Never Give Up: One Phone Call Can Bring Big Opportunities

By Craig Carson

I recently began a journey that dates back to 1998. That was the year I received the first phone call from a contractor about doing some work on a project in Colorado Springs. He had been involved with various projects at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and had been asked to look at a problem at the Academy’s Cadet Chapel.

I agreed to meet with him and ever since, I’ve been mesmerized by the beauty and stature of the chapel. Over the course of these 20 odd years, and one company change later, I’ve offered help and budgeting to different contractors with different approaches to repair the building against water leaks and condensation.


When I received yet another request to look at the chapel in November 2017, I thought it might be just another review. I was wrong. The Air Force Academy was seriously reviewing a problem and working to fix it properly. The Air Force hired an architect, AECOM, and a consultant, Wiss Janney Elstner, to review the building and make repair recommendations. They even built a mock-up and had it tested independently to review the current chapel’s design issues.

The call I received was from a JE Dunn project manager. Another JE Dunn senior manager had given him my name. He asked if we wanted to participate as a team member to address the Air Force Cadet Chapel repairs. This meant that we, along with their other team members, would submit our information to JE Dunn, who would prepare the submittal package and send to the Air Force. We agreed.

All of the information was gathered and sent, including a letter of commitment, which stated we would commit to the project if our team was selected to bid. In March of 2018 we received notification that we were one of the teams selected to bid.


We were then allowed to visit the test mock-up and review the structure to prepare for the May 2018 bid date. This was not an easy task as all of the glazing would need to match the existing as close as possible and new extrusions for custom windows would need to be developed.

There was also a historical aspect that had to be met. Fortunately, I had spoken to Keith Lindberg of Wausau Windows and they agreed to be our primary supplier of the replacement glazing systems. Together, we supplied proposal drawings that showed how the other adjacent trades would interact with our products and designs to have a truly interactive approach.

After months of review, the Air Force notified us that our team was a finalist. This took us to another level of questions and answers, with the team supplying our approach to the re-fitting and how we were going to manage the project.

Finally, we received notice in July 2019 that our team was awarded the project—20+ years after my first contact regarding the building. Fantastic! Now the journey really begins.

Craig Carson is the director of preconstruction for Alliance Glazing Technologies Inc. in Littleton, Colo.

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