GUAM – From buying construction equipment on eBay to divvying up work between grandfather, sons and brothers, family-run G.C. Gozum Construction is carving out a reliable niche as a subcontractor for the Guam military buildup.

G. C. Gozum now finds itself participating in some of the largest construction projects on Guam, including the $158 million Naval Hospital Guam replacement project.

“It’s all in the family,” Field Operations Manager Francis Rey Gozum said in an interview with While Mr. Gozum’s grandfather and father remain active, they leave much management to 29-year-old Francis Gozum, his two brothers and two cousins. “It’s a small company owned by my grandfather. I’m doing all the invoices, the bidding, everything.”

As the military prepares for the transfer of at least 8,600 U.S. Marines and their support staff and families to Guam from Okinawa, G.C. Gozum and dozens of other companies are expanding, tweaking processes and forging relations with some of the giants of the construction world to position themselves for the millions of dollars in subcontracting work. The Government Accountability Office estimates the entire buildup and related projects could cost $24 billion.

In addition to interior and exterior painting and waterproofing, G.C. Gozum specializes in applying an exterior insulation and finish system — a synthetic wall cladding that insulates and waterproofs surfaces. “EIFS is labor intensive and technical,” Mr. Gozum said. “The workers have to be certified.”

G.C. Gozum was formed when Francis Gozum’s grandfather, Gaudencio Gozum, purchased what had been E.C. Gozum from his brother in 1995. The company worked on projects in Guam’s private sector primarily with Japanese contractors, according to Francis Gozum. In 2005, the company was subcontracted by Dick Pacific, now dck Pacific, to work on the interior renovation of the DFS Galleria.

Working with dck was the company’s breakthrough to the military market. Among the projects it has since done with dck are McCool Elementary and Middle School on Naval Base Guam, the medical/dental clinic at Andersen Air Force Base, the Charles King Fitness Center on Naval Base Guam and the Coast 360 Federal Credit Union building, a commercial project in Maite. It is currently working on the $18.4 million National Guard Readiness Center for dck and the $21 million strike forward operating location electrical infrastructure on Andersen as a subcontractor to dck-ecc Pacific Guam LLC, a joint venture between dck and ecc.

“We continue to utilize Gozum because they are a small business that provides competitive pricing, high quality products and they are very dependable on our projects,” said Louis DeMaria, dck vice president for Micronesia. “The management and field personnel are good to deal with and they take quality and safety seriously.”

The company has developed an ongoing relationship with Watts Constructors that began in 2007 with work on the $35 million base exchange on Andersen. Watts was a subcontractor on the project that was awarded to CDM/CAPE Joint Venture. Gozum was a subcontractor under Watts on the first two phases of the North Tipalao housing replacement project — 204 housing units valued at $78.6 million — and is continuing on the 30-unit third phase of North Tipalao under Fed-Con Joint Venture, which comprises Watts and its small business protégé, Bulltrack Construction Co.

The prime contractor on the Naval hospital replacement is a joint venture that includes Watts with Obayashi Corp. of Japan and Webcor Builders of California.

Gozum also worked on the recently completed Navy bachelor enlisted quarters as a subcontractor for Hensel Phelps Construction Co.

G.C. Gozum was certified as a small disadvantaged business in August 2003 and as a Historically Underutilized Business Zone company in April 2006. The company also has a civil division, which works only in the private sector, primarily on residential projects.

The company has grown with its military work, though not at a steady rate.

“In 2008, we had a lot of work, but in 2009 I just barely got out of the year,” said Mr. Gozum. “And last year was very busy for us.”

From its beginning the company has been active on some of Guam’s largest hotels and resorts. However, prior to its involvement on military projects, it had an average of 15 workers, Mr. Gozum said. Currently, it has 27, down from about 50 at the beginning of the year, though it is expected to climb again as work on new projects begin.

The company recently purchased two S-60 boom lifts. “I went on e-Bay and found the equipment,” Mr. Gozum said. “When I bought it, it had only 500 hours of use time, so it’s like new.”

Mr. Gozum said he is considering adding warehouse space, “so that our equipment can be kept there when we’re not using it. But since I’ve bought the equipment, it’s been in use.”


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