Apollo Harnesses a Hot Specialty Market
Since its founding in 1980, Apollo Mechanical Contractors has grown from a small family business to a company of more than 1,500 employees. Along the way, the Native American-owned firm continues to solve the problems posed by increasingly complex projects throughout the Northwest.
There is no “corporate feel” at Apollo, says Dale Hollandsworth, vice president of Apollo North. “We offer an entrepreneurial culture where employees can make decisions they feel are best for the company.”
With more than 30 years’ experience in mechanical construction, mechanical design and sheet metal, Apollo provides preconstruction, construction, design-build and design-assist services for residential, commercial, medical, educational, institutional and industrial clients. Apollo North’s offices include Seattle, Tri Cities (Kennewick and Pasco) and Spokane in Washington as well as Missoula and Bozeman in Montana. Apollo South has offices in Oregon in Portland and Bend, Ore., as well as in Denver and Reno, Nev.
The company’s family-oriented culture and expertise is on display across the Northwest with 10 ongoing projects in the region valued at more than $10 million apiece, for a total value of $283.6 million. These include a casino, an international airport, two K-12 educational facilities and high-tech/electronics/data centers.
With these jobs leading the way, Hollandsworth says, Apollo’s strong backlog of work through 2020 will likely continue through at least 2021.
A few of Apollo’s most exciting current jobs include the arrivals facility at SeaTac International Airport in Seattle, Grant High School for the Portland School District and the Sportsplex Project for Spokane Public Facilities District.
On the $35-million Sportsplex job, Apollo is the design-build mechanical subcontractor for Spokane-based Lydig Construction, a regular construction partner for Apollo. This project is just getting started in the early phases of design and is expected to be complete in early 2021.
Tony Corigliano, senior project manager for Lydig, appreciates Apollo’s commitment to being a team player.
“Whether it’s the new apprentice in the field or the project executive, they are always willing to help solve problems together for the good of the project,” says Corigliano. “Apollo has some of the most experienced mechanical field staff you can find. When paired up with a strong mechanical design team, they have proven to solve some extremely difficult challenges.”
A recent challenge that Apollo helped Lydig overcome was on the $20-million Spokane Public Facilities District’s Performing Arts Center, which was completed this year. Lydig was the lead design-builder and Apollo was the design-build mechanical subcontractor.
“The project is on a larger campus that shares mechanical space with Spokane Convention Center. As part of this project, there were many shutdowns required to tie in new systems and replace existing systems,” says Corigliano. “The challenge was the Convention Center was open for business and usually packed with people during our entire construction window. Apollo was able to take what would have been a 10- to 12-hour shutdown and condense that down to 4-6 hours through use of detailed preplanning and prefabrication.”
On the $968-million International Arrivals Facility at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, Apollo is working on a $67.7-million design-build mechanical contract. Clark Construction is the contractor and Port of Seattle is the owner. The project has about 488,797 sq ft of new construction integrated into the existing airport, including a pedestrian walkway that when complete will be one of only three bridges in the world with an airport taxiway beneath it. When complete, the project will nearly double the number of international capable gates and increase passenger capacity more than twofold.
In Portland, Apollo is working on a $16-million full plumbing and mechanical contract for the $128-million Grant High School Modernization Project, which is a 300,000-sq-ft renovation and expansion to an existing high school. The owner is the Portland School District, and the general contractor/construction manager is Andersen/Colas LLC.
Erin Storlie, senior project manager for Andersen, says Apollo’s focus on maintaining open communication with the project team and upper management shows their dedication and support for the team. “Other subcontractors talk about doing this, but Apollo is actively engaged with project challenges at the corporate level,” says Storlie. “This level of support brings a refreshing level of reasonable expectations for manpower, change orders and other project routine issues.”
The school, constructed in 1924 in Classical Revival style, is the fourth Portland public school to be renovated as part of a 30-year program to rebuild all public schools in the city. It is also one of three high schools prioritized for modernization due to poor seismic condition and major accessibility deficiencies.
Another important part of Apollo’s success is its commitment to safety. In 2017, the company received an experience modification rate (EMR) of 0.38, making it the safest contractor in Washington state for the eighth consecutive year.
“Safety, along with quality, schedule and profitability, is one of our four key measurements of success,” says Mike Ellis, Apollo corporate safety manager. “It starts with our ‘on boarding’ and orientation process, then, it is continuously reinforced by our leadership. From our owner all the way down to our most junior employee, safety is talked about, celebrated and reinforced on a continuous basis.”