Companies that have been around for many years sometimes have a way of getting used to the comfort of the status quo. To maintain establishment, it often seems easier to keep running the business “as it has always been done.” However, it’s the companies that continue to push their boundaries and change, that stick around for years to come. Grace Pacific, LLC. is one of those companies. Nearly 100-years-old, it’s primarily a paving company with a strong commitment to advancing in the industry by diversifying the services they offer. It’s the reason why they bring on talent like Carl Campagna, Director of Support Services.
“Despite being a 100-year old company, Grace Pacific is advancing in areas where we have the potential to be on the leading edge. As a result, I wake up every morning loving my job and looking forward to the next challenge for us to take on,” says Carl.
In this week’s Behind the Build, we speak with Carl on his career including how he transitioned from building casinos in Florida to running sustainable development programs in Hawaii. Keep reading to learn more.
Tell us more about Grace Pacific.
Even though I’ve been only working for Grace Pacific for a year, the company has been around for almost 100 years. Over the last decades, the company has evolved, grown and acquired other businesses along the way. We currently have five business units including an asphalt terminal, a pre-stressed concrete plant, roadway services and maintenance solutions. However, today we mostly do paving work.
At any given time, we could potentially have work happening on all major islands in Hawaii. That includes Oahu, Maui and the Big Island in Kauai. We even do some work on Molokai and sometimes Lanai. We can cover a lot of ground, and we have access to all of the islands in that way.
What’s your role at Grace Pacific?
I’m the Support Services Director at Grace Pacific, and I oversee facilities management and maintenance, continuous improvement, land use development and planning, central purchasing as well as governmental affairs.
Within that, our primary driver is land use development. As part of this, I am helping on a diversification program where we’re going to be building up other areas and core competencies for Grace Pacific to include the potential of sustainable communities, PV systems and waste to energy systems. While 70-80% of our revenues come from paving, our leadership wants to grow and become more diverse in what we do and how we do it. We’re also developing our new headquarters to include a residential and retail center, and we’re also currently drafting out a long-term sustainability program.
How did you start working at Grace Pacific?
I have almost 30 years’ of construction experience with almost a decade’s worth focused on renewable energy development and construction. My background brings a good deal of value to Grace Pacific in how they are looking to grow, especially my experience in development, strategy and planning.
When I first started, I laid out some of my ideas and plans for the company’s leadership. They felt like it fell in line with the company’s vision of being a leader in our community, state and industry. For instance, one of the goals for the sustainability program is to become the greenest paving company we can be.
Despite being a 100-year old company, Grace Pacific is advancing in areas where we have the potential to be on the leading edge. As a result, I wake up every morning loving my job and looking forward to the next challenge for us to take on.
Tell us more about your career in construction before Grace Pacific.
I started off as an engineering draftsperson. Through this, I learned all the necessary computer software programs to do drafting design work. It naturally grew into me being involved in the development of new departments, and the creation of new businesses.
One of the big career leaps that I made was when I lived in Florida for four years and worked for a general contractor. We built a lot of apartment buildings and high-rise towers and hotels, but my specific area of focus was in theming design development. So for instance, if you go to any hotel, like a Hard Rock Casino or any other hotel that has a specific theme, that’s the type of work we did.
There are a lot of casinos that end up having very specific themes, whether it’s Native American or a fantasy. We also worked with Disney and their theme parks. We would get the architects’ plans for the grand vision, and we would have to create all of the design documentation for how to build it and make it look the way they wanted. I even had the opportunity to work on the initial Harry Potter theme park in Orlando. I managed a team of seven people and the project was a great deal of fun.
Then, I moved to Hawaii in 2008 where I initially was project managing a renewable energy project. At that time, there were very few of them–everything was brand new, including the technology. Because of this, we had to do tours and demonstrations for investors from across the world, as well as regulatory agencies to come and see what we were doing and how we were doing it.
Since then, I’ve spent the last several years embedded within the bio-economy throughout Hawaii, trying to figure out how we can grow and advance our mission to create a combination of manufactured products and fuels.
How did you first start using PlanGrid at Grace Pacific?
Before I started at Grace Pacific, our leadership had already begun to roll out PlanGrid. By the time I started, there was a strong push to get the software up and running more broadly. I took it from there and brought it out to our paving as well as our roadway and maintenance services group.
We told them, “We’re going to deploy iPads and get everybody set up with PlanGrid. We’re going to organize a field communication opportunity and connect our current operations using PlanGrid’s functionalities.”
As a result, we see some unique applications of PlanGrid. One of the things that I’m currently developing right now is a streamlined timecard. I want to set this up and pull data that’s necessary on a day-to-day basis and provide it to the field crew, so they know who’s working on what. We’re going to be utilizing PlanGrid to do that, in addition to having the latest set of drawings available. When it comes to photos, we’re also using the GPS features in PlanGrid to identify, tag and locate our utilities like manholes.
How has PlanGrid changed how you work in the industry?
The biggest challenge that PlanGrid helps us solve is communication. We have so many different stakeholders on our projects like project managers, foremen, crews, HMA plants, quarry and dispatchers. Everyone relies on one another to know what’s going on, when and where. Before PlanGrid, these communications weren’t happening at full capacity. There wasn’t necessarily shared communications and information was missed.
Now, we can have everything in one place that everyone can reference. The whole project team is becoming more aware of what’s happening on the jobsite, and they are more proactive from a planning perspective because of it.