It’s a family affair for Tommy Nielsen of Nielsen Development, Inc.


By Marti Gacioch

For more than 40 years, the Nielsen family’s residential building /development company has left its mark throughout San Diego County. Nielsen Development Inc., spans three generations of one San Diego County family. Its employees now number more than 100.

Nielsen Development includes a lumber company, a development company, and T and M Framing.

Tommy Nielsen, who handles the marketing and design side of the firm these days, grew up in the business founded by his father, Thomas Nielsen. The elder Thomas started his own framing company after being inspired by his father, Wally Nielsen, who founded Nielsen and Demo.

While Tommy’s younger brother, Eric, began working for his dad right after school, Tommy first took a career detour to University Southern California. After graduating, he did marketing and sales for various Fortune 500 companies, including Gallo Wine. But after 10 years of corporate world success, Nielsen joined his father’s construction company 14 years ago.

Eric now handles the bidding, pricing and the building side of the business, while Tommy works in marketing and as a designer alongside the company architect.

Tommy Nielsen said he gains great satisfaction from finding the deals and designing them. “I enjoy visualizing it and seeing it come to light and making it happen,” he said.

According to Nielsen, the company does everything from ground-up building on raw land to home improvement, remodeling custom homes, and building tract homes and apartments. Nielsen’s commercial projects include the renovation of The Market restaurant in Del Mar, and Dolce restaurant in Rancho Santa Fe.

“Right now we’re working on a 500-home subdivision tract in Amarillo, Texas and bidding out some huge remodels in Rancho Santa Fe,” Nielsen said.

According to Nielsen, the company is managing to stay busy in the current financial climate by focusing on custom work and large, high-end remodels in La Jolla, Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe.

“Right now, people aren’t buying; they’re just renovating what they already have,” Nielsen said, “and we’re really easy going and follow the project from beginning to end and do well with the customers.”

Nielsen Development is at 1220 Greenfield Dr. El Cajon. (619) 590-8111.