Family success helps GDC Construction build community in La Jolla

Vice President Heath Akers (left) and President Pancho Dewhurst of GDC Construction Inc. in La Jolla
Vice President Heath Akers (left) and President Pancho Dewhurst of GDC Construction Inc. in La Jolla leverage their combined decades of experience.
(Courtesy of Pancho Dewhurst)

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Building on four generations in construction, GDC Construction Inc. in La Jolla has added to its services to “take care of the community,” said company President Pancho Dewhurst.

GDC’s service department, started last year, was established to handle water leaks and other problems, Dewhurst said.

The company’s “bread and butter focus,” he said, has always been custom residential homes and remodels.

“We do a turnkey package,” Dewhurst said. His wife, Brandy, offers in-house design services and the company offers architecture, engineering and construction.

GDC, at 1031 Silverado St., also uses software called Buildertrend to help manage jobs. The program includes everything from the original estimate to daily notes, logs and photos.

Dewhurst said Buildertrend also contains a client portal from which the company can keep customers apprised of project progress and invoices.

“Everything is 100 percent transparent,” he said.

That and GDC’s long presence in the community make it special, Dewhurst said.

“We’re the oldest construction family in La Jolla,” he said. “My great-grandfather Ernie Dewhurst came here in the 1920s [from England].”

Ernie started a construction company in La Jolla and built his first custom home in 1929.

His son Walter took over, and then Walter’s son George.

In 1998, George started GDC Construction. Pancho began working there in 2001 and took the reins a few years later when George retired.

Keeping local construction in the family is a source of pride for Pancho Dewhurst, who named the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial and Fire Station 13 on Nautilus Street as two of GDC’s many community projects he’s proud of.

“We’ve tried to always give back to the community,” Dewhurst said.

GDC takes on construction projects all over coastal San Diego. But Dewhurst, a graduate of Gonzaga University in Washington state who also went to school in Europe and traveled the world as a professional snowboarder, said “it’s really hard to beat La Jolla.”

With so much generational knowledge of the area, Dewhurst said he’s very familiar with construction regulations, from California Coastal Commission processes to those of the city of San Diego.

Plus, he said, La Jolla has Ardath shale, a clay-like material that often wasn’t compacted properly by early builders in the area.

“There’s a lot of soil testing that needs to be done when you’re building on the hillside,” Dewhurst said.

“We also have our own large dump truck,” he said. “We tend not to use dumpsters because the neighbors get upset when you put them in the streets.”

GDC Vice President Heath Akers, who will become a partner in the company soon, lends his own industry expertise to the business.

“I grew up in construction,” Akers said. “My father was an electrician; my grandfather was in construction and a mechanic.”

Akers himself has worked in construction for 26 years. “This is all I know,” he said.

Akers said his experience, along with that of the Dewhurst family, keeps GDC going.

“We do amazing stuff,” he said.

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