San Diego Business Journal

Refugee Camp to Gafcon Role


6/2/19 – Building: From Refugee Camp to Gafcon Role, He Embraces Challenges

San Diego Business Journal
By Ray Huard

Seaport Part of Builder’s Amazing Journey
Canh Tran knew he wanted a career in construction from the time when a seventh-grade teacher told him he’d done a good job on a drafting project. “I was drawing and he would come up next to me and say, ‘you’re pretty good,’” Tran said. “It was back in the day when we still had these big(drafting) boards and T-squares.” The T-squares are gone, and Tran’s latest work is a far cry from the drawings he did at Hughes Middle School in Long Beach. As senior project manager for Gafcon, Tran is in charge of what many say will be a defining project for San Diego — the $2 billion redevelopment of a 70-acre portion of the city waterfront that includes Seaport Village. Updated designs for the project are scheduled to go to the Port of San Diego for review in mid-June.

Seaport’s Attractions
Renamed simply Seaport, the project will tentatively include a 480-foot tower, an aquarium, a learning center, an urban beach, hotels, a variety of shops, a public market, parks, plazas, a blue-tech incubator and a revitalized commercial fishing basin. “It’s the type of project that everybody in the industry would love to be involved in, and I just happen to be the lucky guy to have the experience and the credentials,” said Tran, who has a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering with certifications and licenses from several organizations related to engineering and construction management. Seaport is by far the biggest and most complicated project of Tran’s career, although it is one of many that he has done with Gafcon.

Among them were overseeing several projects Gafcon did for the San Diego Unified School District, including overseeing the construction of a $5 million audio learning center, the $4.5 million modernization of Carson Elementary School, the $8 million modernization of Linda Vista Elementary School and $45 million projects at Gompers Preparatory Academy that included a new gym and new classrooms. With each new project, Tran said he strived to expand his knowledge of the construction industry. “What I’m learning now is the financial aspects,” Tran said. “It’s an industry where if you don’t keep learning, you fall behind.” Seaport will put his skills to the test. ...Read More>

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