Wednesday, May 25, 2022

COVID Time Capsule

May 16, 2022

Just when I think COVID is in the rear view mirror, I’m confronted by its annoying persistence - a surging variant or a jarring stat. (For comparison, heart disease claims 700K lives in the US each year. For cancer it’s 600K.) COVID’s impact on public health, child development, the economy and our national psyche is sustained and severe. 

But allow me to take this post in a more benign direction with this question:

What would you put in a time capsule from the pandemic? 

My initial response: a mask and my vaccination card. 

On second thought, there’s so much more: A photo of our granddaughter Jubilee, born in January 2020, a child of the pandemic (who will hopefully have no memory of it!) A Durham Bulls 2020 schedule card - the season lost to COVID. My phone with those vital apps Instacart and zoom, Amazon prime, all my take-out apps. What could represent on-line church, badly needed hair cuts…and all of the time I’ve spent with my wife? We’ve been married for forty-three years, but our “we time” is record setting! Throw in a rapid COVID test.

(This time capsule exercise was from last year for an evaluation of Durham’s Recovery and Renewal Task Force. The group met regularly during 2020-21, a worthy example of former Mayor Steve Schewel’s leadership.)

Time capsules are usually buried, and I wish we could bury COVID! That’s elusive, but we do have vaccines and boosters (and those freakin’ masks) to protect us. The 2022 baseball season is underway…with no delays, no restrictions. Play ball!

My Granddaughter at the DBAP May 14th.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

The Five-star General (of general contractors)

Our company lost a good and loyal friend last month. 

Mike Higgins

August 7, 1963 - December 19, 2021

While Mike Higgins wasn’t a CBC employee per se, he was definitely on the team, and it was a rare collaboration of close to thirty years. He was our general contractor for construction of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (1995), then the American Tobacco Campus (2004), and our current project, the Miracle League field adjacent to the DBAP.

For twenty-nine years, Mike, aka Higgins, was with Lend Lease and its predecessors McDevitt Street Bovis and Bovis Lend Lease. He built the DBAP, did its 1998 expansion for Triple-A and the Diamond View I office building. Next came the American Tobacco Campus renovation which was the largest historic renovation in the nation in the early 2000s. Two more Diamond View office buildings went up, and there was a major renovation of the DBAP in 2014.

Capitol’s CEO Jim Goodmon provided the vision, VP Mike Hill led the charge and Higgins turned vision into reality. Along the way Michael Goodmon, Mike Birling and I joined the collaboration.

Higgins brought a big and positive personality to the work. He had a big brain, too, always quick with a solution, a real problem solver. And compared to many contractors, he was pretty good with deadlines. Most of our ballpark projects were accomplished in the off-season. It was always down to the wire but the gates always opened for Opening Day.

He formed his own construction company in 2015 - Atlantic Corporate Contracting. A member of the family, his new offices were in the DBAP’s basement level. ACC built the new clubhouse for Duke University Baseball in right field, and his company is presently working on the Miracle League project.

Speaking of family, the Higgins were loyal Bulls fans. Janet, his wife, is an accomplished baker, and we enjoyed her confections and presence at the ballpark. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Janet and the family…and I offer a tip of the ball cap to our favorite hard hat, Michael Wayne Higgins.

Higgins' canvas: American Tobacco | Diamond View I, II, III
Durham Bulls Athletic Park