Three WSP USA professionals – Deborah Brown, Karen Hedlund and Sallye Perrin – are creating opportunities for investors and public owners to accomplish accelerated and innovative project delivery with public projects.
They were recognized by Public Works Financing (PWF) for their leadership in public-private partnerships (P3) and were included in PWF’s recent listing, “90 Women in North American Public-Private Partnerships,” honoring the growing role of women who are shaping the success of P3 projects.
“I was delighted to see the list and very proud of the work our women leaders are doing in the P3 market,” said John Porcari, WSP USA president of advisory services. “WSP is leading the way from structuring P3 transactions, to securing public finance resources and integrating private investment into public infrastructure projects, and we’re doing that with the industry’s most talented team.”
“We have a stellar group of accomplished women working in alternative delivery and P3s within WSP, and I am proud to be associated with such a sharp and highly regarded group of women,” Brown said.
“It is refreshing to work with and alongside so many talented women in the P3 industry,” Perrin added. “From owners to advisers, developers, lawyers and bankers, women are leading the way in P3 delivery. I am delighted to be part of the group.”
Perrin, senior vice president and national director for P3s, has more than 30 years of planning and engineering experience, and serves as a strategic pursuit manager for the development of P3s throughout North America, with a focus on transportation. She is currently leading WSP’s technical advisory work for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) on its second P3 procurement.
Hedlund, the former deputy administrator of Federal Railroad Administration, works with federal, state and local transportation agencies as well as private companies to facilitate financing and development of transportation projects through P3s. She is currently advising the City of Chicago on its O’Hare Express System procurement.
Brown is the director of alternative delivery for WSP. Since joining the firm in 2014, she has supported the Maryland Purple Line P3 project. She is currently advising the D.C. Department of General Services and Office of Public-Private Partnerships in a social infrastructure P3 to renovate the Henry J. Daly Building – Metropolitan Police headquarters.
In a P3, the private sector takes on additional responsibilities and risks that typically belong to the public sector. That can be unsettling for agencies entering a P3 for the first time, and a perceived loss of control by the public sector is one of the biggest concerns to overcome.
“While it may be in the client’s long-term best interest to share these responsibilities and risks with the private sector, for some clients, that shift of control and responsibility can be uncomfortable, at least initially,” said Jodie Misiak, who joined the WSP alternative delivery team late last year. “But when a private sector partner successfully manages the various transferred risks of a P3, the project can realize long-term investment value.”
“Actually, the assets developed under P3 arrangements remain publicly owned over the term of the agreement and ultimate responsibility still rests with the agency, as the public will always look to the owner-agency as the accountable entity,” Brown added. “Under certain structures, if effectively managed, these agreements can give an agency more control over the long-term operation and performance of the asset.”
“Funding and financing for U.S. infrastructure is changing, regardless of the fate of new infrastructure legislation,” Perrin said. “P3s will play an increasingly important role as a delivery method that allows owners to accelerate schedules, contain costs and guarantee high performance during operations and maintenance.”
When a client has built a foundation of trust with its P3 partners, its faith in the alternate delivery approach is also boosted.
“Our team brings perspectives and practical experience from both the public and private sides of the transaction to support our clients in implementing the alternative project procurement and delivery option,” Brown said.
Before joining WSP as a service area manager for alternative delivery strategic initiatives, Misiak served as a senior advisor to the secretary for the Build America Bureau at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), which streamlines federal transportation finance programs and innovative project delivery technical assistance. It was an experience that gave her insight into the reasons public entities favor alternative delivery strategies.
“Public sector clients are committed to identifying the most appropriate strategy for addressing the full life cycle of a project and they typically have dedicated staff that are willing to go the extra mile to develop an effective approach,” Misiak said. “A P3 can create long-term value for a public partner, particularly in terms of life cycle cost savings, construction efficiencies and long-term operations efficiencies.”
While with USDOT, Misiak worked with the WSP team during the Purple Line P3 procurement, when she was leading P3s for Maryland and WSP was the advisor.
“That’s when I first had an extended opportunity to see what WSP can deliver for clients,” she said. “I have been impressed by WSP’s professionalism and ability to combine technical and financial expertise for the development of customized, project-specific advice for public sector clients. I am delighted to be part of WSP and to support its strong reputation.”
Next week, Brown, Perrin and Misiak will share their experiences as presenters at the Public-Private Partnership Conference and Expo 2018 in Dallas.
Perrin will lead the presentation, “How to Ask for What You Want: Structuring a Procurement to Get the Results You Need” and a question-and-answer workshop on Feb. 26; and “How Can We Advance Projects and Attract Funding Under the New Federal Infrastructure Plan” on Feb. 27.
Brown will be hosting a government interactive roundtable discussion, “So You’ve Decided to do a P3…Now What?” on Feb. 27.
Misiak will be on a panel discussing “New Strategies for Risk Allocation in P3s” on Feb. 27.
WSP offers a full range of P3 investor advisory services to the private sector and public agencies throughout the entire P3 project development cycle, providing services such as planning support, procurement, delivery options analysis, financial planning, general engineering consultant and owner’s representative. The firm’s P3 projects include:
PortMiami Tunnel. The 3/4-mile tunnel opened in 2014 and provides improved access to Miami’s seaport, the largest and busiest cruise ship terminal in the world. The tunnel removes an estimated 1.5 million trucks from downtown Miami streets. WSP was the lead technical advisor for the procurement of the P3 project, and continued as owner's representative during construction.
Maryland Purple Line. Construction is under way for a 16-mile, 21-station light rail line that will run between Bethesda and New Carrollton, north of Washington, D.C., the region’s first circumferential rail transit line. WSP provided the value-for-money analysis and led the procurement effort for Maryland Department of Transportation as technical advisor. WSP continues to support Maryland DOT as owner’s representative during construction.
Los Angeles Airport (LAX) Infrastructure Development Plan. WSP leads the MapLAX joint venture that developed the program-level analysis for improvements to airport landside access and proposed new facilities, including an intermodal transportation facility, consolidated rental car facility, a terminal concourse, roadway and transit improvements, and an automated people mover. Once P3 was selected as the delivery method for the automated people mover, WSP became a technical advisor for procurement of the system, which reached preferred bidder status in February 2018.
Michigan I-75 Modernization Segment 3 P3. As part of WSP’s long-standing role on the I-75 modernization program for MDOT, WSP participated in analyses to accelerate the delivery of needed improvements to the Interstate 75 corridor. WSP led the development of Segment 2 through a design-build contract and is the technical advisor for the procurement of the 5.5-mile Segment 3 rehabilitation and widening, which is being delivered as a P3.
LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal B. The new terminal will provide retail and dining space, a hotel, a conference and business center, and other features to accommodate growing passenger volumes. It is the largest P3 currently being undertaken in the U.S., with the private sector contributing more than $2 billion and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contributing more than $1 billion to construct the airport and supporting infrastructure. WSP is part of LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the team designing and building the terminal.
Presidio Parkway. The 1.6-mile, six-lane roadway winds through the Presidio national park, linking San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge. The highway opened in 2015 and includes twin high-viaduct bridges, four tunnels, and a low viaduct interchange. WSP served as the lead technical and financial advisor and as the owner’s representative. The firm also led procurement of the first availability payment P3 in California, and the Presidio Parkway became the pathfinder project for the state’s emerging P3 program and a model for alternative procurement.
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