James Ghilotti, founder of Ghilotti Construction Company (GCC), emigrated from Italy more than 100 years ago. He would be proud of his grandson Dick, company owner and president. From the company’s humble beginnings in northern California, GCC now has in excess of $200 million in revenues, a workforce of 450, offices in Livermore, Santa Rosa, San Rafael, American Canyon, and a headquarters on eponymous Ghilotti Avenue in Santa Rosa. It ‘s one of the largest general commercial contracting companies in the Bay Area.
Grandfather Ghilotti’s business philosophy was—Do good work. Be responsible. Take care of the community and the people who work for you. “That still works today,” Dick says. And it’s much in evidence in GCC’s corporate culture. In the fires of 2017, 10 employees lost their homes. The company raised $200,000 from friends and supporters. The monies were distributed equally among the 10 employees. GCC contributed an additional $150,000 to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund. And when 200 national guardsmen arrived to prevent looting in the devastated areas, GCC made a warehouse available to set up bunk beds, and provided an outside area for staging equipment. Dick’s son Willie and other employees arranged food from restaurants and local suppliers. GCC was one of five contractors engaged in cleanup efforts, and its peak, 22 crews worked 12-hour days, seven days a week.
The company’s extensive operations include: site preparation, grading and excavation, paving, site and structure concrete and soil stabilization. This work is divided equally between the public and private sectors. Projects cover all 12 Bay Area counties. Lucasfilm’s Big Rock Ranch, Sear’s Point Raceway, the San Francisco 49er’s stadium in Santa Clara and Highway 280 in San Mateo represent some of GCC’s more notable jobs.
The number and type of equipment needed for GCC’s projects is extensive. There are more than 100 vehicles in GCC’s on-road fleet. The off-road fleet consists of 135 plus pieces of heavy equipment such as asphalt grinders, bulldozers, backhoes, excavators, forklifts and loaders, all of which are well maintained and kept in excellent operating condition. To round out the inventory list, there are some 390 categories of tools.
Currently, 50 projects are in progress representing more than $120 million of work. Some of the larger include: Vast Oaks, a large-scale residential and commercial development in Rohnert Park; Trellis, a Pulte Homes development in Walnut Creek; Saggio Hills, Healdsburg’s new five-star resort hotel; Coral Sea Village, a residential subdivision at Mare Island; and the Village at Vintage Ranch in American Canyon. There is an excess of $400 million of projects under bid.
“The good news for 2018 is that the economy continues to be strong across all sectors, from wine and hospitality in the north, technology down south and infrastructure initiatives just about everywhere,” Dick says. “The downside of all this is the lack of skilled labor. We need equipment operators and more young people coming into the business. And we need affordable housing at all levels.” Having successfully managed the company through the downturn of 2008, one senses that Dick is out in front of all challenges.
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