By Will Jason, Business Journal Staff Reporter
PETALUMA — General contractor Glen Ghilotti recently launched a new company, Team Ghilotti Inc., joining a crowded field of firms competing for public works contracts in the North Bay.
Mr. Ghilotti acknowledged that the slowdown in homebuilding has intensified competition for government projects.
“The volume of work is going to be in the public sector in the near future and that creates more fierce competition in the market,” Mr. Ghilotti said.
Mr. Ghilotti, whose company specializes in paving, underground utilities and site work, said he hopes to be competitive by focusing on employee satisfaction.
“It’s very important to keep morale up and motivate employees,” Mr. Ghilotti said.
Team Ghilotti’s competition includes many familiar faces because the company’s work overlaps with the territory of several other Ghilotti family construction firms in the North Bay. Team Ghilotti is now the fourth company descending from Italian immigrant James Ghilotti, who started a stonework business in San Rafael in 1914.
Prior to starting Team Ghilotti, Glen Ghilotti was a co-owner of San Rafael-based Maggiora & Ghilotti Inc., a company his father, Henry, formed in 1960 after splitting off from the original family company, Ghilotti Bros. Inc. Glen’s cousin, Richard, left Ghilotti Bros. in 1992 to start Ghilotti Construction Company in Santa Rosa.
“We’ve averaged pretty much a new company every decade here,” said Mike Ghilotti, president and co-owner of Ghilotti Bros.
Glen Ghilotti would not detail his reasons for leaving Maggiora & Ghilotti, a company he ran with his brother Gary before selling his share.
Mike Ghilotti said he was not familiar with the details of the latest family spin-off but said that sharing control of a construction business with family members can be difficult because of the “quick decisions” involved in the industry.
“It’s never an easy process being family members in a construction company,” Mike Ghilotti said.
The four Ghilotti companies do not have overlapping ownership, although their similar names can cause confusion, according to Mike Ghilotti.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of times that clients think they’re calling one company and they get another, and those calls don’t always get forwarded,” Mike Ghilotti said.
Team Ghilotti is not letting family stand in the way of new projects. The startup recently outbid both Ghilotti Bros. and Maggiora & Ghilotti on a $1.2 million storage pond contract with the Central Marin Sanitation Authority, the agency confirmed. Ghilotti Bros. is disputing the deal, Mike Ghilotti said.
Despite such competition, Glen Ghilotti spoke highly of the other companies.
“Every Ghilotti company – we all have a common root or background,” Glen Ghilotti said. “We’re all very hardworking people, and we all do quality work.”
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