Case Studies

Hillcrest Contracting Inc.

Self-performed public-private construction in southern California

After working for major construction companies for many years, Glenn Salsbury, founder and president of Hillcrest Contracting Inc. (Hillcrest), decided it was time to be his own boss. “My partner, Einer Linholm, and I were in the industry for a long time before we made the decision to go it on our own in 1988,” recalls Salsbury. “I started a company in Riverside, Calif., for people out of San Diego and we did that for about a year-and-a-half, but working for other people just wasn’t cutting it.”

Building a trusted team

Salsbury and Linholm set out to form their own company and reliable team under Hillcrest, a southern California-based private-public contractor that employs 150 professionals. “We’ve been fortunate to employ a really good team of quality people,” shares Salsbury. “This has helped us immensely. Ethically, morally, spiritually; our team is the foundation of this company.”

Salsbury says it’s a high-quality, low-turnover crew that’s pulled Hillcrest through the good times and the bad. “We’ve never failed to finish a job and trust me, we’ve had some tough ones,” he reveals. “We always complete them on time and turn projects over to the agency we’re working with. I think this speaks well of our management team to our superintendents, office and field staff. We’re all in it together.”

Based in Corona, Calif., Hillcrest has grown to serve a range of markets throughout southern California, from the Los Angeles area to Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino and San Diego counties. Hillcrest operates in both public and private sectors.

“On the private side, we work with developers and homebuilders as a subcontractor,” explains Salsbury. “On the public side, we’re a general contractor and we never sub anything out, because we’ve found that gives us more control.”

Masters of self-performing for master-planned communities

Hillcrest performs all of its own paving, grading and rock blasting, concrete and structural work, only subcontracting specialized trades such as electrical and mechanical. “We do a lot of big projects for the Irvine Company [IC], a San Joaquin-based real estate development firm specializing in master-planned communities,” notes Salsbury.

Construction is currently underway at IC’s $11 million Cypress Hill development in Orange County, Calif. According to IC’s website, the development is conveniently in Northeast Irvine along Jeffrey Road at Trabuco Road. The three neighborhoods, built by Irvine Pacific, a division of IC, include single-family homes that are the perfect opportunity for new homebuyers with young families to live close to award-winning schools, world-class shopping and dining, as well as abundant parks and trails.

In an IC news release, Tom Veal, vice president of residential sales and marketing for Irvine Pacific, explains that the development is ideal for today’s consumer and modern living. “We are very excited to unveil the next generation of home designs with the 2013 Irvine Pacific Collection at Cypress Village,” he says. “Inspired by today’s consumers, these new home designs epitomize luxury, refinement and fresh living spaces with the Super California Room, California Garage and California Court.”

There seems to be quite a bit of hype surrounding the project. “Residents at Cypress Village will enjoy a resort-style lifestyle, complete with expansive amenities, shopping, abundant trails within walking distance and new schools within the most-heralded district in the region,” Veal explains.

“We’re performing all of the underground, grading, structures and paving; it’s a real complex job,” says Salsbury of Hillcrest’s contribution to the project.

Hillcrest is also in the midst of a $6 million bid the company was awarded in December 2013, for the Butterfield Stage Road (Butterfield) in Temecula, Calif., a long-awaited roadway and straight shot from Rancho, Calif., to Murrieta Hot Springs Road. Hillcrest has completed much of the foundation work for the new stretch of roadway.

Butterfield will connect the $40 million segment that was completed earlier in 2013. In the case of good weather and hopefully a shorter rainy season, Hillcrest has projected completion for late spring 2014.

Salsbury says Hillcrest has even more work on the horizon and even in light of the post-recession climate, things are still looking up. “When the market was really good before 2008, we did $100 million a year, but last year we hit more like $50 million,” reveals Salsbury. “Things are improving but the margins and volume of work is still lagging. There is more homebuilding in sight, though.”

After more than three decades in the industry, Salsbury says every day is still business as usual. “We just keep plugging away,” he explains. “We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, what’s going to come up to bid and if we’re going to get it, but we’re pushing forward and doing really well overall.”

Since Salsbury decided it was time to make his own way back in 1988, he’s been devoted to maintaining Hillcrest Contracting Inc.’s respected position in the southern California construction market.

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Spring 2018



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