America's Chief Engineer Winner - 2006


The Asset

He calls it "the asset". Rising 53 stories above Los Angeles's Central Business District is Two California Plaza, a glass, steel and concrete, Class A high-rise containing 1.4 million square feet (1,277,000 square feet is rentable), with more than 52,000 square feet of retail space. Two California Plaza was named BOMA (Building Owners & Managers Association) Regional Building of the Year in 1997 and 2001. He is Bruce Adams, winner of Goodway Technologies Corporation's first America's Chief Engineer Award.

Mr. Adams was selected from over 3,500 other possible candidates across the United States. Entries were judged on their maintenance practices, efficiency programs, or improvements, plant appearance and overall philosophy. To quote Mr. Adams, "Number one, one must recognize that the appearance is only a superficial sign and that actual maintenance integrity and efficiency is foremost". For his efforts, Goodway awarded Bruce with a $3,000 cruise and $5,000 worth of Goodway equipment. Mr. Adams generously donated his winnings - the cruise to Ronald McDonald House to be auctioned for charity and the Goodway equipment to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

More on the asset - the chill water plant is comprised of three 1150-ton Trane CVHE centrifugal chillers, for a total cooling capacity of 3450 tons. Main air handlers are located on the 18th floor, serving the lobby level through the 30th floor and on the 53rd floor, serving floors 31 through 52. There are six roof-mounted Baltimore Air Coil cooling towers, equating to 4000 tons of cooling. Tenant cooling requirements for water source package units serving computer rooms and supplemental needs are accomplished by a series of six heat exchangers, totaling 700 tons of cooling, located on both, the 53rd and 18th floor mechanical areas. Heating water is supplied by two Ajax 9 million BTU low pressure gas fired boilers. The retail sector is supplied chilled water by way of one 400-ton heat exchanger and hot water fan coils located throughout the suites.

"Always Defend the Asset"

Bruce Adams became the Chief Engineer at Two California Plaza when construction began in August of 1989 - when he was only 27 years old. As Bruce said, "When I was given the task of starting up Two California Plaza, my number one goal was to make this property the flagship of all in the portfolio. "Before becoming Chief Engineer, he was a Porsche technician, an indicator of his skill level, attention to detail and penchant for quality performance (Interestingly, Bruce has a 1987 Mazda 626 with 316,000 original miles. As he says, "If you just take care of things...").

Taking care of things is exactly what Adams and his staff of 12 incredibly dedicated maintenance professionals do. There is a pervasive air of camaraderie among Bruce and his staff and the pride and affection they share for the property is obvious. One gets the feeling they are an integral part of the structure. Bruce purposely keeps the work environment pleasant for his crew and he speaks as much about what they do as he does himself. He and his staff even bring in their home shop vacuums once a year, shut down the electrical system and clean all the buses and raceways after hours. It is this level of dedication that makes Two California Plaza the outstanding facility that it is.

Perhaps the most impressive example of the high level of maintenance practiced at the facility is the equipment rooms. When asked what improvements have been made to the mechanical rooms, Adams responded, "The appearances of the rooms today are the same as they were on opening day in 1992. The improvements were made at the initial core and shell construction. Unselfish pride represents a loyal and dedicated employee in the maintenance of these rooms throughout the years.The outward appearance also makes it evident to problems, such as leakage and disrepair". By the way, the checkerboard tile patterns on the floors were Bruce's idea. Adams continues, "At Two California Plaza, we have set a standard, portfolio-wise, to standardize pipe identification that is used throughout the portfolio - this is for all to be able to recognize systems at a glance". The piping is color-coded and the paint on all of the thousands of feet of piping is maintained by a single industrious and acrobatic painter. To sum it up, all the equipment rooms look brand new, even though they are 15 years old.

Preparation for the unexpected is of great importance to Adams and his crew. They plan and drill for system failures routinely, more often than is required, and they cover everything, including fire in the 650,000 square foot, six level subterranean parking garage. All systems are tested for emergencies regularly. They even have moisture sensors and flood response equipment strategically stationed throughout the building, so they can respond in clean-up teams quickly.

Outside the Asset

Two California Plaza stands amid a 2.86 acre entertainment plaza that features computer-controlled dancing fountains, as well as year-round entertainment and art exhibitions that are open to the public. The plaza features a variety of restaurants, retail shops and seating areas, where one can enjoy the sunny southern California weather. In keeping with the importance Mr. Adams gives to the appearance of the property, the plaza pavement is maintained with a ride-on floor cleaning machine and the stainless steel fixtures are kept cleaned and polished. The plaza is truly an oasis in the middle of the city.

Greening the Asset

Bruce Adams and his staff believe that through engineering improvements of existing technology, they can realize improved efficiency and increase the value of the property. Some of the measures they have taken include:

  • The installation of high-efficiency cooling tower media to maximize condenser water heat transfer.
  • Cleaning cooling tower basins and media on an annual basis (using Goodway's Model GVC-1500 cooling tower vacuum and Model GPW-1200 pressure washer).
  • Close monitoring of open and closed loop water treatment.
  • Annual tube brushing (using Goodway's Model RAM-4 tube cleaner).
  • Fiber optic inspection of all internally enhanced tubes in the condenser bundles annually and the evaporator bundles every three years.
  • Eddie current testing of the condenser bundles annually and the evaporator bundles every three years.
  • Installation of sacrificial anodes annually.

Bruce sees measurable results. "With the three Trane CVHE centrifugal chillers, using water treatment and Goodway products, we have a reduction in scale and an increase in heat transfer through the approach levels. At the end of an annual cycle, we have noticed increased efficiency through the approach temperature of the evaporator, from 3°F to 1°F after annual service. With boiler waterside tube maintenance utilizing Goodway brushes, we have noticed a reduction in the high fire burner level. With the two 1400 KVA Caterpillar emergency generators at the end of an annual maintenance to heat exchangers, we have noticed under full load tests that the coolant temperature has been reduced by 40 degrees."Conservation of resources is important to Bruce. Unlike the typical car-crazy Californian, Mr. Adams commutes to his job by way of bicycle and public rail transportation.

When asked to sum up his overall work philosophy, Bruce states simply, "All said, the end result is: number one, the safety of all occupants in the building and number two, the preservation of the asset. The two together, results in not only efficiency, but also the safety of all involved, inclusive of occupants, all staff members and the preservation of the asset".