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MARCH 2018 | ISSUE 3/VOLUME 224 W W W. U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G

Growing the Next Generation Develop and Strengthen Your Workforce

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MARCH 2018


2018 UNITED CONTRACTORS BOARD OFFICERS President.............................................. Paul Cianciarulo

Vice President/President-Elect......................Steve Clark Secretary/Treasurer.......................................Guy Smith Secretary/Treasurer-Elect........................... Christi Plum

6 UP Front

Apprentices: Pain in the Ass? or Foundation for the Future?

UNITED CONTRACTORS BOARD OF DIRECTORS Paul Cianciarulo, Graniterock; Steve Clark, Granite Construction Company; Paul Cocotis, Shimmick Construction Company, Inc.; Trony Fuller, West Coast Sand & Gravel; Kevin Hester, McGuire and Hester; Randy Jenco, Viking Construction Company; Brett Kincaid, O’Grady Paving, Inc.; Roger Mason, Sweeney, Mason, Wilson & Bosomworth; Christi Plum, P C & N Construction, Inc.; Donna Rehrmann, Stomper Company, Inc.; Kimberly Sabin, Columbia Electric, Inc.; Guy Smith, St. Francis Electric LLC; Hal Stober, Gordon N. Ball, Inc.; Mary Teichert, Teichert Inc.; Charles Wall, Brosamer & Wall, Inc.


Associates: Roger Mason, Esq. (Associate Director), Sweeney, Mason, Wilson & Bosomworth; Trony Fuller (Associate Director-Elect), West Coast Sand & Gravel | Caltrans: Michael Ghilotti (Chairman), Ghilotti Bros., Inc. | Legislative: Rob Layne, O.C. Jones & Sons, Inc. | Political Action (PAC): Chris Young (Chairman), D.W. Young Construction Co., Inc. | Safety & Insurance: Don Hunt, (Chairman) McGuire and Hester | Attorney Roundtable (ART): Facilitated by Mark Breslin | SF City Contractor Liaison: Mike Ghilotti (Chairman), Ghilotti Bros., Inc., Miguel Galarza (Chairman), Yerba Buena Engineering & Construction, Inc. | Scholarship: Michael Landucci, Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.


Mark Breslin, Chief Executive Officer; Leslie Lord, Vice President/Deputy Director; Emily Cohen, Executive Vice President; Kelly Montes, Executive Assistant to CEO; Julie Hinge, Executive Assistant to EVP; Victor Sella, Director of Labor Relations; Ruby Varnadore, Labor Contracts Manager; Lucia Maramonte, Labor & Member Services Specialist; Randy Ruby, Labor Relations Consultant; Shelbie Tieman, Director of Finance & Administration; Terese Pollock, Operations Analyst; Denise Ramirez, Online Services Manager; Emmy McConnell, Accountant; Tiffany Gaddis, Office & Member Services Coordinator; Stacy Anderson, Director Marketing & Communications; Michelle Vejby, Publications Manager; Joan O’Brien, Education Manager; Marlo Fregulia, Event Manager; Angelica Hobbs, Event Coordinator; Eddie Bernacchi, Legislative Advocate; Christopher Lee, Safety Consultant; Tony Dorsa, CARB Consultant

By Mark Breslin, UCON CEO


Construction is a Great Industry— Let’s Spread the Word By Victor Sella, Director of Labor Relations

12 INSIDE the Capitol Getting Involved with Advocacy to Make an Impact By Emily Cohen, EVP


WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT recruitment | retention


UCON’s Membership L.I.V.E. Event

More Inside:

MARCH 2018 | ISSUE 3/VOLUME 224 W W W. U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G

Growing the Next Generation Develop and Strengthen Your Workforce

United Contractors Magazine (ISSN: 2166-3777) is published monthly, except December, by United Contractors, 17 Crow Canyon Court, Suite 100, San Ramon, CA 94583. Editorial comments, letters, and article submissions are welcomed and encouraged. Correspondence should be directed to the United Contractors office at the above address, by phone at (925) 855-7900, by e-mail at or by fax at (925) 855-7909. Reproduction of editorial material in this issue is permitted if accompanied by proper source credit. Periodicals postage paid at San Ramon, CA and other offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to: United Contractors Magazine, 17 Crow Canyon Court, Suite 100, San Ramon, CA 94583. © 2018 Published in the U.S.A.




By Mark Breslin, United Contractors CEO

Apprentices: Pain in the Ass? Or Foundation for the Future? There is a legacy belief system still at work in our industry that is pretty ignorant and shortsighted. And we are paying the price now for this backward thinking. The belief in the field is that apprentices are a pain in the ass. That their marginal skills get in the way of production and profit. That apprentices are usually too much trouble or effort—so if a journeyman is available, get them out here. I can remember when some foremen (and general foremen) would hire an apprentice to comply with regulations, and then sit them on the curb or give them a broom to push just to get the hours credit. Unfortunately, many field supervisors still look at apprentices as a necessary evil. They consider them a burden that the state and others require them to employ, so they do. When they have to. So years have gone by with foremen and superintendents not invested in apprentices; not looking for opportunities to train and mentor them; and finally not committed to filling the talent pipeline for the future. Those beliefs and practices may have been tolerable back then—but not today. Not in an industry desperately looking for skilled talent and emerging leaders. A change of mind and practice begins with the employer’s mindset on apprenticeship. Many contractors tell me that they are disappointed with the quality of apprentices that are available to them in many of the trades. They tell me that the union isn’t doing enough. I guess that varies from trade to trade, but in each case I have to point out the obvious to them. Apprentice programs are usually around 5,000 hours. And out of that 5,000 hours the union only has them for around 5% of the time. 95% of apprentice training and development is done by the employers. So it would seem if we want a thriving successful pool of future craft professionals, then both contractors and field 6 W W W. U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G

supervision need to be fully committed with the time, resources and most importantly, belief system to support the development of apprentices. Why now? Why is it so critical to take action? Unless you have been living under a rock you are by now aware of the impact of the retiring Baby Boomers. The most skilled among our field workers are retiring. This is a growing gap that will peak in several more years. UCON is working harder than any management organization in the nation with our union partners to bring in semi-skilled and highly skilled non-union workers through our outstanding Job Fair programs. Last year we brought in hundreds. This year we hope to bring in more than 1,000. But even with this, the apprenticeship pipeline needs the focus and attention and support of every contractor reading this article. Even during the busiest months of 2017, when you could not find a journeyman of any trade, there were still apprentices in many union halls waiting for their chance to grow and develop. Clearly we are not trying hard enough. Yet.

When I worked in the field I was lucky enough to have my dad, my foremen and some key journeymen take a personal interest in me. When I went to college, instructors in both my majors took a personal interest in my development. When I came to UCON, a number of great contractors became my mentors and guides. That is the way it works best. That is the way you create leaders. That is the way you create opportunities. Someone has to give, and someone has to care. That apprentice is not going to train him or herself. A belief that there is value in taking the time to develop young talent needs to come from the top of every organization and then pushed all the way down and out to the field. No exceptions. No excuses.

In a few years we will be going through our next down market cycle. Hours will fade as will the opportunity to train and develop talent. The feast and famine nature of the construction cycle is pretty unforgiving. But now, when the sun is shining, and opportunity and hours abound, it is time to spend the time, effort and resources. We cannot say we are too busy now to do it and then too challenged in a down market to do it and then complain about the quality and availability of skilled labor in the future. In 2018 let’s rally up and do the right thing. Let’s maximize the development of apprentices in every situation possible. Let’s invest in them by taking that personal interest that someone did for all of us on the way. Apprentices are not a pain in the ass. They are the foundation for our future. u

Bay Line Cutting & Coring, Inc. is celebrating our 25th Anniversary this 2018 year. We would like to take this opportunity to say 1993 - 2018 Thank You to our customers, partners, industry affiliates, and UCON members. We appreciate your support over the past 25 years and look forward to serving you in the future.



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s r i a F b o J

By Victor Sella, Director of Labor Relations

Construction is a Great Industry— Let’s Spread the Word! I don’t have to tell you about the skilled labor shortage. You see it. You know what’s at stake. For me, this is more than an industry issue—it’s personal. As Director of Labor Relations, it’s what I spend much of my time on. It’s critical to UCON’s future. And as the issue grows, so does the need for a smart, strategic, collective action. If we’re going to keep enough skilled labor in our halls to meet industry demand today and in the future your voice and story are needed. Let’s cut to the chase: the construction industry offers opportunities that can absolutely appeal to the next-gen workforce: n Fast paced, dynamic work environment n Rapid technological advancement n Higher wages and greater job stability than most college graduates n Get paid while you train n Lifelong career advancement n Etc. The problem is they haven’t heard this story. In 2017, UCON partnered with the Operating Engineers and Laborers to host a series of job fairs focused on drawing skilled talent into our industry. With contractors and union representatives working sideby-side, we told the story of union construction. These were the results: n 3 job fairs n 20+ contractors per fair n 500+ attendees n 270+ dispatches In 2018, we plan to eclipse these figures and expand our reach to more journeyman-level talent: yyy UCON and the Laborers will host four job fairs: March 16 in Oroville, April 22 in Oakland, May 6 in San Jose, and June 3 in Modesto. Limited spots are still available.

8 W W W. U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G

yyy At the time this article was written, UCON and OE3 were in the final stages of securing locations for fairs in Alameda county, Sacramento, Stockton, and Santa Clara county around April and May 2018. Beyond job fairs, there are plenty of other ways you can help secure future talent for construction: 1. Share your story and promote construction on social media. 2. Find out whether your local community has any shop or construction classes for youth or young adults—get involved. 3. Speak with future workers at schools and preapprenticeship programs in your area. 4. Develop strong internal training and mentorship for your apprentices and next-gen talent. Thank you for helping us spread the word on these job fairs. Keep on the lookout for our labor-management marketing campaign in the coming weeks. u

UCON Labor Calendar: • • •

UCON-Laborers Retreat – April 3-4, 2018 UCON-OE3 Industry Partners Meeting – Spring 2018 UCON-Cement Masons Industry Partners Meeting - Spring 2018

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LABOR ASK FFC: Apprenticeship Requirements on Public Works Construction Projects

Dear FFC: I am signatory with two crafts, but there are other apprenticeship committees listed under those crafts. What do I do? – An Apprentice on Apprenticeship Dear AOA: Apprenticeship requirements on public works construction projects are in place to ensure that contractors have a future workforce of skilled/qualified tradespeople. Although the rules and regulations may seem daunting, there are four easy steps to compliance: 1. Submit Contract Award Information (DAS 140) to all appropriate apprenticeship committees. 2. Request dispatch of apprentices (DAS 142) from all appropriate apprenticeship committees. 3. Employ apprentices in the proper ratio. 4. Pay appropriate training funds.

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Contractors who are already approved to train apprentices with a certain craft (i.e., signatory contractors) must provide contract award information (DAS 140) to the JAC/JATC that granted approval within 10 days of the date of the prime contract or subcontract. Contractors who are not approved to train apprentices with a certain craft must provide DAS 140s to all appropriate apprenticeship committees in the geographical area where the work is performed. If approved to train with a craft, you may first request apprentice(s) (DAS 142) from your JAC/JATC. If no apprentice(s) are available, subsequent requests to each remaining apprenticeship committee must be sent until apprentice(s) are dispatched or all eligible apprenticeship committees have been exhausted. Be sure to keep a record of all notifications, requests, and training fund contributions. Need additional training on Apprenticeship? Attend an upcoming FFC conference or request an in-house workshop. These are free events to UCON members and their staff. Visit for apprenticeship forms, conference registration and much more. u

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The Capitol


By Emily Cohen, UCON EVP

Advocating for Industry

Get Engaged at UCON’s 2018 Legislative Summit 2018 is a critical election year, including a Gubernatorial race here in California, key Congressional races, and many key state and local races. Our industry will have two critical statewide measures at the ballot: one to support and one to defeat. We need YOU to join with us, get involved and make a difference. UCON’s success is the result of our extraordinarily engaged and active membership. Join us this April at our Legislative Summit in Sacramento. This is a chance for you to get engaged on

some of the most important political, market share and policy issues of the year. It also offers you a chance to network with elected officials, agency leaders, your peers, industry policy advocates, city and county Representatives and more. Whether you are highly engaged in our political programs, or have never participated before, our summit and list of speakers will leave you feeling prepared, energized and more engaged for the year ahead. UCON is excited to bring our members to the State Capitol for a front row seat to the issues that are most important to your business. We will see you there! Please save the date (see opposite page). u

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JOIN US FOR UCON’S 2018 LEGISLATIVE SUMMIT APRIL 11-12, SACRAMENTO DAY 1: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 3:00pm - 4:00pm - Tour of the State Capitol 5:00pm - 8:00pm - Legislative Reception Reception Location: Ella’s Dining Room and Bar 1131 K Street (Corner of 12th and K), Sacramento

DAY 2: Thursday, April 12, 2018 Location: The Citizen Hotel, 926 J Street, Sacramento

8:00am - 9:00am - Registration & Breakfast 9:00am - 3:00pm - Legislative Summit Hear from the following speakers: zx Bob Alvarado – California Transportation Commission Chairman zx Laurie Berman – Incoming Caltrans Director zx Eddie Bernacchi – President, Politico Group zx John Chiang – CA Gubernatorial Candidate (invited) zx Eleni Kounalakis – Candidate for Lieutenant Governor zx Gavin Newsom – CA Gubernatorial Candidate (confirmed reception special guest) zx Michael Quigley – Executive Director, California Alliance for Jobs zx Dan Walters – Journalist, CalMatters and Former Sacramento Bee political columnist

A premier legislative event to inform, engage, and connect you to the industry’s most pressing issues—hear from important industry figureheads, elected officials, agency leaders and compelling keynote speakers covering a widerange of relevant political and business topics. Come away more prepared for the year ahead. Limited sponsorship opportunities available for this unique and high-profile event (see insert).

For more information, and to register:

MARCH 2018



special feature


By Mark Breslin, United Contractors CEO

recruitment | retention

Telling Our Story

Our Industry Career Opportunity As we focus on 2018, chances are you’re thinking in terms of budgets, new work opportunities, equipment purchases and a thousand other details involved in running a successful business. Manpower is probably right at the top of your list, too. The question driving growth and opportunity is: how are you going to find a new crop of bright, qualified people eager to get after it and work their asses off for you now and in the future? Regardless of whether you are a contractor, labor organization, or service provider, if you want to attract real talent, you have to focus on one thing above all others: telling your story, and telling it well.


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In today’s business environment, having a great story is essential as noted in a 2016 Forbes article called “Storytelling: The New Strategic Imperative of Business.” People respond to a powerful, authentic story about what your organization does, why you do it, and what your goals are for the future. It motivates them and makes them want to be a part of what you’re doing. But here’s the problem: right now, our industry has a somewhat underwhelming story about the career path available in the union construction industry. Like it or not, we still are perceived as a career of last resort. Ask teachers, school counselors, or parents. We have been selling what people don’t want. It is time to change our story. There are essentially two parts to storytelling: first, figuring out the story you want to tell, and then determining where and how you tell it. Let’s start with the first part: defining our industry story. Right now it sounds like this: “Good job, good wages.” This is a 1970s story. It’s part of our Boomer heritage of “work hard to get ahead.” It is dull and unimaginative.


Here is the new career story in 25 words: “A debt-free technical education—including, in most cases, college credits—leading to career path opportunities in leadership, earning in excess of $100,000 per year.”

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If you don’t think storytelling matters, take a page from the military. The various branches offer the opportunity to serve your country, sure—but they sell education and financial assistance on the back end. Oh, and by the way, according to USA Today, the U.S. Army is spending $300,000,000 to recruit 6,000 new members this year. That is our competition. The other part of our story has to involve demonstrating clear career path advancement opportunities. We have to sell what millennials are interested in, which is how to move forward in


$ $

$ $$ $


their chosen field. How do we do that? By clearly and simply laying out the steps involved in the advancement process—what they need to do, the skills they need to learn, and so on. Unions and employers both need to use this career path diagram (above) when having discussions with them. Continued on next page

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MARCH 2018




special feature

DEVELOPMENT recruitment | retention

The other half of the issue is where and how we tell our story. And sadly for those of us who are a little grey and not as high tech as the millennials, that story is most often told online—by you or by someone else. It was not that long ago that I laughed at Facebook. I thought it was a time-wasting social enterprise for undisciplined people with too much time on their hands. Then I got hit in the head with a two-by-four. A very heads-up young union business agent showed me a construction Facebook group. It was made up of qualified, skilled craft workers. They were connecting peer-to-peer, sharing information on where jobs are,

how good certain employers are, what industry trends they are seeing and, in some instances, just screwing around with each other in a good-natured way. Here’s what changed my entire viewpoint: the construction Facebook group has 30,000 members. I share this as one small example of how drastically the job-hunting and employment world has changed. It is the era of Yelp, Trip Advisor and Glassdoor. People are

Great Projects.

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used to evaluating products, services, companies and careers. We all have to tell our story and tell it well, or we might get our asses handed to us. There is a lot of opportunity out there for the best talent. Here are three items to consider in telling your story more effectively: 1. Add high-quality video to your home or landing page on the web. YouTube rules. That’s it. Today the narrative of who you are, what you stand for, how your employees or members feel, and what opportunities exist can be told best in visual form. If I can go on and find ten fixeruppers in three minutes, shouldn’t I be able to find out all about you without searching a bunch of pages or having to read a ton of narrative? Add video. Don’t cheap out. 2. Create a high-quality online presence. Every one of your employees on LinkedIn is available to be recruited 24-7—and every prospect working for someone else that could be working for you is in the same arena. Having a company or organization page, as well as a group, is certainly not a bad way to tell your story, and it barely costs anything. I follow around 15 UCON members on Instagram. I love their cool project pictures. Recognize people online via company awards. Tell your workplace safety story there, etc. One of my last posts on LinkedIn got 12,000 views. Don’t ignore the obvious just because you are not into it. 3. In the Careers Section of your website, make sure to have testimonials, especially from Millennials. This group uses third-party validation as their number-one reference when making decisions. And if you can combine this with the video idea, you have doubled your impact. Telling our story matters. Telling it well matters more. Let’s get with the program and retire outdated stereotypes of our industry and career opportunities. The future of our industry depends on us recruiting highly motivated, go-getting young people. The war for talent is on…and we need to be more consistently focused on the story that wins it. u



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special feature


By Pat Kiley and Candice Hernandez, FMI

recruitment | retention

The War for Talent— A Key Contractor Advantage The war for talent continues and exacerbates. Many industries seek the logical, orderly minds that are the hallmark of our industry’s best project managers and field leaders. Work in all companies is trending to be more project-based. Many companies in other industries have also discovered the work ethic, the ability with tools and the problem-solving magic of “farm boys.” Medical schools are among our new competitors; the dexterity with tools and the common sense of these young people make for great surgeons and realistic diagnosticians. Many now fish in one of our historically best ponds.

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These realities force us to get better at recruiting, at telling our story, and at articulating the benefits of working in our industry or at our company. We (the construction industry) have so many advantages. Our work is interesting and critical to our community; it has visible human purpose, which appeals to millennials. We build those structures where our neighbors work, worship, learn, heal, celebrate and play. Our work is ever-changing and challenging. Most of the time, we are building “oneof-a-kind” structures, out in the weather, for a fixed price, over a rigidly defined time frame. It takes real competency to do this year in and year out. Our technology is exciting too. We now use phone-based apps everywhere, drones, virtual and augmented reality masks, Wall-Bot sensors and, increasingly, XO suits that give us the strength of Superman. We have as much to offer career seekers as any other industry. We have one major advantage, too — one that we often overlook, one that differentiates us, in most cases. Most construction companies are privately held corporations, often family-owned. Many have been in business for two or three generations; several,

beyond that. Many have become solid organizations with defined divisions, multiple levels of leaders and managers, detailed financial reporting, and an inclusive annual budget process for operations and capital expenditure. These firms increasingly have career paths, formalized training, and coaching and mentoring for most roles. They have structured compensation plans with short- and long-term incentive plans. Continuity thinking pervades the senior leadership team; succession planning is an ongoing imperative. Opportunities to purchase equity can occur. They are as sophisticated as any public corporation, but with a major, positive differentiator. They are not slaves to the quarterly earnings reports and an unrelenting mandate to increase shareholder value in short-term increments.

In this escalating war for talent, we have an often overlooked, yet very powerful, weapon. Besides, of all the things to prioritize, shouldn’t the growth of employees be at the top of a leader’s list? u Pat Kiley, Managing Director, and Candice Hernandez, Consultant, with FMI, have written many insightful articles for FMI on the topics of recruitment, retention, leadership development, succession planning and more, specific to the industry. They are both based out of FMI’s Houston office. Visit for additional information and articles.


What a difference this makes in the culture of the reorganizations. Most of these privately held companies build their cultures on values reflecting how they will treat employees and customers, not on daily stock prices and insatiable shareholder demands. They realize they will grow shareholder value over a longer time horizon by delivering their projects, year after year, on time, in budget with quality workmanship, not by financial engineering or manipulation. As a result, successful privately held companies have much more predictable and stable environments in which to build a career. These companies know “who we are and how we behave,” FMI’s definition of culture. In public companies, “who we are” can change frequently, as directors bring in some new wizard, and “how we behave” is exclusively financially driven, in most cases. For the solid, hardworking, career-seeking young person, established, respected construction organizations are the best option.

Strong Relationships, Trust & Confidence, Protection & Value...Let’s Build Something Together. Insurance, Risk Management & Employee Benefits Consulting Jeff Parkhurst San Francisco 415.356.3973

Brian Quinn San Ramon 925.244.7702

Tim Rabbitt Irvine 949.293.4122

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Mary Grandy Sacramento 916.576.1514

Sharon Rusconi Sacramento Surety 916.974.4613


MARCH 2018



special feature

DEVELOPMENT recruitment | retention

Talent Development: Treat it Like a Core Business Function Excerpted from FMI’s 2017 Talent Development Study

In today’s fast-changing and competitive business landscape, engineering and construction firms are vying to attract and retain the best people more than ever. And while most E&C organizations put some level of training in place to further their talent, simply investing in training dollars is not enough. Findings from this year’s talent development study paint a mixed picture of how construction firms are addressing people development. In many cases, the topics of human resources (HR) and talent development are still being tackled in a very tactical, piecemeal manner, at best. Leading firms, however, recognize the need for a systematic and strategic approach and are investing in the necessary people and resources to set up long-term talent management programs. Key findings from the study include: •

Key Finding 1. Despite rising talent shortages and high levels of recruiting difficulty, many firms don’t see talent development as a strategic priority.

Key Finding 2. Many firms acknowledge the power of an attractive corporate culture, but few intentionally measure and build such cultures.

CFO to CEO: What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave? CEO: What happens if we don’t, and they stay?

20 W W W . U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G

Key Finding 3. Organizations with the highest employee retention have committed to rich professional development cultures and have effective performance management processes. But for most firms, performance management isn’t always used effectively.

Key Finding 4. Most respondents are not identifying and developing high potential employees—a missed opportunitiy to push young people into leadership roles and create a sustainable leadership pipeline.

The fact that 43% of survey participants report that their firms don’t prepare a formal annual budget for training and development underscores the stark reality that talent development is still not treated as a top strategic priority in our industry. Unfortunately, many HR departments are underfunded and tasked with mostly administrative functions—running decades-old operations and processes that haven’t been updated and that are rarely linked to strategic business goals. In today’s tight labor market, HR and talent development are critical. Successful firms must focus on creating cultures of learning, continuous development, teamwork and innovation—all of which are fundamental people matters. As such, progressive HR leaders and courageous CEOs should completely rethink talent development and treat it like a core business. Looking ahead, the construction industry must redefine the role of human resources in a way that gives HR leaders a seat at the senior leadership table. Tomorrow’s successful construction leaders will find ways to effectively blend the strategies, practices and processes

UCON UNIVERSITY: CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR YOUR TEAM needed to overcome people obstacles and create a sustainable competitive edge for their organizations. From hire to retire, employees should be aligned with the organization’s overall strategic goals; leaders need to make these goals a reality. Developing and engaging employees—as well as managing their performance and providing clear direction for their careers—are critical steps, especially for those employees who want to do more than just punch a clock and take home a paycheck.

UCON’s course offerings inlcude career development to help your team reach their peak performance, which means success for your firm. Don’t miss these upcoming classes (and more, at •

Fearless Foreman Seminar – Back by popular demand! Join the thousands that have benefited from this game-changing program. Your Foreman will gain valuable insight and key strategies to help them emerge as leaders, mentors and innovators on the job site. Taught by UCON’s CEO, Mark Breslin. Mark brings decades of experience, life lessons and delivers a no-nonsense approach that will leave you wanting more. - Thursday March 8, 2018, 5:00pm-8:00pm - Pleasanton Marriott - Cost: $129 (member); $229 (non-member)

Construction Blue Print Reading Course – This course will teach you the basics of how to read and comprehend a typical set of City, State and Private Drawings. Become skilled at navigating through a standard set of project specifications. Learn the most efficient way to write a Request for Information (RFI) to an owner or engineer/architect. Understand how to do a quantity take-off of standard items of work. Highlights: Introduction to Plans & Specifications; Understanding Scales; Quantity Measurement as Compared to Owners Quantities; Site Plans and Earthwork; Structural Drawings & Details; Drawings Notes & Relationship to Specifications; Writing an Effective R.F.I. - This course is taught in 2 sessions: - Part 1: Tuesday April 17, 2018, and Part 2: Thursday April 19, 2018 - 5:00pm-8:00pm (dinner included) - Residence Inn by Marriott, Pleasanton - Cost: $199 (member); $299 (non-member)

Key steps in building your best people: •

Get out of the shadows with your high-potential development. A transparent high-potential program will attract and motivate high performers to their maximum potential.

Get specific about who you are going to develop. With clearly outlined competencies and definitions of what makes a high performer, the selection will be much easier. Do we know who the high performers are? Do we really understand why their performance is at high levels? If it is clear to you, and if you can make it clear to the organization, then more people can strive to become high performers.

Connect your best people across the organization. Spend time developing them together as a group, learning from each other and challenging everyone to be better. This will build connections across the group of top performers and make them more loyal. Always remember that “A players” can work anywhere…you want them to keep working for you.

Build the systems and processes and drive accountability. An extremely effective strategy and execution that builds high performers doesn’t just happen. The organization must build the necessary systems and processes and then drive accountability to ensure continued success.

By listening to their workforces (and recruits), and by factoring in their individual career aspirations and plans, talent leaders can help create personalized development programs that strengthen the entire organization and engage the whole workforce today and well into the future. u Read the entire study at

Contact Joan O’Brien,, (925) 362-7303, or visit for more information and to register for UCON University. u

MARCH 2018




By Leslie Lord, Vice President/Deputy Director


UCON asked member Ron Bianchini some questions about workforce recruitment and development.

RON BIANCHINI, Chief Operations Officer Preston Pipelines, Inc. UCON Member Since 1970


: What do you see as the biggest challenge in recruiting skilled labor to the construction industry?


: We are already behind. At the rate of retiring

top hands, we have not focused early enough on strengthening the mentoring process. It is not enough anymore to have skills, you need to be able to be safe and work smarter and harder in order to make your company competitive. We were all taught by some masters of the crafts in our past.


: What do you see as the biggest challenge in retaining skilled labor within our industry?


: By far, it is the commutes our employees have to

Preston Pipelines is a third generation, engineering utility contractor that has been delivering projects for over 40 years to Developers, Contractors and Municipalities throughout California. Ron is actively involved in UCON and serves on the Laborers and Operating Engineers Craft Committees and the California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Board (a Governor’s appointment position). Connect with Ron: email: rbianchini@prestonpipelines. com, (925) 766-2201 (direct), or

endure, because housing costs have forced them further away. They are faced with two hours in the early morning and three in the evenings. We need to double down on an improvement in this area.


: What do you see as the biggest opportunity for employers and the unions to expand recruitment efforts of the labor workforce today?


: As many UCON members are discussing, we need

to partner with the unions in doing job fairs at the local high schools, so that we are introducing them to a great career choice.


: What has been the biggest change in workforce training since you began your career?


: No question, the much needed emphasis focused

on safety, and UCON has been a huge leader in the industry. 22 W W W . U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G

Q&A—Just for Fun... •

First job? At 10 two paper routes, at 15 a union dishwasher (hey that’s right I have some retirement there), then a backhoe owner operator.

First wheels? At 10 my brother and I had a ’59 metropolitan, at 16 a rare 1968 cougar XR7-G (Dan Gurney special). I sold it to my brother. He restored it, sold it to a guy who sold it to a guy... and it’s now (at last check) in a Chicago museum.

If you didn’t work in construction, what would you be doing? Something doing deals—who doesn’t love doing the deal? UCON Magazine’s In Focus is a special feature introducing fellow contractor members and sharing ideas and best practices. For more information, contact Leslie Lord, UCON VP/Deputy Director, at (925) 855-7900,

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We’re proud to announce Cal Ditch Witch is now a Papé company |

UCON MARCH ANNIVERSARIES United Contractors would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank the following companies who are celebrating their anniversary of membership with our organization in March:

37 YEARS – 1981

Associate Member: Oldcastle Precast, Inc. Joe Barden

36 YEARS – 1982 Associate Member: AON Construction Services Group Donna Revis

32 YEARS – 1986

Contractor Member: T.D.W. Construction, Inc. Edmundo Alire, Jr.

31 YEARS – 1987

Associate Member: Marsh Risk & Insurance Services Austin Neff

25 YEARS – 1993 Associate Member: CNA Surety Paul Kitchell

24 YEARS – 1994 Associate Member: Cresco Equipment Rentals Chris Smith

23 YEARS – 1995 Associate Member: AWSI Brandon Jentzen

20 YEARS – 1998 Associate Member: D.P. Nicoli, Inc. Michael Casas

19 YEARS – 1999

Contractor Member: Central Striping Service, Inc. James Lesniewski Associate Member: Harris Blade Rental Sandy Thomson

17 YEARS – 2001

Contractor Member: AEC Construction, Inc. Allen Carnesecca

16 YEARS – 2002

Contractor Member: CMC Traffic Control dba CMC Construction Crystal Miks

8 YEARS – 2010

Contractor Member: Precision Drilling, Inc. Ty Amundson

7 YEARS – 2011

Associate Member: Construction Testing Services Brenda Harris

6 YEARS – 2012 Contractor Member: Guy F. Atkinson Construction, LLC Brianne Conroy

5 YEARS – 2013

Contractor Member: Roadway Construction, Inc. Reza Yazdi

15 YEARS – 2003

2 YEARS – 2016

Contractor Members: Bridgeway Civil Constructors, Inc. Gabe Farncroft Dees Burke Engineering Constructors, LLC Shane Dees Associate Members: Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. Mike Heffernan PlanGrid Dave Barden Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP Quinlan S. Tom

Associate Member: Contractor Member: Downey Brand LLP D.A. Wood Construction, Inc. Sean Filippini Dan Wood, Jr.

1 YEAR – 2017

Associate Member: Heffernan Insurance Brokers David Harris

Contractor Members: Goebel Construction, Inc. Greg Goebel

Interstate Concrete Pumping Co., Inc. Andrew Paulazzo

Ransome Company Geoff Raaka

Landavazo Bros. Inc. Ted Landavazo

Associate Members: Rebel Equipment Enterprises Robert Lee

Malcolm International LLC Patrick Snyder

13 YEARS – 2005

Contractor Member: Argonaut Constructors Michael Smith, Jr. Associate Member: Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo Robert Fried

12 YEARS – 2006

Contractor Member: Cal State Constructors, Inc. Don Cabianca

11 YEARS – 2007 Contractor Member: Tri-Valley Excavating Mike Garcia

10 YEARS – 2008

Contractor Member: Inner City Demolition, Inc. James Campanella

9 YEARS – 2009

Contractor Member: RNR Construction, Inc. Andre Catellier

24 W W W . U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G

4 YEARS – 2014

Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino, LLP Andrew Van Ornum

3 YEARS – 2015 Contractor Member: American Pavement Systems, Inc. Dave Pimley

Associate Members: Bolton & Company Dave Miller SiTECH NorCal Johan Larsson

Contractor Members: Atlas Peak Construction Danny McLean

Marinship Development Interest LLC Derek Smith Associate Members: bidadoo Auctions, Inc. Bronson Anderson Eric Anderton Eric Anderton Just Gurr & Associates Accountancy Corporation Michael Gurr LogoBoss Tim Smith Lynch, Gilardi & Grummer Bill Bogdan Peterson Trucks Teresa Dias




UCON’s Membership L.I.V.E. –

Leadership, Innovation, Vision & Excellence

UCON’s annual Membership L.I.V.E. celebration held on January 27, 2018 at the Fairmont San Jose was a night of celebration! The crowd cheered as a balloon drop marked the installation of Paul Cianciarulo, Graniterock, as United Contractors’ 2018 President! Rodney Jenny of Graniterock had the honor of installing his long-time friend and colleague as well as the entire 2018 Board of Directors. After his swearing in, Paul gave a heartfelt speech highlighting what he has learned over his 33-year career in the construction industry “Never put off until tomorrow the things in your personal or business life that you want to do, Just Do It, tomorrow is not promised to you. Tell your family members and friends how much you love and care about them. Tell your employees, peers or team members that you value what they do for you whenever that opportunity presents itself, praise whenever the opportunity allows.” The evening included a prestigious annual awards ceremony, networking opportunities, dancing, selfie station, and interactive desserts including a nitrogen ice cream bar and chocolate fountain. Guests also enjoyed a wine tasting challenge by The Wine Militia and live music by “The Lucky Devils Band” during the cocktails reception. Congratulations to the 2018 UCON Board of Directors!

CONGRATULATIONS AWARD WINNERS: The Foundation Award Donna Rehrmann, Stomper Company, Inc. This award is granted to those that serve at the highest level of our association and industry. We are honored to present this award to Donna Rehrmann, who was chosen by the 2017 UCON Board of Directors as someone who represents the unity of purpose of our entire contractor membership. Donna, through her dedication, earned the respect of the contractor members as a leader and peer.

The Impact Award: Legislator of the Year Senator Jim Beall, CA Senate District 15 UCON is honored to present this award to Senator Beall for his leadership and steadfast commitment to passing historic legislation which stabilizes transportation infrastructure funding and makes critical government accountability reforms here in California. Through his authorship of SB 1, Senator Jim Beall showed himself to be a fearless, focused, courageous and intelligent policy maker who unapologetically fights for what is right for the people of California. 26 W W W . U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G

Special Industry Award A. Robert Rosin, Leonidou & Rosin Professional Corp. Bob Rosin is partner at Leonidou & Rosin, and is a member of United Contractors Legislative Committee and the Attorney Roundtable. Over the past two years Mr. Rosin has guided the Association on some of our most outstanding wins for the industry including change-order payment reform (AB 626), critical accountability and safety reforms for utility companies (SB 661), and this year’s transportation funding and accountability legislation (SB 1). Mr. Rosin has helped UCON influence and educate legislators, political staff, and other key policy stakeholders, shaping the state of our industry for the better.

Associate Leadership Award Michael Landucci, Woodruff-Sawyer & Co. Mike Landucci was chosen by the 2017 Board of Directors as someone who represents the unity of purpose for our entire membership, both contractors and associates. Mike is being honored for his professionalism, leadership, and innovative ideas.


(Top row, left to right): Hal Stober, Gordon N. Ball, Inc.; Steve Clark, Granite Construction Company, VP/President-Elect; Brett Kincaid, O’Grady Paving, Inc., Past President, 2017; Donna Rehrmann, Stomper Company, Inc., Director-At-Large/Past President 2016; Paul Cianciarulo, Graniterock, President 2018; Trony Fuller, West Coast Sand & Gravel, Associate Director-Elect; Randy Jenco, Viking Construction Company; (bottom row, left to right) Guy Smith, St. Francis Electric LLC, Secretary/ Treasurer; Roger Mason, Esq., Sweeney, Mason, Wilson & Bosomworth, Associate Director; Kimberly Sabin, Columbia Electric, Inc., Past Secretary/Treasurer; Christi Plum, P C & N Construction, Inc., Secretary/Treasurer-Elect; Charles Wall, Brosamer & Wall, Inc.; Kevin Hester, McGuire and Hester (not pictured, Paul Cocotis, Shimmick Construction Company, Inc., and Mary Teichert, Teichert Inc.)

Honorary Lifetime Member Award Jerry Condon, Condon-Johnson & Associates, Inc. We are honored to bestow the status of Honorary Lifetime Member on Jerry Condon for his outstanding leadership and commitment to the UCON Board of Directors and Political Action Committees over many years.

Special Service Award Cindi Christenson, Contractors State License Board (CSLB) “To receive the Special Service Award from UCON is truly the highlight of my government career. My passion has been and will continue to be with the construction industry. UCON was one of my biggest supporters as the Registrar of CSLB. UCON is a driving force in this industry and in politics and has made incredible contributions to improving the industry, including their leadership on AB 1793, to fix Business and Professions Code section 7031, which deals with disgorgement of funds, and playing a key role in getting SB 1, Transportation funding, passed so that our roads, highways and bridges can be repaired and maintained throughout the state. And while there is more work to be done and many challenges ahead, I am confident that UCON will continue to play a leading role to push the boundaries and make a difference, improving the state of affairs for its members, the industry and members of the public. Thank you again for honoring me with this prestigious award.” (Cindi, who served as head of the CSLB from 2015-2017, retiring this past year, was unable to attend L.I.V.E.)

MARCH 2018



Thank You 2018 Annual Event Sponsors: — PLATINUM SPONSOR —

— GOLD SPONSORS — Bay Area Traffic Solutions (BATS) Ghilotti Construction Co. Graniterock Griffin Soil Group Joseph J. Albanese, Inc. Martin Brothers Construction Inc. National Trench Safety, LLC Peterson Cat Stomper Company, Inc. Sweeney, Mason, Wilson & Bosomworth Teichert Inc. United Rentals Trench Safety — SILVER SPONSORS — ABD Insurance & Financial Services Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. Aon Construction Services Group California Bank of Commerce Chrisp Company CliftonLarsonAllen LLP Ghilotti Bros., Inc. The Hartford Heritage Bank of Commerce McSherry & Hudson Midstate Barrier, Inc. Moss Adams LLP PentaRisk Insurance Services LLC R. J. Gordon Construction, Inc. TYS, LLP Volvo Construction Equipment & Services Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.

28 W W W . U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G

Thank You to our Membership L.I.V.E. Sponsors: — PRESIDENTIAL SPONSORS —

— VP SPONSORS — LECET Southwest McGuire and Hester Sukut Construction, Inc. — DIRECTOR SPONSORS — Champlain Wireless Communications Lehigh Hanson Sierra Mountain Construction Viking Construction Company — SUPPORTING SPONSORS — McInerney & Dillon PC Marina Landscape, Inc. P C & N Construction, Inc. — CONGRATULATORY SPONSORS — Foundation for Fair Contracting Laborers Local No. 270 - San Jose Leonidou & Rosin Professional Corp. MAG Trucking Pavement Recycling Systems, Inc.

MARCH 2018




By Angelica Gouig, Event Coordinator, Scholarship Committee Liaison

TEN SCHOLARSHIPS TOTALING $23,000 – UCON Scholarship Awards Program Accepting Applications March 9th – May 11th

Apply now for one of ten Scholarship Awards through UCON. You are eligible if you meet ONE of the following: • You are an employee, spouse, or dependent (of an employee) of a UCON member company attending any 2 or 4 year accredited college or university with a cumulative 3.0 GPA (all majors may apply) OR • You are a California college student majoring in Civil Engineering or Construction Management with a cumulative 3.0 GPA The deadline to apply is Friday, May 11th, 2018 (winners announced in July). For more information, contact Angelica Gouig at (925) 362-7309 or via email at u

UCON’s Scholarship Fundraiser Concannon Vineyards, Livermore $175 per person (Register for a team of 2!) Register/Sponsor:

30 W W W . U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G

Since 1994, UCON has awarded over $300,000 through its Scholarship Awards Program. Apply now. Deadline is May 11th, 2018,


UCON’s Fearless Foreman

Thursday, March 8, 2018 5:00pm - 8:00pm Location: Marriott Hotel, Pleasanton Cost: $129 Member / $229 Non-member

April 11-12

April UCON’s Legislative Summit

Wednesday, April 11, Thursday, April 12, 2018 Location: The Citizen Hotel, Sacramento Cost: $200 (See Page 13)

17, 19 Construction Blue Print Reading Course Tuesday, April 17 (part 1), and

Thursday, April 19, 2018 (part 2) (2 sessions) 5:00pm - 8:00pm Location: Residence Inn by Marriott, Pleasanton Cost: $199 Member / $299 Non-member

May 10

2018 Throw Down for Education Cornhole Tournament UCON Scholarship Fundraiser

Thursday, May 10, 2018 3:00pm - 7:00pm Location: Concannon Vineyards, Livermore Cost: $175/ticket (sign up for a team of 2!) (See opposite page for more information)

For details, online registration, and additional events/meetings: Questions? Call (925) 855-7900 MARCH 2018




By Christoper Lee, UCON Safety Consultant

UCON’s Safety & Insurance Committee Meeting: Make a Point to Attend UCON’s Safety and Insurance Committee focuses on the importance of industry safety and assisting members with questions and concerns, as well as support to help rise above the competition. At the January 17, 2018 meeting, special guests from USA North 811 James Wingate, Executive Director, and Ryan White joined the committee to provide an overview of operations. Two online innovations are the 811 feature and the E-ticket Platform. The 811 option allows the management of a ticket in one place, it sends a “ticket expiring soon”

notification, allows for secondary functions with extend, renew, remark and follow-up messages, and provides a mobile version of California Government Code 4216. The E-ticket platform encourages contractors to obtain excavation tickets online. Several noteworthy performance indicators include: • a total of 981,491 California tickets (10.8% increase from 2016 – 2017); • an increase in online tickets of 30.9% from 2016–2017; • a drop of phone tickets of 24.1% indicating a migration from phone to online ticket applications;

Representing the Bay Area in Construction Contract Disputes and Collection Matters, Employment Law and Labor Relations, Business Law, Estate Planning, and Tax Disputes. 983 University Avenue, Suite 104C Los Gatos, CA 95032 Joseph Sweeney Roger Mason Kurt Wilson Brad Bosomworth Stuart Schmidt Christoper Olson Romin Thomson Scott A. Mangum David Lee Andrew Ditlevsen

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32 W W W . U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G

2017 • a substantial drop in speed of answering phone inquiries from 5:05 minutes to 1:29 minutes (-70.6%). Goals for 2018 include: prepare and post a “Ticket Explanation Document,” updating the ticket format to be easier to read, and developing and posting an extensive FAQ online. Also discussed was the upcoming UCON Safety Awards —the application period will run from February 12 through March 9, 2018 (see at right). u Did you miss the meeting? Interested in attending the next one? At each meeting there will be ample time for a Q&A session and there is no cost to attend. Our upcoming meeting date:

Date: April 11, 2018 Time: 2:30pm - 4:30pm Place: UCON Executive Conference Room, 17 Crow Canyon Ct., Suite 205, San Ramon RSVP: Julie Hinge, (925) 855-7900,

Transportation & Utility Contractor

R.E.A.L. SafetY awards Program


Have an Excellent Safety Record? Apply for a UCON Safety Award

Gather your safety information from last year’s 2017 projects and apply for UCON’s R.E.A.L. Safety Award, honoring the safest companies in our industry by Recognizing Excellence, Awareness, and Leadership in safety. Applications are available online February 12th through March 9th, 2018 at UCON Contractor members are eligible to apply for any of the following categories*: • • • • •

Man-Hours Worked Most Improved Safety Performance Safety Hero of the Year Most Unique Safety Project Community Impact Award

For more information, contact Julie Hinge, (925) 967-2466, u *• applying for more than one category is accepted; a project which has already won a UCON R.E.A.L. Safety Award is not eligible for application.

Your story is told

through the

things we build.

Swift action & attitude are GAME CHANGERS. SERVICES PERFORMED Michels is an industry-leading utility and infrastructure contractor offering Mainline and Gas Distribution Pipeline Construction, Horizontal Directional Drilling, Electrical Transmission, Substation and Distribution Construction, Pipe Rehab, Direct Pipe, Fiber Optic Networks, Heavy Civil Work, Deep Foundations, Tunneling, Dewatering, Paving, Crushing, Road Building and Bridges.


MARCH 2018


UNITED for VETERANS United Contractors Veterans Hiring Initiative

Creating Industry Opportunities for Veterans Over the coming years, more than 100,000 military veterans will be ending their service and reintegrating into society and the workforce. In 2013 the UCON Board of Directors formed a Task Force of contractor members to focus on this problem and opportunity. We are asking for your continued support and participation. UCON is looking at ways to connect our members and industry to the many veterans organizations that are engaged in job counseling and placement of these veterans. The industry needs disciplined, focused and hungry candidates willing and able to perform. These military vets have all of those qualifications. The key is going to be how to connect them to opportunities. For more information go to the UCON website or contact CEO Mark Breslin or EVP Emily Cohen at the UCON office. u 34 W W W . U N I T E D C O N T R A C T O R S . O R G



United for Veterans

UCON’s Initiative for Industry

A successful venture of the UCON Veterans Task Force: Mark Breslin of UCON and HT Tran of Anvil Builders presented opportunities within our industry at Travis Airforce Base in January 2018. Nearly 100 airmen attended the presentation, all of whom are in the construction section of the 60th Civil Engineer Squadron. Many were very interested in connecting with UCON and our employers in the near future. Thank you to the following UCON members and industry affiliates who have taken the pledge: All American Rentals Anvil Builders Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo Atkinson Construction AVAR Construction, Inc. Bauman Landscape and Construction, Inc. Bay Cities Paving & Grading, Inc. Berkeley Cement, Inc. (BCI) Brosamer & Wall, Inc. California Bank of Commerce Carpenters Training Committee for Northern CA CBRE Central Striping Service, Inc. Chrisp Company Columbia Electric, Inc. Condon-Johnson & Associates, Inc. D.A. Wood Construction, Inc. DeSilva Gates Construction D-Line Constructors, Inc. Evans Brothers, Inc. Farwest Safety, Inc. 1st Vanguard Rentals & Sales Flatiron Ghilotti Bros., Inc. Golden Bay Construction, Inc. Golden State Bridge, Inc. Gordon N. Ball, Inc. Granite Construction Company Graniterock Griffin Soil Group GSL Construction Harrison Drywall, Inc. JMB Construction, Inc. Joseph J. Albanese, Inc. Lockton

Lineation Markings Co. Knife River Construction - Stockton Maggiora & Ghilotti, Inc. McGuire and Hester MCK Services, Inc. National Trench Safety Northern California District Council of Laborers O.C. Jones & Sons, Inc. Pacific Coast Drilling Company, Inc. P C & N Construction, Inc. Preston Pipelines, Inc. Ray’s Electric RDO Equipment Co. Redgwick Construction Company RGW Construction, Inc. Robert A. Bothman Construction Royal Electric Shimmick Construction Company, Inc. Sierra Traffic Markings, Inc. St. Francis Electric LLC Stomper Company, Inc. Syserco Teichert Inc. TerraCon Constructors, Inc. Turner Underground Construction Co., Inc. ValleyCrest Landscape Development Valverde Construction, Inc. Viking Drillers, Inc. Volvo Construction Equipment & Services W. Bradley Electric, Inc. Walsh Group Webcor Builders Webcor Builders Obayashi JV

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United Contractors Magazine March 2018  
United Contractors Magazine March 2018