Construction and engineering students throughout Solano and Napa counties toured the active construction site and learned about various trade opportunities available to them as part of a community outreach event.
In just a few months, Fairfield’s BMW dealership will be moving down the street into a 42,000 square foot building on Auto Mall Parkway that will include several technological amenities.
The building is currently being constructed by TEAMWRKX Construction out of San Jose and on track to open in early 2023. Construction and engineering students throughout Solano and Napa counties got to not only tour the building in its current state Wednesday but also got to learn about various trade opportunities available to them as part of a community outreach event.
Approximately 200 juniors and seniors from Vacaville, Will C. Wood, Armijo, Napa and American Canyon high schools were invited to witness the active construction site and meet with carpenters, electricians, roofers and other trades they could potentially enter into.
“They are already studying these types of career trajectories, so we wanted to introduce what you can do,” Layla Senvar, marketing director for TEAMWRKX, said. “You can build this beautiful dealership, which includes all kinds of skill trades as well as engineering knowledge.”
In July 2021, BMW opened its first dealer in Fairfield on the site of the former Volkswagen/Infiniti dealer. However, this location was set up as a temporary site to allow BMW to start operating in Fairfield, with the ultimate goal of opening a much larger building next to Caliber Collision.
Hal Logan, principal dealer of BMW of Fairfield, said construction started last spring and is expected to be completed in January. He told the crowd of students that transforming the site could be seen as a miracle.
“Just six months ago, there was nothing here,” he said. “This was a vacant piece of land, overrun with weeds, trees, absolutely nothing here. In that six months, something miraculous has happened on this site. We’re in the process of building what, in a few more months, is gonna be the most modern, most technologically advanced automobile dealership in the United States.”
Among the amenities for the new site are a 360 degree camera to take photos of a vehicle, an on-site gym for employees, large showroom and additional parking.
However, Logan said it has not actually been a miracle.
“It’s the work of the people at TEAMWRKX Construction, who is our construction manager, and the skilled trades: the carpenters, the electricians, the heating, the air conditioning, the plumbing, the people who have actually transformed this empty space into what’s gonna be a great, modern dealership.”
“You too can be one of the people that makes these miracles happen,” he emphasized.
In addition to the site tours, students got to visit booths with representatives from Nor Cal Carpenters Training, Creative Ceilings and Drywall, Dryco Construction, LB Construction, Reyff Electric, AVF Systems, Capitol Commercial Plumbing, and Kodiak Roofing, which designed the roof for BMW of Fairfield and whose previous clients include the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento and Google headquarters in Mountain View.
A major goal was to let students know there were other post-high school options beyond going to a four-year college.
“We’re not trying to talk anybody out of going to college,” Logan said. “If that’s the path for you, that’s fantastic, but it’s not the path for everybody. For the people who take a different path, we want you to recognize that there are significant opportunities in all of the businesses that are represented here.”
Natasha Venzon, principal of TEAMWRKX, commented on how pleased she was to see many female students present and expressed that women are always welcome in the construction industry.
“After doing this 20 years myself, I can tell you this is for us too,” she told the crowd. “Why should only the men have all the fun? Construction careers are exciting and rewarding.”
Etienne LeGrand, communications director for BMW of Fairfield, told The Reporter the event was a way for students to learn about the kinds of construction jobs available.
“Kids need to be exposed to as much as possible so that they can dream their own dreams and make their own choices,” she said.
Students enjoyed being able to connect with representatives of different professions. Chelsey Gabbard, a senior in Tony Farina’s construction and building trades class at Vaca High, hopes to enter an agriculture or welding trade and found the field trip very helpful.
“(I like) all the different resources and ways to get involved after high school,” she said.
Max Valenzuela, a senior in the same class, is planning on getting into some kind of trade and liked “seeing all the different jobs after high school and opportunities.”
Farina said his class does not get to tour active construction sites often, as minors are often barred from entering due to liability issues. He was grateful that TEAMWRKX reached out to have his students tour the site.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to be able to visualize what it would look like for them to be in these positions,” he said.
Farina hopes his students take away seeing the skills they are learning be put to practical use.
“I try and do my best to give them the skills and give them the knowledge to be successful in the trades, but for them to be able to be on site and actually be able to visibly see it is incredibly beneficial for them.”