Though Oxnard based Blois Construction has technically only passed through two generations of Bloises, the underground contracting company has been owned by almost every branch in the family tree.
Founded in Goleta in 1965 by Bob Blois, Blois Construction has stayed in the family for more than 45 years. Two of Bob Blois’ five sons have taken a turn at the helm, and the company is now grooming a third generation for leadership.
Current President Jim Blois grew up in the business’ learning about subterranean utilities from the ground up. Or, as he would phrase it, from the ground down.
“It’s amazing how much you learn through osmosis just sitting at the dinner table,” Jim Blois said.
In his tenure as president, Jim Blois has bought out his brother, brought on key senior leadership and strategically expanded the advisory board. His leadership has transformed Blois Construction from a mom-and-pop operation into a multimillion-dollar company that is currently building projects for Sony, Disney and DreamWorks.
Devastated construction numbers have brought the market to a near standstill, but company COO/CFO, Steve Woodworth, said the company is resilient because of its diverse client base and broad range of services.
“Our flexibility and versatility has really seen us through this downturn,” Woodworth said. “We went into the recession with a pretty good size project backlog, and we’re still bidding on new ones.”
Blois Construction handles everything from water and sewer lines to storm drains, water channels, treatment facilities and pump stations. The company is active in the commercial, industrial, educational, municipal and residential markets, and project sizes can vary from $100,000 to $30 million.
Depending on its project mix, Blois Construction can have anywhere from 75 to 175 employees on the books. That’s why Woodworth and Jim Blois take such pride in their stellar safety record. It’s been almost three years since the company has reported a lost-time injury to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the team is doing everything it can to keep it that way.
“My father built a solid reputation for the Blois name, and we’re keeping it going,” Jim Blois said.
Jim Blois has faced some tough times since he bought out his brother in 2003, but he still managed to navigate Blois Construction through the recession with an eye to the future. Over the next few years, he hopes to strengthen the company’s competitiveness by expanding its line of services before possibly handing the company off to his nephew and the third generation of Blois leadership.
This story is adapted from an article that appeared in the Family Business & Closely Held Company Awards edition of the Business Times.