Our Evolution

A History of Achievements

Coming from modest beginnings, ĢƵ was established in 1985 as a 12-person company specializing in refrigeration contracting, maintenance, service and parts supply. Today, ĢƵ has grown into a full-service firm with more than 750 employees, offering multifaceted design and construction services to businesses around the world. Throughout much of its recent history, ĢƵ has been continually ranked as one of the nation's Top 25 companies in the design-build industry and among the top 100 contractors in the United States by Engineering News-Record.

1985 ĢƵ Founded

From Left to Right: Walter “Chuck” Foster, Ron Foster Sr, George Albertelli, and Bobby Cothren

In July of 1985, ĢƵ opened in Jacksonville with fewer than 30 employees as a general contracting firm with a specialized refrigeration contracting, maintenance service and parts supply capability to service perishable food manufacturing and distribution industries. ĢƵ's first projects, the renovation and expansion of Epping Forest's Yacht and Country Club and service contracts for Tropicana, laid the groundwork for ĢƵ to become what it is today.

1985 First Refrig Warehouse

ĢƵ completes first public refrigerated warehouse for industrial cold storage in Jacksonville, Florida. This project paved the way for ĢƵ to become the largest ammonia refrigeration contractor in the nation.

1985 Refrig Parts Services

ĢƵ adds additional refrigeration parts & service locations throughout Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and North Carolina.

1990 First Coast Fifty

ĢƵ expands its headquarters office building with a new 3-story structure that connects to the original building by way of a glass-enclosed atrium.

ĢƵ is recognized as one the "First Coast Fifty" by Jacksonville Business Journal

1990 Smithfields Foods

ĢƵ builds world’s largest pork-processing plant for Smithfield Foods and wins Food Engineering Magazine's Food Plant of the Year

ĢƵ adds building envelope/self-performed thermal construction services

1990 ABC Platinum

ĢƵ becomes the first company in Jacksonville history to be recognized with the Platinum Safety Award by the Associated Builders and Contractors.

ĢƵ created new internet-based software for facility managers and operators unheard of in the industry, yet extremely powerful in reducing accidents, government fines and/or shutdowns. ĢƵ Interactive Solutions provides software that effectively assists with a facility daily operational activities for Process Safety Management, Risk Management training and maintenance. SIS is designed to help facilities meet compliance standards outlined by OSHA, EPA, FDA and USDA.

2000 Maple Leaf

Maple Leaf engaged ĢƵ to build a plant capable of producing pork at the world’s fastest rates, offering the highest-quality meat, and integrating both automation and human interaction. ĢƵ also guided the installation of processing equipment, central utility, refrigeration systems, computer logistic systems, wastewater treatment and back-up generation.

2000 SIM Pro

ĢƵ Interactive Solutions launched an innovative tool for evaluating plant operations called SimPro software at the IIAR Ammonia Refrigeration Conference in Acapulco, Mexico. This software was developed to allow users the opportunity to perform maintenance and safety compliance procedures in a virtual reality environment based on a client's actual facility.

2000 Process Engineering Experts

ĢƵ adds process engineering experts to their team of experts

2010 Keystone Foods

Keystone Foods wins Food Engineering Magazine's Food Plant of the Year

2010 Mexico Project

ĢƵ engineers a state-of-the-art, 1,658,000 square-foot bakery, the world’s largest bakery facility, in Nuevo Leon, Mexico

2010 Pottsville Office

ĢƵ opens a dedicated refrigeration office in Pottsville, PA

2015 30 Years

ĢƵ celebrates 30 years growing from less than 12 employees in 1985 to more than 600 employees and $400+ million in annual revenue.

Fabulous Food Plant Starbucks

Starbucks Soluble Coffee Plant project wins Food Engineering Magazine's Fabulous Food Plant of the Year

2015 Bell Evans

Bell & Evans project wins Food Engineering Magazine's Fabulous Food Plant of the Year

2015 Wisconsin Office

ĢƵ expands it's Wisconsin office

2105 Ron Foster UF HOF

Ron Foster Sr. Inducted into UF's Construction Hall of Fame

2015 Royal Cup

Royal Cup's coffee processing facility project wins Profood World's 2019 Manufacturing Innovation Award of the Year

2015 New Leadership

New leadership at ĢƵ with Ron Foster, Jr. remaining as Chairman, Mike Santarone becomes CEO and Brian Kappele becomes ĢƵ’s new COO.

2020 Thirty Five Years

ĢƵ celebrates 35 years

2020 Cuisine Solutions

Cuisine Solutions Sous Vide Plant wins Food Engineering Magazine's Sustainable Plant of the Year

2020 Bell Evans

Bell & Evans Organic Chicken Harvesting Plant wins Food Engineering Magazine's Food Plant of the Year

2020 Brian Kappele (1)

Brian Kappele is named CEO & Mike Santarone becomes a ĢƵ board member

2020 Bell Evans DBIA

Bell & Evans Organic Chicken Harvesting Plant wins ĢƵ’s first DBIA Award

2020 Mike Santarone UF HOF

Mike Santarone inducted into UF Construction Hall of Fame

2020 Scott Mark

Scott Mark is named COO

2020 Stacey King

Stacey King is named CHRO – the first female to become an executive leader in ĢƵ’s history

2020 JBS Prepared Foods

JBS Prepared Foods Dried Meats Production Facility wins Food Engineering Magazine's Food Project of the Year

2024 Honolulu Gainesville

ĢƵ continues its expansion with new offices in Honolulu, HI and Gainesville, FL

2024 ĢƵ Nutrition Center

ĢƵ builds Nutrition Center at Jacksonville, FL headquarters 

2024 Values

New Core Values established: Trust, Dedication, Transparency, and Accountability