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Gilbane Inc.
Industry Construction Management, General Contracting
Founded 1873
Founder William H. Gilbane
Headquarters 7 Jackson Walkway Providence, RI
Number of locations

25+ Offices in the US

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina
Key people
Thomas F. Gilbane, Jr. (Chairman )
William J. Gilbane, Jr. (COO)
Robert V. Gilbane (President of Development) Michael E. McKelvy (CEO)
Products Preconstruction Consulting
Services Consulting
Revenue $4 billion (2007)
Number of employees
Divisions Green Building
Website [1]

Gilbane, Inc., based in Boston, Mass, is a family-owned, national construction and real estate development company. Forbes ranked Gilbane as the 108th largest privately held company in the United States in 2006 with estimated revenues of $2.83 billion.

Gilbane Building Company is one of the nation’s oldest builders. The company was founded in 1873 by William H. Gilbane and his brother Thomas as a family-run carpentry and general contracting shop in Providence, Rhode Island. Originally known as William H. Gilbane and Brother, the firm quickly developed, building some of the homes in Providence. New projects soon followed, including churches, hospitals and other public buildings that are still in use today. Today, fourth and fifth-generation members of the family lead the company, which has more than 50 offices worldwide. Paul J. Choquette, Jr., son of third-generation family member Virginia Gilbane Choquette, is vice chairman of Gilbane Inc. Thomas F. Gilbane, Jr. is chairman and CEO, and William J. Gilbane, Jr. is vice chairman of Gilbane Building Company. Robert V. Gilbane is chairman and CEO of Gilbane Development Company. Michael McKelvy is CEO of Gilbane Building Company.

Gilbane has been family owned and operated throughout its entire history. The Harvard Business Review says customers prefer family run companies.[1]

In the early 1900s, William H. Gilbane took control of the company and steered it through the lean times of the Great Depression. In the 1930s, his sons Thomas F. Gilbane and William J. Gilbane joined the company and made Gilbane’s reputation as a pioneer in construction management — first with major defense projects during World War II, and then with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, which opened on time and budget in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 1976. In 1970 Gilbane expanded its services and formed the development of a sister company known as Gilbane Development Company.


Gilbane Building Company named Michael McKelvy its new president and chief operating officer in 2015. McKelvy went on to be named CEO in 2016. He is the first non-family member to hold those positions since the company’s founding in 1873.[2]

Notable Projects[edit]

During the past two decades, Gilbane has completed a number of notable public projects including:

- Lake Placid Winter Olympics Facilities, Lake Placid, NY

- Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington D.C.[2] The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Fund (VVMF), incorporated in 1979, was a nonprofit organization created to establish a national memorial, in Washington, DC, to honor and recognize American veterans of the Vietnam War. On July 1, 1980, the government, by a unanimous joint resolution of Congress, authorized the VVMF to establish the memorial on two acres of national park land in Constitution Gardens near the Lincoln Memorial in 1982.

- Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum, Washington D.C.

- The National Archives, College Park, MD

- US Strategic Petroleum Reserve for the Department of Energy, New Orleans, LA

- O'Hare International Airport, Terminal 5, Chicago, IL

- Union Station Restoration, Washington D.C.

- U. S. Department of Justice, Washington D.C.

- World War II Memorial, Washington D.C.[3] A memorial built in 2004 to commemorate service to World War II veterans on The Mall in Washington DC. The memorial includes two entry arches, a wall of commemorative stars, a water feature, lighting and engraved stone to honor those who have served.

- US Capitol Visitors Center, Washington D.C.

- George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX

- Prudential Center, "The Rock" New Jersey Devils Arena, Newark, NJ

Family Business Magazine ranks Gilbane as the 64th largest family business in the United States.

Engineering News Record ranked Gilbane Building Company as the 5th largest construction manager in the United States in 2007.

Allegations of Gilbane Public Ethics Violations and Improper Bidding[edit]

Over the last 15 years, Gilbane Building Company has been involved in a number of cases involving allegations of government ethics violations or improper bidding for public work. In four of these cases, public officials were charged with accepting improper gifts from Gilbane while the firm was either performing work for their agency or pursuing a contract for work with the agency. As a company, Gilbane itself has only been charged in a couple of these cases, and one was dismissed on a technicality. However, government officials in California, Arizona, Connecticut and Ohio have been terminated, caused to resign, and/or faced civil penalties in connection with ethics scandals involving Gilbane. And in one instance, a former Gilbane executive admitted to lavishing public school district officials with gifts, avoiding felony charges only by agreeing to a plea deal. This trail of public corruption raises serious questions about Gilbane and its methods of procuring public works jobs. The cases include:

  • 2012 – Former Gilbane Executive Pleads Guilty in “the Largest Public Corruption Case of its kind in San Diego County.”[4] 1 In March 2012, former Gilbane executive Henry Amigable pled guilty to charges that he bought expensive meals, tickets to high-profile events, and other gifts for members of the San Diego-area Sweetwater Union High School District to convince the officials to award school construction contracts to Gilbane and later to two other firms.[5]

According to one press outlet, “Amigable’s expense reports to Gilbane Building Co. show that he brought various Sweetwater officials to [a San Diego fine-dining establishment] at least 18 times, spending more than $8,000 on the officials in the months leading up to Gilbane being unanimously awarded a three year $7.5 million contract.”[6]

According to the San Diego County District Attorney’s office, other gifts Amigable produced for Sweetwater officials while working for Gilbane in 2006 and 2007 included dinner and drinks at various restaurants; as well as tickets to a San Diego Chargers football game, to two different showings of the musical “Jersey Boys” at the San Diego Civic Center, and to the Rose Bowl football game. The latter allegedly also came with a two-night’s stay for two officials at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.[7]

By pleading guilty, Amigable avoided felony charges of offering a bribe and obtaining a thing of value to influence a member of a legislative body.[8] He was sentenced to three-year’s probation, a $1,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.[9] In 2014, the Sweetwater school district filed a lawsuit seeking the return of $26 million in taxpayer funds paid to a joint venture of Gilbane and SGI Construction pursuant to construction contracts awarded around the time of Amigable’s alleged illicit gifts.[10] In February 2016, a California appeals court denied the motion of Gilbane and SGI to dismiss the case on the ground that the gifts constituted protected free speech and ruled that the school district has “demonstrated a probability of prevailing” on its claim.[11]

  • 2012 – Gilbane Gifts Cited in Phoenix-Area Ethics Scandal. In December 2012, 11 employees of Maricopa Country were placed on administrative leave following an internal investigation revealing that the employees had violated the county’s ethics policies by accepting improper gifts from contracted vendors, including Gilbane.[12] Gilbane was at the time constructing a $340 million criminal court tower for the county.[13] (In March 2010, Gilbane was awarded a separate $37 million contract to complete the court tower’s interior.[14]) Five employees resigned, one was terminated and three were suspended in connection with the investigation.[15]
  • 2013 – Florida College Throws Out Gilbane Award after Rival Firm Alleges Improper Bidding. In April 2013, St. Petersburg College in Florida canceled the selection of Gilbane for a $14 million contract to construct a new campus building after rival builder Peter R. Brown Construction, Inc. protested that the college’s president had ignored the recommendations of a college selection committee and personally chosen Gilbane, even though the selection committee had ranked Gilbane’s proposal last out of three bidders.[16] The college denied that the bidders had been ranked. Ultimately, a third firm, LEMA Construction, was awarded the job.[17]
  • 2010 – Committee Funded by Gilbane and Other Firms Cited for Illinois Elections Rule Violations. In November 2010, Gilbane was connected with another political impropriety, this time involving election rule citations by the Illinois State Board of Elections. A referendum was passed approving the sale of $168 million in bonds to fund construction and renovations at a Chicago-area community college.[18] Gilbane was among the largest donors to the Supporters of College of DuPage, a ballot initiative committee that supported the referendum.[19] Gilbane was the construction manager the oversaw the recent completion of the college’s Health and Science Center. Other donors to the group had also done business with college.[20] The state elections board ruled that the political committee violated elections rules by failing to disclose its identity on campaign signs advocating for the referendum’s passage.[21]
  • 2005 – Connecticut State Ethics Commission Penalizes Gilbane for Unlawful Gifts. In June 2005, Gilbane agreed to a settlement with the Connecticut State Ethics Commission for unlawful gifts to public officials.[22] The commission charged that in 2002, while Gilbane was doing business with the state’s Department of Public Works, Gilbane president William Gilbane, Jr. purchased food, drinks and/or “golf related expenses” for one department employee and bought another department employee food and/or drinks as well as a piece of art.[23] One of the department employees was found to have accepted gifts from the company on more than one occasion.[24] Under the terms of the settlement, Gilbane agreed to pay a civil penalty of $5,000.[25]
  • 2003-2004 Ohio Ethics Commission Charges Gilbane and State Official in Pay-for-Play Scandal. In 2003 and 2004, the Ohio Ethics Commission charged Gilbane and former Executive Director of the Ohio School Facilities Commission, Randall Fischer, with state ethics violations. In a textbook “pay for play” case, Fischer failed to report gifts worth a total of $1,289 from contractors performing work for his agency; $862 of that $1,289 allegedly came from Gilbane. According to the Ethics Commission, over a period from 1997 to 2002 Gilbane officials provided Fischer with meals, several golf outings and a two-night stay at the Rhode Island home of the company’s president, Thomas Gilbane. During the same period, Gilbane was awarded more than $10 million in no-bid construction contracts approved by Fisher. A municipal court judge dismissed the complaint against Gilbane because it was filed too late,[26] but Fischer was found guilty of conflict of interest charges and was fined the maximum amount of $1,250 plus court costs.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "World War II" (PDF). 
  4. ^ "DA charges five Sweetwater school officials in corruption case". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  5. ^ "South Bay Corruption Case Ends; Results in Across-the-Board Guilty Pleas, Jail Time, Community Service, Home Detention & Fines" (PDF). 
  6. ^ "Witness: Jewelry Bought for School Officials' Wives". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  7. ^ "DA's South County timeline mixes meals, votes". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  8. ^ "Defendant In Sweetwater Corruption Case Changes Plea". 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  9. ^ "First sentencing in South Bay corruption scandal". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  10. ^ "Sweetwater Seeks Return of $26M from Contractors". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  11. ^ "Contractors lose appeal on 'free speech' gifts". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  12. ^ "Maricopa County top engineer Kenny Harris fired amid probe". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  13. ^ "Gilbane, Ryan Cos. awarded $37M contract to finish Maricopa County Criminal Court Tower - Phoenix Business Journal". Phoenix Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  14. ^ "Gilbane, Ryan Cos. awarded $37M contract to finish Maricopa County Criminal Court Tower - Phoenix Business Journal". Phoenix Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  15. ^ "Maricopa County employees disciplined after probe". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  16. ^ "Bid violations delay opening of SPC Midtown campus". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  17. ^ "St Petersburg College Midtown Campus Site 16 : LEMA Construction". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  18. ^ "Voters Pass College of DuPage Bond Referendum". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  19. ^ Griffin, Jake (2010-10-27). "COD group faces state elections complaint". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  20. ^ Stockinger, Josh (2010-11-25). "State Board of Elections says COD group violated campaign rules". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  21. ^ Ethics, Office of State. "Ethics: General Statutes Violations". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  22. ^ "Connecticut State Ethics Commission" (PDF). 
  23. ^ "Matter of a Complaint against Scott W. Jellison". 
  24. ^ "Docket Nos. 2005-3 and 2005-2". 
  25. ^ "Ohio Ethics Commission press release" (PDF). 
  26. ^ "Ohio State Ethics Commission Press Release" (PDF).


External links[edit]