Published January 12, 2021
Stacey Flint, project manager at JE Dunn Construction, is one of the leaders behind new transportation upgrades at PDX. (Credit: Celeste Noche)
It takes a lot of hands to keep airport construction moving. We’re sharing regular “Faces of PDX” profiles to shine a spotlight on the people behind these projects. Up next: Stacey Flint, project manager at JE Dunn in Portland.
Stacey Flint sees art where other people might miss it — like in the nuances of ground transportation upgrades at the Portland International Airport. As a project manager at JE Dunn Construction, Stacey is one of the leaders behind the new rental car and parking improvements at PDX. Once complete, the new building complex will bring all rental cars on-site (no more shuttles!), provide more parking and streamline rideshare services for when you're ready to fly again — all in one convenient package. Here Stacey tells us about her love for architecture and the intricacies of her sometimes-challenging day job.
No day is ever the same. “There really is no ‘normal day.’ Every day is different and that’s why I love this business. Being a project manager, I feel like our job is to connect all the different parts and pieces — doing things like connecting the architects’ vision with the people who are going to bring it to life. We make sure everyone works together, on time and on budget.”
This is way, way more than a parking garage. “I hate when people say it’s just a parking structure. [laughter] This is one of the coolest projects that I’ve ever built because of the fact that it houses so many different types of tenants, who all have different needs for the spaces. It’s really five separate structures. It’s beautiful and it’s incredibly complex.”
Stacey brings her creative perspective to construction. “ I’ve always been a creative person. When I was young, I was fascinated by cathedrals — the big Gothic style. And I really love the clean lines of modern architecture, too. In college, I was an art and art history minor. To me, architecture is the ultimate art form. Whether people realize it or not, architecture has an impact on their lives every single day.”
The impact of her work isn’t lost on her. “I appreciate just how important this building is going to be to people at the airport and in Portland. We keep that in mind every day. Knowing and loving what we do is important.”
Don’t discount the impact of positivity, Stacey says. “I’m always trying to bring positivity to the team, to the project, to the client — even when there are problems and obstacles. Teamwork, hard work and staying positive are extremely important for success, and they’re incredibly important to the fabric of PDX.”
Here's what this year will look like for PDX (and you!)
For the past year, we've built a nine-acre roof on a prefabrication lot to the northwest of the airport. The construction crews are now installing the last component—an intricate wood lattice, sourced from sustainable Northwest forests, that will eventually cover the interior ceiling.
What you'll see: If you drive along Marine Boulevard, you can glimpse the roof's dramatic swoops in the prefab lot.
Behind all those partitions in the pre-security area, construction crews have been hollowing out the back half of the main terminal. Starting in March, the exterior structure is also coming down to create a more open, spacious footprint. It may get noisy for a few months!
What you'll see: Not much, in fact. But when you’re in the ticket lobby and going through security, you may hear and feel what’s happening on the other side of those partitions. We're strategizing ways to counteract the sound, including free earplugs at the front doors and a sensory room in Concourse D.
Next, we’re erecting 34 giant steel Y-shaped columns to hold up the roof. Right now, construction crews are driving steel pilings deep into the ground to anchor these columns. Over the course of a few months, we’ll erect the Y columns one by one.
What you'll see: You probably won't notice—most are going up overnight behind the temporary walls. Late-night travelers will occasionally have to walk a few yards around an installation site.
Once the biggest section of the wood roof is fully assembled, the project team will break it back down into 20 "cassettes". During the summer and fall, Hoffman-Skanska and Mammoet will maneuver each cassette into place over the existing roof. It will take several days to place each cassette, and the work will happen overnight — depending on the section we’re placing, we may guide late-night travelers around a short detour.
What you'll see: Unless you're flying into PDX on a late-night flight, or camped out on Marine Drive at 2 a.m., you won't see much. If you walk to the ends of Concourse C or Concourse D and look back toward the main terminal, you'll catch a glimpse of the airport's new roofline.
In addition to the big projects, you’ll see a host of new amenities appear throughout the airport. A new play area in Concourse E. New art. New restaurants and cafes. (Lardo! Screen Door! Good Coffee!) You're almost guaranteed to encounter something new every time you visit the airport — and we're not talking barricades.