A merger between a Canadian general construction company with 35 years of tilt-up experience and a Massachusetts concrete business with a background in foundations and flatwork has allowed the newly formed Lindsay Lampasona to combine their strengths and introduce tilt-up to a largely untapped Northeastern U.S. market.
In the business world, a merger can be seen in two different lights - some see it as a dilution of power while others see it as an opportunity to bring together the best of two worlds. When Tony Lampasona and PJ Lampasona, cousins and co-owners of a concrete contracting firm in Norfolk, Mass., were approached by Canadian general contractor J.W. Lindsay about forming a partnership to bring tilt-up construction to the Northeast, at first they were hesitant. But it didn't take long for Tony and PJ to see the benefits.
"We looked at the big picture and saw it as a great opportunity. We didn't feel like we were giving up anything, but felt like we were gaining a lot," Tony says.
"They had knowledge of the tilt-up industry and management skills, and we brought a labor force and equipment. Together we had the capabilities to get to work in the tilt-up market right away," PJ says.
The partnership was the right move for Lampasona Concrete. Since the merger in July 2008, the newly formed Lindsay Lampasona has seen business up 50 percent from Lampasona Concrete's average annual sales.
Setting the ground work
Tony and PJ started Lampasona Concrete with a $1,500 dollar pickup truck in 1995. The two learned the concrete trade from Tony's father working in the commercial and industrial flooring realm. Breaking out on their own, they found basement flooring jobs during their college years by driving around housing sites and introducing themselves to homebuilders or stapling their cards to the outsides of buildings when no one was around. Quality work and determination helped them convince a general contractor to hire them for a commercial flooring job, and eventually they were performing all that company's floors and working concrete full time.
As Lampasona Concrete acquired equipment, moved into an office and expanded its employee base, Tony and PJ moved their business away from the residential realm to focus strictly on commercial and industrial projects. A few years later they found a new way to diversify their company.
"PJ and I are concrete finishers by trade - we always did flatwork. About six years ago, we started losing projects to contractors who offered flatwork and foundations so we started using subs for foundations. We had some bad experiences with some subs that didn't provide the quality we wanted, didn't follow safety practices to our standards and had a mess with scheduling," Tony explains. This led the company to expand its in-house offerings.
"We saw foundations as a good way to become a full-service concrete company," PJ recalls. "We hired some people who knew forming and foundations and bought forms and trucks. There was a bit of a learning curve, but we figured it out."
Lampasona Concrete eased into foundations with some of its regular customers in the flatwork realm, and within a few years about one-third of the company's sales stemmed from foundations.
While Tony and PJ were building their full-service concrete company, J.W. Lindsay was looking for a way to expand. An engineer with the company, Devin Hartnell, saw an opportunity for tilt-up in the Northeastern United States. His research found there were no contractors in the market offering the service, but there were customers willing to consider the system.
Seizing the opportunity to expand its tilt-up offerings, J.W. Lindsay opened an office in West Hartford, Conn., in 2007. The large general contractor set out to identify a specialty concrete contracting firm that could build the foundations, floors and walls that make up the tilt-up system; J.W. Lindsay would supply in-house design and engineering. It wasn't long before they approached Lampasona Concrete.