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A Full Circle Investment

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With businesses constantly searching for ways to keep employees happy, it’s rare to find a truly unique solution. Benefits such as safety, retirement planning, health, wellness, and career growth are important to employees, but the chance to take part in something different—something beyond typical benefits packages—can create distinctive appeal for a company and contribute to greater sense of excitement and productivity in the workplace.

At Swinerton, employees enjoy a comprehensive benefits package along with the opportunity to partake in one or both of the company’s ownership programs: an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), or direct shareholder ownership. This means that those who work at Swinerton, regardless of title or tenure, are not just employed by the company; they are owners of the company. This full circle investment profit and decision-making stays within the company, thus organically inspiring each Swinerton employee-owner to act with accountability and strive to achieve higher levels of success.

With 135 years of history, 20 office locations, and over 4,300 construction professionals from coast to coast, Swinerton is continuously growing. The company launched a 15-year business plan in 2015 with the intention of future-proofing the organization against any natural market downturns or unforeseeable incidents such as the recent pandemic. That business plan included offering geographic diversity, and this is where Swinerton’s expansion into New York City plays a pivotal role.

Vice President and Division Manager, Andrew Pearl, leads the New York City office and has been working at Swinerton for 16 years after joining fresh from graduate school in San Diego. Pearl has experienced all Swinerton has to offer and is proud of the work he has accomplished with the company.

“We are a general contractor, but we also provide construction management services, and we take on design and build procurement styles,” Pearl said. “However, I think the main driver for us and what differentiates us as a general contractor is this concept of going back to being a master builder. We perform some of the trades that we used to subcontract, and we built a workforce with 2,000 carpenters and laborers across the country that can provide clean up, demolition, concrete, millwork, framing, and drywall.”

Swinerton has been working hard in New York with projects such as the recently completed office refresh for technology company Patreon. The firm is well poised for new opportunities on the horizon. Mass timber in New York is growing, largely due to a recent building code update that was adopted in November 2022 and allows for cross-laminated timber (CLT) in Type IV construction for New York City buildings up to 85 feet, or seven stories. The codes had previously been limited to heavy timber or laminated wood, but with the explicit codification of mass timer—including CLT and glued-laminated timber—Swinerton is already experiencing a significant uptick in interest from developers looking to be among the first in the city to build with the material.

By leveraging its extensive mass timber expertise in building design and construction, and partnering with affiliate company Timberlab, which specializes in turnkey mass timber engineering and fabrication, Swinerton is uniquely suited to address this rising interest in mass timber. The firm is also able to leverage other affiliate companies to provide efficiencies and specialized expertise in a variety of services and project delivery methods, from structural concrete to Public-Private Partnerships.

swinerton and timberlab project in construction
Timberlab

Despite its national presence as a $5 billion organization, Swinerton is eager to give back to the community. Its leadership teams sit on non-profit organization boards to ensure the company’s time, resources, and financial support are invested back into each local community. Pearl himself sits on the board for the Rebuilding Together New York City Chapter, which means that Swinerton serves as a national partner there.

“We really do want to make sure that we’re engaged with our local communities, and we’re not just building buildings and walking away,” Pearl said. “We’re really proud of [The Swinerton Foundation]. We build really strong workforce development plans, so we actively go out and recruit, train, and onboard to keep the best-in-class craftspeople because we’re constantly looking for the future workforce in the construction industry.”

“The firm is well poised for new opportunities on the horizon.”

The Swinerton Foundation was founded in 2002 to centralize and guide the charitable donations of Swinerton, and today serves as a 501(c)(3) public charity focused on construction education and workforce development. This foresight and commitment to community building is perhaps one reason why Swinerton has experienced huge success. With a willingness to work with the best and to equitably distribute ownership across its workforce, the company has a clear vision to build the future with workforce industry organizations and dedicated talent recruitment. Swinerton also has a craft services team that is dedicated to workforce development and is excited about growing careers.

Pearl is particularly excited to bring these opportunities to New York and hopefully provide a path for its workforce to become future leaders. Swinerton as a whole is seven years away from completing its 2030 business plan, and just over halfway through its 15-year goal. In this time, the organization has grown exponentially, opening offices in Charlotte, Raleigh, Atlanta, New York City, and Boise. However, according to Pearl, Swinerton remains strategic, disciplined, and patient in its growth.

swinerton employees holding logo sign

“We do not want to outpace our growth and outpace our ability to deliver on our promises,” Pearl explained. “So, we are much more long-term orientated, looking to build a sustainable business with steady, consistent, responsible growth. And we are able to do that because we have the support of the $5 billion organization that’s financially robust and truthfully passionate about the investment strategy.”

The company is also keenly aware of the need to choose its locations based on demand and local needs. “We’re going to allow our national accounts and the local markets to kind of guide us. If that that takes us into Philadelphia, then we’ll go there, and if that takes us into New England, we’ll go there. But for us, it’s more about making sure we contribute responsibly.”

Swinerton has built an enviable reputation at the top of the industry. Its business model and culture of ownership are innovative and conducive to the firm’s ongoing success. From speaking to Pearl and from seeing the evidence of this success, there is no doubt that that the next seven years of Swinerton’s current business plan are going to be just as busy — if not busier — than the first eight. While this is exciting for all the current employees that are willing the company to succeed, it is even more exciting for those future employees out there waiting to be found.

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