In his State Street office, Larry Migliac-cio drinks coffee out of a cup decorated with an image of the City-County Building.
As evening shadows lengthen on Washington Square, from his office window Mig-liaccio watches the transients who hang out there. He can point out the regulars and their everyday routines, he brags.The building - Migliaccio shapes the word, pronouncing it grandly, with emphasis - not only fills the view from his office window, but his professional life as well.
Migliaccio is project manager for the $34.5 million, three-year restoration of the building Mayor Palmer DePaulis calls a community showpiece.
His office is cluttered with layers and layers of architectural drawings. On the wall hangs a massive, color-coded, critical-path schedule that details the project. The blue lines represent the seismic work, pink for the sandstone exterior and green for the landscaping. Like runners on a track, the complex sets of interwoven bars represent the race to the building's completion, scheduled next May.
The project is a classic example of high technology meeting history. The City-County Building is the first historic structure to be fitted with a seismic isolation system, with components that will act as shock absorbers in an earthquake.
Migliaccio is in charge of seeing that the building, the first project of its kind in the world, is delivered to the taxpayers on schedule and under budget. The public policy aspect adds an additional dimension to an already-detailed engineering task.
"I think this is probably the most satisfying - from a human standpoint - of any job I've ever done because of the historic element," Migliaccio said.
This week the building is the focus of attention for experts from all over the world attending the city's Seismic Isola-tion/Historic Preservation Symposium. Sir Bernard Feilden, chief architect of England's York Minster restoration project, will speak at a town meeting at 8 p.m. Friday in the Little America Hotel.
The symposium was planned, by Phil Erickson and Dee Halverson of Mayor De-Paulis' office, to allow visiting experts a peek at the project in process. Sessions will discuss the theory of seismic isolation and interior restoration, as well as the funding and public policy issues raised by renovation projects.
"It's probably the first retrofit in the world, and I think a lot of people want to know what was involved and what kind of problems we had," Migliaccio said.
It's Migliaccio's job to keep all facets of the job on target. Some days find him in the City Council Chambers or DePaulis' office, talking budget. Other times he's on-site, negotiating through unforeseen headaches and arguing over change orders.
As every home handyman knows, older buildings guard a houseful of surprises. That's been true with the City-County Building. Work has also been complicated by the politics that have surrounded the project, ever since city bosses made the controversial decision to issue bonds to restore it. That means Migliaccio has to walk a fine line between the politicos and the experts, the contractors and the craftsmen.
"You just have to keep everybody happy. It means a lot of compromises. You just have to work with the rope they give you."
Keeping everybody happy is a role Migliaccio plays well, according to City Engineer Max Peterson. Mig-liaccio came to the project well-recommended because of his ability to manage all aspects of a job, as well as keeping to a budget.
Councilwoman Sydney Fonnes-beck said hiring Migliaccio instead of an entire consulting firm saved the city a lot of money. He also provides security to watchful politicians as he's a one-man-band. "It's really wonderful to have one person to contact. Larry has offered that one-to-one security to us.
"He's not only doing a great job on the technical side of things, but he is great at working with people. He can `people-ize,' " she said.
Migliaccio credits the professionalism of the entire crew working on the building, including the city engineering staff and the project team - Bob Troutman, Larry Curtis, Tom Jewkes and Pat Plese. The contractors, Jacobsen Construction Co., have put their best workers on the job and are working ahead of schedule, he said.
Although he brought a wealth of professional expertise to this job, Migliaccio had never tackled restoration. "I didn't know anything about restoration before. I knew something about remodeling. It's been a real education," he said.
He received a civil engineering degree from the University of Utah, worked in Alaska on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, then specialized in industrial design and construction. He was the project engineer overseeing the expansion of Terminals 1 and 2 at Salt Lake International Airport.
His personal interests are as diverse as his professional background. For example, he's a musician who plays classical guitar. "If I could make a living on guitar, I'd be doing it. It's funny - I got D's all the way through engineering college and A's in music."
Next month he's taking his wife, Kathy, and two children, Jono and Angie, on an African safari. "We're going to play `Out of Africa.' " Last year's vacation for Migliaccio was a bike trip through Vermont.
Migliaccio, who heads his own small engineering consulting firm, ECON PC, said he doesn't know what's next after the City-County Building is completed. "I don't know. Back to my firm and look for work. These things don't come along very often."