction. Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce plays an important role in the exchange of experience between Los Angeles and international businesses and it is also ready to provide all needed support to all potential partners of its member companies.

The delegates had a rest after a bright workday in a Brazilian restaurant Fogo de Chao one of legendary restaurants of Beverley Hills that annually receives the highest awards of US restaurant ratings. Waiters of Fogo de Chao every five minutes delivered to the guests new and new sorts of freshly made meat. The delegates raised their glasses not only to the end of the first day of the Forum but also to one of the delegates Mr. Alexey Drozdov who on that day celebrated his birthday in the bosom of his friends and colleagues who came to the USA for the International Construction Forum.

The main event of the second day of the Forum was the USA-Russia Construction and Investment Conference 2011, that was organized by International Business Corporation together with the U.S. Export Assistance Center of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The venue of the Conference was the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel and Spa where the Russian delegates stayed. The Hotel is the part of the trade and entertainment center with shops, restaurants, movie theaters and the famous Kodak Theatre the new home for the Academy Awards. In the first part of the Conference spoke out the Russian delegates and after the coffee break American specialists made their presentations.

From the Russian side at the Conference the following presentations were made:

  • Mr. Nikolay Kalashnikov Head of the Department of Construction, Transportation and Utility Services of the Belgorod region - made a presentation of the Belgorod region, its potential and competitive advantages, current state of infrastructure and investment projects;
  • Mr. Igor Urmanov First Deputy Chairman of the Board for production and technical issues of the public company Russian Motor Roads explained the role of the company in creating high-speed motor roads in Russia and the formation of a new market of investment services in Russia that imply long-term investment contracts in the sphere of road construction;
  • Mr. Valeriy Borisov Head of the Council of Tyumen city central district presented the program of Tyumen city beautification, shared the experience of protecting and maintaining greenery, organizing projects of landscape gardening.

Bright, diverse and informative speeches of the Russian specialists helped to present different aspects of developing infrastructure of Russia and show highest potential of the Russian market to American partners. After the Russian presentations some American companies immediately expressed their interest in exchanging contacts with the speakers and developing collaboration with them.

From the American side in the Conference participated the following speakers:

  • Ms. Delia Valdivia International Trade Specialist of the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce gave a brief characteristics of the potential collaboration of Russian and American construction organizations and spoke about the services of the U.S. Commercial Service that could help Russian and American partners to find each other;
  • Mr. Dana Fetrow Managing consultant of the Spire Consulting Group presented the company that specializes in consulting services for construction companies;
  • Mr. Elmond Wan President of the KSC West that is American daughter company of the biggest Japanese general contractor Kajima Corporation presented operations of Kajima in the USA, shared the experience of managing the activity of a foreign company on the American market;
  • Mr. Adrish Banerjee CEO of the Mindpower Worldwide, Inc. made a presentation of his company that is engaged in designing, investing and managing construction projects all over the world;
  • Mr. Greg Mariscal Director of International Sales of the Hirsch Pipe & Supply Co. presented his company that is a wholesale distributor of construction and production materials for water supply and heating systems;
  • Ms. Alla Kazovsky Principal of the architectural company Alla Kazovsky Architects told about designing and planning nurseries that received numerous professional awards.

During coffee breaks and lunch the Russian and the American participants of the Conference exchanged contacts, advertising materials and souvenirs. Among the American participants of the Conference were distributed paper and electronic versions of Catalogues of the Russian participants of the International Construction Forum. After the Conference organizers received requests both from the American and the Russian companies for further cooperation with those participants of the Conference that they were interested in.

In the second part of the day the delegation of the Russian specialists in the sphere of construction and architecture visited one of the most avant-garde architecture schools of the USA Southern California Institute of Architecture. Accompanied by Director of Academic Affairs, famous architect and charming woman Ms. Hsinming Fung, the delegates visited all main facilities of the Institute: meeting rooms with unique design, classrooms, halls for exhibitions and architectural installations, specific laboratories for wood, metal and other treatment. Ms. Fung showed pieces of self-designed innovative construction materials, leaded the delegates to classrooms where the students work with robots and demonstrated many other unique peculiarities of the school that help its students to become highly skilled specialists with uncommon view on things and broad interests. The Institute really provokes extraordinary feelings of staying in another world the world of Art. Ms. Fung explained to the Russian delegates that the price for studying in this school is one of the lowest in the USA it is $24000 per year, and at the same time the school traditionally ranks one of the first among the architectural schools that use the newest technologies including computer science. Southern California Institute of Architecture prepares projects for foreign clients and constantly exchanges experience with colleagues from different countries. That is why at the end of the meeting Ms. Fung expressed hope for further exchange of experience and information with the Russian delegates.

On the third day in Los Angeles the group of road constructors members of the Russian delegation visited California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in order to get acquainted with the system of state management of roads in Los Angeles. Caltrans has a staff of more than 2500 employees mostly professional engineers who do designing, management and maintenance of roads in L.A. city and its suburbs. California Department of Transportation often uses public-private partnerships as a method of financing projects for construction and repair works for the roads in Los Angeles. Deputy district director for external affairs Ms. Deborah Robertson met the Russian delegates and gave an extensive characteristics of the Los Angeles system of highways, history of their development and current state of the regional road system, main spheres of activity of Caltrans. In order to give special attention to the technical aspects of paving Senior Transportation Engineer Mr. Mario Gutierrez spoke out. He explained in detail the structure of paving used for construction and repair works. Besides the specialists of Caltrans gave special attention to financing of road construction, city and state budgeting, taxation. After the end of the meeting road constructors Mr. Issam Abumuhor and Mr. Emile Eid guided the Russian delegates to a tour of the construction site the project I-5/HOV that was designed by engineers of Caltrans. Emile and Issam presented the project that consisted in constructing a new part of the highway I-5 with a budget of $140 bln. and they also answered all the arising questions about organization and realization of the project. All presentation materials were transferred to the representatives of International Business Corporation in order to be used by the interested Russian delegates afterwards.

Before setting off to Las Vegas the Russian delegation visited the newest center of entertainment, office and trade center L.A. Live, whose latest buildings were put into operation only in 2010. In L.A. Live the delegates were welcomed by Ms. Lorraine Aguilar Executive Assistant to Mr. Ted Tanner who is the Head of Real Estate Development for AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc.) developer of L.A. Live project and the biggest world owner of sport facilities, entertainment centers and concert halls. Accompanied by the representatives of AEG the delegates saw the premises of hotels and discussed with the developers the questions connected with realization of such large-scale projects as L.A. Live.

After the meeting the bus was already waiting for the Russian delegates and it took them from sunny California to the neighboring state Nevada where a man-made miracle city of freedom and excitement Las Vegas is standing in a desert. Four hours of the way were insensible mostly because of an excellent VIP-bus that served the Russian group all the time in L.A. Comfortable chairs resembled a first-class cabin of an airliner, wireless Internet helped to dip to work for a bit and multimedia screens showed the latest films.

In the legendary Las Vegas city the Russian delegates were received by one of the most splendid and luxury hotels Mandarin Oriental 5*. The hotel was opened in the beginning of 2011 and it is a part of the famous newly developed CITY CENTER.

Las Vegas is traditionally visited by fans of its entertainment facilities but it also regularly becomes the place for implementation of the biggest international exhibitions including those in the sphere of construction. In March 2011 there passed one of the biggest world construction exhibitions CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011. This exhibition takes place only once in three years and thats why it attracts a big number of professionals not only from the USA but from all over the world. In 2011 the exhibition attracted more than 120000 visitors from more than 150 countries, around 2400 exhibitors presented their products and more than 120 lectures and seminars were held in 5 days. At the exhibition the Russian delegates met the specialist of the U.S. Export Assistance Center of the Embassy of the United States of America in Moscow who showed to the delegates the plan of the exhibition and its main sectors and gave some pieces of advice for efficient acquaintance with the exposition. With the help of translators the Russian specialists exchanged contacts and information with exhibitors and familiarized themselves with novelties from producers of construction equipment and materials from all over the world.

Las Vegas is traditionally visited by fans of its entertainment facilities but it also regularly becomes the place for implementation of the biggest international exhibitions including those in the sphere of construction. In March 2011 there passed one of the biggest world construction exhibitions CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011. This exhibition takes place only once in three years and thats why it attracts a big number of professionals not only from the USA but from all over the world. In 2011 the exhibition attracted more than 120000 visitors from more than 150 countries, around 2400 exhibitors presented their products and more than 120 lectures and seminars were held in 5 days. At the exhibition the Russian delegates met the specialist of the U.S. Export Assistance Center of the Embassy of the United States of America in Moscow who showed to the delegates the plan of the exhibition and its main sectors and gave some pieces of advice for efficient acquaintance with the exposition. With the help of translators the Russian specialists exchanged contacts and information with exhibitors and familiarized themselves with novelties from producers of construction equipment and materials from all over the world.

During the first night in Las Vegas Russian delegates had a meeting with representatives of Perini Building Company, one of the major general construction contractors. Perini traditionally ranks as the top company in ratings of hotel and casino complexes, all thanks to the fact that the company has essentially built in every part of the city, including such legendary Las Vegas Hotels as Luxor and Paris, as well as the recent and modern Cosmopolitan and Mandarin Oriental. The latest project of Perini Company in Las Vegas is the large-scale complex called The City Center that includes casino, three luxury hotels and about 170.000 m2 of entertainment and shopping space. In the Cosmopolitan hotel Russian delegates met with Olga Lazaryan the lead Estimator of the Perini Company and a charming woman that speaks excellent Russian. Besides Olga, the meeting was attended by Perinis Vice President of Preconstruction Mr. Ritch Gohl and his wife and colleague Carol who, with the help of Olga, answered the questions of the delgates that regarded the work organization for the projects, client relations, relations with architects and investors, the building materials used, finishing technologies, budget planning, human resource policies, necessary legal permissions and expertise. Accompanied by Perini representatives, Russian delegates walked through and looked over the major spaces of the center and, at firsthand experience, got introduced to the finest details of working on the project. In conclusion of the meeting, Rich and Olga expressed the readiness for further exchange of experience with the participants of the meeting, and the interest in cooperation with other Russian companies, especially on the topic of building the sport and entertainment related infrastructure within the context of preparing for the Soccer World Championship of 2018 that will take place in Russia.

The next formal activity of the International Construction Forum in the USA 2011 was the visit of the Russian delegates to one of the largest dams in the world, a unique hydraulic work and national heritage of the USA the Hoover Dam. After the tragedy of 9/11 2001, visiting Hoover Dam became highly restricted, and the dam itself, which is also a power station and a bridge over the Colorado River, is now thoroughly secured. Just for the Russian delegates, as for the highly skilled specialists in the construction field, an exception was made, and a VIP-tour over the Hoover Dam was organized that included visits to rooms that are normally restricted to a limited set of service personnel. Accompanied by the service workers of the dam and professional translators, the delegates visited the tunnels and the power station, and ascended the very top of the dam. Engineering specialists and guides paid attention to historical facts as well as the professional aspects of building and servicing the dam. In conclusion of the tour, Russian specialists also visited the museum of history of building the Hoover Dam which exhibited the historical documents and artifacts that were involved in building of this grand edifice.

The visit to the Hoover Dam concluded the formal agenda of the International Construction Forum. After having lunch the delegates, accompanied by a guide, completed an overview tour of Las Vegas, took pictures with the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign that was featured in tens of movies, and overviewed several hotel-casinos, each of which is a masterpiece of architectural art.

In their spare time, the delegates conducted two-way business meetings, attended fabulous circus shows and saw the Grand Canyon from a birds-eye view.

International Construction Forum in the USA 2011 organized by the Group of Companies International Business Corporation finished its work.

The participants and the organizers of the Forum pointed out the following principal achievements of the Forum:

  • - Catalogues of the Russian participants of the Forum in Russian and English and the advertising materials of the participants that were prepared by the organizers attracted great attention of American organizations and were distributed at the USA-Russia Construction and Investment Conference as well as at two-sided meetings and negotiations. This showed the high interest of American businesses towards the Russian construction sector. This high interest is also affirmed by the representatives of the U.S. Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce;
  • Contacts of the highest management level of the Los Angeles City Government, California Department of Transportation, U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Sanitation of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce as well as 10 American companies that are interested in mutual projects with Russian business are received;
  • Database of the American organizations paper and electronic presentations, that can be used by all the participants of the Forum, is created. Among the presented organizations are those that welcomed the Russian delegates in their offices and those who participated in the USA-Russia Construction and Investment Conference;
  • The following interests of the American participants of the Forum in collaboration with Russia are revealed:
  • +Perini Building Company: project estimation, project management and other services for the Russian developers of sport and entertainment facilities and especially for the World Cup 2018;
    +Mindpower Worldwide: designing and investing into projects for construction of roads, bridges, ports, airports, residential facilities, power stations, oil refining;
    +Hirsch Pipe & Supply Co., Inc.: exporting industrial, plumbing and heating supplies for new construction projects in Russia;
  • During the Forum more than 20 double-sided negotiations between Russian and American organizations were conducted;
  • Requests from the Russian and American participants of the Forum for proceeding with negotiations and double-sided meetings in the year 2011-2012 are received.