Kitchell is a name synonymous with the growth of Arizona and the West; its projects have dotted the regional landscape since the firm was founded in 1950. From hospitals to prisons and everything in between, the company has built virtually every building type in a wide variety of locales and keeps its focus on building long-term client relationships, fostering internal talent and driving innovation.
Much of the culture within Phoenix-based Kitchell and its core contracting business, Kitchell Contractors Inc., was embedded in the firm's DNA by founder Sam Kitchell, according to Dan Pierce, president.
"This whole company's philosophy and culture is built upon Sam and how he thought," Pierce says. "He was very good with people and relationships."
As a result, Kitchell posted a nearly 30% increase in revenue last year, outpacing most other companies on the Top Contractors list. The firm earned $314 million in 2012, up $72 million from 2011.
But as it is with all successful contracting firms, getting selected for a job ultimately depends on the quality of the people that build the project and how they serve their clients.
"Our experience qualifies us for a job, but our people put us over the top and allow us to be awarded a job," says Steve Whitworth, division manager of health care. "Kitchell has 30 years of hospital experience, but if we don't have people that have done [that kind of work], or the hospital doesn't trust us to build the facility, we are no better than anyone else. It sounds cliché, but that is what it is all about. The company gets you qualified, the people get you the job."
The University of New Mexico Sandoval Regional Medical Center and medical office building project in Rio Rancho, N.M., was one of the firm's higher-profile achievements in 2012. The 60-acre project comprises a 168,500-sq-ft in-patient teaching hospital with 48 acute care patient beds, 12 intensive care beds, eight behavioral health beds, six operating rooms and 12 emergency department exam rooms. The hospital can expand to 300 beds by means of building pads incorporated into the master plan. The project also included a 65,000-sq-ft adjacent medical office building.
Native American Division
A dedication to people and relationships that reflects Sam Kitchell's vision is what the Native American department at Kitchell is all about, according to Brad Gabel, vice president of that division. Although the Native American construction market has been a focus of Kitchell for several decades, the firm bolstered its presence with a joint venture four years ago with Bitco, a small Navajo-owned firm in Albuquerque. The partnership has allowed Kitchell to penetrate the market by demonstrating that the firm understands what is important to Native American cultures.