10 North Bay leaders in commercial general contracting
The following are profiles of top executives of the highest-ranking companies on the Commercial General Contractors list, ranked by 2016 revenue and published by the Business Journal on March 13.
Wright ContractingP.O. Box 1270, Santa Rosa 95402; 707-528-1172; wrightcontracting.com; 58 full-time year-round employees
This year Mark Davis, 54, became a partner in the company Paul V. Wright started in 1953. Davis joined the company in 1986 just after earning an undergraduate construction-management degree from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, and was promoted to president from vice president and operations manager in 2009.
The other partners are Stephen Wright, chief operating officer, and Bryan Wright, vice president.
Heavy winter rains delayed project starts or progress this construction season, Davis said.
“We were able to meet completion dates, despite weather-related setbacks, by creatively stretching, re-allocating and planning usage of our resources, including the already thinly stretched subcontractor workforce,” he said. “Most every contractor in the area had the same problem, which compounded the issue across the industry.”
The busier Greater Bay Area construction business also has extended lead times for materials and subcontractors, Davis said.
“We mitigate this issue by engaging in detailed analysis early in the design process, planning ahead, anticipating potential shortages and establishing built-in contingency plans to address these issues,” he said.
The industry continues to embrace more advanced technology, many of them software-based solutions that allow different players in a project to collaborate remotely, Davis noted. The company has been working “to integrate proven ‘old school' field knowledge, which is invaluable, with new technologies to create seamless designs,” he said.
Key projects this year have been modernization of Richard Crane Elementary School in Rohnert Park, including a 30,000-square-foot remodel and a new 7,200-square-foot modular building; a 175,000-square-foot, 92-unit expansion at The Meadows Assisted Living in Napa; remodeling the restaurant at The Culinary Institute of America at Copia in Napa; renovation of TraVigne in St. Helena as Charter Oak Restaurant; Zialena Winery in Geyserville with hospitality and winery buildings of 2,200 and 10,000 square feet, respectively; and Wheeler Farms Winery, a new winery near St. Helena with a 12,000-square-foot subterranean cellar.
Ghilotti Construction Co.246 Ghilotti Ave., Santa Rosa 95407; 707-585-1221; ghilotti.com; 275 employees
President and Chief Executive Officer Dick Ghilotti, 70, co-founded the general engineering contracting company in 1992. Stretching back to North Bay roots more than a century ago, the contractor has established offices in Marin and Napa counties and the East Bay and acquired North Bay Construction in 2010.
Growth and expansion in the North Bay economy has kept contractors very busy in the past two years, Ghilotti said.
“Busy means we're working, and it's good to see that there is a lot of opportunities in the North Bay,” he said. “The economy as a whole has grown drastically in the North Bay over the pass two years or so. I have noticed that there has been a lot more work for home developers and subdivisions, wineries, and the ‘tourist' industry.”
New and upgraded technology is dramatically changing how contractors get work done and bringing the industry into the modern era, Ghilotti said.
“New technology for our equipment, for our construction sites and even for our estimators is allowing for tasks to be done more efficiently and in less time,” he said.
He maintains operational and strategic oversight of the company and describes his day-to-day involvement as “hands-on.”
Among the awards he has received are Marin Builders Association Construction Industry Man of the Year and election to the North Coast Builders Exchange's Construction Hall of Fame.
Ghilotti Bros.525 Jacoby St., San Rafael 94901; 415-454-7011; ghilottibros.com; 75 employees
Mike Ghilotti, 55, has been working in construction for 33 years and became president in 2000 of the general engineering contracting company his grandfather James Ghilotti started in 1914.
The long period of winter rains pushed contractor project backlogs into late spring and early summer of this year, significantly reducing competition for public-works jobs, Ghilotti said. But prospects for coming building seasons look promising.
“Rarely have we experienced both the public and private construction markets being so strong for so long, and with the SB-1 funding going into infrastructure as well as the potential for additional North Bay funding coming from toll bridge legislation, things look to stay really active for 2018,” Ghilotti said. “The biggest challenge for this year and next is workforce demands. We need people that want to work outside and build stuff instead of choosing a career sitting in a cubicle behind a computer.”