Ghilotti Construction Celebrates 100 Years of Re-Shaping Northern California

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In honor of reaching 100 years in business, GCC recently held a celebration for its employees, business partners and affiliated organizations, and introduces new television commercial to broadcast during Monday Night Football throughout Northern California.

Ghilotti Construction Company (GCC), the North Bay’s largest engineering general contractor with headquarters in Santa Rosa, recently celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the founding of its business Saturday, September 13 at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. This occasion also marked the first release of a limited-edition hardcover book recapping GCC’s first century (1914-2014) entitled “From Stone Walls to Super Highways, Paving the Way for the Future.”

The history of GCC is more than a classic American success story. It is a tribute to the courage of James Ghilotti emigrating from Italy willing to take risks and explore opportunities thousands of miles from home with a vision to do whatever it takes to seek a new life and provide for his family. In 2014 the engineering contractor company he founded celebrates 100 years of service in building the infrastructure of Northern California with current revenues and new contracts totaling in excess of $220+ million.

In honor of reaching 100 years in business, GCC held the celebration for its employees, business partners and affiliated organizations. The afternoon event started with a champagne reception in the Buck Institute atrium, featuring a photo gallery showing scenes of several major construction projects, followed by a film showing highlights of the firm’s many construction projects over 10 decades as it built much of the core infrastructure of Northern California. Speakers included Buck Institute Vice President and Facilities Manager Ralph O’Rear, President of the 1,800-member North Bay Builders Exchange Keith Wood, and GCC President and Owner Richard Ghilotti, grandson of the company’s founder. As parting gifts, attendees each received a copy of GCC’s commemorative book “From Stone Walls to Super Highways, Paving the Way for the Future.”

While the company’s many achievements and hundreds of completed projects are too numerous to mention, several stand out as examples of the excellent teamwork, engineering expertise, quality craftsmanship and attention to detail that have become the hallmarks of GCC.

This list includes the Marin County Civic Center, Sonoma Raceway (formerly Sears Point), the San Francisco 49ers “Levi’s Stadium” in Santa Clara, Sutter Medical Center Santa Rosa, the San Francisco International Airport runway expansion, the Graton Rancheria Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park, George Lucas’ Big Rock Ranch, a phase of the Geyser’s pipeline construction, site work at the Mayacama Golf Club, and the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University -- as well as site work for the world-renowned Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, the venue for GCC’s 100-year anniversary celebration.

In his speech to the event’s guests, Richard Ghilotti expressed pride and gratitude for his company and employees, saying, “This has been a banner year for Ghilotti with more than 50 projects still underway representing over $200 million in revenue – an all time record for our company. We could not succeed without the support of many suppliers, subcontractors, government and private planners, developers and investors.”

He continued, “I am extremely grateful for the support of all of you here today. Willie, Brian and other [Ghilotti] family members continue to build on the legacy of our firm at the start of the next hundred years of the Ghilottis in America. Thank you for coming, for working with us over the years, and for continuing to trust in and rely on GCC to do the best job we know how to do.”

Since the original company founding 100 years ago, the Ghilotti family has divided into several separate companies in order to allow for more executive positions for the founder’s ambitious relatives. As the largest Ghilotti company, GCC recently launched a fun, western-themed TV commercial that differentiates GCC from the other Bay Area companies with Ghilotti in their names. This commercial is currently air during Monday Night Football games and on other networks throughout Northern California.

GCC has dedicated the 100th anniversary year to Richard Ghilotti’s son, Dino Richard Ghilotti, who unexpectedly died in at the tender age of 22 after graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in business and a minor in art. Richard Ghilotti started the “dg Foundation” charity in Dino’s honor. The dg Foundation is dedicated to helping students by providing scholarships to the world-class education at San Domenico, Marin Catholic High School and University of Miami. The scholarship is focused on kids who demonstrate a spirit of inclusion throughout all of their academic, athletic and artistic pursuits—just as Dino did.

Today GCC has offices in Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Livermore and American Canyon, and the company is thriving and operating at a higher capacity than ever before. For GCC’s ongoing efforts to give back to the community, North Bay Business Journal honored the company with the Corporate Philanthropy Award this past March.

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John Beilharz
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