Neeser Construction featured in Alaska Business Monthly
News Source: Alaska Business Monthly
Publish Date: October 01, 1998
With 1997 gross annual revenues of $16.8 million, Neeser Construction, Inc. of Anchorage is a newcomer to the 49ers list this year, but certainly isn’t a newcomer to Alaskan business.
The company, which specializes in design-build construction, does work statewide, averaging three to five major projects and several dozen smaller projects annually. Currently crews are working on the Elmendorf AFB/Fort Richardson Army Base joint commissary, a 350,000 square foot, $32 million undertaking. Other projects include dozens of schools (in Anchorage and rural communities), Anchorage’s Veterans Administration outpatient clinic and regional office building, Anchorage’s City Hall (design and renovation), Cook Inlet Region’s medical office building, and low-income housing. Neeser also does work in Nevada and Washington, and just finished a 185-unit housing complex in Reno.
“Our largest volume, dollar-wise, is in Anchorage,” said Gerald “Jerry” Neeser, president and CEO of Neeser Construction. “But most of our work is in rural villages. We’re busy 365 days a year, and have to find time to give people time off. I just went three years without going on vacation.”
Neeser, one of 13 siblings, learned the carpentry trade in the 1960’s from his father. The father/son team traveled throughout Idaho, Oregon and Washington building schools, churches and commercial buildings. In 1969, Neeser moved to California where he spent five years building concrete high-rise structures and underground parking garages, It was in 1974, the then 23-year-old Neeser found himself making some tough decisions.
“The recession hit,” recalled Neeser. “I had $15 million worth of work and 200 employees.”
With prospects looking potentially grim, Neeser decided to shut down operations. One of his brothers, a partner in the business, headed north to Alaska on vacation. Neeser followed and decided to stay. Two years later, he officially opened his Anchorage business.
“I went back to my roots and built from the ground up,” he said. “It was an absolutely great decision.”
Neeser credits his success to the company’s strength in the design-build arena, the longevity of its employees, and its satisfied return customers. In the past 22 years, Neeser has seen many companies come and go not able to handle the demands of the business, especially the logistical challenges of getting materials into rural and roadless communities.
“We are a fast-tract design building business. But we try not to become volume contractors so that we continue to enjoy what we do. We take care of the work that we have and we service the client well.”
Gerald “Jerry” Neeser,
president and CEO of Neeser Construction
“We’re one of the few contractors who still has the same name since 1976,” he said. “It’s a harsh climate and a hard place to survive.”
Neeser said his philosophy of never missing a completion date and never exceeding a budget has also served him well. (Not once for either in 30 years, he said.) Another factor that makes the company unique, he said, is its change order rate, which runs less than one percent. He also appoints one superintendent and one manager exclusively to each project.
And he is flexible. When a school burned down on Prince of Wales Island two years ago, Neeser got word in March that he was selected to rebuild it. He redesigned the school, began construction in May, and completed it, on schedule, before the fall opening.
“We are a fast-tract design building business,” he said. “But we try not to become volume contractors so that we continue to enjoy what we do. We take care of the work that we have and we service the client well.”
“It’s in my blood,” he said. “It’s so much a part of me, it’s second nature.”
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