C. A. Rasmussen Inc.
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Sean O'Reilly
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
After years of working as a superintendent for a general contractor, Carl A. Rasmussen decided to start his own company. In 1964, C. A. Rasmussen Inc. was founded as a general engineering contracting firm. The Southern California-based company serves both private and public sectors. With more than 50 years of experience, the family-run business has spanned three generations of Rasmussen sons.
Charlie Rasmussen, now the company’s president, started working for his dad full-time after he graduated from Arizona State University in 1976. “I’ve never worked for another construction company,” says Rasmussen. “I was 14 years old when my dad started the company so I’ve always been involved with it one way or another.”
After several acquisitions over the years, C. A. Rasmussen has grown into one of the largest, full-service general engineering contractors in Southern California. As heavy construction specialists, the company has the capabilities to handle the most complicated engineering challenges. C. A. Rasmussen owns and operates a diverse and well-maintained fleet of equipment and machinery. By owning equipment with cleaner, lower-emitting engines, the company has been actively improving air quality since 2004. “Our commitment to long-term, well-thought-out equipment strategies result in improved efficiency, which significantly lowers operating costs,” Rasmussen explains. “We are able to pass those savings on to our customers.”
The multiple services that C. A. Rasmussen offers its clients are a key factor in the longevity of the company. “We have so many different facets and disciplines that whether we’re doing paving or grating or concrete work, we have an advantage over someone that does just one thing,” says Rasmussen. “A company that just does grating doesn’t get too much highway work because we’re not building many highways. Right now we’re doing updates and expansions on the existing ones. The fact that we self-perform much of our own work on these types of projects gives us an advantage.”
Rasmussen recalls one particular project that C. A. Rasmussen was called upon to complete as one of his proudest moments with the company. When a gasoline truck crashed in a tunnel on Interstate 5 in Los Angeles, 8,000 gallons of fuel were spilled into the tunnel which immediately went up in flames.
“We were called in to design a support system to be used on the tunnel while they assessed the damage,” says Rasmussen. “After they cleaned it up and put out the bid package on the repairs of the job, we ended being the low bidder and began work on the project the next day.” C. A. Rasmussen had 27 workers on the job, each working 12-hour shifts every day in order to complete the job in 60 days.
The project manager on this job was Rasmussen’s son Adam, who is being groomed to take over the business someday as the company remains a family venture. “He’s been working for the company since he was 14 years old,” says Rasmussen. “He’s been mentored by some of the best people in the business.”
Rasmussen believes that one factor for the company’s success has been its ability to promote from within. “We haven’t had to go outside the company to hire a management team,” says Rasmussen. “That really shows a lot of opportunity to the younger people in the company. They can see that there is the possibility of a career path with this company.”
C. A. Rasmussen has been recognized on numerous occasions for its work. In 2013, the company received the Ventura County Public Works Association Project of the Year for the work it completed building a new overpass and interchange at Springville Drive over Highway 101 in Camarillo, Calif.
In 2008, C. A. Rasmussen was awarded the Homebuilders Project of the Year for its work on another residential project called Seabridge, a housing community in Oxnard. “The project involved a 600-unit housing complex, a harbor and two bridges,” Rasmussen explains. “We did 3 million yards of excavation down to 18 feet below sea level adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.”
Although C. A. Rasmussen does self-perform a majority of its work, the company maintains a solid network of strategic partners. “We use a handful of subcontractors pretty regularly,” says Rasmussen.
One particularly rewarding aspect of Rasmussen’s job is the ability to view the final product of his work. “When I drove to and from work every day I’m driving on roads that we have built,” says Rasmussen. “I’m also driving through neighborhoods that we have built. It feels great to know that you have been a part of making things better.”
As C. A. Rasmussen progresses into the next phase and new generations move into leadership roles, the core values that the company has relied on will remain the same. Continuing to diversify and treating employees like family is what the company will thrive off for its next 50 years.
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