XL Construction just celebrated its 30th anniversary as a leading general contractor in Northern California with a ‘Vision Launch’ event, where the company unveiled its long-term plan for enhancing employees’ professional development.
The daylong celebration on Sept. 16 was attended by 350 employees and held aboard the USS Hornet – Sea, Air and Space Museum in Alameda, California. The event consisted of special presentations and panel discussions focused on empowering employees to leverage the company’s rich history and milestones and gain inspiration for the company’s – and their own – bright future. Author and former naval commander Mike Abrashoff delivered a keynote address on developing people and shared personal experiences highlighted in his book, “It's Your Ship.”
“We view our 30th anniversary as an opportunity to review what we’ve learned as a company and rededicate ourselves to moving our organization forward for the next 30 years,” said XL Construction CEO Richard Walker. “XL Construction’s key differentiator has always been our people, and they were the focus of our Vision Launch event.”
COVID-19 Notwithstanding, an Event Five Years in the Making
XL Construction’s current vision was conceived during the company’s 25th anniversary. At the time, company management decided it needed more than a philosophical guidepost, but a strategic business tool that would help the company gain traction and guide it in long-term planning and day-to-day decisions.
“Five years ago, after almost a year of pondering those questions and gathering input from throughout the organization and our most trusted clients and partners, we gained real clarity about becoming an enduring company that makes a difference,” Walker said. “We wanted to build upon our success and reputation for being an exceptional partner in delivering challenging projects that support our purpose to improve the lives of our clients and community, while also expanding opportunities for our people.”
Laying the Groundwork for the Future
A key move in preparing for the 30th anniversary initiative was the establishment of XL Construction’s Organizational Development Group in November 2021. Headed by company veteran and Senior Vice President Alan Laurlund, the group is charged with fostering a diversity, equity and inclusion roadmap that better reflects the communities in which the company operates, as well as developing an integrated talent management approach to help employees reach their full career potential.
Walker believes that companies in the construction industry too often fall into the trap of overemphasizing employees’ technical skills at the expense of developing critical management and leadership skills. His philosophy is to invest in training individuals to function optimally in their next role, which will further elevate the success of its employees and projects.
At the beginning of 2022, in a planned executive transition, co-founder and long-term CEO Eric Raff stepped down and became executive chairman while Walker, formerly president, was elevated to CEO.
The company also opened the doors of a new office in Oakland, California. Though its opening was delayed due to COVID-19, the new facility serves as a hub in the East Bay, which, in addition to its offices in Milpitas, California, and Sacramento, California, provide a local presence in a key market for the company.
Over the last 10 years, the company has also been recognized with more than 70 industry project and Best Places to Work awards, as well as honored as the ENR Contractor of the Year in 2020.