Top Grade Construction Acquired by Goodfellow Bros

Last week Livermore-based Top Grade Construction, Inc announced that the company has been acquired by Wenatchee, WA-based Goodfellow Bros., Inc, and will operate as a Goodfellow Bros. company.

This is big news in Northern California, where Top Grade has more than 80 full-time office and supervisory staff and more than 300 union trade employees.

“What makes this partnership so perfect is the cultural alignment between our two organizations,” says Bill Gates, founder of Top Grade Construction. “We are both family-owned firms [and] each company also is well-diversified in both public and private works, and maintains close client relationships.”

Steve Goodfellow, CEO of Goodfellow agrees.

“We felt the opportunity to work with the team at Top Grade Construction was quite attractive when it became evident that they have exactly what we were looking for – an exceptional group of high-performing employees, a respected name with strong relationships in the communities in which they live and work, and most importantly, similar values and corporate cultures,” says Goodfellow.

Goodfellow says his company has been interested in the California market for some time, but the “mature nature of the California construction market made expansion challenging.”  

With the acquisition, Top Grade Construction will be able to expand its operation using Goodfellow equipment and fiscal resources, and Goodfellow will further strengthen its Pacific Northwest presence by leveraging Top Grade's employee base and good reputation in the California marketplace.

I asked Chad Goodfellow, president of Goodfellow Bros, if the economy played a role in the merger. He told me he would love to cite the economy as the sole factor, but that it wouldn’t be entirely correct. He says the transaction occurred because his company was fortunate to identify an organization in Top Grade that shared the same core values and approach to business as the Goodfellow organization. 

“In the context of the construction economy, we are excited what this combination brings to our company and the possibilities that exist as the market slowly recovers across our geographical footprint - especially our new position in California,” he says.

I asked him to look ahead past the first of the year and tell me what he thinks should happen, regardless of who wins the presidency, to improve the construction outlook? He said regardless of who wins the presidential race, jobs need to continue to be at the forefront of the new president's political agenda. 

“The construction industry was one of the hardest hit industries during the downturn with unemployment levels at all-time highs,” says Goodfellow. “For California, the focus needs to be on continued improvement of the state's infrastructure system and housing.”

On the topic of specific projects or sectors that Goodfellow Bros and Top Grade might be looking at now that the two companies have joined forces, I asked Gates for his thoughts. He said that for both companies a key differentiator has been their ability to build long-standing, trusting relationships in the private works marketplace

“As a result, we will focus on how we expand those relationships across companies,” says Gates. “In addition, we are focused on expanding Goodfellow Bros' design-build experience into California, which will be an added benefit to D-B projects Top Grade already has. Lastly, we will explore the self-perform aspects of each organization and determine if it makes sense to expand that into other areas.”

Additionally, because the firms also share much of the same expertise in three-dimensional modeling and the use of Global Positioning systems, they will be able to compete more effectively, using economies of scale to provide lower cost/higher quality bids for their clients.

Following the acquisition, the Top Grade executive team remains largely unchanged. Brian Gates will remain as executive vice president; John Copriviza as vice president, estimating; Frank Williams as vice president, field operations; and Scott Blaine as CFO.

President and CEO Bill Gates will assume a consulting capacity, assisting in customer development and complex projects. Steve Goodfellow will assume the role of CEO and Chad Goodfellow as President.

Goodfellow Bros., Inc. has more than 100 office and supervisory employees and 450 union trade employees and operates in Canada, Washington, Oregon, and throughout the Hawaiian Islands. For more information, visit

For more information on Top Grade, visit