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Top 250: Swinerton Builders

Swinerton Builders Ohana at their Quarterly Employee Owners Meeting. (below) Swinerton Builders Executive Team

When a company has experienced such trying times as the Great Depression and the recent recession and still comes out on top, it means they must be doing something right.

Established in San Francisco in 1888, Swinerton Builders prides itself on its favorable reputation among its customers. “We have been fortunate enough to grow and remain profitable throughout the recession,” says Swinerton’s division manager and vice president George Ehara. “This was due primarily to the loyalty of our customers. Last year, over 98 percent of our business came from repeat customers.”

What is it that keeps them coming back?

For starters, the team at Swinerton takes the time to listen to what their customers want. “We meet our clients’ needs by first understanding their definition for success for the project,” Ehara says. “Then we go to any length to ensure their success.”

Beyond that, the people that comprise the team at Swinerton take pride in their work. And why wouldn’t they, considering the business is 100 percent employee-owned. “When you deal with a Swinerton team member, you are dealing with an employee-owner of the company,” Ehara says, citing integrity as the company’s greatest strength. “We treat our customers how we would like to be treated. We are fair in our business dealings, and we always tell the truth.”

Swinerton Builders Executive Team (left to right): John Ogoshi – Vice President of Estimating & Preconstruction, George Ehara - Vice President & Division Manager, Jay Iranon - Business Development Manager, Gary Moura - Operations Manager.

This goes along with the company’s mission, which Ehara describes, “To be the preferred builder and trusted partner in every market we serve, proudly leading with integrity, passion and excellence.”

In order to achieve this, Swinerton invests in its team members. “We hire people who share our culture and values,” Ehara says. “We give them the training, resources and support to do their best work every day.”

In addition, as the community has become more aware of environmentally sustainable choices, APFCU has risen to the challenge, offering solar water-heating and photovoltaic loans and special discounts on “green” vehicles that save money and save non-renewable energy resources.

Swinerton has also proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the industry by embracing innovation. “We were pioneers in the use of steel reinforced concrete in San Francisco,” Ehara says. “Our business really took off after the 1906 earthquake, when our industry began to realize the importance of steel reinforcing concrete buildings.”

Today, the culture of innovation continues as technology advances and Swinerton adapts. “We use 3D computer modeling (BIM), robotic total stations and laser scanners on most of our projects,” Ehara says. “Technology is changing in our industry, and those who do not adapt will be left behind.”

This forward thinking has led Swinerton to thrive at times when other companies may have struggled. “The year 2012 will be our biggest year ever in Hawaii,” Ehara says.


1001 Bishop Street, Suite 1340
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 521-8408


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