When Tommy Ruttura entered the family business in 1971 he looked back at his father's career then looked ahead at what he wanted in a career. Ruttura recognized his father's skills as a concrete tradesman and the honest, professional way in which he worked with his customers and suppliers. But Ruttura also recognized the problems his father faced when he was forced to lay off his workforce and close up shop for the winter. Ruttura set out to build upon the positive elements of his father's company and create a year-round business and full-time careers for himself and his employees. "To move from a contractor to a businessman was a huge step," Ruttura says.
The transformation Ruttura spearheaded over the last two and a half decades turned his father's $400,000 a year company into a business that expects its 2008 sales numbers to reach $133 million. Ruttura was able to accomplish this by setting himself apart from his competition. "If you're doing things the way everyone else does them you're a commodity. We don't want to be a commodity," Ruttura says. "We developed a business that is unique in the industry, and customers call us for advice."
Ruttura & Sons Construction Co. is a family-owned business headquartered in West Babylon, N.Y., and founded in 1918 by Ruttura's grandfather. Tommy Ruttura serves as president, while his younger brother Peter, who started with the company in the 1980s, serves as vice president. Both Tommy and Peter have children working in the company making it a business looking to its fourth generation of Rutturas as it closes out its 90th year of business.
Ruttura & Sons serves the greater New York City area, taking on jobs throughout the four boroughs and into New Jersey and Connecticut. The company offers a full range of concrete services for the commercial construction market and a variety of services closely related to the concrete industry that help the company stay diverse. By offering demolition, excavation, storm drainage, sanitary systems and water services, Ruttura says his company can perform up to 25 percent of the work on any given job, instead of only 5 percent if they only offered concrete work. It's also a benefit to the companies that hire Ruttura & Sons. "They can deal with just us instead of four or five other contractors who they'd have to find to do all these jobs," Ruttura explains.
In addition to the services offered through Ruttura & Sons, the company has sprouted additional arms. One of these arms is Our Recycling Corp., which Ruttura started 25 years ago while looking for an alternative to paying $25 per cubic yard to dispose of construction waste in a landfill. Ruttura invested in several crushers, and today on every job Ruttura works the company handles the demolition and carts it away to separate the steel for recycling and crush the concrete into #4 modified blend, which Ruttura & Sons uses under every slab on grade they pour. "The key to a good slab on grade is to keep the substrate stiff and non-permeable. When compacted, this recycled subbase stays dense and doesn't move around like sand. It took me years to get this accepted in the area, but now it's a standard on Long Island," Ruttura says. "It not only made my company better but also made my competitors better."
Another arm is Our Rental Corp., which serves the greater New York City area with concrete pumping. Ruttura started the pumping businesses in 1986 when he recognized a need for quality pumping services around the city. It also gives him the chance to use the area's biggest and best pumping equipment on his own jobs.
Nick Avella manages the pumping business, which runs 24 pieces of pumping equipment. He says Ruttura & Sons accounts for 35 percent of the pumping business while about 100 customers, many of them competing contractors to Ruttura & Sons, round out the customer list. Avella says it's the company's commitment to customer service that keeps its customer base strong. "Customer service is all about accommodating the customer," he says. "We help them get the proper permits from the city, the right pipe, the right mix and ensure the pricing is right."