Ghilotti Construction Celebrates 100 Years of Reshaping California

Creating a Legacy of Progress From Stone Walls to Modern Super Highways

Managers and superintendents from Left to right: Willie Ghilotti, Rich Dericco, Tom Woosley, Rick Cohn, Sam Far Brian Ongaro, Mike Cossey, Jeremy Miles, Dan Bell, Jess Tod. T Truck left to right: Lee Engelke, Les McWilliams, Bobby Deering, Ralph Ardito

SANTA ROSA, CA., January 23, 2014 – The Ghilotti Construction Company (GCC) is celebrating its 100th anniversary as a leading provider of general engineering contractor services for major infrastructure projects spanning virtually every public and private sector. With annual revenues in excess of $165 million, GCC is one of the largest engineering construction firms in Northern California.

Family owned and operated since 1914, GCC has a century of engineering experience and a family tradition of hard work and reliability.  The story of GCC is a story about the American Dream.

The company was originally founded when James Ghilotti, a stonemason by trade started a stone masonry business in Marin County after emigrating to the U.S. from Italy. He started by buying field stone from different ranches in Sonoma County and used them to build walls all over Marin County. His backbreaking work and business philosophy paid off as his company grew from stone walls to building bridges and highways.


“My father and my grandfather had a personal philosophy that served them well.  Do good work, be responsible, take care of the community and people who work for you,” said Dick Ghilotti, owner and president of GCC. “GCC has been recognized for its engineering expertise, dependability, community involvement and high quality projects that stand the test of time. We will continue to live by my grandfather’s words as we plan for our second 100 years.”

In 1950, the 2nd generation Ghilotti brothers bought the business from their father and started a grading, paving, concrete business headquartered in Marin County and grew tremendously in the post-war era. After the older brother William’s untimely death, and the younger brother exited the company to start his own company, Dino and Mario grew Ghilotti Brothers to one of the major construction companies in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s throughout Northern California.  In 1990 after Dino’s passing, and during the economic recession Ghilotti Brothers and other contractors were consolidating operations and the firm was making succession plans.  Mr. Ghilotti, then operations manager for the company, along with cousin Jim Ghilotti decided to spin off and form Ghilotti Construction Company in 1992 with the new firm’s headquarters located in Santa Rosa.

The firm has built a loyal and dedicated organization of 80 full-time employees that can increase to 425 at the peak of the construction season. The Ghilotti Construction family plans to provide continuity of ownerships with other family members, nephew Brian Ongaro and Richard’s son Willie Ghilotti, reinforced by a group of senior company managers including Ali Yazdi, General Manager, Stacy Magill, CFO, Brad Simpkins, Vice President of private and commercial construction, and Said Najafi, Senior Public Works Manager.

In 2010 GCC expanded by acquiring North Bay Construction Company from the Barella family. This acquisition brought with it key projects, equipment and valuable employees.  Today, John Barella is on GCC’s board of directors.

“Our existing team has the skills and experience to take our company into its next century. Looking forward, my personal commitment is to continue to build on our family’s tradition of delivering superior workmanship for California’s private developers and multiple public works agencies,” Mr. Ghilotti said.

As building codes and standards have evolved, GCC implemented new technology and environmental innovations. The company adopted Green building practices and sustainable operations, such as converting its more than 200 vehicle fleet to be more fuel efficient. GCC’s administrative offices in Santa Rosa were designed using materials and furnishings from firms that met LEED standards for sustainable manufacturing and producing products with specific levels of post-consumer recycled content.

GCC has a solid industry reputation and has received critical acclaim for its work on notable landmarks such as the new Santa Clara 49er stadium, the Sutter Medical Center in Santa Rosa, the Sutter Solano Medical Center, the Graton Resort & Casino, the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, as well as site work for Sonoma State University and the new Friedman Center at Deer Creek Village in Petaluma.

The company also has been instrumental in providing site work for the Mayacama Golf Club, the Black Point Golf Course, the George Lucas Big Rock Ranch, the renovation of Sonoma Raceway, and site preparation for the Nut Tree Village, to mention a few.

GCC actively has pursued transportation-related contracts with CalTrans for improving North Bay’s Highway 101 corridor, Interstates 280 and 580, State Highways 12 and 37 and the Highway 80 overcrossing in Vacaville, Airport Boulevard Interchange in Santa Rosa and Old Redwood Highway Interchange in Penngrove.  GCC’s underground utility division has done many projects for Sonoma County Water Agency, City of Santa Rosa, Napa Sanitation, MMWD, EBMUD, and GCC was actively involved in the Geyser’s Recharge Pipeline project.

 The company’s list of Bay Area residential community projects includes the Orchards@Hiddenbrooke, Redwood Village for Signature Properties, homes on Mare Island for Lennar, and numerous projects for Albert Seeno Family and Discovery Homes.

President of Ghilotti Construction Company, Richard Ghilotti.

Richard Ghilotti and his company have helped reshape Northern California for almost 50 years. But his career started much earlier at a time when the company was just beginning to diversify. He got his start in the family business at age 13 washing trucks and doing odd jobs for his father, Dino.

After graduating from Marin Catholic High School in 1964, he entered a journeyman trainee program for heavy earthmoving equipment. Over the next decade he served as an operating engineer advancing from running equipment, to inspecting grading work, which eventually led to supervising small and large crews. Much of that work was done in Sonoma County for Marin developers.

He later earned an undergraduate degree in finance from Santa Clara University.  At age 28 Mr. Ghilotti moved into management as a superintendent. In the mid-1970s, he and his father purchased property on Todd Road for GCC’s Santa Rosa office.

By combining old fashioned values with 20th century equipment and skills, GCC has grown into a highly respected, multimillion-dollar firm.  It continues its strong focus on client satisfaction and service, the constant pursuit of new technologies, and providing a safe workplace full of employment opportunities.  From humble origins, to a multimillion-dollar enterprise, GCC has consistently embraced the future.  GCC’s founding principles resonate in every project, as well as in its dedication to its employees and clients, community and environment.

GCC will be dedicating the 100th Anniversary year to Richard Ghilotti’s youngest son, Dino, who unexpectedly left us at the tender age of 22 after graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in business and a minor in art. The incredible spirit of Dino will live on with GCC during this special 100th year and forever.

Today GCC has offices in Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Livermore and American Canyon.





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