Photo: Burkeland Lane project in West Burke, VT. Courtesy photo.
Spates Construction Inc. is a family business that was started in 1974 by Frank and Jeannette Spates. In 2001, they turned the company over to their sons Grant, Dana & Lee. Grant bought out his brothers in 2020, and is now the sole proprietor.
For the past 50 years, Spates Construction has concentrated on commercial construction. We build schools, churches, office buildings, retail stores, manufacturing plants and recreational centers. While specializing in all of these various forms of construction, Spates prides itself on working closely with owners and architects with professionalism, constructive suggestions, integrity and candor.
Grant started working for the company in 1975. His brothers Dana and Lee join after high school as well. At one point I also had two brother in-laws and my father in law so with the 8 of us it truly was a “Family” business.
Both Frank and Jeannette have passed away, Frank in 2011, and Jeannette in 2017.
In 2014, Lee Spates had to leave the company as his Parkinson’s progressed. In 2020 I lost my brother in law Glenn Bonin to Cancer, he was great carpenter, superintendent and deer hunting buddy.
Photo: In 2001, Frank & Jeannette Spates transferred the company to Grant, Dana & Lee. Courtesy photo.
With long time employees like Mark Lewis , Jeremy Brainard, Dana Spates, Tristan Ovitt and Royce Naramore, they make up our core of construction team. Many of us all share some common pasts having graduated from North Country Union High School and Career Center, beginning our careers at Spates Construction. We all started as laborers, climbed the ladder out of the trenches (figuratively and literally) and became carpenters and evolved into job superintendents.
Robert "Oscar" Thayer who is officially retiring this year has worked with me for 35 years. He and I go back quite a few years as we worked together as seniors back in 1975 when I progressed from sugaring as a hobby, with a few buckets, to our senior year in High School we had 2,000 buckets and an old 801 Ford tractor. We now tap and boil sap from 13,000 taps in two locations. He has been my right hand man doing the CAD Drawings, Star Building estimating and project management over the years. He is going to continue to do drafting for us, as it can be done remotely and sent to the plotter in the office. I want to thank him for all the years we have worked together, he and I have weathered good times and bad ones, but we always get back up, just like when we played football together. I wish him the best as he now gets to travel and spend more time with his two kids and grandchildren.
Amy Hilliker has worked with me since 2011, she’s as organized as you can get. She is responsible for payroll, subcontracts, job costing, billing, and insurance processes. Her role is expanding with the retirement of Oscar, and having worked with her for 13 years, I have the utmost confidence in her ability to get the job done. She is a stickler for detail and no matter how much I pile on her (and her desk) its done and cleaned up by days end.
I would like to thank our current and past employees for their professionalism and dedication to our construction company and for their commitment to the projects we have done over the years.
In 2015 we won our third 5x5x5 Growth Award to accompany our 2007 & 2011 awards. It was as exciting as it was challenging to manage. Often times, rapid, unmanaged growth can take a company under. This successfully managed growth could only be achieved by having an experienced and dedicated team in place. The philosophy is to challenge the team, then acknowledge and reward them. For as much as bricks and mortar outline a building, it’s the people that define a company.
Many companies can draw a circle on a map that encompasses their work radius; we live on the Canadian Border so we have to draw a big ass parabola that’s our work zone. I tell myself all our jobs start off going “south” the challenge is to make sure they don’t stay that way by the end of the job. We stay mostly in Vermont and Northern New Hampshire, the farthest south we have gone have been for a couple of hexagon airplane hangars, we did one in Leesburg Virginia, and one out on long Island, NY.
We are currently working on three buildings in Newport for Rural Edge, St Johnsbury School Renovation, and Former Bogner Building in Newport. We will be starting a couple of projects this spring, an addition and renovation to the Montgomery Library, and a new fire station in Woodbury.
Spates Construction would like thank our many customers throughout the past 50 years.
All projects start and require a strong foundation, and I must earn your trust and we build off that.
Here are some, but not all, that we have built over the past five decades.
SCHOOLS – NEW, ADDITIONS OR RENOVATIONS:
Wood chip boilers at both North Country High School and Jr high, Starksboro School, Jericho, Underhill,
Isle La Mont, Belvedere School , Berkshire, Fairfax, Richford, Derby Elementary, Holland, Albany, Glover, Morrisville, Lyndon Institute, Enosburg School, Sheldon, Canaan Gym, and Island Pond Library.
FOOD PROCESSING & MANUFACTURING FACILITIES:
Butternut Mountain Farms in Morrisville, Columbia Forest Products in Newport, Ethan Allen in Orleans, Built BY Newport, Lyndon Furniture, Copeland Furniture, Wilson Road Woodworking, Jonergins, Land O’ lakes, Swanton meat packers, Switchback Brewing Company, VT Natural Coatings, Sugarman Hardwick, Bogner ski apparel.
STATE OF VERMONT AND GOVERNMENT FACILITIES:
Franklin County Court House, North Hyde Park VT Natl. Guard facility, Springfield State office buildings, Middlesex record storage, Lyndon State Garage, Thetford salt shed, Northern VT correctional facility, St Johnsbury corrections, St Johnsbury work camp, Border Patrol Station in Derby, VT, US Fish & Wildlife Visitor Station in the Nulhegan Basin, Brunswick, VT, Morrisville Armory, Newport Amory, Lyndon Armory, VEDA - Montpelier, Charlie Carter Center - Lyndon, Waterford Water Treatment, Hardwick Reservoir, Waterford Rest stop, Milton Post Office.
HOSPITALS /CARE FACILITIES/HOUSING:
Co-generation plant for North Country Hospital, Union House- Glover, Brownway Residence- Enosburg, Hardwick housing, Governor Prouty Apartments, Rainbow apartment’s- Orleans, Burkeland Lane 23 units apartments- West Burke. Derby Line Ambulance, NEKHS- St Johnsbury, Villmark sauna units at Smuggler’s Notch.
CITY & TOWN & PRIVATE GARAGES & OFFICES:
Derby Town Offices, Lyndon Fire & Police station, Glover Town garage, Gateway Center- Newport, Brownington Garage, Village of Derby Line, Lebanon Public works garage, VT Electric co-op- Derby, VELCO- Brunswick, Casella- Hartford, Pike-Coventry, Pike- New Haven, Yankee Farm Credit- Derby, St. J auto, St. J Subaru, Northpoint- Derby, Lebanon Ford, Lebanon Motor Sports, Bromley Ski area, Irving’s- Derby Line, North Calais Memorial Hall.
Southern VT Rec CTR-Springfield, Green Mountain Electric- Newport, Newport Rental, Shop and Save (White’s Market) Lyndon, Cole’s market (Thibault’s) Orleans, IROC-now Sticks and Stuff-Derby.
With over 135 years of combined construction field experience, the Spates team knows construction from trenches to trusses and levels to lasers. And, you can always be confident that two well known Vermont traditions go into every Spates project--craftsmanship and pride. Contact our office for your building needs.
I don’t know what the next 50 years will bring to the construction industry, robots working in the field? 3 D printed building?
I tell student’s when I speak to them at the Jr High Career Day I don’t know where the products of tomorrow will come from, but we won’t be outsourced as we will always need men and women dedicated to the construction Industry.
Spates Construction, Inc.
1876 Beebe Road
P.O. Box 860
Derby, VT 05829
Fax: (802) 766-2142
E-mail: [email protected]