Written by The Business Journal Staff
Kelly Riddle, Manager
SGI Construction Management – Fresno
What we do:
SGI Construction Management is a program, project and construction management firm specializing in project delivery for public agencies throughout California. SGI employs eighty professional, technical, and administrative staff, so that from concept to delivery we provide the right team for the project. We are small enough to offer very personalized service, yet large enough to respond to any client need from a reservoir of resources and experience.
Since 1994, SGI has successfully managed more than $10 billion in projects including some of the state’s largest and most complex projects for aviation, education, transportation, world seaports, transportation, water, and wastewater infrastructure.
I opened the Central Valley Office in March 2013.
Education: Attended Cal Poly Pomona electrical engineering school. Graduated from Fresno Pacific University with a BA degree in Management and Organizational Development.
Family: I am married to David Peterson. I have a daughter, Kory Riddle, that lives near Washington DC in Arlington, Va. I have two stepsons, Eric Peterson and Paul Peterson. They are both in the Army and both have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Eric is stationed in North Carolina and lives outside of Raleigh, N.C. and Paul is stationed in southern Ariz. I have a one granddaughter and one grandson.
How did you get involved in the construction management business, Kelly?
I’ve been a program and project manager since 1986 when I was in the Air Force. Then I worked on the installation of highly technical systems around the world until 1991. In 1991, I joined PG&E and provided construction management services over an expansive service area from the California-Arizona border through the Central Valley to Stockton including Calaveras County and the Central Coast from Santa Maria to Salinas.
In 1999 I opened a project construction management office named Project Management and Associates for a San Francisco based firm. In 1994, PMA was acquired by Harris & Associates. I continued with Harris & Associates until the summer of 2004 when I joined Quad Knopf. In the summer of 2007, I joined the City of Fresno to work on its downtown revitalization projects and also organized the VIBE and did five downtown street fair events the summer of 2008. In 2009, I became the Facilities Management Division Manager and oversaw the maintenance of over five million square feet of city facilities and also the design and construction of new park facilities.
In March 3013 I left the City of Fresno to return to the private sector and open the Central Valley SGI office. SGI is headquartered in Pasadena and has offices located in Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco.
The greatest fulfillment I get in this job is being able to make my clients happy by delivering high quality projects and addressing the client’s needs. There’s no better feeling than when the client tells you “well done” at the end of a project because we were able to meet or exceed their expectations.
How has SGI Construction management survived in a down real estate market and tough economy, Kelly?
I believe SGI has been able to weather the financial storms because of focused and strategic planning, and strong client relationships. Being a consulting program/project and construction management firm, you must be able to develop strong relationships with your clients. A consultant can only do that by delivering the best services possible. Repeat customers are critical in this line of work.
As the economy changes, the money ebbs and flows to different areas. For example, sometimes there is a lot of money in school construction when the state passes statewide bonds, then the money will shift to public works or infrastructure type projects. There are many factors that drive where tax dollars are going to be spent. That’s why it is very important that a company like ours is diversified to be able to work on many different types of construction.
In looking at our economic future, we are seeing positive signs in the public works and infrastructure areas. School districts that are able to pass their own local bonds will continue to be able to build and modernize, but the governor has indicated he will not have another state-wide school bond for now.
What associations have you belonged to and how did they help you, Kelly?
Member of American Water Works Association, California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing, American Council of Engineering Companies. Former East Fresno Rotarian and former member of the American Public Works Association.
Being a member of these professional associations allows me to stay up to date on current issues and also develop relationships with my peers and clients that are also members.
What is your key business strategy, Kelly?
Be the expert, provide the right team and be committed to the betterment of the community. We at SGI try to give back to the community through volunteer work and bringing on student interns to work alongside our expert employees. This connects our young people to the project being built in their own neighborhoods sometimes and they learn important skills they can apply when they our working on their own.
What was the best business advice you received? Was there someone who inspired you, Kelly?
The best advice I received in my early career is to “never lie to, or try to deceive your boss.” I learned the importance of character and discipline, when I was young, and that lesson has served me well.
I have had, and still have, many professional people that I look to for advice and mentoring. However, there is one person that has made the greatest impact on my career and success, and that is Gary Biglione. I met Gary when he and I worked for PG&E. He was the best mentor a person could ever have and I consider myself very blessed. Over all these years he and his wife Pamela have been great friends and I know I can still call Gary up for anything.
What was your first job, Kelly?
My very first job was working as a car mechanic for a General Motors dealership.
What do you do in your spare time, Kelly?
I love to do kickboxing, circuit weight training and travel.