Spotlight On Geoffrey Nelson, The Boldt Company

Release Date: 12/26/2014 | Sacramento, CA Business Journal

What does Boldt’s anniversary mean to you?

“As a fourth generation, family-owned company, we consider ourselves very lucky to still have the direct benefit of the Boldt family and the continuity of the Boldt family’s original vision for a low-ego, high-value construction company. There are a handful of other companies that started around when we did, or afterward, and have grown much larger. But nearly all of those have had big boom-and-bust periods. We have grown more conservatively, but we like to think this has been to the benefit of our family of employees in the long term stability we can provide.”

Where do you see your industry going?

“Construction is too expensive and it injures far too many people. Just like healthcare, we have to bend the cost curve. Construction has historically lagged way behind other industries in terms of productivity and we, in this industry, haven’t been able to improve jobsite safety as much as we should either.”

“At Boldt, we started a journey about 12 years ago to bring manufacturing improvements pioneered by Toyota into construction and it has revolutionized our work. More-engaged teammates do better work, safer and they go home happier.”

What attracted you to the construction industry?

“I went to undergraduate school for architecture, but a stint in the Peace Corps in the mid-’90s really drew me out of the office cubicle. After that I got into residential construction and worked as a contractor in Boston for a number of years. Eventually I went back to get a graduate degree in urban design and ended up working at the planning department in San Francisco. There, I helped develop and gain approval for several hospital and medical office projects that gained some notoriety for their epic only-in-San-Francisco political battles. Once we got approvals, I looked around me and realized I needed a change of perspective and Boldt, who had worked with us, asked me if I would consider joining them.”

What’s your favorite local project?

“We built an incredibly talented team to go after what some people would consider a small job at UC Davis — a thankless knucklebuster of a seismic upgrade to a pretty old classroom and assembly building. Because this is an upgrade to an active classroom building, we have to perform two months’ worth of work in basically a two week period. We love this kind of challenge.”

The Essentials

Geoffrey Nelson, business development director of western operations, The Boldt Co.

Education: B.A. in architecture, Rhode Island School of Design; M.A. in urban design, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Career: Supervising carpenter at a construction company in Boston from 1996 to 2000. City planner in San Francisco, 2001-2005; planning consultant in San Francisco, 2005-2008. Director of enterprise development at Sutter Health/California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco 2008-2013. Joined Boldt in February 2014.

Something about you colleagues would be surprised to learn: “Every winter, a group of friends and I trek into the high Sierra in Sequoia National Forest. We ski in, stay in a stone hut and ski above treelined miles from anywhere. This is where I charge my battery every year.”