This year’s Groundbreaker Awards winners were announced at Procore’s annual industry event in Chicago, Groundbreak. The Groundbreaker Awards celebrate the top companies, projects and individuals that drive excellence across the construction industry.
“The Groundbreaker Awards acknowledge that behind every remarkable project lies a team of exceptional individuals. These awards shine a spotlight on our trailblazing customers who are making a positive impact on the construction industry day in and day out,” said Tooey Courtemanche, President, Founder, and CEO of Procore. “Congratulations to all of the deserving winners who continue to demonstrate excellence, innovation and dedication in their field.”
Competition was close this year, with Procore selecting 27 companies, projects and individuals as finalists. Chief Marketing Officer, Sarah Hodges, and Head of Procore’s Construction Education Program, Kassy Slaughter, presented the nine awards to the winners:
Excellence in Sustainability: John Ball Zoo Pygmy Hippo Habitat, Wolverine Building Group
In 2023, Wolverine completed the first commercial-use building pursuing the Living Building Challenge Materials Petal — a pygmy hippo habitat at John Ball Zoo. Paquet and his team view sustainability as “leaving the world a better place than the way we found it for future generations,” and this commitment showed up in a significant way on this challenging, unique project. [Insert image of award winner accepting plaque]
Excellence in Workforce Development: ETRO Construction
Since its founding in 2015, ETRO Construction has made it a priority to initiate positive change within the construction industry. From its beginning with only eight employees to its current workforce of over 100, ETRO stands as a pillar of effective workforce development. The company’s growth is not just in numbers, but also in innovation and commitment to inclusivity. ETRO’s core values — authenticity, curiosity, progressiveness and love — resonate deeply within its company culture, with ‘love’ being the value that centers the company's philosophy as a "people-first" organization.[Insert image of award winner accepting plaque]
Excellence in Innovation: Roger’s-O’Brien Construction
For Rogers-O’Brien (RO), a leading Texas general contractor, innovation is everything. RO puts their money where their mouth is by investing in the right tools and talent needed to build better. RO has been innovating by piloting cutting-edge technologies for construction projects, even if they aren’t or weren’t originally made for the industry. They pioneered the usage of drones in the field as early as 2012. As one of the first users of iPads in the field since 2011, this forward-thinking approach has helped RO get and stay ahead.
Excellence in Safety: Keen Project Solutions, LLC
At Keen Project Solutions, safety is more than just a series of checkboxes to be ticked; it's a commitment, a set of moral principles and an identity the entire company embodies. With its cutting-edge approach and dedication, Keen has established a standard in construction safety that remains unparalleled. When establishing Keen, the company’s founders, all industry veterans, knew the importance of a safety-first culture, which inspired the Keen Project Delivery System. With this delivery system, safety remains paramount from the earliest stages of discovery to the final stages of reliability and maintenance.
Excellence in Community: GMA Construction Group
GMA is working to reshape the construction industry from the ground up. Kelly Kahn, Chief Innovation Officer, told us that Founder of GMA Cornelius Griggs stated, “I was blessed in my life to have mentors that helped me overcome the obstacles of my youth. When I started GMA, I wanted to deliver projects in the community that improved the lives of the residents, and I wanted to provide jobs that the folks I grew up with did not have access to.” For example, to support diverse youth in construction careers, GMA established the CREATE Program at Austin College and Career Academy and founded the Construction Management Program at Kennedy King College, where Griggs serves as the Program Chair and Professor.
GMA’s internal community hiring initiatives also aim to dismantle barriers that have traditionally kept Black and Latinx individuals from accessing opportunities in construction. Incredibly, GMA's impact extends far beyond its hiring practices. The company is deeply involved in community-centered projects that prioritize the well-being and future success of residents.
Groundbreaker of the Year: Casey French, CEO of Clark Construction Inc.
Taking the helm of a female-founded, employee-owned company and after coming up in the trades and holding a variety of positions, Casey French understood the importance of creating an environment that honors the contributions of both the field and the office. As CCI self-performs certain functions of the business, French doesn’t let the hard work on every jobsite go unnoticed.
French also champions digital transformation, crediting technology for being a key part of CCI’s growth and success, and also framing CCI as an attractive place to work for tech-savvy young talent looking to break into construction.
General Contractor Project Excellence: reHOME Project, Clark Construction Inc.
Sometimes, it’s not the biggest project that has the most significant impact. For Clark Construction Inc (CCI), contributions to a special project for their local community has set a precedent for sustainability, reducing construction waste and providing affordable housing.
On Bainbridge Island, the Morales Farm wanted to be able to cost-effectively house local farm workers and interns. The result was CCI partnering with skilled trades and the community to create three tiny homes that were made out of repurposed construction materials. The mission of this project was to demonstrate that through thoughtful design and materials sourcing, construction waste can be reduced and affordable housing for the community can be attained.
Speciality Contractor Project Excellence: Ford BlueOval City, Fessler & Bowman
Fessler & Bowman, a concrete and civil commercial contractor, is committed to “Building Successful Relationships That Last.” When they were selected to perform a significant amount of concrete work for Ford’s newest campus, BlueOval City, this commitment extended not only to their client, but to the local community as well.
BlueOval City, Ford’s newest and biggest campus to date is set to be a $5.6 billion battery and vehicle manufacturing plant, with plans to open in 2025. This plant, currently being constructed in Stanton, Tennessee, will generate over 11,000 new jobs for the area. The state-of-the-art facility will produce all-electric F-150 pickup trucks with the latest technology, and aspires to have 100% renewable energy, zero waste to landfill and water reuse.
Owner Project Excellence: Logistics Property Company, LLC
Located less than two miles from the heart of Chicago’s business district, the redevelopment of a former natural gas manufacturing site into a state-of-the-art facility is the Midwest's first modern, multi-story warehouse. The project owners, Logistics Property Company, LLC (LPC) understand all that encompasses delivering innovative, high-quality structures. As such, LPC stands at the forefront of visionary urban redevelopment. For LPC, community integration and positive impact are at the heart of its endeavors, and the 1237 West Division Street project showcases this commitment.
To learn more about the 2023 Groundbreaker Awards finalists and winners, please click here.