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2014 BEST Contractor/Builder: Ghilotti Bros., Inc.

Author: John Abbott
May, 2014 Issue

“The keys to our success are being fully committed to continuous improvement and having the best employees.” —Mike Ghilotti

It’s an auspicious year for Ghilotti Brothers, Inc., the venerable North Bay contractor that’s played a pivotal part in virtually every major construction project in the North Bay for the past century. Not only will the company celebrate its centennial in 2014, it’s also three-peating as the BEST Contractor/Builder in our annual “BEST Of” awards. (There are four Ghilotti-affiliated companies in the Bay Area; this award recognizes the original “Brothers.”) 
“We’re so excited to win this award for the third time,” says President Mike Ghilotti. “It means a lot to our employees and it’s such an honor to win again, as there are so many great North Bay companies.”
Over the years, the company has torn down, built up, removed, restored, widened, narrowed, graded, drained and demolished any number of sites and structures. It’s laid new roads and repaved old ones. It’s rehabilitated sewer systems, fabricated underground utilities and moved tons of earth. The company’s expertise in general engineering contracting is boundless for both private and commercial clients.
The company was founded in San Rafael in 1914 by James Ghilotti (grandfather of Mike and his brother/business partner, Dante, who serves as company CEO), an Italian stonemason who arrived in California just after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. He started by transporting stones throughout the North Bay by horse and cart; it was backbreaking work, but he earned a reputation for dependability that led to small paving jobs and minor construction projects. By 1939, his four sons had joined him in the family business and, as the Bay Area boomed in the World War II years, so did Ghilotti.
The list of the company’s projects could serve as a backdrop to the development—and, in many cases, landscape—of the Bay Area. For example, Ghilotti Bros., Inc. has been involved in nearly every major highway project in Northern California in the past 50 years, including Highway 101 Gunn Road to Petaluma River Bridge and the Highway 101/Route 116 Lakeville interchange (a joint venture with C.C. Myers, Inc. of Rancho Cordova) and SMART IOS-1 Sonoma/Marin County. It also performed off-site improvements for the Graton Rancheria Resort and Casino.
“The keys to our success are being fully committed to continuous improvement and having the best employees,” Ghilotti says. “One of the things that sets us apart is our advocacy for partnering and our willingness to collaborate with all the stakeholders of a project. That’s critical to our success given the size of the projects we do.”
The company’s centennial celebrations will span the entire year rather than focus on a single date. “We’re so proud to be celebrating our 100th year as a family-owned and -operated business,” Ghilotti says. “It’s been an evolution with a lot of changes, but we’re still brothers who are working together.
“It’s amazing to reflect on how far we’ve traveled,” he says. “The simple craftsmanship, hard work and dedication of my grandfather gave us opportunities in the ‘New World.’ As third-generation owners, Dante and I will continue the legacy of doing a job well, treating employees with courtesy and respect, and giving back to the community where we live and work.” 



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