Subcontractor of The Year: Tradewinds Construction
Construction Las Vegas, Volume 3 Fall 2015 – For Tradewinds Construction, jobs can run the gamut from multi-million dollar installations to touch-up tenant improvements. Owner Jeff Vilkin refers to his company as one of the larger small shops in town, and the firm has garnered plenty of praise for being able to handle its share of diverse and complex work. Tradewinds Constructions’ subcontracting specialties are in commercial wood and metal framing as well as unique panelized roof structures for larger commercial buildings. But the company is also known for Vilkin’s industry-promoting efforts, too. Vilkin sits on the AGC government relations subcommittee. Every legislative season, he has an ear to the ground for the latest issues that could impact his industry positively or negatively.
“I choose to put my personal time and effort into government affairs, as a general contractor, to protect the integrity of the open shop, and I think I’ve been effective,” he said. Vilkin has had a say in issues like prevailing wage reform, construction defect laws and contractor retention law changes. In March, for example, the Nevada legislature passed SB 119, which created an exemption for prevailing wage pay on school construction projects. Vilkin was at the center of the conversation, one that was also debated during the 2013 legislative session. “The last two sessions I’ve been a participant in the framework of that debate,” he said. In the last legislative session, changes to construction defect law made it harder for frivolous lawsuits to gain ground by reducing the statute of limitations from 10 to six years, among other changes.
“We had some of the weakest legal frameworks and then went to one of the best legal frameworks, from the contractor’s perspective, when it came to frivolous lawsuits,” Vilkin said. Another victory in the most recent legislative session came on the subject of payment retention. In the past, 10 percent could be retained from progressive payments to a contractor on a private construction job. The sum withheld is then paid upon completion of the job. With new legislation, that figure has been reduced to 5 percent. At a time when contractors are operating on the slimmest margins ever, Vilkin said, that extra 5 percent is crucial.
Having endured a fiercely competitive contracting market with plenty of price undercutting throughout the recession, and even today, Vilkin’s company has still been able to remain innovative and produce quality work. The company has completed framing and drywall work on Sahara Center, at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Hualapai Way; it had a hand in Downtown Summerlin’s movie theater complex and will be installing the ceiling inside the new IKEA store, which is set to open next summer. The company is also currently completing the vaulted ceilings of the St. Anthony’s of Padua Catholic Church in the Northwest valley.
“I don’t know if anyone in the valley that’s an open shop runs a bigger operation than we do,” Vilkin said. More recently, Tradewinds took on the exterior work for two 90,000 square-foot buildings at Tivoli Village, which involved heavy-gauge metal stud framing and plywood sheathing as well as fire-proofing.
“We worked with a lot of high reach equipment and safety was a critical issue to make sure all that high reach work could be done safely,” Vilkin said.
Tradewinds also designed and built the new Bonanza Road Tenaya Creek Brewery location. Created using some existing elements of a building developed in the 1950s, the job saw plenty of engineering challenges that were overcome by Tradewinds. Along with a 40-foot silo that can hold 60,000 pounds of barley and grain, the new facility brings capacity for 70,000 kegs of beer to be brewed annually.
Tradewinds also supports numerous sports program sponsorships, Habitat for Humanity construction project participation, among other philanthropic efforts. It has also been honored in the past by several building industry associations for its green building efforts as well as its safety, training and evaluation processes.