‘We Have An Obligation’: How One GC Is Building A Stronger San Fernando Valley
For John Parker, co-founder and CEO of San Fernando Valley-based general contractor Parker Brown, it is not enough to have built a successful career working on construction projects in the area for nearly 30 years. He also wants to build a stronger community.
In the last few years, Parker and his team have been working on projects for underserved members of the Los Angeles community, from free clinics and food pantries to tenant improvement projects.
“We believe we have an obligation to improve the quality of life in the area whenever we can,” Parker said. “It’s personal for us. This isn’t just where we build projects, our employees live here, so we are involved in the community in many different ways.”
Parker Brown worked on the $2M refurbishment of the Simi Valley Free Clinic, which provides key medical, dental and mental health services for those who may be unable to otherwise afford them.
The company handled the tenant improvements to the property, which included demolishing more than 8K SF of office space and replacing it with a combination of new office space, exam rooms, operating rooms, labs and restrooms. This was an extensive project with tight deadlines, but the company was eager to complete it to benefit the community, Parker said.
The firm also participated in a $4M tenant improvement project for St. John’s Wellness Centers in South LA, transforming an 11K SF warehouse into a medical facility for low-income and uninsured individuals, as reported by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.
“We have received awards and recognition through the years for our work, but it does not often draw in new business for the company,” Parker said. “However, that’s not why we do this. It’s about making sure that our community’s needs are met and people can be proud of where they live.”
Aside from major tenant improvement projects like these, Parker Brown has found other ways to be involved in the community. Parker serves as a director of the local Mission Valley Bank, which played a large role in organizing Paycheck Protection Program funding for local businesses during the pandemic. Mission Valley provides companies with loans to buy property in the area and continue spurring economic development.
The company is also involved with the San Fernando Valley Economic Alliance to attract new businesses to the area.
“It’s very important to us to do everything we can to help this area grow, and bringing new businesses and jobs to the city is a large part of that,” Parker said. “In Los Angeles, I serve on the Innovation and Performance Commission, which provides funding to support pilot programs with innovative ideas that will save the city money and make our city more efficient.”
This desire to do the right thing for the community is embedded in the history of the company, Parker said. Soon after he and Scott Brown started the company in 1994, the area was hit hard by the Northridge earthquake. While many other construction companies saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on a difficult time and raise their rates as local companies rebuilt, Parker Brown went in a different direction.
“We received advice from one of our mentors in the business that we would earn the loyalty of our clients if we kept our rates where we were and did not take advantage of them when they were in crisis,” Parker told the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. “Some of those clients are still with Parker Brown today.”
Next on the docket for Parker Brown is the $4M centralization of the West Valley Food Pantry Community Center. This project will create a single, central 4K SF space that can serve as a new home for the several food distribution sites that are currently located across the city, providing a more efficient way for locals in need to gain access to resources. The new center will feature a new distribution room, office spaces, warehouse space, walk-in cooler and several spaces for the community.
“For us, this is not a question of whether or not this is a smart business decision,” Parker said. ‘This is a responsibility that all successful businesses should take on. If you’re not improving the area you’re located in and making the community as strong as possible, you’re falling short.”
This article was produced in collaboration between Parker Brown and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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