Team Engagement

Despite its rapid growth, Level 10 has maintained its commitment to core construction principles, including safety. With an EMR of 0.59 and more than 1.5 million work hours logged without a lost-time incident, Level 10 has consistently received honors from the Construction Employers Association, including a 2014 President’s Safety Award.

Another Level 10 fundamental—keeping top-level staff engaged with clients throughout the project—has made an impression on clients such as Melissa Plaskonos, director of campus construction and utilities at the University of San Diego.

“There will always be issues in a construction project, but they deal with them well,” Plaskonos says. “They also put a lot of effort in hiring good people who have the right cultural fit.”

While Level 10’s field teams routinely use iPads that provide direct access to project BIM models—including those created by its in-house staff—Paul Moran, vice president of operations, says that not everyone on a project team is at the same stage technologically.

“Our projects involve all kinds of subs, with varying degrees of sophistication,” Moran says. “If someone needs help understanding our technology or something else, we’re able to get it to them.”

Giles is confident that Level 10 will be able to continue its upward trajectory, and he foresees no shortage of work for the next several years.

“San Francisco has never been busier,” he adds. “All the universities continue to build, and demand for buildings and public works projects remains strong.”

Perhaps the only constraint will be the availability of talent to help manage and execute those projects. From the outset, Level 10’s leadership has been careful to balance its aspirations with the realities of its resources, and the firm turns down some work as a result.

“If you don’t have the right people in place and do a bad job, it stays with you forever,” Giles says. “To get bigger, we will definitely need more key people.”

Recruiting the top talent is a key strategy for the contractor, says Ken Sletten, Rudolph and Sletten co-founder and 2015 ENR California Legacy Award winner, who came out of retirement in 2011 to join his former colleagues as managing director of Level 10’s advisory board. Sletten told ENR earlier this year that at his former company, “we wanted the best, the smartest and the ones that had ambition. We are still doing that over here.”