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Largest general, engineering, electrical, plumbing, solar, landscaping, HVAC and residential contractors

Companies based in the North Bay. Listed by specialty, then by size on Business Journal lists.

Commercial General ContractorsRoger Nelson

Midstate Construction Corp., 1180 Holm Road, Ste. A, Petaluma 94954; 707-762-3200; www.midstateconstruction.com; ’07 revenue: $92 million; 75 employees

John Winblad started Midstate in 1935, but Roger Nelson, 62, has been owner and president of the North Bay’s second-largest commercial general contractor since 1977.

Hot project types for Midstate are retail, hospitality, market-rate and affordable multifamily housing, commercial and industrial. Top current projects are Santa Rosa Junior College’s $30 million Bertolini Student Services Center, Marin Catholic High School’s $11 million Pope John Paul II Student Education Center in Kentfield and the college’s $8 million Pepperwood Preserve laboratory and classroom.

Construction cost inflation and environmental awareness are forcing builders to be flexible and innovative, according to Mr. Nelson. Part of the innovation includes having many on staff become LEED-accredited professionals, including Mr. Nelson.

“The sum of the cost and environmental challenges will lead the construction industry to build better buildings with longer-term cost efficiencies,” he said.

Rick Grossmann

Wright Contracting, P.O. Box 1270, Santa Rosa 95402; 707-528-1172; www.wrightcontracting.com; ’07 revenue: $92 million; 35 employees

Paul Wright started the company in 1953, and it passed to Jay and Michael Wright in 1981. They passed management to Rick Grossmann, 49, in 2005 when he was chief estimator and had been with the company for 15 years. He earned an undergraduate construction management degree from Chico State University in 1983.

Areas of specialty are large public projects such as schools as well as wineries, office buildings, multifamily complexes, industrial facilities and hotels. Key current jobs are project management for the Petaluma campus and main campus student services center for Santa Rosa Junior College, collectively $103 million, and as designer-builder for Sonoma State University’s $48 million Tuscany Village student housing in Rohnert Park.

Troubles in residential real estate have heightened bid competition on public and commercial jobs, but tightened lending standards have stalled private projects that had been reinvigorated by lower bids, according to Mr. Grossmann. He worries that some of the eagerness of companies to win bids could lead to industry contraction.

David James

Ledcor Construction, 466 Devlin Rd., Napa 94558; 707-257-5321; www.ledcor.com; ’07 revenue: $85 million (North Bay); 35 Napa employees

Vice President David James, 45, established Ledcor’s Napa office in early 2004, after eight years as vice president of what is now called Nolan Construction in Napa. Ledcor Group of Companies is based in Canada, has about 5,000 employees and had $2.2 billion in revenue last year.

The Napa office focuses on hospitality, light industrial and light commercial projects, some of which recently, namely the Meritage and Verasa Napa Valley hotels, have been among the largest in Napa Valley.

Top current projects are The Riverfront, a $49 million mixed-use building in downtown Napa and valley wineries Dana Estate and Futo.

Jim Nolan

Napa Pacific Inc. dba Nolan Construction, 1804 Soscol Ave., Ste. 203, Napa 94559; 707-963-3222; www.jnc-construction.com; ’07 revenue: $62 million; 80 employees

Trained in architecture, Jim Nolan is founder of Nolan Construction, which he started in 1986 after five years as a construction manager for Newton Vineyard and two years as a hotel project engineer in French Polynesia. Nolan Construction merged with Hearn Construction of Vacaville in 2005.

The hospitality, assisted-living and medical markets are active, according to Mr. Nolan. “We believe growth in the retail and office markets will be slow for the next few years, but we have continued to receive steady work from these sectors,” he said.

Top projects under construction are the $8 million phase 2 of Vino Bello with 66 assisted-living units in Napa, $7.4 million 48-unit Sunrise Assisted Living facility in Carmichael and a $7.2 million Holiday Inn Express hotel in American Canyon.

Del Nordby, Craig Nordby

Nordby Construction, Nordby Wine Caves, Nordby Signature Homes, 1550 Airport Blvd., Ste. 201, Santa Rosa 95403; 707-526-4500; www.nordby.net; ’07 revenue: $55 million (North Bay), $77 million (companywide); 75 employees

Del Nordby, 45, is president and Craig Nordby, 37, is vice president of a multifaceted company that has carved out leading positions in commercial, wine cave and custom-home construction. Diversification has helped Nordby weather economic cycles.

“We believe that contraction within the construction industry is nearly at an end, and we will begin a gradual increase in construction activity over the next two years,” Craig Nordby said.

Projects coming out of the ground now chiefly are the 14,000-square-foot Merriam Winery in Windsor, 16,000-square-foot Meadow Club in Fairfax and Homeward Bound of Marin’s 24,000-square-foot The Next Key job-training center in Novato.

Their father, Wendell Nordby, started the company in 1978, and the company passed to the next generation earlier in this decade.

General Engineering ContractorsSteve Geney

North Bay Construction, P.O. Box 6004, Petaluma 94952; 707-763-2891; www.nbcinc.net; ’07 revenue: $107 million; 350 employees

Steve Geney, is president of North Bay Construction, which John and Andrea Barella started in 1976. Today, the company is the North Bay’s largest commercial general contractor.

Richard Ghilotti

Ghilotti Construction Co., 245 Ghilotti Ave., Santa Rosa 95407; 707-585-1221; www.ghilotti.com; ’07 revenue: $65 million (North Bay), $112 million (companywide); 90 employees

Richard “Dick” Ghilotti is president of Ghilotti Construction, which he and his cousin Jim Ghilotti started in 1992.

Major current projects include the widening of Highway 101 through Santa Rosa and the Cameron Wine Storage Facility in south Napa.

Mike Ghilotti

Ghilotti Bros. Inc., 525 Jacoby St., San Rafael 94901; 415-454-7011; www.ghilottibros.com; $55 million (North Bay), $94 million (companywide); 275 employees

Mike Ghilotti, 46, has been president since 2000 of the company his grandfather James Ghilotti started in 1914. In the past two years, revenue for Ghilotti Bros. has grown 22 percent and 28 percent, and the company has expanded to the East Bay.

He foresees the flow of heavy highway and nonresidential projects to continue, barring the diversion of transportation funds to cover the $15 billion state budget deficit, and potential for increasing work in residential developments as soon as this month.

“Overall, we’re very strong on the forecast for the last of 2008 and the first half of 2009,” he said.

However, Mr. Ghilotti sees many of his older generation of workers retiring in the next three to five years, so the company has been increasing mentorship and English education programs to prepare for the transition.

Mike A. Smith

Argonaut Constructors, 1236 Central Ave., Santa Rosa 95401; 707-542-4862; www.argonautconstructors.com; ’07 revenue: $35 million (North Bay), $47 million (companywide); 175 employees

Mike A. Smith, known as “Junior,” is vice president of the company his father, Mike D. Smith, started in 1957.

Gary Ghilotti

Maggiora & Ghilotti Inc., 555 DuBois St., San Rafael 94901; 415-459-8640; www.maggiora-ghilotti.com; ’07 revenue: $30 million; 40 employees

Gary Ghilotti is president of the company his father, Henry “Babe” Ghilotti and Elmo Maggiora started in 1964.

Electrical ContractorsLeslie Murphy

W. Bradley Electric Inc., 90 Hill Road, Novato 94945; 415-898-1400; www.wbeinc.com; ’07 revenue: $68 million; 295 employees

Leslie Murphy  is CEO of the North Bay’s largest electrical contractor, named after her father, William Bradley, who started the company in 1977.

The company has six divisions: commercial and industrial contractor WBE Electric, WBE Telcom for voice and data cabling, WBE Network Systems for data networking, WBE Security Control Systems, WBE Audio Visual for equipment installation cabling and WBE Traffic Signals & Highway Technology.

Commercial projects continue to bring a steady current of projects, according to Ms. Murphy. Company revenue this year is 10 percent to 15 percent ahead of last year’s. The company recently opened a Silicon Valley office.

James Brown

Mike Brown Electric Co., 561 Mercantile Drive, Ste. A, Cotati 94931; 707-792-8100; www.mbelectric.com; ’07 revenue: $33 million; 120 employees

President James Brown, 46, is the eldest son of Mike Brown, who founded the company in 1975. Jim Brown has an undergraduate business degree from Menlo College and a quarter century of experience in construction.

Jim Chiappari

Northern Electric Inc., 3190 Regional Parkway, Santa Rosa 95403; 707-571-2265; www.northernelectric.com; ’07 revenue: $18.6 million; 45 employees

Jim Chiappari is head project coordinator for Northern Electric, the third-largest electrical contractor in the North Bay, based on 2007 revenue. He is son of CEO and President Mike Chiappari, who started the company in 1983 with William Calvert.

Ruben Perez

Napa Electric, 2240 Brown St., Napa 94558; 707-252-6611; www.napaelectric.com; ’07 revenue: $16.2 million; 65 employees

Ruben Perez, 56, is president of Napa Electric, which Dorothy Tockey started in 1939. The company specializes in commercial, residential, industrial and telecommunications electrical service work.

Another focus is installation of systems for wineries, a natural for a Napa Valley company.

Larry Dashiell

Summit Technology Group, 2450 Bluebell Drive, Ste. C, Santa Rosa 95403; 707-542-4773; www.summit-e.com; ’07 revenue: $12.5 million

President and CEO Larry Dashiell, 43, started as a shop helper for his father, Richard Dashiell, at age 10 and has been running the company since 1986, when his father died suddenly. The elder Dashiell started the company as Summit Electric in 1968.

In 2006, Larry Dashiell reorganized the company into three divisions and positioned it for more efficient management as it grew. Summit Electric handles high-voltage electrical contracting; Summit Electronic Systems does design and installation of home and business low-voltage equipment and networks, such as home theaters and lighting controls; and Summit Electrical Service does maintenance and service calls.

Mr. Dashiell said that low-voltage solutions have been a driver for company revenue growth in the past several years.

“A lot of our clients are not tech-savvy,” Mr. Dashiell said. “We take out-of-the-box components and connect them to easy-to-use controllers.”

Plumbing ContractorsLes Peterson

Peterson Mechanical, 21819 E. Eighth St., Sonoma 95476; 707-938-8481; www.petersonmechanical.com; ’07 revenue: $30.05 million; 128 employees

Les Peterson, 58, is president and CEO, rising to operation of the company 25 years ago. Granduncle Ed Peterson started the company in 1915.

About 45 percent of the company’s business is piping in projects such as the Green Music Center, Kaiser Permanente’s five-story medical center addition in Santa Rosa and Memorial Hospital’s new emergency department.

Forty-four percent is heating and air-conditioning and the rest is service.

Tom LeDuc

LeDuc & Dexter Plumbing, 2833 Dowd Drive, Ste. A, Santa Rosa 95407; 707-575-1500; www.leducanddexterplumbing.com; ’07 revenue: $8.2 million; 50 employees

President and CEO Tom LeDuc, 60, has weathered three recessions since he partnered with Vice President and COO Art Dexter in 1983, yet they continually positioned the company to survive and thrive. The company grew to 50 employees and $5 million in revenue before the recession of 1991 forced the company to contract to 20 workers.

After that slump, the company diversified from working on mostly residential new construction with the addition of the Super Service Plumbing business and the acquisition of a commercial design-build plumbing company in 1994 and Northern Fire Protection a year later. That helped revenue to not dip as appreciably with the recession of 2001.

The company then grew to 75 employees and $13.2 million in 2005 at the height of the Sonoma County building boom. The dramatic slowdown in home construction reduced revenue to $12.5 million in 2006 and $8.2 million last year, so Mr. LeDuc started tightening the corporate belt, laying off field and administrative workers, stopping donations and freezing wages and much capital spending. He budgeted for $7 million this year.

“We expect to see new home construction to remain weak for at least another 12 to 18 months,” he said. “Commercial construction remains strong in our sector.”

Ron Perez Jr.

Reychole Mechanical, P.O. Box 2098, Napa 94558; 707-255-4481; www.reycholeinc.com; ’06 revenue: $5.9 million

Ron Perez Jr. is president of Reychole Mechanical and started the company in 1987. The company has been focused mostly on residential new construction in Napa, Solano, Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Also, Reychole has undertaken custom home and commercial projects, such as wineries and buildings.

Steve Silva

Steve Silva Plumbing, 901 Enterprise Way, Ste. A, Napa 94558; 707-252-3941; www.stevesilvaplumbing.com; 35 employees

Steve Silva is president of the company and started it in 1983, with a mix of residential and commercial projects.

Jeff Locati

InCom Mechanical Inc., 135 Utility Court, Ste. A, Rohnert Park 94928; 707-586-0511; www.incommechanical.com; 70 employees

Jeff Locati is president of InCom Mechanical, which Charles Locati Jr. started in 1995.

Solar ContractorsDan Thompson

SPG Solar, 20 Leveroni Court, Novato 94949; 415-883-7657; www.spgsolar.com; ’07 revenue: $56 million; 166 employees

President and CEO Dan Thompson, 51, started the company in 2001 with just $1.5 million in revenue that year. This year, projected revenue is $100 million.

At the end of last year, the company had 127 employees. The company has expanded for the fifth time and has nine locations. In 2005 he split off the photovoltaic system production as Thompson Technology Industries.

“While we may not be able to control economic factors such as inflation and the cost of raw materials and components, we have been able to optimize our installation practices through our experience over the years and develop products through TTI that drive down labor time and costs,” Mr. Thompson said. “Our goal is to make solar cost-effective.”

John Schaeffer

Real Goods Solar, 13771 S. Highway 101, Hopland 95449; 888-507-2561; www.realgoods.com; ’07 revenue: $32.7 million; 90 employees

John Schaeffer, 58, founded Real Goods as a solar and sustainable-lifestyle products company in 1978 and oversees the solar installation, catalog and Internet sales business. Though trained as an anthropologist at U.C. Berkeley, he became an early promoter of home photovoltaic power systems, starting in Hopland and opening a third store in Sebastopol in 1982.

Colorado-based Gaiam bought Real Goods in 2000 and took Real Goods Solar public early this year. In November, Gaiam added dominant southern California solar installer Carlson Solar and 6-year-old Marin Solar early this year. All three companies account for photovoltaic installations on more than 2,400 homes, mostly in Marin and Sonoma counties.

Commercial solar installations may be hurt if federal tax credits aren’t renewed at year end, but systems for upscale homes, which don’t get much of a break, will continue, according to Mr. Schaeffer. The company’s equity-based financing has helped keep jobs flowing.

“I think the solar industry will continue to grow at 40 percent to 50 percent a year for next three to five years,” he said.

Bill Stewart

Solarcraft, 285 Bel Marin Keys Blvd., Novato 94949; 415-382-7717; www.solarcraft.com; ’07 revenue: $10.6 million; 35 employees

President Bill Stewart, 56, and Dennis Nuttman started the company in 1984 and survived the expiration shortly thereafter of incentives for installations. Since 2004 the company has grown fourfold and recently expanded its headquarters.

“With utility rates continuing to rise and the fact that a system can be financed for less than the average monthly utility bill, interest in solar continues to grow despite the slowing economy,” he said.

John Parry

Solar Works, 130 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol 95472; 707-829-8282; www.solarworksca.com; ’07 revenue: $5.8 million; 16 employees

Trained in physics at U.C. Irvine, CEO John Parry, 52, founded the company in 1986 by purchasing the customer list from a retiring solar water-heater installer. The company installs residential as well as municipal and commercial solar-power systems. He has been a consultant on the state exam for the solar contractor’s license and a lecturer on renewable energy.

Competing with large installers with buying power to offer low prices is a challenge for independent installers, and a looming end to public incentives isn’t helping, according to Mr. Parry.

“Solar will not be less expensive in the near future,” he said.

Rick Turley

Advanced Alternate Energy Solutions, 212 Second St., Petaluma 94952; 707-789-9537; www.aaes.biz;  ’07 revenue: $4.7 million; 20 employees

Rick Turley is general manager of the company, which he and Bill Turley Jr. started in 2002.

Commercial Landscape ContractorsEd Nessinger

Nessco Construction, 244 Colgan Ave., Santa Rosa 95404; 707-541-0107; www.nesscoconstruction.com;  ’06 revenue: $12.1 million; 75 full-time employees

President Ed Nessinger started the company in 1994 as a landscaping and erosion-control business.

Dennis Dougherty

Cagwin & Dorward, P.O. Box 1600, Novato 94948; 415-892-7710; www.cagwin.com; ’07 revenue: $13.1 million (North Bay); 154 full-time employees

Dennis Dougherty, who is older than 60, is president, CEO and CFO of the company ornamental horticulturalist Tom Cagwin and economist David Dorward started in 1955. The Novato-based company has expanded north to Windsor, east to Sacramento and south to Carmel with 11 service centers. Total revenue was $32 million last year, and peak employment tops 400.

John Ossa

Gardeners’ Guild, 2780 Goodrick Ave., Richmond 95801; 510-439-3700; www.gardenersguild.com

John Ossa is president of a company that started in Marin in 1972 and moved to Richmond earlier this year as the company grew to $11.8 million in revenue last year and 145 employees. However, the company continues to undertake many North Bay maintenance contracts and installation. He joined the company in 2002. Linda Novy purchased the company in 1976 and was CEO until it transitioned to employee ownership in 2003.

Daniel Rasmussen

Huppe Landscape Co., 1350 Airport Blvd., Santa Rosa 95403; 707-527-6187; www.huppelandscape.com; ’07 revenue: $8.3 million; 61 employees

Daniel Rasmussen, 48, is sales manager for the Sonoma County office since CEO Chris Huppe and CFO Randy Erwin opened it in 1987. The Roseville-based company has 140 employees in Santa Rosa, Vacaville and Rancho Cordova.

Revenue last year was $12.6 million.

John Prior

JLP Landscape Contracting, 901 Seventh St., Santa Rosa 95404; 707-528-6285; ’06 revenue: $6.4 million; 66 employees

CEO and President John Prior and Alicia Prior started the company in 1984.

Heating, Ventilation & Air-conditioning ContractorsGlen Nold

Cal-Air, a Johnson  Controls company, 3555 Airway Drive, Santa Rosa 95403; 707-546-3042; www.johnsoncontrols.com; ’06 North Bay revenue: $32 million; 150 local employees

Glen Nold manages the Santa Rosa branch office for Cal-Air, a division of Johnson Controls that is focused on industrial systems.

Paul Irwin

Bell Products, 722 Soscol Ave., Napa 94559; 707-255-1811; www.bellproducts.com; ’07 revenue: $41.5 million; 143 employees

Paul Irwin, 51, started working at the company in 1982 following a business management internship in 1979. Today he is president of a multifaceted company that expanded beyond what Joe Bell started in a barn in 1945. Revenue soared from $25.5 million in 2006 because of a gain in market share, according to Mr. Irwin.

“The housing downturn has thrown more contractors into the commercial markets driving prices down,” Mr. Irwin said. “To continue being successful in today’s market, value-added services will be the key.”

Innovations include computer server room-cooling products.

Sargon Michael

Allied Heating & Air Conditioning, 12 De Luca Place, San Rafael 94901; 415-459-5232; www.alliedhvac.com

Sargon Michael is president and CEO of a commercial-oriented company started in 1984 when Mark Barger, a sales engineer, partnered with Neil Anderson, a foreman with a heating and cooling systems contractor. Revenue topped $20 million in 2006, and the company had 80 employees at the beginning of this year.

Ken Petro

Indoor Environmental Services, 1604 Airport Blvd., Santa Rosa 95403; 707-571-7480; www.ies-hvac.com; ’07 revenue: $9 million (North Bay); 52 local employees

Ken Petro is director of business management, overseeing the 20-year-old company’s Santa Rosa location, opened in early 2002. Later that year the Sacramento-based company, which had revenue of $35 million total last year, acquired winery cooling expert Wine Temp Systems in Napa.

“Regulation and the green movement provide different challenges for building owners and managers, and we have strengthened our product offerings around these changes,” Mr. Petro said.

James Landa

Simpson Sheet Metal, 2833 Dowd Drive, Santa Rosa 95407; 707-546-1500; www.simpsonsheetmetal.com; 50 employees

Vice President and General Manager Jim Landa, 54, came to the company in 2004 after 10 years as president of Empire Waste Management and a career in finance with Waste Management in Oakland and Chronicle Publishing in San Francisco.

Residential Contractors

Contributions by Jenna V. Loceff, Staff Reporter

Chris Peterson

Rivendale Homes, P.O. Box 2217, Santa Rosa 95405; 707-569-3040; www.rivendalehomes.com; ’07 homes sold: 126

Chris Peterson is the president of Rivendale Homes. Rivendale has served the North Bay for more than 40 years and has built more than 20 North Bay communities.

Keith and Brenda Christopherson

Christopherson Homes, 1315 Airport Blvd., Santa Rosa 95403; 707-524-8222; www.christophersonhomes.com; ’07 homes sold: 120

Keith and Brenda Christopherson are the co-founders and owners of Christopherson Homes Co. Christopherson Homes opened its doors in 1978 and has grown into one of the largest home builders in the greater North Bay. Current developments include Arbors, Olive Ridge and several developments at Ragle Ranch.

Its housing projects are on the edge of the green movement, with Wisteria in Rocklin, Calif., leading the way. Wisteria will be the first development approved for the New Solar Homes Partnership in California.

As a family business, their two children, Andy Christopherson and Amy Christopherson Bolten, are senior vice president of external operations and director of community relations, respectively.

Joseph Keith

Cobblestone Homes, 1400 N. Dutton Ave., Ste. 24, Santa Rosa 95401; 707-528-8703; www.cobblestonehomes.com; ’07 homes sold: 47

Joseph Keith, president of Cobblestone Homes, has lived in Sonoma County for 27 years. With roughly 110 homes built per year, Mr. Keith also takes the time to have his company sponsor many community organizations, including the American Red Cross, the Boys and Girls Club, Redwood Empire Food Bank and NorCal High School Mountain Bike Association, among others.

Hugh Futrell

Hugh Futrell LLC, 200 Fourth St., Santa Rosa 95401; 707-255-9890, www.hughfutrellcorp.com; ’07 homes sold: 37

Hugh Futrell is the president of Hugh Futrell LLC.  After 25 years in business, Mr. Futrell has focused his work on many of the central downtown spaces in Santa Rosa. His projects tend to have a very contemporary and metropolitan focus.

Mr. Futrell enjoys these projects because they are environmentally responsive, and he views them as an opportunity to contribute to the community. A graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz with a degree in philosophy, Mr. Futrell said that urban planning was always an interest, and it seemed like a natural choice to get into contracting.

Mr. Futrell is a native of the North Bay and has served on many boards for the city of Santa Rosa.

Bijan Madjlessi

Menlo Oaks, 1100 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur 94939; 415-464-8140; www.menlooaks.com; ’07 homes sold: 17

Bijan Madjlessi, CEO of Menlo Oaks, got his Class B license in 2001. Since 1979 Menlo Oaks Corp. has been building residential developments in the Bay Area. It recently expanded and is developing in Reno. Its current projects include Parklane Villas in Santa Rosa and The Belvedere in Reno.

Craig Lawson

Pinnacle Homes, P.O. Box 14189, Santa Rosa 95402; 707-538-5949; www.pinnacle-homes.com; ’07 homes sold: 8

President Craig Law-son (right) and Vice President Richard Dowd started Pinnacle Homes in 1993 and have long focused on “environmentally conscious, sustainable building methods.” Each home they build is carefully planned for the site it rests on, taking into account the surrounding ambiance.

Bill and Frank Schellinger

Schellinger Brothers, 1270 Airport Blvd., Santa Rosa 95403; 707-545-1600; www.schellingerbrothers.com; ’07 homes sold: 7

Bill and Frank Schellinger founded Schellinger Brothers 35 years ago. Since then, it has grown to have properties in Santa Rosa, Lakeport and Orland.

Ed Waller and Steve Shook

Shook and Waller, 3250 Dutton Ave., Ste. A, Santa Rosa 95407; 707-578-3933; www.shookandwaller.com

Ed Waller and Steve Shook are the founders of Shook and Waller.  They started their company 25 years ago. Mr. Shook and Mr. Waller are both graduates of El Molino High School in Forestville.

Mr. Shook studied civil engineering at Santa Rosa Junior College. Mr. Waller came into the business following in his family’s footsteps, with his grandfather and father both contractors in Sonoma County.