Yorke & Curtis Inc.
General contracting company York & Curtis Inc. (Y & C) follows the shifting construction industry to realize the full potential for opportunity in the commercial sector. With the recent trend in the Northwest region focused on retail construction, the Oregon-based company is keeping busy throughout the state and into Washington.
Rob Yorke initially began Yorke Construction in 1985 based on providing clients superb service a cut above the rest. Three years later, Dave Curtis joined the company as a partner and the business was renamed to its current designation. Since its inception, Y & C has worked hard to be a valuable team player with owners, developers, architects, subcontractors, suppliers and city officials alike.
With Yorke’s recent retirement, Curtis is carrying on the company’s belief that construction is an intense and collaborative process, along with the help of Erik Timmons, principal serving as secretary and treasurer for Y & C. Timmons has been with the company for 10 years, joining shortly after graduating from college.
“I was looking for a job after college within the management field,” says Timmons. “Yorke was working on a project that he needed some help with. I hit it at the right time that I came in and helped him. My role just grew from there.”
During his tenure with the company, Timmons has seen firsthand how volatile the construction industry can be. “There are many shifts with the construction climate,” he says. “In 2009, we had our largest year in employees and volume ever. In 2010, it took a drastic change.”
With about 27 employees at the company today, Y & C strives to offer creative solutions for each client. The firm takes pride in being able to overcome project obstacles, ask the hard questions to get to the heart of a project, use materials that ensure maximum longevity of a structure and offer quality work on schedule. A lot of this work, according to Timmons, is achieved through group meetings, consultations, innovative ideas that lead to recommendations and suggestions for a project and clear communication.
Skilled in Diverse Construction
Y & C’s portfolio includes work in many commercial sectors, including athletic centers, education, health care, hospitality, multifamily, nonprofit, office, retail and senior living. Timmons reports that contracts are obtained by Y & C through competitive bids and negotiation with project owners.
In addition to an uptick in retail construction, the company has been working on a number of multifamily projects. Since 1988 Y & C has worked with 48 clients on 70 residential projects, totaling more than $132 million.
One such project is the Broadstone Enso Building in Portland, Ore., which was completed in 2009. The 152-unit building features numerous bump-outs and balconies on the exterior, extenuated by the striking integration of metal, wood and concrete exterior finishes.
The $23.5 million building includes retail space on the first floor and underground parking for tenants. In addition to living space, the property offers community space, including a fitness room and central courtyard, complete with a community BBQ area and fire pit.
In the retail sector, Y & C has completed more than 100 projects with 80 different clients, totaling more than $90 million. Timmons believes Y & C has become the go-to business in retail construction because it can manage accelerated schedules and the firm is willing to work through the night when business wish to remain open. Some clients Y & C has worked with include: Burger King, Comp USA, Jack in the Box, KeyBank, Lamps Plus, La-Z-Boy, US Bank, Walgreens, Wal-Mart Inc. and West Coast Bank.
Since the rough year in 2010, Y & C is making a comeback. “We’ve learned from it and are growing,” says Timmons.
Y & C typically prefers projects that are both different and challenging. The company works with a network of subcontractors and suppliers to get jobs done. While an eager team mentality has remained the same, Timmons admits some changes needed to be made in how business was obtained. “We had to look at our approach strategy-wise,” he says. “In 2009 we were negotiating 90 percent of our projects. When the downturn happened that stopped. We had to become more competitive at bidding.”
Y & C excelled at the bid process when it was founded, but had become accustomed to project owners calling and negotiating with them on a job. The company had to refocus its efforts and relearn the bid process. “Now we’ve balanced out so that we’re negotiating projects with owners and are extremely competitive when it comes down to hard bidding on projects,” says Timmons.
The team at Y & C is constantly busy with retail projects at this time and is gaining ground in the multifamily residential sector again. As projects come in, the company is setting volume goals for the project managers to meet. “When project managers are running multiple projects and hitting volume targets, and that’s how we gauge how business is doing,” says Timmons.
With the volume goals being met by project managers, it is fair to say Y & C is in a strong position in the Northwest construction industry. The team will celebrate the company’s 25-year anniversary during summer 2013, and is looking forward to many more years of success for Yorke & Curtis Inc.
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