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LAURELS: ‘Design-Build’ Awards Keep on Coming

By Dateline Staff on July 24, 2017 in University

UC Davis is building quite a record of success in using the design-build process for new construction — that is, for each project, contracting with a single entity for more efficiency in getting the job done. 

Since 2007, Design and Construction Management, or DCM, has earned 10 awards from the Design-Build Institute of America (at the national and regional levels), the most recent a 2017 national award of merit for the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in the category of educational facilities.

Later this year, from among eight categories — including office buildings and transportation facilities — the institute will announce a project of the year and awards of excellence.

The museum award is the second for DCM at the national level, the other being an award of merit for the Graduate School of Management and Conference Center (2011). This project also earned a merit award from the Design-Build Institute of America’s Western Pacific Region.

Earlier this year, the region honored DCM with a merit award and design excellence award for the International Center.

The Western Pacific Region also has presented awards to DCM for the following: Olson Hall seismic renovation (2016), Student Community Center (2012), Teaching and Research Winery and August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory (2011), and Giedt Hall (2007).

The Davis campus has completed 14 major design-build projects worth $340 million over the last seven years, and achieved savings of more than $7 million off the originally approved budgets.

Julianne Nola mugshot

“Design-build is not a guarantee to save money but often does with the right project,” said Julianne Nola, interim director of major capital projects in DCM.

“When we are able to define up-front a clear and consistent vision for the program elements, we can then provide this in a contract to a design-build team through a best value process instead of lowest bid.

“That team of contractors and professional designers (architect, mechanical engineer, structural engineer, etc.) working together from an early phase of design is extremely beneficial. Contractors receive an understanding of the design process and are able to provide useful information on constructability and cost.”

The California Academy of Sciences recently presented its highest honor, the Fellows Medal, to Geerat Vermeij, distinguished professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Geerat Vermeij mugshot

Fellows Medals are given to prominent scientists who have made outstanding contributions to their fields. The academy recognized Vermeij, an evolutionary biologist, for his contributions to paleontology, evolutionary biology and ecology as “an individual researcher, a team leader, and with service on countless panels, committees and review boards.”

With a remarkable skill for identifying shells by touch, Vermeij is renowned for his encyclopedic knowledge of living and extinct mollusks. His work on interactions among predator, prey and environment revealed the importance of this arms race in shaping the evolution of mollusks and their hunters. His broad interests also include marine mammal size and diversity, plant defenses and major trends in evolution.

Vermeij has authored more than 230 papers and six books, most recently Evolution and Escalation: An Ecological History of Life, A Natural History of Shells. He also offers his time and expertise to blind students interested in pursuing the natural sciences.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, and Master of Philosophy and Ph.D. from Yale University. He received a MacArthur genius grant in 1992.

Fellows, we have new fellows:

  • American Chemical Society — Professors Alyson Mitchell, Department of Food Science and Technology, and Dean Tantillo, Department of Chemistry, named to the society’s 2017 class of fellows, in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in chemistry and important contributions to ACS, the world’s largest scientific society.
  • Society for Mathematical Biology — Professor Alan Hastings, Department of Environmental Science and Policy and Center for Population Biology, elected to the society’s inaugural class of fellows, in recognition of distinguished contributions to the field of mathematical biology.

Group photo
Prize winners Stephanie Dungan and Ronald Phillips, center, with the award’s namesake, Ken Walters, founding editor of the Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics. (Mats Stading photo)

Professors Stephanie Dungan and Ronald Phillips and graduate student Jennifer Staton are the recipients of the inaugural Walters Prize, an annual award for the best full-length research paper published in the Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics.

Dungan is a faculty member in the departments of Food Science and Technology, and Materials Science and Engineering; and Phillips is a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Staton, a third-year Ph.D. student in chemical engineering, works in Dungan’s lab.

Staton was working on her master’s degree when she collaborated with Dungan and Phillips on the research that led to their award-winning paper, “Topological Transitions in Unconfined Vibrated Concentrated Suspensions,” published in March 2016.

The journal’s publisher, Elsevier, established the award in honor of the founding editor, Professor Ken Walters of Aberystwyth University, Wales, on the occasion of the journal’s 40th anniversary in 2016. Walters served as the executive editor from 1976 to 2002 and remains a member of the editorial board.

UC Davis-based Risk and Safety Solutions, which develops safety and compliance software, recently received nine awards for excellence in innovation, and marketing and communications. The unit operates under the associate vice chancellor of Safety Services, UC Davis; and the chief risk officer for the UC Office of the President.

Risk and Safety Solutions offers more than 25 web and mobile products for laboratories, hospitals, industrial shops and more. Founded to serve the UC system, the unit recently began offering its products and services commercially to other academic institutions and the health care industry.

The awards came from the international Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association, which presented them during its annual conference, held this year in Tucson.

The association presented four innovation awards for software in the RSS Safety Suite: Inspect (a mobile, customizable inspection tool), Drones (a tool for registering and tracking unmanned aircraft systems) and Chemicals (a chemical inventory management tool) each received an innovation Award of Honor, while Procedures: Lockout/Tagout (a customizable management system) received an Innovation Award of Merit.

Risk and Safety Solutions received the Marketing Campaign Award of Merit for Risk Summit, an annual gathering of UC safety and risk management professionals; and four Single Media Awards of Honor for radiation flier, chemicals flier, Inspect video and UC Safety Spotlight newsletter. 

Dateline UC Davis welcomes news of faculty and staff awards, for publication in Laurels. Send information to

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or