Community colleges across the nation are engaged in projects designed to enhance their facilities and improve their offerings to students. One of the biggest challenges in these endeavors is finding the right partners with which to work. Fortunately for California’s Solano Community College District, it has established a strong working relationship with Kitchell, an Arizona-headquartered general contracting and construction management firm that has an extensive presence in California.

Established in 1950, Kitchell has built its legacy by providing general contracting and construction management services. Today, it remains an employee-owned company that provides services from development and program management to construction and facility management. The company is licensed in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Forty years ago, Joseph Natoli founded a general contracting business that would become one of the most respected firms in the industry. Today, under the leadership of his son, Company Owner Paul Natoli, Natoli Construction celebrates four decades of impressive, renowned projects with an extensive list of prestigious awards. Among them are the construction of the New York Giants’ Home Headquarters, an expansion of Rutgers University Livingston Campus and the remodeling of the Statue of Liberty. 

How does a relatively small company of 50 employees, still bearing its family name, end up with such high-profile projects? “We have an impeccable reputation in the tri-state area,” Paul Natoli explains. “It’s our best marketing tool.” From past performance to its manner of business, the firm has created a reputation that has spread from private sector clients to public and to federal. 

When Kaiser Permanente was still in the early planning stages for its new hospital campus in San Diego, the healthcare organization brought Hensel Phelps into the process. As the general contractor on the project, being involved from the start allowed Hensel Phelps to better advise Kaiser Permanente as it developed the hospital’s schematic designs. 

The builder was even able to enlist its major mechanical and engineering subcontractors as early as May 2012, two years before construction began. Involving all of the major players early fostered collaboration and helped Kaiser Permanente determine the most efficient ways to design systems for the hospital and support buildings, ultimately saving money.

As an organization, HDC Development can trace its roots back to 1970. Originally, the company built a legacy over time in construction management and general contracting in commercial and multifamily housing. 

Among the company’s leaders today is Senior Vice President and Project Manager Jim Lemke. HDC Development is well known for its expertise in the assisted-living, congregate housing, memory care, foster care, nursing home, hospital, commercial office and multifamily housing markets. The company’s skillset includes experience in development, market analysis, architect and site selection, and construction supervision.

This fall, millions of students will arrive on college campuses all over the country to further or finish their education, and the number of students is on the rise. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, college enrollment increased by more than 24 percent between 2002 and 2014, from about 16 million students to more than 20 million. As college enrollment continues to increase steadily year after year, colleges and universities are left with the question of where to house all of these additional students. The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) has been no exception, and the school has been working to address the situation through some recent expansion projects. 

One of the most recent projects undertaken by UCSB has been the construction of a new student housing complex called San Joaquin Apartments. Helping UCSB realize its vision is contractor Harper Construction of San Diego, and Vice President Brad Humphrey says the project has been a good fit for the company based on its experience in student housing projects and its exceptional safety record. 

Gramoll Construction Co. has made educational construction its focus, and there is no better place for the North Salt Lake, Utah-based company to be, Project Manager Ken Romney says. “We’re seeing such a boom in the educational sector,” he declares.

The company’s current work includes Lassonde Studios, a 160,000-square-foot building that will stand five stories at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The structure is a unique “hybrid” facility, Site Manager Troy North says.

Lassonde’s ground floor will feature administration offices and support areas “for students to be entrepreneurs, pledging out their projects and business designs,” he explained. It also will feature a shop area and resource centers “where you can check out tools and equipment.”

Design and construction synergies are being encouraged in the two hospitals on the eastern shore of scenic North Vancouver Island that comprise the North Island Hospitals Project. “Both project sites look very similar, especially at the stage where they’re at,” Graham Design Builders LP Project Director Greg Parnell points out. “We use a slightly different color scheme between the hospitals, and one hospital is built on a sloped site while the other is on a flat site – which creates a little bit of difference – but otherwise the floor plans and interdepartmental relationships are essentially identical, making it easy to share staffing resources between the hospitals.”

Graham and its financing arm, Gracorp, are part of Tandem Health Partners. Gracorp led the Tandem consortium with Balfour Beatty Canada Inc. Graham is the sole design/builder responsible for design and construction of the two new acute care facilities, a 153-bed hospital in Courtenay in the Comox Valley, and a 95-bed hospital in Campbell River on North Vancouver Island.

When selecting its subcontractors, ENVIRO AgScience feels bound by its sense of social and civic responsibility. Founder and chairman Dr. Louis Lynn says the company likes to work with smaller trade firms.  He sees it as part of his company’s mission to give back to the communities where it works by hiring local subcontractors. By giving a small business a large role, Lynn says it allows the subcontractor to build its capacity and grow its business.

Supporting small businesses is important, Lynn says, because it’s where ENVIRO AgScience came from. Lynn, who holds a doctorate in horticulture, began the business 30 years ago as a commercial landscape contractor. But ENVIRO AgScience raised its profile in the early 2000s when it became a minority partner on a project to build 18 public schools in its home state of South Carolina. 

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