Awards and Recognition

ZAPATA is routinely recognized for its outstanding design services and project delivery.
Throughout the years, ZAPATA has received recognition for its achievements and award-winning projects, support of the U.S. military, commitment to safety, and for staying true to its Vision, Goals, and Ethics.

Design Awards

ZAPATA received two design-build (D-B) awards from the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) – Southeast Region. These awards are for the design and delivery of a new Headquarters Facility for the U.S. Air Force in 2016 and a new Administrative Office Building for the University of North Carolina in 2020.

2020 Winner: Best Office Building Design-Build Project, under $10M

Administrative Annex Building, University of
North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW)

ZAPATA provided architectural and engineering services to design UNCW a two-story, 35,000-SF Administration building with workspace for 223 personnel. We complied with UNCW’s Design Guidelines to create a “Georgian style” building that replicates other prominent campus buildings. ZAPATA succeeded in designing the steel-framed building with brick veneer exterior and four, 24-ft high columns, top cornice and pediment—without added costs. Challenges included drainage issues, square-footage requirements, and building height and lot size restrictions. The ZAPATA team adjusted the roof slope, removed interior columns, and switched from a traditional mechanical system to a Variable Refrigerant Flow system to meet the restrictions and desires of the University.

2016 Winner: Best Federal Design-Build Project, under $15M

93rd Air Ground Operations Wing and 23rd Mission Support Group Headquarters, Moody Air Force Base, GA

ZAPATA provided full architectural and engineering designs for a new, 36,167 SF, highly secure Headquarters Facility. The D-B project consisted of a two-story building situated on a 5.2-acre Lot. The scope of work also included site development, parking areas, and electric vehicle charging stations. Communication systems included SIPR, NIPR, and JWICS capabilities. Other features included AT/FP standards, comprehensive interior design, commissioning, and LEED v3 Certification. ZAPATA designed numerous high-security areas, which incorporated design elements such as 9mm bulletproof glass, emergency power and redundant systems, and CCTV.

ESGR Awards

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) recognizes employers, such as ZAPATA, for their support and commitment to employees who continue to service in the U.S. Armed Forces. ZAPATA has received several noteworthy Department of Defense awards through ESGR.

Recipient of the 2017 U.S. Secretary of
Defense Employer Support Freedom Award

ZAPATA was one of 15 companies selected from 3,064 nominations to receive this prestigious award, which was presented during a ceremony held at the Pentagon. The Employer Support Freedom Award is the highest honor presented to employers by the U.S. Government for their support of employees who are Active Guard and Reserve members. It is presented to companies that have proven over time that they go above and beyond Federal requirements in support of their military employees.

Recipient of the Extraordinary Employer Support Award

In 2020, ZAPATA received the Extraordinary Employer Support Award, which recognizes the company’s sustained support of its National Guard and Reserve service members.

Recipient of the Pro Patria Award

Recognized in 2016 “for outstanding service to the national defense through continuing support of the National Guard and Reserve.” This is the highest-level award bestowed by each ESGR State Committee.

Recipient of the Above and Beyond Award

“For outstanding service and continuing support to the national defense.” (Requirements of the USERRA, presented by ESGR State Committees). The Above and Beyond Award recognizes employers at the local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by providing their Guard and Reserve employees additional, non-mandated benefits such as differential or full pay to offset lost wages, extended health benefits, and other similar benefits.

Recipient of the Patriotic Employer Award

Presented to Manuel Zapata and his management team for: “Contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force.”

SAME Awards

ZAPATA won its first contracts with Department of Defense in 1993 and became involved with the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) where we were introduced to many capable and talented professionals who were retired former military personnel. This rich resource of technical and management talent has been a cornerstone of ZAPATA.
We invite Veterans and National Guardsmen and Reservists to join our Company; their military experience, discipline, and training continuously influence the culture and success of ZAPATA.

  • 2019: Sustaining Member of the Year, Medium Firm Award, Atlanta Post
  • 2019: Sustaining Member of the Year, Medium Company Award, Savannah Post
  • 2018: Winner of SAME Small Business Award
  • 2017: Sustaining Member Firm of the Year, Cape Fear Post

Merit and
Recognition Awards

2020: North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) Southeast Region Federal Construction, Infrastructure and Environmental Summit Award for Excellence and Innovation.