LeDUC & Dexter Inc. - The Premier Plumbing Contractor In The North Bay

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Our monthly newsletter is an opportunity to share information, education and promote our industry and customers. We feel that it is beneficial to provide a profile of the working relationships we enjoy with our customers and help to build new relationships for all of us in the construction industry. Bookmark our web site at www.leducanddexterplumbing.com and click on Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter, then fill in name and e-mail address and that's it!

Christopherson Homes Also Builds Relationships



Artist’s rendering of The Orbetello, one of five floor plans at the Christopherson community of Siena in Fountain Grove

Artist's rendering of The Orbetello, one of five
floor plans at the Christopherson community
of Siena in Fountain Grove

The relationship between LeDuc & Dexter and Christopherson Homes goes back many years. "We started working with Christopherson Homes when they started building homes in Fountain Grove", remembers Tom LeDuc . The two companies are still working together in Fountain Grove. Currently LeDuc Dexter is just starting their work for Christopherson at Siena, which LeDuc & Dexter Residential Manager, Jim Kempers describes as, "a very elegant setting."  Tuscany, also located in Fountain Grove and Eagle Ridge at Sky Hawk have just been completed. Brenda and Keith Christopherson started their company in 1978, since then Christopherson has built over 3,000 homes in Sonoma County. In recent years Christopherson Homes has also built up-scale communities such as Westchester in Vallejo and The Avenues at Westlake in Sacramento.

Sonoma County is the focal point of activity and commitment for Christopherson Homes as witnessed by their participation in HomeAid America . HomeAid was established in Southern California and serves temporarily homeless including families and individuals, women in crisis pregnancy, homeless youth, victims of domestic violence and single mother and children. HomeAid's mission is to build or renovate shelters that will be operated by non-profit care providers. Ray Ambrosio, who is heading up the project for Christopherson explains, "HomeAid's method is to marshal the resources of subcontractors, suppliers and consultants under the leadership of a "Builder Captain" who puts the project together and supervises the construction. Christopher Homes and Cobblestone Homes are serving as Build Captains for the HomeAid 10-unit apartment complex at 602 Aston Ave. in Santa Rosa."  The Home Builders Association is involved nationally and locally and the Sonoma County People for Equal Opportunity are also helping to put the program together here. LeDuc & Dexter is the plumbing subcontractor on the project under the supervision of Jim Kempers.

Another "community" that has been organized by Christopherson Homes is their Trade Advisory Group, involving the subcontractors they work with. Vice President of Construction, Bob Sweeney says it's invaluable, "We want to know how the subs do business and how we can improve our business to align with theirs. Our Design Studio Purchasing and Marketing are also represented. We have the meetings once a month at lunch with an agenda, but we also address issues that are brought to our attention within the group."

Christopherson Homes seems to be as determined to build great relationships, as they are to build great homes.

The Uniqueness of
Bryant Family Winery



Bryant Family Winery in the Napa Foothills at Lake Hennessey

Bryant Family Winery in the Napa Foothills
at Lake Hennessey

To describe Bryant Family Winery in a word it would be fair to say that it's unique. From the building design to the wine it is very unique indeed. It should also be noted that the circumstances of construction are rather unique in that the architect of the winery is now the project manager for James Nolan Construction, the general contractor building Bryant Family Winery.

Keith Burnham, who was previously with HOK, an international architectural firm, worked on many sports stadium designs for HOK, the company that built Camden Yards in Baltimore, Coors Field in Denver and Pac Bell Park in San Francisco. He worked closely with owner Don Bryant, winemaker Helen Turley and Design Architect Gyo Obata to design the winery that he is now building. The two met in San Francisco when Burnham was still with HOK. "There are some days on this job that I'm not sure I want to say I'm the architect", jokes Burnham, "but that comes with the territory. On the other hand, this is exciting, it's a unique opportunity to build something you drew the plans for."  Burnham describes the winery as "a building in the round with posts and beams and a lot of glass."

Bryant Family Winery is located in the Napa foothills at Lake Hennessey. Bill Zeeb, Commercial Manager at LeDuc & Dexter, noted that the location of the winery has been a challenge for everyone involved in the construction project. "Because it is being built in a rather exclusive area with neighbors nearby, access to the site is tough. Tony Watson, who I've known for years, is doing a great job keeping things moving in and out and around the site, he's like an orchestra leader." Watson is the superintendent for James Nolan Construction overseeing the job site.

Zeeb describes the plumbing contract at Bryant as, "straight forward", but adds, "It's a complicated project." The winery building is adjacent to a mined cave that will serve as the barrel storage area, "The cave will give us a good temperature for the wine", adds Burnham. The system that LeDuc & Dexter has installed for heating and cooling the winery structure consists of chilled or heated water that runs through a coil system and is distributed by electric fans. "It's similar to a radiator with the heated water being pushed out by the fan, of course in the other case, the chilled water provides cooling temperatures." LeDuc & Dexter is also installing all the process piping, cooling lines, gas and compressed air lines for the winery. James Nolan Construction also has LeDuc & Dexter working with them on another one-of-a-kind winery, Nickel & Nickel in Oakville.

When the Bryant Family Winery is complete, Helen Turley, their highly regarded winemaker, will make only 2,500 cases of Estate Cabernet Sauvignon per year. Much the way James Bond ordered his martinis – shaken, not stirred, Bryant Family Cabernet will be gravity fed, not pumped, for fermentation and storage in the cave – quite unique.

Latino Workforce Communications



Rafael Mateos and Arturo Herrera, employees of LeDuc & Dexter checking the plans on the job site

Rafael Mateos (left) and Arturo Herrera,
employees of LeDuc & Dexter
checking the plans on the job site

Imagine moving to France or Spain to live and work. You are offered a job that fits your needs and you want to accept it. The one drawback is that you don't speak the language. How would this affect your productivity and future advancement? What's that? The company you are going to work for in this foreign land and culture offers evening classes in the native language. A questionable opportunity has turned into a great opportunity.

Now let's cut to Sonoma County and LeDuc & Dexter. Last year they developed an in-house English as a Second Language (ESL) for their Latino employees who are seeking English skills. Along with the Sonoma County Adult Literacy League, who furnished English instructors, LeDuc & Dexter fashioned a six-month course that meets twice weekly to develop better communication skills on the job. Tom LeDuc commented on the first class that graduated last January, "It was really amazing to see how much the employees' English had improved after 24 weeks. There was a definite improvement in conversation and a change in morale and self-confidence. The program is a benefit to the company and the employees."

The goals of the ESL program are as follows: To improve safety procedures, how to ask questions, how to respond on the job with fellow workers, building supervisors and contractors, and how to refer customers to the office staff.

Shortly after the first class graduated the program gained national attention in the construction industry. In February the program was featured as part of the "Education Spotlight" in San Antonio, Texas at a co-sponsored event, the CCA and Kohler/PHCC National Educational Foundation Seminar Series.

LeDuc & Dexter realizes the potential of this program as a company resource for valuable employees, LeDuc explains, " We see the Latino workforce as a big part of the future of the company. We have a network of Hispanic people at LeDuc & Dexter that has led to the hiring of their friends and relatives." In fact, almost 25% of the field employees at LeDuc & Dexter are from the Latino community.

Aside from the new group that is preparing to start their ESL program, LeDuc & Dexter will be offering an advanced English class to those who graduated from the first ESL class. LeDuc & Dexter is also exploring the possibility of offering Spanish-speaking courses for English-speaking employees in the future.



Featured Stories

Christopherson Homes Also Builds Relationships

The Uniqueness of Bryant Family Winery

Latino Workforce Communications

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Editorial Credits

Christopherson Homes
Bob Sweeney,
Ray Ambrosio
LeDuc & Dexter
Jim Kempers, Residential Mgr.

James Nolan Construction, Inc.
Keith Burnham, Project Mgr.
LeDuc & Dexter
Bill Zeeb, Commercial Mgr.

LeDuc & Dexter
Tom LeDuc, President

Mark Dommer
Dommer & Associates

Tom LeDuc
LeDuc & Dexter

Contact Us

LeDuc & Dexter Inc.
2833A Dowd Drive
P.O. Box 11157
Santa Rosa, CA  95406
TEL (707) 575-1500
FAX (707) 575-1276
CL 548129

Tom LeDuc



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