Ruben Santana

Ruben Santana

Owner, Rubecon

Ruben Santana is a native San Franciscan and is founder and President of Rubecon Builders Inc.

Founded in 1993 and based in San Francisco, Rubecon, is a trusted and well-known general contractor and construction manager, providing building construction services in Northern California.  Rubecon is a leader in healthcare, pharmaceutical, and bio-medical construction.  They also perform commercial and industrial work, in both the public and the private sectors.  Rubecon Builders relies on a comprehensive team of experts whose levels of expertise span across all areas of the construction phase including clean room & laboratories, fire and safety, seismic upgrades, historic building renovations, new construction, renovations and improvements and ADA compliance.

Mr. Santana and his company are committed to give back to the communities in which it serves and has actively done so through its apprenticeship program and by participating in community activities and local hiring programs.  In addition, Rubecon Builders Inc. has also been awarded several awards and certificates at the State, Western Region and National level, showcasing the company’s continued effort and commitment.

Most recently Rubecon was awarded the 2009 MBDA National Construction Firm of the Year, presented at the White House, where they met Vice President Joe Biden.  Other awards include:  2009 MBDA Western Regional Construction Firm of the Year, Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition awarded by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi for outstanding and invaluable service to the community, Letter of Recognition from Senator Dianne Feinstein for Outstanding Community involvement and Job Creation, Certificate of Honor from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for Valuable Contribution to the Construction Administration Training Program in the City and County of San Francisco.

Ruben is a board member of the Workforce Investment of San Francisco at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, as well as a sworn member of the Local Business Enterprise of the Contract Monitoring Division of San Francisco City Hall.

Ruben has achieved 7 contractors’ licenses in the State of California including A, B, C5, C6, C8, C9 and C10 as well as A&B licenses in Nevada.

Ruben was raised since childhood in the family ironwork business “Santana Iron Works”, which still exists today under new ownership.  Shop and field tasks and training began at approximately 6 years of age under old traditional ways as to learn the family trade, work ethics and discipline.  Tasks varied from shop clean-up, organization, material stocking, various shop and field fabrication and installation, tasks with machines and tools of all shapes, including old world hand crafted steel forge creations.  The family business was sold when he was 12 years of age. 

He continued school until the age of 16 years, temporarily halting conventional studies for vocational school “Academy of Welders” in order to receive further instruction and certifications as a structural and architectural metals welder.  After the 6 month course he went back to complete his high school diploma.  At 17 years of age he began his first job with “Midwest Steel Inc” (1980) and went on a journey to Springdale, Arkansas to do his first structural steel fabrication and steel connecting job, in the field for six months. 

Ruben moved back to San Francisco to take a job with “Sartorious Metals” (1981), which consisted of prefabricating and installing aluminum ATM machines for Wells Fargo’s nationwide use.

At 18 years of age he enrolled in a two-year course with “Control Data Institute”, attended courses four nights per week and eight hours on Saturdays in order to achieve education in the new microcomputer technology and operations field.  Still at 18 years of age, he was drawn to the high-rise carpentry field and joined “Local Union #22” and was hired to work for “Anning-Johnson Company” (1982) as an apprentice carpenter, working 40+ hours per week.  Meanwhile, still maintaining and completing studies at Control Data Institute.  Employment with “Anning-Johnson” endured 10 year tenure with full training in all aspects of commercial building, varying from advanced carpentry, structural steel and metal decking, along with supervision, coordination and project management skills. 

In 1993 Ruben studied for and obtained his General Contractor “B” license with the goal of becoming an entrepreneur and envisioning pursuit of building his own company with small contracts in place.   

Later moving on to higher management positions with companies like, “Meiswinkel Inc.” (1991) and “Lakewood Construction” (1994) taking on feats such as; new hospitals, high-rise office buildings, historical seismic renovation, laboratories, schools, retail stores, etc.

In 1997 he incorporated his own business license “Rubecon General Contracting Inc.” with the intention of starting his own business soon.

Upon completing one final $200 million project as an employee, August 10, 1998, Ruben decided to launch his own campaign as a full-time business owner in a booming financial/contracting industry, building stores, laboratories, operating rooms and offices for the conglomerate “UCSF” real estate infrastructure, along with a $5 million fire renovation project at the California Academy of Sciences. 

Rubecon has also achieved many projects at Bio Pharmaceutical companies such as Genentech and Bayer Corporations.

Ruben’s basic core goal is to compose a well-structured business, caring for client needs, as well as his employees and subcontractors.  He was raised in the industry as a union employee, allowing him a chance for better wages, health and welfare benefits, and pension and annuity plans.  He now strives to maintain and continue his company as being a Signatory to the Carpenters and Laborers Unions in order to offer back to others all that was given to him.

Ruben/Rubecon General Contracting Inc. now has a strong network of subcontractors, with a strong allegiance to one another as “fair businessmen”, as well as with a multitude of other specialty small and minority businesses for equal opportunity.

Ruben’s current goal is to be able to reach and bond approximately $100 million a year in work annually, keeping in mind his strict rule of “don’t bite off more than you can chew” along the way.

He lives by his favorite demeanors; honesty, respect, dignity, humility, caring, sharing, safety, health and welfare.  Ruben is now 51 years old and continues to strive to learn and absorb every lesson offered him by his elder business peers, constantly seeking guidance and consultation with those who have achieved successful business, but yet can share the high and low peaks it took to get there.  Ruben might be considered one of the younger contractors in his circle, but he carries the knowledge and wisdom of many generations.  He is sought after as a great person to follow and venture with in future projects as proven in the past.  References available from peers and clients.

Along with Ruben Santana’s building accomplishments, comes a natural desire in giving back to the community with financial donations to needy children’s medical and educational needs, as well as time donated to community youth schools in motivational speeches towards advancement as well as gang intervention.

Ruben also works with and hires from the local community Hiring Halls in the effort to offer a better living wage with health and retirement benefits in order to lead a better life.