Top 10 Memorable Moments of 2019

Posted by Gianna Cary on Dec 30, 2019 4:12:55 PM

2019 was a wonderful and very busy year for all of us at the Skyline Family of Companies. As this year comes to a close and we reflect on our experiences, we want to share with you a few of the highlights.  Here are 10 of our most memorable moments that shaped 2019.


1. From one company to a family of companies with expansion in Chicago and the Bay Area

In early 2019 we expanded into new markets and added additional service lines through the creation of Skyline’s Family of Companies. Skyline Capital Builders was established to specialize in ground up, hospitality and building repositioning in the Bay Area, while ACCEND Construction specializes in commercial construction in Chicago.

Why Chicago you ask?

In this two minute video, David Hayes CEO, Jessica Carps CFO and ACCEND President Andrew MacGregor discuss why many Bay Area companies are expanding into Chicago.











2. Jessica Callahan discusses how companies use densification to combat rising costs in the Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area has officially passed New York as the world's most expensive place to build, leaving tenants and contractors looking for ways to adjust. Our teams have uncovered many ways to help clients densify their space, while meeting all city and building codes and keeping costs in line. Vice President of Operations, Jessica Callahan took to the podium at the Bay Area State of the Office event to discuss densification, cost savings and other trends in the market.

Read more from Jessica on the topic here:

Callahan Bisnow Article



3. Celebrating women in construction all year long

With smart and inspiring women at all levels, and in all roles within this business, it is a wonderful time for women to enter the construction industry. In this short video, hear from Skyliners why diversity is on the rise in construction.











4. Being part of our client’s growth

There’s nothing we value more than relationships. Oracle and Skyline have partnered since 2011 to build office space throughout the Bay Area. Most recently, Oracle envisioned a refresh and modernization to their Redwood Shores campus and our team helped bring that vision to life. We were proud to unveil their new space with features and designs that were very true to Oracle’s elevated standards and culture. To read more about the project and view the gallery, visit




5. A new kind of CEO in construction

Very few can inspire people quite like our CEO, David Hayes. David not only advocates for diversity and inclusion in construction, but he also personally mentors and empowers diverse employees in our company to elevate their careers. We’re very proud of what David is doing to spread awareness and level the playing field in our industry. Read more about his views on the state of construction, diversity and leading an employee-owned company in the Bay Area:



6. The historic building repositioning of 657 / 667 Mission Street in San Francisco

The team at Skyline Capital Builders spent this year working on a complex repositioning to a historic building downtown San Francisco, where two adjacent early 20th Century buildings are being seismically retrofitted and adjoined into one. Although it would have been quicker and easier to demolish one of the buildings and expand the other, the intent was to keep the historic integrity of the buildings in place. Learn more about the project in this quick video:











7. Jessica Carps Named Bay Area Power Woman

We’re so proud of our CFO, Jessica Carps, for being recognized as a Bay Area Power Woman by Bisnow. Jessica has made an amazing impact at Skyline since joining in 2015 and will play an integral role in our growth and success as she empowers others to propel forward.

To read more about Jessica, visit



8. Proud to be recognized as the Bay Area’s top contractor!

This year we were named among the largest general contractor in the Bay Area by both the Silicon Valley Business Journal and the San Francisco Business Times. With 75 reputable general contractors featured on the list, we are honored to be in good company. Our steady and intentional growth is attributed to hiring and mentoring the industry’s brightest and most driven team, who in turn see their role on construction projects as a true partner and advocate for clients to help them realize their vision.




9. A beautiful renovation for the Olympic Club

A valued client since 2010, we were honored to partner with the Olympic Club again this year to provide building upgrades to their women’s locker room and fitness center, which turned out more gorgeous than we could have imagined. See some of the photos here:

599Skyline LockerRoom9



10. Andy MacGregor discusses trends in Chicago’s construction industry with Crains Chicago Business

Over the past 20 years, Andy MacGregor, President of ACCEND has established a name for himself in the Chicago construction market, building some of the region’s largest, most complex and creative spaces. He recently shared his thoughts on the evolving and booming Chicago construction industry with Crains.  Catch what he had to say here…






Topics: 2019 Memorable Moments

Simplifying the baaqmd permitting process for generators

Posted by Craig Jones on Aug 28, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Feature Image - BAAQMD

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), otherwise known as the “Air District," is tasked with regulating stationary sources of air pollution in the nine counties that surround the San Francisco Bay: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southwestern Solano, and southern Sonoma counties. The Air District's mission statement is to, “create a healthy breathing environment for every Bay Area resident while protecting and improving public health, air quality, and the global climate” and strives to achieve these objectives through:

  • Reducing and eliminating health problems caused by air pollution.
  • Achieving and maintaining air quality standards for all criteria pollutants.
  • Creating high-quality, relevant regulatory programs and ensure they comply with federal, state, and local laws.

Most of the equipment that emits to the atmosphere to be installed and operated in the Bay Area will require Air District permits which are documents that authorize the permit holder to install this type of equipment (“Authority to Construct”) and/or operate this type of equipment (“Permit to Operate”).  Air quality permits are required by law and are needed for:

  • Any equipment that may cause air pollution.
  • Modification to existing permitted equipment or their permit conditions.
  • Permitted equipment that is moved to a new location.
  • Transfer of permitted equipment to new owners
  • Installation of equipment used to control emissions.

NOTE: Depending on the type of equipment, its installation or use may also require separate local jurisdictional permits.
(e.g., in the case of an Emergency Standby Diesel Generator Set, a generator permit(s) will be required by the local jurisdiction for the installation of the GenSet and fuel system; a BAAQMD Authority to Construct permit will be required to fuel and commission the generator; and then a BAAQMD Permit to Operate permit will be required to operate the generator.)

We have created a summary flowchart that shows the usual steps to be followed for the Air District permitting of an Emergency Standby Diesel Generator Set (the most common requirement that we have experienced with our clients and the BAAQMD) based on the Air District’s requirements and Skyline’s extensive experience with the installation and commissioning of this type of equipment.  Depending on the other stationary equipment to be permitted, the steps, timing and application deliverables may vary.  Although this infographic is a simplified depiction of the generator permit process, the application documents and process can be quite complicated. I you require assistance, our Skyline team can provide additional clarification to the permit process related to specific equipment installation or operation and can further explain the detailed BAAQMD application requirements (or any additional permit requirements from other parties) including Form P101-B “Authority to Construct/Permit to Operate; Location Map; Facility Map; HRSA Map; Form ICE Internal Combustion Engine; Form HRSA; Specific Generator Specifications based on actual engine to be used.




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Topics: general contractor, air quality, generator, BAAQMD, air district, permit

Controlling Cost on Your Construction Project

Posted by Craig Jones on Mar 20, 2018 8:00:00 AM

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I’ve worked as a general contractor for over 30 years and the number one question I get asked is, “How can we reduce project costs?” Over time, I have learned that although there are things that we (your contractor) have no control over, there are still several creative ways we can help, and better yet, there are factors that you (the client) can control yourselves to reduce your final bill. So what are they? 

We've partnered with The Bridge Group to offer 2 perspectives on how to save money on your next construction project. The Bridge Group offers tips to Construction Managers, Facility Managers and Operation Teams to lower construction costs in their blog post, Three Simple Ways to Control the Cost of your Next Construction Project.

Alternatively, I've outlined these 3 key cost contributors below, and how you (the client / end user) can take matters into your own hands to reduce costs.

Cost driving factors that your contractor has NO control over

  • Commodity prices are rising making the cost to produce and ship materials for your project higher.
    • Copper is up 47%
    • Crude oil is up 34%
    • Metal studs are up 20% and projected to increase 20% - 30% more
    • Drywall is projected to increase another 5%

  • Assembly Bill 1701 went into effect on January 1, 2018, which now makes general contractors (GCs) financially responsible for any subcontractor who fails to pay their employees, even if the GC has paid the subcontractor for the work completed. This requires GCs to assume liability for unpaid wages, fringe and other benefit payments or contributions, including interest owed by subcontractors to their employees. Ultimately, this new law will likely lead to higher construction costs.

  • The new OSHA Silica rules have caused subcontractors to implement new procedures and safety measures on their projects to comply with such rules, which has the potential to increase project costs.

  • Several natural disasters have also impacted costs: Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma resulted in $200 billion in damage and the Northern and Southern California wildfires increased our already taxed housing situation which all cause further stress on construction materials and labor.

Areas your general contractor can help reduce costs

  • Understand city plan check and inspection lead times to factor into the schedule and avoid overtime labor costs

  • Prepare effective schedules during pre-construction to sequence the workflow and maximize efficient manpower usage

  • Involve AV, IT, cabling, and security subcontractors (and the Owner stakeholder for these trades) early in pre-construction so that design is final and priced into the project to eliminate change orders during construction

  • Set realistic construction schedules - if the schedule is too short, subcontractors will price labor higher to meet schedule demands

  • Order materials early on projects so that no overtime is necessary for installation

  • Work closely with the design team to select readily available materials and products

  • Hire key subcontractors early to coordinate with the design team and existing building conditions to eliminate pricing contingencies

  • Use new technology to streamline the design and construction process. Some examples of new technology are mobile applications and cloud storage for quick access to important documents; laser scanning to help capture accurate space conditions and drones to help survey the space from a different vantage point.

  • Use modularization and prefabrication when possible to reduce field labor costs

How YOU can control your own costs

There are ways that you can take costs into your own hands while selecting and conceptualizing your space. We’ve created a tool called the Bay Area Cost Comparison to help guide you towards a less expensive project. This white paper will give you an idea of what an average project might cost in your area, what factors drive cost escalation, and what cost saving measures to look for.

Here are the most important factors that you can control to reduce your own construction project:

  • Pay attention to the existing conditions while selecting your space. The current condition of things like restrooms, drywall, floors, window shades, etc. can either save, or cost you a lot of money.
  • Mind the 3 F’s: fixtures, finishes and features. Work closely with your contractor to determine material cost and availability when selecting finishes like millwork, flooring, ceiling and special features like stairs, Audio Visual or kitchen appliances. Light fixture type, lighting distributors, control systems and existing wiring will also drive your costs.

  • Examine your HVAC system’s existing condition to check the condition of the  medium pressure loop, VAV boxes, ductwork and controls. Replacing any of these elements can be costly.

Tips for Construction Managers & Facility Management professionals

The Bridge Group outlines their tips for construction professionals to strategize cost saving measures for their clients in their blog post, Three Simple Ways to Control the Cost of your Next Construction Project.


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Topics: Construction costs, costs, schedule, plan check, Silica, controlling costs, OSHA, reduce cost, construction regulation, budget, general contractor, AB 1701

Why is the US not fighting equally hard for families?

Posted by David Hayes on Mar 13, 2018 1:15:22 PM
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International Women’s Day inspired me write about women in construction, but that sent me on a different path that encompasses not only women, but families as a whole, and the support system that our country provides to keep highly skilled and intelligent individuals in the workplace.

The US government hasn’t decided to prioritize and invest in its own citizens who want an equally prosperous life – families. Families with children have to choose between not returning to work or paying exorbitant childcare costs. Why?  The US government offers a measly $5k child credit in the new tax law. Big deal, $5k buys you childcare for one or two months only.  Why not offer $24k-$30k per child in credit or make childcare costs 100% deductible?  Let’s invest in our most educated resource – our workforce.  A tax credit means you have to earn money to get it, and both women and men want to work, thus will earn more, pay taxes and can use the credit.

Did you know 57% of students in college and graduates are women?  Yet after having a child, many families must make the difficult choice for one of the parents (in most cases, women) to stay home over returning to work due to the cost of childcare. This means we have a country where around 50% of our highest educated people are leaving the workforce.  If the key to a balanced and successful country is getting its citizens educated and contributing to the economic engine, why are we forcing families to remove one educated job participate from the economic machine? Why are we forcing them out of work when we need all the talent we can get?

Laws have improved giving both mothers and fathers more time off to bond with their babies but more can still be done. We need tax laws that support women, men and families and make the financial burden of childcare costs go away.  If we do not push our legislatures for it, we will continue to lose our highest educated resources.


Women in Construction

When I became a partner at Skyline in 1996, it was a newly-founded company. There were no women in our project management department. ZERO.  22 years later, 25% of our project management group and 40% of our leadership team is comprised of women.  We are about to appoint our first woman to our board of directors, Jessica Carps, and we are a better organization because of this depth and brain power.


What are we doing at Skyline to foster women in construction?

Twice per year we evaluate the salaries of employees to ensure that women at Skyline are consistently compensated with their male counterparts and make necessary adjustments to level the field when discrepancies appear. Last year, the Skyline Women’s Network was created to promote and support inclusion within our organization.  We are also trying to take matters into our own hands in terms of supporting our talent pool by developing a “menu” of benefits that allows every employee to select the options that are pertinent to them based on their stage of life–this includes providing financial aid to offset childcare costs.

Topics: women in construction, workforce, childcare, cost of living, costs

Why you need to be a millionaire to survive retirement

Posted by David Hayes on Jan 17, 2018 9:21:09 AM














Some people say, “I love where I work.”

I say, “Great, but does your work love you back?”

How does a company show love?  They look after your current and future financial well-being. If the love was truly mutual, your company would offer great pay and benefits AND take care of you into your retirement years by creating a long-term compensation plan. In most cases, the truth is that the love is not mutual, because such a plan equals money out of the owner’s pocket.  It’s simple old-fashion greed, and you will feel the wrath of that greed once it’s time for you to retire.

Planning a Future Beyond Survival

To retire and live a comfortable and healthy life, the conventional wisdom is that you will be living on 70-80% of your current income and you need to have a total nest egg of about 10 -12 times your current salary—which basically means, yeah, you’re going to need to be a millionaire to retire comfortably.

National surveys recently shared in the Orange County Register demonstrates that only 8% of the population has a net worth of $100,000.

And only 2.5% of the population has a net worth over $1 Million.

Avoiding some tragic event, you will turn 50, you will turn 60, you will turn 70, 80, 90 and hopefully 100 years old. The reality of the situation is that once you pass age 65, staying employed is tough. So for most of us, ages 65 -100 is a time in our lives where we must have reserve funds to survive because it’s unlikely we’ll be able to earn.  If you’re not planning for this at 25, 35, 45 and on, you’re crazy!

But for most humans, ages 25 through 45 is simply about survival: paying the bills, saving for a home, paying off student loans, getting married, having kids, saving for college, and more. Retirement saving during these years usually consists of a 401k and any match your employer offers, but guess what?  It will NOT be enough, even with normal compounding of annual returns and even if social security continues (fingers crossed). You will need more, a lot more. So where can you get it? Well, a second job would help or the far better option is to find a company that offers a long term retirement plan for its staff, paid for and vested by the company.

The ESOP Way (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) VS. Everything Else

Skyline and a handful of others in the construction industry are ESOP companies, which are 100% employee-owned and issue company stock to our employees. This is important for your future because it serves as a supplemental retirement fund at no cost to you. It’s FREE MONEY.

I’ve worked for privately held S corporations & LLC’s for the majority of my life, sitting in both the employee’s seat and the executive’s seat. Believe me when I tell you that it’s extremely rare that these types of firms give a damn about your retirement. They’re offering retirement benefits to check the box and to remain competitive. They’re not evil, just greedy. After all, it’s their own money keeping the company alive and they pay big taxes on the profits, so they want to keep whatever profit is leftover.

When I became CEO at Skyline, my plan was ESOP or bust. I’d rather make 100 people millionaires, than make 4 partners worth over $25M each. This is simply better for society, and we’re in need of some strategic social financial thinking these days to solve long-term problems. Our employees enjoy ESOP stock, 401K contributions with a $6,000 company matching plan and annual profit sharing that ALL goes into a long-term, tax-deferred retirement plan. The company provides 3 extra buckets of funds to help prepare for future retirement. This is how we share the wealth and show our employees that the” love is mutual”.

The average construction field or office worker makes between $60,000 - $150,000, depending on their position, years of experience, etc. At Skyline, our employees make those same competitive annual base salaries with the ADDED benefits of ESOP stock, profit sharing and 401k matching. That means over the span of one’s career, the average Skyline employee is making anywhere from $500,000 - $1.8 Million MORE than the average construction worker working elsewhere. Those not working in an ESOP company could potentially be missing out on a financially secure retirement. It’s costing people a fortune to work at a privately-held company and they just don’t realize it.

The Reality of Our Situation

I hear all the time from entrepreneurs and executives that “greed is good”, it drives the engine of capitalism. I agree, it does. But when supporting that greed means citizens are left behind financially and we, the taxpayer, have to support them, eventually it will crush capitalism in the form of super taxes. The United States is now in the phase of social capitalism, where companies can be greedy but must take care of their employees long term. Basic terms, we are back to the days where companies must help employees formulate a robust pension / retirement fund as part of their employment and it has to go way beyond a 401k match.

$1 Million to survive retirement. And only 2.5% of the population is there now, which means the remaining 97.5% of us will have long, hard, golden years ahead after working our butts off for the majority of our lives. This is why having something like an ESOP is so valuable.  It is an extra bucket of funds, on top of your 401K, social security and any other savings, so that you have a comfortable retirement.

The Million Dollar Question

So, will you be a millionaire? If you happen to work for an ESOP company, all signs point to YES.

Skyline has been an ESOP company for 12 years. Today, about 10% of our staff have retirement balances over $1 Million through a combination of ESOP stock, profit sharing, and 401k + company matching; 30% of our people have retirement accounts over $200,000; over 60% have accounts over $100,000 and the others are well on their way.  That’s over 70 people just at our company alone who fall in the top 8.5% of the United States.  

Can your company make this claim? If not, maybe the love isn’t mutual after all.


Topics: jobs, career path, career advice, construction career, Construction Real Estate, retirement, ESOP, salary

Culture is so much more than ping pong tables

Posted by David Hayes on Jun 6, 2017 10:49:21 AM



Culture is a word consultants and CEOs use to label how they treat their people at a company. It is a business word, but it is not an action word, or a word that represents a true emotional buy in.


Culture Does Not Equal Amenities

These days culture replaces the word “amenities,” where CEOs and HR leaders provide gyms, gumball machines, beer taps, wine coolers, music rooms and call it part of their culture. These are amenities -- perks of employment to replace the old list of perks such as club memberships, expense accounts, sports tickets, corner offices, executive restrooms, etc.


Culture is Trust

The real key to getting people aligned and working as a unit is to build a company full of trust. The trust factor builds the foundation of a company’s culture and once established, all the other stuff gets loaded on to make your company unique and a fun place to work.  


So What is Trust?

Well first it starts at the top and must continue all the way through the organization, because wherever it stops, lies your pain point. Show me any organization where people are leaving the firm, and I will in turn show you a manager or leader that they just do not trust.  

Getting back to “what is trust?” It starts with the secret ingredient that every great leader should know and believe: everything is about “you” not “me.” Too many leaders and business owners actually believe leading people is about telling them what to do instead of empowering them to make their own decisions. Good luck with scale and trust with that strategy -- not happening.

A real leader believes in their core that “if I work tirelessly to make you great, you will trust me, and in turn, do the same for your staff.”  Accomplish this and the success waterfall is in motion.


Traits of Trusted Leaders

  1. Honest, they will be straight with you, whether the news is good or bad.  
  2. Reliable, they will find the time to help you.
  3. Balanced, they know humans have a life outside of work and that needs as much focus and time as work does.
  4. Experts, they know their stuff and can help you because their breadth of experience is something you seek.

Companies are a collection of human beings who are thinking and feeling with needs and desires.  Recognizing this and trusting each other is the key to a powerful workforce working in harmony with each other to build a successful culture.

Topics: culture

Why does my office tenant improvement cost so much?

Posted by Craig Jones on Apr 25, 2017 2:35:18 PM

It’s a great question.  There are many factors that drive construction costs, most of which are controlled by the market and supply and demand (manpower, lead times, code changes and commodity pricing). Here is my take on the key factors driving current construction costs.

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Title 24 regulations are costly

Title 24, or California’s Energy Code, is a hot topic in construction. It is a set of standards and regulations aimed to reduce California’s energy consumption. The Title 24 energy standards have changed twice in the past 2 years, each time driving up the price of construction. The 1st change decreased the amount of allowable use of energy for lighting, making it mandatory for contractors to switch from fluorescent lighting (cheaper) to LED lighting (energy efficient, but more expensive). This first revision also mandated each new electrical outlet to have a duplicate one within 6 feet that will automatically shut off when not in use (another added cost). The 2nd revision of the Title 24 code affected HVAC systems, requiring contractors to opt for Spiral duct (made of sheet metal) instead of Alumaflex (flexible duct).  Spiral Duct is more expensive than Alumaflex because of the cost of material and the additional labor it takes to install.

Manpower is at a premium

Clients are asking, “With Apple’s spaceship campus and other large Bay Area projects finishing, can we expect lower costs?” Seems logical, and I raised the same question to our subcontractors, but it’s unanimous that costs are actually rising. One of our subcontractors stated it best, “Unions are still lacking the manpower to meet project demands, so they pull workers from out of state and the project ends up taking more labor hours than we anticipated.” These “traveling” tradesmen often have lower productivity rates because they are not Bay Area residents and don’t have an incentive to work quickly for our local unions to move up the ladder. Instead, they do the job they are contracted to do so they can return home and find local work. The lower productivity rates increase the amount of tradesman to complete the same work and can prolong the construction project which results in increased costs.

Big Bay Area projects fill the pipeline

I’ve heard more Apple projects are upcoming, along with more projects from tech titans like Google. On top of tech are the SF Airport projects ($3+ billion of work), the SF Oceanwide Center ($1.5 billion) and the Warriors Arena ($1 billion) that are keeping the Bay Area very busy in construction.  This means the “travelers” are still needed. We also have certain trades that are very impacted, like Millwork (cabinetry and finished wood products) and Glazing (glass), which brings us back to outsourcing work and lower productivity rates. So what does all this mean? It means that with all these big projects on the horizon and impacted trades, we don’t expect construction costs to reduce in 2017 and into 2018.



  • It’s unlikely that construction costs will reduce from 2017 to 2018.
  • Economic slowdown effect: In my experience, I have found on average, it takes 18 months for the construction industry to catch up to the fluctuations of a market slowdown and then a market recovery. So although the rising vacancy and unemployment rates signal an economic downturn, construction activity will remain strong for the next 18 months.
  • Hot Market effect: Yes, the Bay Area construction market is hot. However, large scale projects drain resources, causing trades to outsource and lose productivity which drives costs upward.

Topics: Construction costs, Bay Area Trends, Real Estate, Construction Real Estate

Things to consider before landing your first construction job

Posted by Christy Le on Feb 22, 2017 1:56:04 PM

So you want to be a construction superstar? By all means, earn your education, certifications and training. Take on internships and build your resume. But what is it really like to work in the construction industry? And what should you know before you jump in? We're here to offer advice the books won't teach you. Here are 4 things construction professionals today wished they knew before landing their first construction job.

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1. Determine the desired pace of your career

In commercial construction an important consideration is how long you want to spend working on a single project. If you want to experience a diverse portfolio of projects for top name brands (think Google, Airbnb, Uber, PayPal, Facebook), look for a mid-sized, tenant improvement firm with projects that average 8-14 weeks of construction per project. This will ensure that within the first year, you will have a handful of projects under your belt. If you fancy building big structures such as bridges, large campuses or high rises, be prepared to wrap up your first project in about 2-3 years--these projects are massive, and include many moving parts and you will not likely be exposed to the full spectrum of the project.

"Working for large contractors on high profile jobs is a huge waste of time. Bridges, towers, hospital, etc... Your career will move at a snails pace. Find a mid size, growing company that can give you the ability to grow at a rapid rate. " -- Nathan Drainville, Project Manager

2. Thick skin goes a long way

Having the resilience to take on challenges as they come will help more than you know. Commercial construction can be stressful. This is a challenging profession, both mentally and physically. Ready yourself for changes, and be quick to react and adapt so you can stay proactive to meet schedule deadlines.

"Nothing ever goes perfectly in construction and you should be good at improvising and problem solving when things get tough." -- Bryan Mendes, Construction Management Intern.

3. Trade secrets from the field

If you are considering going into field construction instead of the project management route, you can expect your own set of unique benefits, challenges and excitement. After all, you will literally be where the magic happens. Be prepared for the union vs. non-union dynamic, inconsistent work schedules and a tradition of trade secrets that get passed from generation to generation.

"Life in construction has a way of creating a sort of passion for us. So does the diverse group of people you'll encounter and learn from. The people create this atmosphere where they count on you (as the future of the trade) to keep it going and not let them down." -- Walter Torres, Superintendent

4. Be a doer, a seller and a process guru

One of the biggest missed opportunities in construction comes from pigeon-holing yourself into a certain role. An engineer is not just an engineer and a tradesman is more than a tradesman. In this industry, those who thrive are the ones who can be client-facing, the technical expert on the jobsite, and a process maven in the office. You are selling a service, and each employee has the opportunity to win work by positively representing your company in the office and the field.

"Engineering classes provide theoretical knowledge and techniques, but don't ignore practical business training such mastering your elevator pitch, understanding accounting and financial reports and the art of relationship-building." -- Craig Jones, Principal

Topics: construction, jobs, construction management, project management, career path, career advice, career, cre jobs, construction career

Made in America: 20 Brands w/ American-Made Products

Posted by Christy Le on Aug 1, 2016 2:45:05 PM

In celebration of Skyline's 20 year anniversary, we’re sharing 20 of our favorite things -- from tools to travel destinations and everything in between. 

This month in honor of America's birthday we turn the spotlight to 20 American brands that are manufacturing construction material right here on U.S. soil. Read on for the full list of our favorite locally sourced material and finishes.


Locally sourced products are all the rage for good reason: sourcing locally drives production which creates jobs. But why hasn't this trend caught on in the construction industry?  We set out to to answer this question by building commercial interior offices using as many American made materials as possible. Here's what we learned along the way:


1. Building materials are separate from finishes

It's easy to achieve a partially American-built project when you consider the "behind the walls" materials that go into a construction project. Nails, drywall, ductwork, lumber, plumbing, even paint and carpet are all easily sourced, nationally; but fine imported stone for your reception desk? Much harder.  Dont be discouraged, even a small change can lead to a big impact. 

Anders Lewendal, an economist turned builder, states that "if every commercial builder used just 5% more American-made materials on their projects, this would result in 220,000 more US jobs."


2. Quality is better

U.S. manufacturers are required to follow strict health and safety regulations, both in the quality of their products and in the safety of their workers. The result is a highly regulated, better quality product.


3. Cost remains the same

Without a doubt, we expected the see a sizeable cost increase in sourcing American-manufacturered materials. Turns out, it's just another misconception.  The cost increase to use American made materials was less than 1%.


4. Having a plan is key

Knowing where to get American-made products and what vendors offer them is key. So without further ado, here is a list of just some of the companies who are manufacturing materials, equipment and finishes for the commercial construction industry, right here in the United States. 

  1. Pionite Surface Systems (High Pressure Laminate)

  2. Doug Mockett (Drawer pulls)

  3. Wilsonart (High Pressure Laminate)

  4. SCAFCO (Drywall)

  5. Climatemaster (HVAC)

  6. Lithonia (Lighting)

  7. Phillips Day-Brite (Lighting)

  8. Abet Laminati (Millwork)

  9. Formica (Millwork)

  10. Armstrong (Acoustical Ceiling)

  11. Milliken (Flooring)

  12. Shaw (Flooring)

  13. Benjamin Moore (Paint)

  14. Glidden Professional(Paint)

  15. IdeaPaint (Paint)

  16. Knoll Textiles (Banquette Seating)

  17. Elkay (Plumbling)

  18. Moen (Plumbling)

  19. Zumtobel (Electrical)

  20. Finelite (Electrical)

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Topics: Construction Trends, contractor, american, american-made, made in america, local

Top 20 Interior Features - Celebrating 20 Years w/ 20 Favorites

Posted by Christy Le on Jun 13, 2016 8:00:00 AM

In celebration of our 20 year anniversary, we’re sharing 20 of our favorite things -- from tools to travel destinations and everything in between. 

This month we highlight 20 of Skyline's most requested and unique finishes that guarantee the "wow-factor" in any office space.



Edison Light Bulbs

These bulbs are the trendiest thing since kale salad.  
From restaurants to offices and even outdoor patios,
these strands can class up any space.




Bold Paint Colors

An easy and cost effective way to add a POP to any space,
we are digging the come back of bold, vibrant colors.
Eye catching, affordable, effective--what's not to love?



Tinted Glass + Window Film

Decorated glass office fronts and intricate window film are wildly popular 
to add a hint of privacy, while tying design elements into the overall brand. 


Lithium Technologies 


The Industrial Look

Steel, exposed ceilings, unfinished wood and metal studs give an
industrial feel and we are seeing this look come to life all over the Bay Area.


 Galvanize Cafe


Reclaimed Wood

The reclaimed wood trend is everywhere. No doubt you've seen it before.
But its beauty is in its versatility -- it suits a funky tech space just as well as a sophisticated VC firm.
Rolling barn wood doors, reclaimed wood walls and live edge tables are trends we see time and time again.


Perkins Coie



Channel your inner child and scribble on the walls? Yes please.
IdeaPaint allows you to create a custom dry-erase or chalk board on virtually any surface, 
transforming the space into a hub of creativity and collaboration.... especially loved by our tech clients.


Lithium Technologies


Living Walls

Living walls make a dramatic statement in any space.
These vertical gardens are low maintenance, sustainable and have been proven
to reduce stress, enhance indoor air quality, and improve mental health. Two thumbs up.





We're convinced there is no better way to get from point A to point B.
We geek out over slides and love the challenge of their technical installation.




Art Walls

Traditional frames are being replaced with custom installations commissioned by local artists.
See the graffiti wall below... double whammy to capture a company's culture and support local artists.




Ceiling Clouds

The popularity of exposed ceilings was quickly followed by the necessity for ceiling clouds. 
These installations lower noise levels and distortion while enhancing acoustics. 


 BMC Software


Custom Staircases

Custom staircases require extra planning and coordination but the end result is always stunning,
especially when the staircase doubles as a lounge area or incorporates a slide.




Professional Kitchens

With so many requests for full blown commercial kitchen's lately,
we're starting to get a little jealous of the our client's #workperks.
Who doesn't love a hot free meal, a specially designed wine fridge or multiple kegerators?




Scratch and Sniff Wallpaper

Possibly one of the funkiest features trending, but the walls really are in fact scratch and sniff.  
Hope bananas are your jam if you reserve this phone room for your next conference call.




Video Walls

Large multi-screen video walls are perfect for dynamic signage,
interactive content and strong messaging in any Executive Briefing Center or lobby.





Workplace libraries offer a quiet place to think and work during the day,
but in the evening they double as the meeting place to enter a hidden retro bar.  




Sophisticated Mill Work

Who needs drywall when you can trick out your walls and ceilings with custom mill work.
Luxurious spaces are using wood as a distinguishing feature in their design. Just gorgeous.


ValueAct Capital 


Funky Flooring

Grass in the office? Why not?
Non-traditional flooring is an easy way to make a statement and show separation of spaces.


Big Fish 


Decorated Ceilings

Aside from their aesthetic appeal, heavily designed ceilings offer additional opportunities
for lighting and sound. The office below designed their ceiling to look like airplane wings.  We approve.


Clarium Capital 


Non-Traditional Furniture

In our opinion, swinging in these suspended chairs would be the perfect way to clear writers block.  
Love that firms are adopting swinging chairs, hammocks and all kinds of alternative seating. 



Facet Wall Panels

Out with the boring straight hallways, in with these tricky, asymmetrical wall panels.
Love the added dimension.




Topics: cool office, projects, interior, contractor, tenant improvement, construction, interior design, GC, unique, features