Written by The Business Journal Staff
Mike Pickett, Owner/President
Don Pickett & Associates / Pickett Solar
What we do:
We are a design-build construction firm focused on commercial, industrial and agricultural projects in the greater Fresno area. We specialize in pre-engineered steel buildings, commercial and residential solar, office-warehouse leasing & sales and land development.
Family: Married to my wonderful wife Tara Pickett with two children, Keagan and Reed.
Did you always know you wanted to be a part of the family business, Mike?
Growing up, I dreamt of rebuilding old muscle cars, but the older I got, the more is realized what a great opportunity I had to work with my parents and learn the business. They built it from scratch and to carry on our family business is a dream come true.
How many industrial and commercial buildings as well as solar projects has Don Pickett & Associates built since forming in 1988, Mike?
We have designed and built over 750 commercial buildings and solar projects.
What notable projects or buildings in Fresno has Don Pickett & Associates been behind, Mike?
Two recent projects that come to mind are Mathews Harley-Davidson and Fowler Packing. The Mathews project was split up into three phases. First, we revamped the parking lot, which was actually the old White Avenue. Then we built a new two-story showroom and museum. After that, we rehabbed the existing building’s exterior to tie in with the new one and remodeled the old showroom to be their new service department. At Fowler Packing, we installed a 2.3-megawatt solar array that is designed to track the sun throughout the day. It will reduce their energy consumption by 50 percent and is one of the largest privately-owned systems in California.
How is Don Pickett & Associates unique compared to other construction companies out there, Mike?
I think the most unique part of our business has been the industrial parks that we have developed. I’ve always likened our projects to a planned housing track. We layout predetermined sized buildings (5,000 to 25,000 square feet) and then develop the sites so they are shovel-ready, meaning the utilities are in and the site is graded and ready for construction. This lowers our construction time and saves our clients money. From there, the sites are available for sale or lease. We have standard office plans or we can design a custom layout.
Another are our sub-contractors; they are an extension of our family. Many have been doing business with us for over 15 years. They give us preferred pricing, scheduling and quality service.
By handling all aspects of design in-house, we are able to expedite the time it takes to develop plans then navigate the entitlement and permitting process.
We pay our bills on time. This might seem like common sense, but it’s not an industry standard. This gives our trade partners the confidence to give us unmatched pricing and service.
What is the need for industrial parks and space in Fresno? How is that work been affected since Fresno Redevelopment Agency dissolved last year, Mike?
Small business is the backbone of our local economy and there has always been a need for affordable, shovel-ready industrial sites. Business will go on, but the RDA was a tool that will be missed in our community. They have helped spur projects that otherwise wouldn’t have penciled.
In what ways does Don Pickett & Associates connect or give back to the Fresno community, Mike?
A couple years back our son was born premature and Children’s Hospital took great care of him. My wife and I have been giving back to them through Corporate Council.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it, Mike?
My first job was cleaning up the job sites for my dad. I got to tag along with the job superintendents and see how the projects went together.