CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Surrounded by shopping centers and hotels in SouthPark is a Charlotte-based engineering firm whose work has improved military performance across the globe.

Over the last 32 years, Zapata has helped design and improve power plants, hospitals, training facilities, and military bases like Fort Liberty.

“So, just like here in the city, people design all of the buildings and the roadways,” said Marty Ray, Zapata’s executive vice president. “We do exactly that. But we do it primarily for the military.”

Ray says the military always wants to provide its branches with the best infrastructure, despite tight timelines and budgets.

“If you can shoot at it, blow it up, or tear it down, we’ve probably designed it and done it,” Ray said.

He says it’s been more challenging with rising construction costs in recent years.

As of Tuesday, Zapata signed a $30 million, five-year contract to assist the navy in planning, designing, and building facilities across the southeast.

“It’s meaningful work. What we do prepares soldiers, sailors, and airmen for combat,” Ray said. “It helps them how to behave or react if they are captured. So, what we do saves lives.”

The new contract, while not the company’s largest, is proof its work over the years is being recognized, even if its office space in SouthPark goes mostly unnoticed.

“Unless you drive by and see the name on the building when you are over at SouthPark Mall, you might not know that we are here,” Ray said.

The company currently has 76 workers in its SouthPark office and Atlanta location.

Ray says they plan on hiring more.

Zapata has also done projects with Fort Liberty, Duke Energy, and infrastructure in Uptown.