Clark & Sullivan Construction
Dave Clark and BJ Sullivan founded Clark & Sullivan Construction (CSC) in 1981, as a small commercial contractor in northern Nevada. For over 30 years, the business has grown into a major construction company, serving customers all over the western United States with offices in Reno and Las Vegas, Nev., as well as Laramie, Wyo., and Sacramento. Calif. Between all four locations, CSC employs around 75 people, many who have been with the business for more than a decade. “I’m the newest hire in the company,” laughs Doug Browne, vice president of CSC.
Browne has been in the industry for a long time, starting with his work as an engineer in the Marine Corps. “When I got out of the service, I got into project management,” he elaborates. “I’ve known Dave Clark and B.J. Sullivan for a long time. They hired me on a year ago and most of my work is in acquisition and business development. I run the marketing, estimation and business development end of things. It’s my job to reach out to clients and make first contact.”
Diverse Construction Services
CSC offers services for every phase of a project from preconstruction to commissioning. Clients take advantage of the team’s capabilities in a range of delivery methods. The business performs design-build, design-assist, construction management at-risk, lease-lease back, management, and design-bid-build contracts for clients in a number of sectors. The company’s portfolio includes offices, retail facilities, public safety buildings, warehouses, convention centers and schools for students of all levels.
Previous projects include work for state university systems in the region as well as courthouses and public schools. “A few years back we completed a $280 million hospital project which helped us carve out a space in the market in Nevada,” says Browne. “We are currently working on the Tule River Justice Center in California, which is a $20 million project that is currently in design. We just finished the Ashland Community Center in the Bay Area, which is a multigenerational community center. We also recently completed a design-build project for Merritt Community College in Oakland, Calif.”
Shaking Up the Business
One of CSC’s most interesting recent projects is an expansion on the University of Nevada at Reno’s (UNR) Seismological Laboratory. Pelin Eldeleklioglu, project manager for CSC, has been with the company for seven years and headed up the UNR lab project. “This was a hard bid project,” he says. “UNR put it out there. To keep down costs, we had to go with less qualified subcontractors, but we always do a background check. We bond them if we think something might go wrong on their end. In this project, we didn’t have to bond anyone. We had worked with all of these subcontractors before.”
The project presented many challenges, require a lot of foot work before building could begin, “Everything was tested,” Eldelekliogu explains. “There was a lot of quality control put into checking subcontractor work. We often self-perform concrete, but we subbed out on this project. As a seismic lab, structurally the building had to be very strong so researchers can mimic an earthquake, Everything had to be oversized. We put in four-foot concrete walls, so there was a lot of structural reinforcement. We used a lot of rebar.”
“It’s a very unique project,” he continues. “It’s a brand new building because the university needed a bigger space. They are going to shake a three-story building inside the laboratory. We had to install a one-piece, 90-foot long truss bridge between the existing building and the new one. Taking the truss to the jobsite, we had to take out stop signs and move cars in order to transport it. We had two large cranes to install it. There was a lot of media coverage.” CSC completed the laboratory in April 2013.
Maintaining a Market Share
Especially in Nevada, the construction market has suffered greatly in the recent recession. With fewer projects up for bid, the competition is fierce. Browne and the team continue to stand apart from other businesses with leading training and technology. “All of our employees in the field are OSHA-10 certified,” he explains. “We really focus on professional development and education. We also use and train on specialty software.”
For the next few years, Browne wants to focus more on marketing and business development in order to draw new clients. “The market has been pretty stagnant, so we need to stay aggressive,” he notes. “Nothing seems to be improving in Nevada or California. Our new office in Wyoming has been busy, so we have been establishing ourselves there.” Despite economic challenges, Clark and Sullivan Construction continues to focus on performance and quality, delivering durable end products to customers in the commercial and institutional sectors
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