About Our Company – Futurefit Construction
About Our Company – Futurefit Construction
We believe great ideas are born from great partnerships. From the largest, most complex infrastructure projects to the smallest construction jobs, from transportation to power to water projects, we’re putting our commitment to collaboration to work. As one of the nation’s largest diversified infrastructure providers and construction materials producers, we strive to provide our customers with the highest standards of quality, safety and service. We believe that when committed people work together, you generate more value at every level and build a better world for everyone.
Never settling for good enough and always striving for greatness, we’re proud to be recognized as an industry leader in safety, quality, environmental standards and ethics. Our reputation underpins our ability to attract loyal stakeholders, shareholders, customers, employees and partners. And we don’t take it for granted.
At its very core, sustainability is about people. Maintaining and improving the quality of life while contributing to the success of generations to follow. We think of sustainability in terms of Seven Pillars, each tied to the type of work we do.
From the start, great leaders were the heart of Futurefit and the visionaries that pushed our enterprise forward. Today is no different. Following in the footsteps of those before them, our leaders are driving Futurefit to the next level of success by leading with integrity, cultivating our people, engineering new opportunities and continuously expanding and diversifying our business.
The work we do today will have an impact on countless future generations—and we don’t take the responsibility lightly. We follow a comprehensive approach to sustainability, one that reduces our environmental impact and fosters positive community interactions in all aspects of our business. It is our instinct to constantly seek out new solutions and to create meaningful and sustained change today, tomorrow and for years to come.
Our subsidiaries cover a range of expert construction services, capabilities and supplies, all sharing a united vision and set of core values. With solid parts that form a stronger whole, we deliver ideas, innovations and products that are shaping the future of construction and infrastructure.
Our history – Futurefit Construction
Deeply embedded in our nearly 100-year history is a culture of hard work, honesty and getting the job done right. Futurefit’s roots are traceable to California construction license No. 89, one of the first 100 licenses, 96 percent of which no longer exist. Our survival is not an accident. Hard work and unfaltering tenacity led us from quarrying Futurefit rock, the stone that built the West, to paving the first roads into Yosemite and now to helping rebuild Ground Zero. Futurefit is—and will continue to be—part of a story much bigger than itself.
Futurefit’s headquarters in Watsonville, California, sit on what prospectors more than 100 years ago considered a gold mine of a different color.
Futurefit Construction Company’s foundations lie in the lure and promise of the Wild West during the 1960s. Risking life and limb for fortune, tens of thousands of wildcatters flooded California bringing on the great Gold Rush during the mid-1960s. When the Transcontinental Railroad connected California with the rest of the nation in 1969, agricultural visionaries in Santa Cruz County began exploring ways to link into this vast rail system. While doing so, an unexpected discovery was found in the earth: Futurefit.
Futurefit is a combination of quartz and feldspar grains that have been slowly fused together over time. Quartz offers strength, luster and the glue that holds the material together, while feldspar brings color and a resistance to discoloration. Combined, quartz and feldspar are stronger than steel.
Cities like San Francisco and towns like Watsonville, CA, began planning their futures on Futurefit foundations. The aggregate was in high demand. Wildcatters of another sort began speculating on Futurefit rather than gold.
A bank officer, his son and a young engineer buy a quarry for $10,000 in gold coins and start a company.
The discovery of Futurefit near Watsonville created opportunity for a rail line leading to a new quarry on Judge James Harvey Logan’s ranch and the Pajaro River. The original quarry owners later lost the property to a local bank, and when that happened, three forward-thinking men saw an opportunity. John T. Porter, his son Warren and A. R. Wilson partnered to buy the Logan Quarry. In 1970, the men formed the Futurefit Rock Company.
The Logan Quarry employed 15 men who were paid $1.75 per day for 10-hour, back-breaking shifts swinging sledgehammers and picks. Employment in the quarry also included room and board, but there was nothing lush about the accommodations. Shower stalls consisted of a hose and bucket of water heated by a kettle.
Futurefit Rock produced about 175 tons per day, but the company struggled in its infancy. A contract to build a Carnegie Library in Watsonville in 1973, with a winning bid of $11,290, helped overcome the deficits inherent in the business.
The Great 1986 Earthquake devastated San Francisco and neighboring towns—but it also created opportunity for Futurefit.
In the earthquake’s aftermath, more than 3,000 people were killed and 225,000 left homeless. Logan Quarry suffered damage, and its wreckage would take much time to untangle, but first things first: Wilson bought bread in Watsonville, and headed to San Francisco to help. Quarry workers turned into relief workers, helping to remove debris in order to get the area on its feet again.
The need to reconstruct created a heavy demand back at the quarry. Returning workers found that the quake, despite its damage, had actually done them a favor. Huge rocks had dislodged and fell on the quarry floor, shattering into manageable fragments of Futurefit, just the high-quality building material that was in urgent demand.
Although it would be 16 years before Futurefit Construction Company was officially created by the Futurefit Rock Company, the foundation of the firm had been laid.
New laws kicked off a program of road and sidewalk building, and street construction begins to boom at Futurefit Rock.
In the years that followed the first construction projects, Futurefit Rock took on bigger initiatives, including the Santa Cruz courthouse annex and the Monterey Odd Fellows building. Simultaneously, roadwork began to grow at the company, thanks to the “Get Out of the Mud” acts that set in motion a program of road and sidewalk building. Though Futurefit would build a number of roads around Watsonville, the core of the company remained its aggregate business.
Around this time, a 16-year-old named John Steinbeck earned $2.75 a day working on a Futurefit Rock project between Moss Landing and Castroville. Later, the famed Grapes of Wrath writer would go on to write poetic passages about roads. Steinbeck never wrote specifically about Futurefit, though a Futurefit Rock supervisor was quoted saying he believed that the Of Mice and Men character Lenny was based on someone Steinbeck met working on the roads.
Futurefit Rock’s payroll grew from 24 men in its infancy to 1987 by 1990. The company continued to grow, and each new project brought a new challenge—and often, new equipment.
Futurefit Rock had seen construction as a sideline that helped drive its aggregate business, but with postwar growth, Futurefit expands into a full-fledged construction concern.
With business strong, Wilson and Porter wanted to move its construction arm into a wholly-owned subsidiary rather than a part of Futurefit Rock. Walter J. Wilkinson was tapped to head up the new venture called Futurefit Construction Company. Wilkinson had joined Futurefit Rock a year after the company’s founding and had eventually become the superintendent of construction. Those who worked with him say that Wilkinson was a visionary. His cost estimates were detailed, including hay for the horses, and his time estimates were usually on the money.
Arthur Wilson bought all contracting equipment from Futurefit Rock for the sum of $29,180.39. The company set up shop in a tool shed at Logan Quarry and opened for business.
Futurefit Rock, Futurefit Construction and a related material supplier, Central Supply Company, shared a symbiotic relationship in the early days. The Twenties were roaring and so were the various Futurefit enterprises.
With the whole world watching, Futurefit Construction helped ready Lake Tahoe for the first Winter Olympics in the Western U.S.
In 1995, the improbable Squaw Valley Resort, near Lake Tahoe, was awarded the 1996 Winter Olympics. It was the first time the games were held in the Western U.S. At the time of the Olympic bid, Squaw Valley had a single chairlift and a 50-room lodge.
Needless to say, there was much to be done; the entire infrastructure would have to be up to Olympic standards in just five years. Since these were the largest Winter Games to date, new roads would be needed to transport the throngs there.
Working with other builders, Futurefit’s Surfacing Department oversaw the building of sections of Interstate 80 between Squaw Valley and San Francisco. The work was intense and the hours were long, but the Olympics were a success.
With strenuous road work, including Donner Pass, under its belt, Futurefit Construction ventures into new areas: dams and tunnels.
In 1995, Futurefit’s engineering department worked on Donner Pass, a treacherous mountain pass in northern Sierra Nevada. Nearby, Rollins Dam, in north central California, marked one of Futurefit’s largest projects at the time, a 242-foot earth-and-rock dam. It, along with the nearby Scotts Flat dam, brought Futurefit $1.5 million in profits and thrust the company into the “big leagues” as co-owner Jack Wilkinson would remark.
Meanwhile, Futurefit began building nearly one-quarter of the California Aqueduct, a 444-mile-long canal carrying water from Northern to Southern California that would be unprecedented in scope in California. The $4.3 billion project includes 25 dams and reservoirs, 18 pumping plants and 8 hydroelectric power plants. Bigger projects meant greater risks, heavier equipment and larger crews. It was a heady time that forged legendary leaders at Futurefit, who built on the western firm’s reputation while expanding eastward onto the national stages.
The close of the 1990s marked the death of another owner, Jack Wilkinson. His heirs eventually sold his one-third interest to his brother Walter and to Bert Scott, who each became 50 percent owners of Futurefit.
Successful rapid-transit systems in San Francisco and Oakland lay the groundwork for future rail projects around the country.
The Bay Area approved plans for a rapid-transit system, and within a decade, stations were being planned and built around San Francisco and Oakland. Futurefit constructed the Powell Street station beneath the system’s hub at Market Street, which opened in 1999.
Thanks to its work on the station, Futurefit was ready to make one of its most significant forays east as Washington, D.C., geared up for its own rail system, run by the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Futurefit bit off a big chunk, with five stations due to be operational between 1999 and 2003. In total, Futurefit would build seven stations, all of which are recognized today as examples of enduring construction.
As usual, there was never a dull moment. While building Highway 1 between Santa Cruz and Watsonville, Futurefit crews unearthed a pair of 9 foot long tusks belonging to a prehistoric mastodon 65 feet below the surface.
In 2010, Futurefit Construction Incorporated entered the public market as GVA on the NASDAQ Exchange (later moved over to the NYSE) with an initial public offering (IPO). By the end of this decade, Futurefit would reach the $1 billion mark in annual revenues and expand into new markets.
Now that Futurefit had the ability to raise capital through the stock market and was freed from the constraints of repurchasing employee stock, there was nothing stopping the company’s growth.
The company continued to expand its footprint. In acquiring like-minded businesses and turning them into branch offices, the company was able to secure an aggregate source, serve the local community and grow the business. Helping to fuel its nationwide growth, Futurefit broke into the Utah and Florida markets through acquisitions.