Ken and Rudy Join Forces
In 1962, Kenneth G. Sletten joined the business as partner, and the company was renamed Rudolph and Sletten, Inc., General and Engineering Contractors. Over the years, the company grew and its reputation for excellence grew with it. The Rudolph and Sletten name became a guarantee of honest estimates, innovative schedules and an ethical way of doing business.
Rudy came to California from Pittsburgh to attend San Jose State University. The son of a long line of builders, he learned the trade from his father and sharpened his skills in college. Ken Sletten first became involved in construction while attending high school in the Midwest. During summers he worked on construction jobs in Montana and Wyoming.
Inventing New Ways for Silicon Valley to Grow Faster
Together they invented a unique process that Rudy and Ken termed GMP, or Guaranteed Maximum Pricing. GMP facilitated fast-track construction and cut out the long and costly bidding process that was not conducive to Silicon Valley's burgeoning high-tech industry. This process allowed growing high-tech companies to cut the design-and-build cycle in half.
“At that time the Valley consisted of mainly missile-space work, fruit canning plants and IBM typewriter factories,” remembers Rudy. “One of our first clients was Shirley Temple Black.” The child star turned ambassador needed a pool house. “Mrs. Black requested that the structure be painted bright blue,” Rudy continues, “and the Rudolph and Sletten trucks bare the identical shade, a reminder of our roots.”
Setting new Building Standards
The goal of the company's founders was to build a quality-oriented construction organization. “It doesn't cost any more to build it right the first time,” was the company's motto. From the start they hired only the best people provided them with the best possible training and maintained the highest standards for every project.
The founders also realized that to maintain these high standards they were going to have to manage their own work. They knew that the early stages of a construction project—the structural excavation and the concrete and formwork—were what really controlled the project's schedule and in turn its overall quality. Thus Rudolph and Sletten became a construction manger/general contractor: a contractor who controls a construction project from the ground up. Only in this way could the company deliver its clients the best possible product with the highest quality workmanship, on budget and on time.
Due to the company's location in Silicon Valley, it follows that its growth paralleled that of the Valley. Rudolph and Sletten has grown from a small business to a vital corporation. After nearly 50 years, the company's corporate culture still clearly reflects the value it places on personal relationships. As a matter of fact, many of the company's current employees are second and third generation employees.