The Association for the Capital Projects Engineering & Construction Community.

The Prestigious ECC Awards


Honored at the Annual ECC Conference, the ECC Awards are given to the most inspirational, exemplary, outstanding industry executives and leaders. Winners must meet a varied list of criteria and are selected by a special committee of distinguished and esteemed industry pioneers.

The Spirit of ECC Award

The annual Spirit of ECC Award honors candidates who display an exemplary demonstration of a wide array of talents, skills, and passions that encapsulate the ECC’s mission to engage and improve the industry. The recipient of the Spirit of ECC Award will have shown the following:

  • A strategic response to a fundamental challenge or opportunity;
  • A solid application of 'Thought Leadership';
  • A certain stewardship towards the betterment of the industry, its participants, and the people it serves.
2023 Recipient: Refined Technologies (RTI) and their partnership with CrossWalk Center

Refined Technologies (RTI) and their partnership with CrossWalk Center

At RTI, we believe operating with eternal purpose fuels excellence. This belief guides our enterprise and provides daily inspiration. Eternal Purpose is not limited to charitable giving, service activities, or sustainability efforts; nor is it limited to compassionate acts of prayer and care for Artisans and families. The work we do in the field and how we deliver work as a team also has lasting significance. Our personal belief that all work matters eternally is what motivates us individually and collectively to strive for excellence.

By working to serve others first, we partner with operations teams around the world to deliver fast and predictable shutdowns.

Our Core Behaviors include: 

  • Display a Servant’s Heart
  • Exhibit Enthusiasm
  • Lead with Empathy

We produce exceptional results because we employ exceptional people. Refined Technologies’ operations personnel each have substantial refinery and plant experience and are dedicated to our core behaviors and mission statement, which follows...

  • Honor God Always,
  • Help People Develop,
  • Pursue Excellence,
  • Earn a Profit

RTI has a powerful partnership with CrossWalk Center in Houston to support men who have been imprisoned achieve a successful and sustainable reentry into society. We have over 20 Artisans who have joined our team through this second chance employment program. Their passion, humility, and commitment to excellence inspire us daily.


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2022 Recipient: Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) National Craft Championships

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) National Craft Championships

The ABC National Craft Championships is an annual event featuring 15 competitions covering 12 crafts. The competitors take a written exam based on NCCER assessments (25% of total score) and then compete in a 6-hour project where they are judged on safety, quality, and productivity. The 150+ competitors must either be currently enrolled in an ABC sponsored training program or have completed the training in the past 3 years. In addition to the competition, the program includes motivational speakers and opportunities to network and socialize with ABC board members on owners. Competitors are treated like all-star athletes with inspiring opening night events and the entire program is concluded with an inspiring awards ceremony. 

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Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Industrial Craft Competition

The Industrial Craft Competition is an annual contest where participating high schools are judged on completing a spec-built project that is then judged by regional experts from the petrochemical industry. Each team delivers a brief presentation to the judges, preceded by a detailed inspection of the project. Projects remain on display in NRG Center during the Rodeo season. The Industrial Craft Competition further supports the Rodeo’s dedication to supporting Texas youth and education. The competition helps to foster the development of trade craft skills for Texas high school students enrolled in career and technical education programs. 

2019 Recipient: University of Houston Process and Industrial Construction Management Program

University of Houston Process and Industrial Construction Management Program

For over a decade, ECC has been addressing the gaps between industry skill set needs and University curriculum, and making calls for actions to move the needle. ECC funded a study to help identify the extent of the gaps between industry needs and what was being taught in the universities. One of the responses is the establishment of the nation’s first university program dedicated to Process and Industrial (P&I) construction management (CM) at the University of Houston (UH) in 2009.

The P&I program at UH has a simple vision to be the industry’s university program from Day One. It is the visionary leaders and tireless support from the industry that led the 60-year old construction program at UH to reborn with a fresh new focus on industrial construction.  John assembled 30 industry leaders from both owner and contractor organizations to determine what courses were needed in the program. Many members of this group were also active in ECC and all 30 were committed to spend their personal time and energy to create something new and better for our industry.  The curriculum was designed by the industry with a goal of producing industry-ready graduates. Despite the challenges of virtually non-existence of P&I construction textbooks, the industry and the faculty took the initiative of designing the curriculum from the ground up. It also incorporates the best industry practices such as Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) and new trends such as datacentric execution and construction-driven engineering.

When it comes to the knowledge delivery, in addition to the experienced faculty, the program places over thirty industry experts in the classroom to teach as Industry Professors. When it came time for accreditation and despite being initially flagged as a concern by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE), after its accreditation team visited the UH campus and met the students, the professors and the industry leaders, they ended up quoting the “Industry Professor model being a unique strength of the construction program at UH”.  When an industry need is addressed, more support will always follow. The initial group of major O&G and EPC companies that defined the P&I program continues to have a 30-member industry advisory board, supporting curriculum review and refinement, student scholarships and endowments, internship, fundraising, continuing education, community outreach, to innovation and applied research. In 2016, Fluor pledged a $1 million endowment to support the future growth of the P&I program.  Meanwhile, the university did not relax on their commitment on the quality of education and graduates. All students must complete an internship experience with one of the 160 pre-approved employers prior to their graduation. Similarly, all students must take and pass the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) national CM certification exam, which has a national passing rate of 50-60%. A remarkable achievement, 4 UH CM students scored the highest in the AIC exam in the country since 2014, and each exam has over 1,200 participating students from the nation’s top construction programs. 

The model of industry support, university commitment, and job creation is leading to a paradigm change to the student education experience at UH. This is not only reflected by the 500% growth of student enrollment in the last 10 years, but the profound change of students’ perception on construction as a career choice.

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2018 Recipient: Sadara Project Team

A Joint Venture of Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) and The Dow Chemical Company

Constructed in Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia, the Sadara Chemical Company was established in October 2011. It is an unprecedented undertaking – the largest chemical complex ever built in the world in a single phase, with 26 integrated world-scale manufacturing plants, over 3 million metric tons of capacity per year, and a total investment of about US$20 billion.

ECC is recognizing Sadara and the joint venture team not only for the scope and scale of the project, but also to celebrate the Beyond Injury Free (BIF) strategy employed onsite and over 486 million safe hours worked in 6-year period resulted in an injury rate of 0.033.


2017 Recipient: "Dream Big: Engineering Our World"

A MacGillivray Freeman Film in partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) ; Presented by Bechtel Corporation

Narrated by Academy Award® winner Jeff Bridges, Dream Big: Engineering Our World is a first of its kind film for IMAX® and giant screen theaters that will transform how we think about engineering. From the Great Wall of China and the world’s tallest buildings, to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities, Dream Big celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small, and reveals the heart that drives engineers to create better lives for people around the world. Dream Big, the film, is accompanied by an unparalleled array of exhibits, events and educational programs to take the film from visceral viewing experience to fully interactive educational movement. We hope you will use Dream Big’s suite of educational tools to share the world of engineering with students and learners across the globe. The project is so big, it is more than a movie—it’s part of a movement aimed at bringing engineering into the forefront of our culture. Dream Big is the first giant-screen film to answer the call of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) initiative, which aims to inspire kids of diverse backgrounds to become the innovators who will improve the lives of people across our entire planet as we head into the 21st Century and beyond. That’s why the film will be accompanied by ongoing educational, museum and community efforts to expose young people from all backgrounds to what engineering is…and what it can conjure in the world.

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2016 Recipient: Go Build Alabama

Meeting the demand for a highly skilled workforce in the construction trades is a national crisis that becomes more severe each day. In Alabama, with its expanding auto, steel production, aerospace, and energy industries, this crisis is particularly acute. America’s construction trades workforce is aging and there are simply not enough young people entering the trades. Today, nearly one-third of all construction skilled trades professionals are over the age of 50—and the average age is increasing every year. Unless something is done to attract younger people to the construction trades, Alabama, and the nation as a whole, will face severe problems in any effort to build and maintain its infrastructure. Research indicates that one of the core workforce issues facing the construction industry is that young people simply are not considering the construction trades as a viable career choice. This research is supported by the declining enrollment in high school construction programs across the state from 2005 -2010. As a result of both the image and knowledge gaps, young people from junior high school through junior college, who are prime candidates for careers in the construction trades, seldom even investigate the possibilities. 

Recognizing the problem ahead for the state and nation, construction leadership in the state of Alabama formed a partnership to solve the problem. The partnership included representatives from all phases of the industry such as owners, contractors, and labor. The partnership included representatives from the Alabama AFL-CIO, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama, the Alabama Associated General Contractors, Inc., the American Subcontractors Association, the Alabama Construction Trade Unions, the Subcontractors Association of Alabama, the Alabama College System, the Alabama Road Builders Association, the Alabama Construction Users Roundtable, the Alabama Department of Education and construction business owners. 

The Alabama Legislature at the request of the construction industry partnership has established the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute to address the workforce issues facing the industry. The work of ACRI is funded by a fee paid by commercial and industrial (non-residential) contractors, based on the payrolls of non-administrative employees. This funding approach has been endorsed by the 3,000- plus members of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Alabama, the Associated General Contractors of Alabama, the Alabama Road Builders Association, and the Alabama AFL-CIO. 

The Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute (ACRI) has created the Go Build Alabama marketing and communications campaign to enhance the image of the construction trades and to inform young people, parents, educators, and others who influence career decisions, about futures in the construction industry. The Go Build Alabama Campaign is a comprehensive marketing and recruitment campaign that utilizes mass media, grassroots, social media, and public relations components. The campaign media and activities are designed to enhance the image of the construction industry and skilled trade professionals and direct people to the Go Build Alabama website. The website allows visitors to learn about construction careers, locate construction training programs, and begin a job search. Also, visitors may request information and enter their personal data. With the registrant’s permission, this database is made available to training organizations to recruit to their respective construction trades programs. 

ACRI and the Go Build Alabama campaign have demonstrated success in establishing an industry-wide partnership to address a core issue that was negatively impacting the availability of a future workforce, encouraging young people and others to choose a career in the construction industry, and improving the image of the construction trade professional and the industry. The ACRI board of directors represents leadership from all aspects of the construction industry. The board is labor neutral and includes representation from owners, contractors, and labor. The leadership knew to address these foundational issues impacting the future construction workforce that they would have to be united to make significant change. This makes the program unique and very special to have union and non-union contractors, owners, labor organizations, and trade associations all working together. This united, collaborate approach is reflected through all of the Go Build Alabama materials and activities, and has even extended beyond Go Build Alabama in collaborative participation in regional career events held around the state. The Go Build Alabama campaign has made significant progress in helping to ensure a qualified future workforce by inspiring and encouraging young people and others to consider a career in the construction skilled trades, learn more about the industry, and to start their construction career at a local construction education The Women in Construction TV spots and all other Go Build Alabama media clips are available on the website. program. Thus, helping to increase the number of students entering construction education programs at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Perhaps the most dramatic impact of the program has occurred in construction programs at the secondary level. Prior to the launch of Go Build Alabama enrollments in these programs were on a slow decline, 6% decrease from 2005 - 2010, and students were not even considering construction trades a viable career choice. Since the launch of Go Build Alabama, not only has the downward trend completely reversed but we have seen significant growth, 24% increase from 2010 - 2014, and a change in attitudes towards the trades. Additionally, progress has been made at the post-secondary level. Over 70% of apprenticeship programs have had a notable increase in applications to their program. The two year community college programs have seen continued growth in construction program enrollments despite overall college attendance numbers on a downward trend. Finally, Go Build Alabama has made excellent progress in changing the perception and image of the construction trade professional and the industry. The campaign messaging highlights that construction careers are not alternatives to good careers; they are good careers. Also, messaging emphasizes the value of hard work and the construction worker as “hero”, as well the need for skilled workers who develop and engage in professional development leading to designation as skilled craftsmen. Additionally, the messaging seeks to dispel the misperceptions about construction trade careers that they are low paying, dead end, and dangerous jobs. A study conducted by Auburn University Montgomery, Center for Government and Public Affairs, found that after students were exposed to Go Build Alabama campaign materials they were twice as likely to refer a friend or family member to a career in construction and 17% more likely to choose a career in the construction industry. A separate survey of students enrolled in high school construction programs showed that the campaigns impact on image enhancement is directly impacting enrollments, as over 30% of the students surveyed said that Go Build Alabama played a role in their choosing a career in construction.

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2015 Recipient: US First

ECC was proud to award US First with the 2015 ECC Spirit of ECC Award.

The mission of US First is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Dean Kamen is an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology. His passion and determination to help young people discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology are the cornerstones of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

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2014 Recipient: Engineers Without Borders

Engineers Without Borders

EWB-USA’s mission is to support community-driven development programs worldwide by collaborating with local partners to design and implement sustainable engineering projects, while creating transformative experiences and responsible leaders.

EWB-USA works to achieve a vision of a world in which all communities have the capacity to meet their basic human needs. This vision is actively pursued by engaging in community-driven development programs. EWB-USA’s development approach requires that all program proposals come directly from the communities themselves. They’ve found that this increases the likelihood of a project’s success by ensuring that the needs addressed by our chapters are both identified and supported by the community. With the community's input, chapters design and implement low-cost, small-scale, replicable and sustainable engineering solutions to the problems identified by the community. Programs encompass water purification and delivery, sanitation, transportation and infrastructure projects, and sustainable and renewable energy systems.

The other historical problem EWB-USA’s mission addresses are gaps in the STEM education system. The United States ranks 52nd in the quality of STEM education and 27th in college students receiving engineering degrees. EWB-USA offers members transformative experiences that enrich global perspectives and produce better students and, ultimately, better leaders. This engagement also supplements traditional engineering curricula by focusing on the teaching of professional skills such as leadership, project management, cross-cultural communication and systems thinking.

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2013 Recipient: Mitchell Energy Barnett Shale Team

Mitchell Energy Barnett Shale Team

In 1981 the late George Mitchell assembled a team of geologists, engineers, and other critical groups to find a commercially viable way to extract natural gas trapped in the North Texas Barnett shale formation. At the time, few people expected this endeavor to succeed, and none except maybe for George Mitchell himself, could have imagined the energy revolution this team would begin to unleash 17 years later. Today, the practice of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing used to extract shale gas is a well-known process that has provided the United States with access to a plentiful low cost energy source. Shale gas is now sparking a resurgence in the North American manufacturing sector, leading to predictions of ~ 1 million new jobs being created over the next 10 – 15 years.

The thought leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and perseverance the Mitchell Energy Barnett Shale Team demonstrated over those 17 years is at the core of what the Spirit of ECC Award represents. It took tremendous teamwork to overcome all of the uncertainties and setbacks encountered in working on a new technology development project for that period of time. A diverse group of 62 people were at the core of this project, with no doubt many others contributing to the team’s ultimate success. These team members have not received a high level of notoriety for what they accomplished, making it even more satisfying to take the opportunity to acknowledge their achievement at the 2013 ECC Conference.

2012 Recipient: Team Rabbit

Team Rabbit

On August 5, 2010, a minor earthquake caused a mine to collapse in Copiapó, Chile, trapping 33 men underground. No one above knew if they were alive or even where they were. All they had to go on was that the men — or at least their corpses — were stuck somewhere between 500 and 800 meters below the earth. Everyone agreed on only one fact: any rescue effort was a race against time. No matter where the miners were when the shaft caved in, the survivors wouldn’t have enough water or food to last long. Answering the call for action, three companies selflessly came together as “Team Rabbit,” and through their creative technical thinking abilities, their critical project management skills, and the resources they deployed, they showed the world that the Capital Projects Industry can transcend its traditional scope, to serve the greater good of mankind and save human lives.

When the accident occurred, local drill teams had equipment capable of excavating down to 400 meters, but this was not enough, and managers were forced to issue an all-hands-on-deck call. Being major players in the Chilean mining industry, Drillers Supply International and Geotec Boyles Bros S.A., answered the call. They were joined later by Center Rock Inc., a small company in Pennsylvania specializing in drilling technology, after learning that the mine rescue would take too long. Building on their existing business relationships, these three companies became Team Rabbit, and successfully executed “Plan B,” as the media termed their successful evacuation project, rescuing the 33 miners and returning them to their families long before the initial projected date of Christmas. For their role in saving the 33 miners, ECC honored these three companies with the 2012 Spirit of ECC Award.

2011 Recipient: Chevron Project Resources Group

Chevron Project Resources Group

The 2011 Spirit of the ECC Award was presented to Chevron Project Resources Company. Mr. C. Michael Illanne, President and General Manager of Project Resources Company accepted the award on behalf of PRC. Project Resources Company (PRC) was formed in 1997 to create a center of expertise within Chevron for the management of major capital projects. PRC was nominated on the basis that it embodies the spirit of ECC with its strong drive for safety, excellence in project management, continuous improvement and creation of new processes/tools/techniques to address the challenges of today’s highly complex and technically challenging project portfolio. More importantly, PRC fosters the spirit of ECC through cooperation and sharing with and learning from others in both the oil and gas and other capital-intensive industries.