20 Things That Happened in 2020 (Besides a Pandemic)

A pandemic, an election, a few hundred jaw-dropping moments in between… that’s how most of us will remember 2020. While this chaotic year has brought about an endless supply of head-hurting news headlines, we like to look on the sunny side whenever possible. As we close up the year and look forward to 2021, let’s take a moment to highlight the top 20 ECI happenings of 2020:

 

  1. We Celebrated Our 40 Year Anniversary!

While our plans for a grand party were sadly dashed, we are still immensely proud to mark this noteworthy milestone. Learn about 40-year history and how we evolved into Colorado’s leading outdoor spaces general contractor here.

 

  1. Completed Site Work Along Cherry Creek in Denver

This project took place in two phases and concluded in early 2020. ECI built four ungrouted boulder drop structures, self-performed all earthwork, and managed 10 times the normal winter flow, due to Cherry Creek Reservoir release all winter. Read more>

 

  1. Started and Finished ECCV Expansion and Sitework

The purpose of this project was to enhance and upgrade the stormwater system at the ECCV headquarters, as well as create a new maintenance building, parking, site utilities, MSE walls, concrete flatwork, and additional landscape and irrigation. We began working on this project in January and wrapped it up in October.

 

  1. Participated in College Career Fairs

Interacting with emerging talent in the construction field has always been one of our favorite things to do. We were fortunate to participate in a few career fairs in January and February before the insanity hit. Thank you to Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines, and University of Colorado for having us!

 

  1. Started and Finished Platte Farm Open Space

In collaboration with the City and County of Denver and Mile High Flood District, ECI created a detention pond to help with stormwater and flooding in the adjacent neighborhood. The park also included an open space with trails, landscaping and irrigation, access roads to the neighborhood, and new on-street parking. Learn more>

 

  1. Selina Stepped into COO Position

Hats off to Selina Cook! After 17 years of shaping ECI into the company it is today, Selina transitioned from Vice President of Finance and Administration to Chief Operating Officer. Learn more about her career journey.

 

  1. Started and Finished 39th Avenue Greenway

ECI’s scope for this project included the amenity plazas with large paver areas, nature play components, and associated boulder work. The final greenway featured nature playgrounds, paver plazas, a community garden, and site furnishings.

 

  1. ECI Donated $7,000 to Aims Foundation

While we unfortunately could not host our annual golf tournament to benefit the Aims Foundation, we partnered with Flood and Peterson, FirstBank, and The Greenway Foundation to raise $7,000 for construction trades students. Read more>

 

  1. Completed Painted Prairie

ECI built the main neighborhood park and five pocket parks at the Painted Prairie housing development near DIA, spanning a total of 22 acres. They include numerous fascinating amenities, such as custom play structures, sport fields, community gardens, sand beaches, shade structures, etc. Read more>

 

  1. Started and Finished Fort Collins High School Track and Field

ECI was contracted to do a complete overhaul of Fort Collins High School’s track and field, which consisted of a new synthetic football field, new track, and new long jump and pole vault runways. Read more>

 

  1. ECI Received the Top Honor in BizWest’s Mercury 100 List

We are truly humbled that ECI ranked in the number one spot for Flight I of BizWest’s Mercury 100 Fastest Growing Companies list for Northern Colorado. 100 companies are honored every year, and we achieved the top rank due to our 108 percent annual revenue growth from 2017-2019. Read more>

 

  1. Started and Finished Jeffco Public Schools Phase II

After successfully completing the first round of turf and field improvements for nine schools in Jeffco in 2019, ECI was contracted to conduct the second round of improvements. This phase featured six schools, and renovations included replacing grass sports fields with synthetic turf and the installation of post-tension tennis and track facilities to improve safety and durability.

 

  1. Celebrated Groundbreaking of Arkins Promenade in RiNO

The RiNO Promenade will combine recreation, leisure, the natural environment, and the vibrancy of the neighborhood to create one all-encompassing linear park along the South Platte River. We look forward to completing this project in 2021! Read more>

 

  1. Travis Made BizWest’s 40 Under Forty List

Congrats to our Vice President of Pre-Construction, Travis Coulter! Travis was one of the 40 young professionals to be honored by BizWest for his professional achievements over the years. We celebrated this accomplishment with a virtual event.

 

  1. Started and Finished Timnath Community Park

ECI was selected as the general contractor for phase two of Timnath Community Park. The 12-acre second phase features a more natural style of playground, a large open play field, additional parking, a large pedestrian bridge, a new dog park and a custom restroom building.

 

  1. Started and Finished Severance Community Park

Just down the road from Timnath Community Park, we built a new community park for the Town of Severance. Aspects of the park included new turn lanes into the park, 26 acres of earthwork, a large sod field for town events, and new parking. It also featured baseball and softball fields, a sledding hill, and other landscape and site features. Read more>

 

  1. Participated in Mentor Protégé Program

ECI has had the pleasure of being a part of the City and County of Denver’s Mentor Protégé Program, in which our president, Ted Johnson, has served as a mentor for Ascend Landscaping. We enjoyed sharing our thoughts on business leadership and interacting with the other mentors and proteges!

 

  1. Broke Ground on Erie Community Park Final Phase

We completed the first phase of Erie Community Park eight years ago, and we’re looking forward to working on the final phase in 202! We broke ground in December, and the new phase will include basketball courts, an asphalt bike pump track, and many more amenities.

 

  1. Started Working on East West Trail

We are immensely excited to be working on East West Trail in 2021. This new trail will connect to The Incline trails in Douglas County.

 

  1. Getting to Say Bye to 2020

While there certainly have been plenty of highlights of this dismal year, we are just as relieved as you are to see 2020 come to a close.

 

Cheers to 2021!

 

 

Let’s Finish Erie Community Park…The Final Phase Begins!

It’s been nearly eight years since ECI completed the first phase of Erie Community Park, and we’re back for round two! The first phase marked a pinnacle moment for ECI – and the Town of Erie – as it included the world’s first permanent outdoor Street League-certified skateboarding park. Since its opening in January 2013, the park has been used by residents and visitors alike as a place to gather and recreate. We are thrilled to announce that ECI has been selected as the general contractor to finish the last phase of this community gem.

 

Erie Community Park, located at 450 Powers Street, currently spans 41 acres and features ballfields, playground, shaded seating areas, and tennis courts. The new phase will expand on this area and include:

  • Custom shelter and restroom facility
  • Basketball courts
  • Asphalt bike pump track
  • Energy awareness-themed playground
  • Outdoor reading rooms
  • Earthwork and drainage improvements
  • Walking trails

 

ECI’s project team participated in a special groundbreaking ceremony in December 2020, along with several key players in the project: Town of Erie, Design Concepts, and Wember Inc. This project would not be possible without the generous grants from Great Outdoors Colorado, Department of Local Affairs, and the Regional Air Quality Council.

 

We look forward to sharing updates as the project progresses!

ECI Fall 2020 Newsletter

2020 will certainly go down in history for more than a few reasons, but ECI will be remembering it as our 40th anniversary year!

While we were hoping this milestone year would be full of celebrations and gatherings rather than masks and social distancing, we are incredibly fortunate to have completed several successful projects with more on the horizon. Thank you to our staff and strategic partners for the ongoing collaboration that keeps us moving forward.

Catch up on ECI’s most recent happenings in our newsletter below.

New Track and Field for Fort Collins High School

It’s safe to say that schools are undergoing numerous changes this year. While most of them come with a host of new challenges, we’re thrilled to add a positive change to the mix! We recently finished a complete renovation of Fort Collins High School’s track and field and are excited to share the details.

 

The project ran from July-October 2020, and improvements consisted of a new synthetic football field, new track, and new long jump and pole vault runways. The updates replaced old, worn out elements to improve safety and usability for student athletes. The endeavor was unique in that the project team was able to reuse some of the existing drainage features, adding to the project’s sustainability.

 

We couldn’t have accomplished this project without our dedicated project team. Special thanks to Poudre School District, BHA Design, Academy Sports Turf, and a strategic team of subcontractors.

 

We look forward to students using these spaces for many years to come!

The Essential Need for Parks During a Pandemic

For 40 years, we have lived by the belief that our community deserves plenty of outdoor spaces to recreate and enjoy nature. With all the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, parks and green spaces have become even more vital for maintaining health and happiness during tough times. We recently came across a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, detailing the importance of open spaces in relation to physical and mental health, and we thought we’d share some of the highlights – as well our own thoughts on the subject!

 

Physical Activity Reduces COVID-19 Risk Factors

We all know that physical activity benefits your overall health, but studies show that outdoor activity and exposure to nature specifically correlate to reducing COVID-19 risk factors. Exercise is proven to lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes – all of which are linked to intensifying symptoms of COVID-19.

 

Mental Health Benefits of Experiencing Nature

Mental illness has been dubbed the unspoken collateral damage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The debilitating mental side effects of isolation and lack of human interaction can be very harmful for those who already struggle with mental health issues. Exercising and spending time in nature reduce stress and depression, as well as release endorphins that improve mental wellbeing.

 

Socially Distanced, Safe and Still Moving

Even as public places have started reopening, many don’t feel comfortable being enclosed in a gym. Fortunately, experts are saying that outdoor spaces are relatively safe during a pandemic when people stay more than six feet apart, wear face masks, and refrain from long conversations with others. With a beautiful Colorado fall on the horizon, parks and outdoor spaces are the perfect place to engage in physical activity.

 

Recommendations for Urban Areas in the Future

The CDC article notes that those who live in dense urban areas may be at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and have limited access to parks and open spaces. A couple ideas for resolving this issue include an “open streets” style initiative, in which city blocks are closed off for a day to encourage outdoor activity. Additionally, transforming unused natural spaces in urban areas into functioning recreational pockets have tremendous benefits, not only on residents’ wellbeing but on the environment as well. Learn more about this concept with our newest RiNO Promenade project.

 

Colorado Parks to Explore

Itching to get out of the house and spend some quality time at Colorado parks? Here are just a few pandemic-friendly outdoor spaces that ECI has created:

 

 

 

ECI Receives Top Honor in BizWest’s Mercury 100 Fastest Growing Company List

And the winner is… ECI!! We are so incredibly excited to announce that ECI has ranked in the number one spot for Flight I of BizWest’s Mercury 100 Fastest Growing Companies list for Northern Colorado. The Mercury 100 list is among the top honors a Northern Colorado business can receive, and we are very proud to top the 2019 list.

 

The list was announced in September 2020 and is determined by the annual revenue growth from 2017-2019. 100 companies are honored every year – 50 in Northern Colorado and 50 in Boulder Valley – and each region is divided into five “flights,” based on each company’s 2019 annual revenue. Our revenue placed us in Flight I, and due to our 108 percent growth from 2017-2019, we ranked number one in our flight.

 

This honor coincides with our 40th year in business, making it even more special. ECI was founded by Brian Peterson in 1980 as a one-man landscape contractor. Over the past four decades, ECI has grown to become the largest northern Colorado and Denver-area general contractor that specializes in the construction of landmark parks, sporting fields and other premier outdoor spaces that bring communities together and boost local economies.

 

Some of our most notable Northern Colorado projects include:

  • Loveland Sports Park Phases I and II: Loveland, 2006 and 2019
  • Spring Canyon Park: Fort Collins, 2007
  • MAX/Bus Rapid Transit: Fort Collins, 2014
  • Mehaffey Park: Loveland, 2015
  • Twin Silo Park: Fort Collins, 2017
  • Poudre River Whitewater Park: Fort Collins, 2019
  • Timnath Community Park Phase II: Timnath, 2020

 

Thank you to our stellar team of dedicated employees and collaborative industry partners for 40 years of partnership, growth, and beautifying Colorado.

 

RiNO Promenade: Beautifying Denver and Reclaiming Nature

Over the years, ECI has been fortunate to work on numerous projects along the South Platte River in Denver – Confluence Park, Platte Farm Detention Basin, and 39th Avenue Greenway, just to name a few. We are thrilled to announce that one of our newest projects, RiNO Promenade, is continuing the beautification of this region and will provide recreational opportunities for generations to come.

 

A New Space for Recreation in Denver

The RiNO Promenade will combine recreation, leisure, the natural environment, and the vibrancy of the neighborhood to create one all-encompassing linear park along the South Platte River. The elaborate outdoor space will span from 29th Street to 38th Street and connect the new River North Park at 35th and Arkins with Globeville Landing Park at 38th. Promenade visitors will be able to enjoy numerous unique elements, such as an elevated walkway with seating areas, outdoor classrooms, and viewing platforms 16 feet above the river bank to fully take in the beauty of the South Platte River.

 

In addition to providing new recreational experiences, the project will also enhance natural vegetation. Stormwater will be treated using landscape-based water quality areas, which will hydraulically connect vegetated swales with chase drains and shallow conveyances. Existing outfalls that served Arkins Court as a street will be reused for the stormwater from the Park and adjacent roads, but with added water quality areas to clean the water before it goes into the river.

 

A Vision in the Works for Years

The RiNO Promenade – and revitalization of this entire region – has been a Denver dream for many years and has involved the leadership of several entities. Two primary key players have been The Greenway Foundation and Wenk Associates.

 

The South Platte River had historically been treated as a landfill, due to the booming industrial activity in this part of Denver during past decades. With an emphasis on sustainability and environmental preservation, ideas of improvements have circulated for numerous years. Starting more than 10 years ago, The Greenway Foundation began working with the City and County of Denver to create a plan detailing how river corridor restoration could turn RiNO into one of the most thriving areas of Denver. Thanks to this organization’s tireless advocacy, several stretches of the South Platte River have undergone complex improvements in recent years that have resulted in significant environmental and economic benefits.

 

Wenk Associates has served as the project’s lead consultant and architect, as well as the master planner, since 2015. The original goal for this stretch was to accommodate population growth by creating a park where people could work and play, while also enhancing the South Platte River. Since then, the vision has evolved to meet the demographic and ecological needs of the area. Under Wenk’s leadership, the initial phase, RiNO Park, has been completed and opened to the public in August 2020. The current section, or “Promenade Phase I,” is expected to be completed in fall 2021.

 

Long-Lasting Impacts on Five Points and Globeville Neighborhoods

While all Coloradans will have the opportunity to enjoy RiNO Promenade, the project will have a profound impact on the nearby Five Points and Globeville Neighborhoods. This region has lacked comfortable green space in the past, and the new promenade will provide a much-needed flexible space for residents to gather and play in a welcoming environment, while still retaining the arts and culture landscape for which the region is best known.

 

“It is our hope that the RiNO region continues to celebrate and steward the River that is the heart of its name,” said Devon Buckels, Director of The Water Connection, the water resources and policy initiative of The Greenway Foundation. “This celebration can take the form of supporting and advocating for funding measures for continued improvements and enhancements, taking steps to protect the water quality in the River by supporting projects to clean stormwater flow before it enters the river, and welcoming people of all generations and backgrounds, RiNO residents and others, to enjoy the City’s most magnificent natural resource.”

 

Navigating Challenges and an Everchanging Landscape

As with any complex project, the RiNO Promenade won’t come without its challenges. One potential obstacle involves two major Metro Sewer interceptors that carry sewage beneath the project site to the treatment facility downstream. Furthermore, the area surrounding the project site is built on fill that is more than 100 years old, requiring the construction team to delicately treat all soils as though they are contaminated. Fortunately, ECI has ample experience responsibly dealing with contaminated soil from our work on Confluence Park in 2015-2017.

 

In addition to these known challenges, the unknown factors will also demand extra attention and flexibility. Because the neighborhoods and environment in this region are constantly evolving, the Promenade will have to adapt with its surrounding to maintain accessibility and functionality for its many visitors.

 

A Collaboration Among Numerous Entities

The RiNO Promenade is a collaboration among numerous dedicated entities. Special thanks to the following for being a part of this iconic project:

 

Owner/Client: Denver Parks and Recreation

Project Management: Denver Public Works

Client: North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative

Lead Consultant & Landscape Architect: Wenk Associates

General Contractor: ECI Site Construction Management

Project Partners: The Greenway Foundation and RiNO BID

Neighbor and Advocate: RiNO Arts District

Public Art: Denver Arts & Venues

 

We look forward to sharing updates as RiNO Promenade progresses!

 

Rendering courtesy of the City and County of Denver.

View more renderings of RiNO Promenade from the City and County of Denver here.

Pocket Parks and Plum Trees: Painted Prairie Promises a Unique Neighborhood Experience

You know what they say: A new neighborhood is only as good as its outdoor spaces. Or at least that’s what we say at ECI! Over the past several months, we have had the incredible opportunity of creating parks and gathering spaces at the new Painted Prairie housing development, located near DIA in Aurora. The project consisted of a main neighborhood park and five smaller pocket parks, all of which have unique features and purposes.

These parks are spread across 22 acres and will serve as communal gathering spaces for new residents. They include numerous fascinating amenities, such as custom play structures, sport fields, community gardens, sand beaches, shade structures, etc.

In many ways, Painted Prairie has been one of our most unique projects, due to the creative architectural elements designed by Civitas. For example, one of the parks is named Plum Park and is filled with different types of fruiting plum trees. Another park is named Lavender Park and features hundreds of lavender plants and wildflowers. Furthermore, there is an apple orchard in the main neighborhood park and an area called the “butterfly garden,” which is filled with flowers that naturally attract butterflies. The butterfly garden also has weaving crusher fines paths that resemble a butterfly wing.

Throughout this project, ECI self-performed much of the earthwork and several other aspects. Our team created berms, naturally occurring land formations like the “arroyo,” and wore many different hats to help all of our subcontractors with their work and transform the land into the envisioned end product. Expert scheduling and coordination was top priority in order to progress alongside the land being developed.

Special thanks to all our collaborative partners: Civitas, AquaTerra Environmental, Beanstalk Builders, BrightView Landscape, and a strategic team of subcontractors. We look forward to residents enjoying these unique outdoor spaces for many years to come!

ECI Supports the Aims Foundation in Times of Crisis

The future is only as strong as those who invest in emerging leaders. It is this belief that has driven ECI to support educational causes, such as the Aims Foundation, the charitable arm of Aims Community College in Greeley. For the past several years, ECI has partnered with this incredible organization to provide scholarships for their construction trades program. This year, we were raised $7,000 to support the next generation of construction leaders.

 

“While we are all navigating the impacts of COVID-19, we are honored to have dedicated partners that stepped up and made generous contributions in lieu of ECI’s annual golf tournament, which was unfortunately cancelled this year,” said Ted Johnson, President of ECI. “ECI believes the investment in education and supporting individuals who will be contributing to the future of our industry is paramount, now more than ever.”

 

We were certainly disappointed that we had to cancel the annual ECI Golf Tournament due to COVID-19, but we are immensely grateful for our stellar community partners that contributed to this worthy cause. Thanks to Flood and Peterson, FirstBank, and The Greenway Foundation, the Aims Foundation was able to increase the number of scholarships distributed to eight total gifts. These funds will go towards numerous aspects of construction students’ education, including books, attendance costs, tuition, fees, etc. During times of economic uncertainty, assisting future careers in the construction industry is more important than ever.

 

“Aims students have been heavily affected by the pandemic, and scholarship support is essential to ensuring they remain on track with their education,” said Kelly Jackson, Executive Director of the Aims Foundation. “Our corporate partnerships are a key component to propelling student success, and we appreciate the united effort to creating a highly trained workforce.”

 

Learn more about the Aims Foundation here.

 

5 Tips for Surviving Work-From-Home Life

This spring has brought about numerous unprecedented changes in the way we conduct our daily work lives. For many of us in the Colorado construction industry, this includes working solely from home for what could be the first time. At first it sounds like a dream – pajamas all day, your kitchen only steps away, quality time with your spouse who is also confined to the home. But after about day three (or hour three), the magic wears off and the isolation sets in. For anyone who is struggling with the work-from-life, take a deep breath and follow these handy pointers:

 

1. Communication is Now More Important Than Ever

Worldwide pandemic or not, strong communication and collaboration within the construction industry is always the key to success. If you’re stuck at home instead of at the office, communication needs to be doubled…maybe tripled. Set up regular touch-bases with your project team so everyone is following the same course of action, and opt for video meetings when possible to help fill the social void.

 

2. Maintain Normal Working Hours and Routine

It can be tempting to sleep in, work late, take three-hour lunch breaks, etc. Ultimately, this will just make productivity even more of a challenge. Starting and ending work at definitive times helps with accountability and focus. We recommend setting up a “home office station,” whether that’s in a spare bedroom or the kitchen table, so you can still feel like you’re arriving at and leaving work.

 

3. Keep Projects at Front of Mind

It’s all too easy to slip into a “what’s the point” attitude when we’re surrounded by everchanging chaos on a regular basis. If that sounds like you, here’s the motivation you were looking for: While nearly every other industry is shutting down, construction keeps chugging along because it is considered essential to our lives and the lives of future generations. Construction is needed whether the economy is thriving or suffering, and our community is depending on you to pull through. To sum up, YOUR PROJECT MATTERS!

 

4. Minimize Distractions…As Much as Possible

This probably sounds much easier said than done, especially if you’re now adopting the role of homeschool teacher (parents, we salute you). In order to survive working from home, try to eliminate the optional distractions – unnecessary social media, Netflix, noisy roommates, depressing news reels, etc. Set aside time at the beginning and end of your work day for all these distractions instead.

 

5. Use Lunch Breaks for Neighborhood Walks

Finally – and most importantly – “Shelter in Place” does NOT mean “forget what sunshine feels like.” Use your lunch break to take a walk around the neighborhood to get some fresh air and clear your head. If possible, work from your deck or at least position your home office near a sunny window. It’s no secret we’re all about those outdoor spaces – use them as comfort when you need them most.

 

Together, we will make it through these tough times. Hang in there, and here’s to unexpected pajama days!