​The CORE Group Voted Top Workplace Again

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Great places to work are places where employees feel valued and trusted. They have a culture of high performance and execute and through this employees find meaning in the work they do. Gourmet chefs, doggy day care and nap rooms are nice but great workplaces are more than just perks, they are centered on day-to-day interactions and through building relationships and a high-trust environment. The Founder of Top Workplaces agrees and describes their winners as companies that establish and operate by a strong set of values, create strong connections between employees and are top performers in terms of execution and efficiency.  Those same companies also have sustainable results.

As one of the Top Workplaces for the third year in a row, The CORE Group understands this dynamic. Co-Founder, Jill Dressel states, “If you value people, their work and all that they bring to a company, those same people are going to bring value, do great work and make the company what it is.” In support of this vision, the company recently opted to provide unlimited PTO. Recognizing that everyone is not only a worker, but a parent, spouse, son/daughter etc. who has obligations beyond their work life, employees are entrusted to set their own schedules and more easily navigate competing obligations. Tim Tempel, President adds, “Relationships and building trust matters and I feel like we have created a culture that is open, honest and family oriented.  We care, we want everyone to succeed and I truly believe people enjoy working here.”

The CORE Group’s employees agree.  

Top Workplaces surveyed more than 90% of the company’s employees on various measures such as the culture, values, ethics, execution, how employees connect with managers and others, compensation, how much the company invests in its employees, trust etc. Results were compiled, comments analyzed and the end results compared to a National Benchmark.    Consistently the CORE Group’s people commented on how refreshing, open, trusting and family oriented the culture was. Rob Arago believes that the CORE Group, “provides opportunities for everyone to have a personal stake in the company and be part of the team. They trust us, value the work we do and this culture fosters personal pride in our work, which is rewarding because we can see the end result, which is ultimately happy clients and repeat work.” Ashlin Braddock and Daphne Yeung both echo similar feelings. “The people are the biggest factor.  We all work together in a family-oriented environment to give the best we can to our clients”, states Ashlin and Daphne adds that, “the CORE Group creates a workplace that is more than just about employees and co-workers, but that it is more personal and family-oriented.  This personal connection extends to our clients and allows us to communicate more efficiently, openly and honestly and this is much different than I have experienced anywhere else.” 

To succeed, it’s not enough to be good. You have to be healthy. It is as true for individuals as it is for companies. People want to work at a company that is organizationally healthy and through the establishment of a culture that has at its core a strong value and sense of trust for all of their employees and all that they work with, The CORE Group has differentiated itself.  Not only do they provide a place that people want to work, but those same people enjoy that work and that work is reaping results. The recognition by Top Workplaces is one sign that The CORE Group is doing something right, is high functioning and fit. Their success in the marketplace is another. 2015 was their most successful year yet and 2016 is shaping up to surpass that. Tempel however notes that “though this success and validation is great and an honor, none of this would be possible without the great people we have working at The CORE Group. That is the most important part.”

Zip, Zilch, Nada – The CORE Group Hits Zero

There are not too many things in life where finishing with nothing is something one can be proud of but in 2015 The CORE Group did exactly that. They not only finished the year without a single first aid, recordable or lost time incident, but they did it in one of their busiest years on record.   For a company that values people as it’s number one asset, The CORE Group takes tremendous pride in this accomplishment.    

The average number of serious accidents for commercial construction employers in California is two serious accidents per 100 workers and it has been over two years since the last injury to a CORE employee. Construction is a risky enough endeavor on a good day and with the fast track nature of most projects, the ever increasing need to coordinate multiple trades in one space at the same time and the numerous and growing demands on project teams, finishing injury free is something to celebrate. Not only does it take a great amount of commitment, effort and communication but it requires the type of caring people that The CORE Group is happy to call part of their team. Thanks for nothing!

Focusing on The Core

In fitness circles, focusing on “the core" means that there is an emphasis on exercises involving the muscles of the abdomen, back, and pelvis. These muscles are the seat of one's stability, strength and power. When these muscles are weak and unhealthy, all movements are affected and the body has difficulty doing even some of the simplest of tasks. At The CORE Group, co-founder Jill Dressel, a former collegiate athlete, recognized the parallels of this concept in business, namely when the source of one's strength and power is not healthy, then there is less balance and the business is not as strong or agile. "When I exercise, I am invigorated, am more efficient and life is better. One of our greatest strengths is our people and we wanted to find a way to help everyone be energized. The Fitbit was part of that answer."

The Fitbit is wearable technology that tracks various health and fitness goals and The CORE Group divided the company into teams, issued Fitbits to everyone and engaged in a friendly competition to encourage a healthy, balanced life. Nearly all employees readily embraced the challenge and the impact to the team has been profound.

Superintendent Al Phillips learned that "just because you run construction projects doesn't mean you burn the calories of a construction worker. My results were embarrassing, humbling and motivating all at the same time. This motivated me to change." Al started a daily workout routine, changed his diet, and the changes did not stop there. His wife joined him and both are enjoying the benefits. Al adds, "I am now averaging 16K steps per day. I have lost 18 lbs and I have to add holes to my belt so my pants don't fall down. The Fitbit program might be the thing that may help my longevity and I am thankful."

Others have seen similar results and the impact across the company has been encouraging. For Jason Castillo, the Fitbit Challenge was less about the health aspects and was "a fun way to get us moving and motivated and bring us together as a team outside of our daily tasks." The CORE Group is a tight family and anything that promotes teamwork, communication and camaraderie is a positive thing. For others, they remarked that it makes them think twice about their actions and they now do simple things like looking to find the stairs versus the elevator or walking to lunch. For others still, they have noticed that the snacks in the break room are being used less and less. Clearly this has had an impact.

Dressel adds, "Balance is key and though this industry is not always conducive to leading balanced lives, we strive hard to make sure work is not just a J-O-B, but a place where people enjoy working and where things like health and balance are valued." With the CORE Group having one of its best years ever, perhaps they are on to something.

One of the Bay Area's most exciting General Contractors has a new name and a great story.

Nearly eight years ago, a group of seasoned construction industry veterans joined to create something unique and special. Recognizing a need for technical expertise, innovation and an unbridled commitment to their owner's needs they built a company ideal for the complex, challenging and cutting-edge Silicon Valley marketplace. Meade Construction Group was born and quickly hit #2 and #11 in the Fastest Growing Companies list for Silicon Valley in their first few years of business.

Secret Weapon Unveiled

Our success is a result of building a terrific team of people who love working together and building our client’s projects. Anything we can do to strengthen the bond that holds our team together only creates more capability and energy. There’s no risk in that, only opportunity.
— Jillian Dressel

Always looking to improve and build on what they have, the company decided it was time for a new name that more accurately captured the secret to the company's success, growth and popularity, namely the group. With that in mind, The CORE Group was born. As Andy Meade will be the first to say "the Meade name has served us well for the past 7 years - but it falls far short of meaningfully expressing what's really special about this team."

In an industry where reputation is so important, transitioning to a new name may seem to some to be a risky step. However, as Jillian Dressel states, "Our success is a result of building a terrific team of people who love working together and building our client's projects. Anything we can do to strengthen the bond that holds our team together only creates more capability and energy. There's no risk in that, only opportunity." Mickey Wagle adds, "Taking on a company name which celebrates how great our employees are is one of the most exciting things we've done since going into business."


The founders knew that truly great companies have truly great people and that the strength of the whole is always greater than the sum of its individual parts. By building an organization where people can work together synergistically and collaboratively, they are able to achieve things that others struggle to accomplish. One key to accomplishing this is through the ownership structure of the company. The majority of employees are owners or eligible to become owners in the company, with no owner having a greater stake than 15%. The company is essentially flat and employees are personally and financially tied into the success of the project and thus the company. "Ownership makes people think long term about the client relationship, as well as relations with all project teammates" observes Tim Tempel, "it drives positive, goal-oriented behavior and great results."

Another key aspect of The CORE Group's success is the level of involvement by the principals in the day to day business. Not only does this integral involvement support the goal of service, passion and commitment for the success of the project and satisfaction of the client, but the team as a whole can leverage off this experience and expertise. There is no goal they can't achieve and Gerardo Rico adds, "Project teams work together to build trust and share goals, stepping up to keep partners from missing deadlines or otherwise falling short. The team succeeds together without the need to find fault or make excuses. It's a great way to work and results in lots of creativity and optimism."

This all for one and one for all approach is infectious and with this commitment to mutual success and client satisfaction, The CORE Group looks forward to continued success and the next chapter in their story.

Company Profile

A commercial general contractor, The CORE Group constructs projects up to $20,000,000 from its office in Milpitas. High technology and healthcare projects are its forte, including data centers, biopharmaceutical labs, alternative energy R&D facilities, microelectronics, medical device, vivaria, hospital and outpatient healthcare facilities. Major clients include SRI International, eBay, Google, Stanford University, Sequoia Hospital, Satellite Healthcare and XOMA. Annual revenues of the company average under $100M. The CORE Group operates primarily in the San Francisco Bay area.