Valentine Corp.

With competition for more traditional civil construction jobs at a high in its home market in California, Valentine Corp. is instead building a reputation as a company willing to take on tougher work. “Our motto is if it’s difficult or unusual, it’s for us,” President Bob Valentine Jr. says. “We want something challenging that requires a lot of est­imating creativity, engineering and planning to build.”

The San Rafael, Calif.-based general engineering and construction firm specializes in heavy structural concrete applications including bridges and overpasses, water treatment plants, waste water treatment plants, pump stations, marine construction and restoration, and deep foundation work. Valentine estimates that 80 percent of the company’s projects are in the public sector.

The company’s latest projects are taking it into a new area of construction, Vice President of Construction Dave Levine says.

“We’re not afraid to jump in and get our feet wet with different project types,” he adds. “We have a lot of experience in a vast area, and we’re capable of doing work we’ve never touched before.”

Trash Rake Projects

In April, Valentine Corp. completed work on automated trash rake collection systems at the Tracy Fish Collection Facility and nearby C.W. “Bill” Jones Pumping Plant, both located near Stockton, Calif., along the Delta-Mendota Canal.

The fish collection facility, owned and operated by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, uses louvers as screening devices to collect and salvage fish entering the canal, the Bureau says.

The Jones Pumping Plant delivers water to the canal from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Valentine Corp. installed one rack-mounted trash rake collection system at each facility, Levine says.

The galvanized steel trash rakes collect debris floating down the canal. Debris is scooped out from racks in the water and deposited directly into trucks, he adds.

The rake systems are manufactured by Eimco Water Technologies of Salt Lake City. Valentine crews received the system in shipping containers and assembled it on site with hydraulic cranes, Levine says.

Valentine Corp. started the submission process for the $2.7 million project in October 2008. “A large portion of the process involved submittals,” Levine says. “The actual construction didn’t take long.”

The company now is involved in a submittal process for a similar system at the Dos Amigos Pumping Plant in Los Banos, Calif. The plant is owned and operated by the California Department of Water Resources.

The system, now being manufactured by the Kuenz Company in Austria, has a capacity of 50 cubic yards of debris an hour and an 18,000-pound hoisting capacity.

The rake travels back and forth along a 260-foot long concrete deck, scooping out debris such as water hyacinths, moss and lilies caught in the trash racks in the water, preventing it from reaching the pumps.

Valentine Corp. also will replace all the trash racks. The fully automated system will replace the facility’s current manual system. Levine expects to complete the $3 million project in March 2011.

Project Challenges

Both of the trash rake projects involve extensive planning around water levels in the canal. “Pre-planning is critical,” he adds. “We have a small window during low-flow periods when we can perform the work.”

Site safety is also critical as crews work above water during installation. All personnel and tools must be completely tied off in order to avoid damaging pumping equipment or contaminating the water supply, Levine says.

Another challenge on the Dos Amigos project involves the code standards for the manufacturing of the rake system. The company’s contract is based on American code standards, while the system is being fabricated overseas to European specifications. 

“We intend to show the client that European standards are as good, if not better, than American standards,” Levine says.

Valentine Corp. has organized inspections by state officials of the manufacturing process in Austria, he adds.

In The Family

Bob Valentine Sr. founded Valentine Corp. in 1964. The company quickly established itself in structural work around the San Francisco area including bridge building, Bob Valentine Jr. says. 

Valentine Corp. has worked extensively with most Bay Area municipal public owners and other public agencies including the California Department of Transportation, the U.S. Navy, BART and the National Park Service. The company is capable of working on a pro­ject from the design stage through to project completion, and prides itself on its engineering ability. “We do all kinds of interesting jobs,” he adds. “We rarely do the same type of job twice.”

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