Throughout a long history of building iconic projects ranging from the expansive ExxonMobil campus in Houston to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Gilbane Building Company’s mindset has been to always look for better ways to work. This approach has guided the builder through its remarkable 150 years of innovation and achievement.
While many companies like to boast about their entrepreneurship, Gilbane has lived it since the company’s founding in 1870—through two World Wars, the Great Depression, several recessions, and two pandemics. Gilbane, which counts over 2,900 employees globally, saw its annual revenues double over five years to $6.5 billion in 2020, claiming the No. 10 spot on the ENR 2020 Top 400 Contractors list.
Gilbane defines innovation through their commitment to deliver shared value for their clients, partners, and people, keenly focused on addressing industry and client challenges, operational deficiencies and inefficiencies with scalable solutions that benefit all stakeholders.
“As Gilbane celebrates its 150th anniversary, we reflect on the core values that have guided our growth and inspired our guiding principles,” says Tom Gilbane Jr., chairman, Gilbane Building Company. “The spirit of entrepreneurship that was established through my great-grandfather’s vision when he and his brother founded the company as custom-home builders in Rhode Island, remains steadfast today.”
The builder also has been at the forefront of virtual design and construction and is consistently recognized by Building Design & Construction as one of the most robust leaders in VDC in the country. Using digital tools to create virtual models, walls are stripped away, revealing a project’s building systems—so clients and project teams can do virtual walkthroughs for quality assurance long before construction begins.
And as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the business landscape, Gilbane reacted swiftly and decisively with forward-thinking leadership. Gilbane executives understood that their most important responsibility was to support the health and safety of the company’s employees as well as their industry partners.
With some 2,900 employees spread across 45 offices and dozens of jobsites, it was an extensive undertaking.
They were an early adopter of wearable technology for employees and trade partners to help maintain social distancing and engaged in low-tech solutions as well. Something as simple as plumbers rigging up portable tankless warm water units to promote handwashing and sanitation.
And in Gilbane’s caring fashion, employees stepped up at the pandemic’s onset to help the communities around them. They built emergency medical facilities around the country, set up testing sites for its health care clients, pitched in to distribute PPE to hospitals and clinics, and set up food drives for those in need.
Gilbane partnered with several technology providers to develop innovative solutions and recognized its own employee-entrepreneurs with Innovator of the Year awards. “Using AI to Continuously Innovate” topped the entries in 2020.
Gilbane’s focus on finding better ways to work doesn’t stop at the jobsite; the builder also has turned to innovations to improve back of office outcomes for Gilbane and its project partners.
For example, Gilbane in 2009 implemented Oracle Textura Payment Management to automate and streamline its invoicing and payment management processes.
Oracle Textura is a secure, cloud-based construction payment management platform that streamlines and automates construction finance processes for accurate billing, prompt payment, and effective compliance management. The Oracle solution builds trust and assures payment reliability to subcontractors, which boosts a project owner’s reputation.
Gilbane was an early adopter of Oracle Textura dating back to 2009, when they broadened its use of the Oracle tool in 2015 to enhance payment management processes on projects in Europe and Mexico.
Since the initial link-up, Gilbane has disbursed $25.6 billion through 256,775 ACH payments using Oracle Textura.
“Gilbane has been so pleased with our partnership with Oracle Textura,” says John Ruggieri, chief financial officer at Gilbane. “Our first-class finance team is a great pairing with Oracle Textura’s innovative, cloud-based platform. Their streamlined Lean approach works seamlessly with Gilbane’s workflow and aligns with our commitment to continuous improvement.”
What ultimately makes six generations of the Gilbane family name synonymous with respected business leadership is their steadfast dedication to their ideals and values. Such bedrock beliefs are further exemplified by their commitment to better serve the world around them.
Employees don’t merely show up at a jobsite or an office. Through Gilbane Cares, passion for community service permeates all aspects of their business. Caring is a core value for the organization, and Gilbane has made numerous community and charitable partnerships, many of which span multiple decades.
That “better way” mindset also means finding better ways of serving all their communities—and shaping a better future for the construction industry. Key among these efforts is Gilbane’s extensive involvement in the ACE Mentor Program of America (ACE)—a commitment shared by Oracle. Tom Gilbane Jr. is deeply involved with ACE, which was founded in 1994.
Gilbane serves as past chairman of the ACE Mentor Program of America and is current chair of the Development Committee of the National Board. Additionally, Gilbane is a member of the National Academy of Construction, a member of the Construction Industry Round Table Executive Committee and a Babson College trustee, among many other causes and charities.
“At Gilbane, we are committed to giving back to the communities where we live and work,” says Gilbane. “Through our partnership with the ACE Mentor Program, we are engaging, inspiring and guiding future industry leaders.”
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