How to Use Construction Partnering to Transform Project Success | Ep 16



Action Items from the Interview:

Three ways a contractor can ensure a successful partnering project:

  1. Understand the expectation of the client
  2. Understand the project risks and how to mitigate them
  3. Establish yourself as a trusted business advisor

Three action steps when passing a construction business to multiple siblings in the next generation

  1. Build healthy relationships between siblings
  2. Help each individual find their niche
  3. Do your best to keep a healthy separation between work and family

Highlights of our conversation include:

  • The unique history of the Ghilotti family building in Northern California
  • Distinguishing Ghilotti Brothers from other Ghilotti construction companies
  • The key to a successful partnering project
  • How to enhance the partnering process
  • Managing the difference between being an entrepreneurial construction company and having institutional public agencies as customer
  • Applying the philosophy of partnering in the private sphere
  • The challenge of involving subcontractors in partnering
  • Mike’s plan for generational succession
  • How to manage the expectations of the next generation
  • How to handle sibling rivalry
  • How Mike takes into account the different personalities of his kids
  • The example of the Coors Brewing company
  • Finding a niche for each of the children in the business
  • Mike’s back up plan, if his kids don’t end up taking the business over
  • Mike’s favorite place to eat: Marine Joe’s in Corta Madera California (Ask for Paul Della Santina and get the cheeseburger)


About Mike
As President, Mike’s takes overall responsibility for the company from bid estimate review to project completion. Including: Coordination of company resources and personnel, utilization of management staff, monitoring department function, project schedules and job cost performance.

Mike is an active member of the construction community and participates in the following associations: Association of Engineering Construction Employers (AECE) Member and former President, California Alliance for Jobs Board Member, Caltrans Construction Partnering Steering Committee (CCPSC) Executive Board Member, Caltrans SBE/DBE Subcommittee of CCPSC – Co-Chair, Engineering & Utility Contractors Association (EUCA) V.P./President-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer 2011-12 and Member, EUCA/Caltrans/SCCA (Quarterly Liaison Meeting) Member/Co-Chair, Foundation for Fair Contracting Board Member, International Partnering Institute (IPI) Founding Member and Board of Advisors, and a Rotary Club of San Rafael Member.

Mike received his Bachelor degree from St. Mary’s College, Moraga in 1984 and his MBA in Construction/Project Management from Golden Gate University, San Francisco in 1987.


About Ghilotti Bros., Inc.
Ghilotti Bros., Inc. is a leading general engineering contractor in California. A strong complement of dedicated employees and a family-owned heritage, now in its third generation, GBI is excited about its future outlook in continuing its 100 year legacy in the Bay Area. GBI has always prided itself on being at the forefront of the industry, keeping an edge on the competition. Throughout its history, there has been a constant principle that has guided their way: “Earn respect by doing a job well, treat employees with courtesy and respect, and do good work for the community,” as enumerated by our founder, James Ghilotti.”


Show Links:

Ghilotti Bros., Inc.

Mike Ghilotti

To learn more about the partnering approach to construction visit: International Partnering Institute

Marine Joe’s Restaurant


This episode is brought to you by The Construction Leaders Dashboard.

The Construction Leaders Dashboard is one of the simplest and yet most powerful tools for leaders in construction companies of all sizes.   

Construction companies use this tool to get clear on strategic priorities, recruit new field and office talent who are aligned with the mission and values of the firm, and as a development planning tool to develop the next generation of leaders.

It will empower you to:

  • Focus on what matters, so that you spend your time doing the things that have the most impact with clients.
  • Make sure that everyone in the organization is aligned, accountable, and contributing equally to the company’s growth and success.  
  • Attract, develop, and retain future leaders who can continue to move the organization forward.

To instantly download your copy of the dashboard, go to: