“It’s sort of funny in a way that I grew up with a contractor father and never thought of construction as a career. I didn’t embrace it until I found it on my own.” —Howard Slater
A 1966 graduate of Chico High School, Howard Henry Slater is president of Slater and Son, an agricultural, industrial, and commercial construction company founded by his father in 1948. Slater and Son’s many projects range from the Garden Walk Shopping Mall, Bidwell Presbyterian Church, and the Silberstein Building to the new Chuck Patterson Autoworld, the Garden Villa, and the Kiwanis Club observatory in Bidwell Park.
Deeply committed to the north state community, Slater and Son support the North Valley Community Foundation and the Torres Community Shelter for the homeless, as well as Little League baseball, CSU, Chico athletic programs, the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts and a wide variety of other community groups.
Howard has served as the Master of the Chico Masonic Lodge (1986) and on the board of directors of numerous local organizations, including the Chico Chamber of Commerce, Chico Economic Planning Corporation (including as president in 2003-2004), the North Valley Community Foundation (president, 1995-1996 and 2001-2002), the Chico City Light Opera, the Valley Contractors Exchange, and the Chico Sunrise Rotary. He is currently president of the Butte Economic Development Corp. and on the Community Service Advisory Board of the CSU, Chico Construction Management Department.
Slater graduated with an undergraduate degree from CSU, Chico in 1970, attended McGeorge School of Law briefly in 1971, and then graduated from UCLA’s Graduate School of Management in 1974. He returned to Chico that same year and began a career as a commercial real estate agent with Tracy Real Estate, becoming a partial owner in 1977. In 1978, he and his father started D. H. Slater and Son, Inc. as a construction and real estate development company, Howard taking over as president in 1982.
“I really love construction,” Slater says. “I enjoy never building the same thing twice, the gratification of seeing what I have created, and being able to drive around town and say, “I built that” or “My father built that. I thoroughly enjoy building up and improving my community and not tearing it down. I don’t like negative. It is probably why I didn’t enjoy law but love construction.”
Slater and his wife, Diane, have “two wonderful children,” Lindsay (29) and Brandon (27). “Diane and I are both compulsive volunteers,” he says. “I have come to the conclusion after these many years that you can give money and it is important but there is nothing more important than giving your time because then you are giving your heart and soul, your contacts and experiences, and your passion for making this a better community and world.”