GUAM – Smithbridge Guam Inc., a diversified contractor, has invested about $7 million to position itself to fill various construction-related niches from quarrying to crane rental to dredging to boiler repair ahead of an expected increase in demand stemming from the Guam military buildup.
“We tend to specialize in things where there are not many players,” Stevyn J. Radonich, Smithbridge vice president and general manager, said in an interview with GuamBuildupNews.com.
With demand expected to boom in all areas of construction amid preparations to transfer at least 8,600 U.S. Marines and their families and support staff from Okinawa to Guam in coming years, Smithbridge is preparing to profit from the specialist areas. Even before the bulk of the buildup spending, which the Government Accountability Office estimates at more than $17.4 billion, kicks in, Smithbridge is relying on its diverse portfolio to maintain annual revenue between $25 million and $35 million.
Smithbridge divisions include a quarry operation with long-term contracts to supply specialized aggregate to the island’s concrete suppliers and others. The equipment in its crane division is used for its own projects and is rented out. The civil division specializes in dredging, wharves, pilings, bridges and similar projects. And its mechanical division replaces, maintains and repairs boilers, fuel tanks, fuel pipelines, water and wastewater treatment facilities, and heavy equipment.
In 2005, the company added another dimension when it acquired Rocky Mountain Precast, a manufacturer of precast, prestressed concrete products. Smithbridge maintains 60 percent ownership in Rocky Mountain, which provides the company about a third of its annual income.
Recently the company purchased five new cranes, including a $2 million, 275-ton hydraulic piece with a maximum reach of about 340 feet. Its smallest new crane has a 60-ton capacity.
It also purchased two new quarry trucks, three new loaders, two new excavators “and a number of other smaller type of equipment,” Radonich said. “It’s all gear that needed to be upgraded. We try to keep it new or near new.”
Smithbridge also just bought 24 acres of adjacent property “just to expand the operation,” Radonich said. “We’re tight now on ground. We’re quarrying … and we’ve got a large operation to run outside of digging a hole in the ground.”
The company workforce remains at about 150, including Rocky Mountain employees.
Current Smithbridge involvement in military projects includes pile driving at Polaris Point for the torpedo exercise support building as a subcontractor for dck-ecc Pacific Guam Construction. The project is part of the $23 million seed project awarded to the joint venture under of the $4 billion design-build multiple award construction contract in May 2010.
Rocky Mountain is molding piles for the Polaris Point project at the Smithbridge compound on Route 15 since vehicle access to Rocky Mountain’s Mt. Santa Rosa yard can be challenging. “We’re taking 100-foot-plus-long piles out of here for driving down at the Navy [project],” said Radonich. “They can mold them out here and then just out and down the road.”
Smithbridge is also providing material from its quarry to Tutor-Perini’s $73 million North Ramp project at Andersen Air Force Base. The project was awarded as part of the MACC in April and is to construct facilities for the aviation element of the U.S. Marines to be relocated to Guam from Okinawa.
The company is also providing quarry material to another MACC task order – the $86 million upgrade to Uniform and Tango wharves at Apra Harbor on Naval Base Guam being performed by Guam MACC Builders. Guam MACC Builders is a joint venture of Watts Constructors, Obayashi Corp., Webcor Builders and Healy Tibbitts Builders.
Watts, Obayashi and Webcor are also members of a joint venture that is the prime contractor for the $158 million replacement of Naval Hospital Guam, for which Smithbridge is providing material.
Smithbridge, at the time a New Zealand company, opened its Guam operation in 1992 as Albert Smith Industries, then McConnell Smith Ltd. In 2000, the company was renamed Smithbridge with its parent based in Brisbane, Australia. Radonich has been with the company on Guam for 11 years — three years as mechanical contracts manager and eight in his current position.
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