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Huge tower wins national award for Pensacola company

The Air Force Research Lab Munitions Directorate’s variable height tower begins its ascent as people watch Nov. 29 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new structure located on Eglin’s range. The new capability enables researchers at the C-86 range to take improved sensor data because it reduces signal interferences caused by the warmer air and objects near the ground. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

A Pensacola company brought home a national award for a tower that now stands on Eglin Air Force Base. It's a unique project called a "variable height tower."

The tower rises 90 feet in the air on a test range at Eglin. David Emmons of Ed Emmons Steel Erectors said, "What made it so unusual is that it has never been done before. We found out early on that it had not, so we knew right away if anything goes wrong with it it's probably going to end up being our fault."

David Emmons and his team were tackling a project demanding more precision than any they'd done in the past. He said the military provided very well-drawn plans, but they weren't sure exactly how the tower would be used.

"We didn't know what their goals were," Emmons said. "All we were told was that it involved lasers and that was it."

An Air Force release says the tower's height allows researchers to get better sensor data because there's less signal interference from warmer air and objects near the ground. After the project was finished Emmons decided to submit it for an award from the Steel Erectors Association of America.

It was presented at a ceremony in Myrtle Beach.

Emmons felt a great sense of pride, saying, "Super proud, I couldn't have done it without everyone of my crew, everybody worked together flawlessly, it was great."

The job his company does everyday is dangerous and difficult. There was a special reward in this project because the client was the U.S. military.

"It was very gratifying," Emmons said. "I really appreciate doing military construction because of what it contributes."

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