A true story from Shane Saltzgiver, Founder & CEO.
I asked about his company’s job performance, the best metric of our VDC team’s contributions. He leaned back in his chair and admitted, “I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but it shouldn’t be this easy.” A statement like that has likely never been made in the history of airport construction. VEC’s applied expertise, seamless collaboration, and meticulous planning had achieved huge reductions in labor hours, rework, material cost, field disputes, and delays.
In 2010, Shane Saltzgiver envisions a company that will revolutionize construction, solving tired old problems and industry inefficiency through a blend of technology and experience. Realizing that vision will take the shape of a steady learning process, rather than overnight success.
An opportunity for Shane to test his theories on making construction easy comes during his first of six years as an Electrical Project Manager on the Presidio Parkway project. Seeing the complex network of MEP systems connecting the project’s tunnels and substations, Shane is confident that BIM would add enormous value. Soon, he’s worked out a deal with the electrical contractor on the project: outfitted with a Revit license and Alienware laptop, Shane commits to BIM modeling exclusively after-hours, outside of his PM responsibilities. After 6 months of long nights and weekends developing MEP and structural BIM, he finds significant design coordination issues that could combine to create a major delay. When this discovery is presented to the client, their impressed design and construction team asks what it would take to model and analyze the rest of the project. Just like that, VEC is born. Shane’s hands-on construction experience will continue to be invaluable and something he draws upon repeatedly.
To fight the low technology adoption within his industry, Shane focuses on Revit training, providing quarterly courses to engineers and Cal Poly students. He sets a long-term goal for his new business: creating an online Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) training method. In 2012, Shane meets his future wife, Brittany, whose unwavering support and effort become essential to the growth of his company and his dream.
Several large BIM projects fuel VEC’s growth and the scope of Shane’s plans. In 2015, he and Brittany quit their jobs to focus on developing the VEC VDC training program while traveling the country in an RV. After a year, with over 5000 hours of time invested to date, all of Shane’s efforts are thrown into question when he learns about a new VDC program offered by an international tech giant for a low monthly fee. Although he believes his training program is more effective and comprehensive, Shane understands that competing with one of the largest companies in the world as a two-person startup makes the juice not worth the squeeze. He goes back to the drawing board, writing a new business plan that offers unmatched VDC services.
After moving in with family and friends following dozens of fruitless networking events, it becomes clear that VEC needs a serious rebrand to demonstrate dependability and experience. Brittany comes through with a new website, logo, administration, and certifications, after which the company is officially incorporated on January 26, 2017. Through sending out an updated pitch email to friends, Shane learns about an upcoming aviation project with a national electrical contractor. Initially, the entire fate of job is uncertain, but VEC is eventually awarded the contract and knocks it out of the park. This success opens the door to partner with that same client on a $1.5B aviation terminal project. It’s time to build a team.
In the summer of 2017, Dennis Lavyrnenko joins VEC, leading the expansion of VDC production with a focus on electrical services. Dennis’ addition to the team is quickly followed by Leo Castillo, who pioneers VEC’s side-by-side field presence with construction customers, overseeing the deployment of laser scanning, MEP layout, and other onsite technologies.
VEC’s team size and project load organically double year after year, even without a sales or marketing team. VEC begins to attend tech fairs, scouting even more talent and establishing its first official office. In 2018, with plenty to celebrate, VEC organizes its first Lake Tahoe Winter Retreat, giving back to the team that made Shane’s dream a reality. Additional service lines and products are established, existing business relationships deepen, and new partnerships are formed. Soon, dozens of fresh hires inspire the move to an official VEC HQ.
In 2020, VEC reaches a dual milestone: 100 people, 100 projects. A decade of hard work has paid off. The future of VEC, and the industry it was born to help revolutionize, shine bright.