Two Top General Engineering Contractors to Combine Operations

By    © 2010 North Bay Business Journal

SANTA ROSA and PETALUMA — Ghilotti Construction Co. and North Bay Construction, two of the largest locally based general engineering contractors, today said they will combine operations over the next 18 months.

North Bay Construction founder and Chief Executive Officer John Barella, 62, inked a deal to sell the assets to Ghilotti Construction by the end of 2012. Mr. Barella is ending his management of the company, and North Bay President Steven Geney, 52, is joining Ghilotti Construction management team.

“When I decided it was time to pursue real estate development on a full-time basis, I wanted to be sure the company we had built would stay together and stay local,” Mr. Barella said in a statement. “I didn’t think it would be fair to our people to make them part of an anonymous out-of-town company with no roots in our community.  So I called Dick Ghilotti.”

Dick Ghilotti, 63, president and CEO of Ghilotti Construction, said the blending of the companies was a logical step.

“We’ve been fierce competitors for almost 35 years, but John and I have always respected each other’s work, business sense and values,” he said. “Our people know one another and have the same high standards and pride in their work.”

Ghilotti Construction has 220 to 300 employees, depending on workload, in its Santa Rosa headquarters and branch offices in American Canyon, San Rafael and Livermore. Petaluma-based North Bay Construction has 200 to 250 employees.

How many are retained by the end of 2012 will depend on job activity, but the intent is to keep as many as possible, according to Ghilotti Construction spokesman Larry Kamer.

North Bay Construction jobs are being finished, most notably the $48 million expansion of Highway 101 between Cotati and Petaluma. New jobs are being bid as Ghilotti Construction.

In 1992 cousins Dick and Jim Ghilotti, part of a local construction family dating back to the early 20th century, started Ghilotti Construction in Santa Rosa.

John and Andrea Barella started North Bay Construction in 1976.

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