Project Superintendent Shawn O’Brien is currently helping to lead the U.S. Coast Guard’s Fort Macon Hurricane Rebuild Project at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.

April 11, 2023

Superintendent Shawn O’Brien Is a Strong Leader on Military Projects

A 30-year construction industry veteran, O'Brien says he appreciates his fellow Haskell professionals and the company's values-based approach.


Haskell Project Superintendent Shawn O’Brien learned carpentry in the Air Force, and that education has served him well over 30 years in construction.

“In the service, I was a carpenter in the Corps of Engineers, and I followed the trade when I got out,” O’Brien said.

While he was with a smaller construction company, his co-workers Gary and Larry Willis left to join Haskell. When work ran out at the smaller company, O’Brien contacted the Willis brothers. About a month later, O’Brien was working at Haskell, too.

He joined the Haskell team in 2016, and one of his daughters, Karen Smith, is now an assistant project manager.

“I like Haskell because of the values – team, excellence, service and trust. I’ve got that posted on a wall in my office,” O’Brien said. “I enjoy working with a team of professionals. There’s no politics. You’re judged by the project you do. There are challenges every day that can turn into opportunities.”

Josh Hodge, Director of Project Development, has worked with O’Brien on several projects.

“He’s always two to three months ahead in a planning perspective while staying on top of what’s happening,” Hodge said. “He’s a pusher. He has a vision and makes sure people are doing what they’re supposed to do and are accountable.”

Military projects have taken O’Brien all over the country, including the following:

  • A hurricane rebuild at Sandy Hook Coast Guard Station in New Jersey
  • A training hangar for the Coast Guard in Elizabeth City, North Carolina
  • A multi-mission building for the National Guard in Wyoming
  • A hangar for the F-35 new generation strike fighter at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina
  • A ground operations trainer for the CH-53K helicopter at the Marine Corps Air Station in New River, North Carolina

His latest project is for the Coast Guard at Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Slow-moving Hurricane Florence in 2021 caused widespread damage, and the Coast Guard is consolidating the function of four existing buildings into a single three-story, 29,000-square-foot Multi-Mission Station Facility that will house office space, a boat maintenance bay, sleeping quarters, fitness center, and medical/dental space. The project also includes utility upgrades and demolition of four buildings that were damaged by the hurricane.

In conjunction with Atlanta-based subcontract partner Coreslab Structures, Haskell is using precast concrete for increased hurricane resistance. The task order required that the building be designed for progressive collapse, which ensures that, if one part of the structure is compromised, others will remain standing.

“It’s precast construction,” O’Brien said. “They just pour the outside. It’s interesting. They do it a lot for warehouses. It’s an economical way to do commercial construction. It’s fast and efficient.”

When he’s not working, O’Brien spends time with his two daughters and four grandkids.

“My oldest daughter likes to camp, go to the beach, go on nature trails, the springs, and the zoo,” he said. “My younger daughter likes the arts market, plants, the autobahn, and indoor racing. They recharge me.”

Haskell is hiring! Explore the many options available to join a growing company where the Core Values of Team, Excellence, Service and Trust inspire everything we do.

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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