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Airport Project – rich training ground

Airport Project – rich training ground

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Aluko Dublin, a civil engineer, considers himself “privileged” to have been involved with the International Airport Development Project from “day one”.{{more}} And he hopes that when the airport is completed next year, it will not be the end of his association with the project.

Dublin had just returned from six years of study in Cuba, when in 2005, preliminary work was about to begin on the airport at Argyle, with the assistance of Cuban and Venezuelan consultants.

“Because of my Spanish (language) background, I was attached to the team,” the 33-year-old South Rivers resident said.

Supervised by Chief Project Engineer Jeffrey Cato, Dublin is responsible for the design and construction of all the civil works for the landside facilities, which include parking areas, drainage, roads to and from the terminal and other buildings.

He also works closely with Consultant Engineer on the project, Cuban Leonardo Perez, affectionately known as “The Professor”, who is mostly in charge of the airside works.

Dublin, the son of Greg Dublin and Hyacinth Johnson, considers himself “privileged” to be part of this experience.

“It is the biggest capital project in the country; it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Most engineers have experience in constructing buildings, but it the first time, we are venturing in construction of this magnitude,” he told SEARCHLIGHT on Saturday.

The graduate of Cujae University in Havana said whenever Perez is involved in negotiations or discussions for the airside works, he involves him in the meeting to assist with interpretation.

Having to interpret for Perez, Dublin said has proven beneficial for him in different ways.

“One thing … you study in Spanish, so most of the technical terms, you are familiar with them in Spanish. Sometimes it’s very difficult to explain these same terms in English. It’s not a word for word translation at times…. So because I have to do a lot of translation, I have had to learn the [English equivalents]… it makes it easier for me to communicate in both languages,” he said.

Dublin said the airport should be completed by the end of 2013.

“We are very much on schedule… some of the things we might have wanted to finish earlier, but with the time frame we have left, it is completely doable.”

Dublin said from discussions with Perez, he has become interested in continuing to work at the airport in a supervisory or managerial position, after it has opened.

He said Perez, who was the director the Varadero airport in Cuba for 10 years, explained that at any airport site, there is always ongoing maintenance and construction work.

“From what he has explained to me, it has opened up my interest a lot.”

Dublin said from working with Perez, he has had to familiarize himself with many of the international standards such as those of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and all the different regulations that have to be complied with for an airport to be safe or even get the required certification.

“So there is that theoretical part of it also that I get to delve into with Leonardo,” who always involves him in discussions with the ICAO and outside specialists, Dublin said.

“A whole new challenge once the construction is complete … with a lot of options for me. I get to see how both sides of the coin operate … I get an idea about what running an airport is about. What to look for to make sure that an airport meets certain international standards.”

But Dublin is just one of the small team of young Vincentian engineers who are contributing to national development with their work at the international airport site.

Lukeano King, another civil engineer, is attached to the laboratory, where they keep a keen eye on the quality control of earth works and construction works, by testing soil, concrete and asphalt. King also did his civil engineering studies in Cuba and began working at the IADC in February 2011.

Mechanical engineer Stephen Seymour, another graduate from Cuba, has been attached to the workshop for the past three and a half years. He works along with a Cuban engineer, maintaining all the project’s heavy equipment.

“They are like the engine of the company. They keep the project flowing. Because if we don’t have the equipment, then we can’t work,” Dublin explained.

The 3-D rendering of the airport plans like those on the 2012-2013 LIME telephone directory, were done by architectural engineer Romel Ollivierre, who joined the project in June this year. Ollivierre, another graduate of a Cuban university, is also attached to the landside works, particularly the terminal building.

All the designs for the lighting and electrical systems for the runway were done by the design team which includes electrical engineer Josette Greaves, who joined the team in February, last year. This team supervises all the electrical work on the project. Greaves is also a graduate of a Cuban university and works along with a Cuban engineer.

Carmetha John is a graduate in physical and urban planning and design. She is the Environmental and Planning Officer at the project and is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the recommendations of the environmental impact assessments done at the project.

John, a graduate of a university in Jamaica, has worked with the project for the last four years, gaining experience with several environmental impact assessment studies such as the bird hazard study conducted by the Cuban Ministry of Science Technology and the Environment.

Dublin said while being able to speak Spanish is not a pre-requisite for a technical position at the IADC, because most of the technical personnel on the earthworks side are Spanish-speaking, being able to speak Spanish aids with easy communication.

“The idea is to have a Vincentian engineer working along with these Cuban professionals who have the experience, so there is knowledge transfer,” Dublin said.

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