Dependable Komatsu excavators
When Steve Giordano returned home from World War II, he began delivering coal door to door. He followed that by running a lumberyard, and eventually he started a home-building business. His children grew up working for that company, and youngest son, Mark, took over the construction business in the mid-1980s. The company’s namesake still remains active in the firm to this day, well past his 90th birthday.
“This place was my father’s livelihood,” said Mark, who is the Owner of Steve Giordano Builders today. “He started building a couple of houses a year with a pick and a shovel. It’s grown continuously throughout the years. I have three brothers, and we all helped here in some capacity growing up. The construction side really appealed to me, so I continued in it.”
The company has come a long way since it began building houses, completing as many as 25 per year in the 1980s. While residential construction is still a part of the firm’s work load, the focus has shifted to site development and commercial assignments.
On a recent site-development project in Thornwood, the company removed nearly 8,000 yards of material before it could begin preparations for a 10,000-square-foot funeral home. The company cut trees and removed the existing road, retaining wall and sewer/ drainage lines. It also brought a crusher to the site and converted the demolished material into more than 4,000 yards of crushed stone and gravel for use at this site. In the coming months, Giordano’s company will install new sewer, water and drainage lines, build a road and construct a retaining wall for the funeral home.
“The economy drives our business, so we have been going heavy in commercial,” noted Mark. “We have several properties that we are developing, and residential construction will make up some of our work, but I estimate that 75 percent of our business is on the commercial side. Our focus is delivering a full site-development package. We take care of everything – from planting flowers to blowing up rock.”
As the owner of a second-generation business, Mark has carried over the family theme to his staff. His brother, Mike Sr., handles the electrical business, and his son, Mike Jr., is part of the electrical team as well. Additionally, Mark’s sons, Mark Jr. and Justin, are both involved in the company.
Family ties aren’t limited to the Giordano clan, however. Brothers Marcelo, Franklin and Martin Loja are operators for the company. Two members of the Gallego family – Luciano and Franklin Jr. – are also company employees.
“It’s a family feel here, even for the people who aren’t related to each other,” said Mark. “We have a lot of employees who have worked here for 25 years or more. Foreman Bobby Dias and Operator Carmine Conte have been with us forever. We don’t have a lot of turnover, and we’re proud of that.”
Steve Giordano Builders has 14 employees currently, but Mark says that number can grow to as many as 60, if there are multiple jobs happening at the same time. To meet those staffing needs, the company uses Westchester County local union members.
In addition to site-development projects, Steve Giordano Builders also performs several assignments a year at Entergy’s Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant in Buchanan. The company began work there seven years ago and has maintained a presence at the plant ever since.
“Indian Point is our mainstay project,” reported Mark. “It’s a 30-year-old building, and it requires regular maintenance. Also, regulations are constantly changing, so if something needs to be built or modified, we handle that as well.”
With so much work at the nuclear facility, the company set up a sub-office with a small crew dedicated to this power plant. In addition to typical jobs like roof maintenance and water-main installation, the company takes on some unique tasks there as well, due to the nature of the site.
“When an event happens in the world, nuclear power plants are one of the first places to upgrade,” said Mark. “After the Japan tsunami, we modified a concrete building to house equipment, lights, generators and pumps – anything the plant would need in the event of a natural disaster.
“Security upgrades have also been common,” he added. “The first thing we did there was build a new protected area access facility. It had a ‘protected area’ boundary with turnstiles in the security building. We also built a 100-yard rifle range on Palisades Parks Commission land as a target-practice site for the guards. We’ve installed infrared cameras as well. Security is a top concern for nuclear plants.”
Whether the company is completing commercial or residential projects, Komatsu excavators from Ehrbar have been a staple for Steve Giordano Builders since the 1980s. Today, the company calls on Sales Rep Trevor Berger for its purchasing needs.
“We’ve had Komatsu equipment for a long time,” recalled Mark. “They are reliable machines that are priced right, and they run forever. We’re very happy with our Komatsus.”
The company has plenty of experience with the dependability of Komatsu excavators. It purchased a PC300LC excavator in 1987. After nearly 30 years and 14,000 hours, it’s still producing.
“Our PC300 has been a workhorse for us,” noted Mark. “We have a mechanic who is rigorous with maintenance, but for a machine to last as long as this one has, it’s impressive.”
The reliability of the machine has led the company to own seven Komatsu excavators. Its fleet includes a PC360LC-10, two PC300LCs, two PC200LCs, a PC160LC, a PC78LC and a PC50LC for both residential and commercial applications.
Steve Giordano Builders turns to Ehrbar for other equipment needs as well. For site-development projects that require breaking up rock, the company uses NPK hammer attachments. First-hand experience with dependability is also a major reason for brand loyalty.
“We bought a GH10 hammer 10 years ago, and we never had to do anything to it, other than normal maintenance,” said Mark. “We tried some other hammers, but they never lasted. We recently made the decision to buy a GH15 because we knew it would last – and it’s exceeded our expectations.”
Another important tool in the Steve Giordano Builders’ fleet is its JCB 300T multi-terrain loader. While it is productive on the company’s construction jobs, it is also a perfect fit for Indian Point Energy Center.
“It’s a versatile machine,” said Mark. “The rubber tracks and compact size make it a great fit inside the plant. You must have good, clean equipment to operate in there, because any dirt or oil leaks are a huge problem. The 300T has done an excellent job.”
No matter what the request, when Mark picks up the phone to call Ehrbar for equipment or service, he knows his needs will be met.
“Ehrbar has a great program, and Trevor is honest and straightforward,” said Mark. “He respects my time, and he isn’t pushy. Whenever I talk to Trevor, he gets me what I want. He takes care of business, and I appreciate that.”
Continuing to adapt
As for the future, Mark expects the company to continue to grow and adapt to the evolving needs of the market.
“I think we’ll be in the commercial side of the industry for the foreseeable future,” he remarked. “Having the power plant as a main source of work is nice, because we can plan for it, but we have to be able to adjust. If the economy keeps growing, we will look to expand more into housing or municipal projects. We just have to see what makes sense.”
While Mark enjoys his career, he doesn’t expect to be on the job until his 90s like father.
“I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon, but I would like to phase out eventually,” acknowledged Mark. “We have a lot of families and family members who work here. Our employees know what to do and what’s expected. I think I can step aside and let some of them take over.”