Anchorage company specializes in high-profile projects, Neeser Construction INC.
News Source: The Alaska Contractor
Publish Date: October 09, 2011
Neeser Construction, Inc.
Anchorage-based design-build company specializes in high-profile projects
By Carly Horton Stuart
The Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, the Alutiiq Center, South Anchorage High School and the 188 W. Northern Lights Building — much of Anchorage’s modern cityscape was built by Neeser Construction Inc. Covering a broad range of commercial work, including remote site work, NCI specializes in the design-build method of project delivery. On design-build projects, a single entity – the design-build team – carries a project through from initial concept to completion. “Design-build projects are a unique skill set and NCI has the most experience of any contractor in the state,” Senior Project Manager George Tuckness said.
NCI was founded in 1974 by current owner and President Jerry Neeser. Neeser and his brothers had been trained in carpentry by their father, Louis, and together they built schools, churches and commercial buildings throughout the Pacific Northwest. After the bottom dropped out of the construction market in the early 1970s, Neeser decided to head to Alaska. He held a commercial contractor’s license, but he primarily worked as a framing subcontractor. Slowly, he gained the trust of clients “who realized they didn’t necessarily have the construction savvy Jerry did,” Project Administrator Gary Donnelly said. One of Neeser’s first high-profile projects was the lockers and hot dog stand at Anchorage’s Mulcahy Stadium.
Donnelly and Project Superintendent Sam Adams joined up with Neeser in 1977. Design-Build Coordinator Royal Field had joined two years prior. “The three of us have been with the company the longest, but there are a number of field employees who have been with us 30-plus years,” Donnelly said. “That kind of continuity in personnel is really unheard of in the industry, and certainly in our construction community. It’s a whole different approach and philosophy – this is very much a team and an extended family.”
Donnelly attributes this team approach to NCI’s success. Indeed, the company has landed a number of high profile, high-dollar projects over the years. The Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center was one such project. Located in the heart of downtown Anchorage, the $79 million, 215,000-square-foot concrete and steel structure utilized the design-build project delivery method. This method saved a full construction season, delivering the project well ahead of schedule while returning nearly $5 million in contingencies back to the owner. It was completed August 2008.
“It was evident through the entire project that the NCI team is the premier design-build team in Alaska,” Julie Saupe, president and CEO of the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau, stated in a testimonial letter. “The development and design-build experts at Neeser Construction, Inc. were the foundation for this facility to become a reality.”
In 2009, the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center received the AlaskaUSA Insurance Brokers Excellence in Construction Award for a vertical construction job over $15 million, and went on to win the 2010 Design-Build Institute of America National Merit Award.
Other notable NCI projects include the Rental Car Center ($52 million) at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the Togiak School ($22.3 million) and Manokotak School ($10.2million) in Southwest Alaska, the New Community Education Center ($12.5 million) at Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson, the Anchorage Jail ($46.6 million) and the Salvation Army SAFE Campus ($17 million) in Anchorage.
“We successfully compete for the high-profile projects due to the core values instilled in us by Jerry Neeser. NCI has a reputation and a resume of projects that are on time and on or below budget. Our work is of the highest quality and done safely,” Tuckness said.
Being members of AGC of Alaska has also benefitted the company. “They keep us abreast of what’s on the horizon and the trends of the market,” Donnelly said.
NCI employs a home office staff of approximately 40 individuals. Six project management units of five to six individuals per team are located at each project. The number of field personnel varies. Donnelly said NCI employs as few as 70 to100 and as many as 300 to 400 depending on the quantity of work.
Current projects include the Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome, the Alaska Department of Public Safety Crime Lab in Anchorage and the Goose Creek Correctional Center. While NCI has not been immune to the economic downturn, Donnelly said the company “is still going strong. It’s been spotty in terms of work out to bid, but we’re picking up a fair share of new work. There are also some very nice projects on the horizon, including the new engineering building and sports complex at the University of Alaska Anchorage and some sizable military projects on JBER.”
“Many owners are starting to select their contractor based on their reputation. Even government agencies now recognize the lowest price is not always the best value,” Tuckness said. “NCI has a reputation for fast-tracking projects. We are finishing up the Goose Creek Correctional Center six months ahead of schedule and on budget. We hope this kind of success leads to future largescale opportunities.”
NCI is committed to employing people who illustrate the highest integrity in their work. Project managers, estimators, accountants, architects and carpenters – everyone is dedicated to making NCI a company that commits
and delivers. “Now that some of us are nearing retirement age, we are passing on our knowledge to those who will
keep the company alive,” Jerry Neeser said. “Ultimately, the goal is to create a legacy and a continuation of a very fine business. We look forward to the next 30 years”.