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Two Venerable General Contractors Branch Out with New Ventures

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C.W. Driver, Anaheim, and T.B. Penick & Sons, San Diego, are venturing out with entities that focus on new market segments.

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C.W. Driver this week formed a new independent company under its corporate umbrella that will focus on smaller-scale projects. Driver SPG will be managed out of its Anaheim headquarters and will garner construction jobs C.W. Driver has previously not specialized in, according to the company.

Driver SPG, which stands for Special Project Group, will target projects under $10 million in all of C.W. Driver’s key regions: Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and San Diego counties, as well as the Inland Empire.

While most general contracting firms create divisions or departments within their companies to handle these types of projects, Driver SPG will operate independently, which is an advantage for the client, according to Karl Kreutziger, Driver SPG’s executive vice president.

Kreutziger says that the new entity can mobilize to a project “on a moment’s notice and adjust to changing circumstances… A developer of these smaller projects needs a contractor who can turn on a dime.”

John Thornton, C.W. Driver’s executive vice president, says that in today’s economy, “there is growing activity in the small- to medium-sized construction market.”

Meanwhile, T.B. Penick & Sons has teamed with Solarrus Corp., Irvine, to form a joint venture called Penick-SI that will focus on solar power projects in the government and education markets. Solarrus, via its operations and maintenance subsidiary True South Renewables, Huntington Beach, provides residential, commercial and utility scale design, installation and maintenance services.

Tim Penick, the executive partner of the JV, says Penick-SI will provide “cost-effective solar energy with no upfront capital expenditure to government agency customers through power purchase agreements.”

Taking the reins of the new JV is Maureen McDonald, vice president of Solarrus and general manager for Penick-SI.

McDonald says the new program’s benefits come from reducing initial development time and costs, as well as lowering ongoing electricity costs to customers and providing operations and maintenance services.

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