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!

 

 

7 Colorado Parks to Visit This Summer

We’re not going to sugarcoat it – the beginning of spring is shaping up to be a rough season for Colorado (and for the rest of the world). But since we’re a “glass half full” kind of company, we like to focus on the silver lining and provide hope whenever possible. The good news is that these dreary days won’t last forever, and soon we’ll be back to our normal lives and enjoying the many beautiful outdoor spaces Colorado has to offer.

 

While you’re stuck at home and dreaming of brighter days, we’re here to remind you to put these fantastic Colorado parks on your post-quarantine day trip list:

 

1 | Poudre River Whitewater Park, Fort Collins

This revolutionary venue is the only whitewater park in northern Colorado. Whether you’re a killer kayaker, terrific tuber, or just someone who enjoys relaxing next to the rushing rapids, the Poudre River Whitewater Park is the place for you. Officially opened to the public in October 2019, the park is located in north Fort Collins and boasts an enormous pedestrian bridge, children’s play area, new paved trails and plenty of boating features for an adventurous day.

 

2 | Woodbriar Park, Greeley

This spacious park has been a Greeley staple since its original construction in the 1970s. Over the last few years, the City of Greeley decided the entire park needed a revamp with a new neighborhood park and improved stormwater system that was better coordinated with city departments. The redesigned Woodbriar Park was unveiled in 2018 and included a natural style of playground and adjacent structures that were repurposed from existing trees.

 

3 | Confluence Park, Denver

Confluence Park and Shoemaker Plaza have been dubbed “The Heart of Denver,” and we couldn’t agree more! This iconic landmark was one of our largest – and most challenging – projects a few years back. During the shore work, buried coal tar was discovered, requiring construction to pause for a year to address water treatment and filtering. Today, the ADA-sensitive plaza serves as a gathering space for Denver residents, with the South Platte River running alongside it.

 

4 | Twin Silo Park, Fort Collins

Who can forget when those two giant silos popped up in southeast Fort Collins? Located just south of Fossil Ridge High School, this relatively new community park was a gamechanger for the growing population in the region. The park is outfitted with a twisting slide connecting two relocated steel silos, a farmhouse-inspired shelter, pickleball courts, multi-purpose fields and a unique vertical grow wall. This summer, come out to enjoy a BMX riding area and water play area in McClelland’s Creek.

 

5 | Wellington Community Park, Wellington

As soon as we’re able to gather in crowds of more than 10, Wellington Community Park is the perfect venue for a summer softball league. Located near the Buffalo Creek subdivision, this 30-acre park includes ball fields, tennis courts, a dog park, playground, splash pad and multipurpose fields. In addition to the new amenities, ECI improved the park’s stormwater system. So pack up a picnic basket and bring a frisbee – this park has a little bit of everything for our Wellington friends.

 

6 | Mehaffey Park, Loveland

This gem in west Loveland has everything you need for a jam-packed day of family fun! Mehaffey Park includes an adventure playground with one-of-a-kind concrete climbing and retaining walls that simulate natural stone properties and shade shelters, a custom skatepark and post tension tennis courts. Plus, the park features a lovely waterfall structure with a stream that runs through the entire playground.

 

7 | Margaret Carpenter Park, Thornton

Completed in 2013, Margaret Carpenter Park is considered Thornton’s flagship park – and for good reason. This 150-acre park is like none other, featuring a carousel, boat rental house and dock, bocce ball and shuffleboard courts, professional sand volleyball pit, horseshoe pits, 500-seat amphitheater, skate park, playground, and much more.

 

Here’s to a better summer and sunny days at the park!

From One-Man Landscaper to Leaders in Building Outdoor Spaces: ECI Celebrates 40 Years in Business

480 months. 2,080 weeks. 14,600 days. 40 years flies when you’re busy crafting outdoor spaces to enhance communities across Colorado. 2020 marks a milestone year for ECI as we celebrate our 40th anniversary! In honor of the occasion, we thought we’d highlight some of our thrills and frills, milestones and landmarks, achievements and challenges – all of which made us the company we are today.

 

The Early Days of ECI: Just a Man and His Wheelbarrow

Like any good ol’ success story, ECI had humble beginnings. Brian Peterson founded ECI in 1980 as a one-man landscaping contractor under the name of Environmental Concerns. With just a wheelbarrow as his “heavy equipment,” Brian tackled small landscaping jobs in northern Colorado – a stark contrast from the 100+ acre park projects ECI currently builds. Even though his business was small, he had a big passion for beautifying the northern Colorado community, something that has stuck with ECI throughout the decades.

“When I started Environmental Concerns 40 years ago, I focused on landscaping but always had a plan to grow the company beyond planting trees and installing irrigation systems,” Brian said. “Coloradans are passionate about outdoor spaces, whether it’s parks, rivers, trails, sports fields or amphitheaters. Municipalities want to continuously improve residents’ quality of life. I knew that constructing outdoor spaces was a niche we could fill.”

In the mid-1980s, Brian brought on his business partner, Rick Coulter. Together, they launched ECI into its next era of large-scale landscaping projects, including landmark locations in the area like Loveland Civic Center, Benson Sculpture Park and Loveland Visitor Center.

 

New Millennium, New Name, New Business Focus

During the early 2000s, ECI took the official leap into the construction world when we performed our first CM/GC project: Broomfield County Commons Park. This $10 million contract included an 80-acre athletic complex, complete with 15 playing fields and extensive park amenities. Around this time, we rebranded to reflect our new business focus as a general contractor and took on our current name of ECI Site Construction Management.

 

Growth in Project Scope and Overcoming Challenges

Throughout the next 20 years, our self-perform capabilities expanded, as well as the complexity of our project scope. We are proud to have built more than 100 iconic projects in northern Colorado, Denver and across the Front Range (but hey, who’s counting?).

Part of growing up as a company is identifying challenges along the way and finding the best solutions to overcome them. One of the best examples of this is Confluence Park and Shoemaker Plaza, the iconic downtown Denver landmark we added to our project list in 2017. The goal of this project was to improve safety and usability of the ADA access area of the plaza. The process started with securing and de-watering the area with sheet piling and demolition of the plaza. During the shore work, buried coal tar was discovered, requiring the client to pause construction for one year to address water treatment and filtering. We worked through this unexpected setback and safely removed contaminated soils, updated the ramps and plaza, and added new landscaping and lighting. Today, Confluence Park is considered “the heart of Denver.”

 

Connecting Communities with Iconic Outdoor Spaces

In addition to Confluence Park, ECI has built numerous outdoor spaces that have encouraged communities to play, exercise, relax, swim, travel, and just enjoy being in nature. Some of our favorite projects throughout the years include:

 

Today, Tomorrow and Beyond

So here we are: 40 years under our belts and no plans of stopping anytime soon. Today, we lead the horizontal construction industry in the northern Colorado and Denver regions. With 50 employees and a record revenue in 2019, we offer extensive capabilities in in pre-construction and estimating, as well as the CM/GC and design-build methods of delivery. We’re proud to partner with numerous municipalities, architects, engineers, and subcontractors to deliver exceptional outdoor spaces that will connect communities for generations to come.

We are so immensely grateful for our outstanding team members, who put in long hours and hard work with passion, dedication and meticulous detail. Although much has changed over 40 years, the values with which each of us operate stay the same: Family, integrity, results and environment.

Here’s to another 40 years!

Selina-Cook-ECI

Leading the Charge: Selina Cook Steps into Role of Chief Operating Officer

She’s the woman with the plan, the accountability officer, and the ultimate doer when it comes to getting stuff done. For nearly 17 years, Selina Cook’s vision and leadership has played a fundamental part in shaping ECI’s history, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome her into the new role of Chief Operating Officer!

 

“ECI is extremely fortunate to have a tenured leader like Selina Cook within our organization,” said Ted Johnson, president of ECI. “Selina has always been a selfless team player, who provides support across all facets of our business and is a true role model – not only for me but also for women in construction. Selina will be instrumental in the continued growth, success, risk management and financial stability of ECI for many years to come.”

 

To say that Selina’s new role is well-deserved would be an understatement. She originally began her career at ECI in 2003 as a part-time receptionist, which quickly evolved into a full-time office manager position. By 2005, she led our accounting and bookkeeping division. As her training progressed, Selina assumed the duties of handling ECI’s payroll, tax reporting, financial reporting and forecasting, and cash flow management. She was promoted to the officer position of Secretary/Treasurer/Controller in 2009 and became a partner in the company. Over the next five years, Selina continued to expand the office personnel, allowing her to transition into the role of Vice President of Finance & Administration in 2014.

 

“It has been an honor to work, learn and grow within such a tight-knit organization,” said Selina. “I look forward to expanding on the many opportunities I have been afforded so that I can continue ECI’s legacy of development and help lead the company’s expansion. This leadership role will help instill the internal culture and passion needed for the future success and employee growth.”

 

Selina’s career milestones largely coincided with formative ECI events. When she began in 2003, ECI was still operating under its original name of Environmental Concerns, Inc., employed 12 full-time staff members and had a revenue of $7.5 million annually. By March 2004, ECI fully transitioned into being a site general contractor exclusively with new ownership. During this time, Selina initiated and implemented a more robust accounting software program and brought the company’s external accounting preparation internally. The methodical accounting controls and processes she developed profoundly contributed to the strategic growth and success of the company.

 

Today, ECI is one of the leading general contractors in northern Colorado and operates a $47 million corporation at the brink of 50 employees. In her new role of COO, Selina will directly oversee company financial reporting and planning, provide leadership, performance management, operating efficiency, strategic alignment, and internal accountability. She will continue to influence the future of ECI as she aligns internal controls and accountability to ensure efficiency and apply business operations strategies, plans and procedures.

 

Selina’s remarkable career journey has not gone unnoticed. In 2019, she was nominated as a BizWest Woman of Distinction in the Real Estate, Construction and Development category. Moving forward, she will be the driving force in promoting ECI’s company culture and overall vision.

 

Congrats on your new role, Selina!

 

A New Town Gathering Space: Severance Community Park Breaks Ground

The ECI crew has built a number of community parks over the past several years – Twin Silo Park in Fort Collins, Mehaffey Park in Loveland, Margaret Carpenter Park in Thornton, just to name a few. These projects are some of the most rewarding because we get to watch families in our community enjoy them for years to come. For this reason, we are thrilled to announce that construction for Severance Community Park has officially begun!

The project broke ground in January 2020 and is expected to conclude in the summer of 2020. The park will be located in the northwest corner of WCR 72 and WCR 23 in Severance, Colorado.

“ECI is thrilled to be part of another community park in our northern Colorado backyard,” said Ted Johnson, president of ECI. “The new Severance Community Park will provide great new amenities for Severance residents, as well as a place to gather and recreate. We look forward to incorporating local subcontractors and tradespeople during construction so they can put their footprint on a project that serves the community.”

The $2.5 million project will be delivered under the CM/GC method and consist of numerous unique aspects:

  • New turn lanes into the park
  • 26 acres of earthwork
  • A large sod field for town events
  • New parking
  • Grading and infrastructure for future baseball and softball fields
  • A sledding hill

ECI is excited to partner with the Town of Severance and Colorado Civil Group for this project. We look forward to sharing progress updates in the coming months!

A Win for the Home Team: Jefferson County Public Schools

After many months of hard work, we are pleased to announce that the Jefferson County Public Schools Field Improvement project was finished in late November.

 

The ECI team began the massive project in April 2019, and we are proud to share that this was ECI’s largest contract to date.  ECI was hired by Jefferson County Public Schools to conduct site improvements for nine public schools: Arvada High School, Chatfield High School, Conifer High School, Dakota Ridge High School, Evergreen High School, Lakewood High School, Ralston Valley High School, Three Creeks K-8, and West Jefferson Middle School.

 

The improvements largely consisted of replacing grass sports fields with synthetic turf and the installation of post-tension tennis and track facilities. These renovations were a part of an extensive voter-approved $567 million capital improvement program that included both internal and external updates.

 

This project was successfully completed thanks to the dedication of numerous entities: Jefferson County Public Schools, Hord Coplan Macht, JVA Engineering, and a strategic team of subcontractors.

 

We look forward to continuing our partnership with Jeffco Public Schools in the future!

 

19 ECI Highlights of 2019

Raise a glass – it’s time to cheers to another year. With 2019 almost in the rearview, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect back on all the excitement ECI has seen throughout the past 12 months. Without further ado, let’s delve into the top 19 things that have happened in 2019:

 

Completed Projects:

1. Big Thompson Legacy

Our team restored the final stretch – a whopping 8,525 feet – of the Big Thompson River that was affected by the 2013 flood.

 

2. Loveland Sports Park Phase II

In 2005, ECI constructed the first phase of Loveland Sports Park, and 14 years later we finished phase two to accommodate the park’s popularity.

 

3. Northwest Open Space

Renovations to this 50-acre athletic complex included a permanent restroom and concession building, shade structures, additional parking and much more.

 

4. Poudre River Whitewater Park

As the first whitewater park in northern Colorado, this project was truly one of a kind and featured boating features for kayaking and tubing, a pedestrian bridge, children’s play area, and new paved trails and walkways.

 

5. Jeffco Public Schools Field Improvements

Our largest project to date! Our team conducted site improvements for nine public schools that consisted of replacing grass sports fields with synthetic turf and the installation of post-tension tennis and track facilities.

 

6. Windy Saddle Trailhead

Our team made new improvements to this trailhead in Golden!

 

Ongoing Projects:

7. Site Work Along Cherry Creek

We are reshaping the channel of Cherry Creek between University Boulevard and N. Downing Street by removing sediment deposits, adding wetland benches, and adding natural meanders.

 

8. Painted Prairie

A new housing development just wouldn’t be complete without beautiful neighborhood parks and green spaces! We’ve got the playgrounds, gardens, orchards and trails covered.

 

9. Marston Lake North Drainageway

Our team is retrofitting an existing drainageway and pond to improve conveyance and capacity, while enhancing both the adjacent neighborhood trails and park systems.

 

2020 Projects:

10. Timnath Community Park

As the Town of Timnath grows, their park needs to grow too! ECI is looking forward to building a natural style of playground, a large open play field, additional parking areas, a new dog park, and a custom restroom building during phase two.

 

11. Severance Community Park       

Get ready for Severance town festivals! The new park will include 26 acres of earthwork, a large sod field for town events, and baseball and softball fields.

 

12. Platte Farm Detention Basin

This project has a little bit of everything – we’re creating a detention pond to help with stormwater and flooding, as well as an open space with trails, landscaping and irrigation, access roads and more.

 

13. 39th Avenue Greenway

Our project scope will generally include the amenity plazas, nature play components, and associated boulder work.

 

Community:

14. MS Walk

Our team of ECI employees, family members and friends all joined together to walk for a cure for multiple sclerosis in May.

 

15. ECI Annual Golf Tournament

This June, we teed off for a good cause at Pelican Lakes in Windsor. Our annual golf tournament raised $15,000 for the Aims Foundation. Stay tuned for details on our 2020 tournament on June 18!

 

16. Aims Foundation

Speaking of the Aims Foundation, our team has proudly partnered with the scholarship branch of Aims Community College through numerous events to provide opportunity for future industry workers.

 

17. Greenway Foundation

ECI has been a longtime supporter of the Greenway Foundation and truly values their efforts to preserve the South Platte River. Our team had a great time at their events throughout the year, such as the South Platte Stewardship Day and Reception on the River!

 

18. BizWest Women of Distinction Award: Selina Cook

We always knew she was fantastic, but now it’s official! Our very own Selina Cook was honored as a BizWest Woman of Distinction nominee in the Real Estate, Construction and Development category.

 

19. BizWest Bravo! Entrepreneur Honoree: Brian Peterson

Special congratulations to our founder, Brian Peterson, for receiving BizWest’s Bravo! Entrepreneur Award. His vision, expertise and dedication is why our company stands today.

 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our success in 2019, and we look forward to the excitement coming down the pipeline in 2020!