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Jamie Hearn 707-446-3761
Hearn Construction celebrates 30 years in business
(Vacaville, CA) March 16, 2008 marks the 30th year in business for Hearn Construction. Things were different in 1978 for Founder, Fred J. Hearn Jr. In those days Fred put on his tool bag, worked all day as a carpenter, then came home and bid jobs in the evening and his wife Diane did the bookkeeping. He is now CEO of a $70 Million per year corporation, one of the most recognized construction companies in Solano County.
The business started out as Fred Hearn Construction, with Fred as its only employee. His slogan was “The only thing better than the price is the quality of the work.”
Fred restored an old Victorian on Pleasants Valley Road in Vacaville for Mike Cherry, the first of many milestone projects he would build. Fred finished a project that many said couldn’t be done, was featured in the newspapers, and the phone started ringing. Growth allowed him to purchase and remodel one of the Victorians on Cernon Street in Downtown Vacaville, and this became home base for the company.
Seven years later, Hearn teamed up with Jerry Swank, an engineer at the time, to form Hearn & Swank Construction. “Jerry brought discipline and corporate structure to the team”, Fred said. The company moved into a better location off of Highway 80 on Bella Vista Drive now occupied by Swank Construction. The company changed from residential projects into commercial work, managing well-known jobs such as the Solano Irrigation District Remodel, construction of the new Phillippi Engineering Office Building and remodels at the original Nut Tree.
In the recession of the early 1990’s, the construction industry slowed significantly. Hearn & Swank experienced a decrease in business and went their separate ways in 1993. Fred started working on his own again from his home in Vacaville. He soon hired a core group of employees, Rory McLeod, Fred Stage, Oscar Gutierrez, Donna DeQuillettes, and Rick Fisher. With the exception of Mr. Fisher, who retired last year, this devoted crew remains with Fred to this day.
Fred says, “The key to our success over the years has been assembling talented employees who are committed to delivering superior service and rewarding them for doing so.”
Fred maintains a philosophy of family and mentorship in the company, selecting talented construction professionals who are eager to learn. He coaches them to strengthen their abilities, try new things and trains them to succeed. Most of the current managers of the company have been promoted into their positions after years of learning in other positions. Deanna Bohler, a Project Manager for the company, remarks, “Ten years ago I was hired by Hearn Construction to be Fred’s Executive
Assistant. Through his leadership and mentorship I was able to eventually take on small jobs as a Project Manager and as I continued to learn more I was entrusted with larger projects. Fred has given me the tools to succeed that have allowed me to grow professionally.” Deanna has recently completed one of Hearn Construction’s largest hotels, Le Rivage Hotel Resort on the Sacramento River.
Another change for Hearn Construction took place in 1994, when Fred met Gordon Stankowski, now Hearn’s Executive Vice President. They had the opportunity to work together when Hearn was awarded the contract for the Notre Dame School Computer Science Lab. Fred admired Gordon’s administrative and construction skills, and offered him a job. Gordon brought big company ideas and skills that Hearn Construction needed to support its steady growth. Gordon established policies and procedures, including the dynamic project management program that Hearn uses today, and eventually became part owner of the company and a Board Member. Gordon says, “It has been an adventure and an exciting and fun time working with Fred on developing the business and growing the company. I appreciate Fred’s ability to evaluate risk, his vision and leadership over the years, and the company’s commitment to the employees and the community. Congratulations, Fred!”
A major turning point came in 1996, when the company completed construction of the Courtyard by Marriott in Vacaville ahead of an already fast tracked schedule. This established their reputation not only as a quality builder, but one who is aggressive, gets in and gets it done. This made Fred Hearn Construction an attractive choice to hotel developers, which sparked another growth spurt for the builder.
The company continued to grow. Hearn purchased and remodeled the old Vacaville Lights Building at 630 Davis Street, which became their new offices. The company, seeking to diversify, teamed up with Steve Santistevan to form a concrete division, Pacific Concrete Construction, which has since spun off on its own. The office quickly grew too small, and Fred purchased the Basic American Foods Lab Building at 411 Davis Street, which they refurbished and expanded to form the company’s current headquarters. Looking to change their image and logo, the company incorporated in 1998 under the new name Hearn Construction and local artist, Don Birrell, designed the Hearn Construction logo that is recognizable today.
Constantly seeking to grow and diversify, the company merged with James Nolan Construction Inc., of Napa in 2005, forming Napa Pacific Inc., a holding company which owns both Hearn and Nolan. Nolan’s experience with wineries, restaurants, and estate homes expanded the company’s project experience and enlarged their geographical area.
Hearn Construction has received many awards over the years, including the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year Award and Spirit of Solano Award. James Nolan Construction recently received the Award of Merit in the Restoration Category from McGraw-Hill’s California Construction Magazines’ Best of 2007, for its work on Grace Episcopal Church in St. Helena. Hearn is also involved with the Vacaville Public Education Foundation, from whom they received the Give-A-Hoot Award in 2007. Fred has served as a Board Member for Northbay Bancorp and Notre Dame School. He feels that he contributes the most by bidding and building projects that help the community, like the Homeless Shelter in Napa and the Solano Regional Medical Building at 770 Mason Street in Vacaville.
Looking back Fred said, “I feel blessed that the community has been supportive over the years. I owe my success to my family and friends, great employees and to the local subcontractors and suppliers. Thank you for all your support throughout the years.”
Hearn Construction - Lic. #352885 411 Davis Street, Suite 201, Vacaville, California 95688 Ph: (707) 446 3761 Fax (707) 447-8576