By Leo A. Vecellio, Jr. President, Chairman and CEO (1st / 2nd Quarters 2008)
As I’ve often said, being nimble is essential for success in road and transportation construction. Every day presents different challenges, from working around inclement weather to the never-ending process of coordinating personnel, equipment and subcontractors to keep a project moving along on schedule.
That’s why I’m especially proud of progress on Ranger North’s $105 million SR-414/Maitland Blvd. Despite the project’s size and complexity, it is well ahead of schedule.
And while a number of favorable circumstances benefited the job, it took a great team effort from the top down to take full advantage of the opportunity. That is nimbleness at its best.
Adjusting to change is even more important when addressing challenges, such as the cooling economy that has affected many market sectors. When new construction slows, demand for aggregates, site development and paving work slows as well.
With less private work to bid on, competition has increased significantly for public-sector contracts. Even a small job can draw a dozen or more contractors to the table, all with pencils sharpened.
While this may lower costs for the project owner, it increases pressure on the successful bidder, who must perform the work under what may amount to a very thin profit margin.
But with that pressure comes the motivation to find new ways to be more productive, to trim a few days off the schedule here, or add more yards or tonnage to daily production there.
One way we’re addressing this challenge is through our new field reporting system. We’ve equipped our construction supervisors with the latest in technology, training and support to not only save time and paperwork, but provide a better overview of job progress, as well.
Another example is our recent investment in 41 new tri-axle dump trucks at Ranger Central and South, which have a greater payload capacity for more efficient operation.
The trucks are also outfitted with a range of advanced safety features, because regardless of all our other gains, increasing safety is by far the most important improvement we can make throughout our operations.
This is a year-round effort for our Safety Department and Supervisors, who ensure the daily safety of our employees and operations.
And while our emphasis on safety never changes, just about everything else in this industry does, as we see on a daily basis.
Being nimble allows us to explore and capitalize on promising new opportunities — such as launching our new energy division, expanding our construction operations and surpassing production estimates on our largest road project ever.
We can also meet even difficult challenges with this same adaptability, providing our customers with reliable, high-quality services and products in a timely, cost-effective and, above all, safe manner.
It’s who we are. It’s what we do. And it’s been crucial to our success for 70 years, since our very first project in December 1938.
Here’s to many more great decades of service and growth!