Corporate Anniversaries 2013: Albert C. Kobayashi, Inc.
ACK staff in front of the companyʻs main office.
Since 1963, when Albert C. Kobayashi Inc. General Contractors (ACK) was incorporated, the United States has seen six major recessions. For a general contracting company, making it out on the other side of this is no easy task. During hard times, the construction industry is always one of the hardest hit. Now, as the company celebrates its 50th anniversary we ask: Just what is it that has allowed ACK to grow and thrive while others have declined?
The kamaaina company also managed to keep its foot in hospital and school projects as well. Building a repertoire of specialties has proven beneficial for ACK. Now, the company can take on almost any type of project available.“We adapt to the market,” says president and CEO Russell Young. “We started out focusing on residences, then when the recession of the ’80s hit, we moved on to the hotel industry.”
“We recently finished the [University of Hawaii] Cancer Center, and we also did UH West Oahu,” Young says.
ACK officers, from left: Warren Leong, vice president; Rodney Numazu, senior vice president; Russell Young, president and CEO; Clyde Sugawa, treasurer; and Kendall Korenaga, vice president.
But he attributes the company’s success to more than just its versatility. ACK takes advantage of local talent and has also operated under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan since the mid-1980s. ACK became 100 percent ESOP owned in 1997. This gives salaried employees the opportunity to share in the company’s success and to strive for greatness all around.
“One of our biggest strengths is we have a team of really experienced people along with younger talent from UH, who are working together with those who have returned home to Hawaii after receiving some of the best education from top universities in the U.S.,” Young says. “This team of young scholars is constantly watching for new ways to do things and sharing that knowledge with the rest of us.”
One of ACK’s specialties lately has been utilizing a design-assist approach in which it works alongside developers and architects to map out specific plans and lock costs into place. Doing so has proven beneficial for all parties involved, as there are no hidden costs.
“Using this approach with the UH Cancer Center, we worked with the developer and architect for less than a year before breaking ground,” Young says. “We ended up finishing three months ahead of schedule and $17 million under budget. That money can now stay with the state.”
Looking long term, ACK plans to continue its growth in terms of both employees and specialties. In the short term, the company will celebrate its 50th anniversary by rewarding its employees with a trip to Vegas.
“We occasionally do summer retreats, but because this is the 50th anniversary we wanted to go big,” Young says.
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Waipahu, HI 96797
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