“We are grateful for Marina’s continued success and attribute our growth to our dedicated team and loyal general contractors while we pursue excellence on the job.”
The company specializes in public contracting with clients ranging from airports and universities (open spaces) to cities (public recreational parks and urban gentrification of city streets).
The company was started by Bob Cowan when he was just 12 years old. He and his brother used $500 to purchase an old truck and the equipment they needed to mow grass and edge lawns and began a lawn-service company in the San Fernando Valley.
The company has grown steadily and now has 650 employees. Cowan says he’s very proud of Marina’s staff and says more than 200 of the company’s employees have never worked for another employer. More than half have been with him for 20-plus years and he attributes much of the company’s success to their loyalty. “In fact,” he says, “there are some families with three generations that are working here.”
And, says Cowan, he’s particularly proud of the fact that nearly all of the promotions in the company are from within.
At one point, Cowan says the company grew to around 1,000 employees but the landscape maintenance side was sold a few years back. However, the company continues to grow with new landscaping projects throughout California. Plans call for expansion into neighboring Arizona and Nevada with satellite operations based in those states.
Cowan says that the turning point for Marina was in the early ‘80s when he moved from private work to public contracting. Getting paid is very important, and with public construction the work is bonded so payment is not an issue. He credits great general contractors for the other half of the company’s success and lists multiple major clients on the Marina website (www.marinaco.com).
Also, on the website is an impressive list of awards the company has won for major projects that have beautified public areas throughout California.
Marina has an award-winning design-build team that begins with conceptual and preliminary design and follows all the way through to project completion.
“The sole focus of this value engineering is to save time and money,” says Cowan. “With an accumulated 50 years of industry experience, we know which products and methods can be used to stay within budget without sacrificing any design integrity.
And, with the support of a construction department with more than $100 million in annual sales, design-build allows us to put a true construction cost to any project.”
Cowan says the company enjoys a trusted relationship with its general contractors. “We like being a sub-contractor for the best general contractors in the industry,” he says. Marina is a 100 percent union operation, having joined the Pipefitters, Laborers, and Operating Engineers unions.
“We want to bring value to our contractors, and union membership guarantees no labor, safety, or other employment issues,” he says. “We are a partner who delivers on-time, under-budget and over-expectation every time.”
Marina’s capabilities include ongoing project management. “We take pride in staying ahead of the technology curve by bringing our customers the latest innovative products and services,” says Cowan. “For example, we use software that allows us to track and view, in real time, actual project management and quality.”
As technology continues to evolve, “Marina also has several web-based programs that allow remote monitoring and instant alerts,” says Cowan. “All of our field personnel carry iPads for production, quality and safety.” Marina’s landscape projects include the Ram’s new SoFi stadium, which is due to be completed this summer. Cowan says he’s particularly proud of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, which, like other projects Marina has undertaken, took a run-down neighborhood and turned it into a welcoming public space.
And as the company boasts, at 50 years, Marina is “still growing.”