Reputable, Quality Workmanship in Colorado

Lawrence Construction
Written by Jen Hocken

Heavy civil general contractor Lawrence Construction Co. provides construction services primarily to the municipalities within Colorado and the Colorado Department of Transportation. For the most part, it performs bridge construction and highway work, installs retaining walls for flood control and drainage and implements environmental reclamation for mine sites to re-vegetate the area after mining ends.
Lawrence Construction was established in 1924. The founder worked as a civil engineer for the city of Denver and designed the majority of the utility systems in Denver. He left at the age of forty to establish his own company, Lawrence Construction and began working with small intersections, sidewalks and trails until the company grew to include bridges and highway work. The family-owned-and-operated company is now in its fourth generation with Rick Lawrence as the chief executive officer and president. It will eventually be a fifth-generation company when co-vice presidents Anne Lawrence and Scott Lawrence take the reins.

The company has approximately two hundred people at its headquarters in Littleton, Colorado from which it now provides services to all the surrounding states including New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska.

This family-owned company strives to treat its employees like family. “One of our foremen has been here for thirty-five years. His father was here for his entire career, and his grandfather before him worked for my grandfather,” says Scott Lawrence, co-vice president and project manager at Lawrence Construction. “Seven of our management team have been here for twenty years-plus.

“It is more than just coming to work when you feel like you are part of the team,” he says. This philosophy is incorporated throughout the company from the senior management to the laborers. The company has an open-door policy, where any employee can go to the owner with inquiries or concerns about the company’s operations.

Lawrence Construction is always modifying its internal training programs to provide its employees the best opportunity to improve their skill sets, and it promotes employees from within whenever possible. “We set up a craft career path program. When we get new employees, we show them the different career paths possible,” says Scott. “They can take skills courses and safety training and pass tests to graduate, and hopefully they will eventually want to become foremen, management and superintendents for the company.”

The most successful superintendents and senior staff have previously had experience in the field as carpenters, operators or laborers. Lawrence Construction takes cares of its employees; it generously offers its staff up to five percent matched 401(k) and one hundred percent paid medical, vision and dental care for the employee and the family.

The heavy civil contracting company is continuing to grow and expand its services; it recently began to do more consulting work for the state of Colorado and the municipalities within it. It is capable of doing more of the design work and the preconstruction services than before and is now a certified design contractor for the state.

Lawrence Construction has been nationally recognized for exceptional service and high standards over the years; it has won a number of awards for design-build innovation. The large highway intersection project at I-70 and E470 won a national design-build award in 2004. The largest project that the company has ever worked on is the $79 million Trinidad viaduct reconstruction project in Trinidad, Colorado where it realigned the I-25. The project won awards for design and quality.

“Over the last twenty years, we have won over twenty-two safety awards from the state of Colorado, and sixteen of those were for zero incidents each year. The other awards were for our safety improvement programs,” says Scott.

Construction safety has been a primary focus for nine decades. Its culture of safety awareness and effective, up-to-date training has established an impressive safety record. Lawrence Construction believes that safety is the responsibility of every employee in the company, and it ensures that everyone feels empowered to stop working and inquire if any aspect of the project seems unsafe.

It provides professional construction safety and environmental support on every project, and emergency plans and safety aspects that are specific to the job site are always discussed before commencing. The company also makes sure to continually motivate its employees by recognizing and rewarding those who exhibit exceptional safety standards.

Similar to other construction companies, Lawrence Construction is having a hard time recruiting new talent. It posts available positions on its website for all departments within the company.

Lawrence Construction’s ninety-four-year history and resulting decades of experience passed down through the generations are what sets it apart from the competition in Colorado. Rick Lawrence, the current company president is known for thinking of innovative ways to build projects and infrastructure that others would never come up with. He works collaboratively with the design team to brainstorm the most efficient plan possible.

“Rick sits down with the designers and comes up with a way of doing it, and that is how we won the design-build job that we just finished on I-70 in Havana. Rick came up with a way to lower the bridge profile, and ended up saving the state over three million dollars,” says Scott.

Rick received a civil engineering degree from Colorado State University in 1984 and began managing Lawrence Construction in 1995. He takes a hands-on approach to every aspect of the company and has extensive experience both in the field and working with different design teams.

The company’s relationships with its suppliers have been well established. Lawrence Construction considers it essential to treat its suppliers the same way it would treat its customers or employees: with respect, honesty and open communication. “We have found that treating our suppliers fairly and just like family enabled us to get very competitive pricing, and all of our suppliers are willing to help us out if we are ever in need, which is also true of our subcontractors,” says Scott.

Lawrence Construction does quite a bit of environmental work in mines. It was recognized by Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold for its excellent safety standards and project management at the mining operations. Lawrence Construction is proficient in reclaiming old mining sites to bring back the natural habitat and restore the area to how it was before the mining began.

The company values pollution prevention and delivers measurable results to improve environmental sustainability. “We know a lot of people think of us as just bridge and highway builders, but we do a lot more than that. We have a whole environmental side of our company as well,” says Scott.

The other construction services provided by Lawrence Construction include earthwork, concrete structures, utility infrastructure, pile driving, demolition and concrete precast girders that are produced by its sister company, Plum Creek Structures, Inc., which also supplies girders to its competition in Colorado.

Lawrence Construction has numerous plans for the future, including the venture into new markets. “Anne and I are excited for the future. We are both looking to grow and expand into new markets and new states. We have recently hired three younger project managers and superintendents that we are hoping to grow the company with,” says Scott.

The professionals at Lawrence Construction are experienced heavy civil contractors who represent the company’s values of high safety standards, quality workmanship and innovative construction. It has developed a reputation in Colorado for completing projects on time and within budget while providing exceptional service to every customer. Lawrence Construction is a heavy civil contractor leader in Colorado as a result of its commitment to safety standards and environmental responsibility.



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