Ruttura says a main driver of growth is staying involved with the industry and striving to increase productivity through technology. "We're a forward-looking company," Ruttura says. "Once a competitor has caught on to what we're doing we're already on to something new. We spend money on things but make it back many times over."
For instance, Ruttura & Sons is the only company on Long Island that has grading equipment that utilizes GPS. "The laser grading helped stopped cracks and curls and also stopped people from saying we cheated them - we had a way to prove we didn't."
Ruttura & Sons also works with builders to substitute 30 pound steel fibers instead of wire mesh on slabs on grade whenever possible. "Mesh is laborious and presents trip and fall hazards," Ruttura explains. "When you pump fibers the reinforcement is always in the right place, and that's not the case with wire mesh."
'Work like a champion today'
Despite Ruttura & Sons' size, the company still feels like a family-run business. Ruttura credits that to his father and the way his family was brought up. "We're the first ones in the yard every day, and we'll probably lock up the place tonight. We work hard, work long hours and come in on Saturdays when we need to. That's why our employees work hard for us," Ruttura says.
With above-average wages and full benefits, Ruttura & Sons has almost no turn-over. "I've got 350 great people," Ruttura says. "Owners who say they have a hard time finding people aren't treating their people right."
The company's motto, "Work like a champion today," isn't just directed at the people in the field - it's Ruttura's mantra too. It's not uncommon to find Ruttura on the jobsite running a piece of equipment. He's also hands-on in job costing and examining daily job progress to give him time to correct areas where they've fallen behind while the project is still going instead of weeks after a job is finished.
Like most contractors, Ruttura says he's getting ready to "hunker down" for the looming recession. He'll need to make cuts in the company and prepare for what he thinks could be a severe drop in annual sales. "We'll look at ways to reduce overhead. We'll do probably 50 percent of the sales we did last year but still need to stay profitable," he says. "We'll look at turning off lights, turning down the heat, and more closely monitoring gasoline and fuel bills."
Ruttura says despite a slowdown he has a strong client base that will keep his company busy. And he'll continue to support the ASCC, ACI and other groups that strive to help the industry.
Ruttura says the next few years will be tough. But despite cuts, the principles and character of Ruttura & Sons will stay.