WASHINGTON, D.C.: The United States Army bestowed the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service on alumnus Alan Levy, 77, for his contribution to the construction of facilities that greatly benefited Soldiers and Families of the Army. Levy retired as Project Manager, Facilities Management Directorate in September 2011 after 11 years’ service.
According to the written justification for the award, “Mr. Levy has distinguished himself as a Project Manager, Facilities Management Directorate (FMD), Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command (FMWRC) during the period from June 2000 to June 2011. Mr. Levy proficed construction project management services for…a new Army Lodge at Fort Knox, youth activity centers, child development centers, golf course irrigation systems and club houses, kennels, restaurants, bowling center renovations, and a swimming pool.”
The justification further commended Levy’s “professionalism of the highest degree”, stating that the facilities he managed constructing “will endure for years to come”
In a colourful career that has included working on Florida’s Vertical Assembly Building and the Sydney Opera House, Alan Michael Levy (BSc Eng Civil, 1956) also produced and directed all-American feature films in the 1970s.
Levy married Janette Davis (BA, 1959) after graduating and set sail for London. Eighteen months later, on the eve of the couple’s departure to Canada, the head of design firm Ove Arup & Partners persuaded Levy to accept the position of resident engineer managing construction of the Sydney Opera House. Thereafter, Levy moved on to the USA and began working on the Seattle Space Needle that symbolised the 1962 World’s Fair. Levy then bought a 10-year-old Buick and motored across the US until arriving in New York City. Here he began working at a civil and structural engineering firm on the design of the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB) located in Florida.
Levy returned to Johannesburg as Director of the design division of Roberts Construction. An early assignment involved the design of one of the world’s widest and deepest gold mines. In a radical departure from engineering, Levy took an extended sabbatical from Roberts Construction to pursue movie-making business in the late 1970s. Initial efforts included writing, shooting and editing two documentaries: Creators of Tomorrow depicted the role of imagination in the lives of impressionable youngsters, and Up the Cityhighlighted the ills of big cities.
As executive producer, Levy then teamed up with international movie director and writer, Percival Rubens with whom he successfully produced Saboteurs, a full-length feature with an all-American cast, depicting the attempted assassination of world-renowned nuclear scientists attending a nuclear conference at Pelindaba, South Africa.
Following his divorce and remarriage to Beulah Sacks, Levy returned to the United States where he furthered his engineering studies in Virginia and Maryland. He joined civil engineering firm Ralph M. Parsons in Washington, D.C as a programme/ project manager, working on the $2.5-billion Northeast Corridor (Rail) Improvement Program (NECIP) for the Federal Rail Administration (FRA). He was personally responsible for leading the Bridge Renovation and Replacement Division as required on the NE Rail link between Washington, D.C. and Boston.
Levy then took a second leave of absence, this time to produce a movie documentary, Red Alert, for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The documentary focused on how fire fighters fight fires at regional airports.
National construction management company, CRS Sirrine then hired Levy as Group Vice-President of the firm’s mid-Atlantic construction management division. Levy marketed and managed a $150-million replacement hospital for the University of Virginia over 31 months; an 11-school renovation programme for the New York City Board of Education; and two correctional facilities for the New York State Office of General Services.
Five years later, construction management entity, the Sverdrup Corporation hired Levy as Vice-President of construction management, marketing and operations of its mid-Atlantic divisions. Here he managed several projects for the National Institute of Health; the $106-million Baltimore Orioles Stadium; an 11-storey mechanical/electrical/plumbing renovation of a building in Richmond for the Federal Government; and a $75-million renovation of a 26-storey renovation, also for the Federal Government, located in Lower Manhattan.
By the turn of the century and until his retirement in September 2011, Levy worked as a project manager for the Department of Defense - the US Army and US Navy specifically - working in Washington, D.C. on a number of design/build contracts located at numerous military installations across the USA, as well as a project in South Korea.
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