A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Dave Spaulding’s passion for NKY shows in Turner Construction’s engagement on region’s key projects

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

Turner Construction Vice President and General Manager Dave Spaulding’s love for Northern Kentucky is reflected in the number of charitable endeavors he, and the company, support.

Turner Construction’s Dave Spaulding (seated at left) is recognized by Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann for his efforts to lead the team that will develop the Kenton County Administration Building on the former site of the Bavarian Brewing Company in Covington (photos by Mark Hansel).

New York-based Turner Construction Company has also contributed greatly to development in the region, as evidenced by the company’s presence at such high-profile projects as the new Kenton County Administration Building and the St. Elizabeth Cancer Center.

What many people don’t know is the extent to which Spaulding, and Turner Construction, work with Northern Kentucky’s leaders to ensure those projects get the most bang for their buck.

The term “bids aggressively” is often associated with projects that Spaulding recognizes to have a benefit to the region. That’s because he and Turner Construction have a shared vision to elevate Northern Kentucky, which goes beyond just making a lot of money.

Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann has known Spaulding for more than a decade and said he is a valued community partner.

“Dave is the kind of young executive who has built a great team at his company, while spending countless hours serving the community he lives in,” Knochelmann said. “He’s sharp as a tack, always cooperative in moving issues forward and is driven to make the region stronger every day.”

Spaulding joined Turner Construction in 2004, as legal counsel. The ascension to his current role has paralleled his commitment to enhance the region he calls home.

“He and his company first helped the County build the new detention center and that was done below budget and with great cooperation with the County,” Knochelmann said. “Now, I’ve gotten to know Dave even better and have continued to grow in my respect for him.”

Dave Spaulding, at the groundbreaking for the St. Elizabeth Cancer Center with other key stakeholders from the region. Spaulding and Turner construction bid aggressively to ensure they would be chosen as the developer and could provide a building that is consistent with St. E’s vision.

Turner Construction is also leading the transformation of the former Bavarian Brewery/Jillian’s site into the new Kenton County Administration Building.

The county purchased the Bavarian site for $4.5 million from, Columbia Sussex, and reached a $24.9 million development agreement with the team led by Turner Construction. Other members of the development team include Brandstetter Carroll Inc., SFA Architects Inc., THP Limited Inc., Al Neyer and Urban Sites.

When the development was announced, Knochelmann said Turner’s focus on community partnership extended to the team assembled to complete the project.

“We have been through this past year of vetting contractors, teams. . .and Turner came out on top,” Knochelmann said. “What’s unique is that if this past year is any indication of working with (this team), we are going to end up celebrating. . .with a Courthouse and County Administration Building that we are all going to be proud of.”

The Turner Construction team’s agreement also calls for the 303 Court Street building that currently houses Kenton County administrative offices to be renovated for use as residential units and commercial space.

Brent Cooper, president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said the type of collaborative projects Turner engages in enrich the entire region.

“Dave Spaulding and Turner have really stepped up and continue to do projects that are meaningful in our community. If it matters to them, then they will do all they can to find a way. They are going be really proud when they come back 20 years from now and see what they have accomplished,” NKY Chamber of Commerce President Brent Cooper.

“Dave Spaulding and Turner have really stepped up and continue to do projects that are meaningful in our community,” Cooper said. “If it matters to them, then they will do all they can to find a way. They are going be really proud when they come back 20 years from now and see what they have accomplished.”

Turner Construction’s latest high-profile project, the $130 million St. Elizabeth Cancer Care Center, once again demonstrates the company’s focus on putting community need ahead of the bottom line.

The $130 million cancer center is expected to open in 2020 and is envisioned to feature a six-story tower and encompass more than 186,000 square feet. Ground was broken in August on the Edgewood facility, which will be able to accommodate 650 workers, including hundreds of new positions.

St. Elizabeth President and CEO Garren Colvin said the Cancer Center will be a game changer in treatment of the disease in the region. He praised Spaulding and Turner Construction for an aggressive bid that ensured they would be part of the project and help realize its full potential.

“Turner does a lot in our community, but this one is something special and they wanted to be a part of it,” Colvin said. “It’s truly about the patient and I think Turner realized early on, and especially Dave Spaulding, that Turner wanted to be associated with this project.”

Cancer touches everyone in some way and Colvin said being able to change outcomes for patients was a strong motivation for Spaulding and Turner Construction.

“You could tell early on in the process that Turner wanted to be a part of this game-changing project,” Colvin said. “They bid aggressively and you could really tell they wanted to be the general contractor on this job.”

Spaulding acknowledges that this was a project he really wanted to help lead because he knows how important it is to get top-quality cancer care and treatment close to home.

“We embrace the idea of what St. Elizabeth wants to bring,” Spaulding said. “When they asked us to be a partner, we knew we had to be a partner in everything, not just the construction, but the mission and their goal is our goal.”

Spaulding knows making less money is not necessarily the best business model, but he said some things matter more than the bottom line.

“We don’t want to just build the building, we want the end result; the care that comes to the community,” Spaulding said. “I personally have been affected by cancer, my family has and what St. Elizabeth brings to the community is more important than the money.”

For a detailed profile of Dave Spaulding, click here.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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