Fast Forward Syracuse

Veteran helps construct SU’s planned National Veterans Resource Complex

John Williams | Staff Photographer

Daniel MacDonald, a veteran and the owner and founder of MacDonald Land Surveying & Engineering DPC, is one of the first contractors hired for the construction of National Veterans Resource Complex at Syracuse University

One of the first contractors hired for the construction of Syracuse University’s planned National Veterans Resource Complex is a former United States Marine.

Daniel MacDonald, who served in the corps from 1986-92, is the owner and founder of MacDonald Land Surveying & Engineering DPC, a company based in Webster, New York and created in 2013. Webster is located about 84 miles northwest of Syracuse.

MacDonald said he picked up surveying and engineering, worked as a surveyor on a pipeline and eventually pursued a civil engineering degree following his time in the service.

Over time, the former Marine set out to start and own his own business while employing veterans.

MacDonald Engineering — as the company is commonly known — is a four-person firm. Excluding himself, MacDonald said he is currently employing two other veterans and, depending on his business’s growth, would like to hire more.

Col. Ron Novack, the executive director of SU’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, said in an email that MacDonald’s company has been working on-site at the proposed location of the NVRC — near the intersection of Waverly Avenue and South Crouse Avenue — since August.

Novack said MacDonald Engineering did the “initial existing site survey for design on the NVRC site.”

“It is only fitting that veteran-owned businesses from our community, region, state and country work to build the NVRC and make Syracuse University’s commitment to this nation’s veterans and their families a reality,” Novack added.

The construction of the NVRC is a near-term project in SU’s overarching, long-term Campus Framework plan, which is part of SU Chancellor Kent Syverud’s three-part Fast Forward Syracuse initiative. The NVRC, which is tentatively scheduled for completion in spring 2019, will serve as a community and economic hub for veterans in central New York. The complex is estimated to cost the university $62.5 million.

The university remains “committed” to hiring veterans who own businesses to do work on campus, Novack said.

Novack did not respond to questions regarding how SU is handling the bid process for contracting out work on the NVRC or if MacDonald Engineering was the only company to bid for land surveying and design for the project.

The executive director of the OVMA did note, however, that SU has never previously hired from MacDonald Engineering.

MacDonald called his first project at SU one of the most important in his career.

“I’ve never been more proud to work on any project so far,” MacDonald said, referring to the NVRC. “I plan on doing the best I can do on this project. I mean, I do for every project, but … this one has a very special meaning to me because there’s an end result that will affect fellow veterans.”

MacDonald was one of the lead advocates for the adoption of New York state’s Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act, which was passed in 2014 by current Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The act helps businesses certified as a New York state Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business increase their opportunities in contracting work throughout the state.

MacDonald Engineering is a certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business.

“The premise of my business … is to hire veterans. Especially young men and women coming home,” MacDonald said. “My goal is not to become a millionaire. I could care less about that. My goal is to, you know, have a place (veterans) can come and work and grow in the engineering and surveying field.”

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