Jacobsen Construction


SALT LAKE CITY — More than 1,000 people traveled from as far away as New York City and the Hawaiian Islands to celebrate at The Grand America Hotel for Jacobsen Construction’s biennial company-wide Get-Together on March 1. 

The people of Jacobsen — from project managers to IT experts, from estimators to executives, from craftworkers to accountants, business developers, superintendents, engineers, HR professionals and more — heard presentations about the state of the company and what to expect in the years ahead. 

The forecast? Extraordinary projects, big opportunities for growth and lots of reasons for excitement are on the horizon at Jacobsen. 

“There is a lot of work for all of us to do for the next many years, and I’m so grateful to engage in this work with each of you,” said President and CEO Gary Ellis in his remarks, noting that the company currently has a work backlog of $2.7 billion — its largest ever. 

“We are completing projects in very diverse markets — education facilities, hospitals and clinics, places of worship, hotels, multi-family housing, recreation, manufacturing, research and many more types of industries — and together, we are doing it very successfully.” 

Jacobsen employees and their plus-one special guests enjoyed a Grand America-catered dinner and dessert together and participated in drawings for big prizes. The evening’s other speakers were Ellis’s colleagues on the Jacobsen executive team: Chief Financial Officer Tommy Auger, Chief Development Officer Dennis Cigana, Chief Operating Officer Matt Radke, EVP of Self-Perform Work Scott Braithwaite, EVP of Human Resources Julie Caldwell, EVP of Corporate Communications & Brand Marketing Amy Christensen and EVP General Counsel Scott DeGraffenried. 

Chief Financial Officer Tommy Auger gave a presentation describing Jacobsen’s record-breaking $1 billion revenue in 2023 and its fast-growing workforce of now over 800 people. 

“There has never been a better time to be an employee at Jacobsen Construction,” Auger said. 

Auger also pointed out the increased financial contributions to every employee-owner’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) account as revenues have increased in recent years. 

Reaching new heights 

Scott Braithwaite, executive vice president of self-perform work, shared remarks about the impressive work of Jacobsen’s craftworkers over the past year, which included more than 1.6 million worker hours in 2023 — 200,000 more than the year prior. 

“Thank you to each and every one of you who gets up at midnight, or five in the morning, or whatever time it is that you’re needed, to go to work and build these buildings,” Braithwaite said. “We can’t do what we do every day as a company without dedicated groups like this.” 

He added that Jacobsen self-perform concrete teams placed more than 154,000 concrete cubic yards in 2023. On the Astra Tower project alone, according to Braithwaite, concrete crews used more than 4,370 truckload deliveries to bring the structure to its full height of 40 stories — making it the tallest high-rise ever built in Utah. 

“With pours in the middle of the night, our people showed their dedication to helping us reach a new level every six days or so on that tower, putting it into the sky,” Braithwaite said. “Congratulations to the whole Astra Tower team.” 

Braithwaite also called on Jacobsen project teams to stay relentlessly focused on working safely. 

“Our goal each and every day is that all of us go home safely,” he said. “Please join with me in re-dedicating yourselves to a safe 2024.” 

Project Feature video update 

An in-depth video covering the last four years of construction work on the Salt Lake Temple was a special highlight of the Get-Together. It included a jobsite tour and interview with Brad Bohne, the Salt Lake Temple major renovation superintendent overseeing all ten work packages onsite. The video went into detail about the extensive work being done to seismically protect the temple and refresh the entire Temple Square campus. It also featured highlights from major milestones on the project over the past few years. 

“Let’s give the remarkable individuals on this project the recognition they truly deserve for their hard work, dedication and incredible impact,” said Amy Christensen, executive vice president of corporate communications and brand marketing, after asking each member of the team to stand to be applauded.

Supporting Jacobsen’s people 

Julie Caldwell, executive vice president of human resources, discussed Jacobsen’s ongoing efforts to connect employees with mental health resources and to strengthen the company’s culture of openness about mental health topics. She said 58 newly certified Mental Health Peers at Jacobsen who are specially trained on how to nonjudgmentally connect co-workers with health care professionals whenever the need arises. 

“These volunteers have invested over 10 hours of their time to learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of mental health challenges,” Caldwell said. “And they know how to respond with compassion and direct you to the right experts’ support and guidance.” 

Caldwell also spoke about other mental health resources offered to all Jacobsen employees, including a 24/7 text-or-call support hotline. These resources can be found by logging into Jake’s Place and selecting “Jacobsen Cares Package” from the main menu. She showed an inspiring video that spotlighted Jacobsen employees who have opened up about personally overcoming obstacles to mental health and wellness, or helping a friend or loved one do the same. 

“It’s OK to not be OK,” Caldwell said. 

Ellis also addressed the importance of feeling comfortable discussing mental health at Jacobsen, and said supporting employees’ well-being is a top priority at the company. 

“We need to recognize that we are all people — that we all have needs and experience challenges,” he said. “We want to make sure that our people are well (and that) we can all talk openly and honestly when we’re experiencing personal challenges.” 

What it means to be at Jacobsen 

Ellis invited employees and their guests to reflect on what it means to them to be part of the Jacobsen team. He added that he hoped each person in attendance could come away feeling renewed, excited for the future and inspired by the impactful work that the people of Jacobsen are doing together. 

“Jacobsen Construction Company is Built for Life. That is what we do and why we do it. We build for the life that goes on in the places that we build — for students, for worshippers, for tenants, for researchers, for shoppers, for patients,” he said. 

“We also build for the lives of our employees and your families. And I hope that you feel like you are developing a successful career here with Jacobsen. … We’re doing some really meaningful things in our communities, and I hope that you recognize that and walk away very proud tonight.”