Tom Guilfoy Memorial Craftsmanship Award

Created in 2004, this annual award was in memory of Tom Guilfoy, owner of 100 year old Guilfoy Cornice Works in San Francisco. This award is for any project where attention to detail and expertise was critical to the project and exemplifies teamwork between sheet metal workers and the contractor and the contractor and owner.

This award is presented annually for any type of work in the HVAC, Specialty, Industrial, Kitchen or Architectural fields. Projects entered will be judged on the skill and expertise exhibited to complete the project, regardless of how big or small. There are two main categories – mechanical and architectural, along with a creative concepts category to recognize exceptional projects falling outside of the mechanical and architectural categories.

Guilfoy Award Winners

Mechanical Category – University Mechanical and Engineering Contractors of San Diego, California and a member of San Diego SMACNA was presented the Tom Guilfoy Memorial Craftsmanship of the Year Award, Mechanical category for the San Diego Jacobs Medical Center project.  The award was presented at California Association of Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association’s (CAL SMACNA) 51st Annual Convention held at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, California.

San Diego Jacobs Medical Center Project – University Mechanical and Engineering Contractors of San Diego

The San Diego Jacobs Medical Center was chosen due to the project’s complexity, collaboration, craftsmanship, challenges, and solutions.

This project covered the mechanical and plumbing scope for a new 12-story, 500,000 square foot patient tower and a 70,000 square foot renovation to the existing Thornton (East Campus) Hospital located in La Jolla.

The tower component is a 10-story above grade facility with two basement levels.  This building is comprised of three hospital pavilions which include Advanced Surgery; Cancer Care; and Women & Infants Centers. There are 14 operating rooms, an MRI operating room, and a bone marrow transplant floor.

The HVAC Duct System includes over 1 million pounds of ductwork, 54 fan coil units, 50 fan powered HEPA filters, 718 reheat coils, 2235 Fire/Smoke Dampers and 1,575 Venturi air valves.

One of the challenges faced on the project included the installation of the mechanical systems into a mechanical interstitial mezzanines located above each floor….think tight attic. These purely mechanical/electrical mezzanine subfloors are used to house the utilities serving the floors below. This design allows maintenance staff to repair and maintain the mechanical systems without interfering with hospital operations or to require ceilings be opened which creates the potential for infectious control issues. The interstitial floors vary in height from 6′ at the highest locations to the lowest point at 1′ when passing under support beams. At these pinch point locations crawling became the only option.

A lot of planning and coordination went into the system layout and installation to enable future expansion, maintenance, service, inspection and testing.

With just two access points in each interstitial space, it required the installation to start at the most remote location in the space and work outward to the access points. Many of the beam locations where duct crossed were less than two feet from the deck requiring crews to install duct sections within inches of the steel and deck.

Due to the confined space requirements and in the event of a medical emergency, the contractor had to incorporate a buddy system so no one was ever working alone.

As more trades accessed the interstitial mezzanines, the duct and insulation were increasingly damaged. It was decided to modify the insulation to a closed-cell foam with puncture resistant cladding….followed by the addition of heavy gauge sheet metal bridges in high traffic areas. With 2,235 fire/smoke dampers requiring annual inspection, the added materials will protect the mechanical systems from damage during the inspections as well as regular maintenance.

The building design required 750,000 cubic feet of air per minute. If converted to water it would equal 5.6 million gallons…comparable to eight and a half Olympic sized swimming pools…every minute! To accommodate the volume of air required, an underground exterior air duct tunnel was built from 84 inch U/G HOPE. This section of the duct traveled under part of the foundation of the building and was anchored down using straps cast into concrete. The duct was then encased in a cement slurry mixture and covered with backfill. This underground duct bank then travels into the basement where it converts to an exposed sheet metal duct system which serves the buildings two primary (very large) air handling units.

Between shop fabrication and field installation, a total of 186,284 sheet metal hours were required to complete this project.


Architectural Category – California Sheet Metal Works, El Cajon California and a member of San Diego SMACNA, was presented the Tom Guilfoy Memorial Craftsmanship of the Year Award, Architectural category for their unique and innovative project, the Eli Lilly Campus Pointe located in San Diego, California.

The Eli Lilly Company (a global pharmaceutical corporation) desired a unique entry to their building. Lilly wanted a themed facade entrance to their building representing the DNA strand. In collaboration with an architect, artist, and two engineering firms, the contractor spent two years in design and construction to complete the project.

Eli Lilly Campus Pointe located in San Diego – California Sheet Metal Works, Inc.

This structure stands 75 feet tall and 120 feet long; the support pylons for the steel and concrete columns were drilled 45 feet deep into bedrock. The columns were made from seamless special oil pipe 75 feet in length and 16 inches in diameter with a wall thickness of one and a fourth inches.

After the system structure was finalized, the contractor fabricated the one-eighth inch aluminum fins, painted them, and form fitted each one to the steel structure.

The fins were made of one eighth inch aluminum and were heat tested to identify and control the expansion rate. Through the testing process it was determined the contractor was required to design an expansion control system that would allow each fin to maintain its critical alignment.

The fins on the structure were CNC routed (a special process using computer guided cutters)…the end tabs custom shaped to create flanges enabling each fin to mount to the steel columns at their designated location. Overall there are 2,100 fins representing the DNA Strand….each one having a unique position and twist to its location.

Each fin had to be placed and locked in its precise location which was achieved through a unique location identifier tag on each fin.

Extreme coordination was required between the shop and field to package the material, unload and install it in precise locations so each piece would be in the exact location needed to maintain the twist and curve required for the final visual appeal.

As you move through the parking lot, the structure changes color between silver and red, making the colors dance. This effect gives the appearance of the DNA strand twisting around its center axis.

The schedule required the shop to work 3 shifts a day for the duration of the project.  A 13-person field installation crew broken into 4 teams worked from aerial boom lifts…while a 2-person crew on the ground coordinated material flow to ensure proper fin placement.

The project required 462 shop hours and 890 field installation hours for a total of 1,352 hours worked.


Past recipients of this award include:
2005 Custom Metal Fabrication, Pedestrian Walkway, Chicago
2006 Weiss Sheet Metal, Rebecca and John Moore’s UCSD Cancer Center, San Diego
2007 Air Systems, Harborwalk Condominiums, Oakland
2008 Control Air North, Inc., California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
2009 CMF, Inc, LA High School #9 for the Visual & Performing Arts
2010 Air Systems, Inc., Target Sunnyvale – Architectural Category
2010 University Marelich Mechanical, Inc., GLVAC Veterans Home, West Los Angeles – Mechanical Category
2011 CMF, Inc., Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, Orange – Architectural Category
2011 Key Air Conditioning Contractors, Inc., Tom Bradley International Terminal Interior Improvements and Baggage Screening, Los Angeles – Mechanical Category
2012 Brady Air Conditioning, Inc., 1905 Samuel Murphy Windmill Historical Restoration
San Francisco – Architectural Category
2012 Control Air North, Inc., Li Ka-Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences,
University of California, Berkeley – Mechanical Category
2013 Air Systems of Sacramento, William Jessup University Expansion, Rocklin – Architectural Category
2013 ACCO Engineered Systems – Glendale, Cedars Sinai Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, Los Angeles – Mechanical Category
2014 California Sheet Metal – San Diego, San Diego New Central Library – Architectural Category
2014 Control Air North – Oakland, Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center – Mechanical Category
2015 ACCO Engineered Systems – Santa Clara Levi Stadium, Mechanical Category
2016 Control Air North, Inc. – Santa Clara Samsung American Headquarters – Mechanical Category
2016 GES Sheet Metal, Inc.- West Hollywood IAC Tenant Improvement Building –  Architectural Category
2017 University Mechanical & Engineering Contractors- El Cajon, UCSD Jacobs Medical Center, San Diego- Mechanical Category
2017 California Sheet Metal Works, Inc.- El Cajon, Eli Lilly at Campus Pointe, San Diego- Architectural Category