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Manufacturing Excellence: HIPP and Team Receive a Best Project Award from ENR Texas & Louisiana

HIPP had the honor of attending the ENR Texas & Louisiana Best Projects Awards luncheon on Wednesday, December 13th in Houston, Texas. Brad Millice and Jarred Miller represented our team and were joined by representatives from BE&K Building Group (BE&K) and VGXI. We were invited to the ceremony due to our contributions in the VGXI - Headquarters and Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Facility project. This facility won and was recognized as the Best Project in the Manufacturing category by ENR Texas & Louisiana. 


HIPP Design + Consulting receiving the Best Project in Manufacturing for its work on the VGXI Headquarters and Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Facility Project
Representatives from VGXI, BE&K, and HIPP Design + Consulting receive the ENR award for best project.

At the luncheon in Houston, there was a sense of celebration and of ‘a job well done’ in the atmosphere. Coming together to receive this award marked another milestone along the path that this project has paved for us here at HIPP. It was a great honor to be recognized by the Engineering News-Record and to reunite with all those who played a part in making this project a success. 


HIPP Design + Consulting attends the ENR Texas & Louisiana award luncheon in Houston, Texas
ENR Texas & Louisiana luncheon in Houston, Texas.

VGXI, short for “Vaccine and Gene therapy manufacturing eXcellence in Industry,” is a full service Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) that specializes in the production of plasmids for human clinical trials, virus protection, toxicology studies and pre-clinical research. The VGXI project was completed in 2021 and the company celebrated its grand opening in October of 2022. Our president, Budd Hipp, and project leader, Brad Millice, were able to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony in 2022 and celebrate the completion of this project alongside our project partners - BE&K, Hanbury, and Kimley-Horn. Brad Millice, expressed his satisfaction with the project and team, emphasizing the amazing leadership from VGXI and great support that he felt throughout the duration of the project. The new 120,000-square-foot headquarters for VGXI opened on a 22-acre lot in Deison Technology Park in Conroe, Texas and includes laboratories, purification, filling, packaging, warehousing and process support.


The new facility features four distinct manufacturing trains with cutting edge production equipment, flexible fermentation capacity in excess of 3000L, and expanded cGMP fill-finish capabilities. Additionally, there are dedicated areas to provide for mRNA manufacturing and small-scale, rapid turnaround services for personalized therapies. VGXI has a patented manufacturing process with 20 years of experience manufacturing cGMP products for use in human clinical trials. This particular building was constructed with a modular concept to allow for expansion and the anticipated growth of VGXI’s service offerings. 


"The project’s “design-assist" structure, where the mechanical contractor was heavily involved in the design process long before construction, provided a new challenge for us at HIPP to coordinate with an external party on the mechanical systems design, but proved valuable to the overall project execution in that it greatly accelerated the construction phase.” - Andy Neill, Lead Mechanical Engineer

Our team recognized that this project was unique from start to finish. Construction began during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in November 2020 and this timeline brought unprecedented challenges. The additional stressors fostered by the pandemic demanded incredible teamwork and fearless flexibility. Andy Neill, the Lead Mechanical Engineer, said that “the project’s “design-assist" structure, where the mechanical contractor was heavily involved in the design process long before construction, provided a new challenge for us at HIPP to coordinate with an external party on the mechanical systems design, but proved valuable to the overall project execution in that it greatly accelerated the construction phase.” This strategy was utilized and applied across key project scopes including Mechanical, Process, Life Safety, Electrical, Environmental Monitoring, Process Control, Building Management, and Clean Room Systems. BE&K’s leadership in these areas allowed everyone to deliver a higher quality, lower cost, and more efficient project. It was amazing to see the entire team pull this off while facing the COVID-19 pandemic, managing a multidisciplinary team internally, and delivering a project across state lines.


New challenges have the knack of inspiring creative excellence and this project proved that to be true. This project was a true team effort and shines a light on the power of dynamic collaboration. Serving our clients alongside other experts allowed us to learn and develop as a company while forming great relationships along the way. This award presented by ENR Texas & Louisiana confirmed that the risks taken during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic paid off. Additionally, this award gave us a deeper resolve to face challenges head on and to reflect on the successes of this project that we saw throughout.  



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