Safety on the Job Top Priority for IBEW 11 Team
Every morning when General Foreman Derek Ho and Supervisor Leo Black go to work at ITF-West, the safety of their crew of more than 100 employees is foremost on their minds.
“No question, safety on the job is key,” added Black, a third generation IBEW member with 48 years of experience. “We start off every morning with a tailgate safety meeting and their JHA – Job Hazard Analysis books – in their pockets.”
The group discusses what each worker is doing that day, what hazards they may encounter, and how to control them. “Are there overhead beams being craned in? Or rebar getting installed?” Black explained. “A concrete pour, or other area they have to stay away from? They have to be alerted.”
Since the project broke ground in August of 2019, these IBEW 11 journeymen and apprentices have been hard at work bringing to life the state-of-the-art parking and mobility hub for the LAX People Mover that will whisk passengers to and from their flights — the Intermodal Transportation Facility (ITF) West.
These IBEW 11 workers are creating the electrical backbone for the four-story parking and administrative project, which will connect offsite parking to the LAX terminal to help ease congestion at the notoriously busy airport. It is all part of the long overdue modernization project at LAX.
The 1.7 million square-foot facility will feature 4,700 parking stalls and 1,500 EV charging stations, and will serve as the home for LAX’s Security and Badging Office for airport employees.
Black said he’s very proud that “safety is the culture at Morrow-Meadows. When I first started in construction all those years ago, it was a dangerous and high-risk industry. Now, it’s gotten so much safer that I’m perfectly comfortable having my children work in construction.”
ITF West is a very large project, four stories, and a lot of ground for the Safety Officer on the job to cover. “You’ll easily get your 10,000 steps in every day,” Black added with a laugh.
It’s also an exciting project with a lot of state-of-the art technology built in, noted Robert Freeman, a third generation IBEW member who has been on the job since the beginning.
“We started out doing the underground cabling when it was a dirt field out here,” he said, pointing to the ground surround the parking structure. “It’s been exciting to watch us build out the whole electrical system – including a DWP sub station, and all the data, flight and security information, and electric car chargers we have here.”
“We’re creating a project that will make it easy for passengers to park offsite, walk across the bridge, and jump on a tram and be at LAX without all the hassle of driving around the airport and parking.”
Working during the COVID-19 pandemic on such a large, complex job with so many crafts, has had its challenges, noted Ho, a 35-year Morrow-Meadows employee. The crew was also cursed with a lot of rain during this past year, all while having to maintain tight schedules.
“We had crew members who were out with COVID, some of them in the hospital, so we had to constantly shift schedules around,” Ho said.
Both Ho and Black believe strongly in mentoring the next generation of IBEW members. “I’m very proud we’ve put a lot of apprentices through this program. We’ve had 44 in all. We take mentoring our apprentices very seriously. In fact, we’ve help prepare our apprentices to take their Cal state license test and all of them have passed,” Ho pointed out.
ITF West is considered an important milestone in building a world-class airport for the more than 80 million travelers that come through LAX every year. At the 2019 groundbreaking, Mayor Eric Garcetti called out the facility, saying, “Once completed, ITF-West will stand as a new front door to our airport welcoming travelers, reducing traffic congestion and offering a seamless connection with the Automated People Mover.”
In addition, ITF-West will boast Wi-Fi, flight information, meet-and-greet space, valet parking and direct trains to the airport. The facility is expected to be completed in August of 2021. Electrical sustainability is one of the key features of the parking structure, including efficient LED lighting with energy saving light controls, dedicated parking for EV vehicles and car/van pools and 1,500 electric vehicle charging stations.
The structure will also feature the latest in smart parking features, including computerized parking guidance and a space indicator system that will help users identify the number of available parking spots and direct them to open spots.