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Beaver Creek, developed by East West Partners in 1989.

The early 1990s marked a turning point for the company,

Jim recalls, a moment where GE Johnson Construction actu-

ally did stop and look around.

“We had plenty of success. Honestly it was due to hard

work, integrity, treating people right – all the common-sense

stuff in building a business,” says Johnson. “We needed to fig-

ure out who we were and what we were best at as a company

in order to establish a true identity.” After some self-explora-

tion, GE Johnson made a commitment to being a negotiated

contractor – a preconstruction expert capable of delivering

greater value and performance through guidance during a

project’s design decision making process. Investing in client

relationships was central, but the committed direction also

meant increased investments in both people and technolo-

gy. In 1993, GE Johnson began assigning desktop computers

to staff, several years ahead of the construction industry in

general. One of the company’s signature accomplishments

of the ’90s was bringing its new brand of innovative precon-

struction services to rural communities on projects like the

Montrose Memorial Hospital and the St. Johns Medical Cen-

ter in Jackson, Wyoming.

Sadly, just as the firmwas reaching its 30th anniversary, Gil

Johnson was diagnosed with cancer. It was understood that

the already in-progress transition from father to son had to

be accelerated.

“He gave me the keys to the car, but told me not to leave

the garage,” Jim chuckles fondly at being named president in

1997, while Gil remained behind him on big decisions. Realiz-

ing he didn’t have the legal or financial expertise needed to