Customers in Action

All Island Excavating


November 21, 2016

“KOMTRAX keeps us current”

All Island Excavating

The saying “when one door closes, another one opens” was quite accurate for All Island Excavating’s Owner Jon Savastano. In 1990, Savastano was working for a small excavation company that went out of business. Instead of earning a paycheck for his final two months of work, he received one of the business’ dump trucks. That truck was the catalyst for 26 successful years for Savastano.

“It was either go into business for myself or work for someone else again,” recalled Savastano. “I felt I knew enough to start my own company, so I went for it.”

Savastano immediately enlisted the help of his sister, Kelly Termotto, and friend, Eric Stein, to help him operate his company. All Island Excavating started small by focusing on cesspools, light grading, drainage and swimming pools in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. From there, the company graduated to large demolition work and commercial excavation. Today, the Long Island firm continues to handle that type of work in addition to trucking, drainage, grading, crushing/ recycling, crane work, and snow removal.

“We’ve been fortunate to experience a lot of growth,” said Savastano. “Today, we perform a wide variety of services and have expanded to nearly 20 employees.”

One decision that helped fuel the company’s development was the 2005 purchase of four acres of land in St. James.

“It was a scary decision. I remortgaged my house to buy the land, but within a year it provided an income,” recalled Savastano. “We rent the property to commercial businesses to store trucks and trailers. Because this type of space is limited in St. James, that purchase has been financially beneficial for us.”

Six years later, Savastano bought another four acres that neighbored the property and opened a screening and crushing plant.

“We crush all the concrete from our jobs here on-site and re-use it,” he said. “The operation makes us much more self-reliant, and we have greater control of our work now.”

Although All Island Excavating is a growing company with many capabilities, its core service remains site development projects – grading, drainage and demolition – on Long Island.

“Our logo says it all: ‘We dig the Island,’” revealed Savastano. “Our focus is here on Long Island where we do hundreds of jobs a year.”

Diversification and dedication

All Island Excavating

The construction world is competitive, so to stand out from other businesses All Island Excavating offers crane and trucking services, which enables it to complete projects faster and with more control.

“On jobsites where the soil is unsuitable, we dig down to groundwater and then fill in with our sand,” explained Savastano. “Sometimes we need to excavate as deep as 100 feet, so we use our cranes to reach that depth. Not many other contractors in this area do this type of crane work, so it’s an advantage to us on those requirements.”

The company’s trucking operations also provide convenience and efficiency. A fleet of more than 15 trucks makes moving material and equipment effortless and profitable.

“We have a large fleet of trucks and trailers that allow us to haul material in and out easily, and it also enables us to move equipment from job to job on a daily basis,” shared Savastano. “The fleet is one reason we are able to complete the volume of work we do.”

Savastano says that a dedicated workforce has helped All Island Excavating earn a solid reputation. He notes key, longtime employees as a major factor in the company’s success.

“Kelly has been here every day for 26 years,” said Savastano. “Anthony Belvedere started with us when he was 18. We helped him get his commercial driver’s license, and he’s become one of our top operators. The same is true for Jorge Morales – we watched him grow up, get married and have kids. Mark Buxton has worked here for 10 years. They have enabled us to build a strong culture, and they do whatever it takes. We never give up, and we never say no to anything.”

From the ground up

In addition to completing hundreds of bread-and-butter jobs annually, All Island Excavating also handles roughly three larger projects a year, which typically involve development for both residential and commercial sites.

“Yearlong jobs aren’t as common on Long Island as they used to be, but we still win bids for a few of them each year,” said Savastano. “We’re geared up to handle a large volume of smaller assignments, thanks to our trucking capabilities. The more we can do, the better.”

Recently, All Island Excavating completed a site for Panera Bread in Selden. Savastano’s company served as the general contractor and prepped the site; performed the excavating, drainage and grading; installed the electrical and water service; and built the parking lot.

The company also completed a lengthy site-development project in Hauppauge, 10 acres that feature a 150,000-square-foot building and a massive retaining wall. In addition to earth and foundation work, All Island Excavating handled tremendous grade cuts.

“We built an entranceway off the service road with a wall that is 28-feet high, which is one of the largest built on Long Island in a while,” recalled Savastano. “The grade was also a huge undertaking. It is probably 30 feet higher on one side of the property than on the other. There were many unique elements to this project, but we handled it.”

Komatsu equipment from Ehrbar

All Island Excavating

Savastano’s relationship with Ehrbar dates back more than 20 years to when his company bought a roller from Ehrbar. He began adding Komatsu equipment in 2000 with the purchase of a PC300LC excavator from Sales Rep Jim Hogan. Since then, he has continued to build his fleet with Komatsu equipment.

“Our PC300 excavator ran for 16 years before we traded it in for a PC350 earlier this year,” reported Savastano. “The PC350 can lift 12,000 pounds like it’s nothing. That’s very important to us. We lift a lot of precast material, and we are confident that Komatsu can do that safely and effectively.”

The company is also a fan of the smaller Komatsu excavators, like its PC170LC.

“The PC170 goes out to a jobsite everyday,” said Savastano. “It’s strong and reliable. The best thing about it is its compact size. We can do a job with it in the morning, load it onto a tag-along trailer and have it at another site in no time.”

Savastano also appreciates the added features that come with Komatsu equipment. “Having Ehrbar perform maintenance for the first three years or 2,000 hours through Komatsu CARE is very nice. We don’t worry about scheduling. The machines stay in great shape, and our mechanics can focus on other things.

“We also use KOMTRAX routinely,” he added. “We have it on several machines, and it keeps us current by providing valuable information that otherwise could get lost very easily. It’s a great feature.”

While reliable machines are part of the reason that Savastano continues to buy Komatsu, the service Ehrbar provides is also an important factor in the decision.

“Ehrbar spoils us,” acknowledged Savastano. “Everyone who works there is knowledgeable, and I can count on them to provide the right answers to my questions. Our track record with Ehrbar has been impressive.”

Steady growth

As All Island Excavating has grown, it has planned for the future. The next step for the company is adding services that allow it to have greater control over the ground-up operations, so that it can perform jobs from land clearing to paving and delivering a pad site for vertical construction. That expansion is underway, and Savastano believes the company will continue to flourish as a result. He also anticipates that as the business diversifies, his role can diminish a little, and he can transition some of his responsibilities to the next generation – his son, Jon Jr., and daughter, Olivia.

“I think there is plenty of potential for growth for us,” said Savastano Jr. “I’ve been around this place my whole life. It’s great work, and I’m excited for the future.”