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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!