In today’s business environment it seems more and more stories exemplifying the American Dream are being told, and inevitably they include a vision for the future, a passion for success, a determination to persevere, and a faith in something greater than self. More often than not, these narratives of good old-fashioned entrepreneurship are tethered to that American Dream of starting from scratch, literally making something from nothing. Yet there is another side of that coin, one which may be even more inspirational and representative of the enduring heart that conquers, never yielding to frustration and always finding a path to success. Giving a business new life, in essence giving it a fresh vigor and vitality, is a story that defines one of Richmond’s most respected general contractors. For almost two decades, Riverstone has been serving the Virginia community and setting the bar of excellence with a dedication to revitalize the culture of construction.
With roots that extend back to the late 1990’s, the company took its official name in 2001. Riverstone’s current owner and CEO, Amanda Wheeler, literally grew up in and around the construction environment as her family owned construction businesses. From an early age she dreamed of how she would impact the industry she was destined to make her mark in. Raised in the construction industry in Richmond, with national general contracting experience, she has had many titles: scheduler, contract administrator, senior estimator, project manager, partner and CEO. Eventually working for the company owned by her brother, the opportunity arose for Amanda to take the reins of Riverstone and transition to ownership of something she helped build for 18 years. Always having a higher standard for herself and her company, Amanda’s strong belief that building something great begins with giving all of one’s heart, which has been instrumental to taking Riverstone to the next level. “I’m proud of where I come from. I’m proud of where I’m going,” explains Amanda. “Not only do we get to build the story of those we serve, our story is being revitalized daily. I’m proud to be a part of a team that has always believed in a brighter future.” Headquartered in Richmond, Riverstone is a Certified Woman-Owned Business and has worked throughout the state of Virginia, with diverse services including Design-Build, General Contracting, Pre-Construction, and Construction Management. Their commitment to excellence can be seen in over 10,000,000 square feet of Class A construction in industries ranging from medical, corporate, industrial and more. The Riverstone team does it all, from ground-up construction to renovations and expansions. Their portfolio is impressive, and the team’s spectrum of expertise complements their vast diversity of work.
What certainly stands out for anyone spending any length of time around Riverstone is the solid leadership that keeps the company focused on results, not excuses. As the owner of Riverstone, Amanda brings a unique combination of intuition and discernment, along with a very supportive approach to ensure a job well done. Both personally and professionally, this has a very positive impact on staff, subcontractors and even clientele. “Amanda’s personality is a major strength,” says Ny Gainey, Riverstone’s Office Manager. “She has fostered a culture of pride in everything we do and attention to moral excellence that is a breath of fresh air.” For Amanda and her employees, it’s not just about a job well done, but a job done right that lifts the potential and morale of everyone involved. “She puts so much time and energy into every project,” continues Kayla. “She leads from the front and by example, and that’s infectious to all.”
Another solid piece of the leadership is David Wheeler, Amanda’s brother who originally established Riverstone in the 1990’s. David is back on the team as Riverstone’s Director of Operations. With over 27 years of experience, David is a proven professional with the ability to direct all phases of pre-construction, value engineering, scheduling, design review and management. Over his journey, David has worked for some of Virginia’s leading General Contractors including owning his own Development Company. Returning to Riverstone, David is intent on increasing the team’s capacity and fostering long-term client relationships. “You get out of life, personally and professionally, what you put into it every day,” says David. “I’m thankful for a chance to keep adding to the landscape of the ever changing city that we helped build.”
While her strong leadership and commitment to client success is evident in every aspect of Riverstone, Amanda knows that the real backbone of the company is a talented staff. With a strong mix of experience and knowledge, the team at Riverstone is a major asset to every project and client. “Our staff is an amazing mix of seasoned professionals with the skill and proficiency we need, combined with younger professionals that bring an out-of-the box approach to problem solving,” states Amanda. That staff includes industry veteran Keith Newman, who has been working with Amanda for many years and brings a level of ability coveted in the construction industry. Also, among the important pieces of Riverstone’s day to day operations is Kayla Giambra, Associate Project Manager, who is an integral liaison to the subcontractor community so vital to a project’s success. “We look at our subcontractors as part of our team, as an extension of us” explains Kayla. “We all have the same goal, and that is complete client satisfaction with no excuses. We have a very high expectation of our subs and only work with some of the industry’s finest and most respected.”
Having such an impressive internal and external team in place, Riverstone has chosen a business approach that has paved the way for even further success as they continue to grow. “We take a human approach to every client and project,” continues Amanda. “That means we have a heavy emphasis on commitment, collaboration, and communication. We are very hands-on with the client, always available to answer questions. We believe in dealing with any issues face-to-face, letting the client know that we care. In addition, we have weekly site meetings and updates.” That philosophy is instilled company-wide, and is appreciated and available to every client for both large and small project size. “We make it a policy to give extremely quick response time to any client that has a question or concern,” says Keith. “If we don’t have an immediate answer to something, we work diligently to get that answer.”
While problems can and do occur on every job, Riverstone looks to head off any potential issues at the earliest possible stage of a project. “We try to flush out all problems that may arise early to avoid change orders,” explains David. “Collaboration with the project team is a key element to this.” Even as the project progresses, the team actively pushes for a zero-item punch list at the end of the project. “We are proactive versus reactive,” adds Amanda. “We discuss concerns that may arise ahead of time so quality and attention to detail is paramount during the entire construction process.”
Regardless of project size, Riverstone has the same goal of building relationships that last with every client. “We have always valued relationships, and we give the same care and responsiveness to a small job as to a larger one,” states Amanda. “Every client is treated as though they are the most important one, and to us they really are.” One major component to building those relationships is Riverstone’s ability to foster trust from the earliest stages of a project. “We insist on complete transparency in everything we do,” adds Kayla, “Our estimating is very detailed because strive to go above and beyond to let our clients know we care about the future of their projects and the people they impact.”
That caring also extends beyond the realm of their projects, as Riverstone has a passion to not only to serve their clientele, but also be a servant in the community. “We believe in giving back,” says Amanda. “We are committed to being a vital part of the community, and to do want we can to improve the lives of others.” Riverstone donates time and resources to several organizations, including helping the homeless, helping orphaned and abused dogs through Ring Dog Rescue, being a strong supporter of the ALS Association, and joining other community organizations that invest in future generations, especially geared towards the industry of construction. With such dedication to their clients’ vision, success, and the community as a whole, it is not surprising that Amanda and the team at Riverstone receive well deserved praise of so many subcontractors and clients.
“Amanda Wheeler and the Riverstone team have an unwavering commitment to their clients that is rivaled by very few in the construction industry… Their approach to the commercial construction industry promotes a true team atmosphere to every project that is founded in trust, respect and integrity.”
– Steve Stone, Installation Department Manager, Miller Mechanical, Inc.
“After searching for months to find a reliable contractor to work with, I finally found Riverstone who exceeded my expectations. Riverstone has been a fantastic partner to work with as we built out our technology driven fitness studios. Riverstone was extremely responsive and accessible during our whole process and cared about costs and timelines as much as we did. It was wonderful to finally find a responsive general contractor to work with who cares about your business as much as their own.”
– Brian Wiley, F45 Studios
As Riverstone looks to their immediate and long-term future, they certainly have every reason to be excited and confident. “We’re not only a team here at Riverstone, we’re also a family, looking out for each other and looking to make our small piece of the world a better place each day, whether it’s our interaction with clients, subcontractors, or the community” explains Kayla. “Amanda has a big heart,” adds Keith. “She has a mentality of giving and it makes us a family.” When asked what goals she has for Riverstone, Amanda was to the point and decisive in her answer. “I want to expand my team and devote time to growing new relationships, while fostering those we have already made,” she says. “Expanding so we can do more of what we do well. That means taking on challenges and doing the projects that other contractors shy away from. We’ve really grown, and we’ve come a long way in making this company stronger, more transparent and more client and community focused than ever.” That very mentality is why Amanda and her team have come to exemplify construction excellence. That, in fact, is Riverstone Revitalized.