The Executive Minute Nick Francis, Construction Division Director

Q) What are the most critical issues facing the construction industry today?

A) In addition to Covid-19, drastic increases in lumber prices have resulted in established budgets being revisited, and higher-than-usual bidding on potential projects. The resultant increases may directly impact the viability of future work.


Q) How has Covid-19 changed how you build projects on a day-to-day basis?

A) Yes, daily sign-ins with temperature checks is just one implemented change. PPE now includes face masks.  And, GIS International has to stay up to date with federal and regional regulations related to the pandemic. In addition, due to Covid-19, communicating, implementing and policing best practices has been an unforeseen draw on company resources.


Q) What did you learn from your time working in Alaska?

A) While there are plenty of commonalities wherever a building is built, there are also significant regional differences. Viewing projects strictly through a macro lens is a recipe for failure. Taking the time to understand the unique challenges and opportunities of a given area can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful project. As it relates to Alaska, remote work is much more common (there). Developing a system to efficiently use labor without jeopardizing the labor pool’s company commitment is a balancing act.


Q) What job skills are the most critical for success in the construction-management business?

A) The importance of different skill sets varies between each position. However, the one skill set every member of the construction management team should hone is multitasking.


Q) How would you describe your leadership style?

A) Servant leadership. As a leader you need to establish clear goals and put the team in a position to achieve said goals. I think listening to employees is the backbone of successful management.

The Executive Minute

Nick Francis, Construction Division Director




GIS in the News

New 6-Story Mixed-Use Development on 109th, GIS Plaza, Breaks Ground

Bellevue Downtown Network, Aug. 3, 2020

New GIS Headquarters in Bellevue Includes Housing in 6-Story Complex

Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, July 28, 2020

Seattle’s March Toward Legacy City

Urban Development Special Issue, Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, July 30, 2020

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Project Site Tour Grand Ridge Drive Villa – Issaquah

GIS International Group finished construction on a custom-built single-family home on Grand Ridge Drive, just a stone’s throw from the celebrated Issaquah Highlands neighborhood. The 10,000-square-foot luxury home — offering convenient access to I-90 and a host of urban amenities, yet immersed in nature near Squak Mountain State Park and Tiger Mountain State Forest — is a modern-day mansion that’s part of one of the most elite private communities in the region.

The home features an 8-car garage perfect for collectors or auto enthusiasts, a custom-built entry fountain, a serene private garden and a state-of-the-art entertainment and security system, not to mention 5 spacious bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms to meet the needs of most every discerning homeowner. The villa, designed by renowned residential architect Scott Hommas of Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl, was developed and custom-built by GIS’s expert team.

GIS expects to construct a number of other luxury homes along Grand Ridge Drive in the near future.

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Market Perspectives – Design + Development During a Global Pandemic

The global pandemic has  disrupted most every facet of our lives — from how we maintain health and wellness to ways in which we safely navigate the physical space. For the past 7 months, the real estate industry has been reassessing how commercial and residential buildings are planned and developed. It represents a wholesale shift in thinking about life during Covid-19, something that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

As such, at GIS, we’re constantly looking for innovative ways to support our homeowners and residential tenants during this momentous time. That means rethinking individual and communal spaces to ensure they’re accommodating our changing lifestyles.


With so many people working from home these days, it’s important our multi-family residents have the space they need to operate business from home. Oftentimes, that means creative design solutions for living- and bedroom space that supports daily-work needs. And, with less time being spent with neighbors, we’re redesigning many of our common areas – sometimes, during construction at projects like Madison Plaza in Kent – to provide for the appropriate social distancing. The same goes for single-family homeowners, too, who suddenly find themselves needing a home office, or a home gym, due to the associated risks of heading downtown or working out at the local health club.

Our space-planning efforts go well beyond these logistical changes, however. Covid-19 is requiring GIS and other real estate companies to reconsider every area of the home. So, we’re designing many of our next-generation residential buildings with sanitization stations at lobby entries, and powder rooms at the front entrances of our apartments and single-family homes.


We’re putting in place operational systems to clean our common areas every hour, if not more frequently, to ensure our residents and their guests stay healthy and well. GIS is also employing Covid-sensitive residential amenities programs — both a la carte and subscription-based — featuring safe and secure package access and retrieval, home maid services, and in-home mobile salon services, to name just a few.

For the future, GIS and our design partners are looking at ways to improve internal air quality with state-of-the-art equipment that purifies — beyond industry requirements — the air we breathe, whether at home or in shared community spaces. With such a premium being put on space due to the pandemic and rising construction costs, we’re also getting the most out of our residential buildings by creating flexible work/live spaces, redistributing cabinetry and other storage, and even employing some apartments with Murphy beds.

Covid-19 has completely changed our work and lifestyle environments, and it’s an issue we’ll likely be dealing with for years to come. At GIS, we’re employing best-in-class design and construction methods to meet the pandemic head-on, with the goal of addressing the ever-changing needs of our residents and homeowners.

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We care deeply about the health and wellbeing of company stakeholders

At GIS International Group, we care deeply about the health and wellbeing of company stakeholders – including our builders, subcontractors, employees, their families and the communities where we live, work and recreate.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve taken great care to do our part in combatting the spread of COVID-19 by shutting down our active construction sites, working from home and following best-in-class safety protocols in compliance with the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. Like everyone else, we understand there is a great deal of uncertainty and concern about this pandemic, and we want to assure you we are taking every step necessary to adapt to this ever-changing business environment.

To that end, GIS has been working collaboratively with several industry- and community-based associations to stay up to date on safety precautions, local and state regulations, and the ongoing decision-making process for reengaging our economy. We are encouraged by the Governor’s recent announcement of low-risk guidelines for restarting construction activity, and are communicating with government officials on the development of a COVID-19 Safety Plan that will enable us to return to work at the GIS Plaza project in downtown Bellevue and the Madison Plaza job site in Kent.

GIS has one of the region’s best construction-safety records, and we will meet government requirements to ensure a safe, healthy work environment for all our building teams and subcontractors. We are fully committed to overcoming this challenge together and will continue to monitor this economic and health issue as it develops, as well as institute further safety measures as needed.

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GIS Brochure


At GIS, we use a hands-on approach to ensure you get everything you want in a dream home. From planning and developing to building, we can work with you every step of the way.

GIS International can service all your Development and Construction needs.


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