Sam the Steel Man with construction workers

Sam the Steel Man on campus

Friday, November 17, 2017 |
More than 600 different men and women have passed through the gates to work on the Bayhealth Sussex Campus project. They’ve worked a combined 175,000 total hours onsite — a number that will naturally climb before the new hospital and outpatient center are complete in early 2019.

Many of the superintendents have worked countless hours to make the project a success, but the project would not be where it is today without the efforts of one of its key leaders, Sam Nicolosi (pictured above wearing orange vest) of The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Nicolosi’s official title is superintendent of superstructure, but his colorful personality on the Bayhealth Sussex Campus has co-workers calling him “Sam the Steel Man” and “Papa Bear.”

As the title suggests, Nicolosi’s role in the project is to oversee the superstructure-skin that includes concrete, steel, large precast panel installation, metal panels, and glass. “I’ve always enjoyed building things,” said Nicolosi. “Heights have never bothered me; I was always a daredevil.”

The six-story steel frame of the building weighs 5.7 million pounds. The steel used in the project originated from steel mills across the United States and was brought to Sussex County, where more than 6,700 pieces were fabricated at Crystal Steel’s shop in Delmar. The steel rests on top of 1,500 truckloads of concrete produced by Atlantic Concrete in Milford. The precast concrete exterior panels weigh a total of 6.6 million pounds, with the heaviest individual panel weighing 44,700 pounds. In total, there are 393 precast panels being used to cover the outside of the building.

Safety is Nicolosi’s number-one priority on the job site, but getting the job done right is equally as important. “I like to finish a project without having to go back and check any items off a punch list,” he said. “It’s my goal to get it right the first time.”

Nicolosi spent 28 years as a union ironworker traveling up and down the East Coast. He was promoted to superintendent and joined Whiting-Turner in 2005.

The Bayhealth Sussex Campus is not Nicolosi’s first job with Bayhealth. He was in charge of the steel work and skin on the Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus expansion project. He helped build the fourth floor of the hospital and the parking garage.

“When Bayhealth has a project, I jump on the opportunity to be involved,” said Nicolosi, who claims the Bayhealth Sussex Campus project to be his favorite project to date. That’s impressive, since he also worked on the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center communications towers, and Liberty One. “I love having the satisfaction of saying, ‘I helped build that!’”