How the North Bay is housing fire survivors, workforce to be a topic of May 29 conference
On Wednesday, May 27, the Business Journal presents a morning of expert insight on the state of construction in the North Bay.
The Building the North Bay conference, taking place from 8 to 11:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma County Wine Country hotel in Santa Rosa, will feature a recap of efforts so far to rebuild the North Bay after wildfires destroyed thousands of homes. Also part of the program will be information about transportation projects, real estate markets and efforts to engage the business community in keeping the area’s economy strong.
A builder point of view on the area’s progress in rebuilding from the 2017 wildfires that swept through the North Bay will be the topic of panel of those involved in that effort involving construction of thousands of new homes.
That perspective includes the efforts of Urban Building Workshop. Jeff Schween, is a real estate agent with Compass as well as director of client relations for Urban Building Workshop. It currently has 21 homes in various stages of construction in the greater Fountaingrove region and rural Northeast Santa Rosa, 17 of which are new custom-crafted homes for neighbors who lost theirs in the Tubbs Fire and four that will be for resale.
Schween has 29 years of real estate sales experience, with more than $725 million in completed transactions in Sonoma County.
Joining the panel as will be Keith Christopherson, co-founder and managing partner of Christopherson Builders. In 1978 he co-founded Christopherson Construction with his wife, Brenda, that that venture evolved into Christopherson Homes several years later.
Over the following years Christopherson Homes successfully built thousands of homes in over 63 developments in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Solano, Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Glenn counties through two operating divisions, one located in Santa Rosa and the other in Roseville. In 2006, the couple were inducted into the California Building Industry Foundation's Hall of Fame.
John Allen is vice president and chief operating officer for Santa Rosa-based APM Homes Inc. He oversees daily construction operations as well as procurement and customer service. In addition to restoring Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park, Allen has not only worked in other neighborhoods of Sonoma County where APM Homes is building multiple projects, but in Paradise, which last year was destroyed by wildfires.
Andy Christopherson is one of three partners in Synergy Group. As project manager, he has been active in the effort to rebuild homes, especially in the Coffey Park and Fountaingrove.
Building the North Bay also will feature other speakers’ expertise in not only construction but also business growth and transportation.
Susanne Smith is executive director of the Sonoma County Transit Authority, monitors Caltrans projects within the county and develops long-range transportation plans. She’s a former district director for California Assemblymember Valerie Brown.
Also on the dais will be Peter Rumble, CEO and president of the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber. He will offer an update on chamber efforts to unite key businesses to keep jobs in the area. He’s a former deputy county administrator and the director of health policy for Sonoma County.
Other speakers on May 29 will be John Stewart, chairman of the John Stewart Company. He provided daily leadership as CEO for the company — now in its 40th year — through its first 23 years of growth. The firm now has five offices statewide, 1,400 employees, a management portfolio of over 32,000 units and 17 projects under development.
An insider in development of Santa Rosa’s downtown, Hugh Futrell is president of Hugh Futrell Corporation. He has been working in land-use planning, development and construction, and asset management since 1979. As a principal, he has managed more than 45 development projects, including single-family, master-planned, market-rate multifamily, lower-income, commercial, midrise mixed-use and health care facility projects.
The company currently manages approximately 250 residential rental units and 190,000 square feet of commercial space for controlled affiliates. A center of his current projects is the redevelopment of the historic Empire Building on the west side of Santa Rosa’s Courthouse Square into a 71-room boutique hotel.
Tickets for the conference are $75 per person or $775 per table of 10. Register at nbbj.news/Const19 or call 707-521-5270
The conference is underwritten by American River Bank and Ghilotti Construction Company. Major sponsors are Ghilotti Brothers Construction, Midstate Construction and Wright Contracting. Corporate sponsors are Christopherson Builders, North Coast Builders Exchange, Marin Builders Association and SOMO Construction.