When friends come together to start a business, it can be a test of the friendship or an advantage multiplied exponentially. CK Construction, Inc. of El Paso brought together a number of coworkers who had previously worked well together for a major commercial contractor. Now approaching three years in business, the team is working successfully and seems to have found their niche.
CK Construction is a small general contractor working primarily on smaller public sector buildings and projects for community service organizations. This market niche has allowed them to make inroads with clients who respect their values of cleanliness, zero tolerance for drug use, no smoking on the job site, employee background checks, and being true to their word, according to David Kessinger, company president.
“CK has developed a promising design-build relationship with Catholic and Mexican-American organizations,” said David Kessinger. “Seventy-five percent of our work is as select bid.”
About La Fe
The contractor recently completed a project for Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, Inc. La Fe evolved from a dream of concerned residents living in the poorest community in El Paso, which also happens to be the third poorest zip code in the United States. These mostly Mexican-American families struggle for a piece of the American Dream, but decided to start helping themselves.
La Fe was established as a combination of medical clinics and educational services to teach nutritional counseling, social services, health education, trades, and provide transportation assistance. The organization has developed and began to outgrow its quarters. Funds were raised and a grant came through. Mijares Mora Architects designed a two-story, 10,512-square-foot expansion to the La Fe Cultural and Technology Center on South Ochoa Street.
The concrete masonry structure is built upon a slab-on-grade. Steel joists and columns support the three-ply built-up roof. The tight worksite required special maneuvering. Sidewalks and fencing were only three to four feet from the building, and there was precious little staging area.
“Because the building was built right up under power lines, we wrapped the main power supply line, working in close coordination with El Paso Electric,” said Kessinger.
Lift equipment, including Alliance Rigging and Constructors' Link Belt crane, operated inside the building's footprint as the masonry and steel went up, then exited through an opening that would become an outcropped stairwell. This same exterior opening served as the access for the Brundage's Schwing concrete pumper when time came to pour the second floor slab.
Isolated El Paso
El Paso can be compared to an island, only it is surrounded by desert instead of water. A few contractors and suppliers based in major U.S. cities have established satellites in El Paso, but for the most part, this is a self-sustaining community. As the general contractor, CK hires local trades people and subcontractors as much as possible. The company's values of cleanliness and against illegal drug use apply to their subcontractors as well.
“We keep our job sites clean,” said Kessinger. “Something as simple as sweeping every day helps to reduce accidents, which has lowered our rate of incidents.”