MIAMI—If you've ever traveled through Orlando on Interstate 4,you understand the frustration—especially during rush hour. Apublic private partnership between the State of Florida and Skanskais working to alleviate that frustration.

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GlobeSt.com caught up with Fred Hames, generalmanager and executive vice president of Florida at Skanska, to gethis insights on the project, as well as the construction industryin Florida, in part two of this exclusive interview. You can stillread part one: What Makes a Successful P3.

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GlobeSt.com: Interstate 4Ultimate in Orlando is one of the most complex infrastructureprojects in the country. What makes this project so intricate andimportant to Central Florida?

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Hames: The I-4 Ultimate project is a massiveundertaking—the biggest P3 underway in the US right now. Thereconfiguration of I-4 is an effort to improve the quality of lifeand the safety of residents, while giving Central Florida acompetitive edge when it comes to attracting new businesses andeconomic growth to the region.

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Florida is unique because it has several different geographichubs, including South Florida, Orlando, Tampa, Gainesville andJacksonville. The state understands the importance of connectingthese populations and business centers, and that's ultimately whythe I-4 project won approval.

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GlobeSt.com: Theconstruction industry is on fire across Florida, as a builder whatbenefits and challenges does itpose?

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Hames: While much has been reported about thesurging residential market in cities across the State, we focus oninfrastructure projects and are largely insulated from the ups anddowns of housing cycles. Fortunately for our business, populationgrowth creates heightened demand for roads, schools, hospitals andairports—sectors where Skanska has expertise.

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We feel the effects of an active market on the hiring side. Thesheer number of construction projects underway can lead to a “waron talent,” as our competitors take on new residential assignments.We place an emphasis on finding talented people who are looking fora great place to work and get excited about the idea of buildinginnovative projects that enhance the state's quality oflife.

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GlobeSt.com: What Floridamarkets is Skanska targeting for expansion over the next two tothree years?

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Hames: We see tremendous potential for furthergrowing our business and presence in markets like SouthwestFlorida, Gainesville and Tallahassee. We're already working on anincreasing number of sophisticated projects in these areas, andthat spells opportunity for Skanska.

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Because we have had a presence in these communities for years,we feel that we're in a strong position to win additional newprojects. In terms of specific industries, we'll continue to growour healthcare and higher education business lines across theState.

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