About Our Company
Meet Our Founder
Our company is led by Miguel Galarza, our founder and president, who has 45 years of construction industry experience. He has overseen over $450 million in projects.
Yerba Buena is a general contractor specializing in construction projects for federal, state, and municipal government agencies.
We offer clients a full spectrum of services, including heavy civil construction; environmental remediation and emergency response; marine construction; and building construction, renovation, and modernization.
The company opened its doors in 2002 and quickly gained a reputation for taking on difficult jobs.
We have successfully completed projects that presented each of the following challenges:
- Environmentally sensitive habitats
- Archeologically sensitive sites
- Historic sites and structures
- Remote location
- Rugged terrain
- Mission-critical 24/7 facilities
- Restricted staging and work areas
- Secure facilities
In January 2002, Yerba Buena Engineering & Construction, Inc., opened its doors in San Francisco’s disadvantaged Bayview neighborhood, near the Mission District, where founder Miguel Galarza grew up.
“Bayview-Hunters Point had been talked about for years as a key redevelopment focus,” Mr. Galarza said. “That is where the future was, and we wanted to be in the right place at the right time.”
Early clients included the City and County of San Francisco, Caltrans, the U.S. Navy, the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service, and the Army Corps of Engineers. We quickly gained a reputation for taking on tough jobs in difficult locations. For example, our workers hung off 600-foot cliffs to stabilize the steep slopes of Devil’s Slide, where winter storms frequently trigger road-blocking landslides on California’s coastal Highway 1.
In 2007, we completed nearly $2 million of seismic rehabilitation of the foundations of 18 historic buildings at Fort Cronkhite in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This project set the stage for several other historic renovations and seismic upgrade projects.
On Christmas Day 2007, when a Siberian tiger escaped its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo, killed one man, and injured two others, zoo officials called on Yerba Buena to serve as prime contractor for a $1.5 million emergency renovation of the big cat exhibit.
We beefed up our staffing, worked extra shifts, and, despite extremely bad weather, completed the emergency portion of the project in only 29 days so the popular exhibit could reopen safely.
Since then, our client roster has expanded to include Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, Napa County, and the cities of Millbrae, Napa, Palo Alto, Redwood City, and San Jose. We continue to work closely with San Francisco’s various departments, as well as with the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust, and several other federal agencies.
Yerba Buena takes pride in its workforce, which reflects the communities we live and work in, and we love serving the Bay Area. We pride ourselves on our diversity and our record of helping our workers improve their way of life.
“Our business model was to establish our business here, grow our capacity from people from the community, and take advantage of federal procurement geared toward empowering those specific communities,” said Yerba Buena President Miguel Galarza. ”We could have opened up anywhere, but San Francisco has a strong city local hire program.”
At Yerba Buena, our approach has been to hire locally and promote from within. The Bayview District historically has been African American, and Yerba Buena has hired not only African Americans but also Hispanics, Polynesians, Asians, and whites.” More than 95 percent of our employees are minorities or women.
In 2018, we were honored to be the first recipient of the Associated General Contractors of America’s new Diverse Business of the Year award.