International construction giant Skanska confirmed late last week it is "winding down" operations at its Cortez office as it prepares to consolidate its western equipment facilities for its civil operations into one center in California.
Cortez is Skanska USA Civil West's Rocky Mountain District's headquarters, focusing on civil, environmental and infrastructure projects. Skanska Civil West has been based in Montezuma County since acquiring Nielson's Construction in the mid-1990s.
"Skanska will consolidate its western equipment facilities for its civil operations into one center in Riverside, CA, as it moves away from asphalt paving jobs in the western United States," according to a statement provided by Skanska Director of Communications West Jay Weisberger.
"The consolidation will allow us to better manage our fleet throughout the entire western region, enabling us to make adjustments more efficiently to support specific project needs."
Skanska will maintain its other offices in Arizona, California, Colorado and Washington state.
Employees were notified of the changes over the past two weeks, and Skanska says it is working to identify other opportunities within the company. Weisberger confirmed there were about 40 full-time employees affiliated with the Cortez office, many of whom work remotely on projects out of the area.
"Given the mobile nature of our workforce and the fact that our employees often move from project to project, we are doing everything we can to find opportunities for them within the Skanska network," said Weisberger. "We hope to avoid layoffs, but until we complete our discussions with employees and evaluate opportunities within Skanska, it is too soon to determine if that will be doable."
Rumors about the Cortez office closing have circulated for years. In 2013, company officials squashed fears that they would be moving local operations to Montrose.
According to the Skanska's website, the company in 2010 put finishing touches on a $1.5 million 258 kilowatt photovoltaic solar array on property adjacent to their office on County Road G. The Cortez office has also helped with logistical support and repair expertise in preserving the remaining rail vehicles for the Galloping Goose Historical Association.