Strategic Insights Into Growing a Thriving Multi-Billion Dollar Construction Company | Ep 7


How do you grow your general construction company into a thriving multi-billion dollar business using a unique sales strategy? In this episode we are joined by Jeff Hoopes, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Swinerton Builders as we talk about his approach to selling, thinking like a service provider, business development, business diversification, simple strategic planning, business acquisitions, and lessons learned from his experiences. His is a story of hard work, commitment and a passion to serve that brought Swinerton Builders to greater heights.

A 30-year veteran of the construction industry, Jeff joined the company’s ranks in 1984 as a project engineer. He quickly proved his mettle and became instrumental in Swinerton’s continued success, helping the company navigate the recession of the late 1980s and expand its presence in Southern California. He oversaw Swinerton’s expansion throughout California and into Oregon, Washington, Texas, and Hawaii and led business development efforts that helped the company surpass $2 billion in annual revenue for the first time in its history.
After serving in positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President, and President, Jeff was elected Chief Executive Officer in 2013. In every position, Jeff has leveraged a knack for connecting with people and strengthening client relationships to bring Swinerton closer to the communities where it builds.
Swinerton provides commercial construction and construction management services throughout the United States and is a 100% employee-owned company. Recognized nationally since 1888, Swinerton is the preferred builder and trusted partner in every market it serves—proudly leading with integrity, passion, and excellence.

In this episode we cover:

  • Jeff’s role in the instrumental growth of Swinerton Builders to $4 billion in revenue over the last 20 years.
  • His approach on sales as a construction professional and why he gives an emphasis on the importance of selling to people in your business and as a construction professional.
  • The number one thing to focus on when developing a new client or relationship.
  • Managing long-term client relationships amidst challenging jobs or projects.
  • How thinking like a service provider has improved his sales approach and how his experience following the 1994 Northridge earthquake has proved this effective.
  • His strategic approach to growth as a general contractor.
  • Shifting to a self-performing business.
  • Tips for diversifying your portfolio in the construction business.
  • Challenges in integrating acquisitions in the business and how are these addressed.
  • Why he won’t purchase another GC.
  • The importance of cultural fit.
  • Jeff’s journey to learning all about sales in his 20’s.
  • Words of advice for newcomers on building a career in the industry from the sales angle.
  • How “never burning bridges” can help your business grow.




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[00:00:00] All right. Welcome to the show. This is Eric Anderton and it’s my pleasure and privilege to have Jeff the CEO of Swindon. Jeff welcome to the show.

Jeff: Thank you Eric.

Eric: And today Jeff what I’d like to focus on how you were instrumental in growing from a billion dollar contractor in the 1990s to a $4 billion contractor today. today and you know obviously those numbers are large numbers but what I’d like to focus on and get some sales as construction professional and so why is it that you make that emphasis in terms of the importance of selling.

Jeff: That’s a great question.
[00:00:47] You think about it our business is full of engineers and we have construction management graduates and civil engineers and mechanical engineers and you go down the list and it’s uh it’s kind of funny. One of the traits.

[00:01:05] Is that communications and or selling business. I was fortunate enough when I graduated from engineering school, I spent two years working for Guy F. Atkinson company which was building in Dumbarton Bridge. I spent a few years building this big bridge and enjoyed that but then I went back to school and got my master’s in business and finance and that gave me a different perspective than a lot of engineers and technical people that have worked in the construction industry. And it taught me to think more like a business person and create the communication skills and the ability to go out and sell work. OK so it’s a little bit a little bit different on my background with that advanced degree.

Eric: o as you when you when you were thinking about selling work what’s the number one thing that you focus on when you developing a new client or a new relationship.

Jeff: Well it’s it’s my saying is again as I started out in this business has never burned a bridge. Let me explain how that works into the sales side of this thing is that as a young person I wish somebody would told me this and it took me a while to figure it out in this business. But you start out as a young person this business and you start building relationships you work with architects’ engineers, construction companies, subcontractors you’re working with this whole group of folks and this is a pretty small industry. And the last thing you want to do is burn a bridge.

[00:02:27] And the reason I say that is that 10 years from now that person that you’re working with you that engineer architect could possibly be your client.

[00:02:40] T
Eric: That’s interesting now. Give me an example of that that you’ve that you’ve seen in your career.

[00:02:45] I just had just met this morning with a one of the nation’s largest publicly traded REITs and one of the head of their design construction is an old friend mine known for 30 years. Interesting. And so he called me up and asked me come over he had a job he wanted me to look at. And so for 30 years I’ve done work from building high rises and just I’ve had that relationship for 30 years. We’d grab lunch every few months we have coffee and we do some social things together. And when they get work they call us. It’s pretty straightforward but it’s again never burn that bridge always taking care of that client and he was just a co-worker. That’s interesting. So you used to work with him. Yes. And he was. Did he work at Swinerton?. No no. He was with a subcontracting firm to start.

Eric: So what are the big challenges in construction obviously is that such a complex and difficult trade in many ways and let’s say you have a job that’s challenging from from from a long term perspective how do you manage that client relationship in the midst of a challenging job where there’s there’s issues and maybe money is being lost or people aren’t satisfied.

Jeff: And that’s not unusual for a business right. You get these large technical complicated jobs and there’s always a bit of a challenge that goes on. But the reality is it comes down to the way you handle it and handle the solution and handle the fix or whatever that issue is. And so it is so important to have relationships. So, for example you have a challenging job I can call up my friend or the client and say hey, listen talk about this and let’s come up with a solution that works for everybody. And that’s the way you handle these things you handle things professionally and you keep them on a professional level and you bring solutions and you work as a partner it works. At the end of the job, there’s always challenges on every job. Again it’s all how you handle the challenges. It’s not enough. It’s not nearly the perfect outcome every time. Let me give an example. As with a client the other day and there are some challenges on some curve on a big tower we’re building and the client said to me I said well when’s your move in date. We had a really great discussion of when you needed to start your tenant improvements when you’re tenants going to show up when you need the building turn over which floors. We worked on an entire schedule and we basically figured out a system to deliver that building to him so he can get his teeth done start his lease and everything works out for everybody. In another situation if you don’t have those relationships it just becomes a contest where you’re pointing each other getting upset trying to hitch with liquidated damages. But if you have a relationship you feel like you figure out what the real challenges for the client and find solutions. That’s all it was. We have a little bit of overtime we work this and we basically give him floor by floor and they’re able to get their tenant on time and start their lease and everything’s good and that’s how you. It’s all about how you come up with a solution and work together. You could just say well forget you. This is the way it is. I just submit a claim or time. That’s when you get in trouble and if you’re able to sit down and have relationships and keep the door communication open I mean you’ll have a challenge and then you know six months later you build another job with these folks right. Because you handle it OK.

Eric: Now take me back. I know that you worked in your porch in Southern California for many years for swingers.

[00:06:10] Yes. Take me back to the time that the earthquake hit in nineteen ninety four ninety four in Northridge. And your sales approach following the earthquake.

[00:06:20] That’s a great question. That’s so funny.

So I remember that earthquake hit it was crazy because it was actually still late and bad and just threw the bed vertical I never saw anything like it. And so I got up in the morning and it was about four thirty or so it hit and I got dressed and got ready go to work and so I got in my car and I’m I’m backing out and neighbors all ran up to the car and said we can’t go anywhere the highways are collapsed. And I said Well I’ve got clients. I mean I have to make everyone was OK. And so I said Well if it’s bad enough is to come back. And so I jumped in my car and I drove right downtown L.A. There wasn’t another car on the highway.

[00:06:57] And I showed up my building and I said well I need to go up to my office I need to call my clients make sure they’re OK. And they said well you can’t go in your up on the 30th floor because elevators haven’t been inspected. So here I am standing downtown about one person in downtown and they will let me on my building so I jump in my car. And I said well I go to the epicenter and see what happened and see what’s going on out there. So I got my car and I drove out to Warner Park Northridge and that area out there and start driving the streets just to see what was happening and I saw this my first client I started working with after that earthquake I pulled up to the Hilton out there at Warner Center and their parking elevator penthouse all of it fell over in the earthquake and it was laying on the ground. I walked up and I just it was so cool that everything went to cool but it is interesting to look at it that way. Intriguing right. So I walk up there and there’s a guy standing there looking at it and I looked at it and I said wow that’s crazy. And they’re sitting like this. She says I don’t know what to do. I said well he means I manage the building tonight I can’t use the parking structure I can’t get people in. I said well you want me to fix it for you. And he goes yeah. What can you do? I said we’ll have crews out here tomorrow and we’ll take down unsafe pieces and safe it off and then you can start using the parking structure. And so he said Great. So I called it Penhaul at the time demo contract right. I met him out there the next morning and we saffed off everything took everything down. I figured he’s going to pay me. We just took care of business right. And he. And he said I got insurance. Everything’s good. So I went fixed at all. And then that day I went down and saw another Hot Pockets facility where they made these microwave hot pie 7-Eleven stuff. And the walls had fallen off the tilt up and then the whole production facility was down. And so I just stopped and walked in and found the owner and ask him if he wanted to fit on us to fix it. They said well sure. And so anyway we started working on that got him a structural engineer he had no idea what to do so I got him a structural engineer brought in one of my top superintendents from Denver at the time, rebuilt that plant Harmon Karmen where they make the speakers down there same thing I mean I went up there and their roof and start to fall in with all their HPC equipment on top and we ended up within a couple days green cranes in and pulling the equipment off and I spent two years rebuilding that factory. We had probably I don’t know eight or ten big clients just out of the first two days just showing up to be there for him.

OK so that’s the key right there. So there was there was obviously you know the earthquake’s a tragic incident. Yes but in the midst of that you stepped up to provide solutions and to take care of your clients and also to win new opportunities when that those opportunities came up.

Absolutely. I mean people needed help. Right. And I said you know what I’m a service provider. That’s what I do. I am a service provider. I see a guy stand there in his room traded cave in because he’s got a big HVAC unit on there and he can’t figure out how to shore up the wall to get things done. So I brought out shorts to hold the walls up. I brought in helicopters I brought in cranes and we basically start helping these people. I figured that they’re they all have property insurance. I’m going to get paid one way or the other. And we did and we did really well made some good money and took care of these folks. I mean we really rebuilt one building for an insurance company in forty five days. We re scanned it put the whole thing together for their first lease so they could maintain their lease on it.

So you said something interesting there you view yourself as a service provider. So if you were if you were to define what that service is how would you define that
Jeff: So that’s a great question.

[00:10:46] service to me is basically I provide a service with the skills to basically build that’s what I do. And I don’t care if it’s a power plant. I don’t care if it’s a water treatment plant on a high rise. I don’t have big egos in building these big monuments. I don’t really care. I just want to build that’s what I do for my clients say they need something and I want to provide that service. And I build things and I’m not so driven by these egos a lot of people like to build these big massive beautiful towers. I really don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me I’ll go build solar power plants down the middle of Nevada as long as my client’s happy their paying us, and my people enjoy it.

So let’s talk about that because one thing that you focused on in your career with 2010 is this idea of diversification. So if you want to give advice to someone in terms of how to diversify a construction business from a sales perspective what are some things that you focused on in light of getting that diversified portfolio into winter well it’s.

Yes. Yes. QUESTION Earlier about growing from 1 billion to 4 billion in revenue. And that kind of ties into that discussion. And we’re a one billion dollars. We basically were a construction manager. OK. Just straightC.M. service preserve. That’s all we did. OK.

[00:12:13] And to be really honest with you if you’re a straight up general contractor and somebody pays you 3 percent fee on a job and it takes you two point seven percent to run your overhead there’s no money in this business.

[00:12:26] And then there is pain though. Yeah there’s a lot of pay but there is no money in this business.

[00:12:31] If you’re a straight up GC I don’t know how you make a living. It is really difficult. So we see so many contractors fail marginal bonuses. You go on and on and you see it because the money is very difficult to make money construction and a lot of money. Right. So the only way I sat down about five years ago and put together well about five six years ago I like to go as CEO I put together what we call our 20 30 vision. OK. And I sat down there and we had done these five year massive strategic plans right. Every five years.

[00:13:08] Then you get down you put it in the drawer for five years dusty binder dusty binder. It’s like oh God I’ve got a whole bunch of. I paid a lot of money for it. Yes you did. I did. I was doing six figures I can sell exactly what it is. I get this. I get this I got this strategic plan Don.

[00:13:24] I put it away and one day I said you know what people don’t read it then understand that. So what I did is I put a one page 20 30 strategic plan together and I did it as a visual. I showed my people where we’re going to be in 20 30 as far as the organization the types of work I want to be doing and where we’re going to go and a timeframe to get there. Yeah one page. Right on. I use it every year at the shareholders me and five hundred people show up five hundred of my shareholders show up and we discuss exactly where we’re going and how we’re gonna get there. So what we started doing is diversifying our business. We’ve tried and we’ve been really working on building higher margin type work. Yes. And we’ve got to because you can’t make it as a GC. No one’s willing to pay you 6 7 percent as a GC then pay you three. Right. Right. So we’ve really diversified into self-perform. I’m running almost 3000 craft right now. OK new union and non-union union in California non-union outside. Right. We’re still performing all of our own drywall at this point. Right. Over 100 hundred million still performing all the concrete we can we have a demolition company right. We do self-perform parking structures doing them all over just picked up a really nice project. acts for up to 50 million. Nice job. So that’s how we begin diversifying this type of work which creates higher margin work.

[00:14:51] What did it take for you to. Was it was that an insight that just kind of flashed on you that there’s no you know like you were saying there’s no money just pushing paper what what what was it they’d gotten to that point of know what we’ve got to diversify and we’ve got to focus Moyles outperforming what’s like any other business person we got in the year about six years ago and barely making money was crazy all that work.

[00:15:13] Right. I mean these people are brilliant. Right. We people work so hard. Right. Nights and weekends getting the job done. And you look at the bottom line and the average contractor in America makes 1 percent you think about that. So let’s say you do forty four billion dollars you make forty 40 million. With all the employees it takes to do that. Not a lot of money. No. So what you’ve got to do is figure out how you make three and a half four or five percent. Right here’s where we’re driving to our goal is to make five percent. And that’s after overhead. That’s a 5 percent EBIDA. And the average contractor again and then I’d say makes one right. So that’s our goal and what we’ve done also then is we’ve started up really different kinds of groups outside of our normal GC role. So we have a Renewable Energy Group that’s a billion dollar your company now and we’re doing solar power plants and we’ve worked in license in 50 states right. We’ve done work in Mexico Canada on that power. We’ve also began to build a waste energy group right where we’re working in recycling waste for gases and liquids. We’ve just purchased a electrical subcontracting company. And then in 2020 we’ll go from mechanical company. Interesting. So our goal then basically is to control if we can build our own do our own frames and basically control the MEP will control over 65 percent of the job.

OK so that’s that’s a very conscious very focused shift in the business with the aim of getting that net profitability up. Absolutely. So as you’re making that shift and you’re getting into these new businesses one of the ways that you get into the new business is by acquisition what challenges do you find in integrating those acquisitions into the business and how do you address those challenges.

Here’s my pitch for acquisitions. So I’ve been involved in the purchase of probably 10 large general contracting companies when you say large What do you mean. Well back when we bottom we were probably eight or nine million dollar company and they were 80 80 60 million in that range. Significant company. So out of that 10 one has been successful. Interesting and that’s beenH.M. H. Higgins in Sacramento. Yeah. And their first class you know the key to this whole thing is they’re a first class builder. When they came on board we didn’t change the name for 12 years. I know and I know that and because there’s value in that name and the folks were very honored to work for a HMH. And finally the employees came to us and said we need to change the name to Swinerton Builders because we’re all working on one or two jobs and it’s just time we said fine. So I met with every client talked them all and they said we’re waiting for you to do that. So it’s time the market told us it was time right. So the acquisition though back to that question is it’s almost impossible to acquire another large company and make a successful very very difficult. You’re gonna hear all these stats every banker wants you to buy another company because they get a piece of that. You know all these construction investment bankers and I’ve got to tell you what great success they have. I tell you what you can challenge them on that anytime they can’t show you many because culturally it’s almost impossible to buy another large company. What’s happened the reason they’re selling the companies first all the leadership is leaving more likely. Right. So they have a senior member that’s a retired don’t won’t put the energy into it anymore or the kids have taken it over. Which is always a disaster. Right. And so that it’s really a challenge. So the thing we’ve done versus doing that we won’t buy another large company.

[00:19:05] And when you say is so large chasing a large larger Casey. OK.

[00:19:10] And you know you start in a general contracting frame because you’re different culture things. So the things that we look for if we’re going to purchase a contracting company is a specialty right. It could be like this small electrical company we just bought it because they have a skill set that we don’t have. Right. And then we’re bringing them in basically and there’s bring them in the fold to do the electrical on commercial work. Right. So we’re not buying a whole competing thing with a new brand and all that outside of GC. Yeah. We’re bringing specialty people in. For example our demolition group we brought the entire company over and just made immediately all employees of 2010. Right. And they’ve been doing a great job and they’re just sweaters and Kraft employees. Right. They don’t care and their leadership but we’ve been friends for years. OK efficient buddies we’ve known each other forever and they fit right in their culture. But you’re not buying this big you know so and so construction from Salt Lake City that’s been there for thirty five years and how do you then embrace that and bring them in the fold and change that. Very difficult.

[00:20:12] OK. So so a couple of things I’m hearing is as a GC looking to grow you’re not purchasing other juices but you’re looking at subs that fit into where you have needs and you’re that cultural fit is also very important very important. How do you how do you focus. How do you determine that cultural fit. What have you done to be successful as far as that’s concerned.

[00:20:32] So like sit down on the larger companies. It’s hard because you’re trying to accumulate lots of people right. And the smaller things we’re trying to create bring in specialties right. You’ve got demo guys coming in and we’ve got let’s go guys coming in. We’ve got some waste energy guys coming in. So we’re trying to bring in especially service we don’t have and what we’re doing on most of the time on these type acquisitions on the on the small company we just purchased is the people coming in and actually bought into Swinerton as shareholders. Interesting. So we actually they had sold you know their company and so that cash then was applied back into purchase Swinerton stocks. Interesting.

[00:21:16] So basically they had skin in the game. Interesting.

[00:21:20] That’s the biggest problem you have right if you buy a company and the ownership gets their check they leave. They don’t care. Right. Right. But if you’re coming over and you’re basically invested right in where you’re at it’s a whole different mindset right than basically being out there on your own. And you know the ownership is gone and you have if you have no skin in the game it’s a whole different program.

[00:21:44] So that’s interesting. So three things I’m full and your number one be careful in who you acquire in terms of making sure they’re are fit for the type of work you want to do and they get you into a market that perhaps you’re not in right number to get that cultural fit going which is based from what you were telling me on the relationships that you built with people over the years. Yes. And then structure the deal so that people have skin in the game on an ongoing basis so it’s not just get paid and then bail out.

[00:22:08] Right. How interesting. So you think about. So if I go out buy another general condition general contractor. Right. What am I getting I’m getting cheap margin general contracting work. Right. So what could that do me. I get all the cheap contract work I want right. I want high margin specialty work.

[00:22:26] Nice. That’s the that’s the key to making money in this business. So let me say let me ask you that.

[00:22:31] As you look at the industry and you know based on your years of experience in the industry do you see this as a path that other generals are taking the one that you’re describing or what do you see in terms of addressing that margin issue.

[00:22:44] I’m seeing some of the more proactive larger GC became in the self-perform. So we’re seeing a lot of the contractors here doing drywall doors frames hardware finished carpentry did the carpentry type trades and laborers they’re doing more and more of their own because everybody started to realize that I think some of the smaller outlying contractors haven’t figured that out yet they’re still doing their own their old style GC work.

[00:23:10] Yeah but I think you’re seeing more and more what you call him sophisticated contractors trying to create better margins and by self-performing more and more work or providing design build services what are they can do to bring that margin in-house versus giving away. Do you think what the GCF did right they became structural managers? Yes. And they gave all the margin away. There’s no margin anymore. I mean the owners go to why I might hire a new mothers put something on my own staff and do and get my own GC license. Why do I need you. That’s right. So you have to make yourself valuable and as a GC and then demand higher fees and services. So again if you do your own concrete drywall mechanical electrical control your own destiny it’s a whole different program.

[00:23:58] OK so let me ask you this. Let’s say you’re you’re just hiring someone out of the C Cal Poly.

[00:24:04] They’re coming in as an engineer. They’re coming in with obviously a great deal of you know they have a degree. They have ambition and just going back to that sales aspect when you get someone new and up and coming in your industry what are some words of advice that you would give them in terms of building a successful career from that sales angle. Being you seeing yourself as a salesperson and going out there and building a business.

[00:24:32] It’s like we talked about a little bit earlier we most of the people coming in our industry are technical people. Operations driven people right. And that’s how they see their job you go Bill buildings. Yeah right. Build bridges build power plants whatever. That’s their job. But what they don’t realize and you think of the people the top architects are the top people running construction companies. Those are the top sales people. You think about that right. You have the big time architects will that top guy is the best salesman in the world out there selling these deals. Why do you think that is. Well because you gotta sell business to do business. OK. They go and we and I learn sales I mean here’s how I learned sales size up in Sacramento right. Working for the Hewlett Packard Plant years ago building twelve I know. And I wanted to stay up that way. I you want to drive back the city all the time through traffic right. It’s kind of self-serving. Sure. So I start getting the local business journal started reading it and start reading about different developers doing different deals up there and I want to get involved so I said you know what if I’m going to stay up here I need to build my own business. So I went out basically and we were awarded real nice job in Fairfield from Kaiser picked up another job and from Kaiser in Sacramento picked up another Hewlett Packard building and then I started calling on the local developers. I still remember my first call. It was great. I must’ve been twenty seven twenty eight. Maybe I called Roger Duke.

[00:26:04] Do what you do. Duke development classic. He had a big belt buckle.

[00:26:08] You’re a guy funny just funny guy and he had a big office building downtown. He’s gonna Bill and I go I want to build that. So bad. So I called got his assistant and she set up a lunch meeting with me and I stopped at his office building and here I am this little kid right. And Roger’s a great big guy fighting in the early 50s then and doing all the development downtown. And we walked over to a little restaurant sat down. He looks at me he says What are you doing here. And I said I’m going to build a building right on and he goes Well that’s that’s good. Let’s talk about this right. So he was surprised at my age I’d be there and he asked me why and I said because I want to build my own division up here and I want to have my own business. So it was pretty funny.

[00:26:48] So we got everything going there and then the everything hit in about nineteen eighty eight nineteen eighty nine. And then all of a sudden everything stopped in nineteen eighty nine nineteen ninety right.

[00:27:01] Right. I think it was the Savings and Loan crisis right. Right right right. That was serious. Everything shut. And every job I had I had over two million dollars lined up. They all stopped within two weeks OK. And then I came back to San Francisco. It was a it was sure fun putting that together.

[00:27:17] So that was neat though because the idea then is you know it’s been well said you’ll think big and have an attitude you know you’re a young guy but you’re showing up and you’re saying hey I want to do your work and I can I can do the business right.

[00:27:28] Exactly what it is. You know it’s kind of interesting. We talk a little bit about you know never bringing a bridge.

[00:27:32] And you know and you know and I talked about you know always taking care of the people you work with because you never know seriously that architect you’re working with now could be make a decision in the future to get your project or not. That’s how simple this business is it’s a small tiny little business precinct you know everybody and they know you and they and your reputation means everything in this business. So make calls up and says you know what you think Jeff. Whoops. Thing I say he’s a pretty good guy right. And because I’m honorable I’d take care of people right. And then same thing goes you employees. I have an employee who decide you won’t go back to school and get his master’s in real estate development. And he did and we helped him pay for his tuition and books and everything and he went to high school a business and got a great job at Berkeley. So he got done in about two months later coming to me and says You know I’m going to leave when I go. What do you mean.

[00:28:26] I just put you through your master’s real estate developments.

[00:28:29] You know you got a future here he goes you know he says I got a chance to run. I think a big development company and I said Really I said that’s cool. And I said you know I will support you whatever it is he goes you know. And he goes and I’m going to pay you back the tuition. Give me some time and I’ll pay you back for what you spend on me because that’s only fair. I said that’s fine. It’s up to you. And so he went off to this development company and now has a year ago he’s the CEO of one of the world’s largest development companies. He runs all of North America forum and he calls us and we do work for him all over the place. That’s how it’s amazing what happened to. He’s a young man. I don’t know he’s 40 yet and has a couple of kids and now runs his whole program and just think about that we put that effort in and helped him and he helped us and now we do his work.

[00:29:22] So it’s interesting how you get that perspective on selling is not just an external one going out and getting more business but it’s also about how you treat the people that you that you even that even work for you all the employees.

[00:29:32] Yeah. Because you think about there’s there’s turnover in every company our turnover is probably about 8 percent which is pretty low 8 percent 8 percent and industry average probably about twelve Yeah 14 that range we’re about eight. I think it has to do some of our employee ownership but people leave and we really truly believe that you need to treat your employees like family. And we really try that because again that’s just one example. A lot more people have left right either came back right. Right. I mean we have a boomerang thing here that’s crazy now. I bet you half the people leave call it a year and ask to come home. Sure. And so we work our way through that but a lot of the guys move on and they become you know they’re working for all the developers in that community we have people working at most the development companies here and you want them to leave on good terms because you want them calling you back. That’s how this works we have people now at Facebook and Amazon and all over working for these companies. And if you treated them fairly treated them with the respect they’re going to be the first ones they call when they have opportunity.


[00:30:39] That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So just in summarizing here the idea of I really appreciate what you were sharing there about you know during the earthquake going out there and getting your business doing what was necessary to take care of your people who had needs and not necessarily worrying about all the dots they dotting the i’s and crossing the T’s knowing that you would get paid. I love this idea of when you’re up in Sacramento and just going out there to see Roger and just having that attitude that’s all I was scared.

[00:31:06] No I that’s and that’s I think a lot of engineers they’re introverted naturally they’re not necessarily out there but to to do what you’re afraid of and to go out there and to and to really look to grow your business is huge.

[00:31:18] And then that idea of taking care of your your your employees and being fair with them because you never know way where they may go and how that might affect their business development in the future. Absolutely. And then again I really appreciate what you said about the diversity of spinach and in terms of looking at how AGC can increase their margins and that that conscious approach to that one page plan that simple approach but also really focusing in on the importance of culture the importance of structuring the deal right and the importance of purchasing the types of companies that will help you to diversify your business that’s awesome. Jeff I really appreciate you taking the time here. And any any last words of advice you would give to a young up and coming coming construction professional.

Well first of all you’re in the best business there is. You know I’ve been at this now for about 40 years. When I first employer and I’ve never been bored an entire day in my life it’s crazy. And every day’s full blast get home eat and go to bed and do it again right. It just goes goes goes. But I would my my my advice is again don’t burn bridges. Respect everyone you deal with respect the guy you know respect the person in the field finish in the concrete. The guys in the field Labor’s carpenters all those guys are the ones really making you the money. That’s right. And so when you go on this job site to make sure you treat everybody with respect I don’t care who it is. And because you know important and they are. That’s right. Excellent. I really appreciate your time Jeff. Thank you. Thank you.

Podcast Reviews

Why the Construction Industry is Foundational to the Success of California | Ep 12


How to Win the Battle Against Silos | Ep 19

Pat, Glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate the feedback. I'll have some more episodes in the same vein, coming soon. Eric

How to Win the Battle Against Silos | Ep 19

Eric, really enjoyed this podcast. Extreme Leadership is one of my favorite business books. Nice to see that you are incorporating some of their leadership strategies into your podcasts.

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