Project Superintendent Greg Powell met his wife at Haskell while he was working in Malaysia.

August 22, 2023

Malaysian Connection Brings Greg Powell Back to U.S. with Haskell

The veteran Project Superintendent is currently overseeing a job site where upgrades are making a Canadian distillery more efficient and sustainable.


Haskell Project Superintendent Greg Powell grew up in Independence, Kentucky, a town without a stoplight, but he’s managed to see the world, first as a hospital corpsman in the Navy and later working in construction.

“In the Navy, I spent two years in Memphis and two years on a ship and saw the world -- Europe, the North Atlantic, and South America,” Powell said.

After the Navy, he followed in his father’s footsteps and earned an associate’s degree in electro-mechanical engineering from Cincinnati State University.

“He worked in a manufacturing plant as a mechanic and said it was the best way to make money,” Powell said. “And he was right.”

Greg Powell worked for two decades for a Kentucky company. His most memorable job took him to Malaysia for seven years, where he was the construction manager on a $160 million project for Safran Landing Systems, which was entering the Asian market.

While in Malaysia, he met and married his second wife, Nena, a native of the Philippines.

“I married her twice,” Powell said. “We had a ceremony in Malaysia, but she wanted an American wedding. So, we got married a second time in Las Vegas.”

Powell was in Malaysia when the pandemic hit. His company wanted him to stay there, but he and his wife were ready to come stateside. He found out that Haskell was hiring through some Haskell team members he worked with.

The trip back to the U.S. was a strange one.

“We hit this window when there were no travel restrictions except to wear masks,” Powell said. “We flew to Hong Kong, and there were only four people on the plane.”

Powell joined Haskell in January 2021 and was assigned as a superintendent on Diageo’s Project Helix, where in just nine months, team members from the facilities, process and packaging teams transformed a vacant, 75-plus-year-old warehouse in Plainfield, Illinois, into an operational facility, named Lincolnway, that features two high-speed can lines capable of producing 25 million cases of malted-based beverages and spirits-based Ready-to-Drink (RTD) products per year. The project won an Eagle Award from the Associated Builders and Contractors Florida First Coast Chapter.

Powell is now project superintendent at a $10 million upgrade at the Hiram Walker & Sons distillery in Windsor, Ontario, the southernmost city in Canada.

“Canada projects can be challenging,” said Project Manager Parker Watson. “Greg came on temporarily and is now permanent. He hit the ground running. He’s done a good job for us. This project is super interesting, with a lot of moving parts. It’s not something everyone can get a grasp on, but Greg’s done a good job keeping things going. He’s been a great asset.”

Haskell is installing two new evaporators – 50 feet tall and 12 feet wide – inside the existing plant, using a 600-ton crane, which lifts the new equipment into the plant through the roof.

The evaporators dehydrate the mash of corn and other grains from the distillery process and turn it into animal feed. Powell said the upgrade will make the distillery more efficient and sustainable. The project is expected to be completed in February, and then Haskell will remove the old evaporators.

The project is challenging because the installation is in a facility that operates 24/7 with only occasional downtime for maintenance.

“I spend a lot of the day interacting with plant personnel so we can work in and around their processes,” Powell said. “I have meetings with the plant manager every morning to discuss the work that day.”

Assistant Project Manager Keith Hejnal said he’s enjoyed working with Powell on the project.

“He’s easy to talk to. He stays on top of everything and is always willing to help out,” Hejnal said.

Although Windsor gets some smoke from the Canadian wildfires that have been burning for months, the Detroit River has served as a buffer, keeping most of the smoke in Detroit, Michigan.

Powell gets home to Kentucky to see his wife about every three weeks, when he indulges in his hobby – woodworking.

“I make furniture – tables, bookcases. I’m getting ready to make a dresser,” he said. “It gives me something to take my mind off work.”

Powell has a son, daughter, and five grandchildren; his wife has two children.

He also likes to camp and fish. They have a family fishing trip this fall at Lake Cumberland. He and his wife also travel to the Philippines, where they own a house, to visit her mother and daughter.

And when his time off is over, Powell says he’s always glad to get back to Haskell. “I always feel like part of the team. Every project has a different team, but we come from the same background, and there’s always lots of team-building and dinners. When you’re working long hours, you do a lot of things together. It’s a good culture.”

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Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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