TOP 25

Mahalo Nui Loa!

Exactly 35 years ago, Building Industry Hawaii first introduced the Top 25 Contractors list, a showcase of the top construction companies in the Islands. Many of you have been with us since the first list in 1987.

This year, once again, we are excited to present Top 25 Contractors and Noteworthy Contenders. And we sincerely thank you for your loyal partnerships.

Because of you—clients, sources, readers and sponsors—Building Industry Hawaii is able to produce this iconic list for the construction community, year after year. We appreciate your willingness to share your company’s finances and project details through the highs and lows of business. And we are eternally grateful for your support in advertising.

Hawaii’s construction industry is resilient, determined, and invested in its community. We are proud to know every one of you. We look forward to many more decades of Hawaii’s Top 25 Contractors and Noteworthy Contenders.

Mahalo nui loa,
Your partners at Building Industry Hawaii
Trade Media Hui

Challenges AND Triumphs

The 35th annual ranking of the highest-earning general contractors in Hawaii

by Brett Alexander-Estes, Cathy Cruz-George, Jackie M. Young and Lance Tominaga; Logo design by Ursula A. Silva;
Data compilation by lorraine cabanero

The year 2021 presented steady growth for Hawaii’s Top 25 Contractors, which reported combined revenue of $3,833,256,907—a 4.7 percent gain over 2020. The solid performance occurred despite a repeat year of hurdles: cost inflation, supply-flow disruptions and COVID-19 infection surges that affected personnel.

Certainly, there was no dearth in building projects. “The Hawaii construction market overall appears pretty strong, with the demand for housing, tourism’s rebound and our continuous need for infrastructure across all of the islands,” says Gerry Majkut, president of Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. Inc. His company ranks No. 1 on the Top 25 list for the 17th consecutive year.

Of the Top 25 Contractors, a total of 14 reported increases in revenue. The largest gains were 136 percent (Layton Construction, rank No. 6) and 94 percent (Nordic PCL Construction Inc., rank No. 3).

Meantime, revenue fell at 11 companies. Leading the pack were Maryl Group Construction Co. Inc. (rank No. 14) and Hensel Phelps (rank No. 5), with decreases of 29 percent and 39 percent, respectively. The slowdown was due to the cyclical nature of the construction industry, not a lack of jobs.

Other noteworthy changes in this year’s list of Top 25 Contractors:

• Goodfellow Bros. and Armstrong Builders make their debut at No. 7 and No. 20, respectively.

• Arita Poulson General Contracting and S&M Sakamoto reappear on the list at Nos. 23 and 24, respectively. Last year, the companies were Noteworthy Contenders.

• The top three Noteworthy Contenders this year slipped off the Top 25 list. Alan Shintani, Metzler Contracting Co. LLC and Constructors Hawaii Inc., previously ranked No. 24, 21 and 25, respectively.

Although the list of Top 25 Contractors mirrors the construction industry’s performance, it does not represent the overall, true picture. To be considered for the list, contractors voluntarily submit their financial reports at the beginning of each year to Building Industry Hawaii. We invite your company to participate in next year’s ranking of the Top 25 Contractors. –CCG

#1 Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. Inc.

Halekulani’s House Without A Key and hotel guest rooms received makeovers in less than one year.     PHOTOS COURTESY HAWAIIAN DREDGING CONSTRUCTION CO. INC.
2021 Revenue: $608M
Years in Hawaii: 120
Employees: 832

Defending its No. 1 title on the Top 25 Contractors list for the 17th year in a row is Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. Inc., which generated $608 million in 2021, a 4 percent increase over the previous year’s revenue of $587 million. 

President Gerry Majkut takes zero credit, however. “We are successful because of the tremendous commitment and efforts of our employees, subcontractors, vendors, architects and engineers, consultants and clients,” he says.

Such teamwork was evident during the company’s 12-month renovation of Halekulani Hotel that began in September 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Aggressive but manageable,” the renovation consisted of the hotel’s physical infrastructure, 453 guest rooms, back-of-house area and public spaces, including the iconic House Without A Key. Renovations ended on-time in October 2021.

Another major development—the J-755 Urban Combat Training Center at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam—is in a “green box,” a narrow, restrictive area riddled with archeological sites, invasive species restrictions and threatened and endangered species.

The contract requires 100 percent recycling of green wastes and 60 percent recycling of other C&D wastes. Hawaiian Dredging partnered with Kajima LLC and Core Tech on the project, which began in January 2019 and is scheduled to wrap in October 2022. Once completed, the project will comprise an urban combat training and grenade range, live fire shoot house, combat vehicles operators’ course, 9 miles of ATFP-reinforced fence and 12 new buildings housing a church, hotel, residences and more.

As Hawaiian Dredging continues to lead projects in Hawaii and the Pacific region, Majkut hopes the global economy stabilizes. “It’s difficult to predict when that will happen, because prices could change significantly should demand change,” he says. “The Hawaii construction market appears pretty strong with the demand for housing, tourism slowly on the rebound and our continual infrastructure needs across all of the islands.” -CCG

#2 Nan Inc.

The new Federal Inspection Services (FIS) Building by Nan Inc. at Kona International Airport     PHOTO COURTESY NAN INC./KYA DESIGN GROUP 
2021 Revenue: $438.8M
Years in Hawaii: 32
Employees: 1,026

Nan Inc. moves up a notch to No. 2 and is one of four Hawaii general contractors currently in the running for construction of the new Aloha Stadium and Entertainment District. Nan is building Marine Corps barracks 4,000 miles away on Guam, so a 98-acre stadium project might almost be too easy.

“Nan Inc. had a very positive 2021,” says Vice President Ryan Nakaima. Nan posted $438.8 million in revenue, up 6 percent over $415.3 million in 2020. “I believe the increase was due to our ongoing projects, which have larger contract values,” he says.

These include P-459 Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ) H, Naval Base Guam for $104 million and J-031 BEQ D & F, Marine Corps Base Guam for $206.8 million—all by Caddell-Nan JV.

Also underway: VA Advanced Leeward Outpatient Healthcare Access Clinic for $84.5 million; P-911 BEQ, Marine Corps Base Hawaii for $121.4 million, as well as other projects in Hawaii and elsewhere.

Projects completed in 2021 include the replacement of parking structure pedestrian bridges at DKI International Airport for $28.5 million. Also, the $56.9 million KOA Federal Inspection Services (FIS) Building at Kona International Airport, which presented many challenges.

These included the onset of COVID-19, supply chain delays, working at an operating airport and complying with security protocols. Glenn Kobayashi, Nan Inc. project manager, says these were overcome by building relationships with airport operations, federal agencies, the airlines and other airport tenants. “Communication was key,” Kobayashi says.

The locally owned company’s 2022 outlook remains optimistic. “Military construction is anticipated to make up a large portion of activity in 2022 and 2023,” Nakaima says, citing skyrocketing construction on Guam and Pearl Harbor’s upcoming Dry Dock 3 replacement project—likely the largest in Hawaii history. 

“Nan Inc. is actively pursuing these opportunities,” he says, “along with Hawaii’s milestone projects in other sectors, such as the new Aloha Stadium and Entertainment District.” –BAE

#3 Nordic PCL Construction Inc.

The amenity deck at NPCL’s Lilia Waikiki project, the first new Waikiki rental high-rise in decades    
2021 Revenue: $417M
Years in Hawaii: 84
Employees: 250

In a lightning move, Nordic PCL Construction leaps three notches to land at No. 3.

“2021 was a solid year for us,” says NPCL President Glen Kaneshige. “The momentum is carrying over into 2022.”

NPCL earned $417 million last year, an increase of 94 percent over 2020’s $215 million. “The redevelopment of Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort on the Big Island, the new Kihei High School on Maui and Brookfield Properties’ Lilia Waikiki on Oahu comprised most of our revenues and kept our employees busy through the pandemic,” Kaneshige says.

Other ongoing projects include Hawaii State Federal Credit Union headquarters, Hawaii Electricians Pension Fund Building, 3650 Waialae and Schofield Barracks Repair Buildings 2075 & 2076.

The general contractor has 250 employees in Hawaii and subcontracts 20 percent of its work. Public sector work comprises 15 percent.

“Our staff is cross-trained across different market sectors,” Kaneshige notes, “so that they get exposed to the nuances of the various types of projects and business models.”

Diversity also characterizes completed 2021 projects: Andaz Maui–Ilikai Villas (hospitality), Central Pacific Bank Main Branch Renovation (commercial), F-22 Fighter Alert Facility
at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (military), as well as Banyan Tree Plaza (high-rise residential), Kahala Theatres and Servco Lexus Kapiolani Showroom (commercial), TIG Warehouse & Distribution Facility (industrial) and the demolition and abatement of Snyder Hall at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (education).

NPCL, like the rest of the industry, also faced diverse challenges last year. “I don’t believe that there were any projects that were somehow not impacted by the pandemic,” Kaneshige says.

Yet NPCL is still on top. “Our longevity as an 84-year-old kamaaina company rests on fostering the relationships we have enjoyed over decades with our clients, design professionals, subcontractors, suppliers, construction unions and government agencies,” Kaneshige says.

“We put our relationships with our clients and industry partners at the forefront and focus on creating value for them.” –BAE

#4 Albert C. Kobayashi Inc.

Aalii is a high-rise at Ward Village with 750 affordable and market units.     PHOTOS COURTESY REN SHIROMA PHOTOGRAPHY
2021 Revenue: $316.3 M
Years in Hawaii: 59
Employees: 236

On the northernmost tip of Oahu, builders from Albert C. Kobayashi Inc. are in the final stages of renovating Turtle Bay Resort, a $250 million overhaul of the lobby, pool deck, guest rooms, banquet facilities and spa. Construction crews have worked around the resort’s daily operations since it partially reopened in July 2021 after a 16-month closure that began at the start of the pandemic.   

“The owner was committed to achieving an aggressive reopening strategy,” says Michael Young, president and CEO of Albert C. Kobayashi, or ACK. “With rooms and spaces booked, we had no choice but to use every resource we had available to meet completion dates.

Renovations are on-track to wrap before the end of this year. “I give major credit to our project staff, loyal subcontractors, dedicated workforce, a collaborative design team and Turtle Bay’s owner,” he adds.   

That’s how ACK operates—company execs bring together stakeholders, work harder than anyone else, then publicly laud all teams involved.

ACK for the second year in a row places No. 4 on the Top 25 Contractors list. In 2021, the company posted $316.3 million, a modest 1 percent gain over $312 million the previous year. None of the company’s projects are public, and 70 percent are subcontracted.

What generated the most revenue for ACK in 2021 were two high-rise construction projects: Aalii at Ward Village and Azure Ala Moana.

Aalii, the sixth tower in Ward Village’s master-planned community, comprises 750 units ranging from micro dwellings to two-bedrooms. Azure, a 42-story tower adjacent to Keeaumoku Street, has 410 units plus 20,000 square feet of commercial space. Both condos house a mix of market-rate and affordable units.

The next two years look positive for ACK, with Sky Ala Moana condo and Pasha Hawaii’s construction scheduled to wrap in the second and fourth quarters of 2023, respectively. On Lanai, Hokuao single-family homes are slated for completion in fourth quarter 2024. 

“With supply disruptions, the construction industry is uncertain but cautiously optimistic,” Young says. –CCG

#5 Hensel Phelps

Hensel Phelps delivered the Mauka Terminal Extension project to the Hawaii Department of Transportation in August 2021.     PHOTO COURTESY CARTER JOHNSON
2021 Revenue: $264M
Years in Hawaii:
Employees: 326

Moving from No. 2 to No. 5 looks like a setback, but not for Hensel Phelps. Neither is a 39 percent drop in revenue, from $429.3 million in 2020 to $264 million in 2021.

“It’s not a lack of work,” says Thomas J. Diersbock, Hensel Phelps vice president and Pacific Division manager. “It’s just a cycle of the revenue of completion, of revenue and work.”

Founded in 1937 and based in Greeley, Colorado, the general contractor subcontracts 78 percent of its work. Eighty percent of it is in the public sector, often on massive projects like the Mauka Terminal Extension at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, completed in 2021 with a reported value of $340 million.

“The Mauka project obviously enhances the airport quite a bit,” Diersbock says. “(It) definitely raised the bar for what is going on there. I think it’ll be good for tourists, for people coming to Hawaii and obviously the people of Hawaii.”

Other completed 2021 projects include Hawaii State Hospital New Patient Facility, Four Seasons Hualalai Room Renovation, Kaiser Leeward Clinic MOB, Waianae WWTP Biosolids Dewatering System Replacement and P-601 Aircraft Maintenance Hangar–Guam.

Ongoing projects include USARPAC Command and Control Phase 3, set to wrap in August. “That’s a project the Army is very excited about,” Diersbock says. “We are excited about it as well.” Also underway are 11 other military projects—some in Hawaii, some on Guam—Grand Wailea Spa Grande Renovation on Maui and three Hawaii public-sector projects. One of these, the Sand Island WWTP Secondary Treatment Phase 2 extends through 2026.

Meanwhile, Diersbock says, “numerous projects within all market sectors continue to face budget problems, resource limitations and schedule delays. Despite these challenges, there continues to be a favorable construction industry demand in Hawaii. Federal and public works projects continue to lead the way.

“I think the military market is the strongest market for Hawaii and Guam and shows definitely the most growth and potential for this year and years to come.” –BAE

#6 Layton Construction

The Block at 803 Waimanu is a mixed, affordable market condo with 156 units and is within walking distance of Kakaako’s retail and entertainment venues.     PHOTO BY AARON SHAW, ENDEAVOR ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY
2021 Revenue: $191.3M
Years in Hawaii: 17
Employees: 72

Layton Construction jumped a whopping eight notches from its No. 14 rank in 2021 to No. 6 on Hawaii’s Top 25 Contractors list, due to a 136 percent rise in revenue—from $81 million to $191.3 million.

However, Mike Parker, senior preconstruction manager, explains the bump as part of the normal ebb and flow of the hospitality, multi-unit residential, retail and health construction company’s work.

“Typically, we perform between $100 million and $200 million a year,” Parker says. “A single, large project can push that revenue to even higher than $250 million a year.

“From 2020 to 2021, two large projects really hit their stride—1 Hotel Hanalei Bay Renovation in Princeville and Wai Kai Waterfront Recreational Facility in Ewa Beach.”

The now-New York-based firm was founded in 1953 by World War II veteran Alan Layton in Utah. Its first major contract in Hawaii was the Koloa Landing Project in Poipu on Kauai in 2005.

Layton has 72 salaried managers in Hawaii, and subcontracts out all its direct work, according to Parker.

One of Layton’s significant projects in 2021 was the 156-unit mixed condo, The Block at 803 Waimanu. “It was over-budget by roughly 25 percent prior to our involvement,” Parker recalls. “The biggest contributing factor was that the structure had a hybrid design of multiple different structural systems.

“Layton was able to simplify the system to a cast-in-place concrete flat plate with post-tension reinforcement and raise the first level enough to allow for a simplified foundation and elimination of unnecessary waterproofing.”

As a local who surfs, Parker says he’s really looking forward to completing the Wai Kai Waterfront Recreational Facility in Ewa Beach in 2022. “It will be the world’s largest free-standing wave machine. It’s a pretty iconic project and one we could hang our hat on.”

As for the future, Parker says he’s optimistic.

“We’re at a precipice in construction. Even with inflation and war, there’s a lot being planned for 2023 and beyond. I think we’ll be even busier than we are this year.” –JMY

#7 Goodfellow Bros.

Nighttime work on the Taxiway A-C Intersection Reconstruction at Kahului Airport     PHOTOS COURTESY GOODFELLOW BROS.
2021 Revenue: $188.2MY
Years in Hawaii: 50
Employees: 484

The heavy civil contractor Goodfellow Bros. was founded in 1921 by brothers Jack, Bert and Jim Sr. in Wenatchee, Washington. In 1972, Goodfellow worked as a subcontractor on the Kihei Sewage Treatment Plant on Maui.

“The culture of the Islands spoke to the Goodfellow family,” says Edward Brown, divisional president. “And combined with the unique challenges presented with working in Hawaii—and how much our company loves a challenge—we never left.”

The 50-year-old family-run firm in Hawaii has offices on Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu and Hawaii Island. 

The Kihei-based contractor—specializing in earthwork, excavation, grading and paving—makes its debut on the Top 25 Contractors list, placing No. 7 with revenue of $188.2 million in 2021. The company recorded $216.7 million in 2020.

In 2021, Goodfellow won the Zero OSHA Recordables-Hawaii Region award for no recorded Occupational Safety and Health Administration injuries or illnesses. It also was the General Contractors Association of Hawaii Build Hawaii Award Winner in 2021 for its successful completion of the Taxiway A-C Intersection Reconstruction at Kahului Airport-Federal Construction.

“This challenging three-phase project constructed during the pandemic was a testament to the strength of GCA contractors, the state and the Goodfellow Bros.’ craft and management team, as they all came together to complete a difficult project safely and efficiently,” Brown says.

“We are excited about our new project starting up in Lanai City called Hokuao affordable subdivision. This is a much-needed workforce housing project,” he says.

The developer is Pulama Lanai. When completed, the 69-acre subdivision will provide 150 two-bedroom rental homes, a 1-acre park and a 1,500-square-foot community center.” 

Looking toward the future, Brown is mostly optimistic.

“We are hoping with the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that we will see more of the public work coming out for construction.

“But there is still significant concern about the volatility of materials costs and availability that makes it difficult to lock in or even hold pricing.” –JMY

#8 Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

The Royal Hawaiian Groin in Waikiki     PHOTO COURTESY KIEWIT
2021 Revenue: $183.3M
Years in Hawaii: 74
Employees: 209

When Hawaii’s visitor industry slowed down in mid-2020, Kiewit built a $1.4 million, 175-foot-long concrete structure along Waikiki Beach to replace the deteriorating Royal Hawaiian Groin, which protected the shoreline for nearly a century.

The new Groin project wrapped in four months with nil accidents, and in 2021, won a Best Small Projects award from the ENR California Regional. “That award is a testament that Kiewit has the best people, especially in Hawaii,” says Kyle Johnson, area manager for Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. He said challenges included hauling 2,000 tons of stone from the road to the beach, to hiring off-duty police officers for public safety.

The Omaha-based company is No. 8 on this year’s list of Top 25 Contractors. In 2021, Kiewit posted $183.3 million in revenue, a 16 percent drop from $219.1 million in the previous year.

Kiewit’s Hawaii office bids 50 to 60 jobs annually, ranging from heavy civil and highways, to underground utilities and concrete paving. Ongoing work this year includes Kailua Roundabout, repairs to the Hamakua Coast Bridge, Waimea Wastewater Treatment Plants, the H1 airport viaduct and the Kapalama 2 wharf and dredging.

Dowsett Sewers, another challenging project completed in 2021, involved underground sewer installations in high-traffic neighborhoods of Honolulu. To meet strict safety and health protocols, Kiewit followed the 2010 Consent Degree by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Hawaii state Department of Health.

“Despite numerous challenges, we were able to complete the project without any significant disruptions to local communities and the surrounding environment, while keeping in line with all requirements and requests from the client,” Johnson says. –CCG

Aerial views of the Dowsett Sewer replacement project in a residential neighborhood, and the Royal Hawaiian Groin in Waikiki.

#9 Swinerton BUILDERS

Swinerton renovated 264 guestrooms at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel.     PHOTO COURTESY SWINERTON
2021 Revenue: $143M
Years in Hawaii: 15
Employees: 84

Renovation and ground-up construction—two Swinerton Builders specialties—are on full display at its completed 2021 projects: the Pacific Media Group Office, Holey Grail Donut Shop, Tiffany’s Waikiki, Southwest Airlines Kahului Airport Office, Target Lihue and the $56 million Kaanapali Beach Hotel.

“Kaanapali Beach Hotel was one of our most challenging and exciting projects,” says Aaron Yamasaki, Swinerton division manager. Scope included a full-gut renovation of two guest wings, a new ground-up beach restaurant, a cast-in-place garage expansion and sitework upgrades.

Ranked No. 9 this year, Swinerton moves down a notch from its 2020 perch. Swinerton’s $143 million revenue in 2021 also dipped, 1 percent, from $144 million in 2020.

“COVID-19 put the brakes on many planned projects in early 2020, and resulted in slow first and second quarters of 2021,” Yamasaki says, but “our business metrics trended in the right direction. We are projecting growth, and for that positive trend to continue through 2022.”

Founded in 1888 and headquartered in San Francisco, Swinerton’s Hawaii office typically subcontracts 50 percent of its work, performing 10 percent in the public sector. Swinerton’s 84 employees include Erika Mori, its new director of preconstruction and estimating, who came aboard this year.

Target Lihue, a $21 million project completed in 2021, included exterior envelope renovation, a full re-roof, new entrance portals and storefront glazing, along with complete tenant-improvement build-out of many areas.

Ongoing projects include Waiea Remediation, Target Windward, Hawaii Pacific Innovation Center and various self-perform projects, another Swinerton specialty.

“One of our more technically challenging ongoing projects is The Market at Waikiki within the new Lilia Waikiki,” Yamasaki says, adding that it includes self-perform work by Swinerton’s in-house drywall services group.

Yamasaki says Swinerton’s building sector success “really comes down to our people—intentionally building diverse, complementary project teams, and supporting them with the right tools and expertise.” He expects 2022 construction in Hawaii to hit $1.2 billion, with hospitality and industrial markets likely to gain the most traction. –BAE

#10 Royal Contracting Co. Ltd.

Royal Contracting completed Kapolei Harborside Phase 1A sitework in 2021.     PHOTOS COURTESY ROYAL CONTRACTING CO. LTD.

2021 Revenue: $136.3M
Years in Hawaii: 61
Employees: 190

Ewa is famously flat—except for a 60-foot-high hillside where Royal Contracting is placing embankment as part of its Hoopili Phase 13 Mass Grading project. 

Royal Contracting, specializing in mass grading and site work, is also prepping other Oahu job sites at Koa Ridge and Kapolei Harborside.

A lot of Royal’s work is related to housing, says Leonard Leong, the firm’s president. In 2021, he says, “push for house lots and related improvements resulted in an increase in workforce, and therefore an increase in revenue”—$136.3 million, 4 percent above $130.7 million in 2020. Royal dipped slightly in the rankings, from No. 9 to No. 10.

Completed 2021 projects include Hoopili Phase 5, Koa Ridge Kamehameha Highway, Offsite Drainline 1 and Kapolei Harborside Phase 1A Mass Grading.

Residential construction is a big part of Royal’s success, Leong says. Particularly since Royal “understands the demand of the developer and works with them to adhere to their goals.”

At 676,000-square-foot Kapolei Harborside, Royal is making civil site improvements: mass grading, roadways, a drain system with box culvert and piping structure, potable and non-potable water systems and a sewer system. “From 6-inch to 30-inch piping and manholes,” Leong says, “projects will provide utility service and roadways for new tenants, a traffic signal, electrical and landscaping in the next phase of industrial lots to tenants, such as Amazon.”

Royal’s other ongoing projects include Koa Ridge Waipio lnterchange, Ka Uka Boulevard, Hoopili 10A and Hoopili 105 and 106.

Founded in 1961, Royal’s experience includes about 25 years of working with Castle & Cooke, Leong says. Royal subcontracts 25 percent of its work, and performs 10 percent in the public sector.

Leong expects 2022 will be “about the same” as 2021: “Hawaii’s short about 25,000 homes,” he says. “We have to continue to build.” –BAE

Royal is currently installing manholes and various water systems at Harborside.

#11 Unlimited Construction Services Inc.

Located at River Street in Chinatown, Halewaiolu Residences meets the needs of seniors ages 62 and older.     PHOTO COURTESY UNLIMITED CONSTRUCTION SERVICES INC.
2021 Revenue: $121.6M
Years in Hawaii: 32
Employees: 107

Unlimited Construction Services Inc., which dropped one notch to No. 11 on this year’s list of Top 25 Contractors, generated $121.6 million in revenue in 2021.

President Jason Thon is pragmatic about his company’s revenue, a 4 percent decrease from $126.9 million in 2020. 

“Projects are struggling to gain traction without the ability to pinpoint a cause,” he says, citing inflation, supply chain disruptions, local and global events, plus the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Still, Thon is hopeful: Despite economic woes, “there is no shortage of local or national developers looking for contractors for both new and renovation work across Hawaii,” he says.

Of the half-dozen ongoing projects, two stand out in particular: Bishop Place, a commercial building converted to a 500-unit condo in downtown Honolulu; and Halewaiolu senior residences, a 17-story structure with 156 affordable rentals on the fringes of Chinatown. The latter is LEED Gold-certified.

In addition, Unlimited Construction also is building DE Thompson Village, scheduled for December 2022 completion; Hanalei Baseyard offices and garage (January 2023); Wainiha Community Resilience Center (April 2023); and Pauahi Kupuna Hale (April 2023). The projects align with Unlimited Construction’s mantra—safety, quality, timeliness, productivity and relationships. 

Understanding the market and being transparent during preconstruction enables the company to meet clients’ expectations, Thon says. The key to his company’s survival, however, is “adhering to core values. This has afforded us the opportunity to work with many repeat clients.” –CCG

Poolside at the Moanalua Hillside Apartments

#12 Wasa Electrical Services Inc.

Amenities at Azure condominium include a pool, gym and dog park.     PHOTO COURTESY WASA ELECTRICAL SERVICES INC.
2021 Revenue: $111M
Years in Hawaii: 72
Employees: 325

The 72-year-old Wasa Electrical Services Inc. saw a generous 19 percent jump in revenue, from $93 million in 2020 to $111 million in 2021. The electrical contractor (whose parent company, Kinden Corp., is based in Japan) defended its No. 12 slot in this year’s Top 25 Contractors list.

“The last quarter of 2021 had a big jump in sales, as a lot of jobs were completed at the same time,” explains Ronald Yee, president, CEO and COO of Wasa.

“Some of the additional sales were also attributed to hospital upgrades and expansions due to COVID. We worked on the new Kaiser Permanente West Oahu Medical Office, and Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center added more beds.”

Yee, who’s been at Wasa for 50 years starting as an apprentice, says there was also a lot of demand in 2021 from high-rise construction; and interest rates were low.

“Business was good in 2021—one of our better years in the past decade.”

One of Wasa’s major projects last year was the 408-unit Azure Condominium at 629 Keeaumoku St. “Azure had a firm deadline for homeowners to occupy the building.

“With material shortages, shipping problems and factory labor shortages increasing material lead times, it was a challenge to meet the completion date.”

But Wasa was able to finish the project on time, Yee says, by flying in needed material, or borrowing material from other projects that had later completion dates.

In 2022, Yee is looking forward to working on the 980-unit The Park on Keeaumoku condo, a mix of market and affordable housing. “It’s one of our larger jobs to start, almost as large in dollar value as Disney’s Aulani. There’ll be twin towers, a retail section and a recreational park. We’ll be doing all the electrical work, including landscape lighting.”

For 2022 and beyond, Yee is mostly optimistic.

“We believe the construction boom will continue in 2022, and construction work will continue to be busy in 2023 with military spending.

“The question for us is whether the increase in interest rates will stop future private and commercial projects.” –JMY

#13 Coastal Construction
Co. Inc.

New 2021 Koa Ridge homes by Coastal Construction     PHOTO COURTESY COASTAL CONSTRUCTION CO. INC.
2021 Revenue: $101.2M
Years in Hawaii: 49
Employees: 300

New housing demand in Hawaii keeps climbing, and residential builder Coastal Construction keeps delivering.

“Several projects started at the end of 2020 and ran through most of 2021,” says Coastal Construction President Kenneth Sakurai. “Projects such as Koa Ridge, Ikena, Cottages at Maunaolu, hotel renovations, along with work on Hawaii Island such as Lai Opua, Kaiaulu O Waikoloa and Kona Village Resort were essential to increasing our revenue.” 

Coastal, which jumps to No. 13 in the rankings, earned $101.2 million in 2021 revenue, a 67 percent increase over $60.6 million in 2020.

Coastal specializes in new residential construction as well as framing, drywall and finishing. Coastal performs 5 percent of its work in the public sector and subcontracts 30 percent of its work.

Completed 2021 projects include Luana (Koa Ridge), Kohina (Hoopili), Cottages at Maunaolu Phases 1A/1B and Laiopua.

“Eighty percent of our projects were new residential construction, which includes in-house framing, drywall and finishing,” Sakurai says. “By packaging our in-house work, we were able to be more efficient and cut costs.

“Material availability, soaring price increases, the COVID-19 pandemic, labor shortages—all contributed to crazy challenges,” Sakurai says. “Coastal has been very fortunate to have strong, long and deep relationships—developers, generals and sub-contractors, suppliers, manufacturers, labor unions, insurance and banks.” 

The result is new 2021 homes that are “beautifully designed and quality-built,” Sakurai says, citing Koa Ridge, “affordable, attractive affordable rentals” at Laiopua and Kaiaulu O Waikoloa and the “garden paradise” of Cottages at Maunaolu.

Ongoing Coastal projects include Nanea and Malina neighborhoods in Koa Ridge, Kona Village Resort, Cottages at Maunaolu Phases 2 through 5, and Kaiaulu O Waikoloa.

Residential construction continues to remain strong in 2022, Sakurai says. “We stay positive and do our best working with suppliers and other contractors to keep projects on par.” –BAE

#14 Maryl Group
Construction Inc.

Kenolio Apartments in Kihei is an affordable housing community with a computer center, party room with kitchen, playground for keiki and fitness center.     PHOTO COURTESY MARYL GROUP CONSTRUCTION INC.
2021 Revenue: $73.6M
Years in Hawaii: 12
Employees: 100+

Imagine a future Hawaii where local families raise generations of children, feel safe in their communities and live in affordable homes with upscale amenities. That’s the idea behind projects by Maryl Group Construction Inc., a Kona-based firm that takes the No. 14 spot on this year’s list of Top 25 contractors. 

Maryl Group’s recent portfolio includes three major developments, all affordable homes: Kaiaulu O Kupuohi in Lahaina, and Kaiaulu O Halelea and Kenolio Apartments in Kihei. 

Construction of Kenolio wrapped up in late 2021 with 186 affordable units on what used to be undeveloped, 8.5-acre lots. Today, the cozy community comprises 12 wood-framed, three-story multifamily residences with one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans.

When completed in March 2023, Halelea in Kihei will feature  golf course fairways and ocean views from all 15 eight-plex residential buildings. Kupuohi, scheduled for an August 2022 completion, features a tot lot for keiki, barbecue areas, ocean and mountain views, and is within walking distance to retail and entertainment centers.

“Our goal is to provide 100 percent affordable housing for the communities,” says Timothy Choi, strategic planning manager for Maryl Group. 

On Oahu, Maryl Group recently completed the $18 million revitalization of Aikahi Park Shopping Center in Kaheohe. The upgrade features new walkways and parking, plus outdoor seating and landscaping.

The magnitude of these projects does not reflect the 29 percent drop in 2021 revenue over the previous year—Maryl Group reported $73.6 million in revenue in 2021 and $104 million in 2020.

The decrease is the result of projects that ended in 2020 and three projects that started in late 2021 (Kupuohi and Halelea and Kahului Airport improvements). “We expect revenue in 2022 to increase compared to 2021,” Choi says. –CCG

#15 Ralph S. Inouye Co. Ltd.

The renovation of Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Building No. 97 yielded a brand-new education center, complete with flight simulators.     PHOTO COURTESY RALPH S. INOUYE CO. LTD.
2021 Revenue: $67.4M
Years in Hawaii: 60
Employees: 57

Rarely does a construction executive say his employees have “fun on the job.”

That’s how Michael S. Inouye—vice president of Ralph S. Inouye Co. Ltd.— described a recent renovation of Pearl Harbor Building No. 97. Last year, his company transformed the historic building into an education center for Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. It used to be a training center for World War II pilots. “Mason Architects took great care to preserve the historic nature of the building,” Inouye says, “and Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum was a great client to work for. Our teams had fun with that project.”

Ralph S. Inouye Co. Ltd. in 2021 posted $67.4 million in revenue, inching up one notch to No. 15 on this year’s list of Top 25 Contractors. It was an 8 percent gain over the previous year’s revenue of $62.3 million.

The 60-year-old company has multiple projects in its portfolio, including Noelani Elementary School’s library, Foodland at Ka Makana Alii and Maunakea Marketplace Apartments.

Another project, Leeward Community College’s Product Development Center, converts a Wahiawa warehouse into a lab for students and entrepreneurs to learn food production. Inouye’s company partnered with Ushijima Architects to design and build kitchens, classrooms and facilities for packaging and receiving products. “It’s rewarding for our company to be involved with that renovation, an investment in Wahiawa’s community,” Inouye says.

Noelani Elementary School I.D.E.A. Center

Future partnerships—and more fun— are on the books for Inouye’s company, despite the market’s volatility. “What’s hard for us is that day to day, week to week, varies on materials pricing and shortages,” he says. “Prices are escalating beyond our control.”

The key to survival is “to be transparent with clients, and complete submittals and procurement as quickly as possible, so everyone as a team can lock down pricing,” he says. –CCG

#16 Group Builders Inc.

Group Builders used Venetian plaster in the interiors of Aalii, a Ward Village residential tower.     PHOTOS COURTESY GROUP BUILDERS INC.
2021 Revenue: $67.3M
Years in Hawaii: 43
Employees: 166

At Aalii, a Ward Village residential tower, “we used Venetian plaster, which had to be handled with a special sequence of work to avoid getting damaged,” says Group Builders CEO Anacleto “Lito” Alcantra. “We had to educate our crew, add to our manpower and work on the scheduling for its special installation. Our work was also subject to multiple third-party inspections for the precise outcome and quality.”

Renowned for its skill in plastering, drywall, acoustic, insulation, carpentry, cabinetry and other interior finishes, Group passed with flying colors.

Group Builders posted $67.3 million in 2021 revenue, a 10 percent decline from an adjusted $74.8 million in 2020. Group also slipped one notch to No. 16. “The slight decline was due to the delays in the schedule of some projects,” says Alcantra.

Despite these and other COVID-19 curveballs, Group completed many high-profile projects in 2021. These include Aalii, USARPAC-C2F, Halekulani’s renovation, Kapolei mixed-use, Honolulu CONRAC, 803 Waimanu, Azure Ala Moana, The Central-Samkoo 2, Hilton Waikoloa Village, Four Seasons Hualalai and 902 Alder Street–Mixed Use.

“Group Builders has been building on its reputation of quality work finished on time and going beyond the customer’s expectations,” Alcantra says. “Years of experience, hard work, team effort and commitment make Group Builders successful. This is the company’s 43rd year, and we adhere to our mission as well as goals to build with quality, integrity and responsibility.”

Group performs 43.5 percent of its work in the public sector, and subcontracts 1 percent. Ongoing projects include Victoria Place, The Block-Koula, Kona Village Resort-CP1, Halewaiolu Senior Residence, Kokua Elderly Housing, UH Atherton Resident Life Center, Schofield Barracks Buildings 2075 and 2076, and Koolau Ranch Dining.

Going forward, says Alcantra, “We remain positive and proactive. There are many projects that are in the pipeline, coming up and on schedule.” –BAE

#17 Allied Builders System

The reception area at Straub Kahala Clinic and Urgent Care Facility    
2021 Revenue: $60.4M
Years in Hawaii: 52
Employees: 63

The 52-year-old Allied Builders System saw three large projects delayed or cancelled in 2021. However, “We anticipate two or three of the projects will come back in the coming years,” says Gary Oda, president.

On Hawaii’s Top 25 Contractors list, this led to a decline of four notches from No. 13 in 2020 to No. 17. The company, founded in 1970 as a residential general contractor, in 2021 posted a 26 percent decrease in revenue, from $81.1 million in 2020 to $60.4 million.

“We are currently a commercial general contractor working in the private sector that has built a considerable portfolio of repeat clients in various business sectors,” Oda says.

“We pride ourselves for building trusted relationships based on providing competitive pricing, proactive planning, collaborative problem-solving, on-time completion and quality of work product.”

A significant project in 2021 for Allied was Kamehameha Schools’ Kuono Marketplace in Kahala. According to Oda, Allied was selected as the design-shell contractor for the 3-acre redevelopment project through a rigorous bidding process.

Allied completed fit-outs for anchor tenant Foodland, and a combination urgent-care facility and patient clinic for Hawaii Pacific Health/Straub.

The team faced and overcame various challenges relating to soil remediation, driveway access and Hawaiian Electric Co. service upgrades. Being so closely bounded by the residential neighborhood, careful planning and oversight was necessary to keep the project moving, while maintaining a good neighbor standing.”

Ongoing projects for Allied in 2022 include the Disney Aulani Guestroom Refresh, the new Hawaiian Humane Society West Oahu Campus and a new theater and facilities expansion for Diamond Head Theatre.

“The Diamond Head Theatre project will help uplift the post-pandemic community through engaging in arts and culture,” Oda says.

“The forecast for 2022 will certainly be strong, but the forecast beyond that will be uncertain, pending the resolution of the worldwide issues related to inflation, geopolitics and COVID-19.” –JMY

#18 Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd.

Aerial views of the historic culvert along Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona

2021 Revenue: $60.3M
Years in Hawaii: 96
Employees: 131

Leslie Isemoto’s start in construction dates back to 1972, when the then-Hilo High School student worked as a laborer-carpenter summer hire. While he has seen the industry evolve in the 50 years since, he says one thing has remained constant.

“Technology certainly has accelerated the pace of our business, but there is still no substitute for hands-on experience,” says Isemoto, who today is president of Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd. “You can have all the technology you want, but it still takes about 10 years to truly understand this business.”

Founded in 1926 by Hisato Isemoto, Hilo-based Isemoto Contracting pulled in $60.3 million in revenues in 2021, compared to $52.8 million the previous year.

“We managed to squeak by and keep our necks above water,” says Leslie Isemoto, who is Hisato’s grandson.

Isemoto says the COVID pandemic underscored the construction industry’s importance in Hawaii.

“Tourism is our No. 1 industry, and (COVID-19) shut it down,” he says. “Then the service sector was stuck with no customers. When you look at the state’s different industries, construction ranks third or fourth as far as being an economic engine. If we shut that down, what do we have left?”

One of the company’s signature achievements in 2021 was the completion of its $8.3 million culvert replacement project in Kailua-Kona. The crew changed out and expanded the 82-year-old culvert, which is located along Alii Drive.

“That was a challenge,” Isemoto recalls. “Because it’s right next to the ocean, there was a lot of sand that had built up, and we had to put up a lot of sandbags to stop the wave action. Of course, you can’t fight Mother Nature. You can only try to protect the work that you did so far. A couple of weekends were really bad. But we got the job done.” –LT

#19 Shioi Construction Inc.

Kealaula on Pua Loke, a community for families in-need on Kauai, was a $4.3 million job completed in January 2021.
2021 Revenue: $57.6M
Years in Hawaii: 74
Employees: 229

Despite pulling in $57.6 million in revenues in 2021 (nearly $10 million more than $48 million in the previous year), Shioi Construction Inc. President Roy Y. Shioi is far from satisfied.

“I would say 2021 was a ‘survival year,’” says Shioi, whose company ranks No. 19 on this year’s Top 25 Contractors list. “We did okay, but not as well as we had hoped.” Shioi points to the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as the primary culprits. “That created delays, and a lot of our projects are in limbo right now,” he says. “We have some sizable jobs backlogged, and if they do break, we should be well above last year’s [revenues].”

Still, the Kauai-based contractor was far from idle in 2021. Ongoing or completed projects include a $3 million renovation of the Wilcox Medical Center’s Emergency Department in Lihue and $1.5 million in renovations for the Kauai Veteran Memorial Hospital in Waimea.

A point of pride for Shioi was the company’s January 2021 completion of the Kealaula on Pua Loke Supportive Housing Development project in Lihue. The $4.3-million development for homeless families. The project also entailed the construction of a sewer lift station and upgrading the existing Spark Matsunaga Memorial Garden with a gazebo, site furniture, a peace pole and peace tiles by keiki and kupuna.

In December of last year, Shioi Construction received the Contractors Association of Kauai’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of the company’s volunteer work and monetary donations in the community.

“Our success is based on our long history and reputation on Kauai,”  says Shioi, whose grandfather Kenneth founded the company in 1948. “Kauai is such a small place, where everybody is related or knows each other. We love serving our community.”

Shioi Construction will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2023. –LT

#20 Armstrong Builders LLC

Makalii at Wailea residences, clubhouse and curved infinity pool
2021 Revenue: $54.6M
Years in Hawaii: 46
Employees: 58

A solid showing at No. 20 this year, Armstrong Builders also makes its debut as one of Hawaii’s Top 25 Contractors—recognition it richly deserves.

Founded in 1976, Armstrong has steadily raised the bar for high-end construction in Hawaii, with many custom luxury homes, elite neighborhoods and resort communities to its credit. Commercial construction—seen in award-winning projects like Kailua’s Lau Hala Shops—is another forte. Armstrong projects are also helping to fill the gaps in Hawaii workforce housing.

Based in Honolulu with 46 years in Hawaii, Armstrong has 58 employees, works exclusively in the private sector and subcontracts 70 percent of its work.

Armstrong posted $54.6 million in 2021 revenue, down 15 percent from $64.3 million in 2020. “Some of our projects,” says James Keller, Armstrong president, “were delayed or slowed due to COVID-19 and supply chain issues.”

Nevertheless, Makalii at Wailea, Armstrong’s 68-unit luxury townhome project on Maui, closed out construction last year. “We are hearing buyers love their new homes, from the finishes to the expansive ocean views, to the private Makalii Residents Club featuring a curved infinity-edge pool, spa and state-of-the-art fitness center,” Keller says.

Completed 2021 projects also include HIC Kailua; Hawaii National Bank, Kahului Branch; and Kohanaiki Ohi Kai Phase I, a resort community. Ongoing projects include luxury custom homes and Kohanaiki Ohi Kai Phase II.

Phase II, Keller says, “characterizes luxury Kona fairway living with a contemporary cottage design,” and is slated to wrap this summer.

Armstrong’s luxury custom home project in Lanikai, he says, is “an architectural marvel” with a custom-cantilevered architectural roof, a ground floor ultra-high-strength precast concrete ceiling and large open glass walls. The project is slated to wrap in 2024.

Keller thinks supply chain and cost control challenges will persist in 2022. But he expects “steady, robust work.” –BAE

#21 Healy Tibbitts Builders Inc.

Despite logistical challenges, improvements to the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor Ferry Pier on Maui are scheduled to be completed this year.
2021 Revenue: $42.2M
Years in Hawaii: 58
Employees: 90

As a lifelong competitive long-distance swimmer, Rick Heltzel is well-equipped to navigate the turbulent waters of the construction industry.

“Our business requires very long hours, and it’s challenging and competitive,” says Heltzel. “And that’s exactly what long-distance swimming requires as well. My swimming background helped prepare me for this work because it taught me discipline and patience. Those things transfer very well to construction, especially the kind of construction that we do.”

Heltzel is president of Healy Tibbitts Builders Inc., which specializes in marine construction, dredging, pipelines and deep foundations. A subsidiary of New Jersey-based Weeks Marine Inc., HTB has maintained a presence in Hawaii since 1964. In 2021, the company earned $42.2 million in Hawaii-based revenues, up 82 percent from $23.2 million the previous year.

“Our actual revenue is higher because at the start of 2021, we were awarded a $98 million project on Guam,” Heltzel says. (That project, a joint venture with Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. Inc., includes the repair and modernization of Lima Wharf at Apra Harbor at Naval Base Guam.) Adds Heltzel, “Near-term, we’re really hitting on all cylinders.”

One current HTB project is improvements to the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor Ferry Pier on Maui. Scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, the $16 million undertaking posed logistical challenges due to tight spacing.

Instead of utilizing space-eating floating crane barges, the crew built a temporary pier to support the necessary construction equipment. From there, they were able to build the permanent pier.

“It was a novel approach,” explains Heltzel. “Not too many in Hawaii have been built that way. The pier was the main component, and we’re pretty much finished. Now we’re working on the administration building site and infrastructure work, including a new paved area and utility upgrades.” –LT

#22 Paradigm Construction LLC

2021 Revenue: $33M
Years in Hawaii: 16
Employees: 50

Paradigm Construction LLC ranks No. 22 on this year’s list of Top 25 contractors, a notch up from last year’s No. 23 ranking. The company, which specializes in heavy civil construction, in 2021 recorded $33 million in revenue compared to $35.7 million over the same period in 2020.

President Alex Kwon attributes the 8 percent fall to rising interest rates and “substantial inflation of our construction materials, leading to construction development slowdowns.”

Kwon founded Paradigm in 2005 because he wanted his firm to provide a “paradigm” shift in quality and service—hence, the name.

“Since 2007, we have been able to successfully obtain and execute countless numbers of subdivision projects, which included new roadways and utility infrastructures, ultimately becoming new master communities for our residents,” Kwon says.

One of those challenging subdivision projects in 2021 was the Hoopili Parcel 98 and 100 single- and multi-family subdivision projects. “These projects presented a couple of major challenges arising from a long procurement time for construction materials, and dust control measures due to the project’s close proximity to existing neighborhoods.

“Our project management staff utilized a comprehensive pre-planning approach to reduce procurement time and implemented additional dust-control measures while providing a safe project site for our workers.”

Kwon notes the Hoopili projects will provide much-needed affordable homes to West Oahu.

In 2022, Kwon says he looks forward to working with clients D.R. Horton Hawaii and Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Inc. on such projects as Hoopili and Koa Ridge Roads. “They are continuing to push out affordable housing projects in West and Central Oahu that will benefit our local economy, and especially first-time home buyers.”

As for 2022 and beyond, Kwon says he’s cautiously optimistic.

“Our construction industry will fluctuate as we fight through unprecedented inflation and labor shortages. However, the infrastructure bill passed by Congress will also stimulate our economy in the latter part of 2022,” he says. –JMY

#23 Arita Poulson General Contracting

Honokowai Kauhale, a rental community in Lahaina since the early 1990s, completed $12 million in much-needed renovations and repairs.
2021 Revenue: $32.7M
Years in Hawaii: 36
Employees: 54

In rough economic times, all revenue opportunities are welcome—even if it involves “fowl” play.

Popular fast-food chain Chick-fil-A makes its much-anticipated debut in Hawaii this year, and the team at Arita Poulson General Contracting has played an integral role in that. Chick-fil-A is set to open on Maui later this summer at the Puunene Shopping Center in Kahului.

The $4.4 million project was a complete build from the ground up, reports APGC President Daryl Arita. The 7,500-square-foot free-standing eatery will include both a dine-in facility and a drive-through area.

APGC is also building a Chick-fil-A restaurant on Beretania Street in Honolulu. That project is scheduled for completion this fall.

“It was a good match for us,” Arita says. “We worked really well together.”

The project, which broke ground last July, contributed to what Arita calls “a relatively successful year” for the company. Based on Maui, APGC brought in $32.7 million in 2021—up 6 percent from $30.9 million in 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic kind of put things on a skid for a little bit,” he says. “Everyone was trying to find their footing, and so some projects got delayed. Thankfully, they did start up eventually.”

Arita explains that APGC got through the pandemic by carefully adhering to the health guidelines. It wasn’t easy.

“Most of our employees were out in the field,” he says. “We set them up with rule books, communication protocols and things like that. With COVID-19, you might lose 15 men in a day and have them out for seven days, so that was challenging. We did our best to protect everyone at large.”

Another current APGC project is a $12 million renovation of Honokowai Kauhale, an affordable housing development in Lahaina.

“We completely redid the inside and outside,” Arita says. “The deferred maintenance on this one was pretty bad, but the transformation we were able to do is pretty incredible.” – LT

#24 S&M Sakamoto Inc.

2021 Revenue: $32.5M
Years in Hawaii: 82
Employees: 36

Dale Sakamoto Yoneda’s grandfather, Shuichi, and his brothers started S&M Sakamoto Inc. 82 years ago as homebuilders. The family-run general contractor includes Dale, who became president in 2015; her husband, Ryan Yoneda, vice president; and several other family members who hold positions in the company. S&M inched up a notch from Noteworthy Contender in 2020 to No. 24 on this year’s Top 25 Contractors list.

S&M’s revenue increased by a respectable 55 percent from $21 million in 2020 to $32.5 million in 2021. Sakamoto Yoneda attributes the bump-up simply to the timing of projects, awards and permits.

“Many projects bid in 2020 were not able to get started until 2021, due to various issues, such as building permit delays. We were fortunate to have these projects in our backlog.”

Over the years, the firm has greatly expanded its construction activities beyond homebuilding and now performs all types of work throughout the entire state—ranging from small interior renovations to large, multi-story commercial and residential complexes.

One of S&M’s major projects in 2021 was First Hawaiian Bank–Mililani Branch. “In order to meet an expedited completion schedule, our entire construction team worked countless hours,” Sakamoto Yoneda says. “Scope changes along the way added a bit of stress, but the FHB team worked alongside us every step of the way.

“We are working on the Women’s Community Correctional Center New Housing project and feel this will benefit the state Department of Public Safety with additional housing and an administration building.”

Sakamoto Yoneda says she’s cautiously optimistic the industry will continue to thrive as we come out of the pandemic.

“We are seeing many projects go out to bid, which tells us that the investors, owners and government agencies are moving forward with their improvements. Our industry is moving in the right direction.” –JMY

#25 Honolulu Builders LLC

The bar at PF Chang’s restaurant in Waikiki was completed in 2021.
2021 Revenue: $31M
Years in Hawaii: 20
Employees: 20


The MINI Car Dealership in Kapolei. Rip Curl and PF Chang’s in Waikiki. Fast Stop in Kunia. Hawaiian Airlines’ simulator. These global names are clients of Honolulu Builders, which closes out this year’s Top 25 Contractors list—at No. 25.

Honolulu Builders generated $31 million in 2021, a 19 percent decrease over the previous year’s revenue of $38.4 million. The double-digit dip reflected Honolulu Builders’ resilience in the COVID-19 economy and was “a stark reminder that we live in a global economy, and events that are taking place in Europe, Asia and the Mainland will continue to impact our market,” says Dan Jordan, principal at Honolulu Builders.

Honolulu Builders also is renovating the IHS (Institute for Human Services) Treatment Center on Dillingham Boulevard in Kalihi. A temporary shelter, intake and treatment center, the IHS project will help “address the growing issue of drug/alcohol abuse and homelessness in Hawaii that has plagued the downtown area and altered our city’s look and feel,” Jordan says.

Honolulu Builders witnessed the evolution of Honolulu over the past two decades. Jordan and principal Tom Ryan established their firm in 2002, and together, the powerhouse duo and their 20-person team have managed over $900 million of in-place construction projects. Approximately 75 of work is subcontracted. 

Jordan is proud of his small, diverse team. “All of our superintendents possess the attributes of ‘builders,’” he says. “They have the knowledge of all components of the trades and the importance of cost and schedule goals, and they creatively manage products to achieve those goals,” Jordan says. “Our support staff is small and focused on providing excellent estimating support to our clients.” –CCG


Alan Shintani Inc.

Waikoloa Family Affordable Rentals project is a housing development on the Big Island.

2021 Revenue: $28.3M
Years in Hawaii: 48
Employees: 56

In the construction business, workers are meticulously trained to avoid potential dangers, such as falls, electrical hazards, asbestos and collapsing materials.

But military-grade weapons?

That was the hurdle faced by the crew at Alan Shintani Inc. in March 2020, when the company embarked on the $30 million Waikoloa Family Affordable Rentals project, a housing development in Waikoloa on the Big Island. The project called for 110 one- to two-bedroom affordable rental units and an administration building.

The area was used by the U.S. Marines for “live-fire” training during World War II, and an estimated 10 percent of the military munitions failed to detonate. Subsequent cleanups have attempted to address the issue, but the possibility of unexploded ordnance (UXO) still exists.

“That posed an interesting challenge,” says Robert de los Reyes, vice president of Alan Shintani Inc. “We had to bring in a UXO monitor to make sure that everything we encountered while digging at a certain depth was cleared for site work. We didn’t want to accidentally hit any live munitions.” The earth work is almost done—no major issues—and the project is set for completion by next summer.

The company posted $28.3 in revenues in 2021, making it a “Noteworthy Contender.” Last year it, it ranked No. 24 on the list of Top 25 Contractors. 

Its portfolio of work is impressive, regardless, and includes renovation work to the operating rooms at Kona Community Hospital, a $6 million design-build that included upgrades to the hospital’s HVAC and lighting. 

De los Reyes describes 2021 as a “steady” year for Alan Shintani Inc. He says the challenges brought on by the pandemic and supply chain crisis were met by placing a priority on communication and transparency. –LT

Metzler Contracting Co. LLC

Ala Kohanaiki House, a 7,200-square-foot luxury residence by Metzler Contracting

2021 Revenue: $27.5M
Years in Hawaii: 47
Employees: 60

Metzler Contracting is No. 2 among Hawaii’s 2022 Noteworthy Contenders. Last year, the Big Island builder ranked No. 21 on the list of Hawaii’s Top 25 Contractors.

Specializing in high-end single-family homes, Metzler earned $27.5 million in 2021 revenue, a 41 percent decline from $47 million in 2020.

In late 2020, Metzler Contracting revamped 100 hotel rooms within the three towers of The Hapuna Beach Residences on the Big Island. Sixty-eight fee-simple luxury condominiums overlooking a pristine white sand beach were successfully completed in November of that year and rebranded as Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. Penthouse sales were “strong and steady,” says John F. Metzler, the firm’s managing member, and started at $8 million. Sales of other Resort condominiums also moved briskly.

Metzler Contracting’s leading residential projects “include homes for the country’s best architects and owners, for the most part located in the private communities along the Kona and Kohala coastlines,” Metzler says. “The company’s focus has been traditionally on high-end homes with renowned design teams, with additional interest in select institutional and hospitality projects.” Metzler Contracting’s past luxury projects include Assembly House, a palatial residence of approximately 23,000 square feet, and Ala Kohanaiki House, approximately 7,200 square feet.

In 2021, Metzler Contracting completed Hale Kiawe Residence. Ongoing projects include Kukio Lot 53, slated for completion by January 2023; Maniniowali Lot 32 (May 2022); Maniniowali Phase 3 Lot 6 (November 2023); KD Super Lot 1 (July 2024); and Lanai City (December 2022).

Metzler Contracting subcontracts 50 percent of it work and doesn’t perform work in the public sector.

“As COVID-19 is being controlled,” he says, “the industry will come back to pre-pandemic numbers.” –BAE

Constructors Hawaii Inc.

The sunlit gathering space in the Kekelaokalani Building at Kamehameha Schools

2021 Revenue: $20.7M
Years in Hawaii: 50
Employees: 35

A tough 2021 has extended into the first half of 2022, but construction industry veteran Colin Yoshiyama can’t help but feel “golden.”

Founded by Albert Yoshiyama in 1972, Constructors Hawaii Inc. is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Asked to explain the company’s success, Colin Yoshiyama, Albert’s son, points to his team of employees.

“We pride ourselves on the longevity of our team members,” says Colin, who joined Constructors Hawaii in 1990 and became president in 2013. “For example, our former superintendent, Floyd Higa, was with my dad from the beginning, starting as an apprentice. He retired a few years ago, and now his son (Travis) is one of our project managers. We’ve been fortunate to have these second-generation employees who understand our company’s ideals. They come in sharing those same values.”

Yoshiyama says 2021 was a “slow year” for the firm, which generated $20.7 million in revenues, compared to $32.8 million in 2020.

“Our focus is the private industry, and a lot of owners kind of held back,” he explains. “There was a hesitancy to pull the trigger on new projects. But I do remain optimistic. We see things picking up in the latter part of this year. We’re still coming out of that uncertainty that everyone’s been feeling the last couple of years, but the main thing is that we’re coming out of it.”

One 2021 highlight was the company’s $1.3 million build-out of the Bank of Hawaii branch at Mililani Town Center. The 4,162-square-foot property features striking optical chandeliers and constellation-themed artwork. Pandemic-era precautions included an enhanced air filtration system, temperature scanners, sneeze guards and social distancing signage.

Another 2021 project was improvements to the Kekelaokalani Building at Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama. Yoshiyama describes the endeavor as a “complete gut and total renovation with some really cool architectural features. It was a nice-sized project for us, and we worked well with Kamehameha Schools.” –LT

Quality General Inc.

Diamond Head Theatre’s new building will open in 2023 next to the original theater.

2021 Revenue: $20.2M
Years in Hawaii: 53
Employees: 80

Quality General has a track record for show-stopping performances. Earlier this year, it completed concrete and masonry work on Diamond Head Theatre’s new building, set to open in 2023. The new venue will be located next to the historic 89-year-old theater. Quality General earlier this year also had the opportunity to showcase one of its specialties—concrete masonry—while laying the foundation of Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, set to open in 2023.

“We are proud to be involved with both projects,” says Jacob Maekawa, project engineer for Quality General. “Diamond Head Theatre because of its rich history and its significance in Hawaii, and the historic Kona Village Resort, because we used natural elements to complement the culturally rich Hawaiian setting.”

The company has a strong history. Stan Wada and Morris Angelo founded Quality General in 1969 upon the principles of high quality, specialty work and camaraderie among employees.

Only 8 percent of the company’s work is subcontracted, and it continues to be among the few general contractors in Hawaii to self-perform concrete and masonry projects. In 2021, Quality generated $20.2 million, a 31 percent climb over 2020.

Today, in addition to the historic theater and resort, Quality General’s ongoing works include Sky Ala Moana, the Hawaiian Humane Society’s expansion, Manana Corp. Yard improvements in Pearl City, the Hoopili community in Ewa Beach and affordable housing 902 Alder St. Last year, the company completed work on the Hoopili neighborhood in West Oahu and P-463 SOF Undersea Operational Training Facility, located at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

“We’ve strived to produce quality work for Hawaii for the past 53 years,” Maekawa says. –CCG

Pitzer Built Construction LLC

The $4.4 million Nana Residence at Kaanapali Coffee Farms

2021 Revenue: $7.5M
Years in Hawaii: 22
Employees: 10

Doug Pitzer, RME of Pitzer Built Construction LLC, attributes the family-run business’ significant 108 percent rise in revenue—from $3.6 million in 2020 to $7.5 million in 2021—to the fact that majority of his work in 2020 continued into the following year.

“Also, we acquired a large project in 2021 that has continued into this year,” says Pitzer.

A Noteworthy Contender on this year’s list of Top 25 Contractors for the second year in a row, the Lahaina-based contractor specializes in high-end custom homes and estates.

“In 2021, we were blessed with new and repeat clients. We took on more jobs than usual and were able to deliver on time.”

Pitzer began as a framer in the ’80s, then became a general contractor in 2000. At one time, his brother joined the company; his wife is office manager.

Significant projects completed in 2021 include the $4.4 million Nana Residence custom home he built on the Kaanapali Coffee Farms, and the $1.4 million Medina Residence remodel in Lahaina that was a complete property renovation, including the pool.

Ongoing and future projects include: a $1.2 million Holmes custom home renovation at the Kaanapali Golf Estates; a $6.2 million Stein residence design-build at Plantation Estates in Honolua Ridge in Lahaina; and a $6.4 million Stark residence design-build at Mahana Estates in Lahaina.

Pitzer says he’s looking forward to working on a new $5.5 million Snedden custom home in Olowalu in 2022. “This is a past client we have developed a strong working relationship with. The design is high-end contemporary, with a panoramic view of what resembles French Polynesia.

“This project will help provide jobs for our employees and subs, and sales for local vendors and material suppliers.”

As for the future, Pitzer says the company is fortunate to be booked up.

“We have projects signed up through 2024.

“Maui has some of the best craftsmen in the world, but our biggest challenge is workforce and housing. We are 35,000 units short in Maui County, so the future should be stable.

“Unfortunately, it is the most expensive time to build in 40 years.” –JMY

Barker Kappelle
Construction LLC

This North Shore home has four bedrooms, 3.5 baths and a contemporary design that blends mid-century characteristics.
2021 Revenue: $7M
Years in Hawaii: 16
Employees: 18

During a struggling economy, there might be no wiser investment than your home. At least, that is the theory shared by Will Gilbert of Barker Kappelle Construction LLC.

“With the stock market going down and inflation going up, a good alternative might be investing in a new house or adding value to an existing home,” says Gilbert, senior project engineer at the firm. “This might be especially true here in Hawaii, with our low supply of housing. [Home values] keep going up and up.”

Specializing in custom homes and higher-end remodels, Barker Kapelle Construction LLC pulled in $7 million in revenues in 2021—up 23 percent from $5.7 million in 2020. The increase came despite the continued challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the past, we were able to get a quote from a vendor or subcontractor and feel pretty good that [the price] would hold when we start construction,” Gilbert says. “Well, that comfort level kind of got thrown out the window. No quote could be held for any period of time, and we explain that to our clients so that everyone is clear about things that are outside our control.”

One of the company’s signature projects in 2021 was a $2.8 million new residence on Oahu’s North Shore. The client had two dilapidated dwellings on a lot near Pipeline and hired Barker Kappelle Construction for a demolition and new build.

“The homeowners had a sharp eye for design,” Gilbert recalls. “It was important to them to have something that didn’t look out of place in the North Shore.”

Features include a spacious living room with 20-foot-high ceilings, long overhanging eaves and exterior areas that combine concrete, limestone and cement-wash finishes for a budget-friendly, luxurious aesthetic.

“The homeowners had a sharp eye for design,” Gilbert recalls. “It was important to them to have something that didn’t look out of place in the North Shore.” – LT

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