Case Studies

Golden Bay Construction Inc.

Family-owned Contractors on the Bay
  • Written by: Golden Bay Construction Inc.
  • Produced by: Golden Bay Construction Inc.
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Golden Bay Construction Inc. (GBC) is a small family-owned contractor in Hayward, Calif. The business got its start in 1984, performing small- to mid-sized concrete projects. In the years since, GBC has grown to offer a diverse spread of commercial and public site work, paving and more.

Johnny Zanette, president of GBC, has been in the business his whole life. “My father founded the company and I’ve been exposed to this industry since I started walking,” Johnny says. “I started working at age 14 and continued throughout my summers in high school. I then attended Chico State for construction management.”

Today, Johnny and his brother operate the business, perpetuating a second generation of family leadership. “Today our business is about 50 percent commercial and 50 percent public,” Johnny notes. “We pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop. We are set up for larger projects, but we are still a small company. We have 40 people in the field and we can go head to head with our larger competitors.”

The company’s project sizes range from very small to very large. Johnny mentions the team performs anything from installing handicap-accessible ramps to constructing major roads and bridges. Most of the team’s business is around the San Francisco Bay region, but GBC’s footprint extends all over California.

Major Projects

GBC is involved in every aspect of structural and site work. Projects range in price from a few hundred dollars to multimillion dollar projects, allowing the team to perform demolition, grading, paving and concrete work primarily. However, GBC also offers complementing services in-house, as well as through a network of reliable subcontractors. “We are always open to new people, but we have good contact with a handful of subs in our area,” says Johnny. “Most of our subs are involved in our public projects, and we tend to use union workers.”

The business has performed several major projects over the last few years. “We have been doing a lot of Americans with Disabilities [ADA] retrofits for Bank of America,” Johnny notes. “We also did all of the architectural concrete for the Golden Gate Overlook for their 75-year anniversary. We have a lot of city projects going on, and our paving division is getting busy. We have been embracing the route of simpler projects lately, and staying away from political projects.”

Of course, Johnny is pleased that the business is thriving, but is even more thankful for projects that intrigue his team. “The work is the easiest part of this business,” Johnny notes. “A big set-back for us can be when local legislators promise the project is done, but the kick-off is delayed. We are often expected to make up for that lost time.”

As the company continues to grow, Johnny, his brothers and colleagues are constantly looking to branch out into new sectors. “We are looking at some school projects right now,” says Johnny. “We’re a little hesitant to lock ourselves into that kind of schedule. We’ve done the Kaiser in Santa Clara, which was just a frame and pour project. We generally perform a larger scope of work. We try to take on projects that are more complex. We have a few smaller projects coming up.”

Managing Market Changes

Like many other contractors in the industry, Johnny and his team have faced challenges stemming from the recession and resulting changes in the market. GBC has diversified in recent years, ramping up the company’s paving capabilities. “Starting our paving divisions has been one of our bigger challenges,” Johnny explains. “It’s a lot to integrate new people and get everyone on the same page, process-wise. We also have business costs that we have to manage tightly. Our heavier equipment pieces get turned over every five years or so. We have trucks that need to be replaced because of changing regulations. It’s hard to budget for that.”

Johnny notes, however, that the market is improving. The recovery is bringing back new growth, especially in the construction industry, to California. Therefore, GBC’s team is staged to pursuit a variety of projects in all divisions, with the proper relationships, equipment and capabilities all in line. Through the streamlining process, GBC is embracing new methods of material use, and recycling has become a major staple of the business.

“One of our main focuses right now is finding secondary use for materials,” Johnny explains. This process cuts costs by reusing material, and also helps keep waste out of landfills. More businesses than ever are shouldering responsibility for the environment and GBC’s penchant for reducing waste is also an attractive feature to many potential clients.

Over the next few years, Johnny says the team is pursuing continued stable growth. “We aren’t looking to get too big,” he notes. “Staying small helps with quality control overall.” Through the team’s many longstanding relationships, the business is able to grow vertically with services. In 2014, Golden Bay Construction Inc. will celebrate 30 years of quality site and structural work.

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Spring 2018



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