Case Studies

Hansen Bros. Enterprises

A diversified construction company serving Nevada County, California

Since 1953, Hansen Bros. Enterprises (HBE) has been providing Nevada County, California, and the surrounding area with a wide variety of construction services and products. Headquartered in Grass Valley, California, HBE also has a landscape and masonry office in Colfax.

A strong family foundation

HBE was established by Arlie, Iver Jr. and Karsten Hansen. The three brothers pooled their resources together and purchased a loader, dump truck and trailer and started their business venture. While Arlie worked full time launching the business, Iver and Karsten continued with their jobs as an engineer and a painter, respectively, while they helped to establish the company by working nights, holidays and weekends for HBE.

As the company grew, HBE diversified its services through multiple acquisitions, including a gravel plant, which over time evolved from processing river rock to an open rock quarry producing crushed rock, building stone and assorted landscape materials.

In 1994, growth in the construction industry was strong and the demand for dependable equipment prompted the launch of HBE’s newest division with the addition of HBE Rentals. While the rental division was predominantly stocked with construction equipment, over the years the inventory has diversified to a wide selection of tools, equipment and supplies to meet the needs of contractors, homeowners and various other industries.

Multiple services and markets

Diversification and versatility are the company’s biggest assets, according to Jeff Hansen, president and general manager of HBE. “We do jobs ranging from $500,000 to the large multimillion dollar projects,” says Hansen, who is also a third generation of the family-owned business. “No job is too big or too small.”

HBE provides construction services such as excavation, underground utilities, surfacing and public works projects, all in multiple sectors. “With the diversity of our company, our target market will vary,” says Hansen. “One day we’re working in residential and the next we’re doing commercial or municipal work.”

While many companies looked to diversifying their products and services to survive the recent recession, HBE was able to thrive during the economic downturn due to its long history of diversification. “It wasn’t that we looked to do other things when the economy went downhill,” says Hansen. “This company was built on providing multiple services and products and that’s what we’ve been known for many years.”

With roughly 100 employees, depending on the season, HBE will work within a 100-mile radius of its corporate office. “At certain times we’ll go further,” says Hansen. “If it’s a client that we have a long history with and they want us to travel we will.”

A growing portfolio

As a diversified company, Hansen says that a majority of the jobs that HBE performs have some interesting aspects to them. “Whether we’re supplying new and upcoming landscape products or it’s on the construction side of things, there’s always something interesting happening,” Hansen explains.
“We just finished up a major reconstruction of a city street in Grass Valley. It’s one of the main streets in the downtown area and we had to keep traffic moving through the project as we were completing it. It certainly was a challenge but it all worked out.”

HBE has been involved in other projects such as major canal replacements for the local water district, which powers multiple powerhouses throughout Grass Valley. “We’ve done some major highway construction going into Lake Tahoe,” says Hansen. “We’ve also done a water treatment facility in a real remote area that has never had treated water. Then there’s also the standard commercial and residential projects that are always ongoing.”

Hansen recalls a project that was completed in 2014 in a joint venture with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of the most intriguing he has been involved in. “The job consisted of extending a water line through a closed contaminated mine site to get people beyond the mine site to the treated water so they had potable water,” says Hansen. “We also did some fall recovery work on Bowman Dam a couple of years ago where we literally had to pack the guys and all their equipment on horses. So all of our jobs are unique and interesting and due to our geographic location and our size we get into some pretty unique situation where most people would have to turn away the job.”

HBE maintains a strong backlog of work for the near future. The company is preparing for a fair amount of continued water district work involving a large section of the canal HBE has previously worked on. “We’ve got some pretty aggressive deadlines to meet,” says Hansen. “When you’re doing work for the water company you have to meet the deadlines they give you or else people won’t have water. It’s that simple.”

With cautious optimism regarding the economy, HBE plans to move forward positively. “We’ll continue to grow and update our equipment and everything else,” says Hansen “With the path that we’re on things will continue to be prosperous for us.”

Hansen Brothers Enterprises will continue to utilize its diversity in construction products and services to serve Nevada County.

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Spring 2018



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