Richardson Van Leeuwen Construction LLC
Over the past four decades, Richardson Van Leeuwen Construction (RVC) has been providing premier construction, architectural design and general contracting services for a broad spectrum of clients across the United States. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, the company is now in its third generation of dual family ownership; Dennis Van Leeuwen, president and CEO of RVC, as well as Neil Richardson, partner of RVC, are proudly leading the way.
“The company has existed in its current form since 1983,” states Van Leeuwen. “We are a general contractor, as well as an architecture and engineering firm. The combining of these three specialties has allowed us to amass an extensive design-build portfolio, which is but one of the many market segments that we offer. Currently we find ourselves very busy servicing our clients in the multifamily housing, resort and hospitality segments of the market.”
RVC has built an impressive client list over the years. “We work for Marriott, Hilton, Hampton Inn and many other large hospitality brands engaged in new construction and remodeling,” Van Leeuwen continues. “We have been around for a long time, so we have refined a wide range of specialties throughout the company. We build high-end homes in resort regions like Kona and Maui [Hawaii], as well as large luxury homes and ranches in Montana and Aspen [Colorado], ranging from $10 to $75 million.”
Despite the company’s esteemed reputation in the high-end residential sector, RVC does not turn down any projects. “Our portfolio includes banks, warehouses, over 300 restaurants, as well as commercial office buildings for medical, dental and surgical centers,” Van Leeuwen says proudly. “Most of our work is in the western United States, but we build all over the country.”
Specialty Construction Services
On the construction side of the business, RVC employs approximately 17 highly skilled management level employees. “We keep it very small,” explains Van Leeuwen. “We have seasoned project managers and superintendents who skillfully manage all aspects of the design and construction process. Over the years, various segments of the economy change, causing new client bases to grow.”
However, Van Leeuwen notes that the company is currently very busy with medical, dental, hospitality and apartment projects. “We are currently building an archery training center for the Easton Archery Foundation,” he elaborates. “We have significant experience in building ski resorts, resort amenities and many other high-end mountain projects. The mountain west is a small business market, so it is important for us to have a diverse client and project base.”
The team has been involved in a number of highly unique projects over the last few years. “We have worked on some historic renovations in Illinois and Ohio,” Van Leeuwen notes. “One such project was for client requiring several intricate recreations of historic late-1800s structures. The project required us to locate the actual foundation stones of historic buildings and rebuild the structures on their exact original footprint. Each new stone was hand-cut; true to the period square nails were hand-forged. No power tools were used. Every detail was authentic to the period. We have also worked on early-1800s sawmills and many other more distinctive and historic structures.”
One project Van Leeuwen is particularly proud of is Brigham Young University’s Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii. “A number of our contract at this iconic facility required construction of enhanced river exhibits and other types of architecture from the Pacific Islands,” he continues. On the other end of the spectrum we built the Rocky Mountain Raceways, which boasts a 3/8-mile-high banked oval and NHRA-certified drag strip. It is hard to put my finger on any one project as a favorite. Our work is very diverse, which keeps things from getting mundane. One day we’re building an apartment complex in North Dakota, the next we’re in Hawaii.”
A Broad and Steady Market
While many contractors suffered throughout the recession, RVC managed to sail through with little negative impact. “We didn’t get hit nearly as hard as other companies,” Van Leeuwen explains. “We had a good backlog of work.”
While Vegas had previously been a market hot spot for construction, the team saw numbers there fall over the years. With licensing in a number of other states and a broad range of capabilities, the business was able to make up for lost work in other regions across the country.
A strong team of strategic partners provides a solid foundation for RVC. “We are a true general contractor, so we subcontract out all of the work,” Van Leeuwen continues. “We have longstanding relationships with a stable network of experienced contractors we can rely upon. With clients in so many areas, we are continually expanding our network with local labor.”
Lasting relationships with both clients and partners offer RVC continued longevity. With over a quarter century of strong performance, Van Leeuwen and the team are looking forward to new growth with the recovery.
“Right now it looks like the economy is gaining momentum through the efforts of the private sector,” he explains. “We see that lenders are again starting too loosened up and our clients and developers are obtaining financing more easily. We are seeing a steady increase in the architectural backlog and that tracks directly into the construction industry.”
According to Van Leeuwen, the company is careful not to look too far ahead. “We don’t look at one market segment beyond a five-year horizon,” he says. “We find in our business that our clients’ growth and adjustment to market demands can shift quickly, so we gear our business to very nimble, which allows us to stay in lock step with our clients business and growth needs. We see clear signs from developers and companies that they can no longer stay on the side lines, waiting to see what the economy will do.”
Van Leeuwen goes on to note that there’s too much money in the market not being put to work and great opportunities for good, solid returns. “These conditions and the forward movement we’ve seen from our clients make us very optimistic about our business and opportunities in the coming years,” he continues. “We are going to increase our volume and are looking forward to a very profitable 2014. We are in a market segment that appears to have the capacity for continued growth.” Richardson Van Leeuwen Construction LLC maintains a steady position as an industry leader, which will only grow stronger as the market improves.
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