Auburn Constructors: Using Strategic Acquisitions to take Control of the Construction Industry...
Produced by Tom Venturo
Since its establishment in 1990, Auburn Constructors has been an innovative leader in full service general contracting specializing in water/wastewater treatment plants, water storage facilities, water/wastewater pumping facilities, storm water pumping plants and water resource and recovery projects. The company, which is based out of Sacramento, California, has the ability to self perform most field work with its experienced crew of professionals and wide range of equipment.
Dean Bailey, president of Auburn Constructors, got on board with the company in 1989 before it was even known as Auburn Constructors and was just a small division of another company. Bailey was the first hire for what is now Auburn Constructors and has been there for almost 25 years. He began working with the company as a project manager and over the years climbed up the ladder, and this last April he was promoted to president.
So why choose Auburn Constructors as your general contractor? One reason is that the company treats every project as its own business entity and focuses to appropriately delegate the right project manager to each project. Bailey expresses that the common positive feedback from Owners and engineering firms they have worked with is that they enjoy doing business with Auburn because of the efficiency, professionalism and integrity demonstrated by their employees, as well as a reputation for developing cooperative relationships on every project.
Bailey stresses the importance of having a team that is made up of problem solvers. Construction is not an exact science so being able to adapt to changes and be quick on your feet to solve any particular problem that may occur is critical.
According to Bailey, there are always changes and conflicts in the field so it is important to stay open to an alternate way of doing things. He says, “That’s really what we take a lot of pride in, coming up with a resolution at the time when we present a problem and hopefully that speeds things up.”
Not only is the Auburn personnel efficient and professional, they are also well trained and have successfully completed laborer, electrical and carpenter disciplines. In addition to hiring quality craftsman, Auburn emphasizes providing a safe work environment to all of its employees and subcontractors. All field employees are required to pass a pre-employment drug screen, as well as complete extensive safety training such as fall protection, confined space, LOTO, trench safety and OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 classes. Also, as environmental regulations have become more stringent we require our project managers to complete Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs) compliance training. The company also has apprentices participating on the projects so that they are training from the bottom up and can promote from within. Overall the Auburn staff is a critical component to the company’s success and quality workmanship that keep clients coming back.
In 2007, Auburn Constructors announced the creation of their own electrical division through the acquisition of the personnel and assets of one of the leading Northern California electrical subcontractors in the treatment plant construction industry, Horn Electric, Inc. of Lodi, CA. This has had an enormous effect on the company because they are enabled to do self perform in a whole new way.
In addition, because of the quality of workmanship by their electrical division, , Auburn is often approached by other General Contractors to use their electrical division as a sub-contractor. This unique relationship between competitors in the same industry has resulted in substantial growth for Auburn Constructors.
“It’s another revenue stream that has allowed our company to be competitive not only as a general but as a sub contractor. There are times when we may bid a job as the Prime and we may not get it as the low overall bidder but we may get a portion of it as the low electrical subcontractor,” explains Bailey.
Currently, the company is working on a brand new wastewater treatment plant for the city of Los Osos, California. Like many coastal towns, Los Osos is on a septic system and are now being directed to build a sewage treatment plant. Auburn has been selected to construct the plant and get it up and running. It is roughly a $48 million project which Auburn has assigned three project managers and one full time safety manager, making it a very large project for the company.
It is a state of the art project that Bailey explains is utilizing some of the newer technologies in the industry. For example, this plant will be using ultraviolet light to disinfect the sewage rather than the common chlorination process. The plant will also be conducting an aeration process which has been proven to be an efficient way to treat the sewage and a third level of filtration known as “tertiary filtration” which meets the states very strict discharge standards.
Though the Los Osos Project is currently the largest project Auburn is working on, they are also currently under contract for another 25 projects, including general and sub-contracting projects. We can definitely expect that Auburn will continue to stay busy in the months to come.