Vegas Inc has partnered with the Nevada Contractors Association for the 19th year to honor the Valley’s best general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and professional service providers. The Contractor of the Year Awards recognize the most impressive and prestigious projects, industry leaders and innovations in building—as chosen by association members.
As the backbone of our community, the construction industry builds the infrastructure that shapes our daily lives. Award recipients are responsible for building homes, offices, schools and roads—impacting all those who live, work and visit Southern Nevada. These awards are among the industry’s highest and most coveted honors.
The 2021 Contractor of the Year Awards originally appeared in a special issue of Vegas Inc found inside of Las Vegas Weekly. Sign up to get each of Vegas Inc’s special publications delivered to your inbox on the day of their release.
General Contractor of the Year: McCarthy Building Companies
McCarthy Building Companies has a well-earned reputation for getting things done and a demonstrated track record of success in doing so, even during the most challenging of times. With a history dating back more than 150 years, McCarthy is a general contractor that has deftly navigated industry changes and challenges and has helped define the Las Vegas skyline. During the last year, the company worked in partnership with more than 15,000 local construction professionals on three high-profile and high-impact projects—ultimately delivering Allegiant Stadium, Circa Resort & Casino and Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on time and on budget within nine months of each other. Over the last two years, revenue in the Southern Nevada office exceeded $1.2 billion.
Throughout the course of its tenure in Southern Nevada, McCarthy’s desire for continuous improvement has been guided by its employee-owners who are representative of the communities it builds. With one of the most diverse portfolios in the state, McCarthy has excelled at leveraging lessons learned and knowledge gained to deliver an excellent customer experience for its clients. As a result of its client-centric approach and its continuous involvement throughout all phases of a project—from early integrated design phase services, through construction and after completion—McCarthy provides the highest level of service while still focusing on quality and safety.
As a true community-based builder, McCarthy is passionate about strengthening education, social welfare and environment in the communities where McCarthy employees live and work. In the past year, McCarthy has uplifted the Southern Nevada community in several ways, including creating and delivering kid-friendly community builder-themed workbooks to Sunrise Children’s Hospital, nonprofit CORE and the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. In celebration and appreciation of health care workers during National Hospital Week, McCarthy distributed flowers and swag to the Dignity Health St. Rose Siena campus.
Subcontractor of the Year: Helix Electric
Founded in 1985, Helix Electric has delivered high-profile projects in virtually every market, making it one of the largest, most experienced and successful electrical contracting companies in the nation. Specializing in design-build and highly complex electrical projects, Helix’s services encompass all facets of construction including mission critical, data center, medium voltage power distribution, renewable energy, education, commercial, industrial, mass transit and rail, and high-density residential.
Helix envisions a team-oriented, employee empowered company—focusing on employee appreciation, fairness and opportunity—resulting in one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry. With over 500 electricians in Nevada, Helix is uniquely positioned to deliver exceptional results with honesty, trust and unwavering reliability.
As the largest merit shop electrical contractor in the state of Nevada, Helix projects have helped shape the Silver State. One of its notable recent projects was Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart—a 52,000-square-foot art exhibit located in the Area15 retail and entertainment complex. A portion of the project called The Factory included 1,750 lineal feet of LED color-changing rope light and the D-Lit Tunnel is a light enhanced optical illusion that included 330 lineal feet of pixel tape lighting. The Factory area also contained thousands of feet of 1/2″ and 3/4″ EMT, bent and twisted by hand by Helix Electric journeymen. This conduit was fastened to the walls throughout the space to create the illusion that The Factory is alive.
Helix prioritizes philanthropic giving. In 2020, it sponsored the construction of a home for Habitat for Humanity, which was the fifth to be completed as a part of an organization initiative. Additionally, statewide contributions included generous donations to the American Cancer Society, the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows, the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation, Toys for Tots and the Construction Career Society.
Supplier of the Year: Fasteners, Inc.
As a Nevada-based, employee-owned supplier, Fasteners, Inc. has been serving the needs of local contractors for over 28 years and has earned a reputation as a preeminent supplier in the community.
In the last year, supply chain issues have caused severe backlogs throughout all industries. Fasteners stayed ahead of the curve with its team’s forecasting ability and strategic purchasing to ensure it had the products that its customers needed. By leveraging its immense in-stock inventory, Fasteners allowed its customers to obtain the necessary tools and supplies to complete a job on time. Additionally, Fasteners proudly retained its workforce throughout the pandemic and, in fact, increased its total employee count.
Fasteners also implemented several innovative approaches to improve its customer service and level of performance, including a new software technology platform which allows its sales team to collaborate with in-house web developers to customize B2B websites for customers to streamline the ordering process and eliminate the inefficiencies of quoting, inventory level requests and paper purchase orders.
Through its late founder and CEO, Keith Mantis, Fasteners has remained involved with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a charitable organization that builds and delivers beds to children in need. The Fasteners team has built more than 100 beds for children in our community.
Professional Service Firm of the Year: Dominion Environmental Consultants
Dominion Environmental Consultants has successfully completed more than 2,500 environmental consulting projects in the last two years—making it the national leader in environmental, industrial hygiene and safety consulting.
With more than 30 years of extensive, hands-on experience in planning, managing and conducting all phases of site investigation, sampling, risk assessment, health and safety management, remediation design and project oversight for asbestos, lead and other environmental toxins, Dominion is always focused on client satisfaction, successful project completion, health and safety issues, risk control, regulatory compliance and budget control. And in doing so, Dominion has never been removed from a project or cited for any violation by regulators and has always completed clients’ projects in compliance with the project goals, project specifications and budget, within the regulatory guidelines.
Dominion is also often involved in charitable events in the community. Most recently, it volunteered approximately 40 hours of time to represent the NCA in planning the Cure 4 The Kids Foundation donor wall project—working with several NCA members to donate time and materials towards the project.
Safest General Contractor of the Year: CORE Construction
Every person at CORE Construction shares a common commitment: to embrace unwavering, comprehensive trust in one another and the overall team itself. Built upon this foundation, CORE empowers all staff members to think of themselves as the safety team and requires all field operations staff to use a mobile safety inspection application called Predictive Solutions. The data gathered is consolidated into one comprehensive and real-time project safety report which is reviewed by CORE’s Continual Improvement Committee. This constant review of job sites keeps safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind and reinforces CORE’s commitment to safety.
“Nothing is more crucial than the safety of our employees, building partners and clients,” said CORE CEO Jim Jacobs. “The protection of people, property and environment is a core value of our business philosophy. Our daily goal each day is to send everyone home safely, and we plan and manage for that every day.”
CORE’s dedication to safety starts with national leadership. Its approach to construction centers around Operational Excellence (OpEx), a trademarked program developed by Jacobs. OpEx includes six priorities: safety, quality, schedule, cost, trade partners and client. Safety is always the No. 1 priority, and a project cannot be considered a success if safety is not achieved first and foremost.
In addition to Predictive Solutions, CORE mandates weekly All Hands safety meetings. All project site personnel undergo OSHA 30 training. And a site-specific safety orientation is required for all trade members, who are required to review and sign off on a detailed, project-specific safety plan at the commencement of construction.
Since February 2018, CORE has logged nearly one million man-hours on its projects in Southern Nevada—with zero recordable injuries or lost time accidents. CORE also received the NCA’s Safe Site Award for the month of December 2020 for its work on the Betty Engelstad School of Health Sciences, a 73,079-square-foot, four-story, higher education facility located on the College of Southern Nevada’s campus in Henderson.
Safest Subcontractor of the Year: Southland Industries
For more than 70 years, Southland Industries has continuously improved its approach to safety, earning it a reputation as one of the safest MEP building systems firms in the business. Southland believes every injury is preventable, so it invests substantially in staffing, equipment and training to help make that a reality. It is this strong proactive safety culture that has enabled Southland to reach an incident rate of 0.46 in 2020, and the company is on track to have an even better year in 2021.
Southland utilizes prevention through design to help reach its goal of zero injuries—using Building Information Modeling to eliminate risks before it occurs on the construction site. Using BIM gives safety professionals the opportunity to walk the job virtually and identify key risks and opportunities associated with a project before construction begins. Using prefabrication at its shops, Southland also fabricates material in a controlled environment to reduce risk and exposure for employees in the field while increasing overall production.
Through its new web-based safety program, Southland facilitates safety participation for all employees, including new-hire orientations, weekly safety tailgates and lessons learned—all while reinforcing Southland’s safety culture and core values at the touch of a finger. Even in the face of numerous challenges during its work on the fast-paced Circa Resort & Casino project, the Southland team of over 120 accomplished a total of 200,000 hours with zero injuries.
Building Project of the Year (under $15 million): Mesa Ridge Clubhouse and Amenity Center – Martin-Harris Construction
The Mesa Ridge Clubhouse and Amenity Center, completed by Martin-Harris Construction, sits on more than 4.5 acres and is comprised of two buildings. Located in Mesa Village, in the master-planned community of Summerlin, the 1,600-square-foot clubhouse and social lounge and the 1,600-square-foot boutique fitness center serve a gated community of over 300 luxury homes.
The buildings were constructed of steel beams, wood framing, exterior insulation finishing system, stone veneer and storefront glazing. Underground infrastructure connects the two buildings to the Mesa Ridge guard station. The interior of the clubhouse includes high-end millwork, lighting, lighting controls, sleek, exposed mechanical ductwork on the sloped ceiling, and interior stone veneer throughout. The Fitness Center has abundant open space for exercise equipment, exposed ductwork on the sloped ceiling and a state-of-the-art sound system.
The goal of this project was to create a place where the residents of Mesa Ridge could enjoy indoor and outdoor activities with their families and neighbors without having to travel outside of their community—while also blending the modern architecture of their homes and beauty of the surrounding mountains. Mesa Ridge has elevated the idea of the standard community center and created a unique and large complex to accommodate the various activities of its residents.
Throughout construction, the Martin-Harris team followed a Plan of Action that involved weekly, and sometimes daily, meetings to ensure all subcontractors and stakeholders were kept up-to-date on events that would impact the schedule—always meeting the rigorous requirements of local, state and federal health and safety program laws. Martin-Harris also utilized Procore, a construction management software, to help streamline the communication process. The team and subcontractors were able to upload design drawings, permits, submittals, RFIs, daily reports and pictures which were then easily distributed to the appropriate team members on a weekly basis—enabling milestone commitments such as substantial completion date, closeout, turnover and warranty to be honored.
Building Project of the Year ($15-30 million): Glenn and Ande Christenson School of Education – Nevada State College – Burke Construction
Burke Construction worked simultaneously with the Nevada State Public Works Division and Nevada State College to construct the new Glenn and Ande Christenson School of Education facility, the fourth building on the fast-growing campus. The two-story, 67,260-square-foot building cost approximately $44.8 million and includes classrooms, hands-on learning spaces, speech language pathology labs, faculty offices, collaboration spaces and an Early Childhood Development Center. The ECDC is a state-of-the-art preschool with an innovative educational environment built to train new preschool teachers and help alleviate a critical teacher shortage in Nevada.
Along with design challenges, the site came with a variety of site-related obstacles including location, grading and the presence of neighboring job sites. But Burke’s team took these challenges and turned them into opportunities. The extension of Nevada State Drive as the main entry point to campus allowed a strategic placement of the building, with its unique front facing programs, adjacent to the relocated main entry drive. The design took advantage of the existing grades, creating a building that is carved out of the hillside. The project team also monitored safety protocols regarding COVID-19 and implemented every best practice, allowing the job site to report record numbers of zero lost time and zero OSHA violations. Despite facing many obstacles throughout construction, the project team delivered the education facility within budget and schedule.
The project also meets the City of Henderson’s sustainability design standards—designed as a LEED silver-equivalent facility—and elevated industry standards through various construction technologies such as drones and 360° cameras. Every week, a drone pilot flew the entire site, taking video, photos and panoramic shots, and the project engineer walked through the building as it developed, capturing 360° images—giving the owners a bird’s eye view and a virtual reality experience of the building as it developed.
Building Project of the Year (over $30 million): Circa Resort & Casino – McCarthy Building Companies
Circa Resort & Casino was the first new resort to be built from the ground up in Downtown Las Vegas in 40 years. The new crown jewel of Downtown, the hotel and casino development consists of a six-story, multi-use casino; a 35-story hotel tower featuring the Legacy Club, a massive rooftop lounge; Circa Sports, the world’s largest sportsbook; Stadium Swim, a multi-level pool amphitheater with eight pools and spas; as well as numerous eclectic restaurants, bars and retail.
As the tallest tower north of the Strip, Circa’s uniquely tapered 71-degree tower is visually stunning. The high-resolution and abundant pixels within the massive signage on the north side of the tower beckon travelers to the new Downtown destination. In total, the project encompasses more than 1 million square feet of finished space, including a pedestrian bridge spanning Main Street leading to the high-tech and high-end Garage Mahal (also constructed by McCarthy Building Companies)—an award-winning eight-story, 1,000-plus-space cast-in-place parking structure that also houses the central utility plant for the entire development and was design-built to serve as a rideshare hub for Fremont Street.
With McCarthy serving as general contractor, Circa was built in collaboration with several NCA partners, including Hayward Baker/Anderson Drilling, Insteel, TAB, Austin, JCORD, Envise, George M Raymond, Southland, Southwest Specialty, Bergelectric, Master Craft, Standard Drywall, Midwest Pro Painting, QME Gunite, Stewart & Sundell, Giroux Glass, Tracy & Ryder Landscape, Reliable Steel, Southwest Steel, Union Erectors and WP&F Specialty Group. With 3.9 million hours expended, the team navigated through changes in safety protocol, staffing, labor and supply chain availability—with safety at the forefront of every decision.
Throughout construction, Circa provided 4,000 industry-related jobs, and now provides more than 1,000 operational jobs. An adults-only property, the impressive new resort serves as a driver and motivator for visitation to the Downtown destination and provides guests with a Las Vegas experience like no other.
Member of the Year: Ben Bojda – Dominion Environmental Consultants
As an eight-year NCA member, Benjamin Bojda, vice president and Las Vegas branch manager of Dominion Environmental Consultants, was the leading NCA ambassador in 2020 for recruiting new members to join the association and is working hard to do the same in 2021.
Bojda assists with retention of current members, as well as contacting new members to welcome them to the association. In addition, Bojda participates in Government Affairs Committee meetings, Safety Committee meetings and attends quarterly safety forums.
Bojda is also involved in the Construction Leadership Council, where he has an active role as the Hands On Project Lead, that most recently served Cure 4 The Kids Foundation. His responsibilities included site walks and planning, project meetings and interviews. He has participated in the CLC national conference in Chicago and currently volunteers at CLC-supported events.
Member Company of the Year: The PENTA Building Group
The PENTA Building Group was born and raised in Las Vegas. Since opening its doors for business 21 years ago, the company has dedicated itself to the growth and evolution of the construction industry and greater Southern Nevada community. As an active member of the NCA since 2001, PENTA regularly encourages others to join the association and several key executives participate in NCA committees to contribute to construction best practices.
PENTA’s work continues to shape Las Vegas’ ever-changing skyline and includes the construction of some of the largest and most logistically-challenging projects on and off the Strip. The company has built or renovated everything from casinos, hotel properties and multi-purpose arenas, to health care and education facilities, public works and parking structures. Notable projects include Caesars Forum, T-Mobile Arena, the Las Vegas Ballpark, the Wynn South Convention Center Expansion and The Expo at the World Market Center Las Vegas.
PENTA takes care of its employees. It recently created the Dependent Care program, which provides $5,000 per year for childcare costs to employees who qualify. It also offers leadership and development programs to provide employees the opportunity to advance and further develop skill sets.
As PENTA continues to grow—having recently been named as one of ENR’s Top 100—it hasn’t forgotten its roots. The firm maintains a genuine care and concern for people, which drives every aspect of the way it does business. The PENTA CARES Foundation, a nonprofit created to manage the company’s philanthropic endeavors, has donated more than $9 million since 2000 to more than 50 nonprofits. In 2020 alone, PENTA CARES donated nearly $450,000 and organized 123 volunteers who served 991 hours with more than 23 nonprofits.
Diverse Subcontractor of the Year: Fencing Specialists, Inc.
Established in 1983, Fencing Specialists, Inc. is a family-run company servicing Southern Nevada with superior service and exceptional fencing products. It designs, fabricates, installs and repairs fencing, gates, gate operators, access controls, ornamental metal, bollards, turnstiles and railing systems. In 2016, the company merged family ownership to Tania Hurless and Tamra Gannon. Now, as an exclusively female run company, Fencing Specialists is certified DBE, MBE, WBE, WOSB and RISE.
Fencing Specialists secures its business through the NCA’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. And when it subcontracts work, it reaches out to members of the council or utilizes the DBE database to engage with companies listed. Fencing Specialists employs Moapa Tribal members on all work conducted on the reservation. Crew members are also required to complete sensitivity and WEAP training while performing on tribal lands.
By conducting monthly meetings with the entire team, Fencing Specialists encourages open dialogue. Whether it’s software upgrades or methods of bidding projects more accurately and competitively or supplying better PPE while on the job site, Fencing Specialists believes in listening to its crew to make their environment safer and happier—recognizing and celebrating their work along the way.
Diverse Supplier/Professional Service Firm of the Year: Linda Q Photography LLC
Raised in a construction-business family and passionate about photography, it was only natural for Linda Quackenboss to start Linda Q Photography, specializing in construction and architectural photography. General contractors make up 90% of her client base, and subcontractors, commercial real estate brokers and architects fill the rest.
Quackenboss has 13 years of Las Vegas construction photography experience and added FAA-certified drone flying five years ago. With a variety of general contractor clients, she has developed ground-level still and video, and aerial stills and videography that perfectly display her clients’ hard work and production excellence. Quackenboss has also created still photos for websites and video sales presentations.
“Our society is visual,” Quackenboss said. “We want to see what people are doing. Being able to create the photos and video that SBE/WBE/DBE companies can use to grow their small businesses into large businesses is vital. Photos and videos of their large jobs shows their capabilities in a tangible way for clients to see their skills.”
Quackenboss has been with the NCA since 2017, serving on the Ambassadors Team from the beginning and in the last two years added the Diversity and Inclusion Council. As a cancer survivor, Quackenboss supports several charities related to cancer awareness, prevention and treatment, including Komen for the Cure and American Cancer Society – Construction for the Cure.
J.A. Tiberti Spirit Award: Guy Martin, Martin-Harris Construction
Guy Martin has built a 39-year career at Martin-Harris Construction through an intense passion for the industry, its future workforce and our local community.
After joining the family business in 1982, Martin worked his way up from laborer to superintendent, estimator to director of business development, and all the way to his current role as president. Now, Martin is responsible for the overall management and success of Martin-Harris’s operations throughout the southwest U.S.
Martin is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of construction industry professionals. He currently sits on the board for Nevada Workforce Connections and has been involved with the AGC Las Vegas Chapter and National Committee as well as served on the Nevada Construction & Development Assembly for COVID-19 safety and best practices.
As a mentor and leader, Martin helps build and expand companies throughout Las Vegas. He champions Martin-Harris’ participation in organizations such as the Urban Chamber, the Latin Chamber, the Western Minority Supplier Development Council, the National Association of Minority Contractors and the Women’s Business Enterprise Council.
Martin also oversees Martin-Harris’ philanthropic efforts, including an annual blood drive and commitments to the USO Las Vegas, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada, the Michael T. Martin Memorial Scholarship Fund and Construction vs. Cancer. Last year, he was named “Pinkest Man of the Year,” raising more than $28,000 during the Las Vegas Real Men Wear Pink campaign benefiting the American Cancer Society.